Poverty in the United States is the direct result of policies. It is not “just the way things are”, it is not voluntary, it is not demanded or favored by the American people, and it is not necessary. It is the result of conscious policy decisions by our leaders and their powerful constituents.
Policies allow a handful of citizens to garner the lion’s share of the nation’s wealth, the wealth created by all working people.
Tax policies reduce taxes on the wealthy, shifting taxes onto the middle class and lower.
Tax policies prevent the fair taxation and redistribution of wealth into projects and programs for the common good.
Labor policies break up unions and disallow new ones, suppressing the ability of employees to defend their incomes and benefits.
Policies set the minimum wage well below a living wage, so that many full-time employees are still poor.
Policies reduce or eliminate social programs that help support needy people and families.
Policies disallow fiscal stimulus that would create jobs.
Policies prevent the implementation of true universal health insurance that would prevent impoverishment of seriously ill people.
Policies allow powerful persons and groups to gamble with others’ retirement savings, or to merely take those savings.
All of these policies work together to put and to keep half the population of America below the poverty line. The poverty-stricken population will never be reduced until conscious policies are developed to do it. For now, poverty is policy.