Toys get cheaper, while paths out of poverty grow more expensive

The Atlantic reports that costs for education, healthcare and childcare have soared, while prices for TVs, phones, DVD players and toys have gone down. Fascinating trend:

… you occasionally hear conservatives say that poor people aren’t really poor because, you know, they have refrigerators and TVs, don’t they? Yes, they do. More than 80 percent of low-income households have a fridge, TV, microwave, and stove. They can heat food and cool food and watch American Idol, no problem.

But the power to alter the temperature of your food and watch FOX is not quite the same as being rich. Tens of millions of families remain uninsured, millions more can’t afford to go to (or finish a degree at a high-quality) college, and millions more struggle to pay for daycare for their children. Meanwhile, used HD televisions are dirt cheap and it’s never been more affordable to buy simple electronics. Why does it seem like the least important things in life—TVs, toys, and DVD players—are getting cheap while the most important parts of the economy are getting more expensive?

The story goes on to explore the reasons this is so.

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