Jack Saturday

Monday, February 08, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1413-1415

We are often told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are, no doubt, but the best amongst the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious. They are quite right to be so. Charity they feel to be a ridiculously inadequate mode of partial restitution, or a sentimental dole, usually accompanied by some impertinent attempt on the part of the sentimentalist to tyrannize over their private lives. Why should they be grateful for the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table? They should be seated at the board, and are beginning to know it. As for being discontented, a man who would not be discontented with such surroundings and such a low mode of life would be a perfect brute. Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
Oscar Wilde

 The most recent data from 2012 estimates that four million Canadians are "food insecure." More concretely, this means that, 310,000 adults had times when they were hungry, but could not afford to eat. Out of these, 200,000 actually lost weight because they could not afford to buy food. Approximately 190,000 households were also unable to feed their children a balanced meal because they did not have enough money.

And while the average Canadian spends only 10 per cent of their income on food, low income households may spend as much as 75 per cent. So, naturally, when food prices go up, those least able to deal with the financial shock are often the hardest hit.

In response, some well-meaning activists urge us to carry on the "giving spirit of the holidays" into the new year by donating to food banks and other social service agencies...

However, this sort of philanthropy is dangerous. As Alberta Views magazine argued so well, private support to such charities allows the government to avoid fulfilling its responsibilities of providing basic services...

Just as we would not accept that someone's ability to visit the doctor when ill or the right of a child to attend school should be left to other people's generosity, the better-off should not be determining if and what the poorest eat.

Which begs the question: why are our taxes not being used to ensure that sufficient, nutritious food is accessible to all Canadians?
Need for national food policy intensifies as costs soar and food insecurity remains
By Raksha Vasudevan


February 2, 2016
[emphasis JS]

 Nearly 220,000 Ohio children under six are poor and young children of color are more likely to be poor. More than half (55.5 percent) of Black children, 40.3 percent of Hispanic, and 19.1 percent of White children under six in Ohio are poor; 21 percent of them live in families where at least one parent works full-time year-round; 47 percent have at least one parent working part of the year or part-time; and 32 percent have no employed parent. Nearly one in four Ohio children lacks consistent access to adequate food—that’s 653,410 Ohio children of all ages in every corner of the state. Nationally, 15.3 million children were food insecure in 2014. The majority live in families with one or more working adults—but are still unable to consistently afford enough food to keep the wolves of hunger from their door.

There is no excuse for any child in America to go hungry and malnourished in the richest nation on Earth.
Mrs. Coretta Scott King once said, “I must remind you that starving a child is violence.”
Hungry Children in Rich America
Marian Wright Edelman
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Huffington Post

[emphasis JS]

Monday, February 01, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1410-1412

The increased cost of living in B.C. coupled with the country’s highest rate of working-age people living in poverty is likely behind a sharp increase in the use of payday loans in this province, according to Canada’s largest credit union.

A study by Vancity shows the use of payday loans in B.C. jumped 58 per cent between 2012 and 2014 to the point where nearly 200,000 adults use the service.

“The surprise for us is just how the numbers have changed so rapidly,” said Vancity senior vice-president Linda Morris. “To see payday loan usage up nearly 60 per cent [is] troubling to us."
She said even more troubling is more people now have many loans — “people with 15 payday loans has skyrocketed by 600 per cent.”

January 29, 2016 06:00 AMz
[emphasis JS]

 Crowds of young people milled in the streets as residents inspected the damage. Few voiced support for the looting, but they warned that people were cracking under economic hardship and unemployment.

“What happened here was mostly stealing,” said Moez Hlel, 28, who works as a cook.

He said he had seen looters carrying off a refrigerator the night before. “But in other places people are poor; they do not have enough to eat.”

“People are fed up; they cannot take it anymore,” he said, grasping his throat in a choking gesture.

“From the top to the bottom, the officials are corrupt,” he said.

Tunisia Sets Nationwide Curfew Amid Growing Unrest

New York Times
JAN. 22, 2016
[emphasis JS]

 Over five million jobs may be lost over the next five years globally due to the fourth industrial revolution and other socio-economic and demographic changes, but India and GCC countries are among a few countries with positive employment outlook, a new study showed on Monday.

...redundancy, automation or disintermediation, with the greatest losses in white-collar office and administrative roles.

Filed on January 18, 2016
[emphasis JS]


Monday, January 25, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1407-1409

A few weeks later, your boss calls a one-on-one in his office, walks up behind you, and stands too close. His breath fogs your neck. His hand crawls up your new dress. You squirm away. He says, “Sorry, I thought…”

You know what to do. You’re just shocked to find you’re not doing it. You are not telling him to fuck off. You are not storming out. All you’re doing is math. You have $159 in the bank and your car payment and your maxed out credit cards and you’ll die before you ask your dad for a loan again and it all equals one thought: I need this job.
A Story of a Fuck Off Fund

Paulette Perhach
[emphasis JS]

 The richest one percent of the world’s population now own more than the rest of us combined, aid group Oxfam said Monday, on the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

“Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population — a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago”...

"One of the other key trends behind rising inequality set out in Oxfam International’s report is the falling share of national income going to workers in almost all developed and most developing countries… The majority of low paid workers around the world are women.”
Richest 1 Percent Now Own More Than the Rest of Us Combined: Oxfam
January 18, 2016

[emphasis JS]

 True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
Martin Luther King Jr.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Discussing the lucky ones - with jobs.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1404-1406

…the overall number of private-sector jobs is still far too few. In the last two years, according to the European Central Bank, 2.16 million jobs were created in the eurozone: 724,000 in Spain, 592,000 in Germany, but only 127,000 in Italy. And of these, almost two-thirds are part time. Unemployment in Germany is 6.3 percent; in Italy it’s going down, but is still high at 11.3 percent. And only 15.1 percent of Italians between 15 and 24 have a job at all, against 43.8 percent in Germany.

And so, even as Mr. Renzi and the Italian media celebrate the private sector, many Italians are longing for the security of the dull but solid life of the government clerk.
The Secret Behind Italy’s Favorite New Film
Beppe Severgnini JAN. 14, 2016
   New York Times
    [emphasis JS]

 According to the Wall Street Journal, today's jobs report imposes a huge amount of pressure on the Fed. Jobs are up; half the jobs created are temporary positions. The rest are in service industries that pay very low wages and no benefits.

Wages went down again this month, making it harder or nearly impossible for a family to make ends meet. Temporary positions, when finished, will lead to many more unemployed people. Part time jobs, a sizable chunk of the jobs that have been created, aren’t enough for a family to live on.

Our economy and GDP have been growing in the 2% range, the lowest in the last 50 years.

The economy is not working for the majority of Americans.
Why Can’t People Be Told The Truth #Economy
   Andrew S. Ginsburg
    [emphasis JS]

 …outsourcing is not the main driver of domestic job loss.
 a lot of the manufacturing jobs the United States lost over the past 50 years didn’t go overseas; they simply disappeared with the advent of new technology.

James Sherk, a research fellow in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation, said the trend in machines taking over factory work that was previously done by humans has been going on since the 1950s. But for presidential candidates, it’s a lot easier to blame other countries rather than robots.
Don’t blame stingy companies or over-regulation by the government; blame the rapid progress of technology.
Instead of talking down to blue-collar workers, candidates should admit that trying to restore manufacturing to what it once was in this country is not an attainable, or even a desirable, goal.
Machines are cheaper than people, marginal wage increase or not.
Time to Talk Robots

Emma Roller JAN. 5, 2016
    New York Times
     [emphasis JS] 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1401-1403

The feminist argument for a U.B.I. is that it’s a way to reimburse mothers and other caregivers for the heavy lifting they now do free of charge. Roughly one-fifth of Americans have children 18 or under. Many also attend to ill or elderly relatives. They perform these labors out of love or a sense of duty, but still, at some point during the diaper-changing or bedpan cleaning, they have to wonder why their efforts aren’t seen as “work.” They may even ask why they have to pay for the privilege of doing it, by cutting back on their hours or quitting jobs to stay home.
It’s Payback Time for Women
Judith Shulevitz
New York Times

JAN. 8, 2016
[emphasis JS]

For centuries we have tapped the potential of only a small proportion of the British people; the rest have been powerless to initiate or discover where their true talents lay. With the UBI, innovators would be given the room to experiment knowing they would still have something to fall back on; it would see more small businesses and less grovelling on Dragons’ Den.
A no-strings basic income? If it works for the royal family, it can work for us all
John O'Farrell
  [emphasis JS] 

It’s time for a true nonpartisan extremist, one whose platform combines the following:

■ A single-payer universal health care system. If it can work for Canada, Australia and Sweden and provide generally better health outcomes at lower prices, it can work for us, and get U.S. companies out of the health care business.

■ Expansion of the earned-income tax credit to top-up wages for low-income workers and introduction of a negative income tax to ensure a government-guaranteed income floor for every American. In an age when machines are gobbling low-skilled jobs, we’ll need both.
Up With Extremism
Thomas L. Friedman
New York Times

JAN. 6, 2016
     [emphasis JS] 

Monday, January 04, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1398-1400

The myth that basic income “would be extremely expensive” is often stated as fact without supporting evidence. To realize it fully in Canada could require an investment in the range of $32 billion, as Goar mentions. Such a number seems large but in 2013 it comprised but 1.7 per cent of the value of Canada’s gross domestic product, estimated at $1.82 trillion.

What must also be factored are (1) the efficiencies from redirecting the funds of ineffective and even harmful programs (notably stigmatizing welfare) into a basic income, and (2) the savings from avoiding poverty’s immense cost. A 2008 study estimated $72 billion to $86 billion as the price Canadians pay for health care, criminal justice and lost productivity costs associated with poverty. Poverty’s demand on health care alone may now approach $40 billion per year.
How can we not afford a ‘basic annual income’?
Rob Rainer Kelly Ernst

[emphasis JS]

 The Citizens Income Trust has shown that by eliminating all welfare payments and the personal tax exemption, a Basic Income Guarantee can be made close to revenue neutral. But making Basic Income revenue neutral might obviate one of its most profound benefits. Since the financial crisis, central banks have tried to stimulate the economy mostly by creating money and giving it to banks, hoping that would entice them to lend. So far, the results have been mediocre. The Basic Income would instead “helicopter drop” money straight into individual’s bank accounts, thus enabling them to spend.
Traditionally, progressives have focused on stimulating employment and raising wages. But automation and software today are job killers. The “Rise of the Robots” threatens to destroy up to 47 per cent of all existing jobs within the next two decades. A robot may be able to build an iPhone but it cannot buy one. A Basic Income Guarantee will eliminate poverty, lessen inequality, destroy bureaucracy, and empower the most vulnerable among us but perhaps even more important, it would solve capitalism’s most basic and growing problem, lack of demand.
Should governments give away more money?
by Tom Streithorst
December 30, 2015

Prospect Magazine

[emphasis JS]

Personal conflicts between husband, wife, and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars is eliminated.
Martin Luther King Jr.      

Monday, December 28, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1395-1397

For starters, I wrote a blog post about quitting my job and it got some attention. I heard from so many people with the same story. From junior designers getting their feet wet for the first time, all the way up to senior execs and newly established millionaires who seemed to have it all.

Everyone said the same thing — that they feel like they’re losing their souls by staying, and yet they can’t find the courage to leave.
Linda Eliasen

On Quitting: Part II

December 10, 2015

 Several recent studies have furthered our awareness of the pathologies caused by the breakdown of connection and community. According to a recent report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, white, uneducated, middle- and working-class adults between the ages of 45 and 54 are now dying at higher rates than ever before, deaths involving suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and liver disease. The stresses of economic stagnation, along with the increased availability of prescription painkillers seem to be two factors behind his increase. The authors also suggest that hopelessness and the helplessness of social isolation—the breakdown of a sense of meaning and purpose—were common threads in the people at increased risk. As Johann Hari documents in his book, Chasing the Scream, it is emotional trauma and social disconnectedness—rather than the compellingly addictive power or “hook” of certain substances themselves—that offer the best explanations of the causes of addiction today.
Researchers and theorists have pointed to many factors that could be causing this depressing trend. The decline of social and community organizations, along with volunteerism, the increasingly long work days and commutes, the growth of two-career and single parent families, the privatizing effects of television, the decline in direct personal conversations caused by social media and the Internet,
How Can We Stop America's Deadly Epidemic of Loneliness?

By Michael Bader, DMH / AlterNet
December 22, 2015

[emphasis JS]

President Barack Obama’s 16-day Christmas getaway in Hawaii will bring the cost of his family’s personal travel during his time in office to more than $70 million, according to a new study.

This year alone the estimated bill for the first family’s holidays was $11.6 million, including golf trips to Florida and California, and Michelle Obama going skiing in Aspen. It costs just over $200,000 an hour to fly Air Force One, meaning $3.6 million for the round trip from Washington to Hawaii. It is the Obamas’ seventh family holiday in Hawaii during his presidency.
‘The Obamas are treating Air Force One like an Uber ride’: First family’s travel tab tops $70 million
National Post
Nick Allen, The Telegraph | December 21, 2015

[emphasis JS]


Monday, December 21, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1392-1394

According to the Social Security Administration, over half of Americans make less than $30,000 per year.

That's less than an appropriate average living wage of $16.87 per hour, as calculated by Alliance for a Just Society (AJS), and it's not enough -- even with two full-time workers -- to attain an "adequate but modest living standard" for a family of four, which at the median is over $60,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

AJS also found that there are 7 job seekers for every job opening that pays enough ($15/hr) for a single adult to make ends meet.
Market watchers rave about 'strong' and even 'blockbuster' job reports. But any upbeat news about the unemployment rate should be balanced against the fact that nine of the ten fastest growing occupations don't require a college degree. Jobs gained since the recession are paying 23 percent less than jobs lost. Low-wage jobs (under $14 per hour) made up just 1/5 of the jobs lost to the recession, but accounted for nearly 3/5 of the jobs regained in the first three years of the recovery.
Half of America Is in or Damn Near Close to Living in Poverty
By Paul Buchheit / AlterNet
December 14, 2015

[emphasis JS]

Canadian household debt hit a new high in the third quarter, as borrowing rose faster than income.
...the average household has roughly $1.64 in debt for every dollar of disposable income.
“However, set against a backdrop of rising unemployment, the debt-to-income ratio is still likely to continue to trek higher through 2016,”
Canadian household debt higher than ever

Bill Cleverley and Craig Wong
Times Colonist and The Canadian Press
December 14, 2015

[emphasis JS]

 Aimee Barnes, 33, and Jakub Zielkiewicz, 31, both work full time at the California Environmental Protection Agency and are the parents of Roman, 15 months. They said they knew they were lucky to have help, like flexible schedules and extended family nearby. Still, figuring out how to manage work and parenting has been hard.

“You basically just always feel like you’re doing a horrible job at everything,” Ms. Barnes said. “You’re not spending as much time with your baby as you want, you’re not doing the job you want to be doing at work, you’re not seeing your friends hardly ever.
Stressed, Tired, Rushed: A Portrait of the Modern Family
Claire Cain Miller
New York Times
NOV. 4, 2015

[emphasis JS]


Monday, December 14, 2015

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1389-1391

China is laying the groundwork for a robot revolution by planning to automate the work currently done by millions of low-paid workers.
The scale and importance of China’s robot ambitions were made clear when the vice president of the People’s Republic of China, Li Yuanchao, appeared at the country’s first major robotics conference, held recently in Beijing. Standing onstage between two humanoid entertainment robots with outsized heads, Li delivered a message from China’s leader, Xi Jinping, congratulating the organizers of the effort. He also made it clear that robotics would be a major priority for the country’s economic future.
Vice President Li suggested that robotics researchers and companies from outside the country would be welcome to take part in the country’s robot revolution: “China would like to welcome robot experts and entrepreneurs from all over the world to communicate and coӧperate with us, in order to push forward the development of robot technology and industry.”
    By Will Knight on December 7, 2015
     [emphasis JS]

 The Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that cash-assistance programs in six low-income countries did not discourage work. Furthermore, a World Bank review of 19 quantitative studies found that cash-assistance in Latin America, Asia and Africa was not wasted on “temptation items,” such as tobacco and alcohol.

“Almost without exception, studies find either no significant impact or a significant negative impact of transfers on temptation goods,” the World Bank report said.

Other supposed negative impacts from welfare, such as birth out of wedlock and encouraging generational poverty, have been demonstrated to be unfounded by other research.

This trove of research demonstrates that the commonly accepted myth about welfare’s “corrupting influence” is not as well-founded as many may believe. However, research has shown clear benefits from the UBI system, including alleviating poverty, increasing entrepreneurship and improving impoverished children’s educational outcomes.

In theory, unconditional assistance may encourage some individuals to frivolously spend their money. In practice, however, the research shows most individuals utilize cash-assistance to better themselves and their families.
     [emphasis JS] 

 Rising prosperity for the few means undue hardship for the many. That is the economy’s underlying problem and it won’t be solved until policymakers face up to it.
The Real Problem With the Economy
By Teresa Tritch
November 14, 2015
    New York Times