By Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Jessica Compton’s relations of 4 may haven't any funds source of revenue until she donated plasma two times every week at her neighborhood donation middle in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago usually don't have any nutrition yet spoiled milk on weekends.
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Extra resources for $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
How was it even possible to live without cash in modern America? What were families in $2-a-day poverty doing to survive? And were these strategies different from those poor families had been using prior to welfare reform, when AFDC still offered such families a cash cushion against extreme destitution? What was so indispensable about cash—as opposed to in-kind resources such as SNAP—for families trying to survive in twenty-first-century America? To better understand the lives being lived beneath the numbers, we needed to return to where this exploration started—to the homes of people like those Edin had met in 2010.
Susan’s grandmother has had to leave her job to care for her husband, just home after a long hospitalization. She says that while she’s nursing him at home, she can babysit Lauren if Susan finds a job. Susan is sick of going hungry, sick of eating instant noodles morning, noon, and night. She’s tired of falling further and further behind on her bills, tired of being a freeloader in her own home. With no cash coming in, the whole family is in hock to Susan’s absentee landlord, her great-grandmother, who charges each of her tenants a modest rent to cover the property taxes and supplement her Social Security check.
The EITC is refundable, which means that if the amount for which low-income workers are eligible is more than they owe in taxes, they will get a refund for the difference. Low-income working parents often get tax refunds that are far greater than the income taxes withheld from their paychecks during the year. These tax credits provide a significant income boost to low-income parents working a formal job (parents are not eligible if they’re working off the books). Because tax credits like the EITC are viewed by many as being pro-work, they have long enjoyed support from Democrats and Republicans alike.
$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer