Growing Poverty and Despair in America - by Stephen Lendman
In 1962, Michael Harrington's "The Other America" exposed the nation's dark underside enough for John Kennedy to ask his Council of Economic Advisor chairman, Walter Heller, to look into the problem and for Lyndon Johnson to say (on January 8, 1964) that his administration "today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America."
In fact, it was little more than a skirmish that fell way short of addressing the real problem in the world's richest nation. Today it's even greater and increasing exponentially under a president who, unlike Johnson, declared war on the poor and disadvantaged to favor privilege over growing needs and essential social change.
In his book, Harrington wrote:
"In morality and in justice every citizen should be committed to abolishing the other America, for it is intolerable that the richest nation in human history should allow such needless suffering. But more than that, if we solve the problem of the other America we will have learned how to solve the problems of all of America." Sadly, we didn't then nor have we now.
Perhaps more than anything, increasing homelessness and hunger highlight the growing problem as, in the face of deteriorating economic conditions and growing human needs, administration policies are indifferent, counterproductive, uncaring and hostile.
In December 2008, Reuters reported that "Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders," according to a December 2008 US Conference of Mayor's Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness survey of 25 American cities. Chief causes cited were growing poverty, unemployment, and unaffordable housing costs with greater than ever expected challenges in 2009. At the time, it was reported that "Cities continue to develop aggressive strategies to prevent homelessness" and provide other essential services, but that was then and this is now.
An Epidemic of State Budget Shortfalls