Fifty years after Michael Harrington published his groundbreaking book The Other America, chronicling the lives of people excluded from the Age of Affluence, poverty in America is back with a vengeance. Today, it is made up of both the long-term chronically poor and the new working poor— the tens of millions of people whose lives are shaped by financial insecurity, and who are paying the price for a fractured economy and an ever more dysfunctional political system. In The American Way of Poverty, Sasha Abramsky brings the effects of economic inequality out of the shadows, shining a light on this national travesty and, ultimately, suggesting ways for moving toward a fairer and more equitable social contract. For Abramsky, poverty is not a tragedy— it is a scandal, with all-too-tangible consequences. Rather than simply telling the reader that poverty has become the scourge of the new century and that inequality in America is worse than it has been since the 1920s, he delves into the stories of the people around the country who are struggling to survive, and describes the shattered lives behind the often overwhelming poverty statistics. Then, exploring everything from housing policy to wage protections and affordable higher education, Abramsky offers pragmatic and imaginative reforms that, taken as a whole, amount to a blueprint for a reinvigorated War on Poverty and a reimagined sense of community. From the implementation of a financial transaction tax, to the establishment of publicly owned state banks, The American Way of Poverty charts a course for putting the country back on a more economically just footing. Abramsky brings a powerful indignation and viable solutions to the topic of poverty in America.
Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist and a part-time lecturer at the University of California at Davis. His work has appeared in the Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, New York magazine, The Village Voice, and Rolling Stone. Originally from England and a graduate of Oxford University, he has since adopted his mother’s homeland of America and now lives in Sacramento, CA with his wife, daughter and son. He has a master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism. In 2000 he was awarded a Soros Society, Crime, and Communities Media Fellowship, and he is currently a Senior Fellow at the New York City-based Demos think tank. (Nation Books / Perseus )