last night i watched a great program-- tavis smiley's symposium on poverty in our country, 'vision for a new america'-- an annual panel of public leaders across the political spectrum who are working to eradicate poverty.

the number that stuck with me-- nearly 50% of people in our country are living in poverty-- was stunning.  internationally we are in a massive recession-- japan since 1989, greece with 25% unemployment-- and our country is in the middle of that international recession.

monday is the day we celebrate the birth of martin luther king, jr..  it is also the day we will inaugurate barack obama to a second term as our president.  cornel west said last night-- let's put all these things together.   martin luther king jr. died because he was fighting poverty-- fighting poverty and economic inequality in all communities in this country.  king said, to paraphrase, that it was a crime against humanity to have so many of the children of the richest nation in the world living in poverty.

and yet here we are-- almost 50% of us are living in poverty in our country.

the economic policies of international governments and corporations have gotten us into this mess--  the continued exploitation of poor and working people across the globe by what we have come to call the 1%.

but let's be honest--  our buying habits have also gotten us here.

we are looking at the result of the last 60 years of the american consumer wanting more choice and cheaper prices.  we have come to value cheap products-- cheap materials and cheap labor-- over everything.  we feel good about ourselves if we got a good deal on whatever we bought today.  we announce it to our families, we brag about it to our friends.  but that deal that we got today is at someone's expense-- and it is not at the expense of the corporate ceo-- it is at the expense of someone living on the other side of the globe--and  it is at our own expense.  cheap goods are the whole point of the economic policies of governments and corporations that got us into this recession-- our corporations and ceos are reporting record earnings while the rest of us are in the depths of 'the great recession'.  as long as we are happy with the deal we got today we are not looking at who is getting rich on our backs.  we are not looking at how the whole system works to make a few people extremely wealthy and to keep the rest of us in increasing poverty.

worried about how you will send your children to college?  worried about your retirement?  working more than ever before and for less money?

think twice before you shop.


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