Poverty has been part of our social fabric for at least the 175 years since Dickens wrote his novel. It’s hard to see it now as an emergency. If it’s getting worse these days, it’s because it is going through another cycle of neglect. Every so often we elect a government that builds a safety net to protect the vulnerable people among us. Then, when the net becomes too expensive and consumes too many tax dollars, we elect a government that will dismantle it. That’s where we are now.