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“A People’s History of Poverty in America”

By Democracy Now!

November 25, 2008 "While President-Elect Obama has talked a lot about the middle class, there has been little said about the issue of poverty in this country. The economic crisis is likely to have a particularly devastating impact on poor Americans. The rising unemployment could push between 7 and 10 million Americans into poverty according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released Monday. Census Bureau figures from 2007 show that 12.5% of the population, or over 37 million people, live below the poverty line. The Center warns hat number could increase to up to 47 million.

Capitalism's unequal distribution of wealth and resources necessarily engenders economic "winners" and "losers." But the poor in the United States are often described solely in terms of moral failures: they're lazy, irresponsible and just don't want to work hard for success. Indeed, openly blaming the poor for poverty has been en vogue since Reagan's acidic "welfare queen" remarks. However, in A People's History of Poverty in America, Stephen Pimpare takes a decidedly less accusatory look at the history of poverty in our country. Told from the perspective of the poor themselves, the moving stories of hard work, bad luck, and almost insurmountable institutional inequalities brim with a quiet dignity.

– Suzanne Niemoth

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