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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Could you survive on $2 a day? About 1.4 million Americans do

There is real poverty here, too, not just in the overseas, war-torn countries we are familiar with.

Could you survive on $2 a day?

From the piece:

In a report published earlier this year by the University of Michigan's National Poverty Center, Edin and Shaefer estimated that nearly 1 in 5 low-income American households has been living in extreme povery; since 1996, the number of households in that category had increased by about 130 percent. Among the truly destitute were 2.8 million children. Even if you counted food stamps as cash, half of those kids were still being raised in homes whose weekly take wasn't enough to cover a trip to Applebee's.

In the researchers' eyes, it was a bombshell. But the media barely noticed.

"Nobody's talking about it," Edin gripes. Even during a presidential campaign focusing on the economy, only a few local and regional news outlets took note of their report on the plight of America's poorest families. Mitt Romney told CNN that he wasn't concerned about the "very poor," who, after all, could rely on the nation's "very ample safety net." Even President Obama was reticent to champion any constituent worse off than the middle class. As journalist Paul Tough noted in the New York Times Magazine this past August, the politician who cut his teeth as an organizer in inner-city Chicago hasn't made a single speech devoted to poverty as president of the United States. (Although Paul Ryan has.)

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