Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Working Harder; Getting Poorer: Bill Maher Interviews Linda Tirado

Hand to Mouth
By Catherine Giordano

Linda Tirado, with hard work and a lot of good luck, pulled herself up by her bootstraps.  She explained poverty to the rest of us in the interview segment on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode #335, which aired on November 7, 2014.  

Her good luck began when she did a post on gawker which got picked up by Huffington Post. This led to a book deal. She said, sarcastically, “That would be Mitt Romney’s answer to poverty. ‘Why don’t you get a book deal?’” (Remember, during the campaign, Mitt Romney said poor people should start a business by borrowing money from their parents. He wasn’t being sarcastic or ironic; he was just totally clueless.) 
Read it here. This is Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense

The article is written with raw honesty.  The prose is not polished—it reads like something dashed off at 3am in the morning, and that is what make is so affecting and effective.  

Linda Tirado
Linda Tirado
Linda Tirado also talked about how people look down on poor people “for not properly wearing their hair shirt." She said that everyone is allowed to have vices, except poor people. It is a form of poor-shaming. 

Maher and Tirado also laughed at the McDonalds Employee Handbook which recommends good health practices.
  • Get daily exercise: The only exercise poor people have time for is running from their second job to their third job. 
  • Eat well:. Poor people can’t afford to buy nutritious food and they don’t have time to prepare good meals.  They need to grab something fast and cheap as they rush to their next job.  What is fast and cheap—McDonalds.
  • Get enough sleep:  When a poor person is holding down two or three low paying part time jobs (and sometimes also raising kids and going to school), eight hours sleep is a luxury they can’t afford.
I’ve been poor. I don’t recommend it.


Read the full review and recap for this episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, titled: Talking Nice.
P.S.: I wrote a post about work. How to Work Harder, Smarter, Better: Quotes from Famous People on Work. It includes “rules” for work based on inspirational quotes from famous people.  I doubt that any of these quotes would have helped Ms.Tirado--I'm sure she would have laughed at me if I had given them to her when she was poor--but they may help you.

Be sure and read her book, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, if you want to understand what it is like to be poor in America. You should also read by Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. (Click the links for more information and reviews plus a peak inside.)

Bill Maher’s Guests for November 7, 2014

Linda Tirado: Author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America, a book about what it is like to live in poverty in America 

Robert Costa: Political reporter for the Washington Post 

Kristen Soltis Anderson: Co-founder of Echelon Insights, a Republican opinion research firm, columnist for The Daily Beast, author of The New Vote. 

Lisa Kudrow: Actress, currently starring in Showtime’s Web Therapy and HBO’s The Comeback