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Nickel & Dimed

             Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist who posed as an unskilled worker.
             in 1998 to highlight the struggles encountered every day by Americans.
             attempting to live on minimum wage. Ms Ehrenreich had always been.
             interested in poverty but was inspired to conduct this experiment by the new.
             welfare reform laws enacted in 1997. As the result of the new law, people.
             would be expected to leave welfare and get jobs. Sounds good. .
             Unfortunately, the jobs they were able to get really didn't pay enough to live.
             on. Nickel & Dimed is about her ecperiences as the traveled around.
             america trying to make ends meet just like millions of Americans do.
             The overall message of the book is that wages in America are too low.
             and rents are too high. Single people and especoally families cannot survive.
             on the wages that unskilled workers are paid. Many families spend their.
             whole life behind in their bills and often have to forego such necessities as.
             food and clothing to keep a roof over their heads or buy medicine for a.
             family member who's sick.
             Every city visited in this book was experiencing a "labor shortage". .
             What there really is, is a shortage of people actually willing to work for the.
             wages that are being offered. And it's not because they don't want to work.
             or that they are lazy. It's because they cannot afford the childcare or.
             transportation for these low paying jobs. They can't afford to take a job that.
             would cost them more money in the long run.
             Another main point very clearly made in this book is that there is an.
             affordable housing crisis in this country. Many people have to work two or.
             sometimes three jobs a week just to pay rent. Rent for a decent place often.
             takes up more than half of a family's income, leaving them with not enough.
             for other regular expenses. Any unexpected expense such as an illness or a.
             car problem is a catastrophe. Many of these families wind up homeless or.
             doubled up with relatives.
             This book was striking in many ways and I leared some interesting.

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