Americans tread water in gulf between rich and poor

Friday, October 1, 2010 | 12:48 p.m. CDT; updated 1:19 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 1, 2010

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y.— A Wall Street adviser leaves early for work to avoid panhandlers at his suburban train station. In coal country, a suddenly homeless man watches from a bench as wealthy women shop for dresses. A down-and-out waitress sits glumly on her stoop across the street from a gleaming suburb. A freshly elected politician loses his day job.