Book Review: $2.00 a Day by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer


Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

$2.00 a Day

By Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT

Two dollars per person per day is a poverty threshold in the developing world that’s rarely evoked when discussing the United States. It should be, say academics Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, whose new book documents a troubling rise in the number of Americans—including as many as 3 million kids—who survive on almost nothing. $2.00 a Day is an intimate chronicle of the “cashless economy” and also serves as an indictment of the welfare reform that began under President Clinton. Shaefer and Edin—a Johns Hopkins sociologist noted for her “home economics of welfare”—embedded with communities in Cleveland, Chicago, and the Mississippi Delta to learn how the most off-the-radar poor manage without a safety net. They found heartbreaking survival strategies—plasma sales, sugar daddies—and kids in horrible circumstances. With any luck (calling Bernie Sanders) this important book will spark election year debate over how America cares for its most vulnerable.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate