The problem today for most isn’t this recession, it’s that except for the top 10 percent, average household income hasn’t changed a bit for 10 to 20 years.
By Leo Hindery Jr./ Huffington Post //March 9, 2010
Two old friends, civil rights activist David Mixner and former U.S. Senator (and my oft co-author) Don Riegle (D-MI), believe that in the economic recovery, not enough attention is being given to ‘who’s really poor’ now. David and Don have for years advised me — and others — on the issue of poverty in America, and they are worried that too many people, and especially too many people in the administration and Congress, are missing this imperative.
To help make their point, they referred me to poverty activist Marsha Timpson, who describes today’s poor as “America’s dirty little secret, hidden in the backyards of America’s shining homes, the hollows, the reservations, the border towns and the dark ghettos of the city where they are the lie of the American dream.”
I agree with my friends, and with Ms. Timpson’s view, and everyone else should as well, for right now in America:
* At least 50 million people are ill-fed — up from 37 million just a year ago — including 17 million children. Hunger in America is now at an all-time high, and there are currently entire national geographic regions — the very large 15-state ‘South’ being one of them — where more than half of all public school students are poor and ill-fed.
Although I myself grew up in a fairly hardscrabble environment, as the father of a daughter who was in fact able to create a successful life from the opportunities her mother and I could give her, it is hard for me to imagine what it must be like to have your child needy and hungry. Yet all of us need to ‘imagine’ this, because each night in America millions of children do in fact go to bed hungry and under-nourished, while also lacking proper housing, needed clothing, and the basic education required to develop and ultimately find gainful employment. And while I wholeheartedly support the First Lady’s new “Let’s Move” effort to improve the nutrition of America’s children, we must first react to basic hunger rather than to food quality.
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