The Real 47%

As I watched the Presidential debate, the one thing that struck me was not how bad the president looked, but how neither one of the candidates talked about the subject that neither of them seems to want to address. The only exception was of Mitt Romney’s inane remarks at a private fundraiser a few weeks ago, which is the 47%, and by that I mean the real percentage of people who live in poverty in this country. No one seems to want to talk about the 47%, not just the presidential candidates, but both Senatorial candidates and those running for congress aren’t talking about it either. From all that I’ve read, those running for governorships in other states don’t seem to be on the topic either.

Everyone wants to talk about the middle class, but in case no one has noticed, poverty has moved up to and gone through the middle class. People are living on the margins of society just one paycheck away from disaster. Today there is more homelessness, more hunger, more people living in sub-standard conditions, etc.. than ever before in this country. Still, there is very little, if any conversation about it.

Forget about Mitt Romney for a moment, the President of the United States, a man who once was a street organizer and has seen poverty up close has little to say on the matter. When Barack Obama first ran for the White House, he talked as a person that wanted to solve the problems of poverty and homelessness. I remember one speech in which he talked of having no more homeless veterans, and yet there are still homeless vets. After he was elected there was little if any talk of poverty and homelessness. The First Lady talks of childhood obesity with a passion that has inspired many changes throughout the country, but why couldn’t she, who is supposed to be so family oriented use that same passion to address family homelessness? As much as there is childhood obesity in this country, there is an equal amount of children who go hungry on a daily basis. There is also an equal amount of homeless children in this country, and the count on homeless children is over a million according to some stats and still rising. Single adult homelessness among adult men and women, now including war vets returning home is at an all time high, and yet Mr. President you have remained silent. Where’s the outrage?

Could it be that neither you nor your misguided opponent have a clue how to begin to solve this problem? Both of their actions seem to bare that out as one chooses to ignore it, while the other bashes those living in poverty referring to them as “those people.” “Those people,” to which Mr. Romney refers to are indeed those in poverty, not the middle class. Could it be that you don’t really concern yourself with the 47% either? I mean, it certainly seems that way with not only you but also with the political elite in DC as well. Think about it folks, when was the last time we’ve heard anything out of Washington to really address the plight of the poor in this country? Oh yes I forgot Housing First, and it would probably work if it was funded properly.

Face it, when it comes to the real 47%, no one really has a clue.

-James Shearer

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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