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Terry's Reading Room: "The American Way of Poverty"

by Terry Stevens

Oh, come on.  Like you've never read here.

Welcome to Terry's Reading Room, where I write about what I've recently read.

Try not to look so shocked that I actually read.

Today's featured book is "The American Way of Poverty:  How the Other Half Still Lives" by Sasha Abramsky .  It's available at the Marathon County Public Library .

This book is a two-parter.  In part one, Abramsky introduces us to people who have lived with poverty for generations, and people who have just joined their ranks thanks to The Great Recession.

Many of these stories could have just as easily come from down the street.  The closing of several paper mills in Central Wisconsin have left hundreds without good-paying jobs.  People who could earn a decent income with one full time job, are now working two or three part time jobs and still not making enough to live on.

Combine those job losses with the anti-tax sentiment, and resistance to increasing the size and scope of government programs to help the poor in Washington and Madison, and a bad situation becomes even worse.

Our elected leaders bail out the financial industry because "they need it", meanwhile cutting food stamps and education programs because "the poor just need to work harder".  Swearing in to office on a Bible only to turn around and do the exact opposite of what a certain divine carpenter would do seems a bit off to me.

Anyway, part two of Abramsky's book lays out some means by which the issue of poverty in the U.S. can be more effectively addressed.  I liked the sound of a lot of his suggestions, but I agree with Abramsky that the bulk of American politicians lack the political will to do something that will actually fix poverty.  Why risk big campaign donations from people who have money by doing something for people who don't?  Far easier to just pretend poverty isn't a thing.

If I sound a bit incensed after reading this book, I am.

If someone wants my vote in the next election cycle, they'd better have a better plan for addressing poverty than, "screw the poor".

* In addition to reading books that make him mad, Terry Stevens is a radio host for Midwest Communications. You can Book Face  with him here.