Tuesday, September 13, 2011

1 in 6 Americans now living in poverty

Yet most people continue to turn to the government to solve the problem:

AP

The ranks of the nation's poor have swelled to a record 46.2 million -- nearly 1 in 6 Americans -- as the prolonged pain of the recession leaves millions still struggling and out of work. And the number without health insurance has reached 49.9 million, the most in over two decades.

The figures are in a Census Bureau report, released Tuesday, that offers a somber snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for last year when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year. The rate is still 9.1 percent at the start of an election year that's sure to focus on the economy and President Barack Obama's stewardship of it.

The overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 percent, from 14.3 percent the previous year, and the rate from 2007-2010 rose faster than for any similar period since the early 1980s when a crippling energy crisis amid government cutbacks contributed to inflation, spiraling interest rates and unemployment. For last year, the official poverty level was an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four.

Measured by total numbers, the 46 million now living in poverty are the most on record dating back to when the census began track in 1959. The 15.1 percent tied the level of 1993 and was the highest since 1983.

Broken down by state, Mississippi had the highest share of poor people, at 22.7 percent, according to calculations by the Census Bureau. It was followed by Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico and Arizona. On the other end of the scale, New Hampshire had the lowest share, at 6.6 percent.

Fifty years of government intervention in the economy coupled with debt and crony capitalism has led us to where we are now. We need to clear the decks but I suspect we will re-elect more people who are most concerned with their employment instead of ours.

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