A Tale of Two Cities….

April 18, 2014

It’s known as one of the most exclusive places on earth, the home of the rich and spectacularly rich.  Orange County, Calif.’s, reputation only grew when the TV crews started rolling in several years ago. But “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and the teens of “Laguna Beach” failed to mention a major piece of the O.C. drama. The county is also among the top 10 in the U.S. for childhood food insecurity….

Along with the yacht clubs and average home prices of nearly $2 million in some spots, Orange County also has more than 150,000 children who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Paul Leon is the president of the Illumination Foundation, a group that helps struggling families find housing and stability. — Orange County is basically the tale of two cities. We have the area that we’re standing in right now, which is Newport Beach, is the richest thing in the nation. And then 17 miles away, we have one of the most densely populated and poorest cities in the nation.

Among the poor are thousands of low-income workers who support the county’s luxury economy. Before Leon’s foundation intervened, kids in the Tina Pacific neighborhood of Anaheim often skipped meals.

SOURCE: In wealthy Orange County, a campaign to waste less to help feed hungry kids | PBS NewsHour | Jan. 24, 2014 | PBS.

While Orange County, California is perhaps at the top of the list when it comes to income inequality it is by no means unique in that area. If nothing is done in this area eventually there will be a citizen uprising that might very well shake the foundations of our democracy.  Yes, the spin machines have done a good job up till now in convincing enough people that they to can find the “good life” if only they work hard enough. But, given the continuing drain of wealth to the top  even that rhetoric will eventually lose enough believers.

It seems ironic that the people in Orange county who own those $2 million dollar home won’t pay a living wage to those who keep up those mansions. It is not as if they can’t afford it, they simply choose not to do so.

Enrollment in the food stamp program has increased by 70 percent since 2008, to 47.8 million people as of December 2012. The biggest factor driving the increase is the stagnating job market and a rising poverty rate. This means that a staggering 15 percent of the US population receives food stamp benefits, nearly double the rate of 1975. Even military families use of food stamps has increased from $26 million in 2006 to $103 million last year.

A Tale of Two Cities seems to be the motto of our country in the 21st century. The rich get richer and the poor by their absence at the voting booth let them.

 

 

 

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2 responses to A Tale of Two Cities….

  1. 

    I will say this about you, R.J., you are a relentless advocate for the down-trodden. I commend you for that. It is disturbing indeed to see great disparity in wealth that happens in our cities. However, I don’t like to paint all the rich folks as evil and all the poor as victims. There are probably many reasons for poverty, not the least of which is the fact that we live in a capitalist society. Wealth and success are admired and rewarded and is the goal of many people. But, something seems to happen to people when they reach that rarified atmosphere…they lose touch…not all of them but many. They seem to turn on others as though they were an impediment to their lives. They seperate from the herd so to speak. Instead of using their positions to better the country and create jobs here at home etc.. they to use it to further their own status. And they taint the government with their money and politics. Hence the disappearing middle class. I’m sure I have a simplistic understanding of this issue but anyway, those of us in the middle or at the bottom have a struggle to hold our own in this growing disparity don’t we?

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    • 

      Yeah, we do have to struggle just to stay in place don’t we. Orange County just seems the epitome of this struggle. The majority of the very poor there are directly working for the very rich in the same area and can’t even afford a sustenance living.

      Maybe I don’t point it out as much as some would like but I do recognize that not all those in the top 10% are without much empathy. There are many who are excellent examples for the rest of us.

      Like one of Will Roger’s quote says, there is only so much money so if the rich get richer they are indeed taking it from the rest of us. I am afraid that something is going to change in this area very rapidly which may just upset the apple cart so to speak….

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