Shock: 100 Million Americans In Poverty or Right on the Edge
November 21st, 2011
We can play these “recovery” games in the media all we want, but the truth is starkly different from what our benevolent leadership would have us believe.
If the abhorrent unemployment numbers, the nearly 50 million on government food assistance, dwindling savings accounts, collapsing real estate values, and negative economic growth (when adjusted for inflation) are not enough to convince you that we are in a long-term depressionary cycle, then maybe these latest statistics of “near poor” Americans will:
Down but not quite out, these Americans form a diverse group sometimes called “near poor” and sometimes simply overlooked — and a new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood.
When the Census Bureau this month released a new measure of poverty, meant to better count disposable income, it began altering the portrait of national need. Perhaps the most startling differences between the old measure and the new involves data the government has not yet published, showing 51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. That number of Americans is 76 percent higher than the official account, published in September. All told, that places 100 million people — one in three Americans — either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it.
After a lost decade of flat wages and the worst downturn since the Great Depression, the findings can be thought of as putting numbers to the bleak national mood — quantifying the expressions of unease erupting in protests and political swings. They convey levels of economic stress sharply felt but until now hard to measure.