Thursday, April 30, 2015

A system so stacked against the poor.

GUEST: Natalie Ward, recent Vassar graduate and local activist for the Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson foreclosure rights organization, talks about her work for Community Voices Heard.

Natalie spent much of her time with me reviewing the work she does with Community Voices Heard. Perhaps in another country, this work would not seem so exceptional. But in the US, trying to make the lives of the poor somewhat better seems revolutionary. Nobody else does it, and we have a vast subculture of people living below the poverty line.

We are the only advance country in the world without healthcare for all its citizens. Our health system is like a giant parasite, sucking more than three trillion a year from US citizens, while it makes billions for the insurance, pharmaceutical, and private health industries. That's the highest per capita cost in the industrialized world, yet our country ranks 39th in infant mortality and 36 in life expectancy.

And that is just healthcare. Every facet of our economy is set up in the same way, with dollars flowing to the top, and tens of millions in abject poverty. UNICEF rates countries in "children's material well-being." The US ranks near the very bottom, right next to Romania.

So can an organization like Community Voices Heard really make much of a difference against a system that is so stacked against the poor? While we can applaud and contribute to organizations that help the poor, let us not forget that basic structural change to the two party, corporate run plutocracy will require major changes in our governmental system.

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