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.
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.