Tag - Poverty

Eight wisdoms from Arundhati Roy

Roy talks with great insight about: Capitalism, activism, Gandhi, non violence etc.

When Roy read from her essay, Listening to Grasshoppers, she said the problem with representative democracy is that there is “too much representation and not enough democracy.” She talked about how corporations have created structures that increase their decision-making power, leaving the rest of us with hapless, unimportant choices like “Pepsi or Coke?”.

Roy described how the arts has become one of the insidious ways the free market system wins control. Since it’s tough to find funding for shows and such, artists end up planning slightly more moderate events in order to secure corporate sponsors.

Read the rest at The Tyee.

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Compassion is not weakness…it’s good policy

hhhaNo reasonable person wants others to suffer. At least I used to believe that to be the case. The past few years have shown me that there really is a class of Americans perfectly willing to leave the least among us to fend for themselves. They see the social contract as being a luxury supported by losers and Liberals, a not so very good idea we can no longer afford and that only engenders dependence and sloth. What these advocates of an “every man for himself” world fail to realize is that some public assistance programs have benefits beyond merely looking out for the less fortunate. In some cases, there are actual, provable financial benefits to helping those in need of a hand up (NOTE: NOT the same as a “handout”). This is where my favorite Liberal wonk, Paul Krugman enters the picture.

Krugman makes the argument that not only are those Conservatives who oppose the food stamp program mean-spirited and shortsighted, they’re also missing the boat by denying the benefits that accrue to society from the program. It turns out that food stamps do have some very real benefits….

(Read the full post at What Would Jack Do?)

Free breakfasts: The latest Liberal plot to recruit and brainwash our precious snowflakes

hhhThere are those among us who view virtually any sort of charitable activity as borderline socialism, slowly but surely destroying the fabric of our country by creating a dependent class. That this heartless, inhuman world view is almost too absurd for words almost goes without saying. The cruelty inherent in such a cold, black view of the world is truly stunning. Enter Dennis Prager, a self-appointed expert on child hunger and all manner of other moral issues. Never being one to let facts get in the way of some truly satisfying self-righteous moral outrage, Prager is adept at cherry-picking facts and misinterpreting them to fit whatever his preconceived notion of the moment happens to be.

In this case, Prager has his panties in a wad over the Los Angeles Unified School District’s “Food for Thought” free breakfast program, which is being discontinued. The immorality of feeding children aside, Prager is all atwitter over not being able to understand the need for such a program.

(read the full post at What Would Jack Do?)

 

Sandy Brings Inequality to the Surface

David Rohde with your Hurricane Sandy must-read of the morning:

Divides between the rich and the poor are nothing new in New York, but the storm brought them vividly to the surface. There were residents like me who could invest all of their time and energy into protecting their families. And there were New Yorkers who could not.

Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city’s cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home.

New census data shows that the city is the most economically divided it has been in a decade, according to the New York Times. As has occurred across the country, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Twenty-one percent of the city is in poverty, and the median household income decreased by $821 annually. Per the Times: “Median income for the lowest fifth was $8,844, down $463 from 2010. For the highest, it was $223,285, up $1,919.”

Manhattan, the city’s wealthiest and most gentrified borough, is an extreme example. Inequality here rivals parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Last year the wealthiest 20 percent of Manhattan residents made $391,022 a year on average, according to census data. The poorest 20 percent made $9,681.

All told, Manhattan’s richest fifth made 40 times more money than its poorest fifth, up from 38 times in 2010. Only a handful of developing countries – such as Namibia and Sierra Leone – have higher inequality rates.

In the Union Square area, New York’s privileged – including myself – could have dinner, order a food delivery and pick up supplies an hour or two before Sandy made landfall. The cooks, cashiers and hotel workers who stayed at work instead of rushing home made that possible.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

(Image: david_shankbone, Flickr/CC)

Every fifth person in Spain lives in poverty, new figures show

McClatchy/DPA, By Sinikka Tarvainen, October 22

Madrid — Every fifth resident lives in poverty in Spain, new figures showed Monday.

The national statistics institute INE said 21.1 percent of the 47 million population lives below the poverty line, meaning they live on less than $9,610 annually.

That is slightly less than a year ago, when the percentage stood at 21.8 percent. The apparent improvement, however, is only due to the increase of elderly people whose pensions constitute a relatively stable income, INE said.

The number of minors aged under 16 living in poverty has increased to 21 percent from 19.4 per cent in 2011.

Update, The Telegraph: Debt crisis: Moody’s downgrades regions in Spain – live