Latinos Falling Through the Cracks

By: Daniel Nardini

 Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryAs if America and Americans have not had a truly bad enough month already with the near default on the U.S. national debt and the downgrading of America’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s, now we have more bad news that one in every four Latinos lives in poverty. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, over 12 million Latinos live in poverty or dire poverty. This means that one in four Latino families are making U.S. $22,000 or less a year for a family of four people.

According to the U.S. Census, this is the highest poverty rate for Latinos in at least a decade (African Americans fared worse. One in three is in poverty). The figure alone only tells part of the story. It means that Latinos, more than almost any other minority, are struggling to get by. It means that Latino families must stretch their food dollars to be able to eat for a week. It means that so many Latino children must go without some of the basics such as clothes, medical care, and money for transportation other than school. It means that adults must cut that much more from their living expenses especially in hard times, and are in danger of being kicked out of their homes or rental places if they have no money.

I am certainly not saying that Latinos are the only ones suffering from the effects of the Great Recession. One need only look at the number of people on food stamps today to know that the situation is truly bad. Over 46 million Americans are now on food stamps. This alone is the highest number it has been since 1959 when records were kept on the number of Americans who are on the food stamp program. But in proportion to numbers, Latinos are certainly being hit badly. And none of this is good for our nation.

Regardless of who we are, this country should not be suffering from the level of poverty we have now. This country should be doing more to help our most needy people where possible. And above all else we should be helping our children no matter who they are. They are our future. What kind of future do we have if we leave them in dire poverty and for want? But right now I am losing faith in a government that almost did not even pass a decent annual budget.

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