Readjusted Priorities

March 20, 2009

Judith Warner’s piece in the Times today that talks about our failure to pay attention to the families that are really struggling in this recession (or whatever you want to call it) rang incredibly true to me.  If I hear one more story about how the very wealthy are struggling to make sense of their smaller bank accounts I may scream.

I am sure it is a harsh reality check when you can only go to Gymboree for your play sessions twice a week.  It must be really hard to come up with things to do with your kid who has more toys than the entire kindergarten class in any working class or poor neighborhood you can name.  And believe me I know how hard it is to balance a baby and making dinner at the same time, rather than ordering in.

But when I hear that the unemployment rate in Detroit, a working class city if there ever was one, is now at a 26 year high of 22.2%, those are the families I think we should be hearing about.  How are those moms and dads making it?  Families are making hard decisions about whether they are going to pay their heating bill or their food bill, whether one or both of them work isn’t even an issue that is on the table.

Maybe we should focus all of that energy we expend criticizing families for the choices they make- both parents working, one parent staying home, daycare or nanny, etc., etc.- on thinking creatively about ways to get the country back on track.

Ok. I’ll get off my soap-box now.  Happy Friday.

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