Monday, November 21, 2011

The New Poor

Once they had it all. A good and comfortable life with a rosy future that stretched into forever after. Today, increasingly, the formerly well off are filing into food banks as in this story about a wealthy enclave in the burbs of Atlanta. And who are the new poor in Forsyth County? People who as recently as two years thought it would be impossible.
People like these married retirees in their 70s, too embarrassed to appear on camera. They said they could not feed themselves now without help.

They retired comfortably in their early 50s. But now, after bad investments, a ruined portfolio, and costly medical issues, they qualify for food stamps - and could lose the house.

"Taking the food was really tough," the woman said. "The hard part was, we used to give it, and now I'm taking it back, you know?" she said, crying.
Don't mistake these people for the nearly poor who have always lingered on the edges of poverty, no matter how hard they worked. This new class of poor are the only the front line of the former comfortably secure, now engulfed by the tidal wave of income inequality. Unless something is done to stem the tide of corporate greed, their numbers will surely grow.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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