Thanks to a request by The New York Times, the Census Bureau released data indicating that 1 out of 3 Americans are either officially poor or near it. It turns out that over 51 million people fall in the category of near poor, meaning their income puts them between the official poverty line and 50 percent above it—with adjustments in cost of living differences included. These are the people who struggle every month to make ends meet—stretching their paychecks in an endless cycle of trade-offs between choices like buying food or filling a prescription.
Meanwhile, as a graph on the Mother Jones website illustrates, Wall Street profits between 2007 and 2009 climbed 720 percent, unemployment rose 102 percent, and home equity declined 35 percent. The foreclosure crisis continues unabated with 2.7 million households who’ve already lost their homes and an additional 3.6 million perilously close to losing their homes as reported by the Center for Responsible Lending. Will 2012 be the year Congress finally takes decisive action to put Americans back to work and keep families in their homes? (Hint: that’s a rhetorical question).