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What it’s Like to Live on $2 a Day in the United States


What it’s Like to Live on $2 a Day in the United States

Chico Harlan

In the United States, we often talk about poverty as a line: You are above it or below it; you escape it or can’t get out of it. Every year, the government defines that line with a number. Right now, if you’re in a family of four, you’re considered poor if you get by on less than $16.60 per day.


Mr. Harlan is to be commended for caring about this issue. But let's face it: All of these studies on poverty are just delaying tactics. The real issue is the degree to which all "wealth" created in the past decade--the majority of it generated from stock market manipulations, derivatives scams, and other exotic financial instruments (that are about as honest as the guy who hides the bean under 1 of 3 cups while beguiling a credulous betting crowd) --went to the top 1%. That meant far less trickled down.

Instead of so many discussions on poverty, what requires more than just discussion--but also massive legal redress--is why 200 families get to own almost half of the world's wealth.

All of these discussions about--where will the money come from to provide a modicum of decency to families living in cars and selling their blood--need to focus on the two monsters that cannibalize it all: the very rich through their corporate apparatus and the military industrial complex.

Today on Abby Martin's new show she offered statistics citing that 54% of this nation's discretionary income goes to the M.I.C. And she also showed what that money might instead have financed.

The riches exist. It's just that crooks and not yet convicted convicts and other serial killers run the show. At the rate they are going, those who learned to live on $2. a day will have a leg up on the rest of us.


When there were still genuine frontiers in the world, it was possible to escape the tyranny of money. Now that there is no escape, the tyranny is absolute. To me, this was always the take home message from Marx.


Here in Canada Elizabeth May of the Green Party points out that just the subsidies given to the hydrocarbon industry are enough to provide every university and college student enough for free education while having billions left over

In the USA the black ops budget, which is kept off the books and spent secretly is estimated at 80 billion per year.


Rather than inadequate welfare with an obstacle course of punshing loopholes set up by states or even higher minimums for jobs that will never again come close in number to those needing them, it's time to start demanding a Minimum Income. Cut everyone a check for enough to live on in comfortable poverty. This would end most homelessness. It would allow more people to work part-time spreading the work around. it would allow more creative ventures and small business start-ups. It would allow time for leisure and, in increasing consumption, would trickle-up boosting the economy and creating even more jobs. Where does the money come from for this? It comes from the grants that covered welfare and foodstamps. It comes from taxing billionaires, Wall Street transactions and corporations (who will recoup the dough from increased consumerism.


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Any system is evil that allows children (or anyone else) to live in poverty while there's more than enough to go around. We've had nearly 40 years of trickledown economics, yet poverty rates are higher than they were 40 years ago. Our economics system puts the profits of the few ahead of the wellbeing of society and the environment It's a system where inevitably the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, a system where a few own almost everything and the rest of us are in debt to them, a system that's fundamentally sick and unjust, a system in need of radical (i.e., at the root) change.


You have a very decent-sound prescription for how to save both humanity and the Earth but it is clear that humans have a significant amount of evolving to do before such an altruistic world can be realized. Materialism, consumerism, egoism, you name it, is so entrenched in the psyches of so many today that countless millions would rather see the world destroyed than give up what they have. This is evidenced by the fact that so few are willing to make even modest changes to their lifestyles for the benefit of the planet. Just imagine what would happen if suddenly the middle class and above were forced to forgo their cars, big houses, jet rides, big vacations, and on and on.


Well said Siouxrose. I'm also happy hearing that Abby's voice is again to be heard.


Well Daddio, I suggest you present your model of legislation that would enforce the one in 10 rule.


Beautifully said, Susan! Brava!


I have been disabled for 22 years, I am not allowed to own any assets, there is no such thing as affordable housing, after I pay my bills on the 3rd of each month I live on less than 2.00 a day, because of past credit history I have 3 maxed out credit cards to stay alive, as I get sicker I get less healthcare because I cannot pay the co-pays...I have learned the hard way to never ever ask for help, there is none...the biggest fight I have everyday is the stigma of being broken and unable to work, I have become invisible, I try to be a good Buddhist and rise above the insults but it's hard to do when at every-turn you are told you are a P.O.S.