The U.S. Economy is Still in the Poorhouse
Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau will issue a report on the 2009 poverty level and demographers expect the figure to rise from 13.2% to 15% which equates to 45 million people. This would be the largest year-over-year increase since the Census Bureau started keeping track in 1959.
Among working adults aged 18-64 the figure is expected to reach 12.4% which is up from 11.7% in 2008 and the highest level since 1965.
In 2008, the government set the poverty level for a family of four at $22,025 and Thursday’s report is expected to show that over 20% of the children in the United States are living in poverty.
Beginning next year the government will also be releasing supplemental policy figures that take into account the rising costs of medical, childcare and transportation, which will push the ranks of the poor even higher.
In the midst of this, on Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales modestly rose for July and August (.3% and .4%), but it was mostly due to higher gasoline and food prices. Back-to-school shopping did give the retail sales number a boost, but the decline in auto sales last month was the worst August performance in 27 years.
Consumer spending is responsible for two-thirds of the U.S. economy. Even though people are still spending some money on basic goods and services, with high unemployment, loss of income and home values, and rampant Money Anxiety Disorder, the health and well-being of the U.S. population is still at a critical stage.