Why Do We Think Poor People are Poor Because of Their Own Bad Choices?

Cecilia Mo thought she knew all about growing up poor when she began teaching at Thomas Jefferson senior high school in south Los Angeles. As a child, she remembered standing in line, holding a free lunch ticket. But it turned out that Mo could still be shocked by poverty and violence – especially after a 13-year-old student called her in obvious panic. He had just seen his cousin get shot in his front yard.

Severe Inequality Is Incompatible With the American Dream

The numbers are sobering: People born in the 1940s had a 92 percent chance of earning more than their parents did at age 30. For people born in the 1980s, by contrast, the chances were just 50-50. The finding comes from a new paper out of The Equality of Opportunity Project, a joint research effort of Harvard and Stanford led by the economist Raj Chetty. The paper puts numbers on what many have seen firsthand for years: The American dream—the ability to climb the economic ladder and achieve more than one’s parents did—is less and less a reality with every decade that goes by.

What Do the Poor Deserve?

The photograph seemingly shows a poor black child with an expensive piece of faddish technology. Such incongruity was too much for a great number of people in New Orleans to accept, said Jarvis DeBerry, who noted as much Sunday in his Times-Picayune column. The idea that most people in public housing are living the lush life has persisted for at least as long as presidential candidate Ronald Reagan started using the offensive “welfare queen.

Economic Mobility: Is the American Dream Alive and Well?

For more than two centuries, economic opportunity and the prospect of upward mobility have formed the bedrock upon which the American story has been anchored — inspiring people in distant lands to seek our shores and sustaining the unwavering …

What the Poor Deserve

THE STARK WORD FROM WASHINGTON IS that America’s War on Poverty has been totally transformed. It is now a War on the Poor. Who’s to blame? In the view of Prof. Herbert J. Gans, a Columbia sociologist and perceptive critic of American life, almost all the nonpoor must share the blame. Despite the New Deal and what he calls the Great Society’s “Skirmish on Poverty,” Americans have for much of their history demonized the poor as undeserving shirkers and cheats.

Economic Security Project

It’s time to end poverty and rebuild the middle class in America. We believe cash is an effective way to achieve that.