"Are the poor in America better off today than 75 or 100 years ago?
Statistics on the amount of government assistance available to those in need indicate that the social safety net is stronger than ever.
And that need for help may be closer to home than most people think. Figures show that 58 percent of Americans will fall below the poverty line at some time in their lives. Double-digit unemployment rates have brought that reality home to many and have created a need for widespread aid in unemployment benefits and other programs.
But an ambivalence about helping the poor persists in American society. A recent New York Times-CBS poll showed that 38 percent of Americans believe that providing government help to the poor encourages them to stay poor."
- Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Herald Palladium