Crunch Time!

Because of unemployment, bankruptcies, homelessness, hunger and rising poverty levels, the U.S. is seeing greater social miseries than what was experienced during the Great Depression. Highly-paid officials, however, are covering up our travail.

According to the well-heeled and unconcerned number crunchers in the National Academy of Science, 47.4 million Americans were “impoverished” back in 2008 – a mere 15% of the population. The other 85% – we were supposed to conclude – were not too badly off.

But that wasn’t the truth, and they knew it. What we’re not supposed to figure out is that the actual number of “impoverished” is always much higher than what we see and hear from the national media. The truth of the matter is that for a family of four, the government’s income threshold is only $ 22,000 annually – much, much short of what’s needed in this country where even half again that amount wouldn’t be enough. The minimum family need in the eight regional counties in the Chicago area, for example, is $ 52,000. In suburban DePage County it’s almost $ 62,000.

In other words, if that family of four is raking in $ 23,000 annually, then according to the government statisticians, those folks are off the chart because they’re included among the non-impoverished. We’re being had. Do the math. Even a single person couldn’t make ends meet at $ 22,000 a year.

Those same officials are telling us that the “recession” is behind us – that the “recovery” is underway. And the sad part about it is that most of the people in the country are falling for the line. Will Rogers was right. So was P. T. Barnum. A “recovery”? When the following numbers are considered even the listless among us will see the hopeless condition of our nation’s economy.

– Hewlett-Packard has announced plans to lay off 9,000 high-tech workers.
– Ninety-one county and local governments in New Jersey plan to eliminate 1,600 jobs.
– In March of this year, San Francisco issued 700 preliminary layoff notices.
– The City of Los Angeles plans to lay off 1,761 people on July 1st.
– The State of California sent out more than 21,000 layoff notices so far this year.
– The State of New York plans to lay off 10,000 employees in 2011.
– The State of Illinois has announced plans to lay off 600 State Troopers.
– The State of Illinois will also eliminate 20,000 teaching jobs this year.
– The Chicago Transit Authority has laid off 1,100 employees this year.
– The Georgia General Assembly plans “massive layoffs” to cope with a budget shortfall.
– The end of the Atlantis space program eliminates 7,000 jobs at the Kennedy Space Center.

And if you think that’s bad, wait till the unemployment numbers in the Gulf states are made public.

A massive job-creation program is needed to relieve the destitution of the nation’s impoverished – like FDR’s Emergency Shipbuilding Programs that bailed us out of the Great Depression.