The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Wealth amid Poverty:
Capitalism at Work in Maryland

Aug 3, 2015

Maryland ranks as the wealthiest state in the U.S., yet one in seven of its children live in poverty. And in Baltimore City, the rate of children living in poverty is even higher, one in four.

A recent study found about 180,000 children living in poverty in this wealthy state, up by about 50,000 children since the recession of 2008.

Most politicians will proudly proclaim the recession is over, with incomes rising, unemployment falling, more houses selling. But these gains are all concentrated at the top: the top incomes have risen, houses for millionaires are selling, unemployment may be falling but NOT in Baltimore City.

It should come as no surprise that young people went into the street following the death of Freddie Gray. Unemployment in Baltimore for black people is higher than it was in 2008. For young black men, the rate of unemployment is a demoralizing one out of three. Officially. In reality, it’s much worse.

Yet in the poorer neighborhoods, work desperately needs doing. Houses need rehabilitation or tearing down, with at least 16,000 abandoned properties in Baltimore. The city could put plenty of young people to work learning the trades needed to do such jobs.

Instead, Baltimore politicians, just like politicians in every jurisdiction, pretend that giving tax breaks to developers and corporations that demand them is a way to provide jobs. There is not the slightest proof that these wealthy interests provide jobs. If they did, the politicians would be shouting it from the roof tops.

Baltimore residents, Baltimore’s unemployed, those concerned for children in Maryland certainly need to be shouting from the roof tops – for jobs, jobs, jobs – if they want to see children live better.