Growing Poverty in America - by Stephen Lendman
The newly released US Census report on "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009" way understates a growing problem as do most other government data. Unemployment for one, the Labor Department's headlined (U-3) 9.6% masks the true 22% based on 1980 calculations.
With America in economic crisis, the new Census report portends much worse ahead under a president and Congress doing little to address it, the Brookings Institution Isabel Sawhill expecting the problem to "get much worse long before it gets better." More on the new data below. First, some other confirmations of economic trouble.
The Federal Reserve's September-released Flow of Funds report shows household Q 2 2010 net worth plunged $1.5 trillion because of a $0.9 trillion drop in corporate equities and a $0.7 reduction in pension fund holdings. Overall, total household financial assets declined by $1.7 trillion to $43.7 trillion, a trend expected to continue for some time.
On September 15, RealtyTrac reported another disturbing one, saying:
"The number of homes taken back by lenders hit a new record high last month:" 95,364 foreclosures, about 2% higher than the previous May 2010 peak. According to its CEO, James J. Saccacio:
"The trend lines of decreasing default notices and increasing bank repossessions converged in August, with virtually the same number (of both) - a clear indication that the clogged foreclosure pipeline is being carefully managed on both ends by lenders and servicers." However, they can't mask a housing depression, the worst since the 1930s, showing no signs of ebbing. In Q 1, 2010, one of every seven mortgages was either delinquent or in foreclosure, now likely even more.
On September 9, Bloomberg writers Bob Willis and Vincent Del Giudice headlined, "Record Plunge in US Consumer Credit Signals Weakened Spending," saying:
"A record $21.6 billion drop in borrowing by Americans" provided more confirmation of a continuing trend. "Consumer credit fell by 10 percent at an annual rate in July to $2.5 trillion, according to a (newly released) Federal Reserve report....The drop was more than five times larger than economists' forecasts. Credit fell for a sixth (straight) month, the longest series of declines since 1991."
In early August, the US Department of Agriculture reported a record 40.8 million Americans (one in eight) on food stamps, a 19% increase year over year, and 18 straight months of record highs.
In January 2010, Feeding America (FA, formerly America's Second Harvest) confirmed the growing problem in its report titled, "Hunger in America 2010," a topic an earlier article addressed, accessed through the following link:
Since 2005, it cited a 27% increase, saying one in eight Americans are food insecure, meaning they don't get enough to eat. Included are 14 million children and three million seniors, and these numbers keep rising as the economy weakens.
The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty estimates over three million Americans experience homelessness annually, including about 1.3 million children. Even more are at risk because of growing numbers losing jobs and homes. For others, one health emergency makes them homeless.
In July, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and First Focus reported about one million homeless students. Based on Department of Education data, the total rose by over 40% from the 2006-07 school year - 2008-09, a number well over a million now and rising.
Since mid-2007, total household wealth plunged $13.9 trillion, another disturbing trend, confirming so many others, showing up poverty and other data.