The Embarrassment of the Poverty Rate:
That woman standing there by that shitty house and beat-up truck on the dirt road in Mississippi leading to whatever polluting plant is behind her probably doesn't give a goddamn about what Ben Bernanke has said at any point in his life. She probably doesn't give a goddamn about whether or not certain kinds of income are taxed as capital gains. She more than likely gives a damn about feeding those kids. She more than likely gives a damn about keeping them and herself healthy. She more than likely wants them to have a future, probably one beyond mud and filth.
She won't be able to. Not in the rest of her life. Because as we talk endlessly about the economy of this country, we are leaving a huge chunk of the population out. And now, with the release of 2010 census data, we know that the chunk is getting larger. In one of the most depressing bits of news in the unending string of ever more depressing news in this ever more depressing time, the rate of poverty in the United States has leaped by over 2 million people in the last year to 15.1% or 46.2 million people, with median income dropping, too. On average, Americans make 7% less now than they did in 1997.
But wait, photo-woman. Because it gets even worse for you. See, you're a black woman, so that means your poverty rate is 25.6%. And if you're head of the household? Well, 40.7% of those women live in poverty. Oh, and the kids? They're screwed, too, with nearly 40% living in poverty now.
You got that? 4 out of 10 African American kids live in poverty. Did you notice the "American" part of that identity? If you're Republican, probably not.
This is easy to get outraged about, as are all the stats and all the realities about being dirt poor in America (which is not all cell phones and Cadillacs and cable TVs, despite what moral scumfuckers like Rand Paul and others say). It's easy to say that 22% of children living in poverty is enough to make us all sick.
But the Rude Pundit is just embarrassed. It's like seeing your dad so drunk that he pisses his pants. "Aw, c'mon," you wanna say to the bartender who called you. "Do I gotta claim him?" But you do. And you can either clean him up so that he can do it again, or you can make the fucker get some help. Or you can just move to Canada. He won't find you there.
Not only is the Rude Pundit embarrassed for the nation as a whole, but he's even more embarrassed for the Democratic Party. See, you know what the photo woman also gives a damn about? That she has Medicare and Social Security. If Democrats can't make a case on those issues (no matter what stupidity the Obama administration is tossing around about it) to the people it matters to most, then why bother even existing?
Simply put, there's a fuck of a lot more poor people in this country than rich ones. And they get to vote, too, despite the best efforts of Republicans, and they get the same number of votes per person as the wealthy. The Rude Pundit's said it before and will say it again: If the Democrats wanted to shake up the electoral landscape, they'd throw trucks of money at a movement to get the poor to the voting booths. They'd create jobs programs and housing programs and more real and actual liberal stuff, and when someone brought up tax breaks, they'd have a press conference from a shack in FuckYerCousin, Tennessee, to ask why.
If, you know, Democrats still gave a damn about the poor.
(Note: The Rude Pundit realizes that he is engaging in a bit of willful projection in describing the woman in the photo as noble and struggling. She might be a total asshole who beats the kids, starves them, and leaves them in the shit shack to go hang out with her rich friends at the club.)
(Update: Rude reader Paul informs us that it is not, in fact, a poison factory behind her, but it is a grain elevator. So, obviously, her life is now a bed of hydrangeas.)