Where is the U.S. headed if 16% of Americans are living in poverty?
November 8th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Where is the U.S. headed if 16% of Americans are living in poverty?

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.

There's more.

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.

Posted by
Filed under: United States
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. John from Alabama

    Jack: I do not know where the country is headed if 16% of the population is in poverty.. I do know that about 6% of the 16% are really trying very hard to get out of poverty. It is harder right now to get out of poverty due to the economy, but Jack, if the economy was good would you even be asking the question. It is funny how many care more about poverty when things are bad, but as soon as the economy improves we forget about those in poverty. The poor are with us forever, but that's to see what we will do or not do.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  2. Gary H. Boyd

    Down a very slippery slope Jack. Clearly the government is not in a financial position to provide any more assistance than it already does and so those in the 16% poverty category have some tough choices to make. Taking jobs they might otherwise not want, working longer, postponing retirement and generally adjusting to frugality.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    November 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  3. Russ in PA

    We're headed for the same trash heap as the EU. Until the US embraces liberty, free markets, property rights, sound money, and a drastic reduction of the US Government, we will simply continue the downward trend. No sense trying to sell us the nonsense that politicians can straighten this out any other way: free markets and liberty are the keys, just as Ron Paul has been telling us.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    November 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  4. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    we are headed for the economy of Mexico where a few ultra-rich control everything and the rest live hand-to-mouth, we will know we are there when the Mexicans build a fence to keep the poor Americans out.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  5. Gordon NJ

    To a more reliable supply of servants for the 1%.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Peg from NY

    We are headed downhill, fast.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  7. Annie, Atlanta

    We've become the land of the haves and the have nots, and we did it to ourselves. Lovely, no?

    November 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Pete from Milton

    The Republicans have a secret plan for reducing the poverty rate: when they win the Presidency and control of both the House and the Senate, they will reinstitute the draft. This will replace the more educated and productive current enlisted-rank military members with undereducated, unproductive, unemployed poorer members of our society, and will have the additional benefit of reducing overall military spending as benfits are reduced for the new "recruits".

    November 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  9. Ed in Harrisburg

    With 16% of America living below the poverty line and that number growing monthly, America is heading for what all societies head for when this trends...1) class warfare or, (Russia) 2) fascism or dictatorship ( Nazi Germany) or 3) societal dissolution (Rome.). While the Congress fiddles sour tunes, Rome is burning and the people are taking to the streets willing to follow leaders some of who are regarded as clowns and fools, who if elected could turn out to be very dangerous in the long run. There is nothing really new here, just history repeating itself.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  10. Jayne in NH

    Think third world country. Thanks to our politicians and their beloved (bought and paid for) trade agreements, American jobs that created the middle class have been shipped to other nations. Our level of manufacturing cuts has reached a frightening level with most pharmaceuticals we depend on being produced in countries we have a potential to have large disagreements with. China, for example, not only holds our debt over us, they literally have our lives in their hands because they manufacture many of the drugs we need. The level of poverty is shameful and what's even more shameful is that it isn't necessary. BRING BACK OUR JOBS!

    November 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  11. Noel Sivertson Roswell New Mexico.

    A lord-sef society? The intransigence of the Republican Party in everything except tax cuts for the rich and elimination of business and environmental regulation makes one wonder if this is part of their long range goal. When over 50% of the federal government are 1 percenters it makes one wonder what they have in mind for us.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  12. Rex in Portland, Oregon

    Now that we have achieved the 16% poverty mark, the people in charge of the US can now proudly claim "mission accomplished". Of course there is still a long way to go to totally eliminate the middle class and achieve the goal of nothing but street sweepers, honey bucket emptyers, and billionaires, but this is real progress. Next November we will be celebrating the 52% mark, and should reach the 99.5% mark by December, 2014. Long live unconstrained reaganism!!!!!

    November 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  13. garrick

    hey jack

    well I will put it like this short and sweet. the same place I go sometime twice a day, down the toilet.the Rep will flush the toilet if they get their way and you won't even be able to read a book while your on the toilet.

    clearwater, fl garrick t

    November 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  14. MNResident

    Towards Obama Nirvanna, Jack. With more and more people living in poverty, a lot of these people will be lloking to government to solve the problem, which is ripe for "big governemnt" activists like Obama. It's his dream scenario......

    November 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    Down the economic ladder.

    No one should be surprised at this. Did you really think we could allow Corporate America, to send all of our manufacturing off shore, and still survive, as an economic power? If you did......you were a fool.

    What is being done to curtail the off shoring of American jobs? NOTHING! Absolutely nothing.

    You have government to blame, corporate greed to blame, and most importantly the lack of American Patriotism, by Corporate America, to blame.

    No American should be buying ANYTHING not made in America. Corporations only understand sales.......unless you take away their sales, they will NOT change, and there will be no manufacturing jobs left in America. Back to picking produce........instead of building things.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  16. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    It depends on how you define poverty. If you included government benefits and tax credits in the equation, you would get a smaller number – however it would be growing – which says much more about how bad things are – including how low some benefits have gotten when UI and TANF limits kick in. What that says is that we have not yet undone enough of the Republican Revolution.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  17. Katie from South Carolina

    An ever increasing level of poverty as more and more Americans slide down that slope. Shrinking employment with less taxes paid leading to a bankrupt America. All brought about by machines doing the jobs better than humans. Evidence: how many people make a phone call to a business and talk to a computer?

    November 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  18. Ken Victoria BC

    Is that 16% percentage raising or falling. Probably raising and under that circumstance only the election of progressive members working together will change and reverse the circumstances.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  19. ggwindsor

    too a soup kitchen

    November 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  20. Carl

    To the tank we go! Jack I disagree with the figures our corrupt government puts out. Our self serving help themselves to any and everything they want government says that our unemployment rate is around 10%, I would bet it's more around 30%!! As far as the poverty percent, I would guess it's closer to 30% also!! I corrupt government always chooses to lie, instead of trying to tell the truth for a great change.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  21. Brian, From Fountain Co

    America does not reward those who live a basic way of life, or reward those that do not create innovations that sell. The 16% who live in poverty only have them self’s to blame. America is headed in the right direction.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  22. Greg McCarthy

    Jack, If the GOP gets their way and becomes a majority acroos the board,only 1 thing CAN happen. 17,do I hear 17,the man in front has 17,18 do I hear 18.... Greg M. FL

    November 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  23. bonnie from NJ

    We all know where we headed, right to third world country status. Elect a Republican in 2012 if you want to get there faster.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  24. Jim, Denver CO


    It says a lot. It says we have become a nation that is too selfish and out of touch with what previous generations have fought and worked for. We have become complacent and will need a kick in the pants to get ourselves in gear to take back our government & country. The OWS/99% movements are just the start of a middle class revolt. It is time to get the money out of politics and get back to "government by the people for the people". It is time to remind both parties that they work for "us", the american citizen and not the corporations.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  25. DE from De,

    We are headed in the wrong direction I am from Bidens home state. My husband I are living the american dream, we did nothing wrong same house for 25 years. We are walking on egg shells he has lost his jobs twice since this all started. He is working for now, we are supposed to retire soon, Yeh right. No way.
    I only shop 3 times a month for food or less luckily my mom taught me how to make something out of nothing. We are sliding buy each month by the skin of our teeth. If somethings happens to one of us we will be in trouble.
    I can only imagine what others are doing. With everything the way it is I am managing to put bags of free items or allmost free for the shelters and food kitchens in the area, Helping each other is the only way to get out of this mess. Take care of your own first then you can help others.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  26. LA Belle

    Statistics may show 16% in poverty, but with millions unemployed the real percentage is hidden in the shadows. The way the dead-heads are always in do-nothing mode, the U.S. is probably headed for 99% in poverty. Go ahead, don't hire, cause more unemployment, and before long there won't be any tax dollars in government to pay any of the lunatics. And they'll probably say they earned their pay and job well done.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  27. Mike, Calgary

    It's clearly not headed to a good place, and if anything, the trend is getting worse, not better.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  28. Loren

    Nothing. The causes for unemployment are complex. Japan was seen as a model for employment for thirty years, but to anyone who ever travelled there, the reason was simple – make work jobs. Current unemployment rates are a reflection of the pie-in-the-sky dreams of the 90's Congress that shipped off hundreds of thousands of jobs to China through the insane thought that internet jobs would replace those jobs. People do manufacturing jobs not because they want to, but because that is what they can do. Our country needs a mixed base of jobs and sending a whole sector overseas was the height of idiocy.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  29. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    If the top 1% were to each hire 16 Americans living below the poverty level as household staff paid minimum wage there would still be poverty in America. Better education for the poor should be funded by the top 5%. You know – give a man a fish or teach a man to fish?

    November 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  30. Ken from California

    It is heading toward the word that seems to get stuck in everyone's throat and can't cough up, DEPRESSION.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  31. Ed from California

    I hear nobody in D.C. trying to explain how or why most of our jobs have been exported out of this country. Or, who benefited from this action. Our politicians aka. "The Hired Help", are getting richer by the second while we who elected them are getting poorer by the same clip. Aren't they elected to look after our best interest(that's a joke)? Instead, they are looking to benefit themselves and the Devil who brought them to the dance. They've all turned their heads the other way, when it comes to the American (99%) people. This goes for Democrats and Republicans alike, they're all guilty of it. Taking Lobbying money or "Special Interest" money instead of fighting for their districts, or for the motto, "We the people", as long as you're the "people" of the 1% that is.. What does it mean if 16% of population is living in poverty? It means in another decade or two 99% will be living day to day. And probably without Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment insurance or any State disability insurance. because Wall st would have stolen, my bad, "Invested", and lost that money (on some Ponzi scheme) long, long ago. But, don't worry, the Koch brothers will still have their tax break. Mr. Boehner, "Where are the jobs???"

    November 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  32. Brad, Portland, OR

    The Republican answer is, "As long as you cut my taxes and cut spending on the poor, everything will work out for the best. The poor have bootstraps, and they'll be forced to pull themselves up by them if they don't have money they've taken from me to live on."

    November 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  33. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Well it certainly is not a good thing but it is not as bad as some countries poverty levels. Nigeria at 65 percent or Bolivia at 55 percent. Now that is poverty Jack.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  34. Lou, Fayetteville, NC

    I THINK THAT IS THE WRONG QUESTION. WHAT ABOUT QUESTIONING those who allowed our jobs to disappear – ask them WHY? As long as we take care of everyone else and I speak of other countries, and push for more globalization by giving companies, corporations incentives to go overseas, we will encourage poverty. Somehow, Someway – we could still manufacture things that we use and let them compete with what is coming in at our docks. Hire people with a living wage but no benefits. Let them find their insurance and work for their retirement at least they would be happier.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  35. Phyllis G. Williams

    Where is the U.S. headed if 16% of Americans are living in poverty?

    Headed for disaster because Millionaires in charge must put out the Jobs Bills as
    'naked they came to earth and naked they return to dust' (Job 1: 21 ; Genesis 3: 19),
    and they will be eternally blest if they do their duty and show love to others
    (Matthew 25: 40).
    16% cries are going up to God for their labors which made frozen hearts rich (James 5: 4;
    Deuteronomy 24: 15)

    November 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  36. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Toward the second American revolution.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  37. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    Jack, it might sound crude, but it's not nearly as crude as our shrinking Middle Class and growng number of poor people feel. The word that describes the feeling and the situation is CRAPPY.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  38. Steve

    I'm not sure the 16% headed for poverty is correct when compared to other countries. There are a lot of people out there that are on poverty that have cell phones, have TV's, smoke ciggarettes, drink beer,etc. There are a lot of people in other countries that are on real poverty, they have nothing. They would love to be on poverty by USA standards. The bottom line is you need a definion on poverty. The poverty comparison to the 1930's and even in the 1940's was much more scarier as compared to today's poverty. My parents had no safety net back then as compared to today's safety net. Look at the Wallstreet Occupiers, supposedly they have no jobs, yet they eat well, drink well sleep well and have clothes on their backs, and they are in no hurry to give up what they are doing. There are plenty of jobs in Florida, Georgia and Alabama for pickers of vegetables and fruits. They can't get enough workers to take the jobs. There is something wrong when we have to accept illegal immigrants to do the job. There are too many poor people today that get hand outs that have no incentive to work. But there are also people that are in real poverty and I don't think it's even close to 16%.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  39. andyz Lynn, MA

    I can remember reading, "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire." I wonder if the next volume will be, "The Collapse of Imperial America." It's time to quit the political bickering and back biting and in the words of a great American, Larry the Cable Guy, "Git 'er done!" Fix the country congress or you'll be looking for jobs after the next election.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  40. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    It seems to me that it is higher than 16%. If the GOP, Gouge Ordinary People gets control of our government then it will probably double in a few years. But look at the level of high school graduation and it relates to this number very well. People without skills and desire to learn more will continue to drive this number up so let's cut more teachers and education while increasing the tax cuts to the "job creators".

    November 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  41. Richard, in Kansas

    The U.S. is headed right where the oligarches that rule us have been steering it for years. Back to a fueudal system of lords and serfs where we serfs fight their wars, and pay their bills, while they continue to profit at our expense. This isnt the first time thyve tried this either. Just look back to the 1930's when a wall street plot to overthrow the FDR administration was exposed by Marine General Smedley Butler. The circumstances were eirilly similar to whats happening today.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  42. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    You're headed for a re-write of the Declaration of Independence: Take the sentence "We hold these truths...that all men are created equal..." and after the word "are" insert the word "not".

    November 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  43. Clephas from Austin, TX

    We are headed for a future where more and more citizens are living at subsistence level or outright on food stamps and welfare, simply because of the refusal of those at the top to reinvest the money they've made back into the economy. Making it worse is that this spiral will make the entitlement programs even more unsustainable and thus make our nation's debt issues even worse. Eventually, we are going to be faced with the option of either going farther into debt until this country collapses all together or letting millions starve in one of the largest economies on the planet because the wealthy are – as usual – holding onto their wealth rather than pushing it back into the economy.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  44. Jerry from Johns Creek, GA

    To be honest, I have absolutely no idea where America is headed but I know that the trend lines are very concerning. You cannot determine when the trend lines will change and head in a more positive direction, maybe never. We have been cheated out of the manufacturing, technology and energy markets by corporate leaders and by politicians who are concerned only with feeding their narcissistic desires. We have no discernible leaders who have both the desire and the capabilities to get us out of this mess, so what do you think Jack? Maybe, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, a little revolt is not a bad thing.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  45. Joanie Buchanan

    We'll be fine when we get rid of Obama, however it will take about 5 yrs to clean up the mess he has made along with his group of non prof, non business people have caused.
    Joanie B

    November 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  46. Larry in Houston

    You ask where we're headed if only 16% of us are living in poverty, Jack ? Well, let's see, it more or less means that a lot more people will be poorer, but not anything compared to the great depression – because back then there wasn't all this money floating around like it is today. Back then, there wasn't billionaires , and millionaires and people that are making what they are making today. My Dad is 80+ years old, still has pretty good health, and he thinks that history is going to repeat itself, he thinks that we're headed for another depression, much larger than the great depression, but I told him – that I didn't think so, because of all the money that has been printed in the last 60 years. (especially in the last 10) Everything now days is all about the MONEY – no matter what it is. The reason that I don't think we'll ever see another Great Depression is because when I watch or see some of these pro -Football Games on T.V. there's sunday nite football – all day sunday – monday nite & any other day or nite football, or baseball / or hockey / or Basketball / the point I'm making is that when you see all of these professional games, whether it's on T.V. or in person – ask yourself a question : Do you think that all these people are getting IN, at all these Stadiums, and Ball Parks, for a price of a "happy meal" ?? These stadiums and ball parks are PACKED, ( if you will notice on T.V. ) People will get the MONEY – if they want something BAD Enough.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  47. Paula

    Jack, I was listening to President Obama today informing his audience what the U.S is going to do for the unemployed American Veteran. I believe this to be a token gesture (no disrespect to the American Veteran) for President Obama to show the American public what he is doing about the unemployment situation in the United States. However, I have not heard one thing about what President Obama plans to do about the continuous job outsourcing by American companies. As long as U.S. companies are allowed to outsource American jobs to other countries, how is America to regain her pride and save the American Dream?

    November 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  48. Kim , Dodge City Ks.

    16% ? That's all? In the real America, where most of us live, that percentage is probably closer to 25%, due to the fact that the middle class has been systematically destroyed and the vast majority of available jobs are low paying, dead-end soul killers with zero benefits. So even if that 16% is factual, it won't stay that low for very long.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  49. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Jack, I can only say that the Feds have lied again. 16% of us live in poverty, it means we're heading for another recession. Now, its very important for the Republicans to rally behind the president, swallow their collective pride, and allow their rich patrons to be taxed.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  50. David , Laguna Niguel CA

    It says that the trillion of dollars we have spent on Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs and all the additional programs that have been added since then has been totally wasted. We have ignored the old adage: Give them a fish and they will get hungry again..teach them how to fish and they can feed themselves.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  51. David in Tampa

    Let's see Jack. Members of Congress increased their wealth 25% since the recession began and 16%, that seems a low ball estimate to me, of Americans now live in poverty, what does it mean? Greed is the strongest driving force, for individuals and as a society, going; it is also our greatest destructive force for individuals and societies. Unless we can some how change how greed is used as a driving force, welcome to third wold status America.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  52. Paul From Austin Texas

    It is a sure thing we are going down the wrong road with no option of turning back. Thrid world he we come.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  53. Tom in Desoto, TX

    It means the rest of the country is doing better than Texas which is at about 20% poverty. Rick Perry's plan is for the rest of the country to catch up, no one sane should want that.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  54. Bill West

    Essentially we are rapidly headed toward a 2 class society. The Middle Class continues to shrink a little more each month and there doesn't seem to be any economic signs of recovery. What jobs that are coming on line certainly don't support a Middle Class society in terms of the wages they are paying. Also look at the huge disparity in wage increases for the very wealthy and the middle class over the past 10 years. At these rates, it won't be too many more years before we are to the point where there will be only the haves and have nots.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  55. Doug Ericson

    Its just a hunch, but I see folks headed for the most unpopulated areas they can find. If we do have a devastating depression, the bigger the City, the faster it is going to fold. Why? Well, who is going to maintane them for one thing? Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  56. Tom Bulger

    Hopefully toward passing the bill.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  57. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Basically it says all the Social Programs put in place to prevent this have failed. The U.S. will go on as usual however and people will get by as they always have.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  58. Tina Tx

    Heading right back to where we all started as cave people who did not have fire to cook our meats. I never thought in all my years that I would see America this down and out and no one seems to give a hand out to those who are truly in dire straights & only want to kick them farther down to the curb.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  59. Bill of New Mexico

    A troubled country.

    Many appear unaware of the impact that widespread poverty will have on everyone including the wealthy.

    Increasing poverty is not a problem to be left to its own solution.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  60. Jenna Roseville CA

    Where is the U.S. headed if 16% of Americans are living in poverty?

    To a historic Democratic Party win during the 2012 elections. The party of NO will recieve a record LOW turnout. The Democrats will gain SUPER MAJORITY status in the House, Senate and President Obama will get a second term.

    With this SUPER MAJORITY the Republicans can no longer stop the Democrats from cleaning the mess the Republicans made during the Clinton, Bush and Obama presidencies.

    The Democrats WILL prevail FOR America! And will gladly work with moderate Independents and moderate Republicans.

    Roseville CA

    November 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  61. Pete from Georgia

    This is what happens when an egotistical government who thinks they are the salvation of the world starts to dismantle free enterprise in a successful capitalist society and convert it to socialism.
    It's called DISASTER by everyone except the moronic left and of course the lame-stream media.
    In a thousand years, they would never understand it.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  62. Jack Frost

    If 16% of Americans are living in poverty then at this rate we're headed for a nation of unemployed, un-educated, un-skilled and very hungry, cold and desperate people. That we tolerate this amount of poverty and allow it to continue is a sure road to poverty of entire nation. This amount of poverty means that we are unable to provide jobs and education and that we care more about importing cheap goods at the expense or our industries. This level of poverty is the true cost of cheap imports. At this rate we will a third world country unable to control our own future.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  63. RickFromDetroit

    It says we are is worse shape than the numbers show. Poverty for a single person is $11k a year and $22k a year for a family of 4 which means that realistically we have twice as many people living a poverty as the numbers show.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  64. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Only 16%? What country are you talking about? Poverty is everywhere and it would appear that whoever came up with that number should be unemployed. They obviously have no idea of how to make such a determination. But in answer to the question, we are headed into the toilet along with the other 3rd world countries.

    November 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  65. James Lenon @chuckey TN

    If the teavangelists have their way, Jack, we're heading for 32%!

    November 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  66. Jonathan

    Dear Mr. Cafferty,

    Nowhere but down until the government starts telling the truth and providing real data. These numbers just don’t add up and someone in the government just “pulled a rabbit out of a hat”. HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) has real numbers and their low income numbers are MUCH higher. A quick glance at the HUD data says poverty is about 30%! Lying to themselves is one thing, lying to the American people is appalling.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  67. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    As a society we have evolved to the point where we now have ego and the absolute ideologies that ego produces as our higher power. We rather have our misguided ways than lead the way for those less fortunate and do what is right for our society.

    All great empires first loose their virtues before they fall, we have begun to follow this pattern.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  68. Jeff In Minnesota

    It says the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" is growing. This is the $64,000 question that no one talks about. What do we do about people that lack the education and skills for the new economy when low skill jobs are going to go the lowest bidder wherever in the world? Do we just have to accept the fact that there will be two levels of society? I cannot believe that there is not more discussion about this very important subject.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  69. HJ - Saint Paul, MN

    Down. The great thing about this country however is the people are the ones with the true power. We may have been dragged down, but we can reverse it. We just have to act. When things get bad enough, the masses will protest... Oh look, its already happening. Things are bad, the people are speaking out, and there is nothing the 1% can do about it.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm |

    It says that for some reason, our President promised to put people to work on "shovel-ready" jobs and all the unemployed got was a shovel over the head.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  71. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Right to the bottom. Congress and the great obama will soon be cutting the cola for ss, and all other government pensions. One thing they won't cut are the wall street bonuses, ceo multi million dollar salaries, and million dollar incomes for hedge fund mangers like chelsea clinton thanks to her daddy bubba.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  72. Gigi Oregon

    To the streets "we the people" have no one to protect/fight for us when Congress has been bought by Corporate America, through lobbyist and the gifts and money used for bribes to contain their votes to make the rich richer and the middle class poor.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  73. Sandstone.

    "If people living in poverty in the USA, then it is their own falt. If pensioners can survive like I do, and spend so little on so many things because I buy so little NEW items excepting food, and even then I still have savings. I spend more on writing materials than anything. I use thrift-stores rugular, and buy some of the best, for 20% or less."

    November 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  74. Bob from Melbourne

    It says that four straight years of Liberal leadership in the House and Senate under Bush and Obama is more than the nation could bear. Letting the Liberals go a spending spree and allowing EPA and NLRB call the shots we’re headed in the same direction as Grease

    November 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  75. Eric

    Jack, it looks like America is on the fast track to being a third world country. The goverment is only concerned about the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. I don't understand how people continue to elect the same politicians and wonder why we get the same results.
    Huntsville, AL

    November 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  76. Todd from Northern MN

    Well Jack, if that's where we're heaed, let's try to put a positive spin on it. Not all that long ago a lot of us had a raise a garden to feed our families? As a result, our families were closer. When a neighbor's roof needed repair, the neighborhood had a roofing party. With as bad as things are and are looking we have a choice how we're going to weather this out. We can work together like the good ol' days (remember those Jack?), or we can stay on this current path of divisive destruction. We'll get though this, it's just a matter of how long it takes us all to come together.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  77. Jan K. in Asotin,Wa.

    Jack, I am not sure but I can tell you that I am a volunteer driver for the Meals on Wheels program in our valley and we just learned due to funding reductions from city, county and/or state sources that people who were receiving free meals have had to be cut off. Not only were we a hot meal source we were a daily source for checking on the persons well being. Sad, very sad.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  78. Randy

    Hopefully towards a French styled revolution.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  79. Jan K. in Asotin,Wa.

    Sorry, I meant to add: Only people under 60 who were getting the free meal were cut off.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  80. Dan in Albuquerque

    Jack, it simply means, as we know, that our economy is suffering despite slow growth. The big problem is the poles-apart solutions of the two parties. I do know that polls indicate nearly 70% of Americans support serious compromise on major spending cuts and significant tax revenue. Similar support is exhibited for Obama's jobs bill. So,Congress needs to act according to the will of the people. That's what they are elected to do.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  81. Ken - Kingsport, TN

    Mexico-North. It's only a matter of time. Plutocracy is well and alive in this country.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  82. s in fl

    Corporate fuedalism. We're 90% there as it is. Let them eat cake, but we need another tax cut before we hand out the crumbs.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  83. Lori - PA


    That's sad to hear because that number is only going to grow. Espcially as the cost of food, gas, health care, etc., is getting higher. What else is sad is that the 1% don't understand the impact the lack of spending on the part of the 99% (because they don't have the disposable income they used to have) will have on their wealth/income.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  84. Pete/Ark

    Moving into my nieghborhood Jack.

    November 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  85. Jason

    If the people like Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, and others who got the collapse right are right again, we are going to see the collapse of the dollar. The implications of which are so vast that people cant even comprehend it. What we are seeing now is nothing compared to what is going to happen over the next few years.

    November 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  86. Bit

    Homeless on the street.............Wall Street!

    Bit, Prattville AL

    November 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  87. Ken in Victoria BC

    Sixteen percent is over forty-five million citizens in your country. They deserve better.
    Canada has the same poverty issues but I do not know the percentage. I am ashamed that my country will not address this problem and develop a poverty free country that will be a model for the rest of the world. In the, hopefully, near future, poverty will end world wide. Lets continue the Occupy Movement and succeed. No action equals no results.

    November 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  88. Larry -Denver

    It's not so much where we are headed-its where we are. With no support from our leaders we are just heading further into the abyss. Poverty levels grow and the disparity between rich and poor is beyond insanity, figure more on food stamps, support and unable to make ends meet. Figure civil unrest is a result. Figure politicians here today out tomorrow.

    November 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  89. René

    That's almost 50 million people who will say they're not better of compared to their situation when Obama became president. From a purely political standpoint this is a big electoral force to reckon with, I'd say. Form a socio-political point of view it is a destabilising factor which may undermine the society as a whole and democratic institutions in particular. The biggest concern for the U.S. is the lack/loss of jobs and everything linked to it: unemployment, scarce tax incomes for the government who cannot fullfill its most urgent tasks, social unrest et cetera.

    November 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  90. Fay in Abilene Tx

    We are headed in the direction the top 1% want us 99% to go .

    November 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  91. mike halter

    Jack America is going down hill 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 dont care about us. I dont 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.

    Michael Largo Florida

    November 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  92. John from Alabama

    Jack: The poor are with us always, and it is harder for a rich person to enter heaven; therefore, 16% maybe a high number because there are more rich people needing an opportunity to do the right thing. Maybe rich people do not want to enter heaven, which means there will be plenty of room for the poor. It is not the government, or Congress that we need to fear it is the lust for greed. I like rich people who understand the great responsibility they have to give to least of our friends, and who do it quietly with no fanfare.

    November 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  93. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-Greensburg,IN

    Money 'runs' this country...with 20% on the bottom side geting it, 1% on the top that's got it but out of "greed" want it all, and gov that's continuing to take it from the remaining 79%, how long you think it's going to be before another at least 20% or living in poverty?
    I'm wondering what gov & the rich will do when there isn't enough of "US" left to kep them both rolling in the cash? By then all the rich will have moved out of the country and 'we' will have shot all the politicans. Then "WE" can start over and make it a great country again.

    November 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  94. Pete in Georgia

    It's called Socialism. This is where we're headed if drastic changes aren't made, starting Nov., 2012.
    Pure and simple.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  95. Terry

    headed to work for other countries as labor.. where are children will be.. because we are allowing the GOP to cut school funding... we are stupid enough to think English is the only language while other countries are teaching 3 or more.. we are stupid enough to build a new bridge.. when we have no money instead of fixing the old one.. we will not be better of.. if we don't start using common sense and holding people responsible.. Pay taxes... all of us.. big and small.. or dig our hole deeper so we can all jump in it..

    November 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  96. Kenneth in California

    To the poor house, unless those self professed job creator Republican's in Congress, stop saying no to jobs..

    November 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  97. John (Roswell, GA)

    The 1930's 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.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  98. Dennis Greenlees

    Unless we get rid of the radical Tea Party Congress, we are going down road of "The Grapes of Wrath"! Americans need to see this movie again and see how the banks sent us on this road! We will end up with a huge military and a small government, a dictatorship owned by the wealthy! "We the people" will find it's meaning again.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  99. Paulette in Dallas

    Downhill Fast the this percentage number increasing rapidly.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  100. Ray Ward

    The Tea Perty and their Reoublican lap dogs, use the words Socialism and Class Warfare to rile up the people who are anti-government, or to add to their shrinking following. They fill the airways with the evils of Government ,yet want our Government to legislate morality, which si pretty hypocritical. What they fail to acknowledge is that unchecked Capitalism was a major factor in our economic collapse. The Federal Government is really the only entity that can fix the economy, as they control the Federal Reserve, the IRS, etc. We can't continue to allow the wealthiest of Americans to rpofit, at the expense of the vast majority of the citizens that go to work everyday, and if like me, are one paycheck away from iinsolvensy. Our Governemnt is the only thing that can creaet a more level playing field, but it is deemed powerless, when the Republicans are so Hell bent on removing our President, that they are continually getting 100% support in voting down any legislation that the Democrats present, even if the bill contains policies that they would have once supported, i.e: tax cuts and incentives for the small businesses that still emply a majority of our workforce.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  101. Jk from Minnesota

    To 3rd or 4th world status in a hurry. This is what unchecked greed does, Jack.

    November 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  102. Tony from Southport, NC

    Tell you what Jack, if Obama gets a second term there'll be a heck of a lot more than 16% living in poverty!

    November 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  103. Omar Gonzalez

    while I'm have suspended my unemployment many people will have big bonus and the rest of american worker class we rotten in misery and need.On the other side that fat cats never create any job with the tax exceptions, really go to his pocket and bank accounts.So we need to prepare a new american revolution

    November 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  104. Sandstone.

    "So another Obama set-up to create more conflict in europe, in hopes of switching the picture from own hatred against Israel. Quote:
    FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has labored to improve French relations with Israel, said he "can't stand" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called him a liar in a chat with President Barack Obama.

    The conversation between Sarkozy and Obama was overheard by reporters last week at the Group of 20 summit in southern France, via headsets that were to be used for simultaneous translation of an upcoming news conference.

    Obama, whose remarks were heard via a French translation, was not heard objecting to Sarkozy's characterization of Netanyahu. Through the interpreter, Obama was heard asking Sarkozy to help persuade the Palestinians to stop their efforts to gain U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state. Unquote

    November 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  105. Conor in Chicago

    Where are we heading? Exactly where the Capitalists have wanted us to go since the fall of the Berlin Wall" Economic Serfdom.

    All you have to do is look at the message coming from the extreme Right to understand that this is something that was set in motion a long time ago. Not a conspiracy, but just a recognition of collective interests. Empower the corporate state, become the corporate state, rule the world, screw everybody else.

    We are witnessing this fruition and the 99% is finally awake.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  106. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Third world status. Maybe Germany can bail us out!

    November 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  107. David , Laguna Niguel CA

    Jack, it means that the trillions of dollars we have spent on Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs and the others that have followed did not work and the money was wasted. What is frustrating is the US Congress and the President won't admit it and want to do more of the same. Isn't that the definition of insanity?

    November 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  108. Karl in Flint

    We are headed one of two directions: Either to Third Worldom like Mexico or worse or there is going to be one hell of a revolution and the wealthy will be physically dragged into the streets and if they are lucky, only tarred and feathered. Unless we vote out the apparent fascists in congress pandering to the wealthy, we are toast.The OWS folks should be on Capital Hill. That's where the changes need to be made and Wall Street will then be reigned in, too.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  109. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    When the GOP, AKA Goughing Ordinary People gets in charge this number will grow even faster. America is the most complicated and diverse society on the face of the earth and there is no more loyalty to Our Country as it's all about the all mighty dollar. The more divided we are the worse this will get so just be patient and wait, more will be revealed.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  110. Dennis north carolina

    we are headed to complete failure as a country. the rich and big business will take over as slave masters and if you want to eat you will work for pennies.. this is just the start with the worst to come. have a good day now because they will be limited.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  111. Carol Florida

    Let's outsourse some more jobs?? This is what wealthiest among us want. They want to go back to the Lord and Surf days where they all live like kings and queens and the rest survive on crumbs and work till they die.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  112. s in fl

    We're headed for 20% if things don't change. OWS was inevitable. George W told everyone to relax and just go shopping.
    We got back and found our home had been vandalized, with the thieves standing at the door asking for the rest of our stuff. It's not going to happen. One way or the other, it will change. Americans are fair and honest for the most part. And we weed out the unfair and dishonest. Call it it tissue rejection.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  113. jeff in hawaii

    Jack, Where are we heading? To heck in a handbasket, quickly. We have reached a piont in this country where 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 like we're keeping on, it can only get worse.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  114. ronvan

    Jack: Like a snowball rolling downhill, no one is going to stop this mess! Our "elected children", on both sides couldn't care less about this country, only their pockets! Throw all these bums out and lets start over, how worse could we be?
    Van Columbus GA.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  115. Sandstone.

    "Well according to this headline, all the cash that Which brand makes the most dependable cars?

    Obama ploughed into GM etc, it didn't do much good! Quote:

    North American carmakers absent in list of 10 most reliable brands Unquote

    November 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  116. Lisa V in Colorado

    To the poor house Jack. To the poor house. That's where I am headed. And it aint pretty.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  117. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, that depends on who wins the election of 2012. If Republicans win control, then America continues on its way to becoming a full-fledged banana republic, where millions live in abject poverty while a very few live in splendor amid ever growing riches.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  118. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I don't know what the big surprise is our economy is geared to making the U.S. a two class nation thanks to Congress.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  119. Rob in NC

    Ideally, for our government, a complete schism between the haves and have nots. Eventually the middle class will be gone and there will be the super-rich and the super-poor. Rob in NC

    November 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  120. John in North Carolina

    We're headed back to the era of Robber Barons, a time when there were basically the mega rich and the very poor in this country with very little middle class. In that era banks ran amuck and big businesses either gobbled up smaller ones or thwarted them and Congress did nothing to stop them. Wages fell and so did the standard of living. Health care and higher education were out of reach, except for the wealthy. If any of this sounds familiar it should because this is exactly what is happening in America. While unions are destroyed and good paying jobs are shipped overseas Americans stand by silent and helpless afraid to complain about the quality of the scraps that are tossed at them from the penthouses on Wall Street. Don't be surprised to see the 40 hour work week and child labor laws fall by the wayside next. It's the age of the Robber Baron and what's good for Wall Street is medicine the rest of the country will just have to swallow and put up with.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  121. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Ontario)

    America is headed down the same road it's been driving for the past decade or two. I can't remember the last time I heard an American politician promise to eradicate poverty, or at least give it the good old college try. Raising the standard of living for the poorest Americans doesn't suit the corporate agenda. It requires what workforce still is left in America to be so desperate for work that they are willing to accept low wage part-time employment and keep their mouths shut about how impossible it is to exist. Extending the Bush tax cuts was the only piece of legislation I can recall that got immediate bipartisan support. Sure, that might have saved the low-income stiff fifty bucks or so, but it laid thousands in the laps of the well-off. America is headed down the road to Hell, or at least Hell on Earth for those of you who slept through the American dream.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  122. Bill New Mexico

    The 1% receives America's production.

    Who cares if America is productive.

    Go play!

    Enjoy life!

    Let the 1% worry.

    Let the 1% defend this.

    Let the 1% defend America.

    It is all theirs.

    Go play!

    November 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  123. Lori - PA


    And yet we have a Republican Congress who thinks it's more important that Obama be a one-term president. If the Republicans and Democrats don't begin to compromise, it won't be long before it's two, then three out of five people are on food stamps. If the founding father's could see how things are now, they'd be appalled.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  124. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Only 16%? What country are you talking about? Poverty is everywhere and it would appear that whoever came up with that number should be unemployed. They obviously have no idea of how to make such a determination. I’d put the poverty line much higher than $11,000. Don’t forget, the fictional cost of living numbers are dreamed up just to make whoever is in power look better than what the case really is. Keep in mind, according to Obama there has been no inflation and no increase in the cost of living in the last 3 years – at least judging by my SS COLA, which he eliminated three years ago. But the answer to your question; we are headed into the toilet along with the other debtor nations and 3rd world countries.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  125. bud rupert

    History tells us that there has always been a fairly large segment of people in the United States living in poverty. The land of milk and honey is an oxymoron. The early immigrants in the 19th an early 20th century sure found that out when they landed in New York, Boston etc. Living in back alley filth and working 6 days a week for peanuts, Actually it was more brutal then. They had no safety net what-so-ever. It's always been here. just talked about more nowadays

    November 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  126. Greg in Arkansas

    16%...???....looks like tax cuts for wealthy "job creators" isn't working.

    November 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  127. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    We are all victims of our own poor judgement. He have made terrible decision about our Union. The choices made in Government for our Union. America owes nobody anything. You are expected to work or starve and sometimes both.
    Presonally, I wouldn't want it any other way!!!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  128. Mary J Billings

    Jack: This statistic tells us trickle down economics has not worked since it was instituted 30 years ago under Ronald Reagan. It is a sad commentary on our country and our willingness to kick people to the curb. Our educational system has failed us during this same period thus exaserbating the issue.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  129. Harold from West Monroe, Louisiana

    To hell in a handbasket if Cain is elected. His 'tax reforms" would double our sales tax; sales taxes are devistate the poor and(if you took Economics 101) hurt busness.
    It's a no-win situation with Republicans.
    When will people learn to support(vote) for their own interests?

    November 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  130. Ted

    Jack are you kidding, look at the country now and see the political environment of those that feel this is OK! Sure not a single person will say it but look at their actions. You will see country that has signs of a third world country with the two class system, crime, drugs, further degrading education, further loss of the family structure, further loss of an economic support of the shrinking middle class, less support for charities since more will need help and worse is that there will be a great likeliness that those who are born poor will stay there due to the problems that arise out of poverty, in a country like the USA not a single person especially child should go to bed hungry and to think that these children can not compete in school where they go for at times their only proper meal of the day. Shameful for a party that speaks of Christian values. Furthermore we see the wealth of Congress on increase its no wonder they wont tax themselves or remove the plush retirement or healthcare they voted for themselves.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  131. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    A couple of hundred years ago there was an aristocracy that thought it was perfectly fine that the poor paid all the taxes, fought all the wars, performed all the labor.The lord who owned the land on which they lived and worked saw nothing wrong with confiscating all they made or grew and redistribute it to his peers or to sell. The lower class were allowed a very small plot for their personal use.

    One of the aristocrats said the now infamous line "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", That didn't work out too well for her.
    Class warfare does not favor the "upper class".

    November 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  132. Jerry in Alaska

    Wait till the MONEY BOYS turn off the electricity & there goes all electronic commerce, now thats gonna be some poverty Jack.

    No one will be allowed to buy, sell or do any form of commerce unless they belong to the UNION of ONE mentioned in Revelation 13:16-17, & then the members can only earn enough for one persons food for a day.

    My question for you Jack & all you other Big City folks is this, how set are you for when the power goes off & there is no water, heat or air, or what about that fridge that will will spoil in a few days or sooner.

    We ain't seen poverty yet, but its coming & ALL THE WORLD WILL BE INGULFED BY ITS GRASP & thats what Obama is wishing for all of us MEAN AMERICANS.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  133. Dennis in Florida

    Jack, the answer to this question is obvious. The US is headed for a severe economic and social disaster. High unemployment is the cause of the high poverty rate. Fewer people are working and as a result the tax base has decreased. Governments at all levels are felling the pinch. A perfect example is the speeding cameras that are being installed in Chicago to promote “SAFETY.” At a hundred dollars a ticket, the town may be a little safer, but I suspect it will be far richer.

    More and more jobs have been sent off shore because labor rates and benefits are very low, government interference with business is minimal or non existent, and the concept of environmental protection is nonexistent.

    The only way to resolve the problem is to increase employment. Unfortunately, things will probably get worse before they get better. The problem can’t be fixed overnight.


    November 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  134. Ralph Nelson

    Even more poverty. As long as you keep voting Republicans into the presidency (influenced by ALEC) and House of Representatives (trained by ALEC) it well just get worse and worse as they continued to practice Supply-side/Laiz-a-Faire economics. Eventually we'll end up like Mexico.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  135. Michael Roepke Dallas, TX

    one in six Americans are living in poverty and those darn Democrats want to give them free Health care. They will only live longer and suffer more.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  136. Karl in Flint

    If you think it's bad now, wait until the Republicans take the White House and both houses of Congress if you want to see economic disaster in motion. These "Wait until Obama is gone" hypocrites will be down here with the rest of us 99%. Actually, they are now but are too blinded by FOX News to admit it. We'll give Third World a whole new definition.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  137. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    Out here in taxland we have seen this coming for a very long time. It is not so much where the U.S. is heading as it is that more of us are being herded...to the poor house, which has become like a cardboard thingy under some bridge someplace. I guess the day is coming where you can get a handout of processed Solyent Green or Fido or" here kitty kitty" !

    November 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  138. Chris

    Considering how much treason that has been committed over the years, it technically has to start improving.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  139. Rob, Canada

    Where is the US headed? Down the turlet with the rest of us.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  140. Ray

    To Mexico Jack...for a better life....

    November 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  141. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    We REALLY need to get people back to work. Let's look at the pipeline again.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  142. E.F. (Gene) Lucas

    If something isn't done quickly to change this, I fear that the non-violent protests will not stay that way

    November 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  143. Julie Paulsen

    I don't know Jack - ask the Republicans. They want to stop social problems. Let them get their hands on our Social Security and your numbers will more than double.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  144. Frank in Phoenix

    Shamefully, we are allowing the dichotomy of the "haves" and "have-nots" to grow and flourish. If nothing is done to restore some balance, the pressure will build into a cataclysmic event – the social equivalent of an earthquake or volcanic eruption.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  145. Robert Person

    This country really needs to make an effort to reconstruct the working middle class. But as it is becoming obvious, both political parties pander to corporate interests and pay very little attention to the working man/woman. I have become so disenchanted of my country and feel that it is the end of the empire, like so many other, fueled by greed and a lack of moral values. We all deserve what we allowed to occur. God spare our kids.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  146. Cyril

    Jack, this is truly disturbing statistics. Maybe if you look at the other end of the spectrum, statistics on the rich in America, it just might provide answers to this question.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  147. Joan Wraxall

    I think the question isn't where we're headed, it's where we've already gone. Our government and our society is focused on the powerful and the comfortable in America. The country no longer belongs to it's people.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  148. Bill

    Wow! I am sixty plus and knew a lady that use to buy a case of Vets can dog food. Strange, she did not a a dog, but the meat loaf was great! I a sure that the numbers a low just like unemployment. And what will change? Oh! More promise and we are doing the best we can! LOL...........

    November 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  149. Brad from Williamsport, MD

    Exactly where the Republican Party wants it. It creates an even smaller group of elites they can pander to. Just ask Michele Bachmann.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  150. Rusty Jack

    People have to eat and live somewhere...if they can't they will do whatever is necessary, first social unrest, then violent revolution and anarchy

    November 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  151. Lene', IL

    Jack, I personally think the numbers are skewed and not quite as high as the figures say. After all, They are referencing the 2010 Census that counted Illegal Aliens. I am sure they are not reporting true income or anyone else out there making money by illegal means. We see them drive off in there brand new cars chatting on their cell phones after buying groceries with food stamps! There are way too many people out there that cannot find work or a job with livable wages and I only see that getting worse until our government makes the environment more friendly to free market so jobs can be created.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  152. CarolM

    Horrifying that anyone thinks this is ok...all the "haves" in this country, and that is more than the one percenters, should be embarassed if they are not doing all they can to help. All Americans, especially the innocent children, deserve more!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  153. Karen, Idaho

    A 16% poverty rate is really sad–especially when you are asked to bring a can of food to every event you attend in order to support the local food bank. We have food drives by the Boy Scouts, the post office and every other benevolent organization. and we still can't keep up with the demand of hungry Americans. remember the Russian Revolution when the poor rose up against the rich.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  154. Randy

    As a person who is on food stamps due to loss of job at no fault of mine. We are heading down the wrong road and I think we should do a vote for NO Confidence for everyone in Congress, and the White House.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  155. James in Ann Arbor

    Years of protecting special interest and corporate america has lead us to this point and will only continue to separate the classes into lower and upper. This is not new it began in the early 80's and only now are we seeing the results of this corporate infiltration into the federal government.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  156. Ed Evans

    I don't know Jack and I just don't get it. We can bail out Wallstreet but we can't pass a jobs bill to help the poor and middle class. Go figure!

    Kirkland, Wa

    November 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  157. bob

    Jack in economics its called Equilibrium. In my opinion and for Americans that means parity with the rest of the third world. Now for those that just can,t comprehend that means we must learn to take less. In other words slave wages.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  158. Linda in Arizona

    Heading for disaster, is where we're heading. Just wait till the unconstitutional so-called "Super" Committee decimates the social safety net. Then ask where we're "headed".

    November 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  159. EDWARD

    Jack, I'm a retired police officer who has worked in urban "poverty areas" for 34 years. Let me tell you about a significant number of those living in those areas. They all have shoes on their feet, color HD televisions in their living room, and cell phones in their pockets. Let me share one more observation: the greatest cause of poverty in this nation continues to be a serious lack of ambition.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  160. Ron Balouville CT

    Means the U.S is heading into the toilet. the law makers repeatedlly treat the citizens of this great nation like scum. putting the ulta wealthy in charge of the worlds economy is like putting a kid in charge of the worlds candy. we need a new system like the british parlement .

    November 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  161. Jean from Conyers GA

    To the same type of country all these immigrants are trying to escape from, 3rd world, we are getting there because too many people are coming into this country and having babies here to try and stay here for what they call a better way of life, well all they are doing by letting all these people into the country is giving natural born citizens a new life of poverty because employers are hiring them for less money. It's sicking that America don't see this happening and they just keep letting this happen.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  162. Mark from New Jersey

    We are going precisely where those in power wanted us to go since the Reagan administration. Voting against our own interests, distracted by fake religious fanaticism, and giving our money to those who spend their lives figuring how to take what we have left. Vote all of the Republicans out, and hold the Democrats accountable the next time: Even someone with good intentions, like Obama gets co-opted. I'll be OK though. I'm a job creator with a start-up company making guillotines.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  163. Wayne from Houston

    We, the poor and the middle class, are at the mercy of McConnell who controls the Senate with his record filibustering. And after the 2010 elections, his arsenal expanded to include Boehner and Cantor. And unfortunately, we have Ben Nelson who votes with them giving them the argument that their positions are the only ones that are bi-partisan.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  164. Evita P. from Los Angeles

    Hi Jack, we are heading for another war so our 1% can make more money to keep 99% in chains forever. I live on disability income of $850,00 per month and have no right for a food stamps program. But if you live in California and earn less then $1000 per month you are eligible, even if you are ILLEGAL. That is the program we have to follow and you tell me how can a person survice in LA on that kind of income??? We are third world nation AGAIN! Eve

    November 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  165. Shane in Iowa

    The rich are getting richer. The poor are getting much poorer. The middle class is getting squeezed. I don't know where its going, but sooner or later, its going to get very ugly.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  166. GrouchyKat

    Even if 16% of the nation is in poverty – it's still the only country in the world where someone who is in poverty can be overweight.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  167. Rick Bella

    Jack, we are headed to a dark place. Until the selfish attitudes of many fellow American's changes there will be no help for our less fortunate in this country. The rich continue to get richer while U.S. corporations post record profits. The wheel is broken, and eventually it will start to affect those at the top too, then watch the ideas pour out. When no one can afford to purchase gas, food or anything else; then we will rally together and perhaps solve the issue.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  168. Donna Wisconsin

    According to Republicans–buck up! Take responsibility for your own actions! Get a job! Vote for us so more of the top 1% can continue to get tax breaks and more of you will go down the tube! We are such a sad country that we allow this to happen. This tells me our "values' are not where they should be.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  169. Carrie in ALabama

    Jack , what is says is the GOP will soon say mission accomplished if we do not fight back. They will become the rulers and the poor and shrinking middle class their serfs.This the way is has been going for the last 30yrs....Reaganomics and tricle downonics to the poor.....how is that working for ya! Rich keep getting richer and we are getting sick and tired of it. the Occupy movements are just the tip of the iceburg.....finally the poor and middle class are fighting back. against the rulers and gaurdian of the rich , the GOP ...A big shout out to Ohio , hope them godspeed on their quest to fight back for union rights.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  170. George in Louisiana


    There are too many people on the gravy train. Fact: There are people here that could work but won't, because they would rather get SSI and food stamps so they can sit around, drink beer and smoke pot all day. I know of one guy who has a job and still gets food stamps! He works for a food delivery company and collects cash tips. What he earns and what he reports are two entirely different amounts. There are too many freeloaders on the system. The people who need it deserve it. However, there are too many people defrauding the system.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  171. James Camp

    Come on Jack! Where is the U.S. headed? It is going to continue down this same path of increasing class polarization because the very poor that you report on are the ones who support, through their voting, apathy, and/or other actions, political conservatism and neo-liberal economic practices. Why do you think at least some are protesting? These poor are duped. Your role in the media often contributes to this false class consciousness!! For those who fail to think, the very question as you have framed it will reinforce this "duped status!"

    November 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  172. Seth, MA

    It means that the American Dream is non-existant, and although I hate to admit it, that the occupiers are right. Since the failed Reagan policies of trickle-down economics, the middle class has been burdened too much while the robber barons of this era profit of their labor while giving their less and less in return.

    For the economy to function stabily we need everyone to have some spending money for once so that they can consume and stimulate industry, only then will poverty start to become less of an issue.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  173. john logsdon

    Canada and Mexico will erect sixteen foot tall electric fences along the borders. Quebec will put a minefield along the border and the Caribbean will sign a treaty with China.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  174. Ross m.s.

    Jack get a grip,when the people in D.C. worry about the rich do you really think they are worried about us.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  175. William Justice

    Why is it we always get these figures for unemployment, poverty, etc. and it's always white, black hispanic. Why is there never an effort to add native americans to this list with their near 50% unemployment and near complete poverty across the reservations designed to hide the social problems created by our Government and sustained by all parties?

    November 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  176. jakec

    What does it mean when those not in 'extreme' poverty can still afford cell phones, cable, internet, & fast food. Let's get real. Poverty isn't what most of us think poverty is. Those who have video game systems and iphones are not living in poverty. Now they maybe people who make poor life choices and have far too many children that they cannot afford- that's a choice.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  177. Momoh , Edmonton Canada

    Jack, you ask were U.S is heading if 16.5 % of Americans are living in poverty? This is the greatest country on the planet. It tell you that US needs to actually do something about its Capitalizm which favours the 4%. US needs to take up some social responsibility for its people rather than parading all over the world as a world power and world police. Think about it this way. The cost of the war in Araq can pay for health care for all Americans for over 10 years. What a waste. How can the people not leave in poverty.Other industralized countries take care of there people needs first. why should US not?

    November 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  178. Donald in CA

    What it says is its going to get a lot worse if the teapublicans get back the majority. They have a plan for poor folks and poor folks are not going to like it. Remeber the if you are poor its your fault. Herman cain said it, but he speaks for the teapublican party and thats why his numbers are so high.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  179. Bob in Tulsa

    I was under the assumption that this country is home to several elite level universities that bestow prestigious degrees in business and economics. If that's true, where are the brilliant minds who can break down our current situation and outline the causes that have resulted in this mess and provide a logical step-by-step process for rectifying the problem?

    November 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  180. Tim, North Carolina

    Well Jack, I seriously feel that the 16% poverty level is a direct reflection of an issue that I can't believe none of the media has even so much as touched on. That issue is in reference to the NEW WORLD ORDER as well as the BILDEBERGER ORGANIZATION. I am fairly certain that the 99%ers and the occupiers are familiar with these two entities. As to where the country is headed, it seems the direction we are headed is towards a civil uprising because we already know the politicians are'nt going to fix a damn thing.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  181. Valerie in Raleigh

    This all started with the Republican Revolution and, if you want us to hit rock bottom sooner, put a Republican in the White House in 2012. God help us!!!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  182. cobra Montana

    I suspect if the real facts of poverty could be known you would find that a certain percentage would be on the list no matter what state the economy was in. I am also sure there are people listed as being impoverished that are there by choice. Saying all that brings up the story of jobs, we here all the time complaints that there are no jobs, well I have some news for those that are claiming that, there are a lot of jobs available but they will not do them because they require some hard work and maybe in the best environments to work in. For instance I know for a fact that North Dakota is wanting a lot of people to do jobs but it is winter there and the weather is not nice, so get your coat and put it on. I know also of large ranchers that are looking for people to work on the ranches and they are paying in excess of 50 thousand a year with benefits. So maybe it is time to quit being so sympathetic and start to tell people to get off their butts and go to work.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  183. Larry R

    The starving elephant in a gilded room, Jack. But for most Americans who are more fortunate, these are just statistics, like the statistics about middle class decline and ever increasing wealth disparity. The pervasive apathy and frustration are all signs that we have lost our ability to govern ourselves for the good of the nation. We are now a plutocracy of the most wealthy, by the most wealthy and for the most wealthy.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  184. Aroundwego

    I'm shocked, Reagan's dream of trickle down economy has turned into a trickle up nightmare.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  185. John Driscoll

    Well Jack,according to Nancy Pelosi Food Stamps are the best way to stimulate the economy! then there's upgrading from commercial jet status to taxpayer funded flights to the Vatican.
    Ciao Bella, John Driscoll in San Diego

    November 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  186. Louise

    In Mississippi alone, Biloxi is taking all the money from the poor it can get. The Indian Reservation in Southern Alabama is busting to get to Reno. The poor are the backbone of this nation. Just how else could the gambling industry survive? Sports depend upon it. This nation depends upon sports. Lobbyists could not function without free tickets. Congress cannot function without lobbyists. Do you not understand why we need the poor?

    November 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  187. Bobby

    Jack: I believe the biggest reason for increased poverty is outsourcing. Our nations outsources those jobs that lower middle class Americans held for so long. Our corporations have decided that increased profits are more important than people. Those profits increase the wealth of executives, but at what price? We (Washington) needs to curb this outsourcing and bring jobs back to middle America. Until that happens nothing will be done, because increased profits will always win. One thing you could do is see if the poverty levels in the countries we outsource to has declined. Perhaps that would open some eyes.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  188. Lauren from NH

    Isn't this exactly what the 99% movement is all about? When the income gap is allowed to consistently grow because representatives and senators want to make their campaign donors happy, the fear of losing your job or getting hurt or becoming too sick to work, or just falling down the socioeconomic ladder even a little bit for any reason at all, become so incredibly scary. We need to become a country that recognizes that there is ALWAYS a proportion of American's suffering from poverty and hunger. We need to stop thinking of how everything affects us, our families, and our neighbors, meaning the people live next to us or down the street from us. We need to instead begin to think about how things affect everyone in this country, from ourselves, to others in our state, to those who live on the opposite side of the country. The only way we, as a country, will ever get to a point where losing your job doesn't also mean possibly falling all the way down the socioeconomic ladder, losing everything you've ever worked for along the way, is by beginning to close the income gap, and making "poverty" not nearly as scary or miserable as it currently is.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  189. linda morgan

    Jack, I'm a high school English teacher in Arkansas. It breaks my heart to see my students hungry. We teachers cannot give to all of them. Linda

    November 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  190. Nancy in Arkansas

    Down the crapper, Jack. Thank you, Congress. Maybe when the lobbyists are out of funds, you'll work for the people who voted you into office.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  191. dvthompson, dallas/fort worth

    We are going to hell in a Made in China Handbasket – Jack.

    Buy a quality American Made product or support a USA manufacturer next time you go to the store.

    Flat Tax , All taxed, Shrink Govt, Grow Private Investment – keep it simple for now.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  192. Bobby

    Much of it is a self inflicted wound. While there always have and always be some level of poverty, too many folks have lived too long well beyond their financial means. Too much credit. Credit is great when the economy is booming. Credit is a noose around one's neck when the economy is bad. Bad debts impact not only in a personal way, but also for anyone trying to find a job. Give yourself a chance. Live within your means.

    November 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  193. Ron WPAFB

    This can't last, Jack. These protests will end in violence and this country will dive into Civil War again. The Republicans could have put 100s of thousands of people back to work and they Choose Not Too! And the media says ," Oh, Well, it's just a different political view". No it's not, IT"S WRONG! And skirting the truth is destroying this country!!!!

    November 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm |