Welfare

Living on the edge

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"No one suffers like the poor," wrote poet, author, and screenwriter Charles Bukowski, the voice of Los Angeles' Skid Row. This is especially true of those who welfare reform has transformed from the non-working poor to the working poor, as seems to be the case in the Constitution State. Those occupying the lower end of the labor market have sisters in solidarity toiling in the academic groves of Yale. Daycare, or Yale's lack of it, forces the Eli's faculty to dig deep into their pocket to see that their charges are looked after, even while they are expected to provide daycare for the older set, a.k.a. undergraduates and emeritus professors.

The stress threatens to knock the hard-pressed academics off Yale's tenure track. Yet the budding scholars aren't exactly Philippe Petits, walking ivory tower high wires without safety nets. Should they lose balance and plunge, they can take comfort in knowing that the state will retrain them as home-health-care aides, the only job that may be more important than looking after children and one that will allow them to keep contact with the emeritus set.