This week, we continue our look into structural causes of poverty, the employers who profit off it, and the workers trying to make ends meet.

Shailly Gupta Barnes, a poverty expert and policy director at the Kairos Center, unpacks new poverty data and explains that hardship is actually a lot more widespread than usually gets reported — and by a lot, we mean a lot. But, she explains, it’s also a lot simpler to solve than it sounds.

Meanwhile Sam Pizzigati calls out Dollar General, which sells discounted food in poor neighborhoods — typically by cutting back on safety and paying what can only be called poverty wages. Sam asks: Is the company, recently named America’s worst retail employer, really feeding poor people? Or simply keeping them poor?

One increasingly ubiquitous employer offering slightly better wages is Amazon. But those extra few dollars an hour also come at a cost, writes Amazon warehouse worker Denise Kohr this week. Amazon work is physically punishing, and more and more workers report sustaining serious injuries on the job only to face retribution for seeking basic, medically ordered accommodations. “I should know,” Denise writes — “it happened to me several times.” Don’t miss it!

New This Week…

The Price of Amazon’s “Prime” Business Model Is Our Bodies | Denise Kohr
The billion-dollar company profits off pushing workers like me to our physical limits — only to ignore us when we’re hurt on the job.

A Wake Up Call on Poverty | Shailly Gupta Barnes
Hardship is far more widespread than official numbers reflect. But we’ve also seen firsthand how to address it.

Time for a General Strike on Dollar General | Sam Pizzigati
Dollar General profits from paying poverty wages and selling unsafe food to poor people. It feeds off the very inequality it’s accelerating.

Cartoon: Raging Bull | Khalil Bendib
A resurgent labor movement has flipped the script on their bosses.

In Case You Missed It…

Suing for a Livable Planet | Farrah Hassen
Can Big Oil be held accountable for damaging the climate? Can politicians who enable them? People are going to court to find out.

The Science Is Clear: Marijuana Is Safer Than Tobacco | Paul Armentano
A mounting body of evidence finds the risks associated with cannabis smoke and tobacco smoke are far from equal.

Outlaws in Oklahoma City | Jim Hightower
Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clayton Bennett is the kind of outlaw Woody Guthrie warned about — one who will “rob you with a fountain pen.”

Bogus ‘Edutainment’ May Be Coming to a Classroom Near You | Svante Myrick
A far-right propaganda network is churning out subpar, silly, and inaccurate school curricula. Here’s how to fight back for our children’s future.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the communications director of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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