Charles Dickens farmed himself to work in blacking factory as a kid while his family languished in debtor's prison.
Charles Crapper was sent off to London to make his way in the world, with only a bag of goods tied to stick trundled over his shoulder.
And the 99% complain that they are not earning a two-figure beginning wage in this economy?
The absolute poverty rate in this country is nothing like what the down-and-out industrialized faced in Mid-1800's London. No matter how severe the current downturn, we have much to be thankful for in this country.
And the economy is already experiencing a slowly but more noticeable recovery. Less government, stalled legislation, limited financing and handouts from the state, all have prodded the public to make the most with what they have, which is a lot more than they had at first realized!
If there is a gap between haves and have-nots, politicians and protesters with no incentive to do more have created and magnified it beyond respectable reality. Big Banks cannot do their damage, Big Corporations cannot cause any havoc, without the recriminating interventions of Big Government, which at this stage of American History has impoverished itself with promises it cannot support and burdens it cannot accommodate.
Dickens witnessed the expansion of free markets and free enterprise, which crippled and frustrated city planners unprepared for the massive influx of migrant workers from the counties and countrysides. The United States needs more freedom, less regulation, less accounting from the state and more accountability from individuals, all of which are just as capable, like the two little Charles of novel and water closet fame, to get by in a world barely getting by.