McWhorter today commented about comments by somebody named Rick Santorum. I don't know Santorum in the way most Americans do, and don't really care to. Santorum was quoting (or paraphrasing) William A. Galston who made a point very clear back before 2002:
Former Clinton advisor William Galston sums up the matter this way: you need only do three things in this country to avoid poverty—finish high school, marry before having a child, and marry after the age of 20. Only 8 percent of the families who do this are poor; 79 percent of those who fail to do this are poor.
Anyway, the researcher at Brookings published his findings earlier than 2008, I have an article from City Journal in 2002 that cites Galston, who worked for Clinton, BTW. Still, what's more interesting to me is that I read this exact same prescription back when I was in college in the 80s. The author? None other than Thomas Sowell.
So here's your interesting situation. You have a white Republican in 2012 talking about something a white Democrat said 10 years earlier which was just a repetition of something a black economist said 20 years earlier, and people here on the Root 30 years ignorant of a solution that has been out there for a generation pretending to be insulted by a common sense truth that my dead grandparents knew.
You can't get the actual Galston research is secreted behind the firewall of academic publication as I mentioned before but you can get an idea of where to purchase it if you check here at Google Scholar.
And keep in mind that American poverty is pretty damned good, which is why sociologists have to study people at 185% of poverty.