It's hard to be poor. People who are not poor often fail to understand this, and the attempts of social scientists to explain things are often less illuminating than the narratives of the poor or formerly poor.
Recently, a number of sites have reposted a blog entry from Linda Tirado
, in which she tries to explain
. . . how it is that people make what look from the outside like awful decisions. This is what our lives are like, and here are our defense mechanisms, and here is why we think differently. . . .