In the Fight Against Poverty, It’s Time for a Revolution

By David Bornstein

Is it time to rethink our basic assumptions about the way we fight poverty?

When Michael Harrington’s landmark book on poverty, “The Other America,” was published in 1962, Harrington startled the nation’s leaders, including President John F. Kennedy, by shining a spotlight on the deep poverty that remained hidden in America. Harrington’s book became an underpinning for the War on Poverty. Half a century later, the United States Census bureau has produced what may become another landmark reference. Based on an updated method for assessing poverty, the bureau has found that far more Americans are scraping by than was previously known: 100 million Americans — one in three — are “deep poor,” “poor,” or “near poor.”
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