Those Who Don’t Get By

Those Who Don’t Get By

Few, if any, families can get by on full-time minimum wage jobs
alone, and almost one-third of American families with young kids do
not earn enough for a modicum of security.

The Washington D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute confirms
Barbara Ehrenreich’s research for her book, Nickel and Dimed: On
(Not) Getting By in America.
For the book, left her
middle-class life and for three months in three different cities
she tried to support herself working various minimum-wage jobs. She
couldn’t do it.

‘Of the families who earned less than the ‘basic’ budget, which
amounts to $33,511 for a family of four, more than 70 percent
worried about food, sometimes missed rent payments, and/or had to
rely on an emergency room for their medical care,’ Ehrenreich
reports in The Progressive. ‘Nearly 30 percent
reported facing far more dire hardships–having to miss meals,
forgoing needed medical care, being evicted from their
housing.’

To get by, most of these families forego medical insurance even
when their companies offer it, because the monthly employee
contribution that often tops $100 is more than they can afford.
Beyond that, to make ends meet, many of the wage earners work two
jobs, use food stamps, and skip meals.

Ehrenreich argues that in order to fix the problem, we need to
increase the minimum wage to a ‘living wage,’ and expand current
government programs to assist more people.
–Sara V.
Buckwitz
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