Both personal, and big-picture, stories and opinions based around Lake Providence, Louisiana map, a place with a higher income inequality than even Manhattan; the widest gap in the United States. Please take some time today to read through the entire piece.
Some brief slices:
North of Lake Providence, on a side of town Gilmore rarely sees, there are tennis courts and ski boats, swimming pools and manicured estates. The lake is less than a mile wide, but the north side might as well be a world away from Gilmore, who earns $8.50 per hour working 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and still is two months behind on some of her bills.And this:
"The first of the month, I pay the rent," she said. "The next check, I pay my light bills. Sometimes I won't pay my rent and I pay the light bill from last month -- if they cut if it off. Then I pay the rent the end of the month. ...
"I get it done. By the grace of God, I get it done."
The history of slavery and discrimination is still present.Sutter has done a fantastic job with this piece, which includes graphs. He doesn't absolve Delores Gilmore, the primary subject of the piece...he notes her choices to have several children in a depressed economic environment, and support them in the own adulthood...but he understands that the underlying income and wealth inequity in LA and the USA at large is the primary factor here, enhanced by lingering racism and effects from Jim Crow.
But class has become the new barrier -- one that is both persistent and legal.
The richest 5% in the parish earns $611,000 per year on average.
That's 90 times what the bottom fifth makes per year: $6,800.
And 16% of parish residents are unemployed.
Our current President and Congress come off a bit tapped these days, just from keeping the Tea Party from crashing the gates. We need to focus on Congress in 2014, and the Presidency in 2016, so that we can have a representative government solid enough in their majority to really take on these economic issues that have been slowly bleeding us dry since the 1980's.
Tell Sutter what you think of his piece:
John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion and head of CNN's Change the List project. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org