Essay nickel dimed barbara ehrenreich

Excerpt from Term Paper: Nickeled and Dimed In an attempt to prevent families from living below the poverty line in the United States, the government ensures that people are paid a minimum-wage. Through this minimum-wage, the government believes that people can afford to pay their rents and bills, and cover the costs of their groceries, etc.

Essay nickel dimed barbara ehrenreich

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.

In San Francisco, a billboard for an e-trading firm proclaimed, "Make love not war," and then — down at the bottom — "Screw it, just make money. Again and again, in that first year or two after publication, people came up to me and opened with the words, "I never thought …" or "I hadn't realised …" To my own amazement, Nickel and Dimed quickly ascended to the bestseller list and began winning awards.

Criticisms, too, have accumulated over the years. But for the most part, the book has been far better received than I could have imagined it would be, with an impact extending well into the more comfortable classes.

How America criminalised poverty | Barbara Ehrenreich | Opinion | The Guardian

A Florida woman wrote to tell me that, before reading it, she'd always been annoyed at the poor for what she saw as their self-inflicted obesity. Now she understood that a healthy diet wasn't always an option.

And if I had a quarter for every person who's told me he or she now tipped more generously, I would be able to start my own foundation. Essay nickel dimed barbara ehrenreich more gratifying to me, the book has been widely read among low-wage workers.

In the last few years, hundreds of people have written to tell me their stories: Twenty-nine percent is a minority, but not a reassuringly small one, and other studies in the early s came up with similar figures.

The big question, 10 years later, is whether things have improved or worsened for those in the bottom third of the income distribution, the people who clean hotel rooms, work in warehouses, wash dishes in restaurants, care for the very young and very old, and keep the shelves stocked in our stores.

The short answer is that things have gotten much worse, especially since the economic downturn that began in Post-meltdown poverty When you read about the hardships I found people enduring while I was researching my book — the skipped meals, the lack of medical care, the occasional need to sleep in cars or vans — you should bear in mind that those occurred in the best of times.

The economy was growing, and jobs, if poorly paid, were at least plentiful. InI had been able to walk into a number of jobs pretty much off the street. Less than a decade later, many of these jobs had disappeared and there was stiff competition for those that remained.

It would have been impossible to repeat my Nickel and Dimed "experiment", had I had been so inclined, because I would probably never have found a job. For the last couple of years, I have attempted to find out what was happening to the working poor in a declining economy — this time using conventional reporting techniques like interviewing.

I started with my own extended family, which includes plenty of people without jobs or health insurance, and moved on to trying to track down a couple of the people I had met while working on Nickel and Dimed.

This wasn't easy, because most of the addresses and phone numbers I had taken away with me had proved to be inoperative within a few months, probably due to moves and suspensions of telephone service. Neither seemed unduly afflicted by the recession, but only because they had already been living in what amounts to a permanent economic depression.

In andfor example, blue-collar unemployment was increasing three times as fast as white-collar unemployment, and African American and Latino workers were three times as likely to be unemployed as white workers. Low-wage blue-collar workers, like the people I worked with in this book, were especially hard hit for the simple reason that they had so few assets and savings to fall back on as jobs disappeared.

How have the already-poor attempted to cope with their worsening economic situation? One obvious way is to cut back on health care.

Essay nickel dimed barbara ehrenreich

The New York Times reported in that one-third of Americans could no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions and that there had been a sizable drop in the use of medical care.

Others, including members of my extended family, have given up their health insurance. Food is another expenditure that has proved vulnerable to hard times, with the rural poor turning increasingly to "food auctions", which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates.

And for those who like their meat fresh, there's the option of urban hunting. In Racine, Wisconsin, a year-old laid-off mechanic told me he was supplementing his diet by "shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked and grilled".

In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver was doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices.

Essay nickel dimed barbara ehrenreich

The most common coping strategy, though, is simply to increase the number of paying people per square foot of dwelling space — by doubling up or renting to couch-surfers.

It's hard to get firm numbers on overcrowding, because no one likes to acknowledge it to census-takers, journalists, or anyone else who might be remotely connected to the authorities.

According to a community organiser in Alexandria, Virginia, the standard apartment in a complex occupied largely by day labourers has two bedrooms, each containing an entire family of up to five people, plus an additional person laying claim to the couch.

No one could call suicide a "coping strategy", but it is one way some people have responded to job loss and debt.

Nickel and dimed barbara ehrenreich essays

There are no national statistics linking suicide to economic hard times, but the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported more than a four-fold increase in call volume between andand regions with particularly high unemployment, such as Elkhart, Indiana, have seen troubling spikes in their suicide rates.

Foreclosure is often the trigger for suicide — or, worse, murder-suicides that destroy entire families.Response to Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich essaysIn Barbara Ehrenreich's book, "Nickel and Dimed," she makes a few groundbreaking conclusions after working as a low waged worker for periods of time.

She claims that there is no such thing as "unskilled labor," (pg Essay on Nickel and Dimed. Nickel and Dimed Barbara Ehrenreich used her book Nickel and Dimed to illustrate her job assignment to live in the shoes of and, write about her experiences as a minimum wage worker in America.

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Essay competition university journeys dissertation on . Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich, is a great story of how the very author of this book wants to know what it truly is like to be a part of the working poor class, so she becomes part of the working poor class.

3/5(1). Nickel & Dimed Reflection Paper essaysWhile reading this book, I was intrigued in many different ways and had many different feelings towards certain things that were said and done. I have great admiration for Barbara Ehrenreich to have done this experiment/activity.

It really portrays those people. Free Essay: Nickel & Dimed On (Not) Getting by in America The book Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting by in America, written by Barbara Ehrenreich is a.

Barbara Ehrenreich Nickel And Dimed Term Paper - Words