When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.
—1 Corinthians, 13:11
I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts us absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power.
—Kurt Vonnegut, from A Man Without A Country
You might have gotten the mistaken impression reading DOTE that I don't think the United States is the Greatest Country On Earth, not to mention the Greatest Country That Ever Was And Ever Will Be. Not so!
I'm proud to be an American. America is clearly God's Gift to Humanity, a blinding light which guides other nations through the Darkness, a shining City On A Hill, if I may quote the unforgettable words of the much revered star of Bedtime For Bonzo. And to prove it, the Census Bureau has just released its median income and poverty data for 2010.
Real Median Household Income And Poverty Rate: 1967-2010
From the Census Bureau's Income, Poverty And Health Coverage, September 2011
Let's quote from the Paper of Record. This text is from the New York Times' Soaring Poverty Casts Spotlight on ‘Lost Decade’.
Another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, and the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it.
And in new signs of distress among the middle class, median household incomes fell last year to levels last seen in 1997.
[My note: median household income was $49,445 in 2010. In 1996, it was $49,112. In 1997, it was $50,123.]
Economists pointed to a telling statistic: It was the first time since the Great Depression that median household income, adjusted for inflation, had not risen over such a long period, said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard.
“This is truly a lost decade,” Mr. Katz said. “We think of America as a place where every generation is doing better, but we’re looking at a period when the median family is in worse shape than it was in the late 1990s.”
The bureau’s findings were worse than many economists expected, and brought into sharp relief the toll the past decade — including the painful declines of the financial crisis and recession —had taken on Americans at the middle and lower parts of the income ladder. It is also fresh evidence that the disappointing economic recovery has done nothing for the country’s poorest citizens.
The report said the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line last year, 15.1 percent, was the highest level since 1993. (The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,314.)
Yes, it's true—there are 46.2 million people in the United States trying to get by on 22,314 per year or less (for a family of four). That's more people than the populations of Spain, Columbia, the Ukraine, Tanzania, Argentina, Poland, Algeria, Canada, Morocco, Uganda, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Peru, Venezuela...
We should bear in mind that those officially in poverty represent merely the large tip of a much larger iceberg of American families in dire financial straits.
We are One Nation Under God. And although God appears to like most of us a lot less than He likes Lloyd Blankfein and Rick Perry—they are doing His work!—we toil on, secure in the knowledge it will certainly not all work out in the end. God Bless America!
Bonus Video — A tribute to Ronald Reagan, who set us on the road to the great prosperity we enjoy today.
It's A Monkey!