This episode of Frontline zeroes in on the city of Dayton, Ohio, once a center of manufacturing, now pretty much left destitute, especially since the onset of the Great Recession (it was a Depression, seriously!) and the exit of the two big employers left in the area, GM and National Cash Register.
Fifty years ago this city was a bustling community with good jobs where stores stayed open at night to accommodate the citizens with their wallets full of cash. Now there are many neighborhoods in Dayton where there is not even a grocery store.
Jobs have returned to the area, and several manufacturing plants have opened, some foreign owned. The thing is, these jobs pay poorly. Yes some of the companies have trouble finding employees - this is not a sign of a great employment market, it is just a sign that all of the jobs, including those looking for employees, are paying so poorly that they are really no competition for people who are already working for ten bucks an hour.
There was a couple with two children, both worked two jobs, had food stamps for their kids, and still needed to go to the local food pantry to have enough to eat. One woman who worked at the food pantry mentioned that many people coming to pick up their food would say that they had to pick up at a certain time because they had to go to work. Employment is not the problem here. A living wage is.
If you ever scratch your head and ask yourself how Donald Trump could have happened, watch this and see how he likely tapped into the rage of people like the ones shown in this episode, even if he really had no solutions. At least he admitted there was a problem.
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