Monday, November 16, 2015

Disposable Children

Wealthy Americans are justifying the neglect of our nation's children by blaming the victims—children of the poor. In a perversely unequal nation, are children of all ages deemed disposable?

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It may be the greatest hypocrisy of America’s conservative leaders, that they demand control over a woman’s body, but then show every sign of neglect after a child comes into the world. It reaches beyond neglect to disdain for the poor. In a perversely unequal nation in which the well-off blame impoverished people for their own struggles, the children of the poor become the innocent victims.
Children of all ages are deemed disposable:
The Littlest Children — Deprived of Their Most Important Year of School
Over half of America’s 4-year-olds are NOT attending pre-school, even though numerous studies have shown that pre-school helps all children to achieve more and earn more through adulthood, with the most disadvantaged benefiting the most. We’re near the bottom of the developed world in the percentage of 4-year-olds in early childhood education.
Homeless Children — For Every US Family That Made $10 Million Since 2008, There is a Homeless Child in America
And it’s getting worse. For every TWO homeless children in 2007 there are now THREE. There are 16 million children living on $5 a dayfor food. Half of America’s public school kids qualify for subsidized lunches. Reassuringly, financier and CEO Peter Schiff said, “People don’t go hungry in a capitalist economy.”
School Kids — Living in “Combat Zones”
That’s a description from Henry Giroux, who refers to schools as “combat zones where it is routine for many students to be subjected to metal detectors, surveillance cameras, uniformed security guards, weapons searches, and in some cases SWAT team raids and police dogs sniffing for drugs.”
Students are “no longer viewed as a social investment in the future.” Instead, with almost two-thirds of middle- and high-schools employing “school resource officers,” the students — disproportionately minority children — are being redirected to the criminal justice system. The criminalizing reaches absurd levels:
—-Students throwing peanuts on a school bus being arrested for felony assault after a peanut hit the bus driver.
—-A police officer repeatedly hitting a student with a police baton, claiming it was “reasonable and necessary,” receiving no punishment.
—-A student suspended for being a “danger to the staff.” He was 3 years old at the time.
Hunger, Homelessness, Arrests — and SUICIDES
Over the past 20 years the suicide rate for black children nearly doubled, while decreasing significantly for white children.
Children Killed or Enslaved in Other Countries
Children’s lives are at risk in other countries, but many Americans are lacking in knowledge or interest. Our drone strikes have killed hundreds of civilians, including children, in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen.
Children are enslaved in India to weave carpets for Europe and America, enslaved in Bangladesh to make our clothing, enslaved in Africa’s Ivory Coast to harvest our chocolate.
Meanwhile, in the world’s financial centers, speculators sit at computer screens, far from the faces of the children, betting on the price of cocoa beans.
Who’s to Blame?
In America, black parents are often blamed for family dysfunction, especially “absent fathers.” But research refutes the myth, as the Pew Research Center found little difference between white and black fathers, and the Center for Disease Control found that black fathers are in many ways more involved with their kids than fathers in other racial groups.
But by heaping the blame on the victims, wealthy and well-positioned Americans can justify the neglect of our nation’s children.

The Re-enserfment of Western Peoples

The re-enserfment of Western peoples is taking place on several levels. One about which I have been writing for more than a decade comes from the offshoring of jobs. Americans, for example, have a shrinking participation in the production of the goods and services that are marketed to them.
On another level we are experiencing the financialization of the Western economy about which Michael Hudson is the leading expert (Killing The Host). Financialization is the process of removing any public presence in the economy and converting the economic surplus into interest payments to the financial sector.
These two developments deprive people of economic prospects. A third development deprives them of political rights. The Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Partnerships eliminate political sovereignty and turn governance over to global corporations.
These so called “trade partnerships” have nothing to do with trade. These agreements negotiated in secrecy grant immunity to corporations from the laws of the countries in which they do business. This is achieved by declaring any interference by existing and prospective laws and regulations on corporate profits as restraints on trade for which corporations can sue and fine “sovereign” governments. For example, the ban in France and other counries on GMO products would be negated by the Trans-Atlantic Partnership. Democracy is simply replaced by corporate rule.
I have been meaning to write about this at length. However, others, such as Chris Hedges, are doing a good job of explaining the power grab that eliminates representative government.
http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/The-Most-Brazen-Corporate-by-Chris-Hedges-American-Hypocrisy_Americans-For-Prosperity_Corporate-Citizenship_Corporate-Crime-151107-882.html
The corporations are buying power cheaply. They bought the entire US House of Representatives for just under $200 million. This is what the corporations paid Congress to go along with “Fast Track,” which permits the corporations’ agent, the US Trade Representative, to negotiate in secret without congressional input or oversight.http://www.opednews.com/articles/Almost-200-Million-Donate-by-Paola-Casale-Banking_Congress_Control_Corporations-150620-523.html
In other words, a US corporate agent deals with corporate agents in the countries that will comprise the “partnership,” and this handful of well-bribed people draw up an agreement that supplants law with the interests of corporations. No one negotiating the partnership represents the peoples’ or public’s interests. The governments of the partnership countries get to vote the deal up or down, and they will be well paid to vote for the agreement.
Once these partnerships are in effect, government itself is privatized. There is no longer any point in legislatures, presidents, prime ministers, judges. Corporate tribunals decide law and court rulings.
It is likely that these “partnerships” will have unintended consequences. For example, Russia and China are not part of the arrangements, and neither are Iran, Brazil, India, and South Africa, although seperately the Indian government appears to have been purchased by American agribusiness and is in the process of destroying its self-sufficient food production system. These countries will be the repositories for national sovereignty and public control while freedom and democracy are extinguished in the West and the West’s Asian vassals.
Violent revolution throughout the West and the complete elimination of the One Percent is another possible outcome. Once, for example, the French people discover that they have lost all control over their diet to Monsanto and American agribusiness, the members of the French government that delivered France into dietary bondage to toxic foods are likely to be killed in the streets.
Events of this sort are possible throughout the West as peoples discover that they have lost all control over every aspect of their lives and that their only choice is revolution or death.

Ex-GAO Head: US Debt Is Three Times More Than You Think

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The former U.S. comptroller general says the real U.S. debt is closer to about $65 trillion than the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion.
 
Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised.“If you end up adding to that $18.5 trillion the unfunded civilian and military pensions and retiree healthcare, the additional underfunding for Social Security, the additional underfunding for Medicare, various commitments and contingencies that the federal government has, the real number is about $65 trillion rather than $18 trillion, and it’s growing automatically absent reforms,” Walker told host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on New York’s AM-970 in an interview airing Sunday.
 
The former comptroller general, who is in charge of ensuring federal spending is fiscally responsible, said a burgeoning national debt hampers the ability of government to carry out both domestic and foreign policy initiatives.
 
“If you don’t keep your economy strong, and that means to be able to generate more jobs and opportunities, you’re not going to be strong internationally with regard to foreign policy, you’re not going to be able to invest what you need to invest in national defense and homeland security, and ultimately you’re not going to be able to provide the kind of social safety net that we need in this country,” he said.
 
He said Americans have “lost touch with reality” when it comes to spending.
 
Walker called for Democrats and Republicans to put aside partisan politics to come together to fix the problem. 
 
“You can be a Democrat, you can be a Republican, you can be unaffiliated, you can be whatever you want, but your duty of loyalty needs to be to country rather than to party, and we need to solve some of the large, known, and growing problems that we have,” he said.

Make No Mistake About It, This Is a War

U.S. ground troops are being sent to Syria without congressional authorization. Why are so few members speaking up?

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Congressman Peter Welch has done his due diligence. He has studied the circumstances on the ground in Syria and surrounding countries. He has traveled to the region as part of a congressional oversight trip. He has visited centers for refugees on the Syrian-Turkey border. The Vermont Democrat, who serves on the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has gone out of his way to engage in debates, discussions, and inquiries regarding US policy in the region.

So the congressman’s words should carry particular weight when he discusses last week’s decision by President Obama to put US troops on the ground in Syria. After the president—who once declared, unequivocally, that “we’re not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach” in Syria—ordered several dozen Special Operations troops into Syria for what The New York Times describesas “the first open-ended mission by United States ground forces in that country,” Welch said: “Make no mistake about it, this is a war.”

It is not, however, a clearly declared or authorized war.

As Welch observes: “The legal framework justifying this war is loosely tied to the fumes of a Congressional authorization approved in response to the 9/11 attack on America over 14 years ago.”


That’s an absurd construct, argues Welch.
“A civil war in Syria did not exist 14 years ago. ISIS did not exist 14 years ago. Neither the United States nor Russia were conducting military operations in Syria 14 years ago,” notes the congressman, who says it is time for Congress to focus on the question of whether the United States should be engaged in a new war in the Middle East.
“The biggest question raised by [deployment] announcement is, ‘When will Congress finally accept its responsibility?’” says Welch, who adds that “The Constitution is clear that only Congress can authorize war.”

Welch is not alone in expressing concern about a military intervention that is expanding in scope and character—in Syria and in Iraq—without adequate approval or oversight from Congress.


“I am deeply concerned by escalating mission creep in Syria, especially since Congress has yet to debate the costs and consequences of this military operation,” says Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-California, a longtime supporter of the president who served as a Representative of the United States to the 68th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. “The Constitution is clear: the power to declare war rests with Congress. We serve as the voice of the American people—our actions in Congress should reflect that sacred responsibility.”
Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, decries the decision to dispatch troops to Syria as “a strategic mistake.”
“The Administration’s announcement that it will deploy Special Operations Forces into Syria to combat ISIL marks a major shift in US policy—a shift that is occurring without congressional debate—is unlikely to succeed in achieving our objective of defeating ISIL and instead threatens to embroil the United States in Syria’s civil war and could bring us into direct confrontation with the Russian Federation military and Syrian government forces,” says Schatz. “In the 16-months since the United States began its participation in the regional fight against ISIL, our military involvement has escalated without a clear sense of how our escalating involvement will achieve our strategic objectives. With ISIL’s control of northern Syria, we cannot reasonably expect that the deployment of Special Operations Forces would be limited in scope or duration.”

This is a big issue, yet it has received scant attention from media and political elites. As such, many Americans are unaware of the seriousness, and the potential consequences, of the Obama administration’s policy shift.


There should be no question that a congressional debate is required—and needed. Americans should be brought into this discussion, and the way to do that is by raising the issue in Congress. The House and Senate should reject the flimsy excuse of a 14-year-old AUMF and vote on whether to authorize the growing intervention that the administration is now implementing across Iraq and Syria.
“Congress must act immediately to repeal the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for military force (AUMFs), which continue to be used as blank checks for endless war,” says Congresswoman Lee. “It is past time for our elected officials to recognize that there is no military solution to the problems in the region. Only a comprehensive, regionally-led strategy that addresses the underlying political, economic, humanitarian and diplomatic challenges can ultimately degrade and dismantle ISIL.”

It is not certain that Congress would say “no” to intervention of the sort that Obama proposes—even if there are contingents on both the Democratic and Republican parties that believe, as Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, does, that “the fighting on the ground needs to be done by the people who live there.”

There are genuine divisions on this issue. “The senator believes that the crisis in Syria will be solved diplomatically, not militarily,” says the campaign of Democratic president campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, while the campaign of Hillary Clinton says the former secretary of state “sees merit in the targeted use of special operations personnel to support our partners in the fight against ISIS, including in Syria.”

This debate can, and should, be had on the campaign trail.


But it must be had in Congress.

Another Phony Payroll Jobs Number

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that the US economy created 271,000 jobs in October, a number substantially in excess of the expected 175,000 to 190,000 jobs. The unexpected job gain has dropped the unemployment rate to 5 percent. These two numbers will be the focus of the financial media presstitutes.
What is wrong with these numbers? Just about everything. First of all, 145,000 of the jobs, or 54%, are jobs arbitrarily added to the number by the birth-death model. The birth-death model provides an estimate of the net amount of unreported jobs lost to business closings and the unreported jobs created by new business openings. The model is based on a normally functioning economy unlike the one of the past seven years and thus overestimates the number of jobs from new business and underestimates the losses from closures. If we eliminate the birth-death model’s contribution, new jobs were 126,000.
Next, consider who got the 271,000 reported jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all of the new jobs plus some—378,000—went to those 55 years of age and older. However, males in the prime working age, 25 to 54 years of age, lost 119,000 jobs. What seems to have happened is that full time jobs were replaced with part time jobs for retirees. Multiple job holders increased by 109,000 in October, an indication that people who lost full time jobs had to take two or more part time jobs in order to make ends meet.
Now assume the 271,000 reported jobs in October is the real number, and not 126,000 or less, where are those jobs? According to the BLS not a single one is in manufacturing. The jobs are in personal services, mainly lowly paid jobs such as retail clerks, ambulatory health care service jobs, temporary help, and waitresses and bartenders.
For example, the BLS reports 44,000 new retail trade jobs, a questionable number in light of sluggish real retail sales. Possibly what is happening is that stores are turning a smaller number of full time jobs into a larger number of part time jobs in order to avoid benefit costs associated with full time workers.
The new reported jobs are essentially Third World type of jobs that do not produce sufficient income to form a household and do not produce exportable goods and services to help to bring down the large US trade deficit resulting from jobs offshoring.
The problem with the 5% unemployment rate is that it does not include any discoraged workers. When discouraged workers—those who have ceased looking for a job because there are no jobs to be found—are included the unemployment rate is about 23%.
Another problem with the 5% number is that it suggests full employment. Yet the labor force participation rate remains at a low point. Normally during a real economic recovery, people enter the labor force and the participation rate rises.
The bullion banks acting as agents of the Federal Reserve used the phony jobs number to launch another attack on gold and silver bullion, dumping uncovered shorts into the futures market. The strong jobs number provides cover for the naked shorts, because it implies an interest rate hike and movement out of bullion into interest bearing assets.
If the US economy were actually in economic recovery, would half of the 25-year-old population be living with parents? The real job situation is so poor that young people are unable to form households.

Is This War World III?

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There are 60 million refugees in the world, the same number as were refugees at the end of WW II. 

On October 31 in an unprecedented joint warning, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross called for "states to stop conflicts, respect international law and aid refugees." Criticizing the global response to the refugee crisis, Ban Ki-moon said, "In the face of blatant inhumanity, the world has responded with disturbing paralysis." 

Despite the "unprecedented" warning, it has not received enough news coverage (a Google search turned up one hit on a news story in the Guardian UK and a post atCommon Dreams) compared to the many hits any celebrity scandal generates.  The chill goes down my spine when I think it's like the world inaction when Hitler was exterminating Jews across Europe. 

Is this WWIII?  

I don't know what the criteria of WW III would be, but when I sat down to make an list of current factors that could be considered, this is what I came up with and it's not looking too good:
  • Multiple confrontations between the U.S. and Russia on more than one front (Ukraine and Syria)

  • Ongoing confrontations between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea

  • A renewed nuclear arms race in which all nuclear nations are modernizing their nuclear arsenals instead of fulfilling treaty obligations to disarm

  • Politically unacknowledged failure of all U.S. war policies in the Middle East and across Asia; universal continued pretense by the U.S. military and political elites that  more war will fix the disasters

  • The global arms trade in which the U.S. accounts for three-quarters of the global arms market

  • Global military expenditure are $1.711 trillion, the global arms trade is $100 billion/annually, AND military spending in the Middle East in 2014 rose by 75% to $173 billion

  • Japan has scotched its peace constitution

  • The refugee crisis shows no sign of abating and every sign of growing and continuing to be ill-managed by the global community complete with terrible percolations of hatred towards the refugees in nations experiencing the influx

  • Economic belligerence by wealthier nations towards less wealthy nations (one example: E.U. towards Greece, there are many other examples of rich nations bleeding poor ones)

  • Nations and mass populations remain stubbornly indifferent to the series of crises with few exceptions

  • Climate change is happening, seas are forecast now to rise up to 3 feet and probably more (even as much as 10 feet in a century or 2) and upcoming Paris talks are widely expected to fail

  • There is continued suppression of dissent by surveillance, persecution of whistle-blowers and journalists with repressive police tactics used at protests around the world
Unfortunately, the U.S. bears the most responsibility for the current crises as the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world" – as true today as when Martin Luther King said it in 1967.  At the same time, U.S. peace organizations are all struggling to raise needed funds to continue our efforts – marginalized though we are.  This is a substantial problem that needs to be resolved.  To solve these crises we need to bring the wars to a close. 

If we are so inured to the suffering endured by our fellow human beings that we do not address the current refugee crisis, we are in great danger.  Human empathy is a road to transformative change – that which we would not want to happen to ourselves is something we must work to prevent happening to our fellow brothers and sisters.  This goes for wars as well as addressing climate change to our greatest collective ability. 

When we fail in our responsibilities to this fundamental aspect of our being human is when hatred ascends and wars spiral out of control.  Is this the current moment and if so what are we going to do about it?

Washington prepares for World War III

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The US military-intelligence complex is engaged in systematic preparations for World War III. As far as the Pentagon is concerned, a military conflict with China and/or Russia is inevitable, and this prospect has become the driving force of its tactical and strategic planning.
Three congressional hearings Tuesday demonstrated this reality. In the morning, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a lengthy hearing on cyberwarfare. In the afternoon, a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee discussed the present size and deployment of the US fleet of aircraft carriers, while another subcommittee of the same panel discussed the modernization of US nuclear weapons.
The World Socialist Web Site will provide a more detailed account of these hearings, which were attended by a WSWS reporter. But certain preliminary observations can be made.
None of the hearings discussed the broader implications of the US preparations for war, or what a major war between nuclear-armed powers would mean for the survival of the human race, and even of life on our planet. On the contrary, the hearings were examples of what might be called the routinization of World War III. A US war with China and/or Russia was taken as given, and the testimony of witnesses and questions from senators and representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, concerned the best methods for prevailing in such a conflict.
The hearings were component parts of an ongoing process. The witnesses referred to their past writings and statements. The senators and representatives referred to previous testimony by other witnesses. In other words, the preparations for world war, using cyber weapons, aircraft carriers, bombers, missiles and the rest of a vast array of weaponry, have been under way for a protracted period of time. They are not a response to recent events, whether in the South China Sea, Ukraine, Syria or anywhere else.
Each of the hearings presumed a major US conflict with another great power (sometimes unnamed, sometimes explicitly designated as China or Russia) within a relatively short time frame, years rather than decades. The danger of terrorism, hyped incessantly for the purposes of stampeding public opinion, was downplayed and to some extent discounted. At one point in the Senate hearing on cyberwarfare, in response to a direct question from Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, the panel witnesses all declared that their greatest concern was nation-states, not terrorists.
One of the witnesses at that hearing was Dr. Peter W. Singer, listed as a “Strategist and Senior Fellow” for New America, a Washington think tank. He titled his presentation, “The Lessons of World War 3.” He began his prepared statement with the following description of that imagined conflict:
“US and Chinese warships battle at sea, firing everything from cannons to cruise missiles to lasers. Stealthy Russian and American fighter jets dogfight in the air, with robotic drones flying as their wingmen. Hackers in Shanghai and Silicon Valley duel in digital playgrounds. And fights in outer space decide who wins below on Earth. Are these scenes from a novel or what could actually take place in the real world the day after tomorrow? The answer is both.”
None of the hearings saw any debate about either the likelihood of a major war or the necessity of winning that war. No one challenged the assumption that “victory” in a world war between nuclear-armed powers is a meaningful concept. The discussion was entirely devoted to what technologies, assets and human resources were required for the US military to prevail.
This was just as true for the Democratic senators and representatives as for their Republican counterparts. By custom, the two parties are seated on opposite sides of the committee or subcommittee chairmen. Without that arrangement, there would be no way of detecting, from their questions and expressions of opinion, which party they belonged to.
Contrary to the media portrayal of Washington as deeply divided between parties with intransigently opposed political outlooks, there was bipartisan agreement on this most fundamental of issues, the preparation of a new imperialist world war.
The unanimity of the political representatives of big business by no means suggests that there are no obstacles in the path of this drive to war. Each of the hearings grappled, in different ways, with the profound crisis confronting American imperialism. This crisis has two major components: the declining economic power of the United States compared to its major rivals, and the internal contradictions of American society, with the deepening alienation of the working class and particularly the youth.
At the House subcommittee hearing on aircraft carriers, the chairman noted that one of the witnesses, a top Navy admiral, had expressed concern over having “an 11-carrier navy in a 15-carrier world.” There were so many challenges confronting Washington, he continued, that what was really needed was a navy of 21 aircraft carriers—double the present size, and one that would bankrupt even a country with far more resources than the United States.
The Senate hearing on cybersecurity touched briefly on the internal challenge to American militarism. The lead witness, retired Gen. Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency and former head of the Pentagon’s CyberCommand, bemoaned the effect of leaks by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Army private Chelsea Manning, declaring that “insider attacks” were one of the most serious threats facing the US military.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia asked him directly, referring to Snowden, “Should we treat him as a traitor?” Alexander responded, “He should be treated as a traitor and tried as such.” Manchin nodded heartily, in evident agreement.
While the witnesses and senators chose to use the names of Snowden and Manning to personify the “enemy within,” they were clearly conscious that the domestic opposition to war is far broader than a few individual whistleblowers.
This is not a matter simply of the deep-seated revulsion among working people in response to 14 years of bloody imperialist interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Yemen and across North Africa, important as that is.
A war between the United States and a major power like China or Russia, even if it were possible to prevent its escalation into an all-out nuclear exchange, would involve a colossal mobilization of the resources of American society, both economic and human. It would mean further dramatic reductions in the living standards of the American people, combined with a huge blood toll that would inevitably fall mainly on the children of the working class.
Ever since the Vietnam War, the US military has operated as an all-volunteer force, avoiding conscription, which provoked widespread opposition and direct defiance in the 1960s and early 1970s. A non-nuclear war with China or Russia would mean the restoration of the draft and bring the human cost of war home to every family in America.
Under those conditions, no matter how great the buildup of police powers and the resort to repressive measures against antiwar sentiments, the stability of American society would be put to the test. The US ruling elite is deeply afraid of the political consequences. And it should be.

The disappearing middle class is threatening American mega brands

The disappearing middle class is challenging many major American brands.
The Hershey Company on Wednesday reported flat sales for the most recent quarter and cut its profit outlook for the year.
Company executives blamed the disappointing results in part on the changing income landscape in the US.
"We think that consumer bifurcation has been an important driver," Hershey CEO John Bilbrey said on an earnings call, referring to the growing gap between upper-income and lower-income consumers.
Upper-income consumers are buying more premium treats, while lower-income individuals are purchasing discounted chocolates, he said. Hershey's has been losing market share, as a result.
"While overall consumer confidence is trending up, lower income consumers continue to be fragile as income and wage growth has been minimal," he said. "Higher income and more confident consumers are driving premium growth, while cost-conscious consumers are driving the value segment."
Hershey's is hoping that its acquisition of the Canadian company Allan Candy will help it compete for lower-income consumers, Bilbrey said. The company is also ramping up its premium offerings.
Campbell Soup CEO Denise Morrison also recently identified "a shrinking middle class in developed markets" as one of four "seismic" shifts that are impacting her company.
"The pace of change is accelerating as consumers endlessly evolve their preferences and unceasing pressure is placed on the industry to operate differently," she wrote in Fortune.
Even Walmart, which is known for its cheap prices, is tailoring its business strategy to the expectation that growth will come from upper-income households in the years ahead.
"The nature of e-commerce, the nature of the Neighborhood Markets and other things we’re doing do create an opportunity for us to be even more relevant to customers that are at the higher end of the scale," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said at an investor meeting this month, according to Fortune.
The share of households in the middle tier of income earners has fallen to 43% from 55% since the 1970s, according to The New York Times.
And those households in the middle tier haven't gotten a raise since 1999.
After adjusting for inflation, US median household income, at $53,657 in 2014, is still 6.5% lower than pre-recession levels in 2007, and 7.2% lower than its peak in 1999, according to the US Census Bureau.

21 Facts About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America

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What you are about to see is more evidence that the growth of poverty in the United States is wildly out of control.  It turns out that there is a tremendous amount of suffering in “the wealthiest nation on the planet”, and it is getting worse with each passing year.  During this election season, politicians of all stripes are running around telling all of us how great we are, but is that really true?  As you will see below, poverty is reaching unprecedented levels in this country, and the middle class is steadily dying.  There aren’t enough good jobs to go around, dependence on the government has never been greater, and it is our children that are being hit the hardest.  If we have this many people living on the edge of despair now, while times are “good”, what are things going to look like when our economy really starts falling apart?  The following are 21 facts about the explosive growth of poverty in America that will blow your mind…
#1 The U.S. Census Bureau says that nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now.
#2 Other numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau are also very disturbing.  For example, in 2007 about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps.  Today, that number is one out of every five.
#3 According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a new book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day.  That number has doubled since 1996.
#4 46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.
#5 The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percentover the past six years.
#6 According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year.
#7 Police in New York City have identified 80 separate homeless encampments in the city, and the homeless crisis there has gotten so bad that it is being described as an “epidemic”.
#8 If you can believe it, more than half of all students in our public schools are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.
#9 According to a Census Bureau report that was released a while back, 65 percent of all children in the U.S. are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.
#10 According to a report that was published by UNICEF, almost one-third of all children in this country “live in households with an income below 60 percent of the national median income”.
#11 When it comes to child poverty, the United States ranks 36th out of the 41 “wealthy nations” that UNICEF looked at.
#12 The number of Americans that are living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.
#13 An astounding 45 percent of all African-American children in the United States live in areas of “concentrated poverty”.
#14 40.9 percent of all children in the United States that are being raised by a single parent are living in poverty.
#15 An astounding 48.8 percent of all 25-year-old Americans still live at home with their parents.
#16 There are simply not enough good jobs to go around anymore.  It may be hard to believe, but 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
#17 There are 7.9 million working age Americans that are “officially unemployed” right now and another 94.7 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”.  When you add those two numbers together, you get a grand total of 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.
#18 Owning a home has traditionally been a signal that you belong to the middle class.  That is why it is so alarming that the rate of homeownership in the United States has been falling for eight years in a row.
#19 According to a recent Pew survey, approximately 70 percent of all Americans believe that “debt is a necessity in their lives”.
#20 At this point, 25 percent of all Americans have a negative net worth.  That means that the value of what they owe is greater than the value of everything that they own.
#21 The top 0.1 percent of all American families have about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of all American families combined.
If we truly are “the greatest nation on the planet”, then why can’t we even take care of our own people?
Why are there tens of millions of us living in poverty?
It would be one thing if economic conditions were getting better and poverty was in decline.  At least then we could be talking about the improvement we were making.  But despite the fact that we are stealing more than a hundred million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day, poverty just continues to grow like an aggressive form of cancer.