Diverty And Poverty In Nickel And Dimed By Barbara Ehrenreich

1066 Words 5 Pages
America has a number of struggles in today’s economy with poverty and our understanding of what it is like to be a “low-income” worker. Barbara Ehrenreich, the author of Nickel and Dimed, points out many flaws in our economics through her own experience by going undercover as a low-income employee and recalling her journey throughout her book. Although she had set limitations prior to embarking on her experiment like always having a car, never allow herself to become homeless, and never go hungry; she could not truly say or fully experience the true nature of what a low-income worker goes through. The fact of the matter is those who have a lower income will less likely to have the same options that middle-class americans have when it comes …show more content…
They scrape by often take what is offered and sell themselves short of what they should get paid for the job they are working for. According to Barbara Ehrenreich on page 199 of Nickel and Dimed, “Something is wrong, very wrong, when a single person in good health, a person who in addition possesses a working car, can barely support herself by the sweat of her brow. You don’t need a degree in economics to see that the wages are too low and the rent too high.” Shouldn’t minimum wage be enough to provide for his or her basic necessities? Our economy has skyrocketed so high that minimum wages has not caught up to accommodate the demands of business around. Furthermore, the choices working Americans have becomes more difficult when faced with a tough decision whether or not to accept a raise. “Some participants were able to draw on their own experiences, saying either that they had turned down raises to keep public supports or that they always took the opportunity to work more, even when it resulted in a decreased level of public supports. (Albelda and Sea 255) Many similar concerns like this arises in the book, Nickel and Dimmed, and challenges where the employers will avoid giving any raises all together. Barbara mentions in her book that many people room with another person that has an income to cope with the higher cost of living and is especially harder for single …show more content…
However, Ehrenreich explains the challenges she faced when turning to TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) for help. “When the Parentes finally got into “the system” and began receiving food stamps and some cash assistance, they discovered why some recipients have taken to calling TANF “Torture and Abuse of Need Families.” (223) Barbara goes on explaining how the system is a joke and the caseworkers would treat everyone that applies as if you were not important. “They act like every dollar you get is coming out of their own paycheck.” (223) This should never be the case with anyone, let along our own government, who is support to help those who are at their lowest. One thing the government did not account for was stated in an article published in the Journal of Poverty. “One reason antipoverty programs in the United States do not do a good job serving low-wage earners is because of many of them, including the cash assistance program AFDC, Food Stamps, and Medicaid were enacted to support people who were not regularly employed nor expected to be employed for an length of time. (Albelda and Shea 248-249) This unlining statement is important because it shows that our programs needs to be change to accommodate the needs of our low wage earners, otherwise our system is no better than how it

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