“$2 a day” Reading Response.”
In Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin’s and “$2 a day,” I gathered two points which are: The work of survival at the very bottom of America’s economic ladder is hard, and it’s about turning the little you possess in the way of assets into cash or goods. In chapter four, the reader is introduced to several people who live on $2 a day. Jennifer Hernandez, together with her two children, shifted from one homeless shelter to homeless shelter in Chicago. During the time spent by Jennifer and her children in those homeless shelters, she applied for more than one-hundred jobs and landed one with a custodial company that cleaned foreclosed houses, which were often trashed and broken into by junkies and squatters. Working in smutty, unheated rooms during a Chicago winter, she continually came down with viral infections and respiratory problems, which in turn caused her to miss work. She had to look for employment elsewhere because her hours got cut back significantly, but even so, she never registered for welfare benefits. To Jennifer, welfare was likened to a handout she would not receive.
We also have Paul from Cleveland who lost his savings and house when his chain of pizza parlors went kaput. Jessica Compton, a slim, worried twenty-one-year-old in Johnson City, who sold her plasma twice each week because she had two children and McDonald and Red Lobster had ciphered her and her husband’s work hours when the economy plunged. They were to be evicted any day because they were behind on their rent, and she regularly worried that her iron levels would drop making it unable for her to donate and obtain the urgently needed $30 she got from the plasma donation.
When the individuals as studied by Erin saw no other alternative, they sometimes defied the law to obtain cash. A woman might be acquainted with someone who would pay the electricity bill for one month in exchange for sex. SNAP, the food assistance program, is an in-kind benefit; a debit card that can only be utilized for purchasing food. Therefore, sometimes, the extremely poor traded $100 of SNAP groceries to a family or neighbor for $60 in cash. This is risky. Under the guidelines of federal sentencing, retributions for food stamp fraud are harsher than for aggravated assault with a firearm, sexual contact with a child under twelve and voluntary manslaughter.
For the poor, the instability of work continues to be matched by instability in every other aspect of life. They may meet the criteria for subsidized housing but are not likely to obtain it because the wait list is extremely long and regularly closed. They may have enough funds for a ramshackle apartment, but that requires regular income to cover the rent, water, and electricity bills. Losing a job or even a week’s worth of hours can result in one losing their apartment and having to resort to a shelter. Being this poor means being vulnerable to every kind of predator!
One concept I would like to know more about is how the researchers confirmed the credibility of their subjects. Hearsay is not evidence, and someone can always lie to you. Therefore, I would like to know more about how the verification and fact-checking was done to verify every claim made by the subjects.