Americas Growing Wage-Rent Disparity

Grlygrl201@aol.com Grlygrl201@aol.com
Wed, 3 Oct 2001 18:15:54 EDT


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recommended reading:  "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich.     

Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 
1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by 
the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job 
-- could be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let 
alone prosper, on six to seven dollars an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left 
her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever 
jobs she was offered as a woefully inexperienced homemaker returning to the 
workforce. So began a grueling, hair raising, and darkly funny odyssey 
through the underside of working America. 

Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, Ehrenreich worked as a waitress, a 
hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales 
clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that 
even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. 
She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you 
intend to live indoors. 

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and 
surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand 
desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of 
Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from 
the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a 
restaurant meal -- quite the same way again.

"I was absolutely knocked out by Barbara Ehrenreich's remarkable odyssey. She 
has accomplished what no contemporary writer has even attempted -- to be that 
'nobody' who barely subsists on her essential labors. Nickel and Dimed is a 
stiff punch in the nose to those righteous apostles of 'welfare reform.' Not 
only is it must reading but it's mesmeric. You can't put the damn thing down. 
Bravo!" --Studs Terkel 

"Entering the world of service work, Barbara Ehrenreich folded clothes at 
Wal-Mart, waitressed, washed dishes in a nursing home, and scrubbed floors on 
her hands and knees. Her account of those experiences is unforgettable -- 
heart-wrenching, infuriating, funny, smart, and empowering. Few readers will 
be untouched by the shameful realities that underlie America's economy. 
Vintage Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed will surely take its place among the 
classics of underground reportage." --Juliet Schor"

With this book Barbara Ehrenreich takes her place among such giants of 
investigative journalism as George Orwell and Jack London. Ehrenreich's 
courage and empathy bring us face-to-face with the fate of millions of 
American workers today." --Frances Fox Piven"

Drunk on dot-coms and day trading, America has gone blind to the downside of 
its great prosperity. In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich expertly peels away the 
layers of self-denial, self-interest, and self-protection that separate the 
rich from the poor, the served from the servers, the housed from the 
homeless. This brave and frank book is ultimately a challenge to create a 
less divided society." --Naomi Klein"

A brilliant on-the-job report from the dark side of the boom. No one since H. 
L. Mencken has assailed the smug rhetoric of prosperity with such 
scalpel-like precision and ferocious wit." --Mike Davis"Millions of Americans 
suffer daily trying to make ends meet. Barbara Ehrenreich's book forces 
people to acknowledge the average worker's struggle, and promises to be 
extremely influential." --Lynn Woolsey, member of congress"

One of the great American social critics has written an unforgettable memoir 
of what it was like to work in some of America's least attractive jobs. No 
one who reads this book will be able to resist its power to make them see the 
world in a new way." --Mitchell Duneier 

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of Blood Rites; The Worst Years of Our Lives 
(a New York Times bestseller); Fear o Falling, which was nominated for a 
National Book Critics Circle Award; and eight other books. A frequent 
contributor to Time, Harper's Magazine, The New Republic, The Nation, and The 
New York Times Magazine, she lives near Key West, Florida.  
    
http://www.henryholt.com/2001s-hh/nickelanddimed.htm



In a message dated 10/3/01 4:18:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
beberg@mithral.com writes:
> 
> "...The national median housing wage, based on each countys housing wage for
> a two bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent weighted by Census 2000
> population figures, is $13.87 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum
> wage of $5.15 per hour. This means that on average, there must be more than
> two full-time minimum wage workers in a household in order for the household
> to afford a two bedroom housing unit at the Fair Market Rent..."
> 
> http://www.nlihc.org/oor2001/index.htm
> 
> The data looks right on for places I have lived... Basicly, the one income
> family is dead, and the 2 income family is an endangered species. The data
> all laid out like this really shows why all the teachers and doctors are
> fleeing the bay area... but keep in mind most of the data is from before the
> economy really started down, and well before the attack... so there has
> been a serious downshift in earnings, but no real decline in rents.
> 
> The most interesting is this one... http://www.nlihc.org/oor2001/table5.htm
> the "up and coming" places have their average sate-wide rents "jumping and
> soaring". Some serious non-linear effects. No wonder people hate geeks so
> much, this spells it out preaty clearly - geeks move in, everyone else has
> to move out.
> 
> - Adam L. "Duncan" Beberg
> 















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<HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><FONT  SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0">recommended reading: &nbsp;"Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich.     
<BR>
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Verdana" LANG="0">Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- could be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on six to seven dollars an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered as a woefully inexperienced homemaker returning to the workforce. So began a grueling, hair raising, and darkly funny odyssey through the underside of working America. 
<BR>
<BR>Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, Ehrenreich worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. 
<BR>
<BR><I>Nickel and Dimed</I> reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- quite the same way again.
<BR>
<BR>"I was absolutely knocked out by Barbara Ehrenreich's remarkable odyssey. She has accomplished what no contemporary writer has even attempted -- to be that 'nobody' who barely subsists on her essential labors. <I>Nickel and Dimed</I> is a stiff punch in the nose to those righteous apostles of 'welfare reform.' Not only is it must reading but it's mesmeric. You can't put the damn thing down. Bravo!" --Studs Terkel 
<BR>
<BR>"Entering the world of service work, Barbara Ehrenreich folded clothes at Wal-Mart, waitressed, washed dishes in a nursing home, and scrubbed floors on her hands and knees. Her account of those experiences is unforgettable -- heart-wrenching, infuriating, funny, smart, and empowering. Few readers will be untouched by the shameful realities that underlie America's economy. Vintage Ehrenreich, <I>Nickel and Dimed</I> will surely take its place among the classics of underground reportage." --Juliet Schor"
<BR>
<BR>With this book Barbara Ehrenreich takes her place among such giants of investigative journalism as George Orwell and Jack London. Ehrenreich's courage and empathy bring us face-to-face with the fate of millions of American workers today." --Frances Fox Piven"
<BR>
<BR>Drunk on dot-coms and day trading, America has gone blind to the downside of its great prosperity. In <I>Nickel and Dimed</I>, Ehrenreich expertly peels away the layers of self-denial, self-interest, and self-protection that separate the rich from the poor, the served from the servers, the housed from the homeless. This brave and frank book is ultimately a challenge to create a less divided society." --Naomi Klein"
<BR>
<BR>A brilliant on-the-job report from the dark side of the boom. No one since H. L. Mencken has assailed the smug rhetoric of prosperity with such scalpel-like precision and ferocious wit." --Mike Davis"Millions of Americans suffer daily trying to make ends meet. Barbara Ehrenreich's book forces people to acknowledge the average worker's struggle, and promises to be extremely influential." --Lynn Woolsey, member of congress"
<BR>
<BR>One of the great American social critics has written an unforgettable memoir of what it was like to work in some of America's least attractive jobs. No one who reads this book will be able to resist its power to make them see the world in a new way." --Mitchell Duneier 
<BR>
<BR><B>Barbara Ehrenreich</B> is the author of <I>Blood Rites</I>; <I>The Worst Years of Our Lives</I> (a <I>New York Times</I> bestseller); <I>Fear o Falling</I>, which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award; and eight other books. A frequent contributor to <I>Time</I>, <I>Harper's Magazine</I>, <I>The New Republic</I>, <I>The Nation,</I> and <I>The New York Times Magazine</I>, she lives near Key West, Florida.  
<BR>    
<BR></FONT><FONT  COLOR="#000000" SIZE=2 FAMILY="SANSSERIF" FACE="Arial" LANG="0">http://www.henryholt.com/2001s-hh/nickelanddimed.htm
<BR>
<BR>
<BR>
<BR>In a message dated 10/3/01 4:18:06 PM Eastern Daylight Time, beberg@mithral.com writes:
<BR><BLOCKQUOTE TYPE=CITE style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
<BR>"...The national median housing wage, based on each countys housing wage for
<BR>a two bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent weighted by Census 2000
<BR>population figures, is $13.87 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum
<BR>wage of $5.15 per hour. This means that on average, there must be more than
<BR>two full-time minimum wage workers in a household in order for the household
<BR>to afford a two bedroom housing unit at the Fair Market Rent..."
<BR>
<BR>http://www.nlihc.org/oor2001/index.htm
<BR>
<BR>The data looks right on for places I have lived... Basicly, the one income
<BR>family is dead, and the 2 income family is an endangered species. The data
<BR>all laid out like this really shows why all the teachers and doctors are
<BR>fleeing the bay area... but keep in mind most of the data is from before the
<BR>economy really started down, and well before the attack... so there has
<BR>been a serious downshift in earnings, but no real decline in rents.
<BR>
<BR>The most interesting is this one... http://www.nlihc.org/oor2001/table5.htm
<BR>the "up and coming" places have their average sate-wide rents "jumping and
<BR>soaring". Some serious non-linear effects. No wonder people hate geeks so
<BR>much, this spells it out preaty clearly - geeks move in, everyone else has
<BR>to move out.
<BR>
<BR>- Adam L. "Duncan" Beberg
<BR></BLOCKQUOTE>
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