The words that come to mind are "hell" and "handbasket."
I am of a scientific mind, where anecdotal data about the economy is compelling, but where data is king. So I was absolutely dumbfounded to read these numbers just a few days ago. I will excerpt the handful that were true shockers, but you should go here to read the entire list of 15, with much more explanation:
#1 Approximately 45 million Americans were living in poverty in 2009.
#3 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
#5 The number of Americans on food stamps surpassed 41 million for the first time ever in June.
#7 One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.
#8 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.
#10 Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.
#15 One out of every five children in the United States is now living in poverty.
I don't know what's to be done, but I sense critical mass approaching.
Wait a minute--I DO know what's to be done. I can't influence Washington but I can help those around me who need a helping hand--donations of food, cash, goods, and volunteer work.
Any one of us could experience an event that could catapult one's family into dire financial straights pretty darn quick. Friends, neighbors, and family are what works on the ground.