The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Professor of Law, Philip Alston, has recently paid much attention to the issue of respect for human rights in the United States itself. Yes, it is a country that is considered the most vocal champion of the protection of human rights in third countries, itself causes no less criticism. After all, what kind of human rights can be discussed if millions of Americans not only do not have their own homes, but also live on the street in general. Only according to official data, the number of American citizens living below the poverty line is more than 45 million people. These are people of all ages, races, nationalities and denominations, which are united by their disastrous financial situation and the almost complete absence of distinct social prospects.
In Russia, the problem of poverty is equally acute and the situation of millions of Russian citizens is also very sad, but there is one defining difference - in the USA, millions of poor people are also homeless, having no housing at all. And among the homeless people, many work, but their earnings are not enough even for renting a seedy room. The income gap between the richest and the poorest Americans is growing, and many African countries can already envy the level of contrast in their lives.
There have always been many poor and even beggars in the USA. The reasons for this should be sought, first of all, in the stories U.S.A. The “poor” strata of the American population were formed from three main sources. First, they were descendants of black slaves. Despite the abolition of slavery in the 19th century, the multimillion-dollar black population of the United States, to a certain extent, was unable to adapt to the socio-economic conditions of North American society. A significant part of African Americans became the basis for the formation of the urban lumpen-proletarian environment. Poverty in the United States has a pronounced racial content - African Americans in general are much poorer than white Americans, among them less qualified specialists and people with higher education, the proportion of people previously convicted is higher.
The second group of American poor are white residents of the province, often representatives of various religious movements, agricultural workers whose incomes are falling, and the level of education does not allow them to quickly restructure and change their lives in accordance with the requirements of modern times. Such people tend to the last to preserve the once traditional way of life for the American province, but, by the way, they have no other choice. Leaving the impoverished province means becoming a homeless or semi-homeless paupera in the megalopolis.
The third group of American poor - immigrants, primarily from neighboring Latin American countries. The Hispanic population in the United States is growing, and the “Latinos”, as South Americans are called here, are not going to integrate into American society, moreover, they oppose themselves to him, even to the extent that they do not learn English. They are perfectly satisfied with life in closed enclaves. In the Spanish-speaking environment, not only poverty is widespread, but also drug addiction, crime, prostitution - all the typical social flaws of capitalist society.
In addition to these groups, the majority of American Indians living on reservations can also be classified as poor. The state has created special conditions for life for the indigenous people of North America, which are not conducive to increasing their social or economic activity. Indians are slowly degrading on reservations, which, at best, serve as objects of ethnographic tourism, and at worst, depressed, endangered villages. It seems that Washington continues the policy of the first European conquerors of the Americas, aimed at the destruction of its indigenous inhabitants.
Arguing how cruelly Europeans, Russians or Chinese have dealt with small nations, in the United States they prefer not to recall the real genocide of the Indian population of North America. Meanwhile, those Indians who managed to survive as a result of the American colonialist policies found themselves in a depressing position. Until now, more than 25% of American Indians live below the poverty line in their reservations. A significant part of Native Americans is alcoholized, on reservations the incidence of tuberculosis, pneumonia, diabetes and a number of other dangerous diseases is almost two times higher, which is caused both by the lifestyle of the Indian population and by the unsatisfactory level of organization of medical care.
The poverty of millions of ordinary Americans is compounded by the hard social barriers that exist between different segments of the population. Lack of money, life in poverty or on the verge of poverty are inherited, because the lack of education and the possibility of obtaining it do not allow even the younger generations of the American poor to break out of the vicious circle. No, of course there may be exceptions, as in the case of Indian "untouchables" becoming ministers or businessmen, but basically the exceptions only confirm the rule - having been born poor in the United States, with 99% likelihood you will die as well.
According to UN experts, in the US the worst among the developed countries of the world are social elevators. The inequality of opportunity in the United States exceeds many of the Third World countries, and the barriers continue to strengthen, and the gap between the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate, widen further.
In the US, a huge number of simply illiterate people. After all, the October Revolution in the States was not a campaign to eliminate illiteracy among the population was not conducted. Therefore, millions of Americans from poor families do not know how to read and write. According to the US Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy for 2016 a year, about 14% of the population of the United States of America does not even have an initial level of education. Among the marginal strata of society, the percentage of illiterate people is even higher - for example, 70% of American prisoners cannot read. Of course, a significant part of American illiterate people are not completely illiterate - they are immigrants from other states who cannot read and write in English, but can be literate in their native languages. But it is not a secret to the extremely low level of education in the American and Latin American communities of the USA, among the Indian population, as well as among some of the white “provincials”, especially representatives of a number of religious communities.
The presence of social problems in the United States is not hidden by the representatives of the American authorities themselves. And they do not hide it in the form peculiar to American politics - they simply refuse to sign an international pact on economic, social and cultural rights. This is not surprising, since the rights of millions of people to housing, food and health care are not respected in the USA. So, the problem of homelessness is very acute in the United States.
Los Angeles and San Francisco are in the lead among cities with a huge number of homeless people, besides New York, where about 70 thousands of homeless people live. Property prices, including its rental, in these cities are very high. Although both Los Angeles and San Francisco are considered very liberal cities, the number of homeless people in them is very large. For example, in Los Angeles, according to 2017, there are about 58 000 homeless people. This, of course, is only official data, in fact there are more people without a roof over their heads in this city. Although the city authorities pretend that they are trying to solve the problem of homeless people by building social shelters, this does not affect the real situation, since the number of places in shelters averages 1: 4. Most of the homeless residents of the city are not covered by the services of social shelters. Moreover, only about 60% of shelters are funded by the authorities, the rest depend on donations from private investors. As soon as there is a worsening economic situation, donations are reduced and shelters begin to close, or at least reduce the number of places.
According to official data, the average annual income per capita in the United States of America is very high, especially in comparison with Russian standards. But in reality, the illusion of a high standard of living is shaped by a large number of wealthy people. "Nizy" American society live completely on other money. Catherine Edin and Luke Schaefer, who published the book Two Dollars a Day: Life on Nothing in America, note that about 1,5 million American households earn no more than two dollars a day. This is quite an African level of earnings, and there is a tendency to further increase the number of absolutely impoverished households.
Low income makes a large number of US citizens dependent on all sorts of humanitarian assistance provided by both government and non-governmental organizations. If you remove humanitarian aid, then millions of Americans have practically nothing to eat. In remote settlements, the situation is even worse, since it is almost impossible to get a job there, fewer than large supermarkets and other trade organizations throwing out expired products. In the United States, the food stamp system that was introduced back in the 1939 year to provide the necessary food to the poor is still maintained. At six in the morning in the American cities, the poor start to take a queue for groceries, risking to be left without food if they are late.
By the way, about 60% of students in American public schools are not able to pay school lunches and lunches. First of all, this applies to African-American children, almost half of whom live in areas of the so-called. "Concentrated poverty" - in the ghetto of American cities, where poverty has long been a way of life. It is not surprising that growing up, a significant part of children from the undercrowded population embarks on the criminal path and goes to prison. The United States is still leading in the number of prisoners, and the conditions of detention in American prisons are very far from humane European standards.
In 2016, food aid vouchers worth 66,6 billion dollars were paid to 44 by a million Americans, almost every eighth person in the country. By the way, the analysis of the race of recipients of food aid is also of great interest - 37% of recipients of food aid are white Americans, 22% are African Americans, and 10% are citizens of Latin American origin.
Thus, it is obvious that among the WASP and other white groups, the number of poor people is very high. However, government programs, saving millions of Americans from the very real famine, cannot give them the main thing - work. Another very serious problem for American society is the cost of medical services. Health care in the United States is not just paid, but expensive, not at all affordable for a huge part of American citizens. Only according to official data, the involuntary payment of medical services has caused 11 to deprive millions of American citizens. This is data for 2014 year. Now the number of “social victims” of expensive medicine is even greater.
Finally, even when speaking of relatively prosperous Americans and American families, one should not forget that a significant part of them build their well-being on borrowed funds. According to statistics, about 25% of US citizens have debts in the aggregate for larger amounts than their income. This means that they actually live in debt and are in debt bondage, being forced to regularly make money to cover their debts.
Thus, arguing about the "charms" of life in the "citadel of world democracy", do not forget about the enormous social inequality and the huge number of poor and homeless people, which is still the hallmark of the United States. By interfering in the affairs of other sovereign states, Washington ignores the existence of colossal social problems on its own territory, brutally using police violence, suppressing any attempts at social protests in American cities.