“Who Killed the Knapp Family?” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn appeared in the Sunday 1/12/2020 NYTimes. This essay which is adapted from a newly published book by the same authors, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, explores the grim reality of life in one small corner of America, Yamhill, OR1 where Kristof grew up.
This is a reminder of the harsh lives that most Americans live:
- poor paying jobs or no jobs
- if the federal minimum wage in 1968 had kept up with inflation and productivity, it would now be $22 per hour. Instead it’s $7.25.
- a pharmaceutical industry driven opiate addiction pandemic; the almost 50 yr old war on drugs and mass incarceration; loss of job identity
- one in seven don’t graduate from high school
- one third of working adults are economically insecure (can’t meet monthly spending requirements)2
- a tuition loan debt mountain; rising housing costs; still 28 million people have no health insurance……
The Kristof-Wudunn essay is well worth reading for putting real people back into the picture.