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Nearly 1 of 2 Americans poor or low income

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This should be a complete embarrassment to the political class but they will no doubt continue to ignore this crisis. It's not healthy to keep focusing on the 1% and pretending as though the middle class is collapsing but that's what will happen. It's not asking too much to have Washington focus on this, is it?

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 latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

"Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

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