In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned about 9 percent of the nation’s income. By the start of the Great Recession, the rich were getting more than 23 percent of total income. Yet real income for the rest of us has remained stagnant, and the number of Americans in poverty is rising.
Congress and President Obama should join forces to put America back to work, even if investments in education and infrastructure cause short-term deficits. Money in the wallets of low-income and working-class people is the best recipe for raising demand and producing economic growth.
We’re reducing government spending by shrinking investment in our long-term well-being while ignoring the military budget. Even cutting nearly a trillion dollars out of the defense budget over the next 10 years would leave the government spending 14 percent more on defense than it did during the Cold War, according to an analysis by the Sustainable Defense Task Force.
As a country, we must stop gambling with people’s homes. We must change our priorities and work for a fair housing policy that ensures everyone has a safe, decent place to live.
There are better alternatives than selling off public housing, but we will have to organize en masse to win them.
Lydia Gans and Buford Buntin share reflections on living hungry in the San Francisco Bay Area. The economic crisis is spreading the problem of hunger beyond families that are totally destitute. An estimated 42 percent of the households served by the Food Bank have at least one person who is employed, yet they still do not have enough money to buy all the food they need.