Skip to main content

Things aren't all that rosy in the US of A

America has always been seen as a land of contrasts. Big, geographically and numerically, strong militarily, it has been viewed as a country with innovative people and as an economic powerhouse. A lot of very rich people......and poor too. A rather bleak snapshot of the real America emerges in a piece "The Worst of Times, the Best of Time" by Andrew Cockburn on CounterPunch - suggesting all is not well in the land of the free and the brave:

"It’s the worst of times. America is plunging back into Depression. Only one out of every two Americans of working age has a job. Forty years ago that would have been okay. Dad went to the factory. Mom stayed at home to mind the kids. These days, just to keep the show on the road, mom and pop both work and the kids get daycare.

Start looking for work now and on average it will take till next April for you to find something. Across the last two months, more than a million Americans simply gave up seeking employment, even as benefits are running out. Ironically, if you quit looking for work you count as officially "discouraged", and don't figure in the official unemployment stats, which is the only reason that number hasn't shot up to record highs.

Somewhere near 10 million Americans without work aren't getting any kind of check. One in every five children is living below the poverty line, sometimes by as much as 50 per cent – classed as "extreme poverty". Across America, in state after state the till is empty. Barack Obama's home state of Illinois is effectively bankrupt. So is California. Forty-six of the 50 states are buried under huge deficits.

The stimulus has failed. The housing market is in free fall. A couple of months ago market analysts predicted there would be five million more foreclosures between now and 2011 and it looks like they're on target. Forty per cent of delinquent homeowners have already loaded up the SUV, thrown the plastic chairs in the swimming pool and tossed the house keys back at the bank. Only 30 per cent of foreclosures have been re-listed for sale. The banks have been keeping them back to avoid flooding the market."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…