Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Blog Action Day 2008: Focus on Poverty
Well things are winding down and headed to the wire for the Presidential election in the US. I wrote a post a few days ago where I mentioned the lack of discussion about poor people by the major party candidates lately. Of course the corporate media in conjunction with the Republican party are trying to shift responsibility for the economic free-fall by blaming people of color and the poor when it is as always greed and no accountability that results in great profit and equally greater catastrophe.
There has always been a group who've fallen through the cracks in this society but never have their numbers been as high as they are now. In fact there has been a record number of applicants requesting immediate assistance from their states. When I think of large corporations receiving billions of dollars and their executives multi-million dollar pay-outs but the family down the street gets nothing I know that we are living in a form of hell on earth.
There have been key circumstances that strip people of their earning power and accumulation of assets in this country:
1. The cost of health coverage - and by extension the lack of health. Having high-fructose corn syrup added to everything does not help! It's banned in Europe for a reason.
2. The over-valuation of property. If you managed to hang on to your house is it worth the same today as it was when you purchased it?
3. The cost of good and services - up by x amount year and year.
4. Inflation versus salary. The cost of living goes up but the salaries do not meet the minimums.
5. Living beyond their means. Greed is not good. Having a plasma tv is not a necessity.
Now let's be clear that those of us that live in Western countries have a lot more than those who live in developing nations. By 'developing' it should correctly be identified as recovering from having its resources stolen or destroyed by their former colonizers.
Now let's look at some solutions for emerging nations:
1. Making sure there is a steady supply of clean water.
2. Micro-loans being provided to women - who are then able to provide for their families.
3. Get rid of the debts owed to the World Bank and IMF.
4. Providing medicine and other medical services.
These nations have to rebuild and shore up their infrastructure. In some countries where socialism is employed to even the playing field the citizens have a much higher quality of life. Sure the wealthiest of its citizens pay as much as 40% of their taxes, but they all have free health care, free schools including university, paid time off for primary care givers of children or the elderly, less crime and homelessness is practically non-existent.
Capitalism may rule in this country but it only benefits a very limited few. Having that carrot dangled in your face about what you might possibly get does nothing to improve the quality of one's life. Being on the lower economic scale is not fun but having to go without food in this country is inexcusable. Let's acknowledge things are not working to our benefit and move on.
Where's a good place to start?:
1. Donate your time...and money. As bad as things may be they could be worse. We will find strength and purpose in helping other people. We will also regain some perspective. There was a time when we knew our neighbors. I think it would be a good idea to start caring about other people again just to remember that we're not so different after all.
3. Vote. Take responsibility for your gov't.
4. Develop a spiritual base, positive thinking, whatever you want to call it.
5. Decide that we have important core issues to resolve in this country that have nothing to do with race, religion or whether you want to have a beer with someone.
As always the choice lies with us. We will sink or swim together.