04/29/2005: "Poor, relative to whom?"
From Jane Galt:
But, of course, we can always find new things to worry about. By the standards of, say, 1920, every single one of us, even welfare mothers, is rich. Every single one of us has enough food that we never need to go to bed with our stomachs crying out to be filled. Every single one of us has running water--running hot water--and bathtubs and indoor toilets to put the water into. We have stoves that do not need to be carefully tended to keep the fire going. We have central heat. We have cars or public transportation to take us wherever we want to go for a trivial sum. Almost every poor person in America has a color television, offering free entertainment 24 hours a day, and most of them can afford to buy cable to go along with it. We are so wealthy that even a welfare mother can afford to let her children stay in school until they graduate--indeed, so wealthy that a once-unbiquitous dramatic scene, the child vowing to drop out of school in order to help the family out, has entirely dropped out of the literary canon. The average middle class man of 1920 would have regarded all but the most hopelessly drug addled or mentally ill street people as wealthy beyond dreams of avarice.