The Other America

Sasha Abramsky’s recent piece in the Nation, "The Other America, 2012: Confronting the Poverty Epidemic," recounts stories of hardship across the country, including a jack-of-all-trades recycling and mowing lawns to make ends meet in Clarksdale, Mississippi; a young mother saddled by crushing healthcare debt in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a man on disability trying to salvage homes in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

These slices of life, along with stats Abramsky supplies like “about 47 million Americans—of all colors, ethnicities and backgrounds—are living at or below the poverty line,” illustrate the ever-growing gap between America’s wealthiest and poorest.

The Nation article feeds from Abramsky’s web-based oral history project (funded by the Open Society Foundations), which provides a narrative of our country’s invisible poor. In his ambitious and compelling audio and reporting work, he serves as a conduit, rather than the mouthpiece, for impoverished men, women, and children to tell their stories in their own voices.

Tell us what you think. What does it mean for a nation so great as ours to allow so many to live in poverty?

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What we need is social democracy. The super rich should be taxed 80% of their income, and the money should be invested in a huge social welfare apparatus to insure that nobody is hungry, living without food and medical care etc. Also free higher education.... 51% of the US population is making 30K and under, and cannot even come up with $400 dollars for an emergency. The best solution not just for here in the USA, but the world, would be to have a global technocratic state. Then the economy could drop the "price system," and be run by experts in economic science; with sophisticated computer systems to allocate resources in a scientific and sustainable manner. Direct democratic feedback using information technology could also help.....

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