An exchange between James Fallows and Barbara Ehrenreich, the author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
[L]et me explain that your book is the account of three month-long episodes of attempting to live entirely on earnings from $7- or $8-per-hour jobs. You show up in low-wage cities and try to get on your feet, like someone "graduating" from welfare to work. One of many intriguing aspects is the juggling of three challenges: landing a job (not that hard, in the "tight" economy of the late nineties); doing the job (sometimes quite hard, as you make vivid); and finding a place to live (nearly impossible, for reasons we will get to).
This exchange is really cool and the topic is really important. If you have any interest or guilt about poverty in this country, please read this exchange.
By the way, it's from adam, too.
It brings up the thought that we, the comparably comfortable, live off of the low-wage labor of the working poor and aliens and immigrants. That's how the price of services and products we value can stay so low. If we had a living wage in this country, say, 15$/hour, I'm sure the economy would do a belly-flop. That's not to say we shouldn't do it. That's just tracing the implications.
I made it MetaFilter link 7541.