I would highly recommend that you all take a read of "The Other America" by Michael Harrington. It's a critical book about poverty in the U.S. during the 1960s, but the case studies he looks over and the lessons he teaches about how the Government often lets those who need aid the most right through the hoops are time-less, especially in the current economic situation. He humanizes unemployment statistics to the lives of those affected, not individually per se, but in their various industrial subsets. It'll really open your eyes to unemployment in the U.S. and might even make you more of a socialist actually(if you aren't already).
Anyway, give it a read. It started LBJ to launch the War on Poverty and changed his approach from the "just give them money" to "let's address the root cause." Granted, he didn't completely succeed, but he did manage to significantly reduce the percent of those in poverty by the end of his second term.
In case you haven't noticed, I'm doing my history reading right now.