Living big at $7.25 an hour

The Times spent a few column inches yesterday mulling over the mystery of why the poverty rate hasn't budged in 30 years. Gosh. I don't know. I'm sure it can't have anything to do with the systematic decimation of organized labor and the shipping of American jobs to China and Mexico. Can't see how starving the free universal education system could have anything to do with it. It can't be because of all that expenditure of public wealth on the liberal project of empire-building instead of on the building roads and bridges and harbors and airports and hospitals and schools and housing here at home. Can't be that. You can't blame the war on drugs, or the creation of a vast army of former inmates without jobs, or the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars on incarceration instead of education, on building prisons instead of schools. I'm sure it has nothing to do with Bill Clinton's welfare reforms. Surely it wasn't because the minimum wage wasn't linked to inflation or to worker productivity so that as the decades rolled by low end jobs were worth less and less. Couldn't be that. Certainly it had nothing to do with the mortgage crisis. Or allowing the banks to bleed us dry. Or slashing services for the poor and middle class so that taxes for the very wealthiest could be slashed, too. I can't think what the reason might be. Can you?

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