Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged

By Katherine S. Newman; Rourke L. O’Brien | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
The Geography of Poverty

Alicia Smith lives in a single-wide trailer at the foot of a dirt road so obscure that we could not find it on any map of the region west of Montgomery, Alabama. It took nearly forty minutes to drive from the main highway to Snow Hill, the landmark nearest to Alicia’s home. Roads in this part of Alabama are shrouded in thick trees, dripping with Spanish moss. A few houses are visible from the road, but mostly the land is overgrown with vines and shrubs, with the occasional open meadow in the distance. We drove up a long, winding road to the Snow Hill Normal and Industrial Institute hoping to find someone who could tell us where to find Alicia’s home, only to find it totally deserted, weeds poking up through the remnants of cement stairs. The commemorative plaque outside recalled that the school shut down in 1972, when desegregation opened opportunities for black students to enroll in white institutions.

After flagging down a passing car, we were directed back to the main highway and told to keep our eyes open for a roadside tavern, which turned out to be more of a shack. Opposite

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Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Tables xv
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xliii
  • Chapter One - The Evolution of Southern Tax Structures 1
  • Chapter Two - Barriers to Change Inertia, Supermajorities, and Constitutional Amendments 31
  • Chapter Three - The Geography of Poverty 57
  • Chapter Four - Tax Traps and Regional Poverty Regimes 86
  • Chapter Five - The Bottom Line 125
  • Conclusion - Are We Our Brothers’ Keepers? 149
  • Appendix I - How Many Lags of X? 163
  • Appendix II - Tables 175
  • Notes 183
  • Index 207
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