FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Poverty in the U.S. is even worse than we thought it was.
There are almost 50 million people living in poverty. That translates to 16% of all Americans.
The Census Bureau adjusted the official 2010 poverty figures up from 46.2 million, or about 15% of Americans. This new poverty rate takes into account higher costs of living.
Hispanic poverty is the highest of any group at more than 28%.
More than 25% of African-Americans are living in poverty, as well as nearly 17% of Asians and 11% of whites.
The biggest gap in poverty rates is between those who have private health insurance, and those who don't.
Meanwhile, a report by the Brookings Institution shows more than 20 million Americans - close to 7% of the population - are living in extreme poverty.
These people are living at less than half of the federal poverty line. In 2010, that meant an individual income of about $5,500 - or less.
This used to be a place where people came to escape poverty.
According to the Wall Street Journal, almost 15% of Americans are getting food stamps - that's an 8% jump in just the last year. And this number could keep climbing as families struggle under high unemployment - still at 9%.
The hardest hit states include Mississippi, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee and Louisiana. In all these states, about one in five residents gets food stamps.
Here’s my question to you: Where is the U.S. headed if 16% of Americans are living in poverty?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Jeff in Hawaii:
It seems everything about the American Dream is broken: Jobs sent overseas, a new unemployment "normal", and a political system so polarized that nothing gets done. It's a scary thought that almost 1 in 5 Americans live in poverty at a time when one party wants to eliminate the social safety net, and the other party has a backbone similar to a Slinky. If we keep on, it can only get worse.
Debbie on Facebook:
We're going to be the new third world, an industrialized nation where almost everyone won't have adequate health care, education...and I could go on.
Mike in Florida:
Jack, America is going downhill fast. The rich are doing great while the rest of us struggle to get by. I wish our Congress had to try to live on ten bucks an hour - if you can even find a job. And the Republicans don’t care about us. I don’t have much hope for our country unless we elect better a Senate and Congress. I'm 60 years old and ready to march on Washington.
That's almost 50 million people who will say they're not better off compared to their situation when Obama became president. From a purely political standpoint, this is a big electoral force to reckon with. From a socio-political point of view, it is a destabilizing factor which may undermine the society as a whole and democratic institutions in particular.
John in Georgia:
The 1930s seem like a good place. Think of how great that would be: food lines, large infrastructure projects, films that actually made you feel good, Fedoras and a dollar that could buy a meal for a family of five.
Fay in Texas:
We are headed in the direction the top 1% want us 99% to go.