Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Preparing for Economic Depression

Here we all live in a state of ambitious poverty.
Juvenal (47–138 AD), Roman poet

The number of Americans who fell into poverty rose to 37 million — up 1.1 million from 2003 — according to Census Bureau figures released Tuesday. It marks the fourth straight increase in the government's annual poverty measure.

These statistics are simply nonsense because the poverty level is ridiculously low to begin with. The poverty threshold differs by the size and makeup of a household. For instance, a family of four was considered living in poverty last year if annual income was $19,307 or less. For a family of two, it was $12,334. Those numbers can be doubled and one would still have a very difficult time making ends meet.

While disappointed, the Bush gang — which has not seen a decline in poverty numbers since the president took office — said it was not surprised by the new statistics. And, I can only guess that they do not care.

Overall, the nation's poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent of the population last year. Of the 37 million living below the poverty level, close to a third were children.

The Census Bureau also said household income remained flat, and that the number of people without health insurance edged up by about 800,000 to 45.8 million people.

The last decline in overall poverty was in 2000, during the Clinton administration, when 31.1 million people lived under the threshold. Since then, the number of people in poverty has increased steadily from 32.9 million in 2001, when the economy slipped into recession, to 35.8 million in 2003.

For a country as rich and resourceful as the United States it is a shame that so many people have to live like this and so few care.


Daxohol said...

As a person who works directly with the impoverished here in Canada, I have to say I am extremely frustrated how the issue of poverty is swept under the rug along with the environment. They are the two things that can't and should not be ignored, and they are.

Stephen (aka Q) said...

The USA has more people living in poverty than our total population, which is only 33 or 34 million.

That makes it a big enough problem, you would expect everybody to be screaming that something must be done.

The Misanthrope said...

Unfortunately, the U.S. believes it is making progress on this front. As you can tell from what I have been posting, I think it is only going to get worse because the safety nets of unemployement, disability, affordable health care and moving away from helping those who really need it and are not being updated to accommodate the reality of today's workplace.