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currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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January 16, 2007 || 10:01 am
America's poverty

This article (on the generally patchy Comment is free 'blog' - 5000 word pieces are NOT blog posts, guys) addresses the massive and hidden poverty of the USA, which I saw first-hand and was shocked by in Alabama.

Apparently around 25m Americans are dependent on charity food banks to stop them literally going hungry, and a further 13m are going hungry and aren't yet plugged into any support network. This being the States, of course there is no state help for the poor. The federal minimum wage is still stuck at $5.15 an hour, as it has been for the last ten years, meaning that if you worked full-time you would still end up with less than $10,000 a year.

The degrees of poverty that exist in the States are truly shocking - in Alabama, not only the traps of low wages, disability and ill health, but shanty town housing of shacks with no sewage systems, resembling more the photos of Africa than what you would expect of the world's richest nation. Indeed, at one point early on in The Last King of Scotland, when a packed, rickety bus pulled up in a small Ugandan town, I whispered to the boy that it looked just like Greensboro Depot St.

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