This is another reason why #OWS is fighting back: The country's socio-economic standing in the world continues to deteriorate. One measure of that can be seen in a widely disseminated story that America's poorest of the poor now represent 1 in 15 citizens, those who's income is 50% or less than the official poverty level.
Let that sink in a bit. That is about 21 million people. They are not just unemployed, or down on the luck, or facing lean times, or whatever other cliche' gets bandied about. These are America's very poorest, and the number--and proportion-- are now higher than ever. As the original AP article states:
The ranks of America's poorest poor have climbed to a record high — 1 in 15 people — spread widely across metropolitan areas as the housing bust pushed many inner-city poor into suburbs and other outlying places and shriveled jobs and income
New census data paint a stark portrait of the nation's haves and have-nots at a time when unemployment remains persistently high. It comes a week before the government releases first-ever economic data that will show more Hispanics, elderly and working-age poor have fallen into poverty.
And yet, some presidential candidates seem to think there is no connection between unemployment and the high crimes on Wall Street, Herman Cain for one. Cain, whom I view as the intellectual equivalent of a freak show at a second-rate carnival, argues instead that significant tax cuts for America's wealthiest are what is needed. This is at the core of his asinine 9-9-9 plan. Never mind that we have been cutting taxes on the wealthy for a generation; they are apparently not rich enough. Another round of tax cuts on the top 1% will somehow induce them to create jobs.In all, the numbers underscore the breadth and scope by which the downturn has reached further into mainstream America.
In effect, Herman Cain is telling us that there really is no banking problem in this country. Those mobs at #OWS are just lazy and disaffected; they just want to blame others for their own problems. You just aren't working hard enough, that's all.
Holy freakin' shit. Cain, you cannot be serious. Are you saying the big banks have not created a crisis? Not only is this a miserable misreading of America's deep economic difficulties, you want us to think that simply getting a job, never mind their scarcity, somehow fixes an entrenched banking issue, just makes it all go away. Or maybe we just need to keep working because the banks have not really created a crisis anyway, so don't worry about it. Is that it?
Herman Cain's position on complex politico-economic issues is what we so often find in conservative ideologues; it comes down to simplistic moralizing about what he considers to be other people's personal shortcomings, their defective characters, their basic immorality. His economic policies make no sense, and his bravado intertwined with appalling ignorance may be galling for some of us, but that is beside the point for most Republican primary voters. Cain is demonstrating a punitive, stern, father figure sense of morality. And that is what most Republicans instinctively look for in their candidates.