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Lots of good responses to this thread: “What is something someone who has never been poor wouldn’t understand?” E.g. how expensive it is to be poor, like paying more for daily subway tickets bc you don’t have the cash on hand for a monthly.

Discussion  7 comments

Kim D. Edited

If it's not mentioned on the Threads thread...

Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond was excellent. Very well researched and an enjoyable, enlightening and powerful read.

Ryan Miller

I'd echo that. Absolutely important book that everyone should read. Poverty, by America.

Tra H Edited

Growing up, I experienced quite a few of situations in that post, and it's all led to this one being my daily life experience:

That even once you have a safety net, you still don’t feel safe

My wife and I are unequivocally high earners, but I constantly feel like I'm a month away from being very poor again. I've struggled with it my entire adult life because "more money" would've solved so many of the problems of my childhood, so now as an adult I keep thinking "more money" will finally make me feel safe, but so far it's not making that feeling go away.

Jay Rendon

Absolutely. There is real trauma caused by being poor. My mother was born just prior to the depression, and even though she managed to become financially successful in life, the trauma of her early experiences caused a multitude of anxieties connected to money, security, identity, trust and paranoia that shaped her personality, defined her relationships, and persisted until the day she died.

Reply in this thread

Jason KottkeMOD

In addition to Poverty, By America, I'd recommend Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America — the 20th anniversary edition has a foreword written by Matthew Desmond.

Mils Yobtaf

I always have to bring up in these discussion: there is a very big difference between being "poor" and being "broke". I grew up poor, and I've been broke at times during my life, and the two are worlds apart.

Being broke means adding a bit to your credit card debt so you can enjoy some fast food when you know you shouldn't, or asking your parents to help with rent.

Being poor means so much more.


No doubt this is a subject too many know too many about.
OTOH, this is a nation built in huge part with if not on the belief that the poorer one is, the less they matter--human expendability.
a/k/a our heritage limits knowledge. Besides, for a huge percentage of the population, there's just no empathy for poor people.
Somewhat related: I have no idea about actual jobless/homeless-level poverty but near-poverty is surely growing with minimal resistance. That is, the decline of full time jobs with benefits and growth of part time jobs and of course gig jobs.

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