Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

India, Katrina, and the Bailout: How Poor People Everywhere Are Being Neglected

Posted in poverty by allisonkilkenny on December 3, 2008

The slums of Delhi

The slums of Delhi

Written beside the American creed of hating terrorists and loving the Irish and Italians should be the footnote and we ignore poor people. Poor people always get the shit end of every deal usually because they can’t get the attention of politicians or pundits, and because of this the poor people in New Orleans and India have a lot in common.

India has more than 100,000 millionaires, and is creating new ones at a rate rivalled only be Russia. Meanwhile, nearly half of Mumbai’s 14-18 million residents live in slums. In the United States, poor people suffer under a specialized caste system that masquerades as a functioning democracy. In the good ole’ US of A, the top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

Yet, in the 2008 election, neither major candidate uttered the word “poor” in the thousands of hours clocked speaking into cameras. But the sickness of ignoring the poor goes beyond John McCain and Barack Obama. The United States government and the corporate media systematically ignore the suffering of the poor, too.

Whether observing FEMA’s shameful handling of post-Katrina New Orleans or the situation in India, it’s pretty clear that governments and corporate media only care about disasters if they involve rich, affluent people. If poor people are drowning, the government takes weeks to throw them rafts. If their slums wallow in poverty and violence for years, the cameras only arrive when terrorists bomb a luxury hotel in Mumbai.
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