Friday, July 28, 2017

The Great Lie of the "American Dream": Capitalism perpetuates poverty in the USA

According to a New York Daily News report, earlier this month, the number of homeless people living on New York City's streets surged by nearly 40% this year, according to the results of an annual count. "There were 3,892 homeless people on the street, the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate done in February found — up 39% since last year, when the number was 2,794, according to results released Wednesday" the report writes. 

New York City is of course an example which highlights the great problem of homelessness that affects the United States of America. According to the official data published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) more than half a million people - a quarter of them being children- were homeless during 2015. 

On a single night in 2016, writes the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, 549,928 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. A majority (68%) was staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, or safe havens, and 32% were in unsheltered locations. According to the same report, over one-fifth of people experiencing homelessness were children (22%), 69% were over the age of 24, and nine percent were between the ages of 18 and 24. These are the official statistics- anyone can imagine that the real number of people living on the streets is much larger. 

Lets see some more data about homelessness in the capitalist "paradise" of the United States of America:
  • HUD reports that on any given night over 138,000 of the homeless in the US are children under the age of 18. Thousands of these homeless children are unaccompanied according to HUD.
  • Over 40,000 veterans are homeless each night.  Sixty percent of them were in shelters, the rest unsheltered.  Nearly 5000 are female.
  • On a single night in 2016, 194,716 people were homeless in 61,265 families with children, representing 35% of the total homeless population in 2016.
  • On a single night in 2016, there were 35,686 unaccompanied homeless youth, roughly seven percent of the total homeless population and 10 percent of people experiencing homelessness as individuals.
  • In 2016, half of all people experiencing homelessness did so in one of five states: California (22% or 118,142 people); New York (16% or 86,352 people); Florida (6% or 33,559 people); Texas (4% or 23,122 people); and Washington (4% or 20,827 people).
As we can see, in the capitalist "paradise" of the USA, the country of the so-called "American Dream", in the 21st century, there are hundreds of thousands people who live in the streets, without shelter. Nonetheless, homelessness is just part of the whole issue of poverty and inequality in the United States.

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"As capitalist, he is only capital personified. His soul is the soul of capital. But capital has one single life impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-labour. Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks."    
- Karl Marx, Das Kapital, Volume I, Chapter 10.

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The numbers about poverty and hunger in the United States of America reveal the real "face" of the capitalist system; a system of social barbarity, wide inequality and immense exploitation. There are 565 billionaires in the USA whose combined net worth is about $2.76 trillion. On the same time, in the same country:

- As of 2015, 43.1 million people (13.5%) live in poverty (The overall poverty rate according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure is 14.3%).

19.4 million Americans live in extreme poverty. This means their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line, or about $10,000 a year for a family of four. 

- 24.4 million (12.4%) of people ages 18-64 live in poverty.

- 14.5 million (19.7%) children under the age of 18 live in poverty.

- 4.2 million (8.8%) seniors 65 and older live in poverty.

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016).

In the capitalist "paradise" of the United States- where the "American Dream" has "triumphed"- food insecurity consists a major issue for many households. More specifically:

- As of 2015, 42.2 million Americans live in food-insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children.

13% of households (15.8 million households) are estimated to be food insecure.

5% of households (6.3 million households) experience very low food security.

- As of 2014, 5.4 million seniors (over age 60), or 9% of all seniors, are estimated to be food insecure.

(Source: Coleman-Jensen, A., Rabbitt, M. P., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2016). Household Food Security in the United States in 2015. USDA ERS). 

The above numbers verify the harsh reality of capitalist development in the world's "richest country",  the United States of America. On poverty, food insecurity and homelessness we should also add many other issues such as the absence of social security for millions of Americans, the deterioration of living standards for thousands of working class families, racial discrimination, etc. 

Like in every other capitalist country, the United States are divided into "two Americas". The America of the monopolies and the America of the workers. The America of the multimillionaire capitalists and the America of the poor masses. The America of luxury and the America of deep poverty. The America of the capitalist elites and the America of the proletariat which faces a daily exploitation. 

The blatant lies of capitalism's apologists about the supposed success of the "American Dream" and the "opportunities created by the free market economy" have been exposed. The rotten capitalist system reached its limits and can only perpetuate poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, social inequalities, wars, immigration etc. 

The only realistic solution for the working people- in the United States and in all over the world - lies in the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system and the struggle for a new society, for socialism-communism.