Large numbers of Americans—especially those of us born into poor, black families—experience poverty at some point in our lives. It is also true that large numbers—especially those of us born into affluent, white families—experience wealth at some point in our lives.
If somebody starts out in life poor and winds up making a middle-class income or at least a living wage, that is not a bad thing. It’s different if somebody starts out in life poor, attains a middle-class income or living wage and then is laid off at age 55 and never again gets a full-time job, no matter how hard they try. I know people in both categories.
Similarly if people rise or fall in income due to their work ethic and competence, or lack of it, that is not a bad thing. If they are economically insecure due to trends in the economic or corporate policies beyond their control, that is another thing. Among the people I know, the latter is much more common than the former.
The remarkably high odds you’ll be poor at some point in your life by Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post. (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)
Three in Five Americans Have Experienced Poverty-Level Incomes by Nathan Collins for Pacific Standard. (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)