A homeless man in New York, October 2011. (Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
With a compromise on social security now unmasked – costing the elderly an estimated 6.2-7.7%, according to business writer Doug Henwood – America becomes more and more a place of poverty. Warnings that austerity begets poverty will go ignored, but the nation's deteriorating condition cannot so easily be overlooked.
No surprise, in this milieu of victimizing the most marginal, that one anniversary has received far too little attention. This year, 2012, marked the 50th anniversary of a ground breaking book, The Other America, by Michael Harrington, a searing examination of rampant poverty in the richest nation on earth. A prominent review of Harrington's work in the New Yorker magazine, reportedly brought to the attention of then President John F Kennedy, ultimately helped influence the Great Society reforms later launched by his successor Lyndon B Johnson.
But half a century later, we seem to be back to square one in this country.
For the past two years, the nation's largest nurses' organization, National Nurses United, has promoted a program to spur revitalization of our economy to assist families in financial peril. Our campaign was largely spurred by an alarming spike in patients presenting in hospital emergency rooms and clinics across the country who are forced to choose between paying medical bills, their rent or mortgage or feeding their families.