Technology innovators and venture capitalists were acquiring sudden fortunes, buying up McMansions like the ones I had cleaned in Maine and much larger. Even secretaries in some hi-tech firms were striking it rich with their stock options. There was loose talk about a permanent conquest of the business cycle, and a sassy new spirit infecting American capitalism.
Conversation turns to a discussion of the then recently-passed Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of Contract With America and Welfare Reform Let us stop for a minute to discuss what the law was and what its intentions were.
Introduced by former Florida Representative E. Hunter and endorsed by Newt GingrichRichard ArmeyTom Delayand John Boehner among others and signed into law by President Bill Clintonthe law was designed to reform the way federal cash assistance was granted to the poor. The goals of the bill were stated as follows: Heather Boushey of the Economic Policy Institute a left-leaning nonpartisan think tankfor instance, testified before the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the U.
Most former welfare recipients are not working full-time or full-year.
And although the poverty rate has declined overall, it has increased among working families, particularly those headed by single mothers. For those families that were already poor, poverty in the last several years has deepened Primus and Greenstein How does anyone live on the wages available to the unskilled?
At the same time, she makes a point of stating that she had never been one to romanticize the lifestyles of the working class. Her husband was a warehouse worker who later became a Teamsters organizer, her father had been a copper miner, and her grandfathers worked in the mines or for the Union Pacific 2.
Moreover, for Ehrenreich, the idea of trying to live on working class wages was itself preposterous, since she already knew that she would have difficulty making ends meet without government subsidies.
Moreover, if it was simply a matter of earning a working class wage, she could simply pay herself the wages to confirm what the National Coalition for the Homeless and Preamble Center for Public Policy had already demonstrated.
One of the main problems that needed answering was this: In other words, how, exactly do the working poor do it? Secondly, what does it mean to be the working poor? The working poor are persons who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force that is, working or looking for work but whose incomes still fell below the official poverty level source.
The Scientific Process Barbara Ehrenreich As a biologist, Ehrenreich concludes that the best way to go about conducting her report is to treat it like a scientific experiment.
The rules are as follows: Yes, but Ehrenreich downplays the gravity of her violations. Since she was opting for authenticity, Ehrenreich needed to present herself in a way that would not give herself away to her employers. This meant that she needed to come up with a good personal biography that was not seemingly pompous.
On job application forms, she did not state that she was a PhD, which might look suspicious anyway. For the most part, it was not too difficult maintaining a low profile.
Lastly, she needed to establish some limits of what she would and would not personally endure. Of the things she observed that she absolutely must not be without, Ehrenreich lists: On the contrary, this was an experiment that nearly anyone could have conducted.
This, Ehrenreich concludes, is the point.
A Person of Privilege Ehrenreich is not about to claim that her experience was like those of the people she was trying to investigate. Here are some of the differences that she cites: The Bottom Line Enrenreich concludes the introduction with the following words: Just bear in mind, when I stumble, that this is in fact the best-case scenario: Rather than summarizing this chapter, which is an accumulation of experiences, let us instead discuss some of the challenges that Ehrenreich encounters as a server.
As we look at some of these examples, consider other examples of your own. Housing As a resort community, Key West is a high-rent region, making amiable living conditions for working individuals are few and far between.
For Ehrenreich, this meant a minute trip to and from Key West. Food Ehrenreich becomes increasingly conscious of how much she spends on food. Invisibility Ehrenreich is mostly invisible to people as she enters and leaves places looking for a job.
Among all employers, the rate of testing is highest in the South.In , Barbara Ehrenreich, an educated author, accepted a challenge from a magazine editor to join the working poor and write about the experience.
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A study guide for Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Literary Newsmakers for Students series.
An Examination of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed: The Working Poor to the Center ( words, 1 pages) Barbara Ehrenreichs book, Nickel and Dimed has brought many aspects of what the New York Times calls, the working poor to the center.
Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity — a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate strategies for survival.
Instantly acclaimed for its insight, humor, and passion, this book is changing the way America perceives its working poor. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich - MonkeyNotes by urbanagricultureinitiative.com 2 lesson that Ehrenreich learns in Maine is that there is little assistance for the working poor.
She tries to get some necessarily center on human beings. Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed Essay Words | 5 Pages. Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed In the novel Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehnreich, there are many hurtles she must overcome to experience the life of a low income worker.