More on Poverty and Its Impact

November 24th, 2011 at 5:01 am

Here’s an insightful editorial from this AMs NYT amplifying many of the same poverty points I made here yesterday.  Based on new analysis of comprehensive poverty data—data that takes account of taxes, transfers, and costs associated with work and health care spending—one-third of the nation—100 million of us–is poor or near poor.

What’s important here—something I’ve tried to underscore—is not just the hit on contemporary living standards.  It’s the way in which these economic conditions block poverty’s exit ramp—the way they diminish upward mobility:

A good education is also increasingly out of reach. A study by Martha Bailey, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, showed that the difference in college-graduation rates between the rich and poor has widened by more than 50 percent since the 1990s.

There is also a growing out-of-sight-out-of-mind problem. A study, by Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford, shows that Americans are increasingly living in areas that are either poor or affluent. The isolation of the prosperous, he said, threatens their support for public schools, parks, mass transit and other investments that benefit broader society.


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2 comments in reply to "More on Poverty and Its Impact"

  1. the buckaroo says:

    …seems a good education at any price was never a lofty goal for most, simply a way to avoid the hell of cubicle dwelling and that ship has since left port.

    Registration fees at Berkeley in 1971 were $25 a quarter & books hit the $100 range…that’s a tidy sum for tuition & books of roughly $375 for the year…summer was reserved for the high sierra. A University education was for the learning experience not career pursuits…now a days that role has reversed. For what education cost there had better be a stinking payoff & not the forever & a day loan schedule.

    Asking someone in their late teens to choose a path in life is akin to getting hitched at the same age…maturity is sorely lacking. The point is this…once upon a time we could afford to be well rounded & full of opinions (and intellectually equipped to defend said opinions), now the cost is prohibitive & exclusionary…nose to the grindstone ethics abound & for what? To have oppressive financial instruments (loans) that will haunt your every waking moment is not my idea of a free society.

    Education at the higher level is not…it is a simple pursuit of a career, little else. Those believing otherwise are either Quixotic (and necessary) or brain dead. I’ll leave you with Yevtushenko’s take on the subject.

    To comprehend the planet
    Galileo alone took a risk
    and thus became great… That’s what
    I understand by a careerist!

    I believe in their holy belief.
    From their belief my courage is won.
    I make a career for myself
    by not making one.

    from A Career, the Marshall translation.

  2. He Loved Big Brother says:

    Let’s be real here – povertly limit for a family of four is $24k??? Which country would that be? Certainly nowhere in the US. 100M people living at no more than poverty +50%, or $36K for a family of four. We now have 1/3 of the country living in extremely straitened conditions, and no political will (or even noise) to address this situation. All we here is a cry to eliminate taxes on cap gains!! OWS has got it right, and we can only hope that the public outcry at the relentless rape of America by the ultra-privileged…