September 20, 2023 Resumen Latinoamericano – English
Who could think that in the 21st century, in the United States, the richest country on the planet, there would be over nine million children living in poverty, while 975 Americans are billionaires with a combined capital of 4.45 trillion dollars.
In just one year, from 2021 to 2022, the number of children living in poverty increased from four million to nine million, according to official data, a rise due to the deactivation of social programs in an extremely neoliberal capitalist system.
At the same time, in a period of 10 years, multimillionaires increased their capital by 90% and those who own more than one million dollars total 22 million, or 15.4% of the 340 million inhabitants.
And if that wasn’t astonishing enough the 20 richest people in the United States have accumulate an incredible 1.6 trillion dollars. Just to name some on the list: Elon Musk with $251 billion; Jeff Bezos with $151 billion and Bill Gates with $106 billion.
In contrast, the overall poverty rate increased from 7.8% of the population to 12.4%, according to government Census Bureau data released at the end of August. It was also reported that the average (not median) real income also plummeted as a result of price rises and runaway inflation.
For US sociologist Mathew Desmond, these figures are not accidental, but a direct result of deliberate policy decisions that gave higher priority to tax cuts for the middle classes and the wealthy rather than programs that had been effective in helping the poorest in the past “Today the primary beneficiaries of federal assistance are affluent families,” he emphasized.
Class inequality is intrinsic to the capitalist system, and in the United States it was exacerbated in the 1980s when then President Ronald Reagan dismantled the already imperfect welfare state and imposed a series of shock measures aimed at draining wealth from the bottom up, a program then dubbed Reaganomics, which we refer to today as neoliberalism.
The equation proposed was the drastic reduction of tax rates charged to the rich, under the postulate that, by charging less taxes to capitalists, they would have more resources available to invest in the creation of productive enterprises and the generation of jobs, leading to a virtuous circle of well-being.
But the rich are unaccountable and what they have done in all these years has been to increase their wealth by all means, by investing in huge buildings, land, airplanes, ships, that they then use for tax breaks al the while looking down on the countless people who wander homeless on the streets of any and every city in the US.
The declarations of Sharon Parrott, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an independent analysis center in Washington are irrefutable: “The staggering increase in poverty in the United States is the direct result of political decisions”.
Of course, it must be made clear that these are political decisions of the right-wing leaders who control the entire U.S. capitalist system by way of the two barely distinguishable big business partys which are detrimental to the great mass of the population. The so-called American dream ,if there ever really was one, is vanishing for more than 200 million people.
-Hedelberto López Blanch is a Cuban journalist who writes for the daily Juventud Rebelde and the weekly Opciones. He is the author of many books including, “La Emigración Cubana en Estados Unidos”, “Historias Secretas de Médicos Cubanos en África” and “Miami, dinero sucio”, among others.
Source: Cuba en Resumen