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PART 12: Poverty in America

Last week, while attending a conference in Denver, Colorado, I noticed dozens of beggars on the streets. They stood at intersections carrying cardboard signs that read, "Homeless, anything will help, God bless."

As I walked out of the Colorado Convention Center, one man, wrapped in rags, curled himself around a steam vent on the sidewalk. A cardboard box served as a pillow. Cement became his mattress. I sickened at the thought of his night in 15 degree freezing cold. Along Colfax Avenue, hundreds of homeless begged for food or money. They slept in huddled misery under the loading docks and in doorways.

The National Coalition for the Homeless, reported 3.5 million homeless people struggled for survival in the streets of America in 2005. Of that number, 1.35 million consist of homeless children. Reports show 13 million American children suffer daily from malnutrition and hunger in America. A shocking 37 million Americans live below the poverty line, which is 12.7 percent of our population.

Educational experts estimate over 30 million people in American suffer functional illiteracy. They can't read, write or perform simple math. They offer no skills other than the labor of their hands.

Twenty million illegal aliens residing in America make up the largest high school drop out population in the history of the nation.

Over half of all black and Hispanic babies originate from unmarried mothers that lack high school diplomas. Fifty to 70 percent of blacks and Hispanics do not graduate from high school. Thirty percent of whites do not graduate from high school.

In the last century, Mexico grew from 50 to 104 million people. Current demographic figures show Mexico growing to 300 million in the 21st century. Since 85 percent of all immigration into the United States originates from Mexico, we face a striking dilemma.

How will we deal with a massive and growing illiterate population? How will we contend with the next added 100 million Americans featuring scant educational skills? How will we deal with millions of babies from their ranks? If we can't educate half of our own minorities, how will we educate this massive overload as it grows by 100 million?

If Mexicans can't maintain a successful society with 104 million people, how do you think they will sustain their country with triple their population?

To give you a harsh view of our future, I've traveled throughout Mexico. On the outskirts of Mexico City with 22 million people, in excess of four million people live in cardboard shacks. They squat for their morning constitutional with their chickens. They live in abject misery, filth, disease and hopelessness.

Guess what? They're moving to America. Millions of them!

Third world slums began appearing along our borders from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California in the 80s. They're called "Colonias," which is Spanish for new neighborhoods. They feature shacks, no sewers, no streets, no running water, no electricity, toilet facilities or waste pickup.

The New York Times, March 3, 1988, "Along the US Border, a Third World is Reborn," reported, "Colonias are rusted trailers and shacks nailed together from tar paper and packing pallets without indoor toilets...with mounds of uncollected trash that attract rats...the lack of sanitation has polluted the ground water to the point where many residents drink their own waste...the colonias feature Third World levels of hepatitis, dysentery, diarrhea, skin rashes, cholera and tuberculosis...they are contaminated, explosive, fecal, filthy, illegal, miserable, polluted, powder kegs, putrid, shocking, sick, stench filled, suffering and wrenching."

Since their appearance in the early 80s, according to the Times, the 1988 population totaled 185,000; the 1995 population exceeded 500,000; the 2005 population exceeded 1.5 million. At the current rate of growth, these human misery settlements shall reach 20 million by 2021.

I spent two weeks filming colonias in Texas. I haven't been as sickened to my stomach since my travels in Asia. It's worse than any description the New York Times or I could give you. It is human misery at its disturbing worst levels.

These slums represent a health hazard of unprecedented dimensions. Given enough time, large areas of southern California will resemble the outskirts of Mexico City. Two decades of denial has not stopped this travesty from proliferating.

We cannot import millions of desperately poor, illiterate, hard working people from Third World countries and think they will become functioning, positive aspects in a First World country. Holland, France and Great Britain's immigration policies fail on every level. Ours will, too!

What of our working poor? What about degraded educational opportunities for our children?

As we choke on millions of immigrants from other countries, they displace our working poor as immigrants depress wages. What are we creating? A permanent poor class! In reality, a growing and dangerous slave class!

As it stands today, millions of Americans can't pay for heating and electricity bills. They rely on 'donations' by other Americans to cover those bills. At some point, as this new poor class expands into millions upon millions-something will fail. What is that? Our ability to deal with it or solve it.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense or economic intelligence knows that prices in the coming years will grow as oil becomes more expensive. This translates into diesel that drives trains that bring coal to the electrical plants. Thus energy at every level will become more expensive. The caveat enters the picture as these millions of poor cannot and will not be able to command higher wages.

The American Dream degrades into the American Nightmare.

On the world stage, 57 million people died in 2005. According to Time Magazine, eight million starved to death. Of the total number of deaths, 10.5 million children under the age of five years old died from starvation and diseases.

To bring it into sharper focus, current world population at 6.5 billion will hit 9.8 billion at mid century. That's 80 million people added annually. They multiply so fast, no education is possible. However, they're flooding into First World countries.

No one, I repeat, no world leader addresses this "human dilemma." The Catholic Church won't allow or talk about birth control-though it correlates to accelerating poverty. Church leaders of all the major religions deny any problem. It's almost as if, in the 21st century, they prefer remaining in the 1st century. But, via their actions, millions of adults and children starve to death annually.

We better deal with it: today! America must implement a national population policy. We must call for a 10 year moratorium on all immigration. We must work for a sustainable society. To continue on our current path is as stupid as the captain of the Titanic.

"Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from the microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?" Dr. Albert Bartlett
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Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
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