Paul Krugman on Poverty

Paul Krugman wrote a pretty decent column on poverty in America.  Read this until I return to the scene tomorrow:

“Poverty in early childhood poisons the brain.” That was the opening of an article in Saturday’s Financial Times, summarizing research presented last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

As the article explained, neuroscientists have found that “many children growing up in very poor families with low social status experience unhealthy levels of stress hormones, which impair their neural development.” The effect is to impair language development and memory — and hence the ability to escape poverty — for the rest of the child’s life.

So now we have another, even more compelling reason to be ashamed about America’s record of failing to fight poverty.

L. B. J. declared his “War on Poverty” 44 years ago. Contrary to cynical legend, there actually was a large reduction in poverty over the next few years, especially among children, who saw their poverty rate fall from 23 percent in 1963 to 14 percent in 1969.

But progress stalled thereafter: American politics shifted to the right, attention shifted from the suffering of the poor to the alleged abuses of welfare queens driving Cadillacs, and the fight against poverty was largely abandoned.

In 2006, 17.4 percent of children in America lived below the poverty line, substantially more than in 1969. And even this measure probably understates the true depth of many children’s misery.”

For the full article, go here…

2 thoughts on “Paul Krugman on Poverty

  1. Also this morning on NPR Morning Edition there was a summary of health census data. Health gaps between the poor and wealthy closed between 1960 – 1980. But since then the gaps have widened, again. They think the attention to civil rights made equal health care possible. But with the waning of civil rights movement, so has the attention.

    Interestingly, I commented on the very real side of growing up poor on my blog: http://sciedsociety.blogspot.com/2008/02/inferiority-complex-of-low-ses-blacks.html

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s