- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2013

Four out of five Americans are near poverty, walking the line between joblessness and welfare application, and the American dream under the current Obama administration is slowly dying, a new survey shows.

The findings reported by The Associated Press come as President Obama is making yet another public relations round to convince the American public that the economy is on the track toward improvement and that job creation is his top concern.

Among the data: The gap between rich and poor continues to widen, due in part to the shipping of good-paying manufacturing jobs to overseas markets. And whites, in particular, are seeing their economic hardships escalate, AP reported.

Here’s a snippet of what the American dream has become in the past few years: Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., said the economic trend is only going to get worse.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said, AP reported. The youth have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke continues to pump $1 trillion a year into the economy, propping up the stock market and housing industry, Fox News reported.

The survey, aimed at providing a gauge for the nation’s economic insecurities — which was defined as a year or more of joblessness, food-stamp usage or poverty-line household income — is set to be published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The AP was provided an advance look at the data.

The numbers for the survey were calculated by a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Mark Rank, and were then supplemented by interviews with several notable Census Bureau and university professors, AP reported. The report didn’t make clear how accurate the findings were in terms of polled margins of error.

One conclusion, Mr. Rank said, in the AP report: “Poverty is no longer an issue of ‘them,’ it’s an issue of ‘us.’ Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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