David K. Shipler: The Working Poor Invisible in America



Y so many have to fight just to stay above water and hold their families together or wishing sometimes they would let some parts of the family go It was a reminder that if you are able to spend time reading books for fun much less spending time commenting on them online you are very blessedI highly recommend this book to all areas of the political spectrum and specially for those who feel inclined to pass judgement on the poor and their work My Favorite Earthling (Otherworldly Men, ethic I appreciated the author s honesty in showing the mistakes and flaws of the people involved and his insight into the ways that our government charities businesses fail the people they try to help I am also awed by those who stand in the trenches andxtend their hands to helpI wish there were take away actions do these three things and we can really solve this but the fact is that doing so would undermine the point of the book It is a complex situation with complex answers I hope to learn about what I can do to affect the changes needed so that families can step away from the brink and start functioning again Although there weren t any astonishing revelations and I m not sure that s Doglands even possible with this subject matter the author did anxcellent job of conveying the fragile interrelationships between ducation housing health upbringing transportation health insurance tc and how one problem can trigger a devastating financial setback He writes For practically An Officer and a Spy every family then the ingredients of poverty are part financial and part psychological part personal and part social part past and part present Every problem magnifies the impact of the others and with results far distant from the original cause A run down apartment canxacerbate a child s asthma which leads to a call for an ambulance which generates a medical bill which cannot be paid which ruins a credit record which hikes the interest rate on an auto loan which forces the purchase of an unreliable used car which jeopardizes a mother s punctuality at work which limits her promotions and Fates (Fates, earning capacity which confines her to poor housing He then proceeds to write about real people in such circumstances And the people he writes about for the most part are hard working people struggling to stay off welfare The writing is fair and balanced and the author doesn t assign blame One of the reviews said it was a bookvery American should read and read now I wouldn t go that far but I do think it s an important book and to the Recipe for Temptation (Madewood Brothers, extent someone is in any way interested in the subject matter I recommend it highly It is a book I will want my children to read when they approach adulthood I often get into discussions with my father in law about the state of the nation problems facing workers and companies andspecially the role of the government My father in law will often say the phrase People just need to work harder in response to my uerie I liked this book pretty well The author spent a lot of time talking with people of different races and backgrounds about their poverty and also with social workers who help them and with their mployers Poverty was self imposed in all cases These people dropped out of school had a stack of illegitimate kids they couldn t support got involved in crime used alcohol and drugs and ven when they got jobs they d just fail to go in to work or orientations and not call in They made bad life choices and never learned from them I felt horrible for the women who had been abused as kids and teens but hey I too suffered physical OBaby emotional and sexual abuse but did not drop out of school I have a high school diploma a bachelor s degree and a master s degree allarned with honors from fully accredited schools I did not have any children out of wedlock I refused to get involved with or marry an abusive man I have never smoked drunk alcohol or used illegal drugs nor abused legal ones These women just did differently and locked themselves into misery I am sorry for them but I have no respect for anyone who hates what went on before then continues through life to keep making the same stupid mistakes I felt no pity for the illegal aliens They had no right to come here so as far as I am concerned they deserve whatever horrible things that happen to them I do feel for legal immigrants however This is Nerds easy to read without jargon It is full of personal stories and I liked the book this is a very good book to read if you know a little about the policy problems facing the working poor and want to get a better idea of the human stories of people affected by them or if you don t know anything about the daily lives of the working poor and need a good illustration of the thicket of problems trapping them in povertyhowever if you are looking for a systemic analysis of which policies and procedures create this poverty trap and perpetuate these conditions this is not the book for you while it gave me anxtremely vivid and personal view into the lives of many indivi. Ion's capital Zack (Areion Fury MC each life another aspect of a confounding far reaching urgent national crisis And unlike mostworks on poverty this one delves into the calculations of somemployers as well their razor thin profits their anxieties about competition from abroad their frustrations in finding ualified workersThis impassioned book not only dissects the problems but makes pointed informed recommendations for change It is a book that stands to make a differenc.

A manager at Barnes Nobles told me that this was a great book because it shifted blame for the problems of the poor onto the poor thus holding them accountable and providing room for personal responsibility Hardly a compelling case for me So for a long time I didn t read it But now I have and what the BN guy said was a gross oversimplification and misreading More thoughts here s a great book Summary Poverty is caused by complex interactions between personal and societalbusinessgovernmental failures The poor are affected strongly by small mistakesmisfortunes that snowball due to lack of safety net The most heinous problems to me were sexual abusedomestic violence p 162 At the Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, extremes of the debate liberals don t want to see the dysfunctional family and conservatives want to see nothinglse Depending on the ideology destructive parenting is ContamiNation either not a cause or the only cause of poverty Neither stereotype is correct In my research along thedges of poverty I didn t find many adults without troubled childhoods and I came to see those histories as both cause and ffect intertwined with the myriad other difficulties of money housing schooling health job and neighborhood that reinforce one another The interactions were described by Dr Robert Needleman a behavioral pediatrician who sees children from all socio conomic levels in Cleveland Horrendous parenting can cause severe behavior problems that have as part of them difficulty in paying attention he said It takes a lot of psychological health to be able to go to school and pay attention to a teacher and care and do the work The kids who do that are healthy Really bad parenting can prevent that p162 3 A Balti malnutrition clinic video tapes parents feeding their children to show them their mistakes In one a little boy sits in a highchair playing with his food but not ating His mother watches for a moment then pulls out a magazine and reads Nothing ver goes into his mouth and she pays no attention In the second session the same boy sits on the floor putting blocks in a plastic bucket His mother watches yawns puts her head down and closes her Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas eyes She has no interaction with her son The third session finds both mother and child sitting at a low tableach playing separately with plastic blocks The staff has told her Play with your child but she The Magic Rolling Pin evidently thinks that means to play as if he weren t there or to play as if she were a child herself Having built a stack of blocks the boy says proudly Look Mommy She mocks him repeating in a sarcastic tone Look what I did Mommy Then without including her son she tries to assemble the blocks into a formation pictured on the bucket s label The boy reaches for a block on the table in front of her She snatches it away and snaps No Then sheven dismantles the stack of blocks he s made to use a couple of them in her construction all the while saying to him mockingly Look Mommy Look Mommy Again in the forth session they sit at the low table Indecent... Exposure (Indecent, each doing a separate puzzle The mother holds hers on her lap tilted up so her son can t see it The boy picks up his puzzle which is all together then turns it over and dumps the pieces on the table with a clatter You re gonna pick them all up she says harshly You re making a mess The boy plays nicely and uietly putting all the pieces carefully together again while the mother continues with her own puzzle ignoring her sonxcept to scold himchokengtitiktitikchokeng167 recent studies have shown that sensitive responsive care in the first few years of life leads to greater school achievement and less need for special Not Without a Fight ed fewer bx probs less use of drugs and alcohol during adolescence and a higher ability to form relationships among peers from preschool onchokengtitiktitikchokeng 225 Dr Zuckerman of Boston Medical Center hired attorneys to work on his staff to solve some medical issues p285 working poverty is a constellation of difficulties that magnify one another not just low wages but also lowducation not just dead nd jobs but also limited abilities not just insufficient savings but also unwise spending not just poor housing but also poor parenting not just the lack of health insurance but also the lack of healthy households The villains are not just xploitative The Unseen Wonder employers but also incapablemployees not just overworked teachers but also defeated and unruly pupils not just bureaucrats who cheat the poor but also the poor who cheat themselves The troubles run strongly along both macro and micro levels as systemic problems in the structure of political and The Management Bible economic power and as individual problems in personal and family life All of the problems have to be attacked at oncechokengtitiktitikchokeng286 The first uestion is whether we knowxactly what to do The second is whether we have the will to Zu schnell exercise our skill We lack the skill to solve some problems and the will to solve others but one piece of knowledge we now possess We understand that hol. As David K Shipler makes clear in this powerful humane study the invisible poor arengaged in the activity most respected in American ideology hard honest work But their version of the American Dream is a nightmare low paying dead nd jobs; the profound failure of government to improve upon decaying housing health care and ducation; the failure of families to break the patterns of child abuse and substance abuse Shipler xposes the interlocking probl.

Istic remedies are vital So gateways to addressing a family s range of handicaps are needed and they are best stablished at intersections through which working poor families are likely to travel ie doctors and lawyers schools and parenting classes banks health insurance info public housing and English classes job trainingchokengtitiktitikchokeng 288 voting not an answer bc most Americans don t vote their class interests In 2000 19% of Americans thought they were in the top 1% of wage arners and another 20% xpected to be Unfortunate bc no key sector of this free Invisible (The Curse of Avalon enterprise system whether business or charityscapes the pervasive influence wielded by government through tax policy regulation wage reuirements subsidies grants and the likechokengtitiktitikchokeng 289 Thomas Paine in Common Sense 1776 Society in Yummy Supper every state is a blessing but Governmentven in its best state is but a necessary vil in its worst state an intolerable one p 299 Opportunity and poverty in this country cannot be xplained by Deep Listening either the American Myth that hard work is a panacea or by the Anti Myth that the system imprisons the poor Relief will come if at all in an amalgam that recognizes both the society s obligation through government and business and the individual s obligation through labor and family and the commitment of both society and individual throughducation The Working Poor is one of my longest outstanding reviews and in the interest of continuing my review very book streak I m going to hop back in time and say a few things My remembrance has dulled slightly but I still had a bunch of uotes saved so this review will be heavy on xtracts with minor commentary from me This is why wri This is a depressing account of many individuals who are afflicted with poverty and are with Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature exceptions unable toscape The book provides considerable ammunition for the view that the poor are kept there by an uncaring and hostile society From the tales and analyses merge nuggets of potential policy directions For instance there is attention given to the disparity in spending for schooling based on local real state valuation Certainly centralizing revenues and then distributing them according to actual need would be a preferable way to address such imbalances He also provides much detail about the hurdles faced by the working poor when they try to get social services the authorA couple of possible ideas popped to me from this First a centralized data system that took in all information and then generated matching programs with completed applications ID cards authorizations whatever would make it possible for those in need to do one stop shopping Another small idea would be to add or increase in cases where it does not already Trajan exist night time hours for social service agencies so that people need not take off from work in order to come in Shipler makes it clear that dysfunction in families is a major factor in poverty and it may be that in many cases all the social services in the world will notffect change But overall it remains clear that needs are great and society is not adeuately focused on how to bring the poor further into a middle class mainstream This is gripping heart rending stuff and things have only gotten worse with ten years of assaults on the needy A must read for anyone seriously into public welfare policyEXTRA STUFFThe author s blog The Shipler Report FB and Twitter pagesA list of Shipler s articles for New Yorker magazine If you don t know much about poverty this book may prove useful to you but go in with Bunnys Book Club Goes to School eyes open Shipler is at his best when he s letting the poor folks he speaks to speak for themselves However he is very much a liberal and while he s talking with poor people we also get sympathetic interviews with bosses managers job trainers tough love social workers and the like He praises people who shape themselves and allow themselves to be shaped into well behaved obedient workers set on climbing into higher levels of workplace hierarchy His solution for the plight of the working poor is very much reformist and government centered the poor should overwhelm the rich at the voting booth and his critiue of how successful that has beencould be is nonexistent The answer comes not from below from poor people organizing themselves and building power but from government programs corporations politicians and benevolent gentry such as himself and his target audience Capitalism needs to be changed but isssentially good It depends on poverty Shipler says so uite uncritically the issue for him is that the poor are treated better and given the opportunity to get ahead so others may replace them If any of this made you cringe you might be better off finding something with a little teeth This book is not what you would call a pick me upper I had to set it down sometimes and come back to the stories of so many families fighting on so many fronts It was The Peculiar Pig exhausting to read about the wa. Ems by taking us into the sorrowful infuriating courageous lives of the poor white and black Asian and Latino citizens and immigrants Wencounter them Cherry Ingram every day for they do jobsssential to the American The Mermaids Shoes economyWe meet drifting farmworkers in North Carolinaxploited garment workers in New Hampshire illegal immigrants trapped in the steaming kitchens of Los Angeles restaurants addicts who struggle into productive work from the cruel streets of the nat.

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David K Shipler reported for The New York Times from 1966 to 1988 in New York Saigon Moscow Jerusalem and Washington He is the author of four other books including the best sellers Russia and The Working Poor and Arab and Jew which won the Pulitzer Prize He has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and has