The Working Poor

Several years ago, I read a book called Nickel and Dimed. The author, Barbara Ehrenreich, went undercover to take low-skill, low-wage jobs such as hotel maid and waitress to see what life was like for these workers. What she found disturbed me: A culture of people living right under the public radar, struggling while trying to earn a living. I have never forgotten that book or the stories within it.

Unfortunately, while the book was first published in 2001, the working poor still hold a large — and growing — place in society. According to this article, Census data reveals the number of jobs paying poverty-level wages increased by 4.7 million between 2002 and 2006. We all know the economy is in the tank now; what’s surprising is the study period was one of relative prosperity, which means the tough times of today bode even worse for those below the poverty line.

It’s easy to think of the poor as jobless and living in a cardboard box. But the reality is that many work just as hard, if not harder, than anyone else, but struggle paycheck to paycheck and often go to bed hungry. One alarming statistic: 40 percent of adults asking for emergency food assistance were employed.

So why talk about this now? Well, today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme is poverty. And in a financial crisis, with the holidays coming up and a pivotal presidential election less than a month away, we at the Monster Blog wanted to devote space to the issue.

Want to help? Then educate yourself about the working poor. While there are many agencies that advocate for low-wage workers on a state level, The Working Poor Families Project is a national initiative that deserves a mention. And here is a list from Blog Action Day’s Web site of resources dedicated to fighting poverty. Check it out, and whatever you decide to do, as they say, think globally, but act locally.

:: Source: Monster Blog