Poverty in America

America is a country remarkably rich in resources and technological development, and is also a country that prides itself on its generosity and idealism. Yet in spite of these qualities, poverty remains a disturbing and consistent problem. Robert Reich writes:
No nation talks more about the importance of charity towards
the less fortunate. No people organize more concerts, bake sales,
telethons, walkathons, and national hand-holdings to raise
money for the hungry and homeless. None takes as seriously
the problem of poverty or the ideal of equal opportunity. But
few Western industrialized nation fail as miserably to bridge
the gap between their richest and poorest citizens.
There is little argument today over the injustice of poverty or that, theoretically, America has enough material wealth to eliminate it. But there is much disagreement over poverty=s causes and cures. The central question of the poverty debate is: Does poverty result from the failings of poor people, or the failings of society?
Despite all the innovative programs, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent, the number of people classed as poor is higher than a decade ago. Poverty is caused by:
1) Old age. More people are reaching retirement age than ever before. Once out of the kob market, their incomes often slip below the poverty line.
2) Inflation. It=s driven people into poverty as prices rose faster than income. 17% of poor family heads worked full time, but couldn=t earn enough to rise above the poverty line. Those on fixed incomes are really hit hard.
3) The poverty cycle itself. Once in, it=s hard to get out. Poverty means poorly fed pregnant women. That means poorly fed fetuses in their wombs. That means fetuses that fail to synthesize proteins and brain cells at normal rates. That means a high rate of mortality of these infants. It means appallingly high rates of prematurity and mental retardation in the survivors. It means further lack of brain growth because of...