Why is America poor

United States Poverty in the US is increasing

Christmas 2009 was a magical moment for millions of Americans. President Barack Obama even called it "historic". On December 24th, the Senate voted 60 in favor of the health reform. 39 Republican MPs had voted against. Many American presidents have dreamed of this reform. President Obama seemed about to make it a reality. But the loss of a democratic seat in the Senate could call the whole package into question again.

The reform is long overdue and urgently needed. According to the latest figures, 46 million Americans are without health insurance. With the reform, 30 million would have insurance coverage immediately, the rest in 2013 at the earliest.

Not just health insurance, but the entire American healthcare system is in crisis. Because the most expensive health system in the world is also one of the most unfair. One example is the maternal mortality rate. The United States ranks first among the industrialized nations in this regard, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most important government agency for the public health service, two to three women die every day from complications during pregnancy. Most affected are African-Americans, whose risk of death is three times higher than that of white Americans. The agency concludes that at least half of the deaths could be prevented if the women affected had better access to medical care. Other risk factors are poverty, discrimination and treatment costs.

Increased risk of poverty

In this time of crisis and recession, more and more Americans are facing financial difficulties. However, this situation is not entirely new. According to the US Census Bureau, the number of people affected by poverty rose by 6 million to 40 million today under the administration of George W. Bush, which corresponds to 15 percent of the American population. Members of minorities and migrants are much more affected. 24.5 percent of Afro-Americans and 21.5 percent of Hispanics live in poverty, compared to only 8.2 percent of white Americans. In addition, the welfare budget has been drastically cut under the Bush administration.

It is also dramatic that destitute citizens are increasingly being criminalized, as the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) states in a new study. According to this association of lawyers, the number of ordinances relating to public poverty has increased. Likewise, the fines and arrests, with which even the smallest offenses are punished. This includes the ban on throwing rubbish on public ground or holding a bottle of alcohol open in your hand in public. The charts of the strictest cities are led by Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Hunger and homelessness

“I wasn't ready for what I saw. The situation is worse than I imagined, ”says Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, after her return from the United States. George W. Bush had denied her entry for a year. After the election of Barack Obama, the situation is different. “I believe that the poorest of the poor, that is, the lowest-income section of the population, suffer most from today's situation. The burden is unevenly distributed and lies primarily on the shoulders of Afro-Americans, Latinos, migrants and the indigenous population. "