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Inside Story US 2012 - Will rising poverty affect the US election?

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Published on Jul 28, 2012

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There is more evidence of the growing wealth gap in the US: A new report says that the number of people living in poverty could be at its highest level in nearly half a century. So how can the US government help its least fortunate? In 2010, one in six Americans were considered poor. That is more than 47 million people living on less than $10,500 per year. The official government numbers on poverty in 2011 will be released just weeks ahead of the November presidential elections. But an associated press survey of economists and think tanks says that the number of poor Americans could reach 15.7 per cent, making it the highest level since the 1960's. The US already has more poor people than any other developed country. Analysts say it will be years before the US starts to see poverty drop below the rate it was before the so-called 2008 Great Recession. And on Friday, the US government announced that the economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2012. The economy is by far the most important issue for the November presidential elections. But do either President Barack Obama, or his presumptive opponent, Republican Mitt Romney, have any real plans to help America's least fortunate? How will the debate affect the US presidential election? And is there a political will to improve the lives of America's poor? To discuss this we are joined by Rocky Anderson, a US presidential candidate for the Justice Party; Barbara Ehrenreich, the author of the book Nickel and Dimed; and Stan Veuger, an economist and research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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