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New Haven is a metaphor for the America which on Tuesday elects its Senate and House of Representatives. It is the country's fourth poorest city, where the ghetto laps at the walls of a university worth $11 billion (?7bn) in tax-exempt endowments, educating America's next generation of rulers. A sign at the freeway turn-off advertises New Haven as the birthplace of President George Bush.
It is a city with the same infant mortality rate as Malaysia and a terrifying rate of deaths from Aids - one day care centre alone commemorated the loss of 600 clients at a memorial service on Wednesday. But it is located in America' richest state, Connecticut, which has, proportionally, more millionaires than any other.
'New Haven,' says the Rev David Lee of Varick Church in the city's northwestern ghetto, 'is a microcosm of America. It's the vicious cycle between rich and poor and the system of exploitation. The wealth is in your face all the time, something you can never aspire to. It's like being a kid in a candy store, being told you can look but you can't never have a lollipop.'
While President Bush's windfall tax breaks to the super-rich breezed through Congress (with Democratic help), the proposed rise in the minimum wage is frozen.
The proportion of children without health cover has increased from 63.8 per cent to 67.1 per cent. The poverty rate for children in the US is worse than in 19 'rich' countries, according to a study by the University of Michigan.
Income statistics showed the first significant decline in average income among blacks in two decades; the white average also fell, and only Hispanics maintained their level.
Statisticians are struck by differences between this dive and the usual downward turns that accompany recessions. 'The poor are trailing further behind than in the past,' says Robert Greenstein of the Centre on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington. 'The increase in poverty is likely to be larger in 2002.'
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