Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's very expensive to be poor in America

This article by Barbara Ehrenreich seems to be the best response I've seen yet to the self-serving and completely tone-deaf tome written by Bain partner Edward Conard, which I don't want to link to for fear of driving him more traffic and more revenues from book sales.  Ehrenreich (author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America) lays out many of the common ways it costs more to be poor, from outright wage fraud and chiseling to explicit poverty penalties in the justice system.  Her conclusion:
I could propose all kinds of policies to curb the ongoing predation on the poor. Limits on usury should be reinstated. Theft should be taken seriously even when it’s committed by millionaire employers. No one should be incarcerated for debt or squeezed for money they have no chance of getting their hands on. These are no-brainers, and should take precedence over any long term talk about generating jobs or strengthening the safety net. Before we can “do something” for the poor, there are some things we need to stop doing to them.

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