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America's broken dreams - Four corners


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#1 bluecardigans

Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:06 PM

Did anyone catch the Four Corners episode this week?  Very, very sad.  Watching those two gorgeous babies sleep in a car every night was heartbreaking.  

Four corners. You can watch it on iview.

Edited by Display anemone, 15 February 2013 - 03:09 PM.


#2 Comrade Borgia

Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:11 PM

yes I watched it, utterly depressing. I think families here might end up slightly (ever so slightly) better off, as we do have a bit more of a welfare safety net than the States. But only by a slight margin and I dare say there are families here who would have similar stories to tell.

I felt so sorry for that poor woman, going for the job interview with her kids, they were over it and mucking up, in the end she was over it and walked out - and I bet there would be unfeeling people out there who would then label her a quitter mad.gif

It really upset me and I couldnt sleep very well on Monday night...having said that I do recommend people watch it - its something we all need to see.

Edited by Lucretia Borgia, 15 February 2013 - 03:24 PM.


#3 TwiceThe Woman

Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

OMG - it is shocking.....
In the "great land of opportunity" there are 47.5 MILLION people on or below the poverty line.
Words fail me.  
That young couple with their two children..... cry1.gif      
oh, and the man who didn't want to "impose" on his friends any longer to have a shower..........ummm, I asked myself why don't his friends give him a room?  Even a garage would be better and safer than living out of a car.
The good ol' US of A is toppling off it's pedestal.  It is truely heartbreaking.


#4 Coffeegirl

Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

It is quite scary to visit LA now (and other areas) and see so many homeless on the steeets.  

I mean the US has always had problems with homelessness, but it is getting really bad.   I remember the drive from the airport to our hotel and going under one of those giant overpasses and there must have been 50 people living under there.

The US has never been a country that helps it's poorest people.  Sure they can claim unemployment, but you need an address to send a cheque to, and no home, means no address.   Hundreds of families falling through the cracks sad.gif

And the lobbyists are so good at scaremongering and spending millions on scaring the people into believing that the suggested Medicare system (as propsed by Obama) would be an invasion of their rights.  I had US friends (who I thought were intelligent) tell me that it was just a way for the government to collect more data about them and tax them 50% or more  huh.gif   They absolutely could not comprehend the idea of relatively free medical services for all residents like we have here, nor that we didn't pay that much more in taxes than they did.

#5 SlightlyLeftFeral

Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:25 PM

I watched it, it was heartbreaking.

Whilst our welfare system is far from perfect, it is a lot better than what those poor people are getting.

It really highlights why we need a strong safety net for those who find themselves unemployed or under employed.

#6 LambChop

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:22 PM

More heart breaking than watching, is being there and seeing for yourself... definitely makes you realise how lucky we are in Australia to have choices.

#7 bluecardigans

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

It blew me away that it was so common that contingencies had been set up such as the opening of the car parks for families to park in overnight while they slept in their cars.  How on earth do you raise productive adults in a car?

#8 TwiceThe Woman

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

With good family relationships & attitudes being crucial to good mental health, I feel (hope) that the young couple will "make it" once / if, they get employment.  They seem to have a good attitude towards each other and about it all.
I like that the church opens it's car park at night, turns the lights out, then locks the carpark and keeps it supervised overnight - at least this means that the couples could sleep better & and are secure while they sleep.  I'd guess that they let them use the bathrooms in the morning too.
Good practical use of church property.  
Great attitudes from those people who supervise.

#9 JJ

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:03 PM

Just watched it, thanks for the link. I've seen a few similar shows previously.

I have some US friends who are in these situations (online friends but have known them all for 10+ years) - no one is homeless at this point, but living in a tiny flat with a bunch of kids (in pictures it looks a lot like that first motel room in the doco), another one looking at living in a trailer, no medical care even though some of them are really unwell (if worse comes to the worst, they'll go to an ER and end up with a huge bill), no health insurance also means no intervention/help for kids with special needs, and they're always just one small, unexpected thing away from losing everything. Unless there are relatives who can help out a little, there is no safety net. No family + something bad happens = you're well and truly on your own and royally screwed.

I think if things don't change for the better, it may well result in all-out war. It's exactly the kind of situation that is an ideal breeding ground for very radical views and actions. I find the whole thing incredibly troubling. It's a time bomb.

#10 bluecardigans

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

QUOTE (TwiceThe Woman @ 15/02/2013, 06:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I like that the church opens it's car park at night, turns the lights out, then locks the carpark and keeps it supervised overnight - at least this means that the couples could sleep better & and are secure while they sleep.  I'd guess that they let them use the bathrooms in the morning too.
Good practical use of church property.  
Great attitudes from those people who supervise.

Of course, without a doubt. It is just so sad that there are so many families sleeping in their cars in one area that they can fill an entire car park.


#11 Maniacal_laugh

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

Thanks for the link, Ive started watching it.

Reminds me of the movie 'Wendy and Lucy' with Michelle Williams. You could feel the tension in every moment of the film, how close she was to losing absolutely everything, and how the smallest bit of bad luck could lead into a downward spiral. Well worth a watch if you haven't seen it.

#12 Snot stew

Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:55 PM

Thanks for letting us know about this, I will watch it later original.gif.


#13 zande

Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:13 PM

It was incredibly sad, I really felt for those 2 little ones, trying to imagine how hard it would be as a mother to go through that.

#14 kpingitquiet

Posted 15 February 2013 - 06:24 PM

I haven't seen it, but I don't really have to. I've been homeless, living in my car and/or couch-surfing from friend to friend, even sleeping in a friend's business for a time, in the US more than once. It's certainly not great. What I will say is while there is not much assistance for people with no children (as I was at the time) it is a bit easier to get out of a bad situation, there, as long as there are not compounding issues like addiction and other mental illness. This is entirely due to the low cost of living and the very large service industry jobforce (gas stations, food service, grocery stores, big box stores, etc).

WITH children, it's far more difficult (if not nigh on impossible) to find work, as I'm sure the show pointed out. Though there is a large amount of assistance available for children, not everyone knows how to access it, or even where to begin to look.

#15 Chasing*Rainbows

Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

Gosh that's heartbreaking. The poor women with the 2 babies just broke my heart.

#16 B.feral3

Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:14 PM

That was terrible. Next weeks episode regarding our two governments spending billions on some new military planes really demonstrates how messed up things really are.

I wondered what she was going to do with her children had she got the job at the hotel.  unsure.gif I don't think there was much chance of her getting it; she looked like she hadn't washed in a month. What a cruel vicious circle.  sad.gif

#17 loubee

Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:54 PM

I watched it too, breaks my heart to see people living like that. The little boy from the family of 6 was just tragic, I felt the world on his shoulders when they asked what he dreams about - nightmares  sad.gif . All of them such sad stories, you can only hope the young couple can get something togetherbefore their girls are old enough to remember such a life.


#18 Comrade Borgia

Posted 15 February 2013 - 07:57 PM

QUOTE (loubee @ 15/02/2013, 08:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I watched it too, breaks my heart to see people living like that. The little boy from the family of 6 was just tragic, I felt the world on his shoulders when they asked what he dreams about - nightmares  sad.gif . All of them such sad stories, you can only hope the young couple can get something togetherbefore their girls are old enough to remember such a life.

sad.gif
He broke my heart that little boy....wise beyond his years....


#19 CourtesanNewton

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:06 PM

And even if they get jobs the wages are so low as to be laughable. You're still on the poverty line, you're just working poor. It's worth thinking about next time people start complaining about things costing more in supermarkets, restaurants and shops in general in Australia. They cost more because the staff get a wage they can actually live on. I know just going from my own wage as a supermarket worker, I earn at least 3 times what many retail workers in the US earn. Plus family benefits, plus medicare, plus super.

#20 kpingitquiet

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

Depends on the state, redkris. States with unions, like California, were paying $15-20 for checkout jobs in the early 2000s, more now. States like Virginia, with no unions, were paying around $7.50 in 1998 and around $9-10 now. However, you can also get a 2br apt for ~$700/mo (~$160/wk) or less in those cheaper states. The benefits are the bigger issue. Lots of grocery stores like to scoot around the benefits regulations by keeping staff at juuuuuuust slightly under the 6-month full-time requirement for coverage. If you do get over the line though, the coverage is amazing, but it's not that easy to get in the widely available low-skill/unskilled job markets that most desperate people are in.

#21 bluecardigans

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:40 PM

The gentleman featured in the documentary who worked at Disney World makes $8.20ph.   sad.gif

#22 B.feral3

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

QUOTE (Display anemone @ 15/02/2013, 08:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The gentleman featured in the documentary who worked at Disney World makes $8.20ph.   sad.gif


I know. He'd worked his way up to that too. He certainly went to work each day with a big fat smile on his face though because he was one of the lucky ones with a job.


#23 CourtesanNewton

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

QUOTE
Lots of grocery stores like to scoot around the benefits regulations by keeping staff at juuuuuuust slightly under the 6-month full-time requirement for coverage. If you do get over the line though, the coverage is amazing, but it's not that easy to get in the widely available low-skill/unskilled job markets that most desperate people are in.

I can completely believe that actually. I do think having a pretty massive union has helped retail workers in this country a lot. I also know that it's actually really hard to fire a worker from one of the big 2 supermarket chains as well (which can be frustrating but also works in the employee's favour)

#24 jedimaster

Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:55 PM

I checked and its on again on ABC2 tomorrow night, 7.30. I will watch it then thanks OP.

#25 Comrade Borgia

Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:02 PM

I think we do realise it.....I'll save my sympathy for those who can't afford a roof over their own head, as opposed to those who can afford to have their own business ...





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