Tuesday, September 04, 2012

2011 Version of N&D--Due Wednesday

Write a 2-5 sentence reaction to the article or a particular section of the article. Be sure to cite a line or two from the article in your reaction.  In addition, offer your personal opinion as to what is the solution to the poverty of so many of America’s working people?


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-ehrenreich/nickel-and-dimed-2011-ver_b_922330.html

46 comments:

  1. I thought that this article was frightening and that the solutions to the ever growing problems are even more frightening. To start, institutions like TANF and the welfare system that we currently have are supposed to be a helping hand and are not supposed to cause the person to continue to toil and suffer. As cited by a first hand account, the TANF experience was “humiliating".The caseworkers “treat you like a bum". People that are helping those in need of assistance should be hired for their personality and ability to help; hiring people at the TANF should not be based on BS degrees or anything of that matter. To first help someone you can't just treat them like dirt, you must make them seem wanted and cared about so that these people, who seemingly do not have anything, should want to help themselves and feel uplifted by said help and not horrible. I think that the majority of the poverty issue is within our own hearts and minds. If people became more educated and developed more sensitive and caring additudes towards these "leeches" and "parasites" maybe the system we live in would follow our changed perspectives and ultimately send us a little forward in our journey towards social progress as well as out political progress.

    Steve Zocher period 5

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  2. I find the article very interesting. People said,“I never thought...” or “I hadn’t realized..." but they did know about how the poor lived. Maybe they couldn't imagine themselves doing this experiment, but they knew the price of minimum wage and they know the costs of living. So for someone to say I had no idea is a lie. You make $7 an hour, rent and everything esle is $800 a month, you and I both know you're going to work to the bone to provide that.



    Conor Smith
    Period one

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  3. A few things struck me from this article. First, the lack of healthcare for many people is very relatable because personally, it’s less expensive to pay for my medical bills than to pay for healthcare. Secondly is the issue of overcrowding. “According to a community organizer in Alexandria, Virginia, the standard apartment in a complex occupied largely by day laborers has two bedrooms, each containing an entire family of up to five people, plus an additional person laying claim to the couch.” That situation can’t be comfortable for anyone, let alone sanitary. Germs must spread a lot faster when people are forced to live that way. I don’t have an easy solution to poverty, nor do I believe there is one. Since this is such a huge issue, the government should definitely be offering more support than it currently is, rather than making things more difficult for people. I agree with Barbara in that we should stop “kicking people when they’re down.”
    -Amy B Period 1

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  4. This article expressed a great deal on the recession, how our country is dealing with it, and poverty. The section, “How the Safety Net Became a Dragnet” was to me the most interesting and most alarming part of this article. Not only is poverty being “criminalized,” but there is no way to stop poverty because of the ever-lasting debt that keeps being thrown on them. It says in the article, “’There’s just no end to it once the cycle starts. It just keeps accelerating.’” Not to mention that groups like the TANF don’t do diddlysquat to try to help, and are rude about it in the process. I believe that in order to reduce poverty, minimum wage should be a few dollars higher, or at least for the jobs that truly deserve it; the ones who work harder than many middle-class people with careers. I also think that poverty should definitely not be “criminalized,” and debt shouldn’t be given for pointless things, just so the government can try to make a point.

    Rebecca W. period 2

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  5. I think that because most of us have never experience first hand what it is like to be truly poor, we take many things for granite. I’m only starting off my opinion with this statement because in the section “Post-Meltdown Poverty”, Barbara wrote “the skipped meals, the lack of medical care, the occasional need to sleep in cars or vans -- you should bear in mind that those occurred in the best of times.” My first thought to this was that i truly am lucky that i have yet to encounter these things first hand, and hopefully never will. I personally don’t think that groups like TANF are helping out at all with poverty, and it would just be better if they weren’t involved. I think that this country needs to get together to help reduce poverty and somehow start to get the economy get back where it was, or at least somewhat like it used to be. There was a part that i really thought was just sickening because it just shows what some people are thinking everyday. It was in the first section of the article talking about a billboard, and on the board it said “Make love not war,” and then -- down at the bottom -- “Screw it, just make money.” This to me is something that doesn’t really need to be advertised throughout America while half of it’s population is suffering because of poverty.

    Maxine H, per 2

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  6. This article came very shocking to me. It's terrible that the poverty stricken people of our country are treated as criminals. Many people find it impossible to find a job after being laid off and are forced to live on the streets. "Most cities, for example, have ordinances designed to drive the destitute off the streets by outlawing such necessary activities of daily life as sitting, loitering, sleeping, or lying down." I find this ridiculous because it is often not the fault of the poverty stricken people who are driven to living on the streets.

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  7. This article left me with a lot to think about, and made me realize the struggles of the less fortunate. The less fortunate must really appreciate this book she wrote because it gives people an idea what their daily stresses are. The part that stuck out to me the most was all of the different ways people can get cheated out of money, for example you need a recent MRI to file for disability benefits, and yet an MRI can cost $800. I think “the system” needs to improve and I feel that families that are struggling should get a deduction on rent and expenses to help them get by. Also, so they can build up some money, they should get a year of health care for free so they won’t have to give up so much just to be able to get medical attention. Also when the author says, "No one could call suicide a “coping strategy,” but it is one way some people have responded to job loss and debt" I found that sad and don't think people should have to deal with that weight on their shoulders and it directly effects their families. Over all this article was surprising and really opened my eyes.
    Morgan Lazowy, period 2

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  8. This article has a very unsettling feeling that comes with it as it's read. It's terrifying and sickening to hear that services such as the TANF, who are designed to help people in poverty that need assistance, actually don't do as much as you'd expect. Though they claim to do everything they can to help, that isn't truly the case as they seem to be so unfriendly towards the poverty-stricken people they are supposed to be taking care of. In addition, it's so difficult to find a job in the economy now and though I'm sure it's not pleasant in the least, for some, living on the street is a last resort and the fact that those people are being viewed as "criminals" is ridiculous. "A number of cities, led by Las Vegas, passed ordinances forbidding the sharing of food with the indigent in public places, leading to the arrests of several middle-aged white vegans." This came as such a shock to me considering that people were being arrested for a good deed and doing something genuine out of the kindness of their hearts. Certainly, there are much worse things going on around the country that should have the attention of authorities.

    - Sarah C. Period 5.

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  9. I believe that this article has a valid point, but I do not fully grasp this concept because I have never had to deal with being in poverty. It is crazy to me that there are people in the United States who are obtaining food by "shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked, and grilled." The unemployment rate has gone down drastically since the recession started in 2008, but I don't believe that there are no job opportunities anywhere. Even though the Branford unemployment rate is very low, I know people are still struggling to get by, which is shown in this article. When this world becomes more equal, for example having an equal employment rate for every race, then the economy may start to become what it used to be. The government is helping the needy people as much as they can while trying to keep the United States economy growing, which is not easy. I believe that people should start taking advantage of the opportunities that there are in this country, such as getting a great education which can be semi-paid for by scholarships. If people learn this fact, then maybe people will be drawn to higher paying jobs, which will lead to more job openings for the people who desire to make minimum wage. Just as Barbara Ehrenreich said, maybe if we "stop kicking people when they’re down," then people would have a better chance of being well-off in this country. The minimum wage in Connecticut is also more than a dollar higher than some other states, which makes a big difference in the long run.

    -Lizzy B, Period 1

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  10. This article was such a shock to me but also, not very hard to believe. Throughout the years I've felt like the U.S. government and law enforcement just gets more and more ridiculous with the types of laws and crimes that are being created. Every single paragraph in this excerpt gave me an unsettling feeling inside; the way these low wage workers are being treated is horrible. Over the summer while I read Nickel and Dimed, I remember thinking, "Could people be any more cruel to these workers?" I never thought the answer to that would be yes. One Particular part that really gave me a sickening feeling inside was when Barbara said, "...when the police swept through the shelter in the middle of the night looking for men with outstanding warrants. It turned out that Szekeley...did indeed have one -- for “criminal trespassing,”" The fact that the police dragged him to jail for that is completely wrong. If someone is homeless, where do they expect them to sleep? That person won't care if it's a crime to sleep under a bridge or on the sidewalk; they have no where else to go and a person needs to sleep just like they need to eat and drink. This article makes me wonder what life will turn into over the next generations. As to the question of what the solution to poverty is, I think it's simple to decrease the amount of poverty. All that has to happen is higher wages and more affordable health care, housing, etc. That may seem easier than it actually is but it would make life easier for the low wage workers and poverty-stricken families.

    Katlyn G. Period 2

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  11. While reading this article, I found it very moving what was said about peoples reaction to Nickeled and Dimed. In the article when it was stated, “if I had a quarter for every person who’s told me he or she now tipped more generously, I would be able to start my own foundation.” I can easily see how this novel influenced many readers to be more considerate of their waiters’ hard work at a restaurant. It opened my eyes to what really is happening in poverty America. I believe that is the start to finding the solution for poverty in America. Americans need to be more aware of the problem before they can agree on a solution.

    Eden W. p.5

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  12. When reading this article I tried to imagine everything Ehrenreich is saying and almost everything incorporated in what she said is completely valid. Although fortunately not having to deal with poverty personally, I do know a few people who have had the unfortunate circumstance of losing their job and ultimately have been poverty-struck. The statement I strongly agree with while reading includes "when you leave the relative safety of the middle class, you might as well have given up your citizenship and taken residence in a hostile nation." This quote is a very strong realistic quote. Essentially what I get from that is that although a lot of people don't like to admit it, if you see someone homeless or not in the best physical/financial condition; the natural human reaction is the think badly of the person which ties into the hostile nation once leaving the middle class. Although I am not higher up in the government and can't generally do a great deal to help these people, the least I can do is "to stop kicking people when they’re down" and instead try to pick them up.

    Cory W. Period 1

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  13. While reading this article, a realization occurred in my mind. There are families in the U.S. that we may see everyday and think nothing of, and then just assume they're doing alright. However, in reality, many are struggling. The article says thats the TNAF was used to try and help these struggling families. The TNAF stands for, “Torture and Abuse of Needy Families.” Kristen in the article states, "From the start, the TANF experience was “humiliating,”. "The caseworkers “treat you like a bum. They act like every dollar you get is coming out of their own paychecks.” I disagree with the way the people who are using the TANF are being treated. Belonging to something like this isn't easy for families. Some can go from being well-off, to losing their job. The TANF is a last resort option if you are in trouble, and need money. Even with this, there comes more complications with families because they are forced to go to a job preparing class, and money for gas isn't paid for. The TANF should be understanding of the fact that this is new to families, and they don't deserve to be treated poorly because of our countries economic issues.


    -Cassie F-C, Period 5

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  14. The article was very shocking to read. I think that it's very disturbing that America claims that tHey are helping the poor by creating associations like TANF, but in reality it's not helping them at all. In the article Kristin said that her experience was "humiliating" and that "the case workers treat you like a bum. They act like every dollar you get is coming out of their pay check" I think that it's wrong that people are being treated this way. TANF was created to assist those who needed some assistance, as something for people to turn to. But to think that they are treating these people like dirt is disturbing. I also this it's very disturbing that innocent people are suffering and being put in jail of root good reason. Like the Veteran in Washington DC, "Szekeley, who is an ordained minister, does not drink, do drugs or cuss in front of ladies did indeed have one for "criminal trespassing" as sleeping on the streets is sometimes defined by law? So he was dragged out of the shelter and put in jail." pulling this innocent veteran out of the shelter and putting him in jail for being homeless is ridiculous and isn't helping anyone. I believe that the solution of poverty of so many Americans would be to stop making the poor look like criminals and start actually doing things to help them. Doing things like making higher wages, and creating assistance for them that actually has a positive impact and doesn't just make them feel like bums and criminals.

    Jackie W per2

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  15. After reading this article and the novel Nickel and Dimed, I now have much more sympathy for the poor in our country. I realize that not every one lives the same lifestle as I do. I hadn't realized that there was such a large number of Americans living in poverty. The article states, "...which found an astounding 29% of American families living in what could be more reasonably defined as poverty, meaning that they earned less than a barebones budget covering housing, child care, health care, food, transportation, and taxes..." To some people this may not seem like a large number, but if you think in terms of poverty it actaully is a large number. I have taken many things for granted, as I'm sure several other people have too. While some people are thinking about when the next time they will go shopping is, other people are think about when their next meal will be.

    Miriah V period 5

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  16. When I read this article, I did feel sadness for the Parente family, but other than that I felt there wasn't a complete validness to the article. I felt sadness for the Parente family because poverty is especially hard for families, and it isn't fair for this family because the parents were hard workers and they could barely feed their children."Brianna’s wish was for her mother to find a job because there was nothing to eat in the house, an aspiration that her teacher deemed too disturbing to be posted on the wall with the other children’s requests." The most disturbing part about this quote is how the teacher knew about the family's situation, yet didn't bother to care or help. The only thing she cared about was shielding her other students from the horrors of poverty, not many of the other students have to face. The part of the article I thought was not very valid was about how all people in poverty are treated as criminals. I think the reason behind suspicions, "constant suspicions of drug use and theft" are only because some people using welfare or money from the government don't deserve it or use it correctly. The whole point behind welfare is to get people back on their feet after suffering hardships. Because of the way the article describes police being rude to the people of poverty, I don't think people think of the other side which is how not everyone is hardworking. I am not trying to say that no one in poverty works hard because that wouldn't be true, but I am saying that things aren't always as black and white as they seem.

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  17. I find the points Ehrenriech makes in her article to be astounding. It is amazing that while I live a pretty comfortable life and no worries of if I'll have a home to come to, there are masses of people in the United States, hardly making ends meet and worrying about being thrown in jail for something they can't help, the declining amount of jobs available and the fact that this leads to poverty. Ehrenriech mentions in her article that "National Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness,found that the number of ordinances against the publicly poor has been rising since 2006, along with the harassment of the poor for more “neutral” infractions." It's sad to know that our government is here to protect all its people, yet those not in the middle class and struggling to live decent lives are targeted by the government and have laws aimed at limiting their freedoms; this is summarized in Ehrenriech's article when she exclaims "when you leave the relative safety of the middle class, you might as well have given up your citizenship and taken residence in a hostile nation." The saddest thing of all is that many of those living in poverty didn't choose that lifestyle yet they are continuously suffering because of it.

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  18. This article brought a sense of relief to me, for many different reasons. One mainly being that the poverty-striking people of our country now have a comfort zone knowing that they are not alone in the world and it is hard to maintain a steady life with a home, food, and all the essentials on a minimum wage worker. In the text it proves this by saying, “ In the last few years, hundreds of people have written to tell me their stories: the mother of a newborn infant whose electricity had just been turned off, the woman who had just been given a diagnosis of cancer and has no health insurance, the newly homeless man who writes from a library computer.” Not only did I feel relief in the aspect that this book may have brought some Americans together, but also this novel did justice in bringing attention to the fortunate people of our country. Perhaps, there may have been some people that read this text and never had to endure any financial difficulties, and this book could have shown them that working minimum wage in this country is barley enough to put a shelter over your head and a healthy meal on the table. In this excerpt it fully supports this theory by saying, “A Florida woman wrote to tell me that, before reading it, she’d always been annoyed at the poor for what she saw as their self-inflicted obesity. Now she understood that a healthy diet wasn’t always an option. And if I had a quarter for every person who’s told me he or she now tipped more generously, I would be able to start my own foundation.” In my own experiences of reading this book and having previous knowledge of minimum wage workers I believe that the solution to poverty of so many American people is to raise minimum wage because the cost of living in the states is so high. For example, daily life in America is outrageously costly between gas being at an average of $4.75 a gallon and the food prices being so high. If minimum wage was higher it would give many citizens a chance to gain stability in this turbulent economy.

    Isabella Suppa Period 2

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  19. After reading this article, I have realized and grasped the idea that I am very fortunate in the way in which I live. Today, in the United States, many people can't afford essential things like healthcare, medical insurance, paying taxes, etc. In the article, Barbara states, "...which found an astounding 29% of American families living in what could be more reasonably defined as poverty, meaning that they earned less than a barebones budget covering housing, child care, health care, food, transportation, and taxes..." I now realize how lucky I am to have the housing, the health care, food, transportation, etc that I have. I unquestionably agree with Barbara that these people who live under these circumstances should definitely be helped out by the people who are more fortunate and lucky to live the lives they do. After all, helping people will only make you feel better about yourself. I believe that the solution to our poverty is to raise the minimum wage. Though the value of the U.S. dollar would decrease, more people would be able to live comfortably with better resources, which will only strive to make our country a better place.

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  20. After reading this article, I felt more sympathy for people who are jobless and on the verge of homelessness as well. I also felt bothered by the countries reaction; you would expect the government to step in and do something to help but instead the majority of the country does the opposite and kicks, “people when they’re down,” as Barbara said. It is especially ridiculous how the government forbid, “the sharing of food with the indigent in public places,” because it taking away not only food from the hungry, but the right for some Americans to be compassionate. There is no wrong in someone giving away their food, in a sense their property, to people they feel need it more than them. I think this article is a good example for why the rich stay rich and the poor get even poorer. I agree with Barbara on what to do to help the unemployed; stop harassing them and let people help them if they wish to.
    Carlye M. Period 5

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  21. I was left speechless after reading this article. First off, I hadn’t realized that 29% of American families live in poverty never mind that instead of helping those in poverty, people are just “kicking [them] when they’re down.” There is constant harassment of those who turn for help from the government as these tormentors are under the impression that the poor are in a difficult situation because they use drugs and don’t try to find a job. This is incorrect as the percent of those laid off at the time was near 44% and very few jobs were available. Furthermore, the government has ironically decided to build up a police force that arrests people for being homeless and poor instead of funding services that aim to help the poor. In short, the government is criminalizing poverty, which is in no way a solution to the problem at hand. According to Ehrenreich, instead of affording sufficient aid, the government is inducing the “torture and abuse of needy families.” Ehrenreich effectively depicts someone in poverty, especially someone of color since he must deal with countless stereotypes, as “a rat in a cage scrambling to avoid erratically administered electric shocks.” This is accurate parallel to the government’s constant introduction of a new law that “turns poverty itself into some kind of crime.” The solution to the poverty of so many working class Americans is a higher minimum wage, affordable housing, and the availability of jobs and free health care.
    David E Period 5

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  22. This article is painfully true. It is scary to think how astonished people were to find out how bad of a state the lower class workers were in in 2001. I would like to see what Ehrenreich would discover if her experiment were to take place today. While reading Nickel and Dimed I kept comparing the economic state of Ehrenreich's coworkers and the lowerclass Americans working today.One thing I had not thought of while reading the novel, but it was mentioned in the article, was the poverty rate in 2001 compared to today. Ehrenreich said she later read "Hardships in America that told her "an astounding 29% American families living in what could be more reasonably defined as poverty" in 2001. In 2011, 46 million people were bellow the poverty line. I believe that the solution for poverty is time and hardwork. Americans need to wait until jobs are available, and for the time being they need to try and do the most they can for their families.
    Christina Smith p.2

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  23. This article was painful and sad to read. It's surprising to see that people did not know much of what was going on just as I did when I first read Nickle and Dimed. One statement that was very shocking to me was, "They arrested a homeless man in a shelter for being homeless?" I would have never guessed that you could say someone in a homeless shelter was "criminal trespassing." That to me seems way out of line, someone can't help it in this economy to be homeless, there are very little jobs hiring right now and some might even have to low of a wage to even try. I think the solution to poverty is to stop underpaying people for their jobs, they deserve to get what they work for. Also I think that we shouldn't treat homeless or poor people like they're doing something wrong. Finally, I think that the only thing Americans in poverty can do right now is provide as best as they can for themselves and their families.
    Jessica Beler p.1

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  24. This article really was intriguing and made me realize how much times have changed in the past decade. When Barbara Ehrenreich did this experiment, she was able to get more than one low wage job to support herself. Today, due to the recession, it is hard for someone to get even one low wage job. I think it is sad that people look down on people who need the government's help financially and "kick them when they're down." In the past, food stamps were abused by people who did not really need them, which made the wealthier people angry. However, today, because of the recession, the food stamps really are needed because there are less jobs. When I read the part of the article about when "they arrested a homeless man in a shelter for being homeless," it sickened and saddened me. This man was a Vietnam war veteran, and took a bullet in his spine for our country. I find it and stupid and odd that this man was arrested for being homeless in a homeless shelter, just because he was sleeping on the street days before. What was he supposed to do, and where was he supposed to go? It's a shame that 29 percent of families in America are in poverty due to the bad economy. People want to get jobs, and want to support themselves, but it is nearly impossible in this recession. I was also shocked and appalled at the part of the article where it said, "A number of cities, led by Las Vegas, passed ordinances forbidding the sharing of food with the indigent in public places, leading to the arrests of several middle-aged white vegans." I do not see the point in forbidding people to help others and give food to the hungry. I don't see why it is necessary to arrest people who are just trying to help the needy. Overall, this article was informative and enlightening. I think the solution will come when there are more jobs offered, higher wages, and when the country starts moving out of the recession.

    Haley K. Period 5

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  25. After reading this article I was very upset to hear that over the past decade nothing had happened to help people living in poverty. I felt very bad for the people who are living this way and have to go through government help after reading this quote, "The ostensible goal ... kind of crime." I felt bad because for families like the Parentes this is something that never wanted to do, and now they have to. People working at the government offices should be helpful, kind, and caring towards the people coming in because this may be their last option to feed their children after everything else had failed them. My solution to help lower the level of poverty would to open factories and start to make things in America. If more things were made here that would create jobs, jobs means people making money, people making money means less and less people needed welfare and living in poverty. Also having jobs here would lower the crime rate because less people would have to turn to doing illegal things to feed their families.

    Brian F. - Period 2

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  26. This article was written to cause a reaction, which obviously, it has among students, many of whom have been sheltered against the need to worry about money or where their next meal will come from. With blindfolds slowly coming off we are invited to view the scary truth behind the world. Though we often hear about how bad the economy has become, many have never experienced the adversity firsthand, and if it did come to that, a majority of the younger generation never really had to open their eyes to the chaos. At least when the book was published, "The economy was growing, and jobs, if poorly paid, were at least plentiful." At this point, even the poorly paid jobs are hard to find. Especially for graduates who cannot bear to settle for a low wage job but cannot manage to achieve their dream job. To be able to fix the issue, the many generations of adults ahead of us need to treat my generation as if we were adults, we in turn, will be prepared to face the trials and tribulations with ideas and ingenuity

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  27. This article shocked me in many ways. Although I knew that there were many people in poverty, I did not know to what extent it went. The most shocking statement in the article to me is what Kaaryn Gustafson says: “‘applying for welfare is a lot like being booked by the police.’…The ostensible goal is to prevent welfare fraud, but the psychological impact is to turn poverty itself into a kind of crime.” It is just sickening that poverty is treated as some crime in America. Many of the upper classes stereotype the low-wage workers and suspect that they are in that position because of drug use or theft. It is also frightening that this image of poverty is only getting worse: “the criminalization of poverty has actually intensified as the weakened economy generates ever more poverty.” The fact that homeless people in shelters are being arrested for being homeless is a reflection of what America has become. I am not sure what the big solution is to poverty, but I think that one good step would be to stop criminalizing the working class for what they are doing. It is not most of their fault that they are in this position, and they should have the right to keep doing what they are doing without shame or embarrassment.

    Lianne Y, Per. 5

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  28. This article was very powerful, and put my thoughts in different perspectives. The various stories of real life people astounded me the most. Under the section , "Torture and Abuse of Needey Families", the Parente's were featured. In the text it says, "... Brianna’s wish was for her mother to find a job because there was nothing to eat in the house, an aspiration that her teacher deemed too disturbing to be posted on the wall with the other children’s requests." The fact that even their children are noticing the absense of food is disgusting. It obviously doesn't show lack of care from the Parente's, but shows that the government needs improvement. The Parente's did apply for TANF, but it took over 6 months to hear from them, which is way to long to be without sufficient funds for the necessities. People who apply for TANF should not be harassed for their actions; they are just trying to live on.
    Julia Watsky Period 2

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  29. After reading this article, I honestly became a little nervous about trying to make it on my own. The article showed that current situations regarding the lower class are even worse now than when Barbara Ehrenreich wrote "Nickel and Dimed". This quote alone showed me how many lower class Americans can't afford necessities: "The New York Times reported in 2009 that one-third of Americans could no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions and that there has been a sizable drop in the use of medical care." My family and I are truly blessed to be in the financial situation that we are in and not living off of every cent earned. The only real way to help out the people that are in poverty is to have the government help out more. The government needs to provide aid to people who truly need it, work to increase minimum wages, and to decrease the cost of housing because nobody should have to live in a disgusting place and be charged a lot of money to live there.

    Justin W. Period 5

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  30. As I began to read this essay by Ehrenreich I thought, well not much must have changed drastically for those who are poor and live in poverty. Well, this essay made my thoughts change so drastically from how the American poor are treated well, to the American poor are treated terribly. The government has essentially made it illegal to be homeless, or poor and in debt, and they do nothing more than arrest those who are. Even those who do good, such as a church being forced to stop feeding the homeless because of "Zoning Laws" and people giving away food to those in need of it being arrested. To sum it up, when the government makes it illegal to sleep outside if you're homeless, made it so difficult to access government programs to help the poor that many people can't even make use of them, and are treating those who are poor like criminals, even for just one violation, it's time to change the government's policies, for the better of those below the poverty line and to enlighten the government just how "grey" and uncaring they are.

    Quinn B. Period 2

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  31. This article makes me realize how sickening the world is today and how manipulative the government is becoming. “In what has become a familiar pattern, … then penalize people for falling into debt.” Specifically, this part shows how the government is turning against the people instead of benefiting them and it needs to change. Someday I hope I can benefit society by helping out the less fortunate and creating better lives for them and their families. I think people in America need better help form the government but they also have to work hard to get out of poverty. It is very difficult to get out of poverty and I think the people looking to do so need to seek help from the government and other organizations. They also need to make the best effort they can to find a job and a shelter or place to live until they maintain a stable household. It is difficult to escape form poverty. However, I think it is definitely possible.

    Anna Atkinson Period 1

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  32. This article got me thinking a lot and I realized that nothing really ever changes. It would be nice to think that since the nine years that this book was written, the situation in the country has gotten better and there isn't much of a gap between the rich and the poor. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, things have gotten worse. When reading about the situations in the book and what people go through, I was saddened and realized how bad it was for people. Then, I thought to myself that things are probably better now. But, this article has taught me otherwise. The government needs to reach out to the poor. They need to raise the minimum wage and lower the price of houses so that people don't have to live in such bad conditions.
    Ayeshra A.

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  33. This article made me realize how much worse things are now than they were at the time Nickle and Dimed was written. It was really eye opening to realize that everything that Erenreich wrote about happened when the United States was in great shape economically; with things the worst they've been since the great depression, it's no wonder that the living conditions of the lower income class in this country have declined significantly. Frankly I found it disgusting to read about the regulations to stop those willing to help out those in need from sharing. It is hard for me to believe that in modern day America something as outrageous as middle-aged vegans getting arrested for feeding the hungry in the park could happen without it becoming a big national issue. That just proves how underrepresented this class is in our media, and the fact that so many people just "didn't know" or "hadn't realized" is sickening.

    Evan Buckman period 5

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  34. This article was brought my attention to the fact that in the 10 years since "Nickled and Dimed" was published, things haven't improved that much. Ehrenreich stated, "The big question is whether things have improved or worsened." In my opinion, things have definitely worsened. Unemployment has extended from the lower classes to the white and blue collar work field. When reading "Nickled and Dimed," I was upset to see how bad working conditions are for minimum wage workers. And things have gotten even worse so I'd be scared to be even more informed. Finally, I agree with Evan when he says that it's sickening how little people know about this topic. Just because this doesn't necessarily effect some people doesn't mean that they shouldn't know about it.

    Aaryne A.
    Period 5

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  35. As sickening as the updated condition of the poor is (at the point of cramming a whole family into a bedroom) I find it unsurprising. Proletarian conditions always decline with general economic decline and, with the popularity of conservatism in this country, the victimization of poverty is hardly shocking.

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  36. When reading this article, I started to fully understand the amount of poverty that surrounds us no matter where we are. Although, fortunately I have not had to deal with it myself, I do know many people who have been burdened by job loss, house foreclosure, and struggling to have enough money for all the necessities they needed. A quote that stuck out to me was, "which found an astounding 29% of American families living in what could be more reasonably defined as poverty, meaning that they earned less than a barebones budget covering housing, child care, health care, food, transportation, and taxes -- though not, it should be noted, any entertainment, meals out, cable TV, Internet service, vacations, or holiday gifts." It's astonishing to be introduced to the fact that 29% of families in America are struggling and don't even have the ability to afford a simple luxury like cable T.V. or internet access. It's concerning to know that so many people struggle and we just don't know about it. Barbara Ehrenreich really helped me understand the true struggle for low-wage workers while I read Nickel and Dimed.


    Francesca L.
    Period 1

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  37. I found this article very interesting. The fact that people don’t realize how the poor live is hard to grasp. In the article it says, “A Florida woman wrote to tell me that, before reading it, she’d always been annoyed at the poor for what she saw as their self-inflicted obesity. Now she understood that a healthy diet wasn’t always an option.” This is hard for me to believe. People know how expensive things are, there is news about expenses, and most people interact with low-wage jobs daily. Many people with these low-wage jobs are broken spirited as well. For me it’s all too easy to see this. Also for the TANF, which is a government agency, to go that far is beyond me. One quote that struck me was, “The Parents discovered that they were each expected to apply for 40 jobs a week, although their car was on its last legs and no money was offered for gas, tolls, or babysitting.” The fact our government is acting like that for needy families is an outrage. Families need help and they should receive it so they can eventually help themselves.

    Jesse C. Per. 1

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  38. Reading this article made me realize how very few people know or care that so many other people around them are poor and losing everything while they are lounging in their swimming pools staring up at their huge mansions. Ehrenreich states in the article, "hundreds of people have written to tell me their stories: the mother of a newborn infant whose electricity had just been turned off, the woman who had just been given a diagnosis of cancer and has no health insurance, the newly homeless man who writes from a library computer." All over the world, people are struggling just to get through the day because they either can't get a job or they just aren't being paid enough to support their family. The article also states, "In 2000, I had been able to walk into a number of jobs pretty much off the street. Less than a decade later, many of these jobs had disappeared and there was stiff competition for those that remained." I believe that the government needs to step in and somehow provide more jobs for people or at least help them with their most needed expenses.

    Morgan R.- Period 1

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