...while lots of Americans experienced a “spell” of poverty during those years, only 3.5 percent of the population was poor for all 36 months. So how we think about poverty is all wrong: it’s a much more common occurrence than people realize and the chronic, persistent, generational poverty that features so prominently in political rhetoric and media coverage is very much the exception, rather than the rule.
...more than 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will be poor for at least a year.
...poverty in the US is, in fact, a much larger problem than we think it is, and it’s one that most Americans will face.
Maybe if more Americans understood what their own personal stake is in committing to poverty reduction, they might be more inclined to press for higher wages, better access to affordable child care, more generous social welfare programs, a reinvigorated right to form a union and so on. These are not policies that benefit some group of Others, but policies that serve the majority of us. If we can’t count on empathy to improve well-being, maybe selfishness will do the trick?
Don’t fight poverty because you feel sorry for other people; fight poverty because the odds are increasingly high that you and your family will be poor someday, too.