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$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in…
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$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (original 2015; udgave 2016)

af Kathryn Edin (Forfatter), H. Luke Shaefer (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3941749,383 (4.01)33
"A revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don't think it exists Jessica Compton's family of four would have no cash income unless she donated plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends. After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn't seen since the mid-1990s -- households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Edin has "turned sociology upside down" (Mother Jones) with her procurement of rich -- and truthful -- interviews. Through the book's many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge. The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America's extreme poor. More than a powerful expose, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality. "--… (mere)
Medlem:Womens_Center
Titel:$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
Forfattere:Kathryn Edin (Forfatter)
Andre forfattere:H. Luke Shaefer (Forfatter)
Info:Mariner Books (2016), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Macroeconomics/Income Inequality/Poverty

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$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America af Kathryn J. Edin (2015)

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» Se også 33 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
Deeply distressing. I finished this during a drive around the Washington peninsula, staring at idyllic forests and tiny tiny towns, left to wonder about how precariously balanced the lives of those within are.

I found the book's conclusion, that we must develop a system that works for and within our "American values" interesting, especially the bits about how the prior system led to a sense of disincorporation among welfare recipients-- but worry that the proposed solution still leaves many at risk. Any system that leaves families in the situations this book describes has failed.

I've been doing some reading over the past year about universal basic incomes, which I think will become more viable as larger and larger chunks of the population are automated out of the labor force by the current AI revolution. That's a solution, though, that at least on surface seems to be the opposite of the public ethic this book ascribes to the country.

Having seen the examples presented by Edin et al of how support systems can fail, both in practice and in public opinion, I feel like there's a lot more thinking to be done here. ( )
  MCBacon | Aug 2, 2021 |
This book is short but powerful. It focuses on the poorest of the poor--those with under $2/person/day income, living a virtually cash-free existence. Their ranks have grown since the 1996 welfare reform that virtually extinguished cash welfare.

What's clear from the families interviewed is that most of them want to work. Even the disabled are putting in substantial effort. The reasons they are not working are largely structural: they face obstacles to getting and keeping jobs. It's hard for them to apply, they lack transportation, and employers demand complete availability that they do not have. Alternatively, as with residents of the Mississippi Delta (a devastating portrait of a virtually collapsed economy) there are no jobs to get, and their poverty is too deep for them to leave. The families wind up in a vicious circle of instability with little way to get themselves out. Unstable housing leads to job issues which leads to even more housing instability.

Edin and Schaefer aren't as negative about welfare reform as many liberals, but the book, whether intentionally or not, points up its flaws. First, AFDC was effectively abolished. Instead of just limiting it, it was block granted and states were permitted to spend the money on other things. Their incentive was simply to get people off the rolls--not to help them. At this point many recipients believe welfare doesn't even exist. Some are even told it isn't available by state workers. In Mississippi, recipients have declined from 180,000 at AFDC's peak to only 17,000 in 2014, and this is America's poorest state. Families are forced to rely on a variety of strategies to supplement the cash income they lack, some more legal than others, and the availability of nongovernmental resources varies widely. Programs like SNAP and the EITC have helped the slightly less poor by topping up their incomes, but EITC does not help the unemployed. SNAP, while improving nutrition significantly, also presents problems since it is sometimes traded at a discounted rate by the cashless (the authors are careful to note that welfare fraud is rare and has declined, but the poorest may have no other option). One family receives $1600 in SNAP for 11 people, but with almost no cash income, $600 has to be traded in for cash to pay the electric bill, leaving kids hungry. If it were all cash, $300 would not be lost. On the other hand, for those with cash income, SNAP enables cash to be reallocated and results in an increase in the food budget.

What this book makes clear is that the poor need more help. A lot of it. They need jobs that are stable, housing that is affordable and better quality, accessible childcare, and more. And yes--we need cash welfare to bridge the gap.

I wouldn't call this revolutionary--if you're familiar with actual poor people and work on poverty, the basic outline should be familiar. But the fieldwork and statistics are excellent and worth reading. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
I read this book not long after reading Hillbilly Elegy. I think this book does a much more accurate job of explaining the history of the fall of the middle and lower classes, as well as the actual lives of the poor. Hillbilly Elegy, I would argue is a story about a middle class white man, in a poor area, who had many opportunities to take advantage of, although, obviously, not as many as a middle class white guy in a middle class area (where his income and family life would have possibly dipped him into poverty, but I doubt it based on the fact that he never once mentions issues like the cost of shoes or food.) I am saying that as a middle class white woman, who grew up in a poor area, and now lives in a rich area, where my family's income would never have afforded me the same opportunities.

If you want a look at what poverty in America is actually like, this is the book to read. Yes, the middle class is slipping, yes books like Hillbilly Elegy are trying to shine a light on poverty in rural areas, but IMHO it did a shitty job, because it's a lot easier for us middle class kids to "pull ourselves up by our boostraps" when there's money, food, shelter, and opportunities to go around. This book sheds a real life on what many are facing and the real dangers of class slip in America. It's also not a book of pure anecdotes, as it covers history, politics and statistics in an interesting and easy to follow way. Highly recommended if you were nodding your head at the "lazy" poor people in Hillbilly Elegy. That view sure didn't fit the majority of the poor I grew up friends with. ( )
  lclclauren | Sep 12, 2020 |
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America is an exploration of extreme poverty in the U.S. and an attempt to explain why this kind of property exists in such a rich country. In a few areas, like the Mississippi Delta and some places in the Appalachians, whole communities are in this kind of poverty where everyone is trying to get by on less than two dollars per person per day. Often a family's 'income' is just their monthly allotment of SNAP or food stamps. They have no cash income at all beyond such measures as donating plasma ($30 a unit), collecting scrap, running a gypsy taxi service, or selling some of their food stamps. These are often people who spend most of their days looking for work and sometimes find a minimum wage job for a few months but always fall back into a jobless state generally through no fault of their own.

The authors follow several of these families from different regions including big cities and small towns. There is a discussion of the history of welfare , how it was reformed in the '90s and the results of that reform and why so many fell through the cracks. They also suggest , in the last chapter, what we, as a country, can do about this waste of human talent.

Not a pleasant book to read but it has an important message.
1 stem hailelib | Jan 8, 2019 |
Educational book but sometimes confusing Politicians and regular people rail on those "welfare queens" who are clearly buying steak and lobster with their SNAP benefits and iPads and new shoes with their welfare checks, etc. This book seeks to dispel some of those issues and show what it's like to live in poverty.
 
Much of this was a maddening read. The change in welfare benefits (including the hoops you have to jump through to be approved), the poverty one is surrounded by (including the lack of opportunities), the various roadblocks that make it difficult (affordable childcare so a parent can work a full-time job), etc. are all covered by the various stories told in this book.
 
Honestly, I felt the book was really repetitive. They tell the stories of various people living in poverty but it felt like it was the same story told from different viewpoints by different people shoved into an academic thesis. There's a lot to learn here: the history of welfare benefits, the changes it went through, the perceptions that have changed, how politicians have changed the system, etc. But it's confusing because we switch back and forth of the various stories of people plus the history.
 
There is a lot of important information here on how difficult it can be to climb out of the hole once you're in it. No matter how well-meaning you are or how hard you work, there are many, MANY roadblocks, cracks, ways to trip over yourself. Some of it is indeed by the choices of the people in the book. BUT the system really doesn't help, nor does the economy by the lack of well-paying jobs that allows someone to live above the poverty line, pay for childcare, pursue more education, etc. Some of these people are genuinely trapped and it's not necessarily solely through their own choices.
 
This is a relatively short book, but I still found it quite hard to read. A book that I found a lot more readable was Linda Tirado's 'Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America' which covers her own struggles. People who think that these people are in this position COMPLETELY of their own choices should read this. As it's told from her POV, she talks about some of the reasons why and how she made the choices she did. It was a good read and personally would recommend it over this one. If you do read this book, recommend the library.
  ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
This essential book is a call to action, and one hopes it will accomplish what ­Michael Harrington’s “The Other America” achieved in the 1960s — arousing both the nation’s consciousness and conscience about the plight of a growing number of invisible citizens. The rise of such absolute poverty since the passage of welfare reform belies all the categorical talk about opportunity and the American dream.
 
Harrowing...[An] important and heart-rending book, in the tradition of Michael Harrington's "The Other America."
tilføjet af ArrowStead | RedigerLos Angeles Times
 
Powerful...Presents a deeply moving human face that brings the stunning numbers to life. It is an explosive book...The stories will make you angry and break your heart.
tilføjet af ArrowStead | RedigerThe American Prospect
 

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"A revelatory account of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don't think it exists Jessica Compton's family of four would have no cash income unless she donated plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends. After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn't seen since the mid-1990s -- households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Edin has "turned sociology upside down" (Mother Jones) with her procurement of rich -- and truthful -- interviews. Through the book's many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge. The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America's extreme poor. More than a powerful expose, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality. "--

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