Extreme poverty in the US has reached its highest point in at least three decades, according to an analysis of Census Bureau figures by McClatchy Newspapers published February 22. The increase reflects the stark reality of declining living standards for the majority of the population in the so-called capitalist recovery of the past five years as well as during the period that preceded it.
In 2005, individuals earning less than $5,080 a year were considered severely poor; a family of four with two children was severely poor if they lived on less than $9,903. The data review found that nearly 16 million Americans in 2005 were living in severe poverty, or below half the federally designated poverty threshold.
This figure represents nearly half of the total poverty population, the highest proportion of the poverty population in dire straits since at least 1975. Between 2000 and 2005 alone, this group grew by 26 percent, even as the economy recovered from recession.
Now, not long after all 15 branches were rebuilt or remodeled, every one will be shuttered in what’s being called the largest library shutdown in the United States. The crisis in southern Oregon can be traced not only to changing funding priorities on Capitol Hill, but also to crooked railroad deals in the Wild West, a spotted owl and a shrinking timber harvest.