Labour Day 2006: A Reflection on the Lack of Economic Equality in America

The poverty rate is 12.6% in the United States. The so-called richest nation in the world has one of the worse records, among liberal democracies, in economic redistribution of income. Thirty-seven million Americans live in destitution below the poverty line. The so-called poverty line for a family of four is $19,971. So those making $19,972 are not poor presumably. A poor family of two has an income below $12,755. So if the happy couple is making $13,000 combined they are not included in the poverty figures. Clearly the poverty level must be closer to 15% if one were to use reasonable figures of assessing impoverishment in the other America.

The American people are one of the sickest, least healthy national-population groups in the "Western world." This immoral country and let's be honest, it is, has 46,600,000 citizens without health insurance. That means no prescription medicines, no doctors, no preventive medicine, no annual physicals, no required surgeries, no psychological counseling but only a haphazard trip to an emergency room that may take six hours to see a E.R. physician.

We are told that abortion is murder; stem-cell research is murder; any abortafacient is murder; yet many, not all of these advocates, say nothing about the millions of children who are without medical insurance. Where are the Democrats, the party of war and Machiavellian realism, advocating a single-payer health system? They are still stung by the Clinton presidency's failure to achieve greater universal health care and remain silent.

Oh, but we are told we must fight international terrorism. Oh, we are told the enemies of Israel, a state-sponsor of international terrorism and murderer of our brave sailors on the U.S.S. Liberty, are terrorists. Oh we are told Americans must be spied upon, financial transactions monitored and library computer habits or even books checked out may be subject to possible monitorng. Innocent Americans such as José Padilla are arrested as "enemy combatants," but not one word from the evil men and women, who in the name of American freedom and democracy destroy other countries, about the growing poverty and misery in the United States. They don't care because they are killers.

 

Friedrich Engels: Advocate for the workingperson, exponent of class struggle and liberation of labour from capital. German author, confrere and collaborator with Karl Marx, and major figure in socialist thought and praxis. This is a stamp that commemorates the 40th year of his death. It was issued by the Soviet Union that so courageously contained American power from 1945 until its demise on December 25, 1991 when Mikhail Gorbachev resigned the presidency.

Yes poverty levelled off after four years of steady growth. Yes the unemployment rate is historically rather low at 4.7%, and the economy has been growing in a macroeconomic sense: more jobs, rising stockmarket, growing profits, dramatic increases in compensation for C.E.O.s and senior management. However, the wealth has not "trickled down," but capital has flowed upwards, off the backs and the brow of the proletariat, as we move toward a nation of rich and working/unemployed poor. The rich get richer with their tax cuts and war profits and the people get killed, wounded in war or die slow deaths of malnutrition or hunger in America. The other America cannot be ignored on this Labour Day or any other day and this is a reminder that I will stand by and support any figure, foreign or domestic, historic or contemporary that seeks to radically alter the injustice that grips our ethnocentric and xenophobic country.

This is the hypocrisy of the leader of the "civilised" world. Unlimited wealth and an endless financial commitment for imperial hegemony and war and nothing for those in need. The lack of government intervention to succor the needs of the Hurricane Katrina evacuees was a symptom of a nation drunk with power, flags, empire and utterly remorseless in its policies of greed and capital accumulation. Labour Day for me is a recognition of the rights of labour which are so marginalised in this country.

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