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$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

Kathryn Edin

Top 10 Best Quotes

“In no state today does a full-time job paying minimum wage allow a family to afford a one- or two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.”

“Susan’s and Jennifer’s job searches are likely made harder by the color of their skin. In the early 2000s, researchers in Chicago and Boston mailed out fake résumés to hundreds of employers, varying only the names of the applicants, but choosing names that would be seen as identifiably black or white. Strikingly, “Emily” and “Brendan” were 50 percent more likely to get called for an interview than “Lakisha” and “Jamal.” A few years later, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin conducted a similar study in Milwaukee, but with a unique twist. She recruited two black and two white actors (college students, posing as high school graduates) who were as similar as possible in every way. She sent these “job applicants” out in pairs, with virtually identical fake résumés, to apply for entry-level jobs. Her twist was to instruct one of the white and one of the black applicants to tell employers that they had a felony conviction and had just been released from prison the month before. Even the researcher was surprised by what she found: the white applicant with a felony conviction was more likely to get a positive response from a prospective employer than the black applicant with no criminal record. When the study was replicated in New York City a few years later, she and her colleagues saw similar results for Latino applicants relative to whites.”

“If one tallied all of the losses suffered by victims of robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts combined, the figure wouldn't even approach what is taken from hardworking Americans' pockets by employers who violate the nation's labor laws.”

“How is it that a solid work ethic is not an adequate defense against extreme poverty?”

“Of the $16.5 billion the federal government transfers to states for TANF, more than $11 billion is siphoned off for other uses, sometimes to fund a state’s child welfare system. Strained state budgets are thus eased. TANF has become welfare for the states rather than aid for families”

“What low-wage employers now seem to demand are workers whose lives have infinite give and 24-7 dedication, for little in return.”

“Two dollars is less than the cost of a gallon of gas, roughly equivalent to that of a half gallon of milk. Many Americans have spent more than that before they get to work or school in the morning. Yet in 2011, more than 4 percent of all households with children in the world’s wealthiest nation were living in a poverty so deep that most Americans don’t believe it even exists in this country.”

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) deems a family that is spending more than 30 percent of its income on housing to be “cost burdened,” at risk of having too little money for food, clothing, and other essential expenses. Today there is no state in the Union in which a family that is supported by a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent without being cost burdened, according to HUD.”

“The Truly Disadvantaged, the most important book written about poverty in the past three decades. It was Wilson who first observed, famously, that a poor child fared worse when she grew up among only poor neighbors than she would have if she’d been raised in a neighborhood that included members of the middle class, too. Wilson argued that the reason poverty had persisted in America even in the face of the War on Poverty declared by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 was that in the 1970s and 1980s, poor African Americans had become increasingly isolated, relegated to sections of the city where their neighbors were more and more likely to be poor, and less and less likely to find gainful employment.”

“Providing the ultimate safety net is the role that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is supposed to play, but it hasn’t proved to be up to the task. Part of the reason TANF isn’t doing its job is that it is a block grant given to the states, which have broad flexibility as to how they spend the money. This means that they have plenty of reasons to keep families off the rolls, because if they do, they get to use the money for other, related purposes.”

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Book Keywords:

white-collar-crime, racism-in-america, racial-discrimination, capitalism, 2015, crime-statistics, labor-laws, 2004, labor-markets, white-privilege, wage-theft, discrimination, eeoc

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