Today, In “Things David Brooks Doesn’t Understand”: Poverty

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.

The Cost of Moving to a Bankrupt City

I'm working on a potential move to Detroit from Flint, Mich. in a few weeks. Of course, there's also that other bit of financial news about Detroit, too.

DIY Hostess Snacks

"There has to be a way to recreate all those products if you really wanted them."

Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy: Brittany Powell and the Debt Project

I’m interested in creating a platform to discuss how stigmatized debt is in our culture. It’s a publicly enforced system, but it’s typically privately experienced.

The MBA Program for the NFL

Can an MBA program geared towards NFL athletes—a staggeringly high amount who become insolvent within 10 years of retirement (more than 50 percent according to one report)—help them hold onto their money?

The Catholic Church is a Hot Financial Mess

You can argue that the church has done a lot of good for the poor and needy in communities, but they've done not so good things as well, and mismanaging money is just one of them.

Bracing for Pension Cuts

At Newsweek, David Cay Johnson takes a closer look at the Detroit ruling lifting protections on state pensions, and explains some of the history that has led to the shortfalls all across the country. This, of course, is a huge deal for retirees who've worked who are bracing for pension cuts.

Living with a Disease Without a Cure

>Our pals at LearnVest have a really nice piece by a woman diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and how the disease is bankrupting her family.

Why I Didn’t File for Bankruptcy at 23 (or 24, or 25, or 26, or 27, or 28)

I have obviously considered this! (I love a quick fix, lovelovelove.) However: I very quickly unconsidered it.