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There's an article in today's Guardian which I think might be of interest in this thread.

Katrina uncovers the forgotten queues at America's soup kitchens

Writing about the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit:

Many of the people at the tables have the worn appearance of the chronically poor and homeless, others are younger and wouldn't attract glares; many have low-paying jobs and simply struggle to make ends meet, part of a swelling class of the working poor. The soup kitchen serves around 800 people daily for lunch. The summer months are the busiest. In the winter, numbers thin. Some regulars find places at shelters and would rather go hungry than lose them. Others have no proper footwear and risk frostbitten feet if they do make the trip.

"I drove in here yesterday and I saw all these people streaming in to the soup kitchen, and I thought 'there is so much suffering in this city'," said Brother Jerry Smith, who runs the soup kitchen. "I see the abandoned buildings and factories on a massive scale. I have to keep looking for signs of hope. Sometimes it's pretty demoralising."

This is the America most don't see.

And it contains some statistics:

According to the US census bureau, poverty has been on the rise for the past four years, despite a robust economy. The number of people living in poverty increased last year to 12.7% of the population, some 37m people, the highest percentage in the developed world. Since Mr Bush took office an additional 5.4m have slipped below the poverty line. In 1970, the rate was 11.1%. Almost 8% of white people are classified as below the poverty line and almost 25% of African Americans.

(snip)

In Detroit, 34% of the population live in poverty, including almost half the children under 17.

(snip)

There is perhaps good reason for cynicism. Items on the agenda in Washington include the extension of tax cuts on investment income and repealing the estate tax, both aimed at the wealthy. Also proposed are tens of billions of dollars of cuts to services like food stamps, federal student loans and Medicaid, the health insurance for the low-income Americans.

The whole article is worth reading.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 17th, 2005 at 03:22:28 AM EST

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