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Reality check on the US of A: Facts and figures

Those living outside America have a "vision" of the country which really does not accord with the facts.    This piece, on AlterNet, lays bare some startling facts and figures about the US of A.

But two of 9 examples:

"2. Half of us are poor or barely scraping by.

The latest Census Bureau data shows that one in two Americans currently falls into either the “low income” category or is living in poverty. Low-income is defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level. Adjusted for inflation, the earnings for the bottom 20 percent of families have dropped from $16,788 in 1979 to just under $15,000. Earnings for the next 20 percent have been stuck at $37,000.

States in the South and West had the highest proportion of low-income families, including Arizona, New Mexico and South Carolina, where politicians are eagerly shredding the social safety net.

3. Unhappy meal.

46.7 million Americans must now use food stamps in order to get a meal, and many aren’t old enough to earn money for themselves. Almost half of all U.S. children will be on food stamps during some part of their childhood. For black children, that number is 90 percent.  Eight percent of those receiving food stamps are seniors.

The average monthly SNAP benefit (food stamps) per person is $133.85. That’s less than $1.50 per person, per meal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, a gallon of milk cost $3.50 on average in the U.S. while a pound of stew beef cost $4.30. Food prices are expected to increase as much as 3 percent in 2013."






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