Poverty corresponds closely to ethnic minority status in NJ schools

The 1,370,000 students enrolled in New Jersey public schools include 38 percent who are living in poverty, a number close to the combined total of the 24 percent of children who are Latino and 16 percent of pupils who are African American.

Voice of the People by James J. DevineWhile some of the 49 percent of school children who are White are also among the impoverished, racial segregation and low income are clearly related, but the real conflict is between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’.

Meanwhile, almost 42,000 Garden State residents with an average income of $3,142,200 stand to save close to a billion dollars, combined, if Republicans adopt the tax plan under consideration in Congress.

More than 30 percent of Americans have not recovered from the 2008 recession, nearly 10 years after the onset of the worst financial crisis the economy has suffered since the Great Depression back in the 1930s. Giving more to those who have plenty will not enhance the meager living of the poor.

A December 2016 study found average Garden State incomes are still $3,700 lower than they were before the Great Recession. 

For at least four decades, the rich have been getting richer while working class residents have gotten poor, as the portion of Americans among the “middle class” has declined from 65 percent during the 1960s to just about 40 percent today.

Efforts since 1980 to reduce historic disparities among the poor and to correct segregation of ethnic minorities have largely failed.

During the same period, tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy have not triggered economic growth sufficient to sustain their costs in lost revenue, as evidenced by massive increases in government debt.

It is pretty clear that drastic change is needed to make America more equal and fair.

The smartest remedy is to abandon mythical ‘voodoo economics’ that have proved unreliable and go back to doing what worked: Collecting sufficient tax revenue to pay the government’s bills, maintaining public services, insuring high wages and investing in a stronger future for all Americans.

That is what we did when the nation pulled together to overcome the Great Depression, to defeat the Axis Powers in World War II and create the largest middle class expansion among working people during the 1950s and ’60s. Americans armed themselves wisely and fought bravely to defeat all threats.

The price was high. Top marginal tax rates were 90 percent before President Kennedy reduced them to 70 percent, but the economy was booming and all accumulated national debt was less than $1 trillion until President Reagan drastically altered the balance among rich and poor.

Today’s national debt is approaching $25 trillion. The Republican tax plan would drive up debt by $1.5 trillion more than its current course, which passed the $20 trillion mark in September.

There is a class war raging in America, and it has been since 1980, but often it seems like only one side if fighting in it. That explains why you are losing so badly.

How many more people could be freed, if only they knew they were slaves? The oppressed workers who have been losing ground for the last 40 years are not merely victims of circumstance. Their plight is the predictable result of unsound economic policies fueled by greed, combined with the corruption of our political system intentionally executed to increase influence among the rich.

While race is a significant factor in the conflict, the class war itself is an economic struggle against unprovoked aggression in which one side is severely disadvantaged and the other holds all the cards.

Setting working people against one another is a distraction that aids the affluent.

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