When President Trump delivers his State of the Union Address tonight, he’ll cite selected statistics about an economy that has been steadily recovering from the financial collapse of 2008.
But he won’t talk about these human tragedies, made more severe by his tax, budget and regulatory policies that value the wealthy over working Americans.
- More Mass Layoffs: While some workers are receiving long-overdue raises or welcome bonuses, tens of thousands are losing their jobs. In January alone, Walmart announced it is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores with almost 10,000 employees. Kimberley-Clark, which makes Kleenex and Huggies, is eliminating up to 5,500 jobs – 12 to 13 percent of its workforce. And Toys “R” Us is shutting down about a fifth of its US stores, casting doubt on the future of its 64,000 workers.
- Impoverished by Illness: More than 60 percent of Americans can’t afford an emergency costing $1,000, according to the financial advice website Bankrate. Most would need to take on new debts, through credit cards, loans or family and friends. The greatest financial hazards are medical bills, which force more than 10 million people a year into poverty—a growing peril with Medicaid cuts and threats to the Affordable Care Act.
- Public School Children in Poverty: In 21 states, most of which voted for Trump, the majority of public school students live in poverty. In fact, more than half of the nation’s students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, indicating they live below or only slightly above the poverty line. Many require special services while Trump’s Education Department diverts funds to private schools.
When the President speaks tonight, these Americans won’t be honored guests in the gallery of the House of Representatives. But they will be in our hearts when we watch the speech at home.