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Qtec
11-03-2003, 12:48 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Long queue at drive-in soup kitchen
George Bush's America, the wealthiest nation in history, faces a growing poverty crisis. In the first of a three-part series Julian Borger takes the pulse of the US with elections just a year away

Julian Borger
Monday November 3, 2003
The Guardian

The free food is handed out at nine, but the queue starts forming hours earlier. By dawn, there is a line of cars stretching half a mile back. In Logan, it is what passes for rush hour - a traffic jam driven by poverty and hunger.

The cars come out of the Ohio hills in all shapes and sizes, from the old jalopies of the chronically poor, to the newer, sleeker models of the new members of the club, who only months ago considered themselves middle class, before jobs and their retirement funds evaporated.

Dan Larkin is sitting in his middle-of-the-range pick-up truck. Since the glassware company he worked for closed its doors this time last year, he has found it hard to pay his bills. His unemployment benefits ran out six months ago and his groceries bill is the only part of his budget that has some give. He and his wife sometimes skip meals or eat less to make sure their six-year-old daughter has enough.

"I would have a real problem putting food on the table if it wasn't for this," Mr Larkin said, his car inching towards Logan's church-run food pantry. As the queue rolled forward, he reflected on the ironies of being a citizen of the world's sole superpower.

"They're sending $87bn to the second richest oil nation in the world but can't afford to feed their own here in the States."

George Bush's America is the wealthiest and most powerful nation the world has ever known, but at home it is being gnawed away from the inside by persistent and rising poverty. The three million Americans who have lost their jobs since Mr Bush took office in January 2001 have yet to find new work in a largely jobless recovery, and they are finding that the safety net they assumed was beneath them has long since unravelled. There is not much left to stop them falling.

Last year alone, another 1.7 million Americans slipped below the poverty line, bringing the total to 34.6 million, one in eight of the population. Over 13 million of them are children. In fact, the US has the worst child poverty rate and the worst life expectancy of all the world's industrialised countries, and the plight of its poor is worsening.

The ranks of the hungry are increasing in step. About 31 million Americans were deemed to be "food insecure" (they literally did not know where their next meal was coming from). Of those, more than nine million were categorised by the US department of agriculture as experiencing real hunger, defined by the US department of agriculture as an "uneasy or painful sensation caused by lack of food due to lack of resources to obtain food."

That was two years ago, before the recession really began to bite. Partial surveys suggest the problem has deepened considerably since then. In 25 major cities the need for emergency food rose an average of 19% last year.

Another indicator is the demand for food stamps, the government aid programme of last resort. The number of Americans on stamps has risen from 17 million to 22 million since Mr Bush took office.

In Ohio, hunger is an epidemic. Since George Bush won Ohio in the 2000 presidential elections, the state has lost one in six of its manufacturing jobs. Two million of the state's 11 million population resorted to food charities last year, an increase of more than 18% from 2001.

In Logan, over 500 families regularly turn out twice monthly at the food pantry run by the Smith Chapel United Methodist Church.


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Full article web page (http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1076591,00.html)


Q

Wally_in_Cincy
11-03-2003, 07:33 AM
No it's not true. I don't have time to refute it point-by-point....maybe later.

At Thanksgiving they give out free turkeys and stuff in the city. You should the line of people. They're all FAT !!!

Sid_Vicious
11-03-2003, 08:18 AM
I made a prediction to a co-worker that the lower middle class was going to have a slippage into poverty with all this jobless recovery. I'm sad for these folks and to tell the truth not far at all from the danger of being the same as them if my job happened to disappear. People with a lot of money and security tend to forget the vulnerability factor to real poverty for some of these folks, here in this great country...sid