According to Professor Philip Alston’s United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, 40 million people in the U.S. continue to live in poverty, to put that in perspective that is more people than the total population of Canada. That is more than one in every eight Americans who live in poverty. And over half of the 40 million,18.5 million were living in deep poverty, with incomes below ½ of the poverty threshold. The definition of extreme poverty is living on less than $2 per day per person. And 18.5 million people in the U.S. live in this type of nightmare, especially children. You can especially see such grotesque display of negligence on its people by simply observing the streets of Philadelphia, Kensington Avenue, and Skid Row in Los Angeles, California.
Kensington Ave. Philadelphia at Night (Credit: HoodTime):
Skid Row. Los Angeles, CA (Credit: CharlieBo313):
In contrast, take a look at the Chinese city westerners love to demonize, Wuhan China at night (Credit: Walk East):
Take a look at Fuzhou at night which is also a second tiered Chinese city (Credit: Walk East):
Philadelphia is a city in the state of Pennsylvania in the U.S. whereas Wuhan is a city in the province of Hubei, China. Both are large cities and Wuhan has recently moved from second-tier into a first-tier city status. What is the reason for such a discrepancy? Although the U.S. is infamous for preaching human rights, every single U.S. regime has rejected the idea that economic rights are full-fledged human rights. This is a stark contrast to China where economic rights are considered fundamental human rights.
The reason for this is because the United States is in essence a plutocracy that is ruled by the rich at every level. Those with economic status and privileges get to disproportionately enjoy the so-called “freedoms” these psychopaths always preach. Literal evidence can be seen as the world’s 10 richest men see their wealth double during the Covid pandemic, while half of Americans live in or near poverty, and half of America’s children live in households that can’t meet basic expenses.
As Professor Alston stated “… at the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the USA, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.” Even though you can say that voting is important to make changes, the reality is that many people see voting as pointless as stated in “The undermining of democracy” section that describes West Virginia:
“ A common explanation is that people see no improvement in their well-being regardless of who they elect so voting is pointless. But the most compelling and dispiriting explanation I received came in answer to my question as to why voting rates are so extraordinarily low in West Virginia. A state official pointed to apathy, which he explained by saying that “when people are poor they just give up on the electoral system.” If this is the case, as seems likely, some political elites have a strong self-interest in keeping people in poverty. As one politician remarked to me, it would be instructive to survey the campaign appearances of politicians in overwhelmingly poor districts.”
American political elites have a vested interest in keeping people poor. This is the many downfalls of so-called American democracy and is a self-perpetuating cycle that seems like an impossible pattern to break. The main reason why the U.S. chooses not to solve its homelessness issue is due to a mindset of the propagandized mass that does not recognize poverty as a systemic issue and rather an individual failing.
Although America has programs such as Housing First to alleviate some homelessness, America’s oscillating two-party dictatorship of democrats and republicans creates unyielding barriers for such poverty alleviating programs to succeed. If a Republican becomes president such a program will have to cut back due to fiscal conservative ideologies which set back progress. On the contrary, if a Democrat comes in there will be another temporary restitution, and so on…
The fundamental issue with America's “war of poverty” is that there is no deliberate focused effort and political will. It will always be a half-assed attempt by the western politicians to put mere band-aids on deep-seated social and economic problems while simultaneously pandering to billionaire interests. This is in stark contrast to China which has lifted 800 million people out of abject poverty in seven decades as lauded by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The main difference is that China is a collective society that sees poverty as a systemic issue and not the fault of the individual. This is the mindset that more people in the west need to adopt. Also, a little bit of empathy won’t hurt either.