It is no surprise that with the high unemployment figures we are experiencing in the United States that the poverty rate rose to its highest level in more than 50 years.
The recession has ravaged its way through every income level, but any blip in the economy tends to hit hardest those who have the least.
Estimates on census figures for 2009 show the poverty rate will hit 15 percent. That means one in every seven Americans is living at or below the poverty level. The poverty level stands at $22,025 for a family of four, based on official government calculations that include only cash income before tax deductions.
The poverty rate was sitting at 13.2 percent. A jump to 15 percent is the highest single-year increase since the government began calculating poverty figures in 1959.
The only fix for poverty is getting the economy back on track. There has been some improvement in the economy, but unemployment figures continue to lag. Good-paying jobs are difficult to find, making it even harder for those living in poverty to climb up.
The news will no doubt be bantered about in Washington, where Congress is back in session leading up to a break for the November election. Republicans and Democrats will be busy pointing fingers while not working to find a solution.
Democrats on the national level will probably lean toward an increase in safety net programs designed to help the poor. Republicans will argue that poor people need jobs so they don't have to depend on handouts.
It is even more important now for people to donate money to local organizations that help the poor, such as the United Way of Washington County and food banks.
There is no easy fix to stop the increase in the poverty rate.
For now, more Americans are living in poverty wondering how they will put food on the table and pay utility and medical bills.
Washington needs to stop the finger pointing and get to work to fix the economy. With the upcoming election season and so much at stake, neither side is willing to take a progressive stand that could jeopardize the outcome of who will control the House or Senate.
That is a poor excuse for poverty.