“The Wretched of America” submitted by Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham

America is the richest nation in history, yet it has the highest poverty rate in
the industrialized world with an unprecedented amount of Americans living in dire straights.
 Over 50 million citizens already living in poverty and need food stamps to eat,
and 50 percent of U.S. children will use food stamps to eat at some point in their
childhood. Approximately 20,000 people are added to this total every day. 1
         In 2009, one out of five U.S. households didn’t have enough money to buy food.
In households with children, this number rose to 24 percent, as the hunger rate among
U.S. citizens has now reached an all-time high. 2
         Bankruptcies continue to skyrocket. Health care bill related bankruptcies are
filed are from people who have health care insurance. 3 The U.S. has the most expensive
health care system in the world, people are forced to pay twice as much as other
countries and the overall care we get in return ranks 37th in the world. 4.
         In total, Americans have lost $5 trillion from their pensions and savings since the
economic crisis began and $13 trillion in the value of their homes. During the first full year
of the crisis, workers between the ages of 55 – 60, who have worked for 20 – 29 years,
lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. “Personal debt has risen from 65 percent
of income in 1980 to 125 percent today.” 5
         Over five million U.S. families have already lost their homes, in total 13 million U.S.
families are expected to lose their home by 2014, with 25 percent of current mortgages
underwater. Deutsche Bank has an even grimmer prediction: “The percentage of
‘underwater’ loans may rise to 48 percent, or 25 million homes.” 6
         Every day 10,000 U.S. homes enter foreclosure. Statistics show that an
increasing number of these people are not finding shelter elsewhere, there are now
over 3 million homeless Americans; the fastest-growing segment of the homeless
population is single parents with children. 7
          The One place more and more Americans are finding a home is in prison. With
a prison population of 2.3 million people, the U.S. now have more people incarcerated
than any other nation in the world — the per capita statistics are 700 per 100,000 citizens.
 In comparison, China has 110 per 100,000, France has 80 per 100,000 and
Saudi Arabia has 45 per 100,000.
The prison industry is thriving and expecting major growth over the next few years.
A recent report from the Hartford Advocate titled “Incarceration Nation” revealed that
“a new prison opens every week somewhere in America.” 8.

          Mass Unemployment
          The government unemployment rate is deceptive. It doesn’t count people who are
“involuntary part-time workers,” meaning workers who are working part-time but want
to find full-time work. It also doesn’t count “discouraged workers,” meaning long-term
unemployed people who have lost hope and don’t consistently look for work. As time
goes by, more and more people stop consistently looking for work and are discounted
           For instance, in January, 2010 1.1 million workers were eliminated from the
unemployment total because they were “officially” labeled discouraged workers.
So instead of the number rising, we will hear deceptive reports about unemployment
leveling off.
           On top of this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently discovered that 824,000 job
losses were never accounted for due to a “modeling error” in their data. Even in their initial
January data there appears to be a huge understating, with the newest report saying the
economy lost 20,000 jobs. TrimTabs employment analysis, which has consistently
provided more accurate data, “estimated that the U.S. economy shed 104,000 jobs in
January, 2010″ 
          When you factor in all these uncounted workers — “involuntary part-time” and
“discouraged workers” — the unemployment rate rises from 9.7 percent to over 20 percent.
In total, we now have over 30 million U.S. citizens who are unemployed or underemployed.
The rarely cited “employment-participation” rate, which reveals the percentage of the
population that is currently in the workforce, has now fallen to 64 percent.
           Even based on the “official” unemployment rate, just to get back to the
unemployment level of 4.6 percent that we had in 2007, the U.S. needs to create over 
10 million new jobs. But just one day, January 27, several companies announced new
cuts of more than 60,000 jobs. 9.
           Millions of Americans are reaching a point where the unemployment benefits they
have been living on are coming to an end. Over six million are now unemployed for over
six months. A record 20 million Americans qualified for unemployment insurance benefits
last year (2009), causing 27 states to run out of funds, with seven more also expected to
go into the red within the next few months. In total, 40 state programs are expected to
go broke. 10.
           Most economists believe the unemployment rate will remain high for the
foreseeable future. 

            Working More for Less
            Due to the fact that we now have a record high six people for every one job 
opening, companies have been able to further increase the workload on their remaining
employees. They have been able to increase the amount of hours Americans are
working, reduce wages and drastically cut back on benefits. In the third quarter of 2009,
average worker productivity increased by an annualized rate of 9.5 percent, at the same
time unit labor cost decreased by 5.2 percent. This has led to record profits for many
companies. Of the 220 companies in the S&P 500 who have reported fourth-quarter
results thus far, 78 percent of them had “better-than-expected profits” with earnings
17 percent above expectations, “the highest for any quarter since Thomson Reuters
began tracking data.”
            According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median wage was
only $32,390 per year in 2008, and median household income fell by 3.6 percent while
the unemployment rate was 5.8 percent. With the unemployment rate now at 10 percent,
median income has been falling at a 5 percent rate and is expected to continue its decline.
Not surprisingly, Americans’ job satisfaction level is now at an all-time low.
         There are at least 15 million workers who now live in poverty. $32,390 a year is
not going to get you far in today’s economy, and half of the country is making less than
that. This is why many Americans are now forced to work two jobs to provide for
their family to hopefully make ends meet.11.
          The mainstream news media never piece the figures together to show you the
whole devastating picture, and they rarely show you all the immense individual suffering
behind them. 
           Anyone who has had to put off medical care, or who couldn’t get medical care for
one of their family members due to financial circumstances, can tell you about the
psychological toll that is on top of the physical suffering. 12.
           There are now well over 150 million Americans who feel stress over these things 
on a consistent basis. Over 60 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck.13.
1. Mail Online April 2, 2013. www.dailymail.co.UK/
3. Tara Parker-Pope June a4, 2009 well.blogs.nytimes.com/…/medical bill cause more bankruptcies.
5. www.nytimes.com/…/business/…/recovering from a crash-to-make-a-sec… May 7, 2009.
6. www.bloomberg.com/apps/newsnews?pid=newsarchives and sid… August 5, 2009.
7. www.stormfront.org February 14, 2009.
8. www.nytimes,com/…/us/us-prison populatopon-decline-reflecting-new-appr… July 25, 2013; en-wikipedia-org-wiki-incarceration-in-the united_states.
9. Trim Tales Fearless Forecast: US Payrolls globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/…trim-tales-fearless-forecast-us-pa February 1, 2012.
12. www.huffingtonpost.com/…/us incomes-falling-as-optimism-reaches-10… October 20, 2011.
Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham

4 thoughts on ““The Wretched of America” submitted by Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham

  1. The real crappy statement is by the commentator, the other Ehtesham, who said ” There are no poors in America. Only lazy people.” The commentator could have given his lousy pseudo-poetic and fresh-mouth comment as he did, to please himself, without accusing the blogger Dr. Syed Akhter Ehtisham of making a “Crappy statement”. I’m appalled at the Editors who approved the comment for circulation among the TF Affiliates without purging out the “Crappy statement” from Ehtesham’s comment.

    • There were two emails sent to the editor by person/s w/ same/similar names. I, as the editor assumed that the same submitter sent one email with the article and another with the comment. If the comment was sent by person other than the submitter of the article and if Dr. Ehtisham confirms it, i’ll gladly remove the contents of the second email.

      • On review, even though the submitters’ names were very similar, their email addresses were different. Thus the “comment” part has been removed. Thanks Azeem sahib for pointing it out. Now you have no reason to be “appalled”.

        • This being an honest mix-up, your prompt investigation and appropriate action deserves my sincere thanks. Much obliged.

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