Last November in a letter to this newspaper, I drew attention to a report released by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture which found that the number of American families having to forego buying food in order to meet other basic expenses had risen 8.6 percent between 2002 and 2001, and 13 percent between 2002 and 2000. Unfortunately, two reports issued by the U.S. Census Bureau recently confirm that this trend has not in the meantime been reversed. For the third straight year, the ranks of the poverty-stricken and the uninsured in our country have increased dramatically. Between 2002 and 2003 the number of Americans living below the poverty line (defined as an annual income of $9,393 for individuals and $18,810 for a family of four) rose by 1.3 million, including 800,000 children. During the same period the number without health insurance rose by 1.5 million. And the recession is supposed to have ended two years ago.