Archive for the ‘Economic Injustice’ Tag

Uber-Privileged Feminists Say “F*ck You!” to Low Income Women   4 comments

And to lesbians and to immigrant women and really to anyone who isn’t wealthy, straight, white, and preferably male and Christian. Because that’s what you’re doing when you’re supporting the presidential aspirations of anti-feminist wingnut Michele “Kill the Poor” Bachmann. And yes, The New Agenda, a nonpartisan women’s activist group, is actually urging women to vote for Bachmann, or Palin, should she throw her hat in the ring.

For those not familiar with this organization’s history, The New Agenda was founded by former Wall Street executive Amy Siskind in the aftermath of the 2008 election. Siskind, a longtime Democrat, supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primary and, like many of us, was appalled by the sexist treatment of first Clinton, then Palin. And so The New Agenda was created to combat sexism and elect more women to political office. Laudable objectives to be sure, except for one thing: The politics of the women they champion appear to be irrelevant; simply being equipped with a vagina is all it takes to win the support of The New Agenda.

As a result, Siskind’s organization routinely supports conservative candidates whose policies do enormous harm to huge segments of the female population. Such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who championed the nation’s toughest photo ID law in an effort to disenfranchise low income voters (who tend to vote Democratic). Cheering on Bachmann, however, is a little surprising, even for The New Agenda.

For one, Bachmann is an outspoken anti-feminist who believes wives must obey their husbands. But no worries! Siskind explains that while Bachmann may not be a feminist, she’s definitely “pro-woman”! In fact, feminism is kinda passé; the new “pro-woman” movement is where it’s at!
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Jobs Aren’t Enough   5 comments

Every time I hear that the administration needs to focus on job creation or that X number of jobs have been created last month, I can’t help but wonder what kind of jobs people are talking about. Because it’s not just jobs we need. America desperately needs well-paying jobs. The type of jobs that will allow workers to buy more than the bare necessities. The type of jobs that make home ownership possible. The type of jobs that do not leave workers dependent on government assistance. The type of jobs that produce substantial tax revenue. The type of jobs that have been eliminated in droves to be replaced–in so far as they are replaced at all–by ever lower paying jobs.

The reason the economy–and with it the country–is going down the tubes can be summed up as too much wealth in too few hands. For a while, rising property values and easy availability of consumer credit shielded most people (and the economy as a whole) from feeling the pain associated with stagnant middle and working class wages, but the massive income inequality at the root of our problems has been in the making for at least thirty years. And it has finally caught up with us. The growing number of people at the bottom of the income pyramid are going without because they can’t afford to buy much-needed products and services, while those at the top horde much of their income because they already have far more than they will ever need. Unfortunately their greed knows no bounds, so we’re seeing 25% pay increases for senior executives, while low income workers in the same company must subsist on minimum wage.

Speaking of which, what’s the point of having a minimum wage that doesn’t pay enough to live on? At $8/hr, California’s minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, but it’s still grossly inadequate. According to the California Budget Project, a single adult with no kids needs to earn twice the minimum wage just to make ends meet. Note that this budget does not allow for any vacation time ever (unthinkable in the rest of the developed world), nor does it include saving money for retirement or a down payment on a house. Also not included are dental/vision coverage/care, Internet access, cable or satellite TV, costs of having a pet, travel, entertainment (e.g., movies, concerts, video games, music), or saving for emergencies (such as car repairs or the included health care plan’s $500 deductible). And, of course, the cost of having and raising kids isn’t included. Families with children need to earn three to four times the minimum wage to get by.
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Medicaid Isn’t Just for Those Undeserving Poor People   7 comments

That’s the message of several posts (like this one by TPM’s Josh Marshall) I’ve seen pop up recently on lefty blogs. Medicaid, you see, “pays the bill for 66% of all nursing home residents.” And, Josh informs his readers, “these aren’t the indigent – most\many of them are the result of middle-income people who have already run through their own money paying for their nursing home costs, and then become eligible for Medicaid. If Medicaid doesn’t pick that up anymore, who’s left? The children of the residents?”

So Josh cares about Medicaid and thinks his readers should too. But he assumes they won’t care, at least not enough, unless they believe that Medicaid cuts will affect them personally. As long as it’s just poor people suffering and dying because they can’t access medical care, that’s apparently no biggie, but raising the specter of middle class folks burning through their savings to pay for their once-middle-income parents’ nursing home care–now, THAT will get their attention. This isn’t just a case of people caring more about things that hit closer to home. Intentional or not, these posts have the unmistakable ring of “Medicaid isn’t just for those undeserving poor people; GOOD PEOPLE LIKE US could be affected!”

There are several interesting assumptions here. The first, of course, is that the readers of these liberal and progressive blogs are predominantly middle class. It never seems to occur to Josh and the others who have written similar posts that their readership could include a large percentage of poor and working class people. Assuming that they know the demographics of their readers better than I do, this would explain a lot about the focus and allegiances of the major lefty blogs. I mean, who could forget AMERICAblog’s John Aravosis complaining about not getting a stimulus check when he’s barely scraping by on $75,000/year (as a single dude with no kids, no less)? As a person who is REALLY barely scraping by, I feel a profound disconnect from much of the lefty blogosphere, particularly from the major high-traffic blogs. Reading their posts and comments, it’s abundantly clear that most of these people inhabit a world that’s very different from the one I experience every day. It’s also clear that they’re not really talking to people like me, though they sometimes talk about us.
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