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Byline: Joelle Tessler
Aug. 6--Charles Brown has worked long and hard to pull together the life he has today. He, his wife and their 11-year-old son live in a big, bright, airy home in the East San Jose foothills. From their deck, they have an expansive view of the surrounding suburbs and a country-club golf course below.
But in April, Brown lost his job as a product manager for technology distributor Bell Microproducts. And now everything he has built over the years seems a lot less secure.
"It's scary," Brown said. "You start to ask: Can you pay your bills? Can you afford food? Will I get a job before the bill collectors come?"
In many …