Matthew Desmond: Poverty, by America (Hardcover, 2023, Crown Publishing Group) 5 stars

Poverty, by America

5 stars

I picked this up because I had really enjoyed reading Desmond's previous book, Evicted. While that book was longer and followed a cast of characters, this book is a direct, bracing jeremiad. Poverty exists, in short, because there are a lot of people who can do well while others suffer. That isn't just billionaires -- if you take the mortgage interest tax deduction, you are getting government largesse. We, as a country, just view that differently from food stamps. I am sure that there are many readers of this book who will not be comfortable having Desmond's sights trained on them. But that's precisely the point. Desmond's writing is passionate but thoroughly backed by his analysis. We don't have to live this way, and other countries don't treat their most vulnerable citizens with such contempt (that's why this is poverty "by America"). Solving poverty is possible; we just have to care enough to do it.