WHO ARE THE POOR, AND DOES AMERICA HATE THEM?
For purposes of this book, I would like to talk about two groups of poor. One is the status poor, people in "the lowest class and the next-to-the-lowest class." The second group is the life cycle poor, or elderly. For different kinds of reasons they both present problems to the core values of American society: lack of a future and a reminder that "there, but for the grace of God, go I."
Consider that in American society--indeed, in most societies--there are five "goods" that people seek: money, power, information, status, and a job or occupation. Assume, as well, that in American society each of us ranks in a quintile on each of these variables. The following hypothethetical stratification system of five key vectors might illustrate this: