Why does Larraine spend her money the way she does?

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It's fair to say that Larraine, a resident of the trailer park, has a bit of a problem when it comes to spending. She thinks nothing of blowing $200 on a jar of beauty cream instead of paying her rent. She's equally improvident when it comes to food stamps, using up her entire month's allocation to buy two lobster tails, shrimp, crab legs, salad, and lemon meringue pie, all of which she consumes at one sitting.

This is very much a "chicken and egg" question we're dealing with here. There's no definitive answer; much depends on one's own political outlook. The author of Evicted, Matthew Desmond , approaches the problem from a liberal perspective. He thinks that Larraine's improvident spending habits are a symptom of her poverty rather than its cause. A chronic lack of money encourages the poor to spend what little they have on things that make them feel good, feel better about...

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