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Once upon a time, the BBC’s Panorama used to be the current affairs programme to watch. Since its revamp it has largely disappointed. Last night though was an exception – and what an exception.

America has suffered under the recession, which many commentators are comparing to the Great Depression of the 30s.

If what was shown last night was anything to go by, then those voices may not be wrong – with one million children homeless, coming from by and large from the kind of families the American dream is all about, and politicians largely unable and often unwilling to do anything concrete right now to prevent the communities of homeless people springing up literally down the road, the poor in the richest country on earth on are going to have a fight on their hands, especially since Republicans like Mitt Romney are open admirers of our own Margaret Thatcher and Newt Gringich are arguing for a return to child labour.

Strangely enough, not one of those condemning the poor for being a burden on the state are looking at the real reason for the astronomical budget deficit – quoted in the programme as one trillion dollars, but it is much, much larger than that – namely the cost of imperial overstretch.