The Forgotten Americans

John E. Schwarz, Author, Thomas Volgy, With
John E. Schwarz, Author, Thomas Volgy, With W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (219p) ISBN 978-0-393-03388-5
Paperback - 236 pages - 978-0-393-31074-0
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In a concise exploration of the problems of the working poor, two political scientists from the University of Arizona provide just enough statistics to prove their point: hard work, a good education, an unblemished employment history and/or a full-time job will not necessarily prevent a person from falling below the poverty line in the United States. In fact, Schwarz and Volgy challenge the government's very definition of poverty, stating (and backing up their contention with the budgets of actual households) that a family must make at least 50% more than the amount that constitutes the official ``poverty line'' in order to meet its basic needs. They recommend raising the minimum wage and providing substantial tax credits to people with low-paying full-time jobs. They dismiss such proposed solutions as ``enterprise zones'' and the infusion of foreign capital. The book recalls the classic work of Malthus--not in its conclusions, but in its terse, trenchant analysis of grim facts. ( Sept. )
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