The XX Factor

My Friend and the Rising Poverty Rate

How incredibly dispiriting that the poverty rate has hit a 15-year high in the middle of the Obama presidency. A friend of mine who is a 27-year-old single mom just got laid off from her job with the city of Bridgeport, Conn. Her salary put her one notch above the poverty line, but this is her second layoff in two years. The first one lasted 10 months, so she has almost used up her eligibility for unemployment benefits. None of this has anything to do with her job performance. The Bridgeport layoffs are part of an effort to close the city’s $8 million budget hole .  Honestly, I don’t know enough about Bridgeport’s finances to know if the city has been profligate, or the union unreasonable, or what. But this seems so wrongheaded-putting municipal employees out of work as the country fights off a double-dip recession. Where are those stimulus funds? Watching my friend struggle to raise her sweet boy and stay in college, after more than three years of night school, really brings home what this crappy economy means. If anyone knows of a job opening in southern Connecticut for a smart, reliable, diligent office administrator, please write to me here or on my Facebook page.

Photograph by Tom Pettington for Getty Images.