“The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership….a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures.” – William Fulbright
Don’t give me any of this honkybull about how we’re better off under this administration. Put aside the costs of the wars, the draining of our budget surplus, the incredible national debt, the plans to dissolve public education, social security, medicare, and maybe even the post office…. just stop for one moment to think about the trends on poverty vs the rich and where this is all going.
Crony capitalism, imperialist designs, theocratic smackdowns, and corporate welfare programs for companies showing massive profits aren’t going to solve our problems. We need leadership, real leadership.
- The gap between rich and poor is the largest in 75 years (just before the Great Depression).
- The richest 1% of Americans have more income that the bottom 96 million.
- The richest 1% owns nearly half the country’s wealth.
- The top 10% owns 80% of the wealth.
- The number of billionaires is rising – at last count, at least 225.
- 51% of the world’s 100 hundred wealthiest bodies are corporations.
- Another one million Americans were added to the poverty role in 2004 (there’s probably more now than the 37 million there was then).
- On living standards overall, Norway tops the Index, while Niger is last according to the UN Human Development Report.
- Children in Nordic countries are best off. In Denmark and Finland, child poverty levels are less than 3%, while Norway and Sweden trail close behind. Higher government spending on family and social benefits is very clearly associated with a lower level of child poverty.
- At least 22% of “those aged under 18″ (i.e., dependent children) in the US are still living in relative poverty – in some metro and rural areas as much as 34%.
- Life expectancy: the U.S. ranks 29th.
- Poverty index of the richest 18 nations: the U.S. ranks 17th.
- Freedom of the press: the U.S. ranks 44th.
- On gender equality and empowerment of women: the U.S. ranks 8th (and the earning ratio from women to men is still only 62 cents per dollar according to the UN, although the US Census Bureau claims 72)
- The US has the most poverty of any industrialized democracy.