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Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that 15 percent of all Americans officially live in poverty. That is nearly one out of every six Americans. Think about that for a minute. If it’s not you, look around. Count five people. It’s one of them.

Looking at the actual poverty rates and the picture is even more grim. If you are single and earn $11,000 per year, you are fortunately above the poverty level, which is $10,890. For a family of four, admission to the poverty club is $22,350.

I don’t know about you, but trying to live off of less than $11,000 a year seems highly unlikely. For me, 75 percent of that would be eaten up by rent alone. I would be left with about $2,500. Ummm. Not feasible.

Nearly 26 percent of all U.S. households earn less than $25,000 per year. If this is not your family, go outside look down the street. Count three houses. It’s one of them.

Actually, it’s worse than that. A more realistic measure of the state of the nation’s welfare can be heard in the popular refrain on conservative talk shows that half the population doesn’t pay federal income tax. That’s true. But the bottom 60 percent controls only about three percent of the nation’s wealth.

These numbers are very sobering. The United States is a powerful nation. Yet, for many, struggle abounds.

Will knowing these numbers make any difference as Congress looks to take up President Obama’s jobs bill in October? If their rhetoric and past performance is any indication, I think there is very little chance they will do what they reasonably can to create jobs and get our fiscal house in order.

What do you think?

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