A few short years ago it was widely assumed that poverty was declining in the U.S. Indeed, to think about the poor was to reveal an inability to overcome the “trauma of the 1930’s,” for the vast improvement in levels of living was supposed to have eliminated all but a “hard core” of poverty.
Now a spate of books has upset this complacent picture: Michael Harrington has feelingly portrayed the strain of poverty; Robert Lampman, Gabriel Kolko, and Leon Keyserling have revealed its extent. The “income curtain” which separated the American haves from the American have-nots has been drawn back, and we can no longer assume that poverty is dwindling or is far less destructive than it used to be. ...
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