Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

November 11, 2011 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

In the interest of full disclosure, I make roughly 50 percent of my area’s median income, which qualifies me for subsidized housing. Rent for a studio in my town is roughly $500 to $600 a month, and at my salary, I cannot afford anything more.

Heating bills are high, gas prices are skyrocketing and to be honest, some months it’s tough to pay all of my bills (student loans and car payments making the biggest dents in my income).

The above paragraph, however, is only to let you know that while my life might be hard, it is nothing compared to what Barbara Ehrenreich endures during her work on Nickel and Dimed. Her goal is to find the lowest-paid job and the cheapest apartment she can in any given town and see if she can make ends meet.

The results are startling. Simply, she can’t. She ends up paying $50 a day for the privilege of working at Wal-Mart somewhere near the end of her experiment, when the cost of gas, rent and food are taken into account. The closest she ever comes is while working two jobs, one as a maid and one as a nursing home assistant, working 7 days a week at minimum wage.

Granted, some of her figures are outdated. The book was published in 2001, and therefore some of the numbers are slightly off. For example, I believe the $7 Ehrenreich made working at Wal-Mart might now be illegal in many states – minimum wage in California was $8.50 last time I checked.

Her point remains crystal clear, however: the poor, even the working poor, are always with us, and nothing will change until wages are hiked. Telling residents on welfare to simply “get a job” is not enough – the jobs have to be able to support a single person, at least.

This is the most compelling piece of non-fiction I have read in ages – definitely worth the entire dollar I spent on it at a thrift store. I might recommend borrowing it first, but definitely give it a read.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Jewel by Bret Lott Chick lit and escapisim

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Connect with LT

literarytransgressions (Gmail)

@LitTransgressor (Twitter)

LT RSS feed (Subscribe)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 134 other followers

Categories

LT Archives

In accordance with FTC regulations…

...we must disclose that we are independent bloggers with no ties to authors, publishers, or advertisers. We are not given books or monetary compensation in return for favorable reviews or publicity.

Where we have received advance or complementary copies of books, it will be noted in the body of the entry, and will not affect our review or opinions in the slightest.


%d bloggers like this: