Consider the following facts of life in America:
Today, 37 million Americans live in poverty, including nearly 13 million children.
The number of Americans living in poverty rose from 35.9 million in 2003 to 37 million in 2004, an increase of 1.1 million Americans.
12.7 percent of Americans are living in poverty today. This figure includes 7.9 million families, an increase from 7.6 million families in 2003. Today, 13 million children under the age of 18 are living in poverty. That's 17.6 percent of all children in America.
Both the number of Americans living in poverty and the official poverty rate have risen for four straight years from 2000 to 2004.
2004 marked the second consecutive year in which real median household income showed no change.
Between 2002 and 2003, the number of uninsured Americans rose by 1.4 million. In 2004, the number of uninsured American rose by another 800,000, leaving 45.8 million Americans without health care coverage.
More than 8.3 million children under the age of 18 remained uninsured in 2004.
18.9 percent of children living in poverty are uninsured.
The proportion of people who receive health insurance from their employer continued to drop between 2003 and 2004, from 60.4 percent to 59.8 percent, the lowest levels in a decade.
Meanwhile, the number of people receiving assistance through government health insurance programs continues to rise. In 2004, 27.2 percent of Americans received some sort of government-sponsored health insurance, an increase from 26.6 in 2003.
24.7 percent of African Americans are living in poverty, making the poverty rate among African Americans nearly twice the national rate.
21.9 percent of Hispanics live in poverty.
24.3 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in poverty.
Women are nearly 40 percent more likely to live in poverty than men.
In 2004 women's wages declined in comparison to men's for the second straight year. Before 2003, women's wages had not seen an annual decline since 1995. Women make 77 cents for every dollar made by men.
There is much to consider here.