If I put a gun to someone’s head, say, a 30-year-old healthy male, pull the trigger, and kill him, assuming an average life expectancy of, say, 84, you can argue that possibly 54 years of life [were] stolen from that person in a direct act of violence.
However, if a person is born into poverty in the midst of an abundant society where it is statistically proven that it would hurt no one to facilitate meeting the basic needs of that person and yet they die at the age of 30 due to heart disease, which has been found to statistically relate to those who endure the stress and effects of low socioeconomic status, is that death, the removal of those 54 years once again, an act of violence?
And the answer is ‘Yes, it is.’
You see, our legal system has conditioned us to think that violence is a direct behavioral act. The truth is that violence is a process, not an act, and it can take many forms.
You cannot separate any outcome from the system by which it is oriented.
First let’s be clear about this.
“Unemployment” does not refer to people too lazy to work or to the losers who have failed to secure an available job.
What unemployment means is that there are no available jobs. It means that X number of people are being denied work. The unemployed are not those who refuse work, or who do not seek work, or even those with poor “job-seeking” skills. The unemployed are that percentage of the population whose right to earn a living is being denied to them. The 7 percent or so unemployment rate we have had in the years following the crisis year of the Great Recession refers to the percentage of the work-force for which no jobs exist to seek, to find or to fill.
This is why the better measure of unemployment is the ratio of job-seekers to job openings. That ratio has not sunk below 3 to 1 since the Great Recession. That means that if in a single miraculous instant, every mismatch of geography, skill-set and pay-scale were met and every job opening were filled at once, then two-thirds of our unemployed would remain unemployed. And at that point there would be no reason for any of them to send out résumés, brush up on their interview skills, or do any of that other victim-blaming make-work we expect them to do, unpaid, until such time as someone deigns to allow them to earn a living again.
I prefer that ratio as a measurement of unemployment because it proves — proves — that all of the moralizing lectures levied at the unemployed are cruel and absurd.
Everyone must read this.
Earlier this month, Hawaii State representative Tom Bower (D) began walking the streets of his Waikiki district with a sledgehammer, and smashing shopping carts used by homeless people. “Disgusted” by the city’s chronic homelessness problem, Bower decided to take matters into his own hands — literally. He also took to rousing homeless people if he saw them sleeping at bus stops during the day.
Bower’s tactics were over the top, and so unpopular that he quickly declared “Mission accomplished,” and retired his sledgehammer. But Bower’s frustration with his city’s homelessness problem is just an extreme example of the frustration that has led cities to pass measures that effective deal with the homeless by criminalizing homelessness.
City council members in Columbia, South Carolina, concerned that the city was becoming a “magnet for homeless people,” passed an ordinance giving the homeless the option to either relocate or get arrested. The council later rescinded the ordinance, after backlash from police officers, city workers, and advocates.
Last year, Tampa, Florida — which had the most homeless people for a mid-sized city — passed an ordinance allowing police officers to arrest anyone they saw sleeping in public, or “storing personal property in public.” The city followed up with a ban on panhandling downtown, and other locations around the city.
Philadelphia took a somewhat different approach, with a law banning the feeding of homeless people on city parkland. Religious groups objected to the ban, and announced that they would not obey it.
Raleigh, North Carolina took the step of asking religious groups to stop their longstanding practice of feeding the homeless in a downtown park on weekends. Religious leaders announced that they would risk arrest rather than stop.
This trend makes Utah’s accomplishment even more noteworthy. In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78 percent, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015.
How did Utah accomplish this? Simple. Utah solved homelessness by giving people homes. In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail says for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. Each participant in Utah’s Housing First program also gets a caseworker to help them become self-sufficient, but the keep the apartment even if they fail. The program has been so successful that other states are hoping to achieve similar results with programs modeled on Utah’s.
This is amazing.
People have been saying for years that outright giving away homes to the homeless would actually save money in the long run but I had no idea ANYWHERE in America had the balls to try it.
Also props to those Churches who were told to stop feeding homeless people and said (in a more Church-friendly way, I’m assuming) fuck the police.
Utah finally does something freaking right.
congrats utah. wish more places would do this. the saddest part is it’s not even like we don’t have enough unoccupied homes sitting around in most places.
huh. Wonder how much of the political will to do that rests on the fact that there aint a lotta black people in Utah for white people to start feeling all kinds a way about where their tax dollars are going?
White people are benefiting from this, cause it’s UTAH.
Don’t nobody else live there but THEM, so of COURSE they wanna take care of their own
[I]t is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.
Income inequality is making us sick.
Well, it’s not making all of us sick. Only the poorest of us. That’s what a new paper in Health Affairs by Hilary Seligman, Ann Bolger, David Guzman, Andrea López, and Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo found they looked at when people go to the hospital for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
The basic idea is that people struggling to make it paycheck-to-paycheck (or benefits-to-benefits) might run out of money at the end of the month—and have to cut back on food. If they have diabetes, this hunger could turn into an even more severe health problem: low blood sugar. So we should expect a surge of hypoglycemia cases at the end of each month for low-income people, but not for anybody else.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
"In other words, poorer people don’t need more care at the end of the month for every kind of condition. Just the ones that get worse when you don’t have enough to eat.” [Emphasis added]
Poverty begets illness which begets medical bills which begets poverty. It’s a cycle, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Source: The Atlantic
the thing to realize here is that conservatives find the idea of paying workers a livable wage so absurd that they make hyperbolic comparisons like this
because fifteen dollars and hour and a hundred thousand dollars an hour both mean the same thing to them; more than you deserve
ugh, this hits me like a ton of bricks. [emphasis mine]
[Credit scores as a basis for hiring is] one more way in which the system is rigged.
If you’re rich and you get divorced, it’s not going to hurt your credit rating. If you’re rich and you have a medical problem, it’s not going to hurt your credit rating. If you’re rich and you end up quitting your job or losing your job, you walk out with a whole lot of savings, you walk out with a nice package. It’s not going to hurt your credit rating.
But how about families who work hard every day, who live a lot closer to the economic margin? Those are the ones who get hit with a problem, with a medical problem, with a job loss. And boy, it’s not only the hit, it’s the financial fallout from that hit. And here’s the deal: it stays on their credit report for seven years, in some cases even longer.
So what does that really mean? This is a problem that hits hardworking families who are struggling to get back on their feet. It’s not one that hits the rich, and I think that’s just wrong.
As with so many things in this fucked up system, the less you need the help, the more you’ll get, and the more you need, the less you’ll get. “Oh, you’re struggling to get your shit together and having a job would make that possible? Yeah I think we’ll give it to the person who’s already financially stable instead. Kthxbye.”
Not to mention that credit scores themselves are, at least in Canada, based on a bogus metric that says less about your ability to effectively manage credit or repay debt and more about your ability to acquire more credit than you need and pay it off just enough that banks can earn interest off of you (which is obviously more possible for the wealthy than the poor, who get shafted either way). It’s literally just a vehicle for capitalism. (x)
What if Millennials’ aversion to car-buying isn’t a temporary side effect of the recession, but part of a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits? It’s a question that applies not only to cars, but to several other traditional categories of big spending—most notably, housing. And its answer has large implications for the future shape of the economy—and for the speed of recovery.
Read more. [Image: Kagan McLeod]
It’s safe to say that a decent number of Tumblr users are a part of the Millennial generation. So, tell us: Do you own a car or house? If not, why?
IT’S BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO DISPOSABLE INCOME YOU THUNDERING IDIOTS. Fucking preference has nothing to do with it. 50% of college graduates have no job! They all have the most student loan debt ever! What are you asking this question for?!
Also: housing is a good bit more expensive now.
My parents got a 15-year mortgage on a new house in the mid-70s. The house was $32,000. Average home price in that area now? $190,000.
So, home prices went up. Food prices went up. Health care prices went WAY UP. Rent prices went up. Higher education went up so damn high that some of us forgo that all together. Energy prices went up. Car prices went up.
Prices of prices went up.
We also pay cell phone bills, internet bills, data plans, text plans, online subscriptions, cable/satellite tv, netflix, DVR subscriptions — bills that didn’t even exist 30-40 years ago. We also use computers and smartphones and microwaves and other consumer electronics that didn’t exist 20-50 years ago.
We need medications and doctors and contact lenses and tampons and maxi pads and other things that cost money just to be alive and keep us healthy.
Most of us can’t afford to:
- Get married and have a “Traditional” big wedding
- Buy a house
- Buy a new car
- PLAN to have children
- Take two, consecutive weeks of vacation.
Jobs that paid 50k in the late 1990s now pay between 30-35. Interest rates that favor consumers have gone down.
So I say, no. We are not choosing not to buy homes. We’re not choosing to take the bus in cities where there’s no good public transit. WE ARE NOT CHOOSING TO LIVE WHAT SOCIETY DEEMS AS AN UNDESIRABLE LIFESTYLE.
Don’t even get me started on the fact that these two people in the picture are young white hipsters. Young black and brown folks have been forgoing homeownership and buying new cars for decades, this shit isn’t new, pal. You’re just acting like this shit is new because it’s hitting white folks.
anyway, my point is: We are fucking broke.
read the commentary above ^^
"Hey. Hey, guys. I know the economy being fucked up is totally our fault, but what if we tell people the next generation…wants to be poor?”
Source: The Atlantic
The fast food business model is to use the Government to compensate the workers because they are unable to live off their wages.
Thanks to Stop the World, the Teabaggers Want Off
"If you work and still need food stamps, your employer is the one getting the handout." Perfect.
Exactly what I was trying to say the other day.
A family on a healthy diet can expect to pay $2,000 more a year for food than one having less nutritious meals, say researchers who recommend that the cost gap be closed. The research in Thursday’s issue of British Medical Journal Open reviewed 27 studies from 10 high-income countries to evaluate the price differences of foods and diet patterns.
Let the record reflect the conclusive result of empirical research spanning 27 studies from 10 countries: healthy eating is fucking expensive and people who deny this reality are annoying and full of shit.
Whoever coined the phrase ‘cheaters never prosper’ was obviously ignorant of the economic history of how rich countries acquired their wealth.
The premise of minimum wage, when it was introduced, was that a single wage earner should be able to own a home and support a family. That was what it was based on; a full time job, any job, should be able to accomplish this.
The fact people scoff at this idea if presented nowadays, as though the people that ring up your groceries or hand you your burgers don’t deserve the luxury of a home and a family, is disgusting.