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The Lower Classes

Poverty is one issue, but the existence of a true “underclass” in the United States is another. Poor people may live in relatively stable neighborhoods, urban or rural, but below this level, many Americans are simply off the radar. Censuses do not count them and social services do not reach them. Many are homeless or nearly homeless. Some shift from place to place, looking for any means to sustain themselves financially. Some enjoy brief periods of financial stability, only to lose that stability as economic changes occur. Some try as hard as they can to find honest work, while others turn to crime, alcohol and drugs.

Many Americans truly care about these people, and organizations exist to help them, but given the nature of the lives they lead, it is difficult to do anything to improve the way they live. This is especially true in bad economic times during which the federal government, as well as state and local governments, cut their budgets for social services. Even in prosperous times, however, the nature of American life and its relatively free market system keeps many of these people at the bottom of American society.

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