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Barbara Ehrenreichs book Nickel and Dimed has brought many aspects of what the New York Times calls the working poor to the center She sheds light on a class many of us never really stop to think about and gives us an all access backstage pass to their everyday life I mean how many people actually wonder where their waitress lives or how much the cook at McDonalds can afford to eat Honestly before this book I never gave it much thought When I told my grandmother what Ehrenreich was doing she couldnt understand why she was doing such a thing Its clear that a man who fries french fries for a living cant support himself let alone a family she said To really understand what these people are going through you have to pay attention Unfortunately most of us dont Most of us never even give it a thought You simply find comfort in the thought that they get by somehow dont they Yes indeed they do but I wonder if people think of what that somehow is Its having 2 or 3 jobs or living in your car or eating a bag of chips for lunch Barbara brings all this to our attention and is changing the way this nation looks at its working poor She writes These experiences are not part of a substantial lifestyle even a lifestyle of chronic deprivation and relentless low-level punishment They are by almost any standard of subsistence emergency situations And that is how we should see the poverty of so many millions of low-wage Americansas a state of emergency I couldnt believe what Ehrenreich had to go through just to be able to sleep under a roof Weve got to understand that these people are desperately needed They are the backbone of America today and without them we wouldnt know what to do Just imagine how many places would burn down if CEOs had to flip
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