WASHINGTON (AFP) - The gulf between rich and poor in the United States is yawning wider than ever, and the number of extremely impoverished is at a three-decade high, a report out Saturday found.
Based on the latest available US census data from 2005, the McClatchy Newspapers analysis found that almost 16 million Americans live in "deep or severe poverty" defined as a family of four with two children earning less than 9,903 dollars -- one half the federal poverty line figure.
For individuals the "deep poverty" threshold was an income under 5,080 dollars a year.
"The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005," the US newspaper chain reported.
The surge in poverty comes alongside an unusual economic expansion.
"Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. At the same time, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries," the study found.
"That helps explain why the median household income for working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years.
And more families are in need of filing bankruptcy than ever before, but the BAPCPA "reform" passed by the Republicans when they gained complete power in Congress and the Presidency has severely limited that option. Bankruptcy was one of the few safety valves that our country had. The BAPCPA law sought to weld it shut.
It is just more evidence that we are shifting more of the burdens of cost of society onto those who are least able to afford it. And other stories show how we provide government welfare to those who need it the least.