Burden of economic depression shifted onto the U.S. poor

Democrats, Republicans shift burden of depression to the the poor : Eric Draitser

Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:23PM GMT

A prominent analyst tells Press TV that the US is headed towards a more divided society where the gap between the rich and poor deepens even more as the US authorities try to divert the burden of depression from Wall Street to the lower class Americans.

The comments come as a new US poll suggests that public expectations regarding the upcoming 2013 year are bleaker than they have been in more than 10 year, with Republicans expressing gloomier outlooks. Only a 53-percent majority of all Americans are “hopeful” about their lives in 2013 while about 44 percent say they are rather more “fearful” about the year ahead, The Washington Post reports Tuesday, quoting a newly conducted Washington Post-ABC News poll. In the meantime t he uncertainty of an agreement between the White House and Congress to prevent the country from going over the so-called fiscal cliff has more frustrated Americans.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Eric Draitser, founder of stopimperialism.com from New York City to further discuss the issue at hand. He is joined by two additional guests on Press TV’s News Analysis program: Edward Peck, consultant and TV commentator from Washington D.C and Bruce Dixon, with Georgian Green Party from Atlanta. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Eric Draitser, our guest [Bruce Dixon] talks about the end of the world. I am looking at these stats and they are pretty gloomy.

Every US household has a debt, owing 139,000 dollars and that is rising. Looking down the list the US borrows six billion a day, breaking it down 239 million dollars each hour and four million dollars a minute.

I mean when we look at these staggering statistics here, your reaction?

Given what analysts are saying; the global outlook, part of the reason why it is looking gloomy, as they have called the risk and recovery, is because of such stats coming out of the US.

Draitser: My response to that would be the following: I understand that those statistics would seem gloomy, that they would seem negative however I would point out some statistics are actually substantive and real and that are much more portentous negative things to come and that would be for instance the fact that one in four workers in the United States is making ten dollars an hour or less. The fact that the number of people living in poverty and abject poverty has increased, two or threefold in the past five years or so.

The fact of the matter is that the living standard has gone down dramatically in the United States and these are the statistics that really matter.

When you see that median income has dropped 4,000 dollars per household just in President Obama’s first term [in office], you begin to see that the economic outlook for the United States is not about numbers and it is not about these so-called experts and analysts, it is about real people, whose lives are being dramatically altered and the previous guest was mentioning the manufactured nature of this crisis and that is absolutely correct. The idea that somehow the poor, the working class and even the middle class stands to benefit from a raise on tax on the wealthy, this is a propaganda lie from the Obama administration.

If you are poor and you are dependant on supplemental income for food stamps or something like this, then a nominal rise in taxes for the upper one percent is not going to change your situation.

So what we see then, is what we see usually from the ruling class in the United States and that is fraudulent solutions to a manufactured problem that allow themselves to be enriched while we continue to foment wars around the world and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on so-called defense, which really is a cover for international imperialism and that is why the US’ economy is sagging.

It has nothing to do with the so-called Fiscal Cliff, it has nothing to do with the Bush tax cuts or anything like this. These are the lies used to perpetrate another crime against the American people.

Press TV: Eric Draitser I would like to pick up on that breakdown that you gave, which included your focus on the American people. Let us look at that, basically, obviously there are three classes, you have got the upper class, the middle class and of course the lower and the poor. I am putting that into one category in the bottom there.

If we want to look at the stats of hunger and homelessness that is said that is on the rise in the US, the most striking increase was among families of which some 51 percent of the people seeking food assistance for families and that included this middle class.

America is mostly middle class people but that number is dropping. What are the consequences of this happening?

Draitser: I will speak to those consequences in the second but I would just like to make the point that Mr. Dixon [previous speaker] was making and that you are alluding to.

What we are seeing is not just a coincidence that the jobs that are being added are the low-wage jobs; this is a conversion of the US economy from what it traditionally been a high-wage economy, where you could have a single salary earner who could support a family with a working class job; this is, of course an impossibility now and instead we are seeing an economic conversion where the middle class becomes a lower class and the divide between rich and poor becomes ever increasing and this is of course very much symptomatic of an imperialist state, where you see the haves versus the have nots and the have nots are the teaming masses at the bottom.

Now as to the consequences of this, this has dire economic consequences but it also has social consequences.

We should note that an entire generation of young people are graduating from universities with no prospect of either finding a job or repaying the massive debt which they have had to go into to get that education. These are the children of the so-called middle class in the United States that they have no prospect for a future, for starting a family and for moving forward with their lives.

So in fact what we see is not just a transformation but a conversion to a low-wage economy where the people are forced into taking jobs that really provide them no future and this has these dire social implications for the children, the off spring of the next generation who will be raised in situation of poverty.

Let us also remember too that many of the statistics are entirely inflated. What the bureau of labor and the census bureau defines as poverty is not even really poverty, that is abject poverty.

There are many people who ate employed, who are living in poverty. Many children of parents who have jobs, who still go to bed hungry as the Obama administration promises to gauge more money out of food stamps and other programs. So what we see is this continuation and extension of this disparity and this is of course tragic and the consequences will be tragic.

Press TV: Eric Draitser same question to you. (A Washington Post ABC News poll has said a bare 53 percent, majority of all Americans are hopeful about their lives or future in 2013, some 44 percent say that they are instead more fearful. Which group are you in?)

Draitser: Well, I think hopeful in the sense that mass mobilization and mass organization is possible in times of crisis; we have seen it historically in the United States most recently, I suppose in the 1930’s, where we saw this massive economic depression and economic collapse, but the response to that was the mass organization, the creation of labor unions and the mobilization of the working classes; this was one of the byproducts of that depression.

Hopefully we are looking towards a similar situation. One needs to look at the beginnings of that, now we saw the fast food workers strike here in New York City, the Wall Mart strikes around the country, the attempt to begin to mobilize labor and mobilize other forms of mass organizations.

So for those reasons I am hopeful, however what makes me fearful is the consensus that exists in Washington, which I call the austerity consensus and make no mistake about it. There are no differences between the Democrats and the Republicans at a basic level.

They may disagree about the superficialities but at the basic point they agree about austerity and they agree about shifting the burden of the depression from those who created it on Wall Street to those who must pay for it being the working class and the poor and of course the middle class.

That is the reality of the United States in 2013 and that is what makes me fearful.

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