Last year the US poverty rate reached 14.3 percent, 1.1 percent higher than in 2008. Almost five million Americans skidded below the poverty line ($22,050 annual income for a family of four), many from hitherto sheltered circles, where poverty was a foreign word. The number of long-term unemployed keeps rising. Worst off are families with children. Every fifth child in the US lives in poverty today.
"The situation was bad before, don't get me wrong," Bich Ha Pham, research director with the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), a welfare organization in New York City, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "But this time, it could happen to anybody."
And nobody seems to care. Poverty wasn't an issue during the midterm elections -- and it won't be an issue now that the spendthrift deficit hawks of the Republican Party have reclaimed the House of Representatives.
"Nothing's going to happen," Curtis Skinner, head of Family Economic Security at the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), told SPIEGEL ONLINE. The political swing to the right, Skinner fears, is "extremely hurtful" and "absolutely disastrous" to the interest of the weakest. Indeed, what Washington is debating now is not more help for the poor -- but extending the former President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the rich.Link. H/T Wichita.