Odd article. I had hoped to see some statistics about people born into poverty who stayed in poverty. Instead, I got an ancient history lesson on the roots of the phrase.
Obviously, whether one can “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps” has everything to do with how one defines the term.
Here’s what we KNOW. We KNOW that in most (if not all) states, a person born into poverty, if they complete their high school education either by graduation or HS Equivalency Exam (this is not too much to ask, as high schools bend over backwards to help students achieve this), and the exam is not exhaustive) can leap forward from a minimum wage McJob to one of several jobs in the allied health fields that pay $20-ish an hour with full benefits by completing a community college course of study of between six to 18 months and sitting for a state certification exam.
Personally, I would call that “pulling oneself up by ones bootstraps”.
Evidently you have a different definition. But I would say that if you consider the above career path either (a) too difficult to ask of someone, or (b) not worth doing in the large scheme of things, then you’re redefined something which is VERY doable into something……… very odd.