One in five American children lives below the poverty line today, while one in 50 is homeless. As unemployment rises and foreclosures increase, families are forced out of their homes into overcrowded shelters, motels, ”tent cities” and even into the storm drains of great cities such as Las Vegas.
In America, as everywhere else it is the working class and their children who are paying for the crimes of bankers, politicians and the super-rich who again and again show their willingness to throw the most vulnerable on the scrapheap of life before they even have a chance to live.
Twenty million Americans live on less then $11,000 a year for a family of four. The Department of Agriculture estimates that 6.4 million households have very low food security and are forced to eat less because they simply do not have enough money.
No child should ever be sent to bed hungry but in the richest country in the world this is simply obscene. The problem is not lack of wealth but rather how it is distributed. When the richest 1% of Americans own 40% of the wealth is it any wonder that the poorest are unable to meet their basic needs? The idea that wealth will eventually ”trickle down” from the rich to the poor has been proven to be a sham.
Barack Obama has shown himself incapable of ending child poverty but would a Republican president be any different? While none of the Republican candidates have particularly enlightened views on the subject, Newt Gingrich came in for a barrage of criticism recently when he proposed loosening child labour laws. While he conceded that children working in coalmines would not be a good idea, he proposed that poor children could become assistant janitors for instance, mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms in their own schools.
Wall Street it seems, has two parties while poor children and their families have none. Child poverty will only be ended when the working class mobilise to oppose this rotten system that allows the elite to monopolise political and economic power for themselves.