Barbara Ehrenreich is all wet

Barbara Ehrenreich, in books like Nickel and Dimed, tried to demonstrate, through living it herself, that the working life in America no longer gets you anywhere.

A young fellow named Adam Shepard didn’t like her attitude. He believed Ehrenreich set out to fail, and so she did, but that a different attitude could produce different results. He was also fed up with the whining entitlement mentality, the lack of drive, he saw among his peers.

Against all this, he launched his own experiment, chronicled in his book, Scratch Beginnings. Adam picked a US city out of a hat, and started there literally from scratch: with nothing but the clothes on his back, $25 in his pocket, and an empty gym bag. His previous life and associations, even his driver’s license, were left behind. He began unemployed and living in a homeless shelter. The goal was to achieve, within a year, a furnished apartment, a car, $2500 in savings, and—most important—a path to continue improving his situation. Adam got them all, and some inspiring friendships besides. He succeeded without begging, cheating, or scamming, but through self-discipline, hard work, sensible frugality, and a go-get-‘em spirit. Adam acknowledged that others may have disadvantages he didn’t face. But he did prove Ehrenreich wrong, that virtue is rewarded, and the deck is not stacked against working people in this land of opportunity.

(I met Adam at a book signing; he’s a good guy. Here is a link to his website.)

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