It’s hard to comprehend: Nearly half of the citizens of New York City live at the poverty level or the near-poverty level. Meanwhile the one percent are accumulating even more wealth.
In its metro section, The New York Times (NYT) revealed the growing yawning gap between the wealthy barons of the Big Apple and nearly half of the city’s citizens, who are barely surviving.
The rise in New York City’s poverty rate as a result of the recession has apparently eased, but not before pushing nearly half of the city’s population into the ranks of the poor or near-poor in 2011, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg administration.
That year, according to the city’s measure, about 46 percent of New Yorkers were making less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold, a benchmark used to describe people who are not officially poor but who still struggle to get by. That represents a rise of more than three percentage points since 2009, when the nation’s recession officially ended.
Now, as the US has slowly climbed out of an economic collapse caused by the financial manipulations of a large segment of the one percent, the wealthy are increasing their control of US assets. Meanwhile, the safety net for those in need is cut in the name of austerity. That is why the NYT reports:
“Coinciding with the end of the slump in the job market is the end of the recession-related expansion of the safety net,” Dr. Levitan [director of poverty research for the Center for Economic Opportunity and author of the study] wrote, which could reduce food stamp benefits on top of cutbacks in unemployment insurance, tax credits and the payroll tax rate.
And the future is not bright for the New Yorkers who are the modern version of the Dickensian poor who walked like shadows amidst the rich who controlled the assets of the Britain at that dark time of the dawn of the industrial revolution:
More New Yorkers were poor in 2011 — 19.3 percent by the federal rate and 21.3 percent by the city’s standard — compared with 16.8 and 19.8 percent in 2007, before the recession. Still, while the city’s measure is the highest since it was first calculated in 2005, the official rate is lower in New York than in many other major cities.
While the center’s annual report, to be released this week, suggested that a better job market may have reversed the rising poverty in 2012, its outlook for this year and beyond was more problematic.
Of course, this doesn’t include the working class or middle class who are just making it in the costly city of New York.
Is this what the American revolution has achieved? A nation where so few live lavish lifestyles beyond the imagination of those who were the beneficiaries of Versailles, while the rest of the nation’s citizens increasingly struggle to survive?
Has economic avarice – the control of the nation’s majority assets by less than one out of a hundred people – trumped democracy?