Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Poverty in America

The big differences in living standards between the poor, working class, middle class, and the well-off in America don't have that much to do with electronics. About a year ago I ran across an old article by Elizabeth Warren on just which items in the household budget are causing a financial squeeze. Sure, rich people have better refrigerators and larger televisions, but the big differences in quality of life come from housing costs; having one car per driving age member of the household; and having high quality education, child care, and health care. It's difficult imagine there being no disparity in the quality of these services available to the rich and the poor, but certainly public policy could do more to lessen the gap. The reasons for doing so aren't purely altruistic, of course, since poor health and low-quality education are a drag on economic productivity.

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