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More About: Politics: General Activism

Poverty in America: to become worse

          While attending a conference in Denver, Colorado, I noticed dozens of beggars on the streets.  They stood at intersections carrying cardboard signs that read, “Homeless, anything will help, God bless.”
          As I walked out of the Colorado Convention Center, one man, wrapped in rags, curled himself around a steam vent on the sidewalk.   A cardboard box served as a pillow.  Cement served as his mattress.   Along Colfax Avenue, hundreds of homeless begged for food or money.  They slept in huddled misery under the loading docks and in doorways.
The poor will always be with us; just more of them!
The National Coalition for the Homeless, www.nationalhomeless.org reported 3.5 million homeless people struggled for survival in the streets of America in 2006.  Of that number, 1.35 million consist of homeless children.  Reports show 13 million American children suffer daily from malnutrition and hunger in America.  A shocking 37 million Americans live below the poverty line, which is 12.7 percent of our population.
          Educational experts estimate over 42 million people in America suffer functional illiteracy.  They cannot read, write or perform simple math.  They offer no skills other than the labor of their hands.
          Over half of all black and Hispanic babies originate from unmarried mothers that lack high school diplomas.   Fifty to 70 percent of blacks and Hispanics do not graduate from high school.  Thirty percent of whites do not graduate from high school. 
          In the last century, Mexico grew from 50 to 104 million people.  Current demographic figures show Mexico growing to 153 million by mid century.  Since 85 percent of all immigration into the United States originates from Mexico, we face a striking dilemma. 
          Can we incorporate a massive and growing illiterate population?  How will we contend with the next added 100 million Americans featuring scant educational skills?  How will we deal with millions of babies from their ranks?  If we cannot educate half of current American minorities, how will we educate this massive overload of humanity?
          If Mexico cannot maintain a successful society with 114 million people today, how do you suppose they will sustain their country with 50 million more?
          To give you a harsh view of our future, I offer an eye-witness account from my bicycle seat traveling through Mexico.  On the outskirts of Mexico City with 22 million people, in excess of two million people live in cardboard shacks.  They squat for their morning constitutional with their chickens.  They live in abject misery, filth, disease and hopelessness.
Guess what?  They’re moving to America.  Millions of them!
            Third world slums began appearing along our borders from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California in the 80s.  Called “Colonias,” which in Spanish means “new neighborhoods,” they feature shacks, no sewers, no streets, no running water, no electricity, toilet facilities or waste pickup. 
          The New York Times, March 3, 1988, “Along the US Border, a Third World is Reborn,” reported, “Colonias are rusted trailers and shacks nailed together from tar paper and packing pallets without indoor toilets…with mounds of uncollected trash that attract rats…the lack of sanitation has polluted the ground water to the point where many residents drink their own waste…the colonias feature third world levels of hepatitis, dysentery, diarrhea, skin rashes, cholera and tuberculosis…they are contaminated, explosive, fecal, filthy, illegal, miserable, polluted, powder kegs, putrid, shocking, sick, stench filled, suffering and wrenching.”
          Since their appearance in the early 80s, according to the Times, the 1988 population totaled 185,000; the 1995 population exceeded 500,000; the 2005 population exceeded 1.5 million.  At the current rate of growth, the New York Times predicted those human misery settlements would reach 20 million by 2021.
          While filming colonias in Texas, I haven’t been as sickened to my stomach since my travels in Asia or countries like Haiti.  It’s worse than any description the New York Times or I could give you.  Colonias represent human misery at its disturbing worst levels.
          These slums represent a health hazard of unprecedented dimensions.  Given enough time, large areas of southern California will resemble the outskirts of Mexico City.  Two decades of denial continues the expansion of American colonias. 
          We cannot import millions of desperately poor, illiterate and hard working people from third world countries and think they will become functioning, positive aspects in a first world country.   France, Holland and England’s failed immigration policies offer proof.  Ours fails, too!
          What about our working poor?  How about degraded educational opportunities for our children?  According to columnist Dottie Lamm, 68 percent of a African-American children are raised by single mothers.  The illiterate and poor beget more illiterate and poor—all on taxpayer dollars. What civilization can maintain that disparity?
          As we choke on millions of people from other countries, they displace our working poor as immigrants depress wages.  Our educational systems sink in academic excellence, creating millions of added poor.  
          As it stands today, millions of Americans can’t pay for heating and electricity bills.  They rely on donations by other Americans to cover those bills.  At some point, as this new poor class expands into millions upon millions—something else will fail.  What is that?  Our ability to deal with it or solve it!
          Anyone with an ounce of common sense or economic intelligence knows that prices in the coming years will rise as oil becomes more expensive.  This translates into diesel that drives trains that bring coal to the electrical plants. Thus energy at every level will become more expensive.  The caveat enters the picture as these millions of poor cannot and will not be able to command higher wages.
The American Dream degrades into the American Nightmare
On the world stage, 57 million people died in 2010.  According to Time Magazine, eight million adults starved to death.  Of the total number of deaths, 10.5 million children under the age of 12 years old died from starvation and related diseases.  Somalia’s predicament will be much worse in 2011.
          To bring it into sharper focus, current world population at 6.9 billion will hit between 9.2 and 10.2 billion at mid century.   That’s 78 million people added annually; 1.0 billion added every 13 years.  They multiply so fast, they cannot be educated.  However, they flood into first world countries.
          No one, I repeat, no world leader addresses this “human dilemma.”  The Catholic Church won’t allow or talk about life-enabling birth control—though avoiding birth control accelerating poverty.  Church leaders of all the major religions deny any problem.  It’s almost as if, in the 21st century, they prefer remaining in the 1st century.  But, via their actions, millions of adults and children starve to death annually.
“Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from the microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?”
                                                                          Dr. Albert Bartlett
          We better deal with it: today!  To continue on our current path proves as inept as the captain of the Titanic.  If you look at Somalia and the probability of 800,000 starving to death, it will look like a grade-school picnic in 2011 compared to the end of the century when Africa grows from its current 1.0 billion to the projected 3.1 billion. 
          We just sent Somalia $100 million in food aid.   If we feed them, they will multiply their numbers into greater catastrophes in the future.  How can we think any of this will be a fairy-tale ending?

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Justin Thyme
Entered on:

 You'e really watching the death of a nation, the demise of a world power crumbling under its own weight. I've said this for the past 20 or so years: America will be the first Fourth World Nation; either one or the other: crushing poverty or uber wealth, no in between or way out except suicide or starvation. Happy thought.  Soylent Green may not be such a far-fetched idea after all, and it would be very practical. 

I think we need to get rid of the Statue of Liberty; don't worry about putting a new coat of paint on the old girl, or shore her up for the tourists to the tune of over 100 million bucks when we're in the throes of a depression, just push her over into the harbor and let her become a natural reef for some endangered fish - or sell her to an iron monger. Aren't we getting really tired of supporting "the wretched refuse from your teeming shores." We're becoming a nation of wretched refuse.  Where can we go to escape?  Maybe Mexico; I mean, all their human trash will be here. Those golden doors have turned to plastic made in China and sold for a dollar three eighty at Walmart.