Our Classless Society
“Being on public assistance for the first time in my life only taught me that i really never want to be on public assistance again.”
Business Insider and Pew aren’t suggesting that a middle class income means you can afford a comfortable life, or a life free from financial worry, or even a decent apartment. In this report, “middle class” just desginates that you are earning a certain percentage of the state’s median income.
“What if the focus wasn’t on selling up and moving on, but instead was on handing down and passing on?”
Instead of tax code changes that could be here one year and gone the next, I myself would prefer structural and societal changes in the way we support parents.
In an impressive, old-school takedown that doesn’t use the words “mansplaining” or “privilege,” New Republic writer Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig explains why NYT columnist David Brooks — who I think of as white bread with glasses — is mistaken about poverty.
Brooks’ underlying assumption is wrong: The baseline moral values of poor people do not, in fact, differ that much from those of the rich. Poor people feel ashamed of the incarceration of relatives. The poor, too, want to get married at roughly the same rates as the rich, though the rich have an easier time pulling it off. Matrimonial aspirations, then, are decaying no faster among the poor than the well-off; it’s only the ability to maintain a marriage under the stressors of poverty that seems to put poor families on unsteady ground. Lastly, lest anyone suspect the welfare-queen narrative about poor people eschewing hard work and responsibility holds true, Stephen Pimpare observes in his book A People’s History of Poverty in America that the stigma and shame of poverty and welfare are alive and well …
It is so, so easy, criminally easy, to assume people are poor because they’ve done something wrong and so deserve it. “They” make bad choices, “they” have bad values, “they” buy too many lattes or drugs or fancy sneakers or whatever. It is comforting to think this way because it allows the people making these judgments to enjoy the often fleeting illusion of feeling a) superior, and b) safe.
We don’t dump bodies in unmarked paupers’ graves anymore, right?