Two Americas – Now More Than Ever

There were two great speeches at the 2004 Democratic Convention — and, in a way, they complemented each other. The first, by a young state senator from Illinois, rejected the notion that America is hopelessly divided politically into blue states and red states: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America,” declared Barack Obama, “there is the United States of America.”

The second, by the party’s vice-presidential nominee, lamented the fact that America is, however, badly divided in a different way: “The truth is,” John Edwards told delegates, “we still live in a country where there are two different Americas: one, for all of those people who have lived the American dream and don’t have to worry; and another for most Americans, everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day.”

We could argue whether Barack Obama’s dream of a politically united country still rings true. But there’s no doubt that John Edwards’ warning about “two Americas” was right on the money. And, as this week’s report from the Census Bureau confirms, it’s only gotten worse.

You could be forgiven for thinking things were getting better. After all, the stock market this week soared to record highs. Unemployment’s at its lowest rate since December 2008. In August, permits for future housing construction hit a five-year high. The economy’s definitely improving. Americans across the board are getting a lift. Right? No. Wrong!

The Census Bureau reports that, despite an improving economy, 15 percent of Americans are still living in poverty. In fact, the number of Americans living in poverty increased last year, from 46.2 million in 2011 to 46.5 million in 2012 — including 3.9 million seniors and 16.1 million children. Think about that: In 2013, in the richest country on the planet, 16 million children live in poverty and go to bed hungry every night. Shame!

Putting that in context, the poverty rate is defined today as $23,492 per year — for a family of four. Try living on that. We’re talking less than $2,000 a month for everything: shelter, food, clothing, medicine and transportation. For four people? That’s worse than poverty. That’s utter destitution.

As bad as they are for the poor, things are not much better for the middle class. The Census Bureau also reports that the average American family today is actually making less than that same family did 25 years ago. In 1989, adjusted for inflation, the median American household income was $51,681; today, it’s $51,107.

So there you have it: 46.5 million Americans living in poverty, and what’s the response of Republicans in Congress? They want to make lives of the poor even more miserable. House Republicans propose cutting $40 billion out of food stamps, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) — which, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, would eliminate 2 million people from the program, most of them children and older people, while adding 4 million people to the poverty rolls. Their answer to helping the poor, in other words, is to create even more of them.

Republican opposition to food stamps is so mean-spirited, it’s difficult to comprehend. In many ways, the program works the way government benefits should. When the economy goes south, the number of people on food stamps increases; when the economy improves, the number goes down. And we’re not talking a lot of money. On average, a person on food stamps received $133.41 per month in 2012. Assuming three meals a day, that’s less than $1.50 per meal, per person, not exactly living high on the hog.

It’s also hard to understand how Republicans can oppose food stamps and yet still call themselves Christians. Take Tennessee Congressman Stephen Fincher. In debate on the floor, he quoted Matthew 26 to justify his opposition to food stamps: “The poor you will always have with you.” Maybe Fincher should also read Matthew 25: “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.” Or maybe he thinks Jesus was just kidding.

At the same time, by the way, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Fincher and his family have received $8.9 million in government subsidies for cotton over the last decade. The average monthly food stamp benefit is $287. Quick: Which one is the biggest freeloader?

129 Responses to Two Americas – Now More Than Ever

  1. emile says:

    Republicans lost the presidential election, they lost in the House of Representatives by at least 1 Million votes, only attained it by gerrymandering, which I Think they should be arrested for,. and they lost in the senate . ideologies are like touch-holes everybody has one.

    Rasmussen , Gallup , and don’t forget Cato. , they’ve been wrong about a lot in the past.

    I’m here because I can’t type fast enough to keep up with the weblog chat.
    You are aware that you are still insignificant here, right?
    Everybody has your numbers, page after page of jaded nonsense favoring the GOP. You cannot possibly be. Part of the 1% so you’re just clowns in the 1% republican parade. Who you know will throw you in the wood chipper first chance they get. Your overly inflated significance doesn’t fly here does it?
    I’m personally glad to have have you expressing the how’s and whereas the world should be run. But it’s truly a fools errand for you. You should throw in the towel , go out and start enjoying your life. Try living in what you have today not in the struggle you think will will carry you to a better place.

  2. emile says:

    And make you you take hammy with you.

  3. Hammer says:

    Go spend the rest of the day trying to peel that banana chimpy

  4. emile says:

    Damn grammar nazi, * make sure you take hammy with you.

  5. Jeffg says:

    Like I said, if quit you’ll be here all alone. But that probably wouldn’t stop you from arguing with yourself.

    The geryymandering claim has been debunked, by no less than that crazy right wing organization called NPR, probably owned by the kock brothers I know.

    Still no proof about your 80% claims? Just lies.

  6. emile says:

    If it has been debunked then why are the 205 house seats that cannot be taken in elections? Isn’t that what elections are for?

  7. emile says:

    The original ACA bill was 2000 pages. Minus 80% would be 1600 pages. Of valuable healthcare proposals. But as the above posts notes, even Maggie thatcher new new there was no tea party, only billionaires.
    My grandfather said it best, there are only two kinds of republicans…….milllionaires….. And fools.

  8. jeffg says:

    “The original ACA bill was 2000 pages. Minus 80% would be 1600 pages.”
    That had to be the most illogical explanation I’ve heard from you yet. And you further prove Hammers point that you can’t do math. 2000 minus 80% of 2000 would be 400, not 1600. Are you claiming that ACA is 1600 pages or 400 pages? Provide evidence. Here’s the text of the PASSED bill available on opencongress.org, it’s 1,982 pages long. Not 1600. Not 400. Using your ‘logic’ it would appear that the republicans removed 0.9% of the bill?
    Now if you go to GPO.gov you can find the exact same bill but it’s only 906 pages long. conspiracy? Nope, One is double spaced, the other is not, but they both have EXACTLY the same number of words(the same words that is).

  9. jeffg says:

    “If it has been debunked then why are the 205 house seats that cannot be taken in elections? Isn’t that what elections are for?”
    washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/17/redistricting-didnt-win-republicans-the-house/

    “My grandfather said it best, there are only two kinds of republicans…….milllionaires….. And fools.” So what you’re saying is you come from a long line of malcontents.

  10. jeffg says:

    Here’s your ‘claim’ from Sept 17,

    “emile says:
    September 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm
    After an exhaustive search I found out why the unions are against the ACA.

    It’s republicans again

    emile says:
    September 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    Going back a while to when we were trying to pass the ACA, when it came before the senate budget committee 80% was cut out of it by the republicans, oh yeah, and 4 dems. So the option for Obama was to sign it and at least get part of it, or not sign it and get nothing. The problem the unions are having is the parts that were cut out by the republicans. Too much to explain here but you can find it from Lee Cohen president of the CWA-AFL-CIO .basically, there were unintended circumstances that would hurt some people who have or have not company policies.”

    Got proof? After all you did ‘an exhaustive search’. Lets see it.

  11. emile says:

    I came from a long line of not millionaires and not fools. Little did they know that everything they were working toward would be stolen out from under them by a ruthless bunch of pirates paid by billionaires to burn raze and pillage all in the name of greed. Steal everything that has any value at all.even pension funds.
    Lies, lies, and more lies. All paid for by the Koch brothers and any other lazy rich worthless aholes who haven’t got a clue why they’ve got all the money.pirates and thieves. These younger people appear to be much smarter than they look, they aren’t buying any of it. That 401k program wound up just where I figured.
    Oh, when you retire you’ll have about a million dollars in your account.They never said that it also would stay in your account, forever and ever.like another republican mystery. Pension funds? What pension funds.

    The info you want is at Lee Cohen at the CWA-AFL-CIO all explained.

  12. jeffg says:

    “I came from a long line of not millionaires and not fools.” Considering your above mentioned math and deduction skills I think there was at least one fool in that long line. And what exactly was stolen from you?
    So I went to the CWA site. Nothing specific about republicans removing 80% from ACA, but I did find this:
    cwa-union.org/news/entry/overview_of_the_patient_protection_and_affordable_care_act_of_2010
    Some highlights:
    Excise Tax on High-Value Plans (slide 8)
    -Negotiations between Labor and White House cut tax by 80%
    So they removed 80% of the taxes they should have paid. I thought you guys loved paying taxes? What’s wrong, didn’t want to pay your ‘fair share’?

    -The Principals that guided our Work and the Progress we made (slide 13)
    -Fair Financing-Relies on the Wealthy, employers and health industry to pay their share (probably becuase labor didn’t want to pay their share i.e. taxes)

    -Summary (slide 23)
    -Really good for family, friends and laid off memberswithout insurance….
    -Overall impact will be positive.

    Nothing about republicans and some mysterious 80% removal.

    Oh yeah, my 401K is doing great, until obama tries to take it that is.

    This whole pirate thing, do live on the African coast or something? We don’t actually have pirates here in the USA.

  13. jeffg says:

    By the way, the president of the CWA is Larry Cohen, not Lee. Once it’s a mistake, twice it’s just foolish.

  14. emile says:

    Obama doesn’t want your 401k. The private sector is already stealing it out from under you because pensions and 401ks are the last bastions of free unprotected money. The truth is again Obama try to protect a bunch of misfires that just love being raped and pillaged by the rich people. Obama is trying to get money back into economy to get things moving, giving money to rich people benefits no one. They put in a bank offshore, dead money. How do we fix this?

    I say start printing US treasury Purple money. You know money we should be printing according to the constitution. greenbacks = .10 cents on the dollar.
    The rich have never given anything to anybody without a fight, well, purple is in, and greenbacks are out. This is an emergency situation. You either go purple or go broke. Please tell me what the polls say about this.

  15. Jeffg says:

    The polls say you’re looney tunes.

    What’s wrong? Can’t produce any evidence of the 400 page affordable care act? You said it existed so let’s see it? Where is your poll showing that 80% support Obamacre? Where’s this 80% you say the republicans removed? Do you nothing but lies?

    By the way a pension is benefit you’re employer can offer you, it’s not a right. If you didn’t save up for yourself and depended on that alone then your grandad surely did raise a fool. My 401k is privately owned by ME. The only it can be taken away from me is if the government comes after it.

    news.investors.com/101211-587818-are-democrats-eyeing-401ks-iras-for-tax-hit-.htm
    According to the White House budget office, tax exemptions for 401(k)s and IRAs will “cost” the government more than $436 billion over the next five years.

    See, the White House thinks encouraging people to save cost the government. Cost, really, not taking hard earned money from the middle class is considered a ‘cost’ by Obama? I guess it’s really his money we’re just lucky he lets us keep some of it.

  16. emile says:

    If a pension fund is negotiated as part of your employment CONTRACT then yes it is your right along with the fact that employers often also take individual contributions from your paycheck. So, yes it is your right to it.

    So where did the 1600 pages of ACA go? Another republican mystery? It’s what happens when YOUR lawmakers are making YOUR laws behind closed doors.

  17. Jeffg says:

    The 1600 pages didn’t go anywhere. They’re right where the Dems put them during the closed door sessions they held to pass ACA. YOU claimed they were missing. Well really you claimed that only 400 (20%) were removed but you meant to claim 1600. You’re welcome for the math tutoring by the way.
    So my position is that they’re still there. I don’t expect you to take me my word so I provided two links to the actual bill and explained the difference in the page count between the two. How this works is that it is now incumbent on you to provide proof of your claim, from there we can have a discussion. As it stands now you’ve made a random, and I would assert dishonest, claim that is contrary to all available evidence and provide no proof of your claim. Nobody but you talks about this missing 80%. You claimed to have done an exhaustive search to find this. Share your data. Prove me wrong. Your word is meaningless as you’re a proven liar. Let’s actually see some facts from you, not just opinion.

  18. emile says:

    .**And what exactly was stolen from you?**
    Did you seriously just say that? It’s when you say chit like this that totally writes you off as an out of touch halfwit.
    Are you aware of anything going on in the news. Lately? Did you figure out if this was a corporate coup, yet?
    Why can’t the 205 House seats be taken, captain debunk??

    **there are only two kinds of republicans…….milllionaires….. And fools.** so, all of a sudden you’re going to start reading between the lines? That statement actually says nothing about me. Did you just try to make it sound like it was about me? It isn’t about me. It’s about what Maggie thatcher said about there not even being a tea party. She said it was only billionaires and fools fighting to keep taxes on the rich lower and lower. That of course, would be you. That statement was actually about you.

  19. emile says:

    You should ask your republican lawmakers where the rest of the bill went. I don’t know. This is what happens when Your lawmakers are writing your laws behind closed doors. The original bill was for national healthcare, but it got cut and cut and cut, by republicans. Even though what remained is good it should be a lot better considering how much you as a taxpayer spends on healthcare now, before it kicks in. Have we forgotten the reason we had planned to go national? It was because of the skyrocting prices of healthcare.
    Any thots on your hero RAFAEL CRUZ?? Oh yeah, it’s RAFAEL . Prolly born in some foreign country. with a name like RAFAEL he can’t be from around here.
    What is he Portuguese , gautamalan, Columbian?

    Seems like I hit a nerve every time now. When all you want talk about is my spelling or my ancestors. Can you at least try to explain your struggle as a republican? What is on the agenda for the tea party?? Is it just to take over the govt? Is it to fill all the seats in the house and senate with republicans. To what end?? What makes you think you’ll be better off working harder and harder for less and less money. You know right to work for less.?

  20. jeffg says:

    “The original ACA bill was 2000 pages. Minus 80% would be 1600 pages. Of valuable healthcare proposals. But as the above posts notes, even Maggie thatcher new new there was no tea party, only billionaires.
    My grandfather said it best, there are only two kinds of republicans…….milllionaires….. And fools.”

    Actually, none of the ‘above posts’ refered to Thatcher. That would be the first problem. The second would be that your grandfathers comment had nothing to do with what she said.
    “That statement actually says nothing about me. Did you just try to make it sound like it was about me? It isn’t about me.” No it isn’t, I was implying that if your grandfather actually said that and believed that then he, like you, was a malcontent with nothing better to do than whine about others success. Obviously it went right over your head.

    “You should ask your republican lawmakers where the rest of the bill went. I don’t know. This is what happens when Your lawmakers are writing your laws behind closed doors. The original bill was for national healthcare, but it got cut and cut and cut, by republicans. ”
    There are no missing pages or part of the bill. This is your claim so you should support your claim. That fact that you can’t infers that you have no clue what you’re talking about. Or just a liar.
    “WE” never had a plan to go national. The far left and Obama initially wanted a single payer system but there wasn’t, and still isn’t, support to do that among republicans AND democrats. Remember, you had a super majority, you didn’t need a single republican vote. Obama backed off single payer becuase he didn’t have enough votes in his own party. Keep in mind that today, 61% of the country doesn’t support obamacare.

    “Any thots on your hero RAFAEL CRUZ?? Oh yeah, it’s RAFAEL . Prolly born in some foreign country. with a name like RAFAEL he can’t be from around here.”
    Again I’ll ask, what rock have you been living under? Actually he was born in Canada. His mother is a US citizen and his father Cuban. He has/had a dual citizentship. It’s been in the news all summer. Good to know you’re only about 4 months behind the times. Unlike you though I’m not a racist so I don’t care where he’s from, just what he believes in. Did you really think that was news? Nice try.

    I’m an independent, I don’t think the republicans have a strategy and have royal screwed this up. Obama’s saving grace the last 5 years is that the republicans have been more amature than he is. Scary thing is people like you mistake that for competence on his part, it’s just luck.

  21. emile says:

    Flew right past you again. Nothing gets in the bubble.
    Maggie thatcher was Ronnie’s gal pal, my grandfather had nothing to do with it.

    Lolol! More mature than Obama ??
    Nein, Nein , Nein , !
    The first thing they should do is acknowledge the fact that they lost, nobody but a few care what they have to say.

    NPR Corporation ?.
    The NPR Corporation that is now funded by OMG yes, the Koch brothers??
    You can put them on the list with WSJ.

  22. emile says:

    Any word on the 205 seats that can’t be taken? Is it called gerrymandering? Have the republicans rigged our system for voting by gerrymandering districts?
    Is this legat, fair, patriotic, or just more lies and deceptions from a minority party that cannot win an election fairly or squarely?

    Before you cut and paste it again. 2000 – 1600 = 400. = 20% of the bill passed
    I don’t care where it’s at, it’s old news that’s only important to you for filling in your posts with hyperventilated nonsense.

    Did we find a reason 401k s are going to cost the govt $436Billion. You see what I mean , you bite that freakin hook every time, don’t you?
    The original reason to open a 401k was to be able to save tax free money. That was the purpose of having a 401k. Let me take a wild guess who has decided that life just isn’t fair if the govt can’t tax the chit out of all the zillions of dollars being held (pilfered) in 401ks. Let’s see, who could it be, hmm.

    Don’t come back here trying to tell me Obama.

  23. emile says:

    More good news, things are not going well for Jamie Dimon . I personally would like to see him frog marched into custody along with about 4000 of his pals.

  24. emile says:

    http://amature.urbanup.com/1102511

    Good to see you’re finally coming to your senses.

  25. emile says:

    And, ur welcome for the English lesson.
    They do appear to be an amature bunch of ass-aches

  26. emile says:

    ** As bad as they are for the poor, things are not much better for the middle class. The Census Bureau also reports that the average American family today is actually making less than that same family did 25 years ago. In 1989, adjusted for inflation, the median American household income was $51,681; today, it’s $51,107.**
    So, where did the money go? We need a genius here to figure this out.
    After 25 years of prosperity, snap, you didn’t break even.

    I guess what it means is without the strength and guidance unions provide we are basically terrible negotiators. The fed hasn’t helped by printing money endlessly.. Which has been devaluing the dollar.

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