If we turn our backs on the poor, we build a nation we won't want to inhabitIf we are in the midst of economic recovery, why are thousands of Americans falling below the poverty line? And more pointedly, why don't congressional Republicans and President Bush care about that?

Perhaps, in the parlance of the day, we are having a jobless economic recovery. Most likely, we are in the midst of a basic and painful restructuring of the economy.

With Oregon's emergency unemployment benefits expiring and federal unemployment benefits running out, hundreds of Oregonians will fall below the line in the weeks ahead.

U.S. Rep. David Wu has begun one more battle to extend federal unemployment benefits. Astoundingly, Wu faces opposition from the Republican side. Are those men and women in denial of what's going on in America?

The Oregonian reported last week that evidence of poverty is creeping into suburbs nationally. "In Washington County, the Portland area's cul-de-sac capital and high-tech hub, the sight of people asking for food, money or jobs along U.S. 26 on-ramps is as typical as Friday afternoon traffic."

Economists reported last week that President Bush's is the first administration since that of Herbert Hoover to suffer a job loss.

If congressional Republicans are in denial, so is Bush. Jonathan Alter of Newsweek has written that Bush is a regular guy who really doesn't care much about regular guys.

The rest of us must not be so complacent or uncaring. If we turn our backs on the poor, we will build a nation we will not want to inhabit. Congressman Wu is doing the right thing.

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