The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing.
Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”.
No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
posted by infini
on Nov 8, 2012 -
For all the faults of the poorhouse
, the system it replaced was perceived to be even worse. In post-Revolution America, if you were poor, you could be "farmed out" at public auction to the lowest bidder. [more inside]
posted by Knappster
on Dec 30, 2010 -
Too Poor to Make the News
"The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee’s. In some accounts, the recession is even described as the “great leveler,” smudging the dizzying levels of inequality that characterized the last couple of decades and squeezing everyone into a single great class, the Nouveau Poor, in which we will all drive tiny fuel-efficient cars and grow tomatoes on our porches.
But the outlook is not so cozy when we look at the effects of the recession on a group generally omitted from all the vivid narratives of downward mobility — the already poor. From their point of view “the economy,” as a shared condition, is a fiction."
posted by nooneyouknow
on Jun 17, 2009 -
I sometimes look up at the bit of blue sky
High over my head, with a tear in my eye.
Surrounded by walls that are too high to climb,
Confined like a felon without any crime...
posted by Miko
on Sep 18, 2006 -
Being Poor ...
what it actually entails. More from Body and Soul
, and from Making Light
, and from here's a whosit
And this article,
in which ...they were trying to rescue people with a helicopter and the people were so poor they were afraid it would cost too much to get a ride and they had no money for a "ticket." Dupree was shaken telling us the story. He just couldn't believe these people were afraid they'd be charged for a rescue. ...
posted by amberglow
on Sep 11, 2005 -
'is an institution that often evokes the harsh and squalid world of Oliver Twist
, but its story is also a fascinating mixture of social history, politics, economics and architecture.'
posted by plep
on Mar 3, 2004 -
A Special Kind of Poverty
This great article appeared in yesterday's Washington Post Sunday Magazine. Its subject: the trials and tribulations of the poor seeking treatment for their infertility. I don't think I have to list the whole raft of issues this subject raises. As touching as it is thought-provoking.
posted by tommyspoon
on Apr 21, 2003 -
A flood of homeless at city shelters. '"I think that there must be a greater segment of our population that has tenuous connections
to family and friends, and therefore has fewer resources to fall back on when something very bad happens like when they lose their job," he said.' How can there be so many people, who have no one to count on? Are we getting some serious payback from the nuclear family society?
posted by mmarcos
on Dec 18, 2001 -