Everyone, it seems, wants to talk about the travails of either the “job creators” or the middle-class. But nobody wants to talk about what it means to be poor in this country.*
That’s why Monica Potts’s profile of life in Owsley County, Kentucky is so important. Telling the story of Sue Christian, Potts shows how much effort is involved in being poor in this country and still, somehow, surviving.
The people of Owsley County were poor long before the Second Great Depression. But, over the last few years, things have become even more difficult for them. The best line in the article is about how the Depression slowed down J.C.’s home-repair business—especially the jobs he managed to get hooking up electricity for new mobile homes, which folks could no longer afford to buy:
He could make as much as $600 a hookup. But almost no one was buying a new mobile home—that’s how the housing crisis came to Owsley County.
And so one of the poorest counties in America is even poorer today, and somehow, with a level of effort “job creators” and middle-class people would scarcely recognize, people there continue to survive.
*Unless, that is, they want, like Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan, to show that the poor really aren’t as poor as it seems.