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"If you don't get out from under my foot,
it's because you're lazy and want to be poor."

The fantastic (and I use that word in the most sarcastic possible way) news about the economy just keeps on coming:

About 20.5 million Americans, or 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, make up the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 percent or less of the official poverty level. Those living in deep poverty represent nearly half of the 46.2 million people scraping by below the poverty line. In 2010, the poorest poor meant an income of $5,570 or less for an individual and $11,157 for a family of four.

That 6.7 percent share is the highest in the 35 years that the Census Bureau has maintained such records, surpassing previous highs in 2009 and 1993 of just over 6 percent.

Broken down by states, 40 states and the District of Columbia had increases in the poorest poor since 2007, and none saw decreases. The District of Columbia ranked highest at 10.7 percent, followed by Mississippi and New Mexico. Nevada had the biggest jump, rising from 4.6 percent to 7 percent.

This is likely to come up the next time a Republican politician is looking to point a finger at people struggling in this economy. They do it with every piece of bad news—high long-term unemployment, skyrocketing student loan debt, people needing food stamps all become the faults of the people suffering from them. Never mind that when the rate at which something is happening goes up to historic levels, it's a helluva lot more likely that it's because the economy changed, because, say, corporations are sitting on giant f'ing piles of cash and not hiring, not because in the space of a few years human nature changed and people just became more lazy or whatever else Republicans want to call the poor, the unemployed, the in debt.

If the $1.37 trillion held by America's 400 richest households is difficult to wrap our minds around, so too are the fact that 6.7 percent of our population is living at or below 50 percent of the poverty level and the gap that those figures represent.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 07:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and Daily Kos.

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