The utopian dream of wiping out poverty in the United States has been put on hold — again — as this nation, and indeed the entire world, claws its way out of a global recession.

On Thursday, the Census Bureau announced that 3.8 million more Americans could count themselves among the ranks of the poor last year. That brings the number up to 43.6 million, up from 39.8 million in 2008 and moves the country’s official poverty rate up to 14.3% last year, rising from 13.2% a year earlier. Is this any surprise, considering that unemployment remains at a stubborn and relentless 9.6%?

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