"Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income" is the headline over an Associated Press dispatch reporting, "Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans -- nearly 1 in 2 -- have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income."
The article quotes Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation pointing out that a lot of these "poor" people have houses, cars, and wide-screen televisions. If you are low income but own a house debt-free, you may be doing okay. But even so, the article says the numbers of the poor or low-income have grown since 2009:
About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That's up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure.
Look for Republicans to try to make an issue out of this in the political campaign in 2012. President Obama will argue that without him, it would be even worse. The Republicans will argue that without him, it would be better.