Essay: Nothing Is What It Used to Be

One of the most incredible pieces of news in the past month, to one surprised middle-aged person, was the announcement from Washington that the number of Americans officially designated as poor had increased to 14% of the population. What seemed incredible was not the painful number of the poor or the painful increase in that number—painful things do not faze the surprised middle-aged person—but rather the fact that the Federal Government now defines the poverty line as an income of $9,287 for a family of four.

The younger generation knows that $9,287 will not buy many tickets to a Fleetwood Mac concert,...

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