80% of US adults facing near poverty or no work

I read this AP story and could hardly believe it. Obama is still out there talking about "income inequality" when 80% of his constituents are living on the economic edge.

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."

"I think it's going to get worse," said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn't generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

"If you do try to go apply for a job, they're not hiring people, and they're not paying that much to even go to work," she said. Children, she said, have "nothing better to do than to get on drugs."

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines "economic insecurity" as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

Record number of Americans on disability. Record number on food stamps. Record number wanting full time work but only finding part time employment.

Far more than these sad facts is the psychic cost of economic insecurity. If you aren't sure you're going to have a job next month, you are likely to put off all but the most necessary purchases. If prospects for the future appear bleak, you are more apt to try to qualify in some way for disability or some other government program that will at least give you and your family a minimal source of income.

I'm not sure income inequality is such a huge deal - except as it is used by Obama as a political club to bash the rich. The real problem is that so many of the fabulously wealthy produce nothing - they churn paper on Wall Street that marginally affects business investment, but is counterproductive because the only goal is building wealth.True, there are many entrepreneurs who build successful businesses and penalizing them for their success is stupid policy. But as the government builds regulatory and legislative barriers that prevent upward mobility, Obama's message of income inequality resonates even with those not predisposed to engage in class warfare. This also contributes to economic insecurity.

I see no policy proposals from either side that addresses most of these issues. Simply deregulating isn't the answer - no more than the redistributionist crap proposed by Democrats. What we can be sure of it won't get any better anytime soon.


I read this AP story and could hardly believe it. Obama is still out there talking about "income inequality" when 80% of his constituents are living on the economic edge.

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."

"I think it's going to get worse," said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend, but it doesn't generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

"If you do try to go apply for a job, they're not hiring people, and they're not paying that much to even go to work," she said. Children, she said, have "nothing better to do than to get on drugs."

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in government data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines "economic insecurity" as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

Record number of Americans on disability. Record number on food stamps. Record number wanting full time work but only finding part time employment.

Far more than these sad facts is the psychic cost of economic insecurity. If you aren't sure you're going to have a job next month, you are likely to put off all but the most necessary purchases. If prospects for the future appear bleak, you are more apt to try to qualify in some way for disability or some other government program that will at least give you and your family a minimal source of income.

I'm not sure income inequality is such a huge deal - except as it is used by Obama as a political club to bash the rich. The real problem is that so many of the fabulously wealthy produce nothing - they churn paper on Wall Street that marginally affects business investment, but is counterproductive because the only goal is building wealth.True, there are many entrepreneurs who build successful businesses and penalizing them for their success is stupid policy. But as the government builds regulatory and legislative barriers that prevent upward mobility, Obama's message of income inequality resonates even with those not predisposed to engage in class warfare. This also contributes to economic insecurity.

I see no policy proposals from either side that addresses most of these issues. Simply deregulating isn't the answer - no more than the redistributionist crap proposed by Democrats. What we can be sure of it won't get any better anytime soon.


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