The Great Recession's toll

It was predictable that the financial implosion of 2008 and the loss of 8 million jobs in the Great Recession that followed would generate a huge spike in the nation's poverty rate in 2009, and for several years afterwards. That is precisely what has happened, and what continues to occur. The latest Census Bureau figures reveal the dreadful enormity of the economic disaster.

As a result of the harshest recession since the Great Depression, the share of American residents living in poverty climbed to 14.3 percent in 2009, from 39.8 million in 2008 to 43.6 million - the highest level recorded since 1994. One out of five children suffered anew from poverty, a rate worse than for adults.

As employers shed jobs and employer-provided health insurance, the rate of medically uninsured soared as well, from 47.3