by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 2/06/12, 03:09 pm
There used to be a phrase: "the worthy poor." It dates back to Victorian times, if not before-the idea that some were poor through unfortunate circumstances, while others had only themselves to blame. That distinction is gone, of course. To suggest that some poverty might be due to poor lifestyle choices is mean-spirited, heartless, or racist. As far as national discourse is concerned, there's no such thing as unworthy poor.