One example would be the reader who recently wrote the letter to the editor of the Advocate who tried, once again, to repeat the lie from the right that unemployment is at a near record low. He conveniently ignores the facts reported here and elsewhere that the government's unemployment figures are off by millions of unemployed Americans due to the changes the Reagan administration forced upon the nation which only allows those collecting unemployment or are registered with a federal agency to be counted as unemployed. Those who have no further unemployment benefits or are registered with local or county or state or private employment agencies or who just go door to door applying for work or those who have simply been forced out of the system after years of job searches and those whose part-time work does not provide a living wage for their families are all left out of the data completely. Hence, the nation can theoretically have one person employed with all other Americans failing to qualify as unemployed and the government could legally claim 100% employment.
Another lie from the right that the unthinking take as factual is that the few jobs which Corporate America allows to remain in this nation are all paid at a level which will support a family. The truth is that the majority of jobs being created by Corporate America are low wage and zero benefits positions which force most wage earners to hold down two or more jobs just to survive. The truly ugly fact is that what are kindly referred to as "working poor", a larger and larger share of American families, have to make hard choices between food, medicine, rent and the other necessities of life. In fact, according to a survey of 28,000 food recipients and 11,000 charitable agencies by Second Harvest, a Chicago based national network of hunger relief organizations which includes the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, 39% of those applying for assistance had at least one family member, and sometimes two members, working.. When these families were asked whether they ever had to make a decision between food and housing, an astounding 62% answered "yes".
Some other fascinating information the study revealed is that while, in Los Angeles county, 71% of the families applying had incomes of less than $10,000 a year, 60% of those households had at least one member working full-time. Also, regardless of the innuendoes of the right, nationally, 44% were white while only 35% were African-American and only 15% Latino. Finally, only about one quarter of the households applying were single parent households.
The right's ill advised attacks on the poor have resulted in most new applicants for Food Stamps being turned away by the government due to the harsh new requirements, which may explain why 64% of those households receiving food from charities receive no other government assistance. Other findings included in the study are reports that food recipients are more than twice as likely to be women as men and the number of children and the elderly are increasing nationwide until, in Los Angeles County, 55% of recipients are children or the elderly.
With those last statistics in mind, it reminds me of three very important quotes which directly pertain to the right and their hatred of the poor and elderly and women. The first was from Hubert Humphrey, Vice-President of the United States, who stated, "It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
The two other, possibly far more important quotes come from the Bible which says, in Matthew 25:40 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethern, ye have done it unto me" and in Acts 20:35 which states "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than receive".
We are failing all criteria given to us by, not only one of the last decent men to reside in public office but also the man many people believe directly delivered the instructions of God. To have the least protected individuals in America going hungry or cold or afraid is completely unacceptable to anyone with a conscience. Period!
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