Read So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America by Peter Edelman Online


If the nation’s gross national income—over $14 trillion—were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million—climbing to over $11 million when aIf the nation’s gross national income—over $14 trillion—were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million—climbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted for—while the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor?In this provocative book, Peter Edelman, a former top aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a lifelong antipoverty advocate, offers an informed analysis of how this country can be so wealthy yet have a steadily growing number of unemployed and working poor. According to Edelman, we have taken important positive steps without which 25 to 30 million more people would be poor, but poverty fluctuates with the business cycle. The structure of today’s economy has stultified wage growth for half of America’s workers—with even worse results at the bottom and for people of color—while bestowing billions on those at the top.So Rich, So Poor delves into what is happening to the people behind the statistics and takes a particular look at the continuing crisis of young people of color, whose possibility of a productive life too often is lost on their way to adulthood. This is crucial reading for anyone who wants to understand the most critical American dilemma of the twenty-first century....

Title : So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781595587855
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America Reviews

  • Kat
    2019-05-20 05:02

    If you know absolutely nothing about poverty and are not bothered too much by poorly research political and historical texts, this is a good overview of the history of poverty in the United States (mostly 1960s through 1990s). What do I mean by poorly researched? Most of Edelman's support for his assertions comes from newspaper articles or his own personal impressions from working as a youth for Robert Kennedy for a short period while Kennedy was heavily involved in reforming food stamps. While newspapers are not an illegitimate source, especially well respected newspapers, it still indicates that Edelman is content to rely on someone else's interpretation of data and facts rather than his own. In cases where it's impractical or impossible to get the data himself, I find that acceptable. But in this case, a simple public records act request would get him the same raw data the newspaper journalist had. Regarding his personal experience "evidence" - the problem with having "been there" is that you have a natural bias to your experiences are some how objective and truth rather than the highly subjective and very limited view of a single person. Edelman demonstrates keep lack of awareness of how limited his view of those event is by making broad, sweeping statements about the intentions and motivations of other politicians that he has absolutely no ability to support. If you're going to try to win me over to a point of view on an important political and social issue, I need to believe you are trustworthy. With such biased and unsupported statements, it's hard for me to feel confident that his other statements are accurate. That being said, this book does walk through some major historical moments in this country's intermittent efforts to address poverty including the history of food stamps and the evolution of the "poverty line" calculation. However, these discussions are very high-level and provide little to know understanding beyond what an mildly aware person would know or be able to easily surmise. Furthermore, his discussions are highly repetitive. While repetition is the path to committing information to long-term memory, it's only really required when you are either addressing someone who is not paying attention or not too bright, or you are communicating complex or detailed information. Since he provides no detail or complexity, I can only assume he thinks I'm dumb or he acknowledges that his writing style has a tendency to make his readers' minds wander.

  • Ruth Ann
    2019-04-24 02:20

    The strength of this book is Edelman's historical summary of the U.S. government's attempts to help the poor. He begins with Roosevelt's New Deal but the majority of the book focuses on 1960's-1990's. I became familiar with how the welfare system was cut during the Reagan administration and how it was completely dismantled in 1996 when Clinton was in office. But even though welfare as an entitlement no longer existed, the poor received assistance from SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance which was formerly called food stamps) and TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families which was formerly an entitlement program called AFCD or Aid to Families with Dependent Children). I realized that families also were also supported through CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program), EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), and CTC (Child Tax Credit).Though there were statistics and facts to illustrate the number of people living in poverty and the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line at various times in history, I thought too much of the analysis was biased opinion. For example, when talking about education reform, he states that charter schools and Teach for America are positive steps but he doesn't cite any studies or research to support his opinion. Then the reader learns that one of his sons was a principal as a charter school and now works for the GATES foundation and another son runs STAND for Children, an advocacy force for school reform. Hmm - I detect bias here and it made me question some of the author's other conclusions.This book mostly focused on inner city poverty. I would have been interested to hear more about poverty on reservations, rural poverty, veterans issues, and poverty due to mental illness. It seems that the solutions would be different and that perhaps many of the above programs might not provide relief for these subgroups.

  • Kay
    2019-05-18 05:23

    How can you not enjoy this delightful little nugget of a book? Edelman writes as an elder statesman, reflecting on his decades of experience in anti-poverty work. This is a knowing, plain spoken account from the front lines of the War on Poverty and beyond. Some thoughts:1) Edelman's approach isn't for everyone. A previous reviewer here on Goodreads noted that Edelman seems to select his best practices at random. I don't believe that's the case. He simply highlights the good work of those close to him. The book isn't light on data—the appendix's many Urban Institute citations makes this clear—but it is a more colloquial scan of the field. 2) I'd recommend that those who had trouble following "So Rich, So Poor," take a deep dive on any of the issues herein that piqued their interest. Any of Edelman's sentences could be (and likely already is) the thesis statement for a full, 400 page book. 3) The framing of the book is a bit odd—and sadly, even dated—just a few years after its publication. Why write two hundred pages on policy and program development, then situate the book in terms of mass movements like Occupy?All in all, this is a worthwhile read, both as an introduction for novices and as a pithy reflection for the well versed.

  • Matt
    2019-04-25 06:55

    This is a surprising book, it's almost a biography of the fight against poverty in this country, told by someone who's been through a good part of it. Edelman does an excellent job using facts and figures to paint a none too pretty picture of poverty in the United States from the late 1960s to the present day (approximately 2010). Even if you don't agree with his proposed solutions, Edelman does a a great job of portraying the scope of the problem in a very human way. Numbers and statistics are provided to back everything up and it would be very easy for the book to rely so heavily on numbers that it becomes easy for the reader to forget that these are real people, but Edelman does a great job of keeping things grounded, and keeping the human element at the center.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-24 07:16

    This book did a good job of describing the problem of poverty in America and expressing the author's nostalgia for Bobby Kennedy. He makes the excellent point that the elderly are in poverty in far fewer numbers than families with children (because the elderly vote and children can't). The great recession disproportionally hurt minorities and families with children. He also highlights that low wage jobs have proliferated in the last 40 years as a proportion of available jobs.The solutions he puts forth to the ongoing, entrenched poverty in our nation didn't feel realistic, especially in the current political climate.

  • Kristi
    2019-05-16 01:00

    An incredibly helpful historical review of the economics and social drivers of current public assistance programs. I have a better understanding of the reasons why things are as they are and can understand the logic. The federal government wants to reduce the amount of people living in poverty and extreme poverty by providing tax benefits and public assistance to compliment faith based and nonprofit outreach.Still want more understanding about the generational nature of poverty, but these kinds of readings help paint a picture.

  • May
    2019-05-03 00:59

    Definitely a worthwhile read and makes some critical points; I'm only giving it three stars because I think Edelman still falls into that progressive liberal trap that doesn't question very basic ideas that have been ingrained in our (mis)understanding of society, like the horror (the horror!) of unmarried motherhood...I just wish honest critical thinking wasn't hampered by a need to appeal to so-called moderates that have bought in to enough capitalist propaganda to immediately throw out anything that doesn't mesh with their current, essentialist understanding of states and economies.

  • Garhunt
    2019-05-18 01:18

    This writer's personal history allows him to provide an analysis stretching back to the emergence of USA's Great Society. He provides a liberal (along the lines of John Galbraith) perspective of poverty and its solutions. This is not unwelcome given the dominance of neoliberalism and the assault on modern welfare state.

  • Darlene Robert
    2019-05-04 06:16

    This book should be read by everyone who has not "given up" on America. The premies that America is a country of second chances rang true for me. A late bloomer I was a poor achiever in high school but returned to community college at 25 and now have a DSW. We as a country need to continue to provide second chances to all citizens so that a living wage is available to all.

  • Naomi
    2019-05-25 08:00

    Edelman's examination of poverty in America is thorough, and shares some hopes as well as bleak reality. This is necessary reading for folks who want to address poverty with community and legislative change. Recommended for groups organizing their communities.

  • Mikaela
    2019-05-15 02:18

    A short, but good analysis. As someone who was familiar with the basics, this book provided enough detail to make it interesting and informative while still capable of functioning as an introduction to U.S. poverty.

  • Phil Goerner
    2019-05-19 04:11

    Had to turn this book back to the library. It had a good start, but I couldn't keep up the momentum. Oh well, on to other books!

  • Greta
    2019-05-06 04:03

    the author is too conversational about the knowledge he has lived. It is hard for the reader to catch up with his asides and follow the sentences through. Needs an editor.

  • Amanda Wehrman
    2019-05-17 03:04

    Prof. Edelmen does an excellent job of isolating the seemingly intractable causes of poverty in the United States.

  • Adelle Eslinger
    2019-05-03 07:00

    An important look at issues which cannot be swept under the rug: poverty, unemployment and the potential power of the people. I also recommend Mr. Edelman's interview with Bill Moyers.

  • Sheris225
    2019-05-19 01:17

    Important and highly relevant

  • CBW Librarian
    2019-05-21 04:58

    Examines the history of poverty in the U.S. and government policies to combat it, mostly from the 1960's to the present.

  • Minh EVHS Nguyen
    2019-05-17 06:13

    This book perfectly summarized the past

  • Bill
    2019-05-25 06:05

    A brief introduction to poverty in America and what has worked well and what has failed in our fight against it. Well written but I found myself wanting a bit more substance. 2.9 Martinie glasses.

  • JFN
    2019-04-25 05:55

    Straightforward. Clear. Explanatory. Prescriptive. A very useful book.