I disagree that most Americans are wealthy. On paper Americans may appear "wealthy" but American poverty wears a different face than in third world countries. For a first world country, America is a disgrace. Social services are increasingly burdened and financially constrained.Kim OHara wrote: ↑Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:02 pmI can't agree completely with that, but there is truth in it. Not all Americans are rich by global standards, but most are. If you (or we) are travelling in Sough Asia, there's even more truth in it, since poorer Americans (and Aussies) don't travel overseas much.
The country as a whole is rich, too, and acts that way on the global stage.
Real wages have remained stagnant since the 70's. Many families are one paycheck away from insolvency, and have little or no savings. One accident or severe illness (no free or even reasonably priced health care, remember) can cost $50,000 or more and bankrupt a moderate income family in no time. The average family carries $16,000 in credit card debt, not counting student loans that are staggering. Many seniors subsist on $1200/month or less, which sounds like a lot until you consider even the most inexpensive housing is $600-800/month, milk costs $4/gallon, a box of cereal can be $5, a prescription for a common heart medicine can cost $150/mo. or more. There are electric bills, water bills, sewer bills, property taxes, sales taxes, insurance (mandatory if you have a car), car payments (almost a total necessity, as there is little or no public transportation anywhere outside big cities), income taxes, etc.
American poverty doesn't make the news; it is hidden in tent cities under interstate highways, in halfway houses and homeless shelters, in families living in cars, in dilapidated unsafe housing projects, in the ghettos of Chicago and Detroit, East LA and the Bronx, the backwaters of West Virginia and Kentucky. As a home health nurse I have seen plenty of homes with no running water, families using the bathtub or a five gallon bucket as a toilet, no electricity, roaches, filth, all the hallmarks of chronic sustained poverty - all within 5 city blocks of one of the corporate headquarters of one of American's largest banks. No jobs, no money, no hope, drug infested neighborhoods. Some public schools now provide free breakfast because the kids don't get fed at home, either no money or addicted parents and dysfunctional families. The picture is not pretty. I'm sure many of you who get your information about the US from media don't believe me, or think I'm exaggerating, or think that "Oh, that's not real poverty" just because it isn't as bad as a third world country, but the suffering is just as real. Sadly, I'm sure that there are even Americans here who will disagree with me, but I can vouch for what I see with my own eyes.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... rapporteur
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... verty_rate
The wealth is concentrated at the top, the result of putting the proverbial foxes in charge of the hen house. This graphic only goes to 2007, before the recession. It's even worse now.