Lawanda Leary and her son Reginald sit on a bench at a massive housing project for low-income families. Leary, an unemployed single mom, is planning to join the military, as a way to get benefits and offer financial stability to her son, even if it means going into a war zone and spending time apart from him.

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"Moving in and out of jobs that demand much and pay little, many people tread just above the poverty line, dangerously close to the edge of destitution. "

- The Working Poor: Invisible in America, by David Shipler

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