The Human Toll Of The Economic Downturn

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Hundreds lined up to pick up their Thanksgiving dinner food at the St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Nov., 2010, in Phoenix, AZ. (AP)
Hundreds lined up to pick up Thanksgiving dinners at the St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Nov. 2010, in Phoenix, AZ. (AP)

A new report finds that food banks that were initially created to serve on a short-term, emergency basis are now filling a long-term need and feeding chronically hungry Americans.

The U.S. Census Bureau found that the number of Americans living below the official poverty line was the highest in the 52 years since the bureau started publishing poverty records. As Bloomberg News puts it, "Americans flipped more burgers, rented more homes, used less-expensive heating fuel and asked for more government help last year."

Harvard economics professor Larry Katz says that we're in the midst of a "lost decade," because many families are in worse shape than they were in the 1990s.


  • Larry Katz, Harvard University economics professor and former chief labor economist under Bill Clinton

This segment aired on September 29, 2011.


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