Thanksgiving For What? 46.2 Million Americans Are Living in Poverty
By Gilbert Mercier
NEWS JUNKIE POSTNov 24, 2011 at 7:30 am
Thanksgiving is a dubious American holiday. First, for Native Americans, it is the “celebration” of their generosity towards the Pilgrims which promptly paid them back by stealing their land and ultimately committed a genocide against the native population of the new land. Secondly, during Thanksgiving, Americans are supposed to be thankful for what they have. But while the 1 percent Americans controlling most of the wealth has a lot to be thankful for, the 99 percent remaining is increasingly getting the very short end of the stick.
While the activists of the Occupy Wall Street ( OWS) movement are trying to create a wake-up call for social justice, the bankers, the politicians and all the others whom still enjoy the perks of a capitalism system on the verge of collapse are not getting the message. Currently, estimates put the number of Americans living under the poverty level at more than 47 million. What do they have to be thankful for? Some are homeless, others are losing their houses to the banks. Thankful for what? A dream destroyed by shock capitalism, and the promise of a very uncertain future. The data on poverty from the US Census Bureau is daunting.
In 2010, 46.2 million Americans were living in poverty up from 43.6 million in 2009. Currently one in seven Americans rely on food stamps to survive. According to the United States Census Bureau, the poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent- up from 14.3 percent in 2009. Since 2007, the poverty rate has increased by 2.6 percent, from 12.5 percent to 15.1 percent. The number of people living in poverty is the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.
Still according to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 median household income declined. The poverty rate increased and the percentage of Americans without health insurance increased as well. In 2010, the real median household income in the United States was $49,445-a 2.3 percent decline from 2009. The number of people without health insurance rose from 49.0 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010. Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined by 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recession in 1999.
This Thanksgiving, if you still have something to be thankful for on a material level, you should put a special effort on helping the growing number of Americans with basically nothing left. Before you feast on too much turkey with your family and friends, go help some homeless. Visit OWS activists in their camps and bring them food and moral support, and be thankful to the OWS movement to fight for you, for social justice, for a fair society where the 99 percent have a voice and could even thrive.
Editor’s Note: All photographs by Jay Santiago.
- November 23, 2012 -- Occupy Strategy: Global Strike and Consumer Boycott Should Be on the Agenda
- December 15, 2011 -- Occupy and The Mayan Calendar: Will 2012 Be the Year of a Global Revolution?
- November 25, 2010 -- Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Genocide of Native Americans
- December 25, 2012 -- Photographs: Celebrate Christmas by Helping Homeless Near You
- January 29, 2012 -- Has Occupy Forgotten Why?