Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Why Unchecked Poverty Cripples A Nation

Aside from all the other quibbles I may have with the present administration, I don't want to lose sight of why I opposed President Bush's election from the very begining, pre-9/11, pre-2000, pre- New Hampshire vs. McCain, right back to the day he announced his run:

New research from the Economic Policy Institute shows seven European countries have surpassed U.S. productivity levels with fewer working hours and lower poverty rates.

The desire of the lassiez-faire (and invariably super-wealthy) conservative leadership to return to the supposed Horatio Alger spawning economic climate of the 1880s and 90s shows how out of touch with the real pain and angst poverty causes. Besides, what was so great about endemic TB, tetanus, polio, and rickets? Do we want to return to a time of factory lock-in fires and the fight to unionize? Mind you, at least then there where factories in the US and people cared enough to try and join a union, so perhaps...

Being poor is not invariably a stiumulus that will help you vault to the top of your own fortune 500 company. The avenues of entrepeneurship the conservatives advocate you take have been progressively shut down by the mega-corps they chair or hold stock in. Hunger will as much dull the mind as sharpen the wits. And as our European friends show us, it doesn't have to be this way. Bombed flat 60 years ago; looted by Nazis; menaced by the shadow of Soviet dictatorship; at each others throats for most of their existence; now showing the way to an enlightened economic future, not harkening for a return to the mythical "good old days" of inequity, disease, and fear.

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