In the "affluent '80s" the rich got richer at a rapacious rate, while our increasingly stratified society saw the poor get much poorer at an equally alarming speed. Slowly, we became aware that our economic system was producing a growing underclass that had nowhere to go, nowhere to live except the streets. Even the most career-obsessed, social-climbing yuppie could not avoid the fact that they were having to walk around or step over the sleeping bodies of outcast strangers on sidewalks, in bus and train stations, in parks and other public places.
With the onset in the '90s of an economic recession, this situation has only grown worse. The social "safety nets" that used to catch people who had fallen on hard times have either been pulled away or are inadequately webbed to sustain the weight of the numbers of people now experiencing economic free-fall. For those of us with houses and families, jobs and health insurance, automobiles and credit cards, it is hard to imagine what the...
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