Pregnancy-related discrimination is on the rise, for
example, and women sometimes feel as though they can’t ask
for pregnancy-related concessions without repercussions
while on-the-job. Then, once her baby is born, a new mother
may not be able to afford to take time off; when she does
finally return to work, day care costs will squeeze her
further. That first fact can also include new fathers; the
last fact doesn’t touch upon the issues of low pay for day
But they’re not alone. Everyone in what used to be the
Middle Class is feeling the squeeze, says Quart. Non-tenure
professors and teachers find themselves needing part-time
jobs to make ends meet. People who sought higher education
are finding that a degree doesn’t guarantee an income.
Immigrants who strove to become part of the Middle Class are
finding that they’ve been shut out of the dream. Tech
workers, near-retirees, and professionals alike are caught
up in the problem.
There are solutions, Quart says, but they’re hard: some
people have set up co-parent homes, in which children are
raised by multiple adults. Others try to go it alone. Some
watch a lot of TV and live tenuously, vicariously.
And some are hoping for Universal Basic Incomes, and a
More so than your average current events book, Squeezed
will elicit a whole host of emotions for most readers, and
Outrage may righteously be the first thing you’ll feel; it’s
hard to argue against statistics and author Alyssa Quart has
plenty of those to support what she says about how living in
the U.S. is becoming unaffordable for the Middle Class. Some
readers may feel a little left out, since location (city-vs.-rural)
isn’t explored quite enough here. Other readers may bristle
at occasional flippant language. Still others might note
that, while most stories are crushing, choice plays a big
part a few outcomes.
Even so, you’ll likely come back to that outrage part, for a
multitude of reasons that will spark conversations aplenty.
You’ll also think harder before you use automated check-outs
or search for a caregiver. At the very least, Squeezed
will open your eyes to American life and what’s afoot.