The Public Interest

Poverty and Emotion

T. P. Moynihan

Summer 1982

MILLIONS of unskilled poor people enter this country every year, legally and illegally. At the same time, a permanent dependent class may be developing within the poor already here. Not so very long ago such matters were the subject of broad and serious academic concern; scores of sober people devoted their careers to the study of poverty, hoping to understand, ease, and perhaps eventually eliminate the problems involved. Unfortunately, the field has become polarized by emotion and poisoned with dogma. 

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