|America: You'll come for the Bush administration, you'll stay for the poverty.
A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 -- half the federal poverty line -- was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.
The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.
Kentucky's deep poverty rate increased 26 percent from 2000 to 2005, adding 59,305 people to the ranks of the severely poor according to the study. Kentucky's poverty rate, 16.8 percent, and deep poverty rate, 7.1 percent, for 2005 are both higher than the national averages of 13.3 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.
The plight of the severely poor is a distressing sidebar to an unusual economic expansion. Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind and the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.
These and other factors have helped push 43 percent of the nation's 37 million poor people into deep poverty -- the highest rate since at least 1975. ...
Meanwhile, across the pond, the British government considers classifying an 8-year-old boy as abused, because his parents have allowed him to balloon to 14 stone -- that's 196 pounds in America-speak.
If you want to feel really bad about what's going on in Iraq, read this.
And how FUBAR is American foreign policy in this hemisphere? Colombia, on whom we've pinned all our hopes of avoiding a totally leftist region, turns to an old card that will be familiar to the Bushies: death squads.
Labels: Bush administration, current affairs, foreign policy, news, poverty