Monday, January 19, 2004

Poverty in America - NYT Magazine

A Poor Cousin of the Middle Class
Poverty is a peculiar, insidious thing, not just one problem but a constellation of problems: not just inadequate wages but also inadequate education, not just dead-end jobs but also limited abilities, not just insufficient savings but also unwise spending, not just the lack of health insurance but also the lack of healthy households. The villains are not just exploitative employers but also incapable employees, not just overworked teachers but also defeated and unruly pupils, not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves.

The difference between the Raptors (Republicans) and the Losers (liberals/democrats) is how we consider the "unfit", those who've lost out in a culture of aggressive natural selection. The religious Raptor might say that they have done something to displease God, the secular Raptor that the unfit do not deserve sympathy.

The Loser would say that we need another answer; that a reasonably comfortable life with a hope of happiness should be available to everyone; not luxury, but some happiness, comfort, and security.

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