Opinion: Poverty & Passion

As the U.S. economy soars past a $600 billion G.N.P. and more Americans live better than ever before, official Washington seems far more intrigued by the fact that it has rediscovered poverty. The plight of the poor provides lively chitchat for capital couples as they twist to Lester Lanin or uncork a bottle of Mouton-Rothschild. Party pros argue the election-year merits of the poverty issue as they slide their steak knives into a Chateaubriand. With some bitterness, Writer-Social Critic Michael Harrington observes: "I guess poverty has become fashionable."

Harrington helped to make it so. His book, The Other America: Poverty...

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