At the end of the day, Talia Jane has to take responsibility for her life. It’s up to her, not her employer, to make sure that she can look after herself.
In this instance, Talia chose a place to live which she couldn’t afford. Her rent and the cost of transportation used up almost her entire pay check. If she can’t pay rent, get to work and feed herself on her income, then she needs to either make more money or spend less. It’s her life and she can make her own financial decisions. Making sure that her income exceeds her expenses is not the employer’s problem to solve.
I read Talia’s posts and she seems like a very nice person. I’m sorry that she’s in such difficult financial circumstances and hope that she catches a break soon.
As far as how America used to be, two generations ago my family was comprised of factory workers. They didn’t live by themselves in one of the most expensive cities in America. There were a lot of people sharing one house and they counted their pennies. I suspect that life in the US is much better now for low-income people than it was 50 or 100 years ago.