Serving Florida

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Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist who posed as an unskilled worker in 1998 to highlight the struggles encountered every day by Americans attempting to live on minimum wage. Ms Ehrenreich had always been interested in poverty. As the result of the new law, people would be expected to leave welfare and get jobs, sounds good. Unfortunately, the jobs they were able to get really didn’t pay enough to live on. Serving in Florida is about her experience as waitress trying to make ends meet just like millions of Americans do everyday. The overall message of the story is that wages in America are too low and rents are too high. Single people and especially families cannot survive on the wages that unskilled workers are paid. Many families spend their whole life behind in their bills and often have to forego such necessities as food and clothing to keep a roof over their heads or buy medicine for a family member who’s sick. There is a shortage of people actually willing to work for the wages that are being offered. And it’s not because they don’t want to work or that they are lazy. It’s because they cannot afford the childcare or transportation for these low paying jobs. They can’t afford to take a job that would cost them more money in the long run. Another main point very clearly made in this story is that there is an affordable housing crisis in this country. Many people have to work two or sometimes three jobs a week just to pay rent. Rent for a decent place often takes up more than half of a family’s income, leaving them with not enough for other regular expenses. Any unexpected expense such as an illness or a car problem is a catastrophe. Many of these families wind up homeless or doubled up with relatives. This story was striking in many ways and I learned some interesting things. One thing I learned is that just because a job doesn’t pay much doesn’t mean it’s easy. The low wage paying jobs in this story were hard work and required long hours. I also learned...
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