#1 You can't possible know how it feels to "not get by" when you know at all times that you can always - always - produce your credit card (full of credit of course) from your wallet and just call it a night and go back to your real life doing whatever it is that you want to do because you can.
#2 "Not getting by" means you've done too many bad decisions in your life for far too long. I'd hate to be that guy who always says: "I told you so!" but I'd have to agree with him. Provided that you live in first world countries - of course.
I know about that book too where one young American male proves that it is still possible to start from scratch in the US of A with a right attitude and with just a handful of dollars in your hand to be able to leave poverty behind you in less than a year (or even six months, whatever, it doesn't really matter either way).
While Ehrenreich certainly self-sabotaged her own way out of her self-imposed poverty, the walk away message is still clear: folks have to work ever harder if they want to get ahead in life and that even one minor slip-up could possible be all it takes to hurl you into the gutter.
What about the other fella then?
Well, let me see. Hmmm... young, healthy, educated, white, self-assertive and motivated (or rather determined to make a point) man can actually pull off a stunt like that? Whoa. Who would have guessed?
It all boils down to what we still consider as being reasonable and unreasonable. If you've never taken that plunge, you probably don't have a clue. For your sake I hope you stay on the saddle for I'm not sure you could ever honestly make that climb back on. But let's just keep on calling people who can't find work or keep it, lazy. That ought to do it.