How to end the poverty in the U.S.

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What will end poverty, here, in the United States?

or at least lessen the gap between those that are in poverty and those that are wealthy/rich?

You are asking two very different questions at the same time. Poverty is not the same as the poor-rich gap. Poverty is absolute-level concept; the poor-rich gap is a relative-level concept. So which one are you interested in?

To start with, poverty in the U.S. is in many respects a racial phenomenon. See, for example, here:

http://papers.nber.org/papers/W8524

So doing something about poverty will require doing something about racism first…

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