This morning, when I read that Cornell University, slammed with a crappy financial outlook, will have to hike tuition at its 10 schools, I was reminded of an early segment on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. Scott Pelley's excellent piece should be required viewing for anyone who still doesn't get how the recession is affecting America's most vulnerable. Maybe we don't get it because we haven't been hit that hard. Or maybe we have been hit super hard, but our friends are still there to get us drunk and pick up the tab once in a while. But what if almost all your neighbors, family members and friends were also screwed? Then you'd have an idea of what it's like right now in Wilmington, Ohio.Ever since DHL decided in November to close its hub there, 7,000 people in a town of 12,000 lost their jobs. That's 58 percent of the population.In the segment, one of the residents called the town "ground zero for unemployment."If you have a soul, it's hard to watch with a dry eye. And maybe I was seeing things, but Pelley himself looked close to tears at one point as well, when a mother, who is stockpiling food and toilet paper, says she's had to pull her son out of college because she can no longer afford his tuition. Obviously Cornell's $36,000 tuition is out of the reach of most Americans anyway, but we'd be foolish not to see it as one more harbinger of hardship.
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