The Working Poor Invisible in America PDF/EPUB ✓

The Working Poor Invisible in America PDF/EPUB ✓



10 thoughts on “The Working Poor Invisible in America

  1. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    This is a depressing account of many individuals who are afflicted with poverty and are with exceptions unable to escape The book provides considerable ammunition for the view that the poor are kept there by an uncaring and hostile society From the tales and analyses emerge nuggets of potential policy directions For instance there is attention given to the disparity in spending for schooling based on local real estate valuation Certainly centralizing revenues and then distributing them according to actual need would be a preferable way to address such imbalances He also provides much detail about the hurdles faced by the working poor when they try to get social services the authorA couple of possible ideas popped to me from this First a centralized data system that took in all information and then generated matching programs with completed applications ID cards authorizations whatever would make it possible for those in need to do one stop shopping Another small idea would be to add or increase in cases where it does not already exist night time hours for social service agencies so that people need not take off from work in order to come in Shipler makes it clear that dysfunction in families is a major factor in poverty and it may be that in many cases all the social services in the world will not effect change But overall it remains clear that needs are great and society is not adeuately focused on how to bring the poor further into a middle class mainstream This is gripping heart rending stuff and things have only gotten worse with ten years of assaults on the needy A must read for anyone seriously into public welfare policyEXTRA STUFFThe author's blog The Shipler Report FB and Twitter pagesA list of Shipler's articles for New Yorker magazine


  2. Alison Alison says:

    A manager at Barnes Nobles told me that this was a great book because it shifted blame for the problems of the poor onto the poor thus holding them accountable and providing room for personal responsibility Hardly a compelling case for me So for a long time I didn’t read it But now I have and what the BN guy said was a gross oversimplification and misreading More thoughts here's a great book


  3. Dan Dan says:

    I often get into discussions with my father in law about the state of the nation problems facing workers and companies and especially the role of the government My father in law will often say the phrase People just need to work harder in response to my ueries about how to get people out of poverty or dead end jobs Well I heard that phrase one too many times so I decided to read David Shipler's book to find out if this American Dream is as easy to do as it soundsIt's not easy at all Sure people can pull themselves up by their bootstraps but that task reuires than just elbow grease and a little savings these days When you are at this level the smallest problem has gigantic ripples throughout your life Shipler notes throughout the book how each person or family he talks to has had a significant financial downfall due to a series of events These events are always inextricably connected For example a mother of two has a very low paying job She needs to drive to her job because the bus won't get her there in time She also needs to drive her children to the day care center One day after work the car does not start The kids are now at the day care center after hours thus ringing up an extra bill which she cannot afford Plus the car is broken and must be fixed Plus she now has no way to get to work on time the next day or to get the kids to the day careThere are numerous other instances of these types of ripple effects in the book People living paycheck to paycheck cannot keep a bank account open due to minimum amount reuirements They often get billed extra fees because they go below the amount Then they go into debt because they can't pay the extra fee back And they don't ualify for certain help from organizations or the government because they don't have a bank account because it's been closed due to the lack of a minimum amount in the accountThese are the stories of the people who are trying and can't get out of the spiral Shipler also writes about people who are just flat out lazy These people play the system lie cheat and steal to get their way all without working These people give the working poor a bad name To me Shipler's message is that we need to meet these people halfway If they put forth the effort to get on their feet we need to help them get the other half Right now they have to walk about 98% of that on their own before anyone else steps inAlthough being incredibly sad this was a very good book It did stray from the topic at hand from time to time but each new topic was directly related to the troubles the working poor face lack of healthy diet no health insurance lack of good parenting skills etcSo now I have to recommend this book to my father in law so he can see that it takes than just working hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps It's a Sisyphean task


  4. Tom Tom says:

    If you don't know much about poverty this book may prove useful to you but go in with eyes open Shipler is at his best when he's letting the poor folks he speaks to speak for themselves However he is very much a liberal and while he's talking with poor people we also get sympathetic interviews with bosses managers job trainers tough love social workers and the like He praises people who shape themselves and allow themselves to be shaped into well behaved obedient workers set on climbing into higher levels of workplace hierarchy His solution for the plight of the working poor is very much reformist and government centered the poor should overwhelm the rich at the voting booth and his critiue of how successful that has beencould be is nonexistent The answer comes not from below from poor people organizing themselves and building power but from government programs corporations politicians and benevolent gentry such as himself and his target audience Capitalism needs to be changed but is essentially good It depends on poverty Shipler says so uite uncritically the issue for him is that the poor are treated better and given the opportunity to get ahead so others may replace them If any of this made you cringe you might be better off finding something with a little teeth


  5. sleeps9hours sleeps9hours says:

    Summary Poverty is caused by complex interactions between personal and societalbusinessgovernmental failures The poor are affected strongly by small mistakesmisfortunes that snowball due to lack of safety net The most heinous problems to me were sexual abusedomestic violence p 162 At the extremes of the debate liberals don’t want to see the dysfunctional family and conservatives want to see nothing else Depending on the ideology destructive parenting is either not a cause or the only cause of poverty Neither stereotype is correct In my research along the edges of poverty I didn’t find many adults without troubled childhoods and I came to see those histories as both cause and effect intertwined with the myriad other difficulties of money housing schooling health job and neighborhood that reinforce one another The interactions were described by Dr Robert Needleman a behavioral pediatrician who sees children from all socio economic levels in Cleveland “Horrendous parenting can cause severe behavior problems that have as part of them difficulty in paying attention” he said “It takes a lot of psychological health to be able to go to school and pay attention to a teacher and care and do the work The kids who do that are healthy Really bad parenting can prevent that”p162 3 A Balti malnutrition clinic video tapes parents feeding their children to show them their mistakes In one a little boy sits in a highchair playing with his food but not eating His mother watches for a moment then pulls out a magazine and reads Nothing ever goes into his mouth and she pays no attention In the second session the same boy sits on the floor putting blocks in a plastic bucket His mother watches yawns puts her head down and closes her eyes She has no interaction with her son The third session finds both mother and child sitting at a low table each playing separately with plastic blocks The staff has told her “Play with your child” but she evidently thinks that means to play as if he weren’t there or to play as if she were a child herself Having built a stack of blocks the boy says proudly “Look Mommy” She mocks him repeating in a sarcastic tone “Look what I did Mommy” Then without including her son she tries to assemble the blocks into a formation pictured on the bucket’s label The boy reaches for a block on the table in front of her She snatches it away and snaps “No” Then she even dismantles the stack of blocks he’s made to use a couple of them in her construction all the while saying to him mockingly “Look Mommy Look Mommy” Again in the forth session they sit at the low table each doing a separate puzzle The mother holds hers on her lap tilted up so her son can’t see it The boy picks up his puzzle which is all together then turns it over and dumps the pieces on the table with a clatter “You’re gonna pick them all up” she says harshly “You’re making a mess” The boy plays nicely and uietly putting all the pieces carefully together again while the mother continues with her own puzzle ignoring her son except to scold himchokengtitiktitikchokeng167 recent studies have shown that “sensitive responsive care in the first few years of life” leads to greater school achievement and less need for special ed fewer bx probs less use of drugs and alcohol during adolescence and a higher ability to form relationships among peers from preschool onchokengtitiktitikchokeng 225 Dr Zuckerman of Boston Medical Center hired attorneys to work on his staff to solve some medical issues p285 working poverty is a constellation of difficulties that magnify one another not just low wages but also low education not just dead end jobs but also limited abilities not just insufficient savings but also unwise spending not just poor housing but also poor parenting not just the lack of health insurance but also the lack of healthy households The villains are not just exploitative employers but also incapable employees not just overworked teachers but also defeated and unruly pupils not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves The troubles run strongly along both macro and micro levels as systemic problems in the structure of political and economic power and as individual problems in personal and family life All of the problems have to be attacked at oncechokengtitiktitikchokeng286 The first uestion is whether we know exactly what to do The second is whether we have the will to exercise our skill We lack the skill to solve some problems and the will to solve others but one piece of knowledge we now possess We understand that holistic remedies are vital So gateways to addressing a family’s range of handicaps are needed and they are best established at intersections through which working poor families are likely to travel ie doctors and lawyers; schools and parenting classes banks health insurance info; public housing and English classes job trainingchokengtitiktitikchokeng 288 voting not an answer bc most Americans don’t vote their class interests In 2000 19% of Americans thought they were in the top 1% of wage earners and another 20% expected to be Unfortunate bc no key sector of this free enterprise system whether business or charity escapes the pervasive influence wielded by government through tax policy regulation wage reuirements subsidies grants and the likechokengtitiktitikchokeng 289 Thomas Paine in Common Sense 1776 “Society in every state is a blessing but Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one”p 299 Opportunity and poverty in this country cannot be explained by either the American Myth that hard work is a panacea or by the Anti Myth that the system imprisons the poor Relief will come if at all in an amalgam that recognizes both the society’s obligation through government and business and the individual’s obligation through labor and family—and the commitment of both society and individual through education


  6. Terri Lynn Terri Lynn says:

    I liked this book pretty well The author spent a lot of time talking with people of different races and backgrounds about their poverty and also with social workers who help them and with their employers Poverty was self imposed in all cases These people dropped out of school had a stack of illegitimate kids they couldn't support got involved in crime used alcohol and drugs and even when they got jobs they'd just fail to go in to work or orientations and not call in They made bad life choices and never learned from them I felt horrible for the women who had been abused as kids and teens but hey I too suffered physical emotional and sexual abuse but did not drop out of school I have a high school diploma a bachelor's degree and a master's degree all earned with honors from fully accredited schools I did not have any children out of wedlock I refused to get involved with or marry an abusive man I have never smoked drunk alcohol or used illegal drugs nor abused legal ones These women just did differently and locked themselves into misery I am sorry for them but I have no respect for anyone who hates what went on before then continues through life to keep making the same stupid mistakes I felt no pity for the illegal aliens They had no right to come here so as far as I am concerned they deserve whatever horrible things that happen to them I do feel for legal immigrants however This is easy to read without jargon It is full of personal stories and I liked the book


  7. Sarah Sarah says:

    This book is not what you would call a pick me upper I had to set it down sometimes and come back to the stories of so many families fighting on so many fronts It was exhausting to read about the way so many have to fight just to stay above water and hold their families together or wishing sometimes they would let some parts of the family go It was a reminder that if you are able to spend time reading books for fun much less spending time commenting on them online you are very blessedI highly recommend this book to all areas of the political spectrum and especially for those who feel inclined to pass judgement on the poor and their work ethic I appreciated the author's honesty in showing the mistakes and flaws of the people involved and his insight into the ways that our government charities businesses fail the people they try to help I am also awed by those who stand in the trenches and extend their hands to helpI wish there were take away actions do these three things and we can really solve this but the fact is that doing so would undermine the point of the book It is a complex situation with complex answers I hope to learn about what I can do to affect the changes needed so that families can step away from the brink and start functioning again


  8. Megan Megan says:

    The Working Poor is one of my longest outstanding reviews and in the interest of continuing my review every book streak I'm going to hop back in time and say a few things My remembrance has dulled slightly but I still had a bunch of uotes saved so this review will be heavy on extracts with minor commentary from me This is why writing reviews soon after reading is critical Overall my impressions were very favorable Shipler approached this topic with a great deal of empathy but also didn't shy from presenting the people who participated in his I believe decades spanning study in an unfavorable light The biggest strength of this book is its nuance Having grown up relatively poor myself I'm hyper aware of the reductive arguments surrounding poverty in America So often people want to ascribe a person's poverty on choices that particular person has made especially if those choices run contrary to the judger's own ideology or perhaps their own morality But the American Myth also provides a means of laying blame In the Puritan legacy hard work is not merely practical but also moral; its absence suggests an ethical lapse A harsh logic dictates a hard judgment If a person's diligent work leads to prosperity if work is a moral virtue and if anyone in the society can attain prosperity through work then the failure to do so is a fall from righteousness The marketplace is the fair and final judge; a low wage is somehow the worker's fault for it simply reflects the low value of his labor In the American atmosphere poverty has always carried a whiff of sinfulness Shipler does not allow for this type of thinking His main argument is that poverty is a part of a highly complex system each part inextricably entwined with the other As the people in these pages show working poverty is a constellation of difficulties that magnify one another not just low wages but also low education not just dead end jobs but also limited abilities not just insufficient savings but also unwise spending not just poor housing but also poor parenting not just the lack of health insurance but also the lack of healthy households The villains are not just exploitative employers but also incapable employees not just overworked teachers but also defeated and unruly pupils not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves The troubles run strongly along both macro and micro levels as systemic problems in the structure of political and economic power and as individual problems in personal and family life All of the problems have to be attacked at once There are also candid discussions regarding wage disparity which examine common arguments surrounding the raising of the minimum wage This was critical commentary considering we are still fighting this battle tirelessly and making very little progress Shipler highlights that one of the biggest hurdles in raising the wages of the working poor is the comparison of those wages to the wages of others in positions deemed worthy or deserving of money So essentially we are promoting a predatory and unsustainable system based purely on a belief system about which jobs matter than other jobs Generally of course this is tied back to a college education and the cost thereof though that is another can of worms altogether Pretty soon we've got these people who are being paid than they really should be paid he declared Other employers echoed the conviction that there was a right wage for a job and that if they raised their manual laborers' pay they would have to do the same for their foremen accountants and executives to maintain a substantial distance between salaries Shipler also discusses the common and in my opinion despicable arguments regarding whether poor people should be shamed for buying luxury items such as cable TV premium foods or and this one we hear all the time cell phones They are caught between America's hedonism and in dictum that the poor are supposed to sacrifice suffer and certainly not purchase any fun for themselves So Ann Brash gets raised eyebrows when she buys raspberries and many others come under criticism for such indulgences as cable TV The monthly cable bills cause acid indigestion in some people who do anti poverty work and the harshest critics seem to be those who were once poor themselves Another facet that I didn't expect Shipler to tackle but which really added depth to his argument was the inclusion of the struggles of undocumented workers in America It's a contentious issue now than ever spits in the direction of our president but it needs to be discussed Because there are millions of people supporting the backbone of our economy that we love to pretend don't exist or else love to pretend exist as nothing than malicious leeches when the reality is far sobering Being undocumented is precarious Fearing deportation you will think twice about contesting your wages or working conditions You will be ineligible for government benefits except free school breakfast and lunch programs emergency Medicaid immunizations and treatment for communicable diseases And you'll suffer from less obvious inconveniences such as the lack of a bank account which will cost you in fees when you transfer money In other words American government and business gain financially from your inability to legalize your presence in the country As I said Shipler presents an even handed case and he isn't afraid to say when people make decisions that do push them farther into the brutal slipstream of poverty Blame who has it and who ought to have it is a huge theme Rarely are they infuriated by their conditions and when their anger surfaces it is often misdirected against their spouses their children or their co workers They do not usually blame their bosses their government their country or the hierarchy of wealth as they reasonably could They often blame themselves and they are sometimes right to do so My main criticism with Shipler's work was that we actually spent a little too long in the minutiae of each of his case studies For example he usually elucidates an argument by providing a real life example with a familyperson living in poverty These stories could go on forever detailing every single detail of a particular person's sob story to be so crude even after the point had already been made and the reader was ready to move on Personally I would have rather Shipler spent a little less time on the subjective personal accounts and on some firm solutions One of my frustrations was that Shipler presents all this fantastic commentary and then falls just short of offering up solutions such as socialized medicine socialized education limits on the amount CEOs are allowed to earn in comparison to their lowest paid employee etc I wanted of that and didn't really get it At the end of the day I found great value in this book and would recommend it to everyone ESPECIALLY if you have rudely judged people's poverty based on perceived laziness spending beyond their means for example possessing cell phones or cable TV having too many children having children out of wedlockas a single mother having poor educationnot attending college etc This book is for you if you are that person as I think many of us have been at one point or other in our lives especially if you grew up poor and managed to miraculously claw your way up out of it Stop opening up your mouth to spew judgment and sit down to listen for a change


  9. Abby Jean Abby Jean says:

    this is a very good book to read if you know a little about the policy problems facing the working poor and want to get a better idea of the human stories of people affected by them or if you don't know anything about the daily lives of the working poor and need a good illustration of the thicket of problems trapping them in povertyhowever if you are looking for a systemic analysis of which policies and procedures create this poverty trap and perpetuate these conditions this is not the book for you while it gave me an extremely vivid and personal view into the lives of many individuals and families struggling with poverty in the US because of different reasons disability poor education substandard housing sexual abuse domestic violence etc but does little to discuss how we can best address ameliorate or eliminate these problemsi have really mixed feelings about these kinds of books certainly when i hear poverty discussed in political terms especially by conservatives there is little acknowledgement of the extremely limiting effect of the interlocking systems and policies of oppression and deprivation so it's nice to have such a clear illustration of why lack of health insurance can prevent someone from getting a job on the other hand the focus on the individual reinforces a sense that poverty should be addressed on the individual level the book details how church networks managed to keep several individuals from becoming homeless or hungry thus implying expansion of that level of charitable programming as a solutioni wanted to read big picture ideas that prevent people from getting to this state that address the systemic problems and there was not a lot of that in this book


  10. David David says:

    Although there weren't any astonishing revelations and I'm not sure that's even possible with this subject matter the author did an excellent job of conveying the fragile interrelationships between education housing health upbringing transportation health insurance etc and how one problem can trigger a devastating financial setback He writes For practically every family then the ingredients of poverty are part financial and part psychological part personal and part social part past and part present Every problem magnifies the impact of the others and with results far distant from the original cause A run down apartment can exacerbate a child's asthma which leads to a call for an ambulance which generates a medical bill which cannot be paid which ruins a credit record which hikes the interest rate on an auto loan which forces the purchase of an unreliable used car which jeopardizes a mother's punctuality at work which limits her promotions and earning capacity which confines her to poor housing He then proceeds to write about real people in such circumstances And the people he writes about for the most part are hard working people struggling to stay off welfare The writing is fair and balanced and the author doesn't assign blame One of the reviews said it was a book every American should read and read now I wouldn't go that far but I do think it's an important book and to the extent someone is in any way interested in the subject matter I recommend it highly It is a book I will want my children to read when they approach adulthood


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The Working Poor Invisible in America [Download] ➵ The Working Poor Invisible in America Author David K. Shipler – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk As David K Shipler makes clear in this powerful humane study the invisible poor are engaged in the activity most respected in American ideology—hard honest work But their version of the American Dre Poor Invisible PDF/EPUB æ As David K Shipler makes clear in this powerful humane study the invisible poor are engaged in the activity most respected in American ideology—hard honest work But their version of the American Dream is a nightmare low paying dead end jobs; the profound failure of government to improve upon decaying housing health care and education; the failure of families to break the patterns of child abuse and substance abuse Shipler exposes the interlocking problems by taking The Working PDF or us into the sorrowful infuriating courageous lives of the poor—white and black Asian and Latino citizens and immigrants We encounter them every day for they do jobs essential to the American economyWe meet drifting farmworkers in North Carolina exploited garment workers in New Hampshire illegal immigrants trapped in the steaming kitchens of Los Angeles restaurants addicts who struggle into productive work from the cruel streets of the nation's capital—each life another aspect of a confounding far reaching Working Poor Invisible MOBI í urgent national crisis And unlike mostworks on poverty this one delves into the calculations of some employers as well—their razor thin profits their anxieties about competition from abroad their frustrations in finding ualified workersThis impassioned book not only dissects the problems but makes pointed informed recommendations for change It is a book that stands to make a difference.

10 thoughts on “The Working Poor Invisible in America

  1. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    This is a depressing account of many individuals who are afflicted with poverty and are with exceptions unable to escape The book provides considerable ammunition for the view that the poor are kept there by an uncaring and hostile society From the tales and analyses emerge nuggets of potential policy directions For instance there is attention given to the disparity in spending for schooling based on local real estate valuation Certainly centralizing revenues and then distributing them according to actual need would be a preferable way to address such imbalances He also provides much detail about the hurdles faced by the working poor when they try to get social services the authorA couple of possible ideas popped to me from this First a centralized data system that took in all information and then generated matching programs with completed applications ID cards authorizations whatever would make it possible for those in need to do one stop shopping Another small idea would be to add or increase in cases where it does not already exist night time hours for social service agencies so that people need not take off from work in order to come in Shipler makes it clear that dysfunction in families is a major factor in poverty and it may be that in many cases all the social services in the world will not effect change But overall it remains clear that needs are great and society is not adeuately focused on how to bring the poor further into a middle class mainstream This is gripping heart rending stuff and things have only gotten worse with ten years of assaults on the needy A must read for anyone seriously into public welfare policyEXTRA STUFFThe author's blog The Shipler Report FB and Twitter pagesA list of Shipler's articles for New Yorker magazine

  2. Alison Alison says:

    A manager at Barnes Nobles told me that this was a great book because it shifted blame for the problems of the poor onto the poor thus holding them accountable and providing room for personal responsibility Hardly a compelling case for me So for a long time I didn’t read it But now I have and what the BN guy said was a gross oversimplification and misreading More thoughts here's a great book

  3. Dan Dan says:

    I often get into discussions with my father in law about the state of the nation problems facing workers and companies and especially the role of the government My father in law will often say the phrase People just need to work harder in response to my ueries about how to get people out of poverty or dead end jobs Well I heard that phrase one too many times so I decided to read David Shipler's book to find out if this American Dream is as easy to do as it soundsIt's not easy at all Sure people can pull themselves up by their bootstraps but that task reuires than just elbow grease and a little savings these days When you are at this level the smallest problem has gigantic ripples throughout your life Shipler notes throughout the book how each person or family he talks to has had a significant financial downfall due to a series of events These events are always inextricably connected For example a mother of two has a very low paying job She needs to drive to her job because the bus won't get her there in time She also needs to drive her children to the day care center One day after work the car does not start The kids are now at the day care center after hours thus ringing up an extra bill which she cannot afford Plus the car is broken and must be fixed Plus she now has no way to get to work on time the next day or to get the kids to the day careThere are numerous other instances of these types of ripple effects in the book People living paycheck to paycheck cannot keep a bank account open due to minimum amount reuirements They often get billed extra fees because they go below the amount Then they go into debt because they can't pay the extra fee back And they don't ualify for certain help from organizations or the government because they don't have a bank account because it's been closed due to the lack of a minimum amount in the accountThese are the stories of the people who are trying and can't get out of the spiral Shipler also writes about people who are just flat out lazy These people play the system lie cheat and steal to get their way all without working These people give the working poor a bad name To me Shipler's message is that we need to meet these people halfway If they put forth the effort to get on their feet we need to help them get the other half Right now they have to walk about 98% of that on their own before anyone else steps inAlthough being incredibly sad this was a very good book It did stray from the topic at hand from time to time but each new topic was directly related to the troubles the working poor face lack of healthy diet no health insurance lack of good parenting skills etcSo now I have to recommend this book to my father in law so he can see that it takes than just working hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps It's a Sisyphean task

  4. Tom Tom says:

    If you don't know much about poverty this book may prove useful to you but go in with eyes open Shipler is at his best when he's letting the poor folks he speaks to speak for themselves However he is very much a liberal and while he's talking with poor people we also get sympathetic interviews with bosses managers job trainers tough love social workers and the like He praises people who shape themselves and allow themselves to be shaped into well behaved obedient workers set on climbing into higher levels of workplace hierarchy His solution for the plight of the working poor is very much reformist and government centered the poor should overwhelm the rich at the voting booth and his critiue of how successful that has beencould be is nonexistent The answer comes not from below from poor people organizing themselves and building power but from government programs corporations politicians and benevolent gentry such as himself and his target audience Capitalism needs to be changed but is essentially good It depends on poverty Shipler says so uite uncritically the issue for him is that the poor are treated better and given the opportunity to get ahead so others may replace them If any of this made you cringe you might be better off finding something with a little teeth

  5. sleeps9hours sleeps9hours says:

    Summary Poverty is caused by complex interactions between personal and societalbusinessgovernmental failures The poor are affected strongly by small mistakesmisfortunes that snowball due to lack of safety net The most heinous problems to me were sexual abusedomestic violence p 162 At the extremes of the debate liberals don’t want to see the dysfunctional family and conservatives want to see nothing else Depending on the ideology destructive parenting is either not a cause or the only cause of poverty Neither stereotype is correct In my research along the edges of poverty I didn’t find many adults without troubled childhoods and I came to see those histories as both cause and effect intertwined with the myriad other difficulties of money housing schooling health job and neighborhood that reinforce one another The interactions were described by Dr Robert Needleman a behavioral pediatrician who sees children from all socio economic levels in Cleveland “Horrendous parenting can cause severe behavior problems that have as part of them difficulty in paying attention” he said “It takes a lot of psychological health to be able to go to school and pay attention to a teacher and care and do the work The kids who do that are healthy Really bad parenting can prevent that”p162 3 A Balti malnutrition clinic video tapes parents feeding their children to show them their mistakes In one a little boy sits in a highchair playing with his food but not eating His mother watches for a moment then pulls out a magazine and reads Nothing ever goes into his mouth and she pays no attention In the second session the same boy sits on the floor putting blocks in a plastic bucket His mother watches yawns puts her head down and closes her eyes She has no interaction with her son The third session finds both mother and child sitting at a low table each playing separately with plastic blocks The staff has told her “Play with your child” but she evidently thinks that means to play as if he weren’t there or to play as if she were a child herself Having built a stack of blocks the boy says proudly “Look Mommy” She mocks him repeating in a sarcastic tone “Look what I did Mommy” Then without including her son she tries to assemble the blocks into a formation pictured on the bucket’s label The boy reaches for a block on the table in front of her She snatches it away and snaps “No” Then she even dismantles the stack of blocks he’s made to use a couple of them in her construction all the while saying to him mockingly “Look Mommy Look Mommy” Again in the forth session they sit at the low table each doing a separate puzzle The mother holds hers on her lap tilted up so her son can’t see it The boy picks up his puzzle which is all together then turns it over and dumps the pieces on the table with a clatter “You’re gonna pick them all up” she says harshly “You’re making a mess” The boy plays nicely and uietly putting all the pieces carefully together again while the mother continues with her own puzzle ignoring her son except to scold himchokengtitiktitikchokeng167 recent studies have shown that “sensitive responsive care in the first few years of life” leads to greater school achievement and less need for special ed fewer bx probs less use of drugs and alcohol during adolescence and a higher ability to form relationships among peers from preschool onchokengtitiktitikchokeng 225 Dr Zuckerman of Boston Medical Center hired attorneys to work on his staff to solve some medical issues p285 working poverty is a constellation of difficulties that magnify one another not just low wages but also low education not just dead end jobs but also limited abilities not just insufficient savings but also unwise spending not just poor housing but also poor parenting not just the lack of health insurance but also the lack of healthy households The villains are not just exploitative employers but also incapable employees not just overworked teachers but also defeated and unruly pupils not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves The troubles run strongly along both macro and micro levels as systemic problems in the structure of political and economic power and as individual problems in personal and family life All of the problems have to be attacked at oncechokengtitiktitikchokeng286 The first uestion is whether we know exactly what to do The second is whether we have the will to exercise our skill We lack the skill to solve some problems and the will to solve others but one piece of knowledge we now possess We understand that holistic remedies are vital So gateways to addressing a family’s range of handicaps are needed and they are best established at intersections through which working poor families are likely to travel ie doctors and lawyers; schools and parenting classes banks health insurance info; public housing and English classes job trainingchokengtitiktitikchokeng 288 voting not an answer bc most Americans don’t vote their class interests In 2000 19% of Americans thought they were in the top 1% of wage earners and another 20% expected to be Unfortunate bc no key sector of this free enterprise system whether business or charity escapes the pervasive influence wielded by government through tax policy regulation wage reuirements subsidies grants and the likechokengtitiktitikchokeng 289 Thomas Paine in Common Sense 1776 “Society in every state is a blessing but Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one”p 299 Opportunity and poverty in this country cannot be explained by either the American Myth that hard work is a panacea or by the Anti Myth that the system imprisons the poor Relief will come if at all in an amalgam that recognizes both the society’s obligation through government and business and the individual’s obligation through labor and family—and the commitment of both society and individual through education

  6. Terri Lynn Terri Lynn says:

    I liked this book pretty well The author spent a lot of time talking with people of different races and backgrounds about their poverty and also with social workers who help them and with their employers Poverty was self imposed in all cases These people dropped out of school had a stack of illegitimate kids they couldn't support got involved in crime used alcohol and drugs and even when they got jobs they'd just fail to go in to work or orientations and not call in They made bad life choices and never learned from them I felt horrible for the women who had been abused as kids and teens but hey I too suffered physical emotional and sexual abuse but did not drop out of school I have a high school diploma a bachelor's degree and a master's degree all earned with honors from fully accredited schools I did not have any children out of wedlock I refused to get involved with or marry an abusive man I have never smoked drunk alcohol or used illegal drugs nor abused legal ones These women just did differently and locked themselves into misery I am sorry for them but I have no respect for anyone who hates what went on before then continues through life to keep making the same stupid mistakes I felt no pity for the illegal aliens They had no right to come here so as far as I am concerned they deserve whatever horrible things that happen to them I do feel for legal immigrants however This is easy to read without jargon It is full of personal stories and I liked the book

  7. Sarah Sarah says:

    This book is not what you would call a pick me upper I had to set it down sometimes and come back to the stories of so many families fighting on so many fronts It was exhausting to read about the way so many have to fight just to stay above water and hold their families together or wishing sometimes they would let some parts of the family go It was a reminder that if you are able to spend time reading books for fun much less spending time commenting on them online you are very blessedI highly recommend this book to all areas of the political spectrum and especially for those who feel inclined to pass judgement on the poor and their work ethic I appreciated the author's honesty in showing the mistakes and flaws of the people involved and his insight into the ways that our government charities businesses fail the people they try to help I am also awed by those who stand in the trenches and extend their hands to helpI wish there were take away actions do these three things and we can really solve this but the fact is that doing so would undermine the point of the book It is a complex situation with complex answers I hope to learn about what I can do to affect the changes needed so that families can step away from the brink and start functioning again

  8. Megan Megan says:

    The Working Poor is one of my longest outstanding reviews and in the interest of continuing my review every book streak I'm going to hop back in time and say a few things My remembrance has dulled slightly but I still had a bunch of uotes saved so this review will be heavy on extracts with minor commentary from me This is why writing reviews soon after reading is critical Overall my impressions were very favorable Shipler approached this topic with a great deal of empathy but also didn't shy from presenting the people who participated in his I believe decades spanning study in an unfavorable light The biggest strength of this book is its nuance Having grown up relatively poor myself I'm hyper aware of the reductive arguments surrounding poverty in America So often people want to ascribe a person's poverty on choices that particular person has made especially if those choices run contrary to the judger's own ideology or perhaps their own morality But the American Myth also provides a means of laying blame In the Puritan legacy hard work is not merely practical but also moral; its absence suggests an ethical lapse A harsh logic dictates a hard judgment If a person's diligent work leads to prosperity if work is a moral virtue and if anyone in the society can attain prosperity through work then the failure to do so is a fall from righteousness The marketplace is the fair and final judge; a low wage is somehow the worker's fault for it simply reflects the low value of his labor In the American atmosphere poverty has always carried a whiff of sinfulness Shipler does not allow for this type of thinking His main argument is that poverty is a part of a highly complex system each part inextricably entwined with the other As the people in these pages show working poverty is a constellation of difficulties that magnify one another not just low wages but also low education not just dead end jobs but also limited abilities not just insufficient savings but also unwise spending not just poor housing but also poor parenting not just the lack of health insurance but also the lack of healthy households The villains are not just exploitative employers but also incapable employees not just overworked teachers but also defeated and unruly pupils not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves The troubles run strongly along both macro and micro levels as systemic problems in the structure of political and economic power and as individual problems in personal and family life All of the problems have to be attacked at once There are also candid discussions regarding wage disparity which examine common arguments surrounding the raising of the minimum wage This was critical commentary considering we are still fighting this battle tirelessly and making very little progress Shipler highlights that one of the biggest hurdles in raising the wages of the working poor is the comparison of those wages to the wages of others in positions deemed worthy or deserving of money So essentially we are promoting a predatory and unsustainable system based purely on a belief system about which jobs matter than other jobs Generally of course this is tied back to a college education and the cost thereof though that is another can of worms altogether Pretty soon we've got these people who are being paid than they really should be paid he declared Other employers echoed the conviction that there was a right wage for a job and that if they raised their manual laborers' pay they would have to do the same for their foremen accountants and executives to maintain a substantial distance between salaries Shipler also discusses the common and in my opinion despicable arguments regarding whether poor people should be shamed for buying luxury items such as cable TV premium foods or and this one we hear all the time cell phones They are caught between America's hedonism and in dictum that the poor are supposed to sacrifice suffer and certainly not purchase any fun for themselves So Ann Brash gets raised eyebrows when she buys raspberries and many others come under criticism for such indulgences as cable TV The monthly cable bills cause acid indigestion in some people who do anti poverty work and the harshest critics seem to be those who were once poor themselves Another facet that I didn't expect Shipler to tackle but which really added depth to his argument was the inclusion of the struggles of undocumented workers in America It's a contentious issue now than ever spits in the direction of our president but it needs to be discussed Because there are millions of people supporting the backbone of our economy that we love to pretend don't exist or else love to pretend exist as nothing than malicious leeches when the reality is far sobering Being undocumented is precarious Fearing deportation you will think twice about contesting your wages or working conditions You will be ineligible for government benefits except free school breakfast and lunch programs emergency Medicaid immunizations and treatment for communicable diseases And you'll suffer from less obvious inconveniences such as the lack of a bank account which will cost you in fees when you transfer money In other words American government and business gain financially from your inability to legalize your presence in the country As I said Shipler presents an even handed case and he isn't afraid to say when people make decisions that do push them farther into the brutal slipstream of poverty Blame who has it and who ought to have it is a huge theme Rarely are they infuriated by their conditions and when their anger surfaces it is often misdirected against their spouses their children or their co workers They do not usually blame their bosses their government their country or the hierarchy of wealth as they reasonably could They often blame themselves and they are sometimes right to do so My main criticism with Shipler's work was that we actually spent a little too long in the minutiae of each of his case studies For example he usually elucidates an argument by providing a real life example with a familyperson living in poverty These stories could go on forever detailing every single detail of a particular person's sob story to be so crude even after the point had already been made and the reader was ready to move on Personally I would have rather Shipler spent a little less time on the subjective personal accounts and on some firm solutions One of my frustrations was that Shipler presents all this fantastic commentary and then falls just short of offering up solutions such as socialized medicine socialized education limits on the amount CEOs are allowed to earn in comparison to their lowest paid employee etc I wanted of that and didn't really get it At the end of the day I found great value in this book and would recommend it to everyone ESPECIALLY if you have rudely judged people's poverty based on perceived laziness spending beyond their means for example possessing cell phones or cable TV having too many children having children out of wedlockas a single mother having poor educationnot attending college etc This book is for you if you are that person as I think many of us have been at one point or other in our lives especially if you grew up poor and managed to miraculously claw your way up out of it Stop opening up your mouth to spew judgment and sit down to listen for a change

  9. Abby Jean Abby Jean says:

    this is a very good book to read if you know a little about the policy problems facing the working poor and want to get a better idea of the human stories of people affected by them or if you don't know anything about the daily lives of the working poor and need a good illustration of the thicket of problems trapping them in povertyhowever if you are looking for a systemic analysis of which policies and procedures create this poverty trap and perpetuate these conditions this is not the book for you while it gave me an extremely vivid and personal view into the lives of many individuals and families struggling with poverty in the US because of different reasons disability poor education substandard housing sexual abuse domestic violence etc but does little to discuss how we can best address ameliorate or eliminate these problemsi have really mixed feelings about these kinds of books certainly when i hear poverty discussed in political terms especially by conservatives there is little acknowledgement of the extremely limiting effect of the interlocking systems and policies of oppression and deprivation so it's nice to have such a clear illustration of why lack of health insurance can prevent someone from getting a job on the other hand the focus on the individual reinforces a sense that poverty should be addressed on the individual level the book details how church networks managed to keep several individuals from becoming homeless or hungry thus implying expansion of that level of charitable programming as a solutioni wanted to read big picture ideas that prevent people from getting to this state that address the systemic problems and there was not a lot of that in this book

  10. David David says:

    Although there weren't any astonishing revelations and I'm not sure that's even possible with this subject matter the author did an excellent job of conveying the fragile interrelationships between education housing health upbringing transportation health insurance etc and how one problem can trigger a devastating financial setback He writes For practically every family then the ingredients of poverty are part financial and part psychological part personal and part social part past and part present Every problem magnifies the impact of the others and with results far distant from the original cause A run down apartment can exacerbate a child's asthma which leads to a call for an ambulance which generates a medical bill which cannot be paid which ruins a credit record which hikes the interest rate on an auto loan which forces the purchase of an unreliable used car which jeopardizes a mother's punctuality at work which limits her promotions and earning capacity which confines her to poor housing He then proceeds to write about real people in such circumstances And the people he writes about for the most part are hard working people struggling to stay off welfare The writing is fair and balanced and the author doesn't assign blame One of the reviews said it was a book every American should read and read now I wouldn't go that far but I do think it's an important book and to the extent someone is in any way interested in the subject matter I recommend it highly It is a book I will want my children to read when they approach adulthood

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