Some of you should read this book by Barbara Ehrenreich for a different perspective on things. The full title is "Nickel and Dimed on (Not) Getting By in America. I found it very interesting. Most of us, if not all of us on this board are not poor or part of the working poor. Some of us on this board probably do not have the faintest clue of what it means to be poor. This book will help understand what the working poor go through.
I hated this book. With the rules she set for herself, of course it would be extraordinarily difficult to overcome.I have known way too many people who started with absolutely nothing accumulate quite a bit of assets by being diligent, even though they had to work at low paying jobs. Coincidentally, most of these people weren't from the USA, and someone forgot to tell them that they were powerless victims and permanent members of the underclass.My own role model is my father, who started out very poor and became a self-made millionaire.
I hated this book. With the rules she set for herself, of course it would be extraordinarily difficult to overcomeSome people may like it and some will hate it. It's normally that way no matter if it's a J.K. Rowling book, Grisham, Terrell or if MadCap himself is the author. I looked at the book from the perspective of a person who was raised on welfare and then the welfare system was pulled out from under him. That person is then forced to work a job if they want to eat and not being the smartest of folks they usually stay stuck in a low paying job. Immigrants usually come to this country looking for a better way of life and most find it here. Most are hard workers as they know no other way. Compare being a hard worker to the work ethic of most Americans and it's no wonder that immigrants sometimes come out ahead.Heh, heh. I guess I'm one of those lazy Americans as I'm hanging out at the REHP so I can figure out my plan to quit the workforce. Actually, my plan is figured out and I'm slowly but surely on my way there.
Most of us, if not all of us on this board are not poor or part of the working poor. Some of us on this board probably do not have the faintest clue of what it means to be poor. This book will help understand what the working poor go through. Could be an interesting read. I have many acquaintences who in high school chose the "easy" way thru school. They are probably living what is termed a "poor" lifestyle. They make minimum wages at best when they can find work, vacation in the sense that most of us think of is a foreign word to them, and their push for their kids to do better than they are is minimal. but you know what, they are "happy", they live life to the fullest. You don't hear them complaining about what they don't have, they just make do with what they have. Just wish there was some way to break the education cycle that has a grip on so many of them that will lead to many of their children living the same life their parents are. interestingly enough, I had a real close friend (say had because he is now for lack of a better word, upset with my success) who lived on the east coast and had a nice paying job with benefits. But after 10 years, despite my trying to make him understand the long term benefits of staying with the job he had, he decided he had to be back near his childhood friends. He made the move and is now working in a job with little benefits and little pay compared to what he had. And there is now a riff between us that surfaced when we were discussing our individual futures. In this case, it was a matter of individual choices, I moved away for the opportunities realizing that if I did well, I could move back. He went for the short term satisfaction instead. as I haven't read the book, I suspect its a portrayl of how tough life is for those living below the poverty level, how tough it is to make ends meet on a daily basis. I wouldn't be surprised if the author delves into the backgrounds and says many didn't have a chance from the get go. But when I think back to my high school days, I remember many who had the opportunity to break the cycle their parents were in, but by their own choices early in their life, didn't. And then there are even adults by their own choices who had an edge but gave it away. I wonder if the author put that in her book. I wonder if the author tells all that in some part, that parents and kids need to realize that their early life decisions are important in breaking the cycle. And I realize that in some settings, its tough for kids to get ahead even when they want to. But somehow we have to acknowledge some have a very tough life, but we can't lose focus on giving the next generation the opportunities to break the cycle. Hopefully the book sends that message.
as I haven't read the book, I suspect its a portrayl of how tough life is for those living below the poverty level, how tough it is to make ends meet on a daily basis. I wouldn't be surprised if the author delves into the backgrounds and says many didn't have a chance from the get go. But when I think back to my high school days, I remember many who had the opportunity to break the cycle their parents were in, but by their own choices early in their life, didn't. And then there are even adults by their own choices who had an edge but gave it away.I think you hit the nail on the head when you say by their own choices early in life they didn't break the cycle. The author does an experiment where she moves to a basically unknown area and in a limited time with basically no friends or family to help out, she needs to find shelter and a job. Now, in real life, I don't know how many people of low education will pack up and move with no other people to help them. Some do, but many "poor" people stay where they grew up so they can fall back on family and friends.What I found interesting is her experience in working a low paying job and at the same time trying to find a better job and a decent place to live. She would get physically wore out waitressing for example and then would go "home" to a place where she was scared for her safety. At the same time, she would be trying to find a better paying job. She needed to make some contacts to help her situation and she did so at times. Now, the book is not realistic for most people in the sense that she would work for maybe a month and then would quit to move to another part of the country to start over again. However, I have met several people in the small town I work in who have done basically this.I found it an interesting book to read. Some will hate it and some will not. But somehow we have to acknowledge some have a very tough life, but we can't lose focus on giving the next generation the opportunities to break the cycle. I agree with this. I am against "welfare" for the most part and I feel that pretty much every "healthy" American can make a decent living for themselves if they are not afraid to work and if they don't make stupid decisions like so many do. I think one point the author makes in the end of the book is about the "poor" getting poorer and the "rich" getting richer over the past 30 years or so. I'm all for my middle class self rising up to the ranks of a rich person or at least a "FIRED" person, but it seems to me that if the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, that this is not a good thing for all of us.
...it seems to me that if the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, that this is not a good thing for all of us.The gap between the rich and poor is irrelevant. It is the absolute level of the poor that we should be concerned about. The rich getting richer is not hurting the poor. In fact, the rich getting richer is *desirable*, despite the guilt trip the liberals try to lay on the wealthy.It is hard to argue that the poor are worse off now than many years ago. The real cost of living is how much something costs in terms of hours of work needed to purchase something, and it is quite remarkable how much better off *everyone* is in this respect.
The gap between the rich and poor is irrelevant.Sigh.I hope I'm too old to be around for the revolution.
"It is hard to argue that the poor are worse off now than many years ago. The real cost of living is how much something costs in terms of hours of work needed to purchase something, and it is quite remarkable how much better off *everyone* is in this respect."I think the United States is the only country in the world where poor people own a car, albeit an old model, own color television sets, CD players, have phones, and are probably obese. The more wealthy someone is - most likely - the more likely they have a gym membership, work out and eat right. Poor people load up on carbohydrates and fat and are fat. My brother has been to Indonesia, and from what he tells me, it's not like it is here! In Indonesia, poor people are skinny, don't drive cars, and don't own color TV sets! - Art
<<It is hard to argue that the poor are worse off now than many years ago. The real cost of living is how much something costs in terms of hours of work needed to purchase something, and it is quite remarkable how much better off *everyone* is in this respect. >> While I suppose jokes on this subject are in poor taste, I'll note that even tyhe homeless frequently need shopping carts in order to move all their possessions about.Seattle Pioneer
It is hard to argue that the poor are worse off now than many years ago. The real cost of living is how much something costs in terms of hours of work needed to purchase something, and it is quite remarkable how much better off *everyone* is in this respect. </i?The benefits of prosperity and technology have gone hugely to the poor.After all, the rich of ancient Greece had hot and cold running water (Servant! I thirst), automatic laundry facilities (Servant! Attend to this soiled clothing) and effortless cross-town communication (Servant! Send a runner across town with this papyrus).Today, the poor not only are no longer the means by which the rich have these things - they have these things themselves.And in ancient Greece, not even the richest could get a flu shot.
I did read the book and I agree it has a lesson for all of us. The most revealing part for me was how difficult it is to get into housing. There does not exist enough affordable housing for those with low incomes - I'm speaking of minimum wage earners, like waitreses, housecleaners, janitors, temporary workers. The problem the author encountered was the large sum required for deposit (2-3 months rent) and the cost of housing in the markets she reported. I know where I live, a studio apartment is $600-$800 per month, making the initial outlay about $2000. At $6.50/hour figuring a 15% withholding (tax and SS and Medicare) a person would have to work almost 3 months to save up just for the deposit. The people she worked with were not slackards. I would encourage you to read the book. It might give you a new perspective.
The gap between the rich and poor is irrelevant.Sigh.I hope I'm too old to be around for the revolution. The revolutions I can recall were caused by the highest few having everything, and the vast majority having nothing. Think of serfs that don't own the land they farm and aren't ncessarily entitled to the food they farm on the land they don't own. In the US, the people in the lowest quintile* still have VCRs, color TVs, free medical care, etc. In fact, we may have one of the few historical instances where "the poor" are overweight! The top 50% of the taxpayers pay 96% of the income tax. The remaining 4% doesn't even include those who don't file income tax. What would the revolution be against or for? The "50%" can already vote in more handouts, when you add the votes of the top quintile who want more government programs.***Sometimes I wonder if the second-to-lowest quintile is the one we need to work on. That's the one where people are working themselves up a notch, and the next step is to leave behind government subsidies...the rags to riches story would be nice, but the insurance benefits at that second rung aren't the greates, nor is job security. (OK, overgeneralization)**In the last presidential election, the votes went like this, segmented by income:Lowest Quintile (0% to 20%): Strongly to GoreSecond Quintile (20% to 40%): Mostly to GoreThird Quintile (40% to 60%): Mostly to BushFourth Quintile (60% to 80%): Mostly to BushFifth Quintile (80% to 100%): Mostly to GoreIt makes me think of Bill Gates and his father saying how there should be high confiscatory taxes on inheritance. It's like saying "Tax me so I'm forced to help the poor." Putting aside whether the government is the best way to achieve this, or if addicting people to handouts is actually "help," why not just help them *now*?
The county that I live in is very poor, but they vote Republican because they are so conservative. - Art
the book appears to highlight what I like to call the financial circle of chasing the almighty dollar: 1st: start with government. say start here, because its not going away and we as Americans keep demanding the state, local and feds to do more for us. So the cost of running the states, local and fed government keeps going up. Course it doesn't help that the politicians also have their own personal "re-election" programs they want to fund. But bottom line, those that pay for the government to function keep getting asked for more and more. 2nd: businesses: we expect businesses to provide us with jobs, products, and pay taxes. But businesses find themselves there to earn profits, stay afloat. But we as workers want more and more in terms of wages and benefits just so that we can a) pay the increasing costs to live in the form of taxes and fees, child activity costs, college fees,etc b) have a little fun for our own efforts (and I laugh when some complain that our businesses are taking their factories over seas. Its a matter of survival. we wonder at how sports figures can get 7 figure salaries while a President of our country only gets 400K. Companies are held hostage by unions demanding ever increasing salaries for their workers who are in return demanding the ever increasing salaries so that their workers can continue to make ends meet.) so whats it all result in, the dollar chase game. We want more, the government wants more of what we have, businesses have. Special interest groups want more and more regulations that cost more and more to meet. Businesses want to stay in business so they raise the cost of their products to pay all the fees to stay profitable. WHich costs us more to live. Employees of state and fed and local governments all want more in wages, which the citizens get to pay up for. its like the hampster on the wheel. There is no end point in sight. There is no way to break the cycle or stop the chasing of the almighty dollar. And the sad part is, those on the bottom of the "pyramid" will find it impossible to keep up.... which is why we hear the ever increasing cry for more and more social programs which again raises the cost of living for those paying. and it goes on and on until something gives/breaks. It has to, because the system as it is taxing the ones making it work more and more (and we are already seeing some of the effect growing, companies are heading out of the country or are selling out to foreign entities, or just closing their doors for good). The only way it will not break is if the spending stops increasing. And we know that isn't going to happen as long as our politicians put getting votes over doing whats needed to stem the tide. again, just my opinion..... the cost of housing is just one of the symptoms of the big problem we as a country face. And as long as we keep wanting more and more, the problem will continue to grow....
It is an interesting look at how some people survive in the current economic climate; I recommend it!
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