That is one of the main themes of the book, a constant struggle for mere subsistence with a high cost of living and a very poor quality of life. Another important point in the book relates to how Ehrenreich is treated. This is what struck me. Like many of the poor, Ehrenreich is reduced to an overpriced motel, more like a flophouse in terms of cleanliness and safety. In the film, there's an interesting moment, but it raises an awkward question that I just wanted to bounce off of you, Barbara.
It's not healthy for a democracy to be a country increasingly divided between the trailer parks and the tenements on the one hand, and the gated communities on the other. Then you have something that aids people in tough situations, but also can be a curse, frankly, and that is credit and debt. My next thought was, 'oh well, I'll do it anyway. By the way, Louis Uchitelle was one of the authors of that article. A lot of people can get so-called revolving credit, credit cards, but then it mounts up and becomes a burden.
Not to mention other costs like medical care costs, which people in your film have also experienced hardships with. After Key West, Ehrenreich moves to Maine. She ends up staying in the Blue Haven Motel, which has low-cost apartments to rent by the week in the off-season. This was surprising and shocking to read and changed my opinion about conditions for people on the minimum wage. Brancaccio: So you're not sure it is about to happen, but you are saying there is a capacity for change if people really focus on it. For the most recent set of real wages that we have, which is from a year and a half ago, I think, it shows that on average, real wages, after you adjust for inflation, is going up only for the top 3 percent; for the rest of the world -- 97 percent, 96 percent -- real wages are flat or going down. And the number is over two, I'd have to say.
Ehrenreich goes on to note that the low-income housing crisis does not seem to affect the official poverty rate. There were a lot of signs that I was going to be fired anyway. In fact, it has many of them, starting and poverty. This is probably not all that useful at all. While the people on minimum wage may not ever be moving forward, the economy overall and the population overall is always moving forward. For this point then, I don't think that the book shows a special disregard for minimum wage earners. Brancaccio: Addressing these issues about how so many Americans seem to be living their lives in this situation of near desperation, what are the things that politicians need to be saying to turn this into an even more powerful political issue, where its really on the tips of everybody's tongue? We did in which we met this wonderful man whose name is John, he lives in Kentucky.
Brancaccio: Did you talk about some of the jobs that are open to people who are finding themselves struggling after they fall off their original career path? And this problem of income inequality has been exacerbated in recent years. If you have a job, you have to get there, that's transportation; you have to be dressed for it, and that may simply mean a uniform, but you have to pay for your uniform; you have to launder your uniform all the time; and then what about childcare if you have small children you're leaving behind? Almost anyone could do what I did -- look for jobs, work those jobs, try to make ends meet. This suggests that the conditions will continue to worsen. And there have been moves to stop that. Barbara first: when you watch this film, there's a phrase that leaps out, I thought it would resonate with you.
One of the problems with that -- other than the fact that not every woman wants to be married -- is that men don't make a lot of money. So the millions of Americans who do this, their average pay is really awfully low. Ehrenreich calculates that her co-workers do not take in enough calories for the work they are doing. For any careful reader, it is no doubt that the writer has pity over the individuals. Thus, as indicated in Nickel and Dimed, the inefficiencies in running corporations have made many employees to suffer from mistreatment by their employers and even coworkers. I don't think we'll cease to be a United States, but considerable damage has been done in the last two years to the infrastructure of governance. This suggests that the minimum wage earners are pushed out of decent accommodation by the people who are better off.
Barbara simply concludes that the pay is much low and lacks suitability to sustain the worker. It is about feeling secure, about feeling connected and good about each other. But more about the anxieties that go with doing a job, doing a job well, holding onto that job, those were my challenges. At one point in time, she had to work two jobs to makes ends meet. I also assumed that people living on minimum wage would be able to at least afford basic items such as food and shelter, even if they were not able to afford luxuries.
The following program was recorded at the studio of on August 28, 2006. Holly, on the other hand, trips in a hole and breaks a bone. As well as rules, she sets limits for herself regarding the experiment stating that: she will always have a motorized vehicle, never get to far beyond to where she can not have a living space, and she will never be without food. In this way three months went by, and Ehrenreich's investigation was finished. Because, for one, not-poor people have refrigerators! But no, he had no answer to me when we did speak to each other in a large auditorium.
You don't know whether you'll have money to feed the children. The question is, will this be enough for people to pay off their rent and still able to not keep their fridge empty. The assumptions that the writer portrays denies the manuscript the viability. Many of her fellow workers, even those with working spouses, hold two jobs. Through this minimum-wage, the government believes that people can afford to pay their rents and bills, and cover the costs of their groceries, etc.