PLEDGE NOW
Living 'Hand To Mouth' In Modern American Poverty

With guest host Jane Clayson.

Smashing the assumptions about what it’s really like to live in poverty in America.

Homeless people stay with their belongings under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The city’s health department put up notices Monday giving the estimated 150 homeless people 72 hours to leave the area. (AP)

Homeless people stay with their belongings under the Pontchartrain Expressway overpass in New Orleans, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The city’s health department put up notices Monday giving the estimated 150 homeless people 72 hours to leave the area. (AP)

Last year, Linda Tirado wrote an online essay called “Poverty Thoughts” as an answer to the question, “Why do poor people do things that seem so self-destructive?” Drawing on her own experiences with poverty, and written with sharp black humor, it went viral with blazing speed, and has now been read by more than six million people.  A year later, she’s got a new book – and it’s a funny, angry, personal appeal for empathy and humanity for the millions of Americans in poverty. This hour, On Point: Linda Tirado on “Hand to Mouth” America.

— Jane Clayson

Guests

Linda Tirado, author of the new book, “Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America.” (@killermartinis)

Melissa Boteach, vice president of the poverty and prosperity program at the Center for American Progress. (@mboteach)

From The Reading List

Kinja: Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts — “Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full courseload, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 1230AM, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I’m in bed by 3. This isn’t every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations.”

Bloomberg Businessweek: Poorsplaining: What It’s Really Like to Be Poor in America — “For Tirado, being poor has meant walking miles to jobs because she didn’t have money to fix her car. Stacking boxes and cleaning toilets. Suffering chronic pain from rotten teeth she can’t afford to have cared for properly. Getting treated like human garbage by customers, bosses, doctors, and landlords. And then, after all that, being asked why she’s not smiling on command.”

CNN Money: Linda Tirado: What I miss about being poor — “Raised by her grandparents in Michigan and Utah after her mother died when she was young and her father became estranged from the family, she dropped out of school at age 16. She has no regrets about not attending college. She does not see higher education as an imperative for all young adults.”

 

Read An Excerpt of “hand to Mouth” By Linda Tirado

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