The working poor

dumpster diving

The NY Times has a poignant article about a 49 yr old man forced to move back home with his mother after the plant he worked at thirty years shut down. He was working hard, doing everything right too.

It’s going to get worse, what with the recession coming on. I caught part of an NPR piece about a small town where the factories closed. Most commute 60 miles to the nearest jobs. Do the math. You make $10 an hour ($80 a day) and your car gets 20 mpg. So you’re using 6 gallons of gas a day costing you about $20 – or 25% of your pretax income. Ouch.

What happens when there are many more millions of people like that?


  1. The photo reminded me of something I saw (or heard) just a couple of nights ago. I was walking in Westchester, CA, and from inside a covered dumpster enclosed in a fence, I heard two human voices carrying on a conversation. “It ain’t much, but it’s home.” (It was cold enough to frost that night, and I’m sure the dumpster was warmer than a doorway.)

  2. That is a terribly sad story about the dumpster with people in it. Here in Portland, a homeless man was killed when the dumpster he was sleeping was emptied by a trash collection truck. He was crushed to death when the driver operated the compactor.

    I worked on the wrongful death suit, which his family lost when the jury found in favor of the garbage company. I’ll never forget the photos of the scene when workers found his body when the truck was emptied at the end of the shift.

    Here’s a bit about it:

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