The Price of the American Dream

Since the economic crisis of 2009, over nine million jobs have been created in America. Officially, the recession is over. But American workers have come out of the crisis more vulnerable and even poorer than ever. 46.7 million Americans live in poverty with around 15% of the US population living below the poverty line. But they aren’t unemployed – most of them have at least two jobs. They’re ‘the working poor’. Meet the people behind America’s economic recovery.

Germania has two minimum wage jobs, working 18 hours a day. Three quarters of a her salary go on paying for the 15m square motel room she shares with her two children and her mother-in-law. But even with two jobs, she struggles to buy food for her family. In the past four months, they have stayed in five motels, moving every few weeks to ever cheaper rooms as their money runs out.

Joe and Chelsie live with their two young daughters in a tent in a church carpark. Their bathroom is a porta-potty they share with 50 other people. Around 500 families in Seattle live in these temporary camps. Like Germania, Chelsie works full time but she can no longer afford to live in the city she works in.

Trade Union leader, Scott Slawson, has worked for General Electric for 13 years. But a few days ago, he was told his job will be re-located to a state with no wages and 50% lower salaries. He doesn’t know if he will be able to find another job.


  • Year: 2016
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Babel Press
  • Director: HÉLÈNE ECKMANN
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France


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