Poverty Soars in Obama's America

President Obama spreads the wealth misery around.

The ranks of America's poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work. The number of uninsured edged up to 49.9 million, the biggest in more than two decades.

The Census Bureau's annual report released Tuesday offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2010, when joblessness hovered above 9 percent for a second year. It comes at a politically sensitive time for President Barack Obama, who has acknowledged in the midst of a re-election fight that the unemployment rate could persist at high levels through next year.

The overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 percent, or 46.2 million, up from 14.3 percent in 2009. The official poverty level is an annual income of $22,314 for a family of four.

I know, I know, poverty is a relative term, and the fact is that America's poor tend to live better lives than relatively wealthier folks outside America. Being born in this country is, as Mark Steyn says, winning the lottery of life. Our poor are more likely to own cars, microwaves and PS3's than anyone else's poor. But still, there's that line, and Obama's America has more of us living below it than above it. And with 9.1% unemployment that's likelier to rise than fall between now and November 2012, more of those poor are likely to have to choose their food or gassing up their car over the PS3.

If they happen to vote, they'll remember having had to make that choice.