WASHINGTON—According to the results of an intensive two-year study, Americans living below the poverty line are "pretty much fucked," Center for Social and Economic Research executive director Jameson Park announced Monday.
"Although poor people have never had it particularly sweet, America has long been considered the land of opportunity, where upward class mobility is hard work's reward," Park said. "However, our study shows that limited access to quality education and a shortage of employment opportunities in depressed areas all but ensure that, once fucked, an individual tends to stay fucked."
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 34.6 million Americans were living below the poverty line in 2002.
"Not only are the down-and-out fucked, but the number of down-and-out fucks is growing," Park said. "Conditions of disadvantage are often passed from one generation to the next, making it especially difficult for young people to emerge from the cycle of poverty."
"Man, my heart goes out to those poor fuckers," Park added.
America's increasingly rigid class system worsens the situation for the poor.
"After analyzing the economic performance of U.S. households over the past several decades, we concluded that class mobility, while steady in the '70s and '80s, declined in the '90s," Park said. "About 40 percent of families ended the decade in the same economic strata in which they began it. That's up from about 35 percent in the '80s. That's good news for those sittin' pretty, but it spells 'fuck you' to the poor."
As a result, Park said, there are more poor people, and those poor people are much more screwed than poor people were a decade or two ago.
"As the split between the upper and lower classes grows, and the middle class continues to shrink, we're moving closer and closer to what can only be called a 'no way out, dude. Sorry, you're fucked'-type situation," Park said. "Not only are the poor fucked at the moment, but any chance they once had of changing their miserable lives is pretty much gone, too. Essentially, they're fucked for all time."
The CSER study identified four major poverty groups within the U.S. The first two groups—one composed of disenfranchised blue-collar workers, the other made up of members of poor rural populations—have been adversely affected by the nation's gradual shift to a technology-based, global economy. Researchers have dubbed disenfranchised blue-collar workers the Factory Fucked, while members of poor rural populations are called the Farm Fucked. Park characterized the individuals in these two groups as "fucked from the get-go."
The other two rapidly expanding groups of poor fucks are the suburban poor, whose members can't afford the rising cost of such basic necessities as healthcare, and the urban underclass, whose members are found in the nation's troubled inner cities. Researchers termed these groups the Recently Fucked and the Utterly Fucked, respectively.
Economist Harold Knoep said there's little reason for sympathy.
"In a healthy capitalist economy, some people are going to be out-competed," Knoep said. "I'm sorry, but some of those fuck-ups have fucked themselves. I am not condoning an anarchic 'fuck or be fucked' ethos, but I can hardly get behind a welfare state that punishes the unfucked by fucking all equally."
While he expressed concern for the nation's poor, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) said increased funding for social programs isn't the answer.
"Nobody's saying poor people aren't fucked," Hastert said. "But what about all the people in this great nation who are not fucked? If the financial resources of the economically stable are diverted—through some well-intentioned but fiscally irresponsible social-service program—to the people who are fucked, where does that leave those who were sailin' along fine? Fucked."
Ed Cranston, an under-employed, Detroit-area machinist who made $14,000 last year, said he was not surprised by the report.
"They say I'm fucked?" Cranston asked. "Shit, man, tell me something I don't know."