The Observer (UK): 37 million poor hidden in the land of plenty — Americans have always believed that hard work will bring rewards, but vast numbers now cannot meet their bills even with two or three jobs. More than one in 10 citizens live below the poverty line, and the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening (Thanks to Thereitis.org for this link)

This story is potent, both for the shock that this British reporter has towards the abundance of poverty in America (I’m curious if this kind of class division is not present in the UK?), but also because much of the article talks about the desperately poor in Tulsa, OK. (a city I love, but also one that is unfortunately terribly divided between rich and poor, at least as bad as OKC but probably more so)

This last section though most of all though blew my brain…

An America divided

· There are 37 million Americans living below the poverty line. That figure has increased by five million since President George W. Bush came to power.

· The United States has 269 billionaires, the highest number in the world.

· Almost a quarter of all black Americans live below the poverty line; 22 per cent of Hispanics fall below it. But for whites the figure is just 8.6 per cent.

· There are 46 million Americans without health insurance.

· There are 82,000 homeless people in Los Angeles alone.

· In 2004 the poorest community in America was Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Unemployment is over 80 per cent, 69 per cent of people live in poverty and male life expectancy is 57 years. In the Western hemisphere only Haiti has a lower number.

· The richest town in America is Rancho Santa Fe in California. Average incomes are more than $100,000 a year; the average house price is $1.7m.

So digusting what America has become. So much exorbitant living while so many don’t have enough. I know I probably see things differently as a Socialist, but I don’t see any reason why anyone should actually have a billion dollars, and America has 269 of those greedy, selfish folks. Think about it, a billion dollars is ONE THOUSAND TIMES ONE MILLION DOLLARS! No one needs that kind of money, and as far as I’m concerned what we need now is a Robin Hood to start taking from the rich to give to the poor. I’m sorry but it is straight up immoral for any human being to have this much when others are suffering.

I know there are legal problems of course of taking ill-gotten money from the rich, but at the very least America should put tax the **** out of the rich. Maybe it’s time for a real progressive income tax. No one pays anything until they make at least $30k per year, with the rate going steadily up. Then for all income over $200k, the tax rate is 100%, with all of those taxes going into relief for the poor. That seems more than fair to me.