When I look into whether or not the economy is doing well, the first statistic I use is homelessness.
Corporate media tell us the economy is booming, so one would think homelessness is not booming. But, in fact, homelessness has been rising for the past few years.
So, when corporate media tell us the economy is booming, they mean the rich are getting rich at a faster pace. Those who can afford 300 yachts are expanding their navies.
The Trumpster, on the right-wing Tucker Carlson FOX News show, has just discovered that homelessness exists, announcing that “it is a phenomenon that started two years ago.” He would be even more surprised to find out that his billionaire tax cut didn’t trickle down.
Carlson started the discussion by telling Trump that New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles have “a major problem with filth.” The Prez agreed, calling it “sad” and saying, “We never had this (homelessness) in our lives before in this country.”
Capitalists keep the masses as ignorant as possible, by using terms such as “growing wealth.”
When a capitalist “grows wealth” it really moves from one place to another (his pocket). A great many working class and poor people may go into debt, causing a capitalist to “grow wealth.”
A capitalist takes from Mother Nature, leaving a polluted landscape, thereby “growing wealth.”
A capitalist takes from the productivity of workers, leaving them sweaty, bleeding and poor, and “grows wealth,” even as the minimum wage has lost a third of its buying power since 1968.
While the “investment class,” as President GHW Bush called them, are raking in the cash in what they call a “booming economy,” it’s not so rosy for many in the Land of the Free who did not inherit from robber barons.
Juan Cole points out that workers are 1/3 poorer than they were in 2003, while the wealthiest 1% are twice as wealthy as they were in 2003.
At some time during each year one in five children in the USA, the wealthiest nation on earth, goes hungry. Old people are dying of hunger in the USA, with 5.5 million seniors who don’t have consistent access to enough food for a healthy life.
The magnificent philosopher Thich Nhat Hahn simplifies it as, “Wealth creates poverty, and poverty creates wealth.” It is an obvious truth, but corporate media, controlling the eyeballs of the nation, serve their capitalist owners, board members and advertisers at any cost, so citizens hear primarily the drone of “We’re enjoying a booming economy.”
And so we have people starving to death and homeless in a booming economy. It could only happen in the Land of the Free.
Jack Balkwill has been published from the little read Rectangle, magazine of the English Honor Society, to the (then) millions of readers USA Today and many progressive publications/web sites such as Z Magazine, In These Times, Counterpunch, This Can’t Be Happening, Intrepid Report, and Dissident Voice. He is author of “An Attack on the National Security State,” about peace activists in prison.