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Mr. Roboto

Another thing to keep in mind is that the official poverty rate has always been a rather austere measurement. So I take the figure to mean that something like 34%, or one-third of the population, is struggling in a major way. I also recall from an MSNBC story on this sad new statistic that the last time the poverty rate was something like this was back in 1983, which was the time of arguably the worst recession between the Great Depression and our current Great Recession.

Mr. Roboto

These words are even truer now than when Billy Bragg penned this revised translation 21 years ago. Maybe it's just as much of an ego-fantasy as all the other notions of saving humanity from itself, but it's a straight-up righteous ego-fantasy in that case.


John D

I have to say I got a bit peeved when, listening to the 0/11 anniversary speeches, the politicians kept saying we were defending 'our way of life' from attack since then. I'd be ok if they said defending our people or our security, but way of life? Nothing to be very proud of.


Lately, this blog writes itself doesn’t it? You could pretty much cut and paste the BBC Story from yesterday without comment, and it would speak for itself.

Of course, when even the “official” manipulated figures are this bad, you know reality is even worse. For example, if you make the princely sum of $11,140 dollars, you’re not considered “officially” poor. Forty percent of Americans make $35,000 or less a year.

And let’s not forget this tidbit from earlier this year:

Nearly Half of Americans Are ‘Financially Fragile’, by Phil Izzo: Nearly half of Americans say that they definitely or probably couldn’t come up with $2,000 in 30 days, according to new research, raising concerns about the financial fragility of many households. ...

The survey asked a simple question, “If you were to face a $2,000 unexpected expense in the next month, how would you get the funds you need?” In the U.S., 24.9% of respondents reported being certainly able, 25.1% probably able, 22.2% probably unable and 27.9% certainly unable. The $2,000 figure “reflects the order of magnitude of the cost of an unanticipated major car repair, a large copayment on a medical expense, legal expenses, or a home repair,” the authors write. .
Financial fragility isn’t limited to low-income groups. ... “The ... surprising finding is that a material fraction of seemingly ‘middle class’ Americans also judge themselves to be financially fragile.


Not surprising when you consider that the income of the bottom half of America’s entire work force matches that of the 400 richest individual citizens! And then there’s also this:

Nearly one in three working families in America is now considered low income, meaning they earn less than twice the official poverty threshold, according to a report released today from the Working Poor Families Project. The number has increased in recent years thanks to layoffs and wage cuts, from 28% in 2007 to more than 30% last year.

Gee, why isn’t consumer spending coming back? As usual, the poorest part of the country are the “red’ states in the Bible Belt (New Hampshire being an exception), the wealthiest re in the “blue” states.

No wonder people are starting to wonder if Marx was right, specifically that the proles will lead ever-more marginal lives, the rich would capture ever more of the productive income of society through their ownership of the means of production, globalization would lead to a race to the bottom, finance capital would come to dominate the economy, and booms and busts would become ever more severe and unstable. Of course, he also predicted the masses would eventually rise up, and not march like sheep to the slaughter. We can forget ever happening since any alternative to what we’ve got is “Communism,”

Dave Cohen

Re: lately, this blog writes itself, doesn't it?

Yes, it does, although I still have to write it ;-)

When I started DOTE in January, 2010, I knew my task would get easier over time. I knew "the recovery" was an illusion, and all the new data coming in would indicate the Empire's continuing decline.

If your general thesis is correct, things just sort of fall into place. No other outcome is possible. Many, many others labor in the Dark. This blog exists for the relative few who have an interest in Reality.

Re: Izzo, financially fragile

I posted on that in

At Least 46.5% of Americans Are "Financially Fragile"


-- Dave

Tony Weddle

Mr Roboto, the poverty rate was also about this level in 1993. The chart is in Dave's post.

The rate hit a low point in 2000 and has been rising ever since. Not that it's good that the rate has been this bad before; the US is supposed to be the driver of the world economy, it's supposed to be lifting all boats but it's only lifting the boats of the 1%-5% who continue to milk the rest.

This sort of thing should be splashed over the font pages of the papers and continue to be discussed at that level for weeks or months. I'm sure the US is not alone, either. I'd love to see such figures for all "developed" nations. I think our (NZ) figures did come out earlier this year and they were not pretty.


"Of course, he also predicted the masses would eventually rise up, and not march like sheep to the slaughter."

Heh. Marx couldn't have known the masses would be hypnotized by the teevee and insentient on prescription meds, and so bloated from a lifetime diet of corn syrup they physically can't rise up even if they wanted too.


"We are One Nation Under God." Funny notion though, isn't it? Like the comedian Dick Gregory once said: "If this is one nation under God I'd hate to see one under the Devil."

Nevertheless here's some lyrics from Ruins of the Realm by James McMurtry:

I got a thirty-ought-six and a premium load
In a shotgun shack on a two lane road
Smack in the middle of the bible belt
Dancin' in the ruins all by myself

We got the National Guard with the bayonets
We got the ten commandments on the State House steps
We shalt not steal and we shalt not kill
Dancin' in the ruins of our own free will
Dancin' in the ruins of the South
Confederate flag taped over my mouth

We thank thee lord for all we got
While the multi-nationals call the shots
So scrape them hides and clean that slate
Dancin' in the ruins of the nation-state

We'll fight 'em in the land, we'll fight 'em in the air
Little cowboy says we got to fight 'em over there
You ain't seen nothing like it since Saigon fell
Dancin' in the ruins 'cause we might as well
Dancin' in the ruins of the realm
A fool and a mad man at the helm
Dancin' in the ruins of the Reich
Down in the bunker on a hunger strike

teri schooley

I do so wish that the expression "slipped into poverty" were banned. We are not slipping, tripping, or otherwise accidentally and all by ourselves falling down into poverty. We are being shoved into it, beaten into it, forced into it, bitch-slapped into it......

GreatBlue Heron

Unfortunately, I expect that the government's response to these dismal numbers will be to redefine poverty so that they look much better.

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