[Marxism] Hardship Makes a New Home in the Suburbs - NYTimes.com
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Sat May 10 07:54:43 MDT 2014
NY Times, May 10 2014
Hardship Makes a New Home in the Suburbs
By JENNIFER MEDINA
MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — The freeway exits around here are dotted with
people asking for money, holding cardboard signs to tell their stories.
The details vary only slightly and almost invariably include: Laid off.
Need food. Young children.
Mary Carmen Acosta often passes the silent beggars as she enters parking
lots to sell homemade ice pops, known as paletas, in an effort to make
enough money to get food for her family of four. On a good day she can
make $100, about double what she spends on ingredients. On a really good
day, she pockets $120, the extra money offering some assurance that she
will be able to pay the $800 monthly rent for her family’s three-bedroom
apartment. Sometimes, usually on mornings too cold to sell icy treats,
she imagines what it would be like to stand on an exit ramp herself.
“Everyone here knows they might have to be like that,” said Ms. Acosta,
40, neatly dressed in slacks and a chiffon blouse, as she waited for
help from a local charity in this city an hour’s drive east of Los
Angeles. Both she and her husband, Sebastian Plancarte, lost their jobs
nearly three years ago. “Each time I see them I thank God for what we do
have. We used to have a different kind of life, where we had nice things
and did nice things. Now we just worry.”
Five decades after President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on
poverty, the nation’s poor are more likely to be found in suburbs like
this one than in cities or rural areas, and poverty in suburbs is rising
faster than in any other setting in the country. By 2011, there were
three million more people living in poverty in suburbs than in inner
cities, according to a study released last year by the Brookings
Institution. As a result, suburbs are grappling with problems that once
seemed alien, issues compounded by a shortage of institutions helping
the poor and distances that make it difficult for people to get to jobs
and social services even if they can find them.
In no place is that more true than California, synonymous with the
suburban good life and long a magnet for restless newcomers with big
dreams. When taking into account the cost of living, including housing,
child care and medical expenses, California has the highest poverty rate
in the nation, according to a measure introduced by the Census Bureau in
2011 that considers both government benefits and living costs in
different parts of the country. By that measure, roughly nine million
people — nearly a quarter of the state’s residents — live in poverty.
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