The Nouveau Poor


Sometime during the Tavis Smiley discussion on poverty, one of the panelists noted that the middle class is becoming the new poor of America.

Another panelist urged the poor to throw away the cloak of invisibility and to dismiss the stigma attached to the status of poverty.

Tavis Smiley quoted Suze Orman, who’d said of poverty that its entrance is a highway and its exit a sidewalk.

These ideas hit me with a thud. It is the echo of acknowledgement, a recognition that, yes I am a member of this class. I am the nouveau poor. And this is a status I’d never contemplated for the first 59 years of my life.

I have decided to talk about my poverty, to put a face on the reality of the day-to-day incidents that distinguish my current status from my previous status.

I am hoping to record this without the maudlin language that elicits a shallow response or alienates readers. I may not always succeed. But I’ll give it my best effort.

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