Philly Worst Big City for People in Deep Poverty, with Pittsburgh Not Far Behind

Labor Day protest for minimum wage hike. Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty of any of the nation’s 10 most populous cities. The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it’s around $11,700. Philadelphia’s deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people.

By Alfred Lubrano
Philadelphia Inquirer

March 19, 2013 – Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty – people with incomes below half of the poverty line – of any of the nation’s 10 most populous cities.

The annual salary for a single person at half the poverty line is around $5,700; for a family of four, it’s around $11,700.

Philadelphia’s deep-poverty rate is 12.9 percent, or around 200,000 people.

Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas are the nearest to Philadelphia, with deep-poverty rates of more than 10 percent.

The numbers come from an examination of the 2009 through 2011 three-year estimate of the U.S. Census American Community Survey by The Inquirer and Temple University sociologist David Elesh.

Of the 4,300,000 people living in the area around Philadelphia, there are nearly 160,000 in deep poverty – a rate of 3.6 percent – in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Salem, Gloucester, Burlington, and Camden Counties as well as New Castle County, Del., and Cecil County, Md., Elesh’s analysis showed.

Nationwide, more than 20 million people live in deep poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

These deep-poverty numbers don’t include noncash benefits such as food stamps, which help families survive, experts said.

The Philadelphia deep-poverty figure wasn’t a complete surprise for antipoverty advocates, since the city already has the highest poverty rate – 28.4 percent – of any of America’s biggest cities.

Continue reading Philly Worst Big City for People in Deep Poverty, with Pittsburgh Not Far Behind

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Iraq: 10 Years After, Have We Learned a Thing?

By Michael S Lofgren
Beaver County Peace Links via Huffington Post

March 18, 2013 – On the decennial of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the persons responsible have shown remarkably little guilt over launching an unprovoked war of aggression, even when the lamentable results might be expected to give one pause to rethink the enterprise. Marveling at the complacency about Iraq of America’s foreign policy elite as they are fawningly interviewed on the Sunday talk shows, columnist Alex Pareene says that "[p]eople who were integral in the decision to wage that war sat there and opined on what the United States should do about Iran and China and North Korea and no one laughed them out of the room. It was disgusting." Disgusting, but hardly surprising here in the United States of Amnesia.

Are there any lessons to be drawn from the debacle? Here are three tentative conclusions:

American Exceptionalism is a more pernicious drug than crack cocaine.  Almost 50 years ago, J. William Fulbright described American Exceptionalism extremely well in his book The Arrogance of Power:

The causes of the malady are not entirely clear but its recurrence is one of the uniformities of history: power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God’s favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations — to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image.

Whatever grubby calculations of realpolitik our political classes harbor — access to cheap oil, strategic military advantage, appeasement of political lobbies — they invariably mask them in the doctrines of American Exceptionalism, the idea that a war has a higher moral purpose when the United States is involved in it. The invasion of Iraq was a marquee example of this deception, because the aggression was so naked. What looked like an ordinary cynical land-grab was actually (according to American Exceptionalism) a selfless duty, rather like Rudyard Kipling’s white man’s burden.

Continue reading Iraq: 10 Years After, Have We Learned a Thing?