Lose your job in Australia and there’s a good chance there will be a safety net to catch you. The Newstart allowance, Medicare benefits, along with other programs provide help. But it’s a very different story in the United States.
It may be the wealthiest country in the world but as documentary maker Philippe Levasseur shows in America’s Broken Dreams, when you lose your job in the US there is very little to protect you. In 2008 the global financial crisis hit the poor first, but now America’s middle class is being devastated.
Larry, 52, used to manage a large customer service department. But two years ago he lost his job and house. Today he lives in a motel room with his wife and two children and scrapes by on $820 dollars a month, welcoming tourists to Disney World. After he has paid the motel fees, he’s left with just $70 a week for food and other necessities.
Terry used to be a sales manager and enjoyed a good life until he was made redundant. He ended up roaming from motel to motel in Florida in his car and eventually was judged ‘economically incapable’ of raising his six children. The three eldest were placed in foster care.
There are currently 1,800 children growing up in the motels around Disney World. They move from school to school as their parents are forced to find cheaper accommodation.
Amber and Daniel are married but are forced to live on different sides of the United States. Why? It’s the only way they can honestly make enough money to stop themselves and their children going hungry.
Three unique stories, but all have one thing in common: they are America’s new poor, who struggle for work but can barely survive.
Filmmaker Philippe Levasseur takes his camera into car parks, trailer homes and motels across the country as middle class families try to regain the American dream. What he found is simply shocking.