USA on the Brink: Poverty in the Pandemic
Directed by Kristell Bernnaud and Matthieur Faurous (2020)
USA on the Brink
recounts how more than a million middle class Americans fell into poverty virtually overnight at the start of the Covid “pandemic” in March 2020. At the time of filming (in mid-2020) more than 2 1/2 million Americans had lost their jobs, with many losing their homes and struggling to feed themselves.The French filmmakers begin with some great scenes of thousands of cars (many luxury cars) lined up at a Los Angeles foodbank.
Producing a 33% drop in GDP, the Covid pandemic triggered the worst US recession since the Great Depression. As the lockdowns forced many restaurants into bankruptcy, many farmers also went bankrupt when lack of demand caused the price of milk and other food commodities to collapse.
Filming prior to the September 2020 eviction moratorium, the filmmakers also present heart breaking scenes of sheriffs evicting jobless tenants unable to pay rent with no paycheck. In Columbus Ohio, the eviction court works directly with a local charity that helps newly unemployed families avoid eviction by paying their back rent. In Missouri, a similar charity puts newly evicted families up in hotels.
At the time of filming 156,000 people were homeless in California, with the number expected to increase by 30% by the end of the year. One solution near Los Angeles is to offer families living in their cars a secure parking lot to sleep in.
In Midland Texas, viewers are is introduced to a Latino family who have no health insurance after losing their business and owe $11,000 for a hospital bill when their son breaks his arm.
*The movie was filmed prior to the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium went into effect on September 4, 2020. It expired on July 21, 2021, when the Supreme Court blocked an effort by the CDC to extend the moratorium to October 3, 2021. Several states passed their own eviction moratoriums.