It is possible today to grow up in an American home with a 40-inch flat-screen television and a daily caloric intake so high that it actually becomes detrimental to health, but to lack access to basic medical and dental care, to run a material daily risk of rape or other profound physical violence, and to leave school functionally illiterate. Poverty today means something very different than it did in Dickens’ day, but it has not been abolished. And it seems to me that asking about the welfare of the lowest quintile is a much better way of approaching the problem of inequality in our society than looking at Gini coefficients.
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