Susan J. Demas: The American Dream dims for children trapped in cycle of poverty

We spend a lot of time debating if those on welfare, unemployment and food assistance have really tried hard enough. Isn't it just that they don't want to find good jobs because it's easier to be on government assistance?

Some of this has to do with our own fragile situations. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck. We could slip into poverty if we lost our jobs. We're one serious illness away from bankruptcy.

We can tell ourselves that we're just smarter and more hardworking than those collecting welfare. But the truth is many of us were lucky.

We were lucky enough to be born to parents who were middle-class or well-off. Or we were lucky enough to have poor or working-class parents who valued education and sacrificed to send us to good private schools or live in more expensive areas with good public schools. Later on, our parents sacrificed more to get us through college.

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