Newman and Chen’s book “The Missing Class” is a look into the lives of people living in the United States, who are unable to get by but also are unable to be assisted in their troubles by government programs. The missing class is exactly how it’s described, a group of people who do slightly better than their impoverished counterparts, but hold no political or economic sway. The class is ignored by the masses and politicians because they aren’t penniless, but American society demands they be better off then what they are, and their situation may actually be improved if they were a little worse off and received assistance. I fortunately have never been part of poverty or the missing class, but many, if not all my friends’ families do fall under this category, and I have seen firsthand troubles that these families face, and this book just further reinforced what I have observed.
The first problem, which I believe is the most important and damaging to the missing class, is credit. Credit is one of the staples of American culture; the ability to own things you can’t afford is a very attractive to anyone, especially in a culture where possessions are status. Almost every case in the book displayed people being vastly behind on their rent, utilities, or even credit cards themselves. In the extreme case of Julia, who “has seventeen credit cards” (1) was forced to take a loan from the bank to pay off her credit, putting her into more manageable debt. Credit companies target these families because they know that they make enough to make a minimum payment which pays for interest, and little on their actual debt. This is guaranteed money for the company, by keeping the class in debt, they are almost promised generations of income flow because of credit.
The second problem, one that even in current day is being argued by politicians, is coverage by healthcare. With the costs of treatment in the United States costing an unreasonable amount of money, the only way anyone in America can take care of their medical needs is though healthcare coverage. Unfortunately all healthcare isn’t created equal, good healthcare is a luxury reserved for the finically stable. Those who have insufficient healthcare often find themselves still paying an outrageous amount, or having insufficient service provided because they do not have health insurance sufficient enough to satisfy tests or prescriptions. An example is the case of Gloria, who had to pester doctors to look at the pain in her chest. After being ignored of her complaints, she eventually was forced to take a CAT scan which revealed an anomaly. She was then instructed to receive a MRI scan which Gloria’s insurer wouldn’t pay for. These procedures lead doctors to discover Gloria’s illness of thymoma which stopped her from being able to work, the life force of the missing class.
A direct representation of the missing class is their children. These children often suffer from problems that children of poverty do as well....