We have entered an age of unprecedented wealth where millionaires turn into billionaires almost overnight. It is history repeating, yet again. The Gilded Age of the late 19th century has manifested itself into the Age of Greed in the 21st century. For the worlds so called wealthiest nation, the land of enormous wealth there remains a dark more sinister realm of reality for three quarters of Americas population. Of that three quarters over 50 million Americans their lives are a tangled mess of just trying to survive another day. Take Dan Ryan and his family of five who have to struggle day to day just to put some semblance of food on the table. Dan who is on Social Security and his wife who makes just $350 a week have to manage to make ends meet on incomes that according to our most benevolent government officials make too much to qualify for Food Stamps or any other governmental assistance program, even though they have three young children to feed. Those safety nets indeed.
Every week Dan's wife has to go to the neighborhood food pantry just to get the bare necessities to feed her family. The plight of so many millions of Americans today consider Dan's family very fortunate that they still have a place to call home even though it is a small three bedroom apartment in Massachusetts. Dan's social security just covers the rent and if his wife ever lost her job they would be forced to make life altering decisions that no one should ever have to make not in this day and age and certainly not in this country.
There have been to many days when Dan's wife goes to the local pantry only to find the shelves have not been filled because so many of their donors are struggling almost like the Ryan family. Many a night the Ryan 's just subside on plain pasta, bread and tap water. It really isn't so strange to think that our most trusted leaders of state and the main stream media have concluded that our economic fortunes are rebounding quite successfully since 2008. For them, their heads are so far stuck in the sand they can't see or here the sounds of sorrow and woe from the multitudes who languish continually day after day.
A sad reality today for too many Americas who have only wanted to play by the rules and yet are forced into situations that are reminiscent of third world poverty stricken countries. Who suffers the most are our future generations, the youth and children of this once great nation. Yet, it has been our policy makers that have continued their assault on the citizens of this country for far too long. In one fine shining example of political expediency where our leaders of state gutted those safety nets like food stamps right before the most enduring of holidays when families needed that helping hand the most. What did our most cost efficient, most astounding financial "Wizards" of high finance in Washington do? They of course cut food stamp allotments to the bone. Again, just in the nick of time when food prices have just started to soar.
Today, food prices have only continued to climb by more than 10% from each preceding month. The long term reality is that food costs will only continue this rate of increase well into the future. What this means for the Dan Ryan's out there is that unless the United States addresses the short and long term outlook of the rising costs of food now the landscape of America will be forever changed. A future that is catastrophic for the United States and the world. In every instance the rising costs of every commodity is a direct result of human decision either from today or from decisions made years ago. When we think about what farmers have little control over such as weather conditions and diseases man has inadvertently made decisions that have actually impacted the factors that cause those effects that are detrimental to our food supply. Today's Climate Change is a direct result of man's decision to keep using fossil fuel sources in spite of the fact of what those sources are doing to our climate and thus our food supply as well.
In recent years, drought in the western U.S. has driven up the prices of meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables. Parts of California, the Southwest, and the Great Plains have suffered from three consecutive years of drought. More than two-thirds of California is currently covered by extreme drought conditions. Drought has also driven up meat prices because it caused feed prices to spike. The higher feed prices increase the cost of raising cattle for slaughter and, in the end, the meat prices for consumers. As we can plainly see a domino effect from climate change has drastically caused food prices to soar where just a single meal will be unattainable for millions not only here in America but for millions the world over. The threat of Global Famine is a real as it gets
When food prices soar while what wages there are keep declining there is another realm of reality that is just as destructive. The assault on the poor and what middle class is left has sparked a national awareness of increasing homelessness all around the country. In practically every town, in every state more and more individuals and families have become victims of the harsh realities of an economic system that has only favored the wealthy. Those lucky select few who make those decisions which have led to so much pain and suffering only continues.
Who ever thought that in this 21st century more of our citizens have lost their homes at a rate equal to that of the Great Depression of the 1930's. This dramatic rise in homelessness is attributed to many factors and again human decisions. When we look back it was just fifty years ago that the United States economy was the most dominate one in the world. Today, we have literally sold our soul to the Chinese. The manufacturing economic structure that we had 50 years ago gave rise to the largest percentage of the population, that being the middle class. When the United States had the largest percentage of it's population being middle class secured this nations economic and financial stability. In doing so kept food prices and everything else we bought in line with rates of inflation. Homelessness was just a misfortune for so few not like there is today
Every week more are caught in this vicious cycle of economic and financial depravation. The evaporation of the middle class has produced a nation where the largest percentage of the population now are either low income or facing acute poverty. There is no more middle class. Human decisions over the last 40 years have slowly and steadily eradicated the middle class. This shift of the majority of the population from middle income stature to low income and poverty levels just shows how far this nation has gone in reverse. Most of the population today are no longer able to buy food let alone pay rent or pay down debt. Instead, what we have done is create such enormous debt which has only exasperated our current economic crisis contrary to what our main stream media and our politicians keep asserting that all is well and fine.
It was just plain greed that influenced those human decisions that caused the financial collapse of 2008. Another repeat of history some 80 years apart. Today, we are still seeing widespread stagnant wages, a service oriented based economy that has replaced that dominant manufacturing base we had 50 years ago, and an increase of health related problems affecting more of our population than ever before. All brought on by the geed invoked by the decisions that have been made. Whether we choose to believe it or not there is a direct link between financial stability and health. So what we are really experiencing today when there is lack of financial support has contributed to health problems which has a very significant role in the increasing rate of homelessness all over the country. People are finding it more difficult everyday to come up with ways to pay rents for apartments. With personal savings at record lows these citizens who have been force out of their apartments or homes due to job loss, foreclosure, fire or any other disaster don't have the funds set aside for moving or down payment and are forced out into the cold leaving them with no where to go.
Then there are those greedy unscrupulous landlords as well as those too big to fail banks that continue to assert their influence making impossible demands forcing more people out into the cold. Just recently what is happening in Brazil where construction of a new soccer stadium has greatly influenced the local real estate market. An excuse to increase rents and inflate the housing market just because the city will host an international soccer match. The same sort of thing is occurring right here in towns all across the United States. Just go to North Dakota where the oil industry has driven up prices that have forced the long term residents to either pay outrageous prices for everything including rentals and homes. Every week it seems prices keep increasing forcing many to make real tough decisions. Decisions they would normally wouldn't have to make. It happened in the Florida Keys just a few years ago when high financed investors came in and built new apartments. These newly built rental units now had exorbitant prices attached. Meanwhile the long term residents again like in North Dakota had to make similar drastic decisions as well. In Tampa the housing market has forced many to seek rental units instead of buying a home. Another bubble about to burst? Just think if history is any lesson pretty soon there will be another financial catastrophe. With the current construction on these new rentals the prices are again forcing the long term residents to suffer the higher costs that these newly constructed apartments are now commanding.
With more and more people being swept into making life altering decisions everyday it is just a matter of time before the United States will be powerless to stop this snowball of economic retardation from rolling across the whole country. If the United States doesn't alleviate this crisis soon the future is in grave jeopardy. We must remember that there is a dramatic physical and mental national health concern with the vast numbers of people that are becoming poor, hungry, ill and homeless. It is these people that find it almost impossible to find and secure the beneficial food that is so important to maintain ones own physical and mental health. It is these people that are being forced out of their homes. If we allow the greed of a few to sway the decisions that are made that have allowed this national tragedy to continue will only create further financial and economic insecurity and the threat of open rebellion will soon be upon us. A future that has horrific implications.