Xi Peng

Peng 6

Prof. Edward Dauterich


21 June2014

TheImpacts of the Low-Waged in an Economy

TheNickel and Dimed book tries to reveal the dark side of prosperity ofAmerica because of an unskilled worker. The most important main ideaof this book is to disclosure the hidden economics around theminimum-wage workers in America. Many Americans work full timethroughout the year for the poverty-level wages. They live a veryhard life, even without any financially viable government policies.The low-waged people move from one place to another in search foroccupations. Particularly in America, they move from towns to townsand in search for any jobs, and if they get, they live in cheaplodges as according to their wages (Kazis &amp Miller 69). There areothers who live in crumbling residential motels and trailer parks.The low-waged occupations are the hardest occupations of alloccupations. The lowliest employments require muscular effort andexhausting mental and the wage that a person gets cannot afford forhouseholds needs. The lowliest occupations include working in hotelsas a waiter/waitress or cook, supermarkets, and other less-skilledsectors. The practical life experience of Ehrenreich the Nickel andDimed by Holden, Joan, and Barbara, Ehrenreich, one can support thatthe economy of any country is much affected by poor people who areemployed as low-wage earners as analyzed in this paper.

Ongetting ready, Ehrenreich suggested that someone can investigate theliving conditions of a minimum wage earner practically. Lapham agreedand suggested her to do it. She had resisted, but later accepted, butset parameters that she will never go homeless she needed to own acar and will never go hungry because she would be different from herco-workers (Holden and Barbara 7). The acknowledgement of Ehrenreichsetting some conditions on going to work as a minimum-wage earnershows that the living standards of the low-waged people are verychallenging as compared to the high-waged earners. One can analyzethat a low-wage earner does not meet all his or her life desires inlife such as better housing, consuming adequate food or havingsuitable transportation therefore, the government has to set asidepart of its budget to cater for them by provision of food andclothing. As a result, the economy of the nation will reduce sincesuch money would not generate other income and instead will be onlyused for consumption (Gautie and Schmitt 35).

Ehrenreichstarted serving in Florida, which was close to her home. She found aplace to live thirty miles away from Key West. She filled manyapplications into various supermarkets and hotels. Later, Ehrenreichwas employed as a waitress at the Hearthside family restaurant(Holden and Barbara 24). Ehrenreich was later disrupted by twothings, poor management of the organization and low wage. Thelow-waged earners work in harsh management conditions, but the lackbottom-up communication, which led some of them quit from their jobs.They fear the issue of being terminated from the job if they complainfor wage to be increased and the need for change in management(Gautie and Schmitt 40). At the end of the day, most the workers quitfrom their working occupations and ends up in their homes. What comesafter is idleness which can lead in engagement of harmful behaviorssuch as prostitution or robbery which creates a negative impacttowards the economy. In most cases when people steal money mostlylikely they do not save, but usually keep in their pocket. In thisway the money cannot generate any other income thus affecting theeconomy of a country negatively. Considering sexual commercialworkers, the money they usually acquire is not taxed by thegovernment, because most of the countries prostitution is notlegalized. The money goes into loopholes thus a negative changetowards the economy.

Ehrenreichlater moved to Maine where she worked as a housecleaner weekly and asa nursing home aide during the weekends. The engagement of twodifferent jobs has a positive and negative impact to the economy(Holdenand Barbara 37). The wage that a person would get would be enough tocater for her basic needs, but at the same time would createunemployment to another person through applying the rule of one jobat an individual. The cleaning job got more and more difficult forher, both mentally and physically as she proceeded. The lunch timeconstituted shortest time therefore, she took chips from theneighboring store as her lunch (Holden and Barbara 44). Women used totake pain-killers to ease their performance on duties. Ehrenreichdiscovered that in Maine there was little assistance for thepoor-working people where everyone was impolite and unwilling tohelp. Working as low-waged person sometimes makes someone go hungryand tired both mentally and physically resulting to body painsinternally and externally. The objectives of the most low-wagedworkers are to get money for consumption and catering for othercommodities (Kazis &amp Miller 69). Majority do not go for medicalcheck-ups. At the end of it all, they end up having poor healthyconditions, as a result of, anxieties after work. The workers maysuffer from headaches or any other unhealthy conditions and end upquitting or dismissed from the occupation thus remaining unemployed,which is usually a negative impact towards the economy.

Ehrenreichlastly moved to Minnesota believing that there would be a reasonablebalance between the wages and rent, however, the actualities let herdown. She got a job at a local Wal-Mart in the clothing section ofladies. The money she got was inadequate to buy cooking items to goand cook for her, so she relied on fast foods (Holden and Barbara97). The act of Ehrenreich changing of occupations has an explicitillustration that each work she engaged was insecure. Most of thelow-waged occupations lack pensions after retirement since they arenot permanent. Since the retired cannot engage in other occupations,some of them end up becoming and remaining poor. The government,therefore, becomes responsible in the provision of basic needs to thepoor-older people hence lowering the economy of the country (Dáil196).

Conclusively,minimum-waged workers have little education, very few job varieties,transportation problems poor housing conditions and poor healthservices. However, the people at that living at this level contributeto twenty percent of the America’s economy, and it is verydifficult to change the situation (Holden and Barbara 98). Theemployees are usually paid low wages in those jobs through beingreinforced on their self-esteem. The workers are reinforced byconduction of random drug tests, the management yield at them, beingtreated like children and accusation of breaking rules andregulations. Most of the workers resist following these recommendedrules and regulations where some of end up losing or not beingrecruited in such organizations. Poor management of the organizationsalso contributes some workers quit from jobs. It is evidenced byEhrenreich while working in a restaurant that was conductingdrug-trafficking during the night and another one that was nothygienic. From the both experiences, she decided to quit from bothoccupations and was not her wish, but because of poor management ofthe restaurants. The effect has an indirect negative impact on theeconomy since the restaurant would never have permanent workers,therefore, making low profits, which results to slow economic growthand development of the economy of the country. There are millions ofminimum-wage workers, and they play an important role in influencingthe America’s economy. In other words, the low-waged people have agreater impact economic system of United States. Apart from this, ithas been proved that the economy of any country is much affected bypoor people who are employed as low-wage earners.


Dáil,Paula. Womenand Poverty in 21st Century America.Jefferson: McFarland &amp Co., Publishers, 2011. Internet resource.

Gautie,Jerome, John Schmitt, and Jerôme Gautie. Low-wageWork in the Wealthy World.New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2010. Internet resource.


Holden,Joan, and Barbara, Ehrenreich. Nickeland Dimed.New York: Dramatists Play Service, 2005. Print.

Kazis,Richard, and Marc S. Miller. Low-wageWorkers in the New Economy.Washington, D.C: Urban Institute Press, 2001. Print.