New research suggests that poverty hurts kids’ brains:

A long-term study of cognitive development in lower- and middle-class students found strong links between childhood poverty, physiological stress and adult memory…”Chronically elevated physiological stress is a plausible model for how poverty could get into the brain and eventually interfere with achievement,” wrote Cornell University child-development researchers Gary Evans and Michelle Schamberg in a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

If this is close to correct, then it ought to quiet the “pull yourselves up by your bootstraps” crowd a bit.  Being born into poverty means you have a long way to pull; and long-lasting neurological changes resulting from stress make for some mighty short bootstraps!