On being poor in America

Great post by Anthony Layne.  Go read.


Something I think that is confusing to many of us today is the sheer amount of stuff floating around the US.  Things that you used to have to save up for — electronics, a roomful of toys, a pile of gadgets — these things are just there.  How can you be poor if you have a microwave or a TV?  Try selling either one, and see how much food you can buy for the difference.

Growing up (not poor – middle), we had one PC that was highly valued.  Not something a poor person could own.  I have in sight as I type 6 — six — working laptops that are hand-me-downs nobody wants.  Not ones we bought, ones other people gave us because they were of no value.  Even the kid I know who invents things with old electronics doesn’t want them.

Our brains are stuck in 1986 when we say things like, “How can you call yourself poor if you have six laptops?”  The answer is: Those things are knick-knacks.  Worthless.  I could sell my decorative sea shell (next shelf over) for more — at a garage sale I might get 25 cents for the sea shell.  (Dear thieves: Please do not take my sea shell.)

Poverty in America is weird.  Very weird.  But it’s real.  Living wage? Have I mentioned living wage lately?  I’ve been remiss.

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