When we speak of the poor, we speak as though they are an unchanging and faceless group to be pity despised or feared. To talk of the "poverty problem" is to talk of some depersonalized permanent fixture on the U.S. landscape. The poverty is people, it's people standing in welfare lines, it's people standing in soup kitchen lines and unemployment lines. It's people living in rat-infested projects and people sleeping on the streets. It's people struggling to acquire things that the rest of society takes for granted. It's people coming up short in their quest for th...
In her unforgettable memoir, Barbara Ehrenreich sets out to explore the lives of the working poor under the proposed welfare reforms in her hometown, Key West, Florida. Temporarily discarding her middle class status, she resides in a small cheap cabin located in a swampy background that is forty-five minutes from work, dines at fast food restaurants, and searches all over the city for a job. This heart-wrenching yet infuriating account of hers reveals the struggles that the low-income workers have to face just to survive. In the except from Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich uses many rhetorical strategies to illustrate the conditions of the low wage workers including personal anecdotes of humiliation at interviews, lists of restrictions due to limited
People are poor because there’s something lacking in them, and changing them is therefore the only effective remedy. From this he suggests doing away with public solutions such as affirmative action, welfare, and income support systems, including “AFDC, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the rest. It would leave the working-aged person with no recourse whatsoever except the job market, family members, friends, and public or private locally funded services.” The result, he believes, would “make it possible to get as far as one can go on one’s merit.” With the 1996 welfare reform act, the United States took a giant step in Murray’s direction by reaffirming its long-standing cultural commitment to individualistic thinking and the mass of confusion around alternatives to
People who work hard enough become successful and build a good life for themselves and their family. Millions of Americans and others who admire America have believed this for generations. However, is this still true? Brandon King debates his interpretation of the American Dream in his published work, “The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold?” During his essay, the speaker highlights how important the American Dream is to the economy and providing a distance from inequality. The speaker emphasizes his belief that the American Dream is still alive within America and that people must work hard to achieve it. When discussing the American Dream, King will agree that the idea is alive and thriving in the minds of Americans; yet, I argue that the idea is on hold within American society due to lack of upward social independence and economic mobility.
“Workers Make Appeal to Taxpayers,” also follows Andrew Olson, a McDonald 's worker who makes $8.60 an hour, and his fiance who makes minimum wage in their experience under the poverty line. “Their salaries are so meager [...] that they rely on food stamps and Medicaid to get by,” says Kelly about Olson’s current living status, a lifestyle most Americans involuntarily live. Aside from the benefits wreaked by business owners and taxpayers, the workers living on poor salaries prove as the most positively and heavily affected; the three point nine percent of working citizens treated unfairly by big businesses. “Workers Make Appeal to Taxpayers” concludes with a quote from Olson, “Just because I work in fast food, does that mean I should have to just scrape by in
"A Profile of the Working Poor". Center for Poverty Research, 24 July 2013. Web. 6
Stories about life 's struggle to survive in everyday America can make one think twice of the American dream. In David Shipler’s book The Working Poor, David tells many different tales of people living in poverty and also analyzes what 's wrong and why. The book’s portrayal of the poor is not for the meek however, as one reviewer exclaims, “Through a series of sensitive, sometimes heart-rending portraits”, (Lenkowsky). In the book a lot of American ideologies are turned on its head as The Red Phoenix explains how our poor are viewed as, “Wealth and decadence are the tell-tale signs of hard work and brilliance paying off, while poverty is a sign of laziness, irresponsibility and a disposition or work-ethic undeserving of the
It has become common today to dismiss “poverty “in America because many people question those who end up being poor. Poverty in America has become an issue that many people would rather place judgment than shine light as to why people experience poverty. They frown upon poverty because these individuals are not familiar or aware with what being poor entails. People often place judgment on the individuals who are experiencing the hardship. This conception has made a lot of people ignorant to the struggles of other people. Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickle and Dimed has signify the works of the poor in America by going undercover and experiencing numerous low-wage jobs to truly understand the working poor. The phrase the working poor can be define as those individuals whose incomes do not cover basic needs: food, clothing,
Those that were interviewed come from different regions, different industries, and demographics yet many of them have similar struggles that are forcing them to be included in Shipler’s The Working Poor. A few of the problems, that will be discussed include: spending money on non-essential items, struggles of the single working mothers raising families on low wages with poor hours, and workers not having the right skill set or fear of
Elizabeth begins explaining to the readers how Shipler set out and interviewed many different types of people who live at the poverty level. Accordingly she defines how hard it is not to be moved by the heartbreaking reality of what people go through. Elizabeth undergoes to direct attention to how Shiplers book was not only geared to the reality of why people live in poverty due to personal behavior but also to the fact that some of the issues are due to the structure of the economy. “Throughout the book he frequently returns to his theme that policy solutions to the problems of the working poor must address both individual behavior and structural economic factors as they are inherently intertwined.” (Davis, Elizabeth “The Working Poor: Invisible In America” Journal Of Financial Counseling & Planning 15.2 (2004) 103-104. Academic search Complete. Web. 28 Sept.2015.) Davis pulls out many details from Shiplers book The Working Poor Analyzing it chapter by chapter. While finding fault both in the person’s personal behavior, lack of education, and the system 's inability to successfully help a person out of poverty. Davis points out that Shipler states that even though those issues are present many children in poverty are doomed from the beginning because of the lack of support from their parents. “But throughout the book, he also finds fault with parents, who, for lack of parenting skills, depression or immaturity, fail to give their children the best start in life.” (Davis, Elizabeth “The Working Poor: Invisible In America” Journal Of Financial Counseling & Planning 15.2 (2004) 103-104. Academic search Complete. Web. 28 Sept.2015.) Even though Davis was engaged with many of Shiplers arguments that make the working poor more visible she fails to see that his argument is substantial due to
At Issue: How Can the Poor Be Helped?. Ed. Jennifer Dorman. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011.
In the piece “Serving in Florida” by Barbara Ehrenreich several claims about poverty are made. At the time the piece was published in 2001, many Americans failed to accept the reality in the growing complications of poverty in the country. At that time there was not a wide variety of help for those on the poverty line. Ehrenreich embraces this idea, “There are no secret economies that nourish the poor; on the contrary, there are a host of special costs” (155). The poor commonly find themselves in minimum wage paying jobs, with no added benefits and harsh working standards. For many, it is difficult to overcome these conditions, especially when life provides its own burdens. Ehrenreich shows the example of her coworker Marianne’s boyfriend, and how he was laid off because of the “special costs”. A cut on his foot caused him to miss work, a low paying job and lack of benefits preventing him from providing the proper prescribed antibiotics (155). Since then the affordability of help for those on the poverty line has improved. The passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, mandated that all citizens must have healthcare coverage. A marketplace was
Throughout American history, society has established an approach for defining poverty and what constitutes assistance for these people. In the years of American colonialism, people had distinct beliefs about poverty. Two of these were the most observed by society. One concept was that there must be a define separation between the deserving poor and the underserving. Once this distinction had been made, they should be treated as such. The other concept was there had to be a form of management of stranger who could potentially need to dismissed. While there is evidence of a continuation of these concepts, crucial changes occur towards the end of the twentieth century. This change can be seen within various documents written about poverty in the
Tran, Lynda. "Losing the 'American Dream'." USNEWS.com. N.P., 13 May 2013. Web. 12 Mar 2014. .