The middle sadness
Paul Mason, the economics editor of the BBC’s Newsnight program, recently retraced John Steinbeck’s footsteps during America’s Great Depression. What he found was a broad swath of sadness as he observed many citizens who have lost jobs and homes. It’s the invisible America. From the BBC:
I drop down into Albuquerque, into Joy Junction, which in the red dusk looks like a scene from Steinbeck. There are 300 homeless people staying here, all families.
Jeremy Reynalds, an expat Brit who runs the place, tells me frankly that the mainstay of the place are people with drug, alcohol and domestic violence issues. But as the years of crisis have dragged on, there is a new phenomenon – the homeless middle-class.
I meet some of them on the floor of an old gym, strewn with about 80 mattresses.
Sonya and Tim – he was a manager at McDonald’s but the branch closed and she worked at Subway but they cut her shifts – lost their home and moved into a small apartment, but when the unemployment money ended they lost that too.