HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

 

Unnatural disaster

by Tom Sullivan

Call them the “working homeless,” a term now a thing in this "low-wage/high-rent society." Matthew Desmond profiles the struggles of the working poor in a major report for the New York Times. Lack of jobs is not the problem, but lack of jobs that pay enough to live on.

Productivity has increased 77 percent since 1973. And hourly pay? Twelve percent. If the federal minimum wage had kept pace, it would be over $20 an hour. Instead, it sits at $7.25, poverty level:

American workers are being shut out of the profits they are helping to generate. The decline of unions is a big reason. During the 20th century, inequality in America decreased when unionization increased, but economic transformations and political attacks have crippled organized labor, emboldening corporate interests and disempowering the rank and file. This imbalanced economy explains why America’s poverty rate has remained consistent over the past several decades, even as per capita welfare spending has increased. It’s not that safety-net programs don’t help; on the contrary, they lift millions of families above the poverty line each year. But one of the most effective antipoverty solutions is a decent-paying job, and those have become scarce for people like Vanessa. Today, 41.7 million laborers — nearly a third of the American work force — earn less than $12 an hour, and almost none of their employers offer health insurance.
A popular narrative for explaining the lack of social mobility is belief that the poor deserve their lot. They are lazy. They lack ambition. The attitude is social Darwinism from people who loathe Darwin. The poor lack the gene for entrepreneurship. If they are unwilling to work and take risks, let nature take its course.

But most of the poor do work. They just cannot live on what it pays:
Americans often assume that the poor do not work. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, nearly two-thirds of respondents did not think most poor people held a steady job; in reality, that year a majority of nondisabled working-age adults were part of the labor force. Slightly over one-third of respondents in the survey believed that most welfare recipients would prefer to stay on welfare rather than earn a living. These sorts of assumptions about the poor are an American phenomenon. A 2013 study by the sociologist Ofer Sharone found that unemployed workers in the United States blame themselves, while unemployed workers in Israel blame the hiring system. When Americans see a homeless man cocooned in blankets, we often wonder how he failed. When the French see the same man, they wonder how the state failed him.

If you believe that people are poor because they are not working, then the solution is not to make work pay but to make the poor work — to force them to clock in somewhere, anywhere, and log as many hours as they can. But consider Vanessa. Her story is emblematic of a larger problem: the fact that millions of Americans work with little hope of finding security and comfort. In recent decades, America has witnessed the rise of bad jobs offering low pay, no benefits and little certainty. When it comes to poverty, a willingness to work is not the problem, and work itself is no longer the solution.
This is not "just the way things are." People make choices, and not just the poor. The economic system we created — invented, honed, and nurtured — was designed by and for the people who use money to make money. It is working very well for them, and they have no interest in helping those lower on the economic ladder climb it. Matt Taibbi wrote of two Americas in "Griftopia,"one for the grifter class and one for everybody else. In everybody-else land ... the government is something to be avoided." For the grifter class, government is "a tool for making money.” Exhibit A: our Grifter-in-Chief.

Perhaps the two biggest obstacles to reducing the shameful rate of poverty in this "greatest country on earth" is a warped mindset that says the poor are responsible for their poverty, and an economy designed and run to benefit the sharks who ensure they stay there. This is not a boat accident. "Anything we can create we can reinvent," says Gabriella Lemus, president of Progressive Caucus.

The problem is getting there from here. Time to re-post this video from 2015.



Make that three obstacles. Problems identified. Solutions proposed. But the issue with videos progressives produce to promote change, Anat Shenker-Osorio (@anatosaurus) wrote in a Facebook post yesterday is failure to communicate:
Fed Ex is in the business of wage slavery and sells us beautiful tomorrows. Elizabeth Warren is in the business of beautiful tomorrows and sells us algebra homework. Aka “boy have I got a problem for you.” One of these sells the brownie. The other sells the recipe at the back of the cardboard box.
Here's the message from Fed-Ex Shenker-Osorio cited:



We're too busy showing off how smart we are to communicate effectively. We're fighting for change with our creativity tied behind our backs. People suffer for it.

* * * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.