1. Ideological consistency, rational beliefs

    Let me get this straight. The war on poverty hasn’t completely eliminated poverty. According to conservatives, this means it’s an abject failure and we should abolish all anti-poverty programs.

    Yet the war on terror hasn’t completely eliminated terrorism and is unlikely (like most wars on concepts) to ever do so. According to conservatives, this means we just haven’t thrown enough resources (including human lives) at the problem and we should double down on our anti-terror efforts.

     
  2. Jindal and his allies want the public to see them as entirely sincere. They’re not trying to crush teachers’ unions, and they’re not on a privatization crusade, intent on destroying public institutions. They just want to help low-income children, even spending public funds to advance their goal.

    But their purported concern for the poor is literally unbelievable. When the issue is health care and housing, Jindal and other conservatives say struggling families should rely on the free market and their capacity to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. When the issue is education, suddenly the right cares deeply about disadvantaged children and is eager to “help.”

    When Jindal and other school voucher advocates are ready to assist “poor and disadvantaged” families in ways that don’t undermine public schools and teachers’ unions, I’ll gladly revisit the debate. Until then, this looks a lot like a scam.

     
  3. People can fall into the trap of blaming the poor of developing countries for the problems of the world since it is poor countries that have these massive, ballooning populations. Is is true that overpopulation in poor countries exacerbates the living conditions in those countries, but bear in mind that the average middle-class citizen of a Western nation consumes more than a hundred times the volume of resources of the average poor citizen of a developing nation. Armory Lovins calculated that the average American consumes 250 times the resources of the average Nigerian. This means that the United States has the global impact of seventy-five trillion Nigerians. I’ll go one step further: I’ll bet American citizens consume more Nigerian resources than Nigerians themselves.
    — 

    Steve Hallett and John Wright, Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future (via therecipe)

    THIS. I get very angry at liberals living in wealthy countries who deplore the ‘unsustainability’ of high population growth in the global south, but ignore the fact that the global north consumes a disproportionate share of resources. It is also often the case that the shaky economic conditions of ‘third world’ countries were created for and continue to be sustained by former colonial empires.

     
  4. image: Download

    think-progress:

We could end homelessness with the money Americans spend on Christmas decorations.


This makes for a grabby headline, but the government can’t force people to not spend money on Christmas. It can do all the other stuff. I had no idea corporate meal and entertainment write-offs came out to so much money.

    think-progress:

    We could end homelessness with the money Americans spend on Christmas decorations.

    This makes for a grabby headline, but the government can’t force people to not spend money on Christmas. It can do all the other stuff. I had no idea corporate meal and entertainment write-offs came out to so much money.

     
  5. likeafieldmouse:

    Leo Burnett - Raising the Roof (2010) - Awareness campaign for Canada’s homeless

    (Source: likeafieldmouse)

     
  6. merryplz:

andrewfishman:

Blake Fall-Conroy, “Minimum Wage Machine,” 2008-2010
This machine allows anyone to work for minimum wage for as long as they like.  Turning the crank on the side releases one penny every 4.97 seconds, for a total of $7.25 per hour.  This corresponds to minimum wage for a person in New York.  
This piece is brilliant on multiple levels, particularly as social commentary.  Without a doubt, most people who started operating the machine for fun would quickly grow disheartened and stop when realizing just how little they’re earning by turning this mindless crank.  A person would then conceivably realize that this is what nearly two million people in the United States do every day…at much harder jobs than turning a crank.  This turns the piece into a simple, yet effective argument for raising the minimum wage.  

ah yes totally mentioning this in my paper

    merryplz:

    andrewfishman:

    Blake Fall-Conroy, “Minimum Wage Machine,” 2008-2010

    This machine allows anyone to work for minimum wage for as long as they like.  Turning the crank on the side releases one penny every 4.97 seconds, for a total of $7.25 per hour.  This corresponds to minimum wage for a person in New York.  

    This piece is brilliant on multiple levels, particularly as social commentary.  Without a doubt, most people who started operating the machine for fun would quickly grow disheartened and stop when realizing just how little they’re earning by turning this mindless crank.  A person would then conceivably realize that this is what nearly two million people in the United States do every day…at much harder jobs than turning a crank.  This turns the piece into a simple, yet effective argument for raising the minimum wage.  

    ah yes totally mentioning this in my paper

     
  7. image: Download

    thepeoplesrecord:

How NYC’s plutocrat mayor made 20,000 children homelessDecember 9, 2012
There are 20,000 kids sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City, according to the city’s latest estimate, a number that does not include homeless kids who are not sleeping in shelters because their families have been turned away. Up to 65 percent of families who apply for shelter don’t get in, and their options can be grim.
“Some end up sleeping in subway trains,” Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless, tells AlterNet. “Some go to hospital emergency rooms or laundromats. Women are going back to their batterers or staying in unsafe apartments.”
Families that make it into shelters are taking longer to leave and move into stable, permanent housing. Asked by reporters why families were staying 30% longer than even last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “… it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.”
“Is it great?” he elaborated a day later in response to outcry over his comments. “No. It’s not the Plaza Hotel … but that’s not what shelter is supposed to be and that’s not what the public can afford or the public wants.”
That deep-seated empathy for the poor also runs through the mayor’s policies, which have helped create a crisis that The New York Times has called ”an emergency.” Since the mayor took office, promising to slash the rate of total homelessness by two thirds in five years, the homeless rate in New York City has ballooned to 46,000 people sleeping in shelters, an increase of almost 40 percent. The administration blames the financial crisis, but as it turns out, there are ways to make the lives of the very poor tougher in the middle of a recession: you just need to subscribe to a governing philosophy that assumes the poor are both too lazy to get on their feet and working hard day and night to cheat the system.
Here is a guide to how the Bloomberg administration managed to increase family homelessness while using up a lot of public money.
1. Cut access to federal aid
For decades, Republican and Democratic mayors kept family homelessness down by giving homeless parents and their kids priority access to federal housing subsidies and rental vouchers. But in 2004, as part of the mayor’s five-year plan to combat homelessness, the administration knocked homeless families from the top of the massive waiting list for federal rent subsidies. Administration officials, offering no empirical proof, claimed that poor people were scamming the system by moving into shelters in order to get Section 8 vouchers. (Like many conservative fantasies involving scheming minorities, it’s no doubt true that someone, somewhere, cheated - but studies show this was not a widespread problem straining the system.)
The rate of homeless families who used federal subsidies fell to the low single digits. According to Giselle Routhier, policy analyst for Coalition for the Homeless, “In fiscal year 2010, at a time of then record homelessness, homeless families received only 2 percent of the 5,500 available public housing apartments and only 3 percent of 7,500 Section 8 vouchers.”
In place of programs that gave them access to permanent housing, homeless families got the gift of personal responsibility! First the administration introduced Housing Stability Plus, a subsidy that fell by 20 percent each year. HSP was mired in controversy following revelations that families were being exposed to hazardous conditions in their new digs: “[M]any formerly homeless families and their children have suffered from lead poisoning, lack of heat and hot water, vermin infestation,” according to a Coalition for the Homeless report.
The Advantage program, introduced in 2007, helped with a percent of families’ rents (requiring they work or take job training) but cut aid after either one or two years. When their subsidies ran out, families were supposed to find their own way into permanent housing. Instead, many found their way back to the shelter, because, as homelessness advocates point out, rents did not magically go down in New York. One out of three families whose Advantage assistance expired applied for shelter in 2011, according to city numbers crunched by Coalition for the Homeless.
2. Cut and run
Still, the administration touted the program as a success, defending it against homelessness advocates and city officials who pushed the mayor to give families priority in federal housing assistance. So it was strange that when the governor of New York cut half of Advantage’s funding in March 2011, the Bloomberg administration refused to make up the difference and just killed the program. Around that time the mayor suggested that poor families were pretending to be homeless to scam Advantage subsidies.“You never know what motivates people,” he said on his radio show. “One theory is that some people have been coming into the homeless system, the shelter system, in order to qualify for a program that helps you move out of the homeless system.”
When the city officially cut the program, 15,000 families who relied on Advantage to make rent were informed by letter that they had exactly two weeks to find other arrangements. An emergency court order forced the city to continue helping families in the program, but when the order was lifted in February 2012, the city abruptly cut off aid to tenants, saddling 7,000 households with full market rent for apartments they’d struggled to pay 30% to 40% on.
The inevitable return to the shelter of many former Advantage families helped push the number of homeless people sleeping in shelters up to 43,000 in 2012. “In the last 18 months, there has been no housing plan,” Markee tells AlterNet.
3. Spend money on temporary solutions
Instead, the administration is just frantically opening up more and more emergency shelters. The AP reports that 10 new shelters for single adults and families have opened in recent months to deal with the crisis. The administration plans five more before the year is over.
The problem with that is everything. Putting up a family in a shelter costs $3,000 a month — way more than a rental subsidy. Beyond that, studies have shown that not having a permanent place to live is destabilizing and harmful to kids, even if they end up in one of those NYC shelters that so impressed the mayor with their luxury. Homeless kids get sick more often and with stranger and more serious ailments than poor kids who have homes, suffering respiratory infections and digestive infections at significantly higher rates. The lack of safe, permanent housing delays normal development and homeless kids have higher levels of anxiety and depression, which often manifest in behavioral problems.
“If homelessness is hard on adults, for the young, it can be disastrous, starting a slide into a lifetime of problems,” a NYT editorial put it. (It’s not entirely clear what the long-term impact of Hurricane Sandy will be on the city’s homelessness rates. Right now, families who lost their homes in the storm are staying in hotels paid by the city and reimbursed by FEMA.)
4. Refuse to change course
The New York City Council has outlined a plan to revive programs proven to reduce homelessness. As Christine Quinn, Annabel Palma and Coalition for the Homeless director Mary Brosnahan wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed, “That means returning to the proven strategy of setting aside a reasonable share of open slots in public housing and marshaling valuable federal housing vouchers for those trapped in the shelter system. In addition, a new rental assistance program, modeled on the successful federal voucher program, must be created.”
An assessment of the plan by the City of New York’s Independent Budget Office found, “if a total of 5,000 families a year were moved out of shelter through priority referrals for NYCHA and Section 8, family shelter costs would be $29.4 million lower, of which $11.0 million would be savings of city funds.”
So far, the administration has rebuffed the plan. At a hearing in September, Department of Homeless Services commissioner Seth Diamond pointed, improbably, to job training programs as the way to address the city’s skyrocketing homelessness. One council member called it a “head-in-the-sand” approach.
Diamond reiterated the administration’s position that shelter residents should not be prioritized for housing aid.
Source

    thepeoplesrecord:

    How NYC’s plutocrat mayor made 20,000 children homeless
    December 9, 2012

    There are 20,000 kids sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City, according to the city’s latest estimate, a number that does not include homeless kids who are not sleeping in shelters because their families have been turned away. Up to 65 percent of families who apply for shelter don’t get in, and their options can be grim.

    “Some end up sleeping in subway trains,” Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless, tells AlterNet. “Some go to hospital emergency rooms or laundromats. Women are going back to their batterers or staying in unsafe apartments.”

    Families that make it into shelters are taking longer to leave and move into stable, permanent housing. Asked by reporters why families were staying 30% longer than even last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “… it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.”

    “Is it great?” he elaborated a day later in response to outcry over his comments. “No. It’s not the Plaza Hotel … but that’s not what shelter is supposed to be and that’s not what the public can afford or the public wants.”

    That deep-seated empathy for the poor also runs through the mayor’s policies, which have helped create a crisis that The New York Times has called ”an emergency.” Since the mayor took office, promising to slash the rate of total homelessness by two thirds in five years, the homeless rate in New York City has ballooned to 46,000 people sleeping in shelters, an increase of almost 40 percent. The administration blames the financial crisis, but as it turns out, there are ways to make the lives of the very poor tougher in the middle of a recession: you just need to subscribe to a governing philosophy that assumes the poor are both too lazy to get on their feet and working hard day and night to cheat the system.

    Here is a guide to how the Bloomberg administration managed to increase family homelessness while using up a lot of public money.

    1. Cut access to federal aid

    For decades, Republican and Democratic mayors kept family homelessness down by giving homeless parents and their kids priority access to federal housing subsidies and rental vouchers. But in 2004, as part of the mayor’s five-year plan to combat homelessness, the administration knocked homeless families from the top of the massive waiting list for federal rent subsidies. Administration officials, offering no empirical proof, claimed that poor people were scamming the system by moving into shelters in order to get Section 8 vouchers. (Like many conservative fantasies involving scheming minorities, it’s no doubt true that someone, somewhere, cheated - but studies show this was not a widespread problem straining the system.)

    The rate of homeless families who used federal subsidies fell to the low single digits. According to Giselle Routhier, policy analyst for Coalition for the Homeless, “In fiscal year 2010, at a time of then record homelessness, homeless families received only 2 percent of the 5,500 available public housing apartments and only 3 percent of 7,500 Section 8 vouchers.”

    In place of programs that gave them access to permanent housing, homeless families got the gift of personal responsibility! First the administration introduced Housing Stability Plus, a subsidy that fell by 20 percent each year. HSP was mired in controversy following revelations that families were being exposed to hazardous conditions in their new digs: “[M]any formerly homeless families and their children have suffered from lead poisoning, lack of heat and hot water, vermin infestation,” according to a Coalition for the Homeless report.

    The Advantage program, introduced in 2007, helped with a percent of families’ rents (requiring they work or take job training) but cut aid after either one or two years. When their subsidies ran out, families were supposed to find their own way into permanent housing. Instead, many found their way back to the shelter, because, as homelessness advocates point out, rents did not magically go down in New York. One out of three families whose Advantage assistance expired applied for shelter in 2011, according to city numbers crunched by Coalition for the Homeless.

    2. Cut and run

    Still, the administration touted the program as a success, defending it against homelessness advocates and city officials who pushed the mayor to give families priority in federal housing assistance. So it was strange that when the governor of New York cut half of Advantage’s funding in March 2011, the Bloomberg administration refused to make up the difference and just killed the program. Around that time the mayor suggested that poor families were pretending to be homeless to scam Advantage subsidies.“You never know what motivates people,” he said on his radio show. “One theory is that some people have been coming into the homeless system, the shelter system, in order to qualify for a program that helps you move out of the homeless system.”

    When the city officially cut the program, 15,000 families who relied on Advantage to make rent were informed by letter that they had exactly two weeks to find other arrangements. An emergency court order forced the city to continue helping families in the program, but when the order was lifted in February 2012, the city abruptly cut off aid to tenants, saddling 7,000 households with full market rent for apartments they’d struggled to pay 30% to 40% on.

    The inevitable return to the shelter of many former Advantage families helped push the number of homeless people sleeping in shelters up to 43,000 in 2012. “In the last 18 months, there has been no housing plan,” Markee tells AlterNet.

    3. Spend money on temporary solutions

    Instead, the administration is just frantically opening up more and more emergency shelters. The AP reports that 10 new shelters for single adults and families have opened in recent months to deal with the crisis. The administration plans five more before the year is over.

    The problem with that is everything. Putting up a family in a shelter costs $3,000 a month — way more than a rental subsidy. Beyond that, studies have shown that not having a permanent place to live is destabilizing and harmful to kids, even if they end up in one of those NYC shelters that so impressed the mayor with their luxury. Homeless kids get sick more often and with stranger and more serious ailments than poor kids who have homes, suffering respiratory infections and digestive infections at significantly higher rates. The lack of safe, permanent housing delays normal development and homeless kids have higher levels of anxiety and depression, which often manifest in behavioral problems.

    “If homelessness is hard on adults, for the young, it can be disastrous, starting a slide into a lifetime of problems,” a NYT editorial put it. (It’s not entirely clear what the long-term impact of Hurricane Sandy will be on the city’s homelessness rates. Right now, families who lost their homes in the storm are staying in hotels paid by the city and reimbursed by FEMA.)

    4. Refuse to change course

    The New York City Council has outlined a plan to revive programs proven to reduce homelessness. As Christine Quinn, Annabel Palma and Coalition for the Homeless director Mary Brosnahan wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed, “That means returning to the proven strategy of setting aside a reasonable share of open slots in public housing and marshaling valuable federal housing vouchers for those trapped in the shelter system. In addition, a new rental assistance program, modeled on the successful federal voucher program, must be created.”

    An assessment of the plan by the City of New York’s Independent Budget Office found, “if a total of 5,000 families a year were moved out of shelter through priority referrals for NYCHA and Section 8, family shelter costs would be $29.4 million lower, of which $11.0 million would be savings of city funds.”

    So far, the administration has rebuffed the plan. At a hearing in September, Department of Homeless Services commissioner Seth Diamond pointed, improbably, to job training programs as the way to address the city’s skyrocketing homelessness. One council member called it a “head-in-the-sand” approach.

    Diamond reiterated the administration’s position that shelter residents should not be prioritized for housing aid.

    Source

     
  8. kyssthis16:

    colebloodedtruth:

    hahahahahhahahahahahahahha

    WELP!!!!!!!

    Hehe. But really, don’t touch people’s hair without their permission. In fact, don’t even ask to touch hair—it’s creepy.

    This also gives me the opportunity to be a feminist killjoy and point to this informative article about the global hair trade:

    Yet behind the bounce, the profit, and the rows of neatly packaged hair, is what hair historian Caroline Cox calls the “dark side” of the industry. With the exception of a handful of businesses such as Bloomsbury Wigs, most hair comes from countries where long, natural hair remains a badge of beauty - but where the women are poor enough to consider selling a treasured asset.

    Cox points out that such exploitation has underpinned the industry since false fronts and hair pieces became popular in the UK in Edwardian times. “It’s taking advantage of those who are disadvantaged,” she says. “Working-class women’s hair is used to bedeck the head of those who are more privileged. It’s been going on for hundreds of years.”

    Much of the hair on sale comes from small agents who tour villages in India, China, and eastern Europe, offering poverty-stricken women small payments to part with their hair. As one importer, based in Ukraine, told the New York Times recently: “They are not doing it for fun. Usually only people who have temporary financial difficulties in depressed regions sell their hair.” More worryingly, back in 2006, the Observer reported that in India some husbands were forcing their wives into selling their hair, slum children were being tricked into having their heads shaved in exchange for toys, and in one case a gang stole a woman’s hair, holding her down and cutting it off. When Victoria Beckham said in 2003 that her “extensions come from Russian prisoners, so I’ve got Russian cell block H on my head”, she may have been joking, but it was not long until the Moscow Centre for Prison Reform admittedit was possible: warders were forcibly shaving and selling the hair of prisoners. Thanks to such horror stories, reputable companies try to ensure the hair they sell is “ethical”…

    (Source: badboibilli)

     
  9. The title seems to be a bit misleading. I haven’t seen the study this piece is based on, but given what they say here, it looks like everyone does better under a Democratic administration, not just minorities or the poor. But Republican presidencies tend to be especially bad for minorities and the poor:

    Under Democratic presidents, the incomes of black families grew by an average of $895 a year, but only by $142 a year under Republicans. Across 26 years of Democratic leadership, unemployment among blacks declined by 7.9%; under 28 years of Republican presidencies, the rate increased by a net of 13.7%. Similarly, the black poverty rate fell by 23.6% under Democratic presidents and rose by 3% under Republicans.

    The results for Latinos and Asians, though based on fewer years of data, show the same pattern. For example, Latino incomes grew an average of $627 a year under Democrats and fell by $197 a year under Republicans. The data similarly show that the living standards of Asian Americans have improved under Democrats and stagnated under Republicans.

    More important, these gains do not come at the expense of whites. On average, white incomes have similarly grown, and white joblessness and poverty have likewise declined, under Democratic administrations. These numbers show that economic condition need not be a zero-sum game pitting races and ethnicities against one another.

    […]

    First, even accounting for the overall state of the economy and other longer-term trends in well-being, partisan differences persist. When controlling for inflation and changes in the gross national product, and accounting for other factors such as oil prices and the proportion of adults in the workforce, we find similarly large gains for minorities under Democrats and equally sharp losses under Republicans.

    Second, these partisan trends are remarkably consistent. Black incomes grew in 77% of the years under Democratic control, while black poverty and unemployment declined 88% and 71%, respectively. In sharp contrast, blacks lost more often than not under Republican administrations.

    Finally, the longer Democratic administrations are in office, the more they appear to help blacks and other minorities experience economic gains. As Republican presidents stay in office longer, however, the fortunes of minority groups increasingly suffer.

     
  10. jakke replied to your link: I honestly thought this was satire at first

    These stats do demonstrate a problem, but it’s not the one he’s talking about. Wages for low-skilled workers are so low relative to the cost of living that you barely get ahead by working.

    I’m not an economist, but I’ve read a fair bit about the history of the welfare system in this country and his argument sounded like the same old conservative BS about how poor people need the ‘incentive’ of dire poverty to work. The argument that a robust social welfare system encourages able-bodied poor people to be lazy moochers dates back to colonial era in this country. He should be honest and say that he thinks people who lose their jobs should be punished for not working because they somehow deserved it instead of posting all this malarkey about 100% taxation and ‘incentives’.

    It’s Calvinism disguised as economics and I hate it.

     
  11. He’s serious:

    When measured to include taxes and government benefits, poverty did not rise between 2007 and 2011, and that shows why government policy is seriously off track.

    […]

    Under the Obama administration, workers with disposable income in the neighborhood of the poverty line did not, on average, see their job losses during the recession translate into significant reductions in their disposable income.

    As Jared Bernstein put it, America had “the deepest recession since the Great Depression and poverty didn’t go up.” He shows that the percentage of people in households with disposable income less than the poverty line was 15 percent in 2011, just as it was in 2007 before the recession began. In fact, the percentage fell a bit after 2008 when the stimulus law went into effect.

    The results suggest that the government was helping too much. If they had been following the advice of Professor Tobin and all other economists who say they believe that tax rates should be less than 100 percent, the fraction of households with disposable income below the poverty line would have risen as a consequence of millions of lost jobs, just less than it would have without any government help.

    […]

    Erasing incentives is not the way to a civilized society but rather to an impoverished one.

    I guess conservatives have a different definition for ‘impoverished’ than I do.

     
  12. Why is it that the capitalist West has accumulated more resources than human history has ever witnessed, yet appears powerless to overcome poverty, starvation, exploitation, and inequality? What are the mechanisms by which affluence for a minority seems to breed hardship and indignity for the many? Why does private wealth seem to go hand in hand with public squalor? Is it, as the good-hearted liberal reformist suggests, that we have simply not got around to mopping up these pockets of human misery, but shall do so in the fullness of time [perhaps in Obama’s second term]? Or is it more plausible to maintain that there is something in the nature of capitalism itself which generates deprivation and inequality…?
     
  13. jumblejo:

    scarygodmother:

    The fact that we have to pay for period supplies is bullshit. I shouldn’t be paying for the privilege of shoving wads of bleached cotton into my twat, society should pay *me* for not bleeding all over everything they love.

    #this post brought to you buy the $30 I just had to drop at walgreens on stuff that is considerably less fun than nail polish

    oh the bolded.

    This reminds me of a post I saw here a few weeks back that pointed out how buying menstruation supplies kinda screws over poor (pre-menopausal) women. It’s an additional expense that men don’t have to worry about, but which is necessary for women (unless you expect them to sit at home on a towel all day). And—please correct me if I’m wrong—but I don’t think the government accounts for that extra $10-15 (or whatever) a month when it comes to giving aid.

     
  14. In the United States, enough food is produced for everyone to eat eight full plates of food per day—yet almost forty million Americans struggle to put food on the table and are classified as “food insecure.”
    — Chris Williams, Ecology and Socialism (via solitarysocialist)

    (Source: books.google.com)

     
  15. Charity, …is the opium of the privileged; from the good citizen who habitually drops ten kobo from his loose change and from a safe height above the bowl of the leper outside the supermarket; to the group of good citizens (like youselfs) who donate water so that some Lazarus in the slums can have a syringe boiled clean as a whistle for his jab and his sores dressed more hygienically than the rest of him; to the band Aid stars that lit up so dramatically the dark Chrismass skies of Ethiopia. While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary
    —  Antihills of the Savannah p 143. Achebe, Chinua. (via katebomz)