Ehrenreich on "Recession Porn" and poor still not getting by in America

Recently Author Barbara Ehrenreich revisited some of the people she wrote about in her book Nickel & Dimed to see how they were faring in the current economic climate. She writes about them in a recent Op-Ed in the NY Times:

The current recession is knocking the working poor down another notch — from low-wage employment and inadequate housing toward erratic employment and no housing at all.

She says that the media is obsessed with “Recession Porn.”

the story of an incremental descent from excess to frugality, from ease to austerity. The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee’s.

Yet the story of the poor getting poorer isn’t reported on. Stripping is up, the number of people crammed in houses and apartments across the company has increased, and even “urban hunting” is on the rise:

In Racine, Wis., a 51-year-old laid-off mechanic told me he’s supplementing his diet by “shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked and grilled.” In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver is doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices.

I would love to do a similar story with the workers I met in Honduras, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and China. There is little doubt that there lives have changed since I visited them in 2007. We buy less stuff. The factories have fewer orders and jobs.

Ehrenreich writes, “Comfortable people have long imagined that American poverty is far more luxurious than the third world variety, but the difference is rapidly narrowing.”

I would have to argue with that statement. The poor are getting poorer in America and in Bangladesh.

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Jenn says:

Raccoon marinated in vinegar??? Wow.

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