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Poverty, by America
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of Evicted reimagines the debate on poverty, making a new and bracing argument about why it persists in America: because the rest of us benefit from it. The United States, the richest country on earth, has more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Why? Why does this land of plenty allow one in every eight of its children to go without basic necessities, permit scores of its citizens to live and die on the streets, and authorize its corporations to pay poverty wages? In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Some lives are made small so that others may grow. Elegantly written and fiercely argued, this compassionate book gives us new ways of thinking about a morally urgent problem. It also helps us imagine solutions. Desmond builds a startlingly original and ambitious case for ending poverty. He calls on us all to become poverty abolitionists, engaged in a politics of collective belonging to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.
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ManyWordsLater
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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“When perhaps the matter is that liberals have a despondency problem: fluent in the language of grievance and bumbling in the language of repair.”

💯💯💯

I couldn‘t find these words for myself, that‘s why I read.

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ManyWordsLater
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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“…Competition breeds choice and choice makes exploration difficult.”
💯💯💯

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ManyWordsLater
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Desmond is a great writer.

41 likes1 stack add
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TheBBs
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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May 2024

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AlizaApp
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

A look at the systemic ways that America and American institutions have not just failed poor people, but created the conditions to sustain their poverty.

28 likes1 stack add
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steph_phanie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

Oh, Litsy, life's been busy. I'm trying to get back into the rhythm of reading and reviewing. And trying not to be hard on myself for reading significantly less at the start of this year. :/
~
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ for Poverty, by America. I wish I had read a physical copy instead of the audiobook, but the narrator was excellent. Highly recommend reading this to gain some perspective on poverty and the systems that both create and maintain it here in the US.

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AnneCecilie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

This book was an eye opener for me. What sweeps across the ocean to me is expensive food stamps, Medicaid and public housing is. This is the first book that lets me know that the middle and upper classes in the US is also getting money from the government in the form of tax reduction on loans, subsidized interest rents on college saving founds and subsidized health insurance from their employers.

AnneCecilie He also looks at the different kinds of explosions that keep people poor, like poor banking systems, high rents and low wages. 5mo
squirrelbrain I have a physical (signed) copy of this on my TBR shelf - of course it will take a back seat now, with all of the Women‘s Prize books. 5mo
AnneCecilie @squirrelbrain I recommend this after the NF from the Women‘s Prize are read 5mo
64 likes3 comments
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AnneCecilie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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WOW 😯

I‘m not American, so I‘m getting a lot of hard facts I didn‘t know from this book

AnnCrystal It's fun to read more than one book (by difficult authors) on the same subject, then cross reference. It can get tedious sometimes, but fun nonetheless. 6mo
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AnneCecilie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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WHAT!?!?

I had no idea

AnnR The general statements this author made is misleading. For cash payment programs to the poor, the time limit varies state to state. There are other assistance programs with no specific time limit such as food stamps. (The name of that program has changed). Also not everyone with a 30 year mortgage can claim an interest deduction; that is partially based on how much interest the homeowner owes. There is some truth here but it's biased. 6mo
AnnR I think the author could make a good argument, while providing more specific facts, it just wouldn't be quite as compelling. Ultimately, I'm not disagreeing with him, I just prefer authors provide all the facts backed up with citations, not generalizations used to support an argument.

Sorry, I just had to comment. Especially if you don't reside in the US, our welfare system and tax codes can be really confusing. Well, it's confusing period.
6mo
Ruthiella @AnnR Yes, the vocabulary is key. I would never consider a tax write off of interest from a home loan as a “government subsidy”. There so much more involved. 6mo
Aimeesue @AnnR The Federal limit for direct cash payment to families - one of the only forms of income based assistance that can be used to pay rent directly - is indeed 60 months. Sure, you can get SNAP and Medicaid for much longer, but TANF is the only direct cash benefit. Here he‘s just comparing the government‘s cost of two housing programs and who benefits. Desmond footnotes this section and cites several sources. 6mo
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AnneCecilie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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WHAT???? I had no idea? Does every country in the world is or just the US?

Vansa Actually in 90% of the countries in the world, statistics are an absolute farce. Obviously it's going to be much worse in countries that are much less democratic than the US! 6mo
Teresereading Pretty sure that our national census includes prisons, as does our annual report on government services 6mo
monkeygirlsmama Not counting those in homeless shelters?! 6mo
IuliaC Statistics in general can often be misleading or unreliable, worldwide 6mo
Ruthiella Unemployment statistics can similarly off. 6mo
54 likes5 comments
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mcctrish
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Finished this book while making dinner last night ( Sweet Potato Chilli from Jamie Oliver‘s latest cookbook 5 Ingredients Mediterranean) the powers that be should give a listen ( canada 🇨🇦 too) we really need to do better, everyone should feel like they have a stable life and all children deserve better

Tamra Yum! 6mo
mcctrish @Tamra it really was Yum! JO gives lots of ways to serve it which is great cuz there are a LOT of leftovers 6mo
Tamra @mcctrish I love leftovers! 😃 Takes me off the hook for at least one meal. 6mo
See All 9 Comments
mcctrish Yes @Tamra 👏🏻👏🏻 6mo
SilversReviews YUM!! 6mo
mariaku21 Ooh that looks good 😊 6mo
mcctrish @mariaku21 I highly recommend 6mo
mariaku21 @mcctrish I just placed a hold at my library thanks to your post 😁 6mo
mcctrish @mariaku21 ❤️ 6mo
36 likes1 stack add9 comments
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mcctrish
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Lots of errands and now bag 5 of Family Reunion Celebration while listening ( I‘m loving the green roof shingles)

dabbe My husband's favorite color! 🤩 6mo
mcctrish @dabbe 💚 6mo
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mcctrish
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Next up on audio ( very depressing but not surprising ) and bag #4

dabbe 🤩🤩🤩 6mo
mcctrish @dabbe it‘s coming along 6mo
Bklover ❤️❤️❤️ 6mo
See All 7 Comments
mcctrish @Bklover my love of Lego is almost as bad as books 🤣 6mo
Bklover I‘ve wanted one but have never gone ahead and gotten one. I had the Friends set on my wishlist. It looks like so much fun!! 6mo
mcctrish @Bklover I got the Friends set for Christmas but I‘m saving it for I don‘t know what 6mo
Bklover You‘ll have to post pics when you do the Friends one. I‘d save it too! Once you do it then it‘s over. ❤️ 6mo
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Smrloomis
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

This book is so galvanizing. I finally finished it and hope everyone will read it.

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Smrloomis
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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“Poverty isn‘t simply the condition of not having enough money. It‘s the condition of not having enough choice and being taken advantage of because of that.”

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Deblovestoread
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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First book off my #AuldLangSpine list from Christine. How America keeps the poor, poor and ideas to turn it around. Will it be easy? No, change never is. But I believe in a system where lifting up everyone benefits all. Next up from my list is Finding Me. It is already riveting. #52Bookclub24 #NonFicRecommendedbyFriend. Recommending to all my fellow US citizens

@monalyisha

Deblovestoread @Christine I can‘t figure out why Litsy won‘t let me tag you in the body of my post 🤷🏻‍♀️. I really appreciate this recommendation! So informative and confirming of some of my knowledge in this area. Thank you! 6mo
Hooked_on_books These are both great books, and make a good pairing to boot. Nice! 6mo
Librarybelle Nice!! 6mo
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TheBookHippie Both of these soo good. 6mo
Graciouswarriorprincess I read Poverty and it is so good. 6mo
Christine Aww haha I‘m sorry my username is such a pain! 😆 But thank you for tagging me, and I‘m so very glad you found this one worthwhile. I‘m actually teaching a college social inequality course right now, will definitely be using some excerpts from this in a few weeks! And I was so blown away by Davis‘s memoir. Listened to it in early 2023 and still remember which neighborhood streets I was walking on while doing so, such a memorable read. 6mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!!! 6mo
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Decalino
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

This book analyzes the root causes of poverty and income inequality in the US while also serving as a call to action by a sociologist who has both personally experienced poverty and spent his life talking with people caught in its grasp. An important reminder that poverty is the direct result of policy choices; we choose to subsidize home ownership and wealth accumulation, just as we choose to permit a system that repeatedly penalizes poverty.

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TheBookDream
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Very good so far. #sociology

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jlhammar
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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#12Booksof2023 ⭐️ Favorite Audiobooks ⭐️

Andrew65 Very topical choice. 7mo
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JenReadsAlot
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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underground_bks
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

This direct and accessible study of American™️ brand poverty presents a clear, comprehensive, and compassionate dissection of the structural forces at work against the poor and for the rich. I really appreciated how powerfully and pragmatically Desmond destigmatizes poverty and that he provides policies that could bring about lasting change as well as ways to vote with your dollars for greater economic equality.

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Leftcoastzen
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

Another happy book for the holiday season!😁Desmond‘s Evicted was a more impactful read , the case histories he covered help you really relate to the people documented, this is more of a manifesto. His points are well made about the demonizing of the poor, and while the middle class & rich get “breaks” to keep them where they are, the poor get few breaks , a plan to keep them down is part of the plan . Tax the rich like they did from 1940-1963 91%

AmyG 👊🏻 7mo
Christopher_Tallon Evicted was pretty good. 7mo
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TheBookHippie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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1. It‘s the food Olympics over here IYKYK- I cook allll week 👩🏻‍🍳

2. Tagged I‘m not sure the average person realizes how many people in your neighborhood are going hungry to cut costs.

#TWO4TUESDAY

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🧡🧡🧡 8mo
TheSpineView Thanks for playing! Happy Thanksgiving! 8mo
peaKnit That is a wonderful tagged book, well written and sadly true. So many food insecurities everywhere. 8mo
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Sharpeipup
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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“In 2019, the largest banks in America charged customers $11.68 billion in overdraft fees.” 😲

Tamra Ugh 8mo
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ReadingRachael
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

This is an important overview of the current impact of poverty in America on the both the individual/family and societal levels. It covers an array of issues including workers‘ rights, predatory banking services, tax evasion, barriers to home ownership, and the benefits that can with social/community integration. I appreciate that the author includes some tangible policy recommendations. Would definitely recommend to American readers.

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ncsufoxes
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

I loved this one but I also love Desmond‘s work. As a person that is interested in social policy & social justice the book all resonates & makes sense to me. America, generally, as a society that believes in meritocracy & doesn‘t want to examine why people remain in persistent poverty. I understand that things like institutional racism plays a large role in poverty. Some people may find discussions like this offensive or put them on the defense

ncsufoxes Unfortunately people that need to read books like this don‘t. It‘s hard examining difficult parts of our history & even current policies. We‘d be a more profitable & productive society if we would lift people up instead of holding them down & blaming them for bad policies. #bookspin #nonfctionbingo2023 prompt: Running up that Hill- poverty is constantly running on an endless hill of obstacles 10mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 10mo
25 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Graciouswarriorprincess
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Book 126 of the year.

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QBub
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Desmond‘s latest book gives a thoughtful and well-researched overview of poverty in America, it‘s causes, and suggestions for policy initiatives that help eliminate poverty. TRIGGER ALERT: If you are threatened by any suggestion that poverty is the result of institutional racism, governmental policy, or that poverty isn‘t brought on by people living in poverty, avoid this book. Approached with an open mind, you will gain insight into poverty.

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TheBookHippie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

A must read !!!!

Thanks @catiewithac for telling me to read it.

catiewithac I know!!!! 🫶🏻 11mo
swishandflick Have you read his other book, Evicted? So dang good. 11mo
TheBookHippie @swishandflick yes!!! Agree it‘s another must read. 11mo
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Bookwormjillk
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

I have a feeling this book is only going to be read by people that already agree with Desmond, but I did appreciate the message.

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Lauren890
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I appreciate that not only does Desmond describe the issues surrounding poverty in the US, but he also makes various suggestions for how to fix/help it. I did enjoy his book Evicted more because of the personal stories he included. This book felt a little more dense - more like a textbook - to me.

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ChaoticMissAdventures
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

This is somehow lighter than Desmond's Evicted. It is a book that is definitely targeted to people who are open to understanding poverty, and who know a bit about modern research. A friend and I read it and it seemed I got more out of it having known all of the references - from literature of Baldwin to Tommy Orange and researchers from Isabel Wilkerson to Tessie McMillan Cottom.
Overall a well thought-out and written book.

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Soubhiville
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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June‘s best nonfiction for me was Poverty, by America. But I think Just Mercy was just slightly better. For me. It takes best of the first half of 2023. #readingbracket #bestnonfiction

Amiable I can‘t believe we‘re already halfway through the year! 😳 13mo
currentlyreadinginCO Ooo I loved behind the beautiful forevers too, read it about a decade ago and still remember it 13mo
Hooked_on_books Just Mercy is one of my favorite books of all time. It‘ll be hard to beat! I feel like it‘s message of none of us is just one thing should be applied widely, especially now in our time of lack of nuance. 13mo
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rmaclean4
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

What a call to action! I listened to this book and will buy it in physical form also. He outlines direct actions we can take to be active in the elimination of poverty in America. So compelling. A must-read! 4 🌟

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Soubhiville
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

I really appreciate the author‘s ability to not just name the causes and effects of poverty and the forces that mold it and keep it in place, but also his suggestions of ways ordinary people can work to improve the balance.

This book is fantastic. Highly recommend.

Hooked_on_books He‘s so good. I‘m so glad he‘s writing books, as the info he is providing really needs to be disseminated. 13mo
ReadingOver50 Just listened to him on Adam Conovers podcast 13mo
81 likes3 comments
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DMC_run8
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

I loved Desmond's 2016 book Evicted, and this one did not disappoint! 4.5⭐️

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HeatherBookNerd
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

As was the case with Evicted, Desmond brings serious research and anecdotal evidence to the table. He asserts that eradicating poverty in our wealthy nation is possible, but not without considerable effort and commitment from our citizens and government. Sadly, his tone is such that no conservative will listen. I feel like this book is going to bolster progressive folks already wanting to see these changes but not appeal across the aisle.

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Amandakay
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

“Some lives are so small so that others may grow.”

In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. Those of us who are financially secure exploit the poor, driving down their wages while forcing them to overpay for housing and access to cash and credit.

+ eye opening

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megnews
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Mehso-so

Read for library book discussion. I don‘t know how to rate this book. Maybe because I‘ve read a lot on the topic. Maybe because I‘m in a funk. If you read a lot on social policy, there‘s not a lot new here. I do think the title is polarizing in and of itself. If you‘re trying to get anyone on the opposite aisle to read it, choosing a title that would cause a book ban for lack of patriotism isn‘t a good choice. 🤷‍♀️

RebL I found Evicted more compelling. I did like this book, but between the first book & his contribution to 1619, maybe I just expected even bigger ideas. 14mo
45 likes1 comment
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Nathan_Opland-Dobs
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Bailedbailed

🫨

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peaKnit
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Not a feel good read, but an important one.

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RebL
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Read it. Read anything by Matt Desmond. Idk what we value in this country, but it‘s not humanity.
~
Anyway, I love books so thoroughly that I read all the fine print. In this case that includes the information on the typeface, Dante, a “venerable” face.

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britt_brooke
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ To better understand this country, read both this and Evicted. With Desmond‘s years of immersive research, and smooth narrative style, he thoroughly explains major socioeconomic and societal issues that keep the impoverished in a holding pattern. Recognizing that, in America, there are two housing markets and two labor markets is a much-needed perspective. This is a must-read; go audio. Dion Graham, please narrate my life!

sarahbarnes Yes! I thought Evicted was so well-done and am looking forward to this one. I do have it on audio! 1y
britt_brooke @sarahbarnes Hope you enjoy. Desmond is just so good at what he does! 1y
JoyBlue I haven't read Evicted yet, but I started this one today. The minute Dion Graham opened his mouth, I did a happy dance! 1y
britt_brooke @JoyBlue He‘s sooo good!! 1y
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Amie
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

Depressing and infuriating but important

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Jas16
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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I can safely choose my favorite book of April. However as much as I liked it, it couldn‘t compete with Foster. #readingbracket2023

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Pinta
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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^^ p89 unclaimed benefits, information gap, unwieldy process

84 “The idea is to protect one kind of dependency, that of the worker on the company, by debasing another, that of citizens on the state.”

101 “The biggest government subsidies are not directed at families trying to climb out of poverty, but instead go to ensure that well-off families stay well-off. […] If this is our design, our social contract, then we should at least own up to it.”

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Pinta
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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^^p 95 govt assistance to middle class/wealthy (529 college plans, mortgage interest & other tax breaks) less visible than SNAP & assistance programs for poor. “Those who benefit most from government largesse—generally white families with accountants—harbor the strongest antigovernment sentiments.”

108 “As our incomes have grown, we‘ve chosen to spend more on personal consumption and less on public works.”

112 “More for me. Less for we.”

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Pinta
Poverty, by America | Matthew Desmond
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Pickpick

Poverty rate in US has remained flat even as federal relief has surged. Why? Earmarked aid never reaches those in need, states carry funds over unspent or use on other projects. Worker exploitation, wage stagnation, high housing costs, excessive service fees, private opulence & public squalor, obsession with incarceration, weakened labor unions. Heavily footnoted & some good examples, still feels like the 10,000 ft view, somewhat unfocused. 2023