The Beautiful Life

                                         I don’t know if you have noticed, but there has not been a word said about poverty, so far, this election cycle  Did it go away  ? Did it disappear ? Or was it not politically expedient to acknowledge this reality ?  Other than the proposal for a guaranteed income, there has been hardly any mention about poor people from  political candidates.

                                         What are we to make of this observation ?

                                       According to the World Population Review:

                            “ The highest poverty rate in the country by state was reported in Mississippi. The poverty rate in 2017 was 19.8% — or roughly 571,000 inhabitants. However, this has declined since 2012, when the state’s poverty rate was nearly 25%. Louisiana and New Mexico were both tied for second place with poverty rates of 19.7%. New Mexico, however, has seen quite a decline in the past few years, as its rate was almost 22% in 2013.

Coming in right behind Louisiana and Mexico is West Virginia with a poverty rate of 19.1%. This means that roughly 336,000 West Virginians lived in poverty in 2017.”

                                Yes, one could argue from these numbers that poverty is on the decline, and yet the numbers of people living below subsistence is very significant.

                                On the opposite end of the economic spectrum, it is noted by the Brookings Institution:

                              “  In fact, the top one percent alone holds more wealth than the middle class. They owned 29 percent—or over $25 trillion—of household wealth in 2016, while the middle class owned just $18 trillion.[iii]  “

                                 We are used to social and political pundits telling us that there is a greater chasm developing between the haves and the have nots.  This reality is particularly accentuated when you talk about people and their access to technology.

                                 Culturally, there is the allure of wanting to be rich, not wanting for any financial need, always being assured that there will be an infinitesimal amount of money available to take care of any needs.

                                 Yet, its disconcerting when the titans of industry and commerce are not exhibiting any financial; restraint nor responsibility.

                        “     A decade of historically low interest rates has allowed companies to sell record amounts of bonds to investors, sending total U.S. corporate debt to nearly $10 trillion, or a record 47 percent of the overall economy.

                               Some of America’s best-known companies, including AT&T, General Motors and CVS Health, have splurged on borrowed cash. This year, the weakest firms have accounted for most of the growth and are increasingly using debt for “financial risk-taking,” such as investor payouts and Wall Street deal making, rather than new plants and equipment, according to the IMF.

Amid the avalanche of debt, the sharp growth in lower-quality corporate bonds, just one notch above junk, represents a special concern. Investors hold nearly $4 trillion in these bonds, including $2.5 trillion from U.S. companies, according to the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.”

                          Could we perilously find ourselves returning to the economic landscape of the 2008 Great Recession ?

                          Instead of “ brother can you spare a dime, is it now time for  brother can you spare some caviar ?

                          Gordon Gekko in the movie “ Wall Street “ once mused:

                          “ Greed is good ! “

                        Well, maybe it isn’t if the canyon widens deeper between those who are very rich and those who are very poor and subsequently the economic growth of the country slows down demonstrably.

                         We need to hold our leaders accountable in doing everything possible in creating and sustaining an economic order that can sustain fairness and charity for all.

                         May it be so.