Koppelman writes that construction worker's wages were analyzed during 1833 and it was concluded that the wages paid were insufficient to properly support a family consisting of two children, his wife, and himself. (2011 p. 263) This is a direct parallel to Ehrenreich when she stated that the moment of realization four she was when she concluded that the demographic category of “trailer trash” was something to be aspired for. (p. 216)
Koppelman noted that “A continuing flow of immigrants exacerbated the problems of the poor by increasing competition for jobs; this allowed employers to keep wages low or even reduce them” and “wages in 1830 were so low “because the number of laborers was essentially greater than the demand for them” (2011 p. 263) This is comparative to Ehrenreich when she asserts that “Most of the big hotels run ads almost continually, if only to build a supply of applicants to replace the current workers as they drift away or are fired, so finding a job is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and flexible enough to take whatever is being offered that day.” (p. 219)
Poverty today is eerily similar to what it was a century ago as support is given next. Koppelman notes that a full-time job, in a large number of cases, supplies inadequate compensation. Later he asserts, of the full-time jobs in America 25 percent of them do not provided a wage sufficient to keep a family of four above the poverty line. (2011 p. 274) Because of the striking similarities to the 1833 economic analysis of a construction worker's salary I refer back to it and the fact that it essentially the same as what is happening today.
Wages did improve for low income workers in America starting in 1950 and working through the 1970's. However, wages dropped by nearly a dollar an hour during the 1980 and yet another fifty cents by the first half of the 1990's. The economy temporally rebounded during the late 1990's allowing for the...