cover image Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America

Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America

Alissa Quart. Ecco, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-241225-6

Quart, editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, deep dives into the struggle of ordinary families whose middle-class American dream is frustratingly out of reach. Pregnancy discrimination, childcare that can cost more than college, crippling student loan debt, limitations on midlife career makeovers, and robots replacing humans are just some of the barriers to job stability and financial solvency she covers. Quart understands and communicates well about the myriad, complex, situations that prevent many contemporary families from achieving a standard of living comparable to that of their parents. Her profiles include the “hyper-educated poor,” adjunct professors who live in poverty, barely making a living wage; “extreme day care,” which can include 24-hour childcare for parents with harsh and erratic work schedules; and impoverished immigrant nannies, who are underemployed and often separated from their own families while caring for their employers’ children. Quart details sound policy-related solutions—an adjunct rights movement; free preschool; welfare-type assistance for elder care and childcare; an end to federal funding for sketchy, for-profit schools; and universal basic income. Her ambitious, top-tier reportage tells a powerful story of America today. (June)