Jack Saturday

Monday, February 29, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1422-1424

New research released on Friday contains even more jarring numbers. Looking at the extreme ends of the income spectrum, economists at the Brookings Institution found that for men born in 1920, there was a six-year difference in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent. For men born in 1950, that difference had more than doubled, to 14 years. For women, the gap grew to 13 years, from 4.7 years.
...disparate life expectancies are making the country’s biggest entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare, increasingly unfair to the poor...
The Social Security Administration found, for example, that life expectancy for the wealthiest American men at age 60 was just below the rates in Iceland and Japan, two countries where people live the longest. Americans in the bottom quarter of the wage scale, however, ranked much further down — one notch above Poland and the Czech Republic.
   New York Times 
   FEB. 12, 2016
    [emphasis JS]

 For example, the nurses’ union and other movements are fighting for a tax on Wall Street speculation that could generate enough revenue to set low-income families on a path to economic stability. Likewise, a 1 percent tax on concentrated wealth could erase student debt over a decade and bring the cost of public higher education to zero.

Director, Institute for Policy Studies

[emphasis JS]

 I caved. I dropped the restraining order and I took him back. That’s a moment that, as a survivor, is very difficult to get over. My family and friends were extremely upset. But the legal fees stopped. The relief of not having to worry about money was palpable. I want to stress here: This is a common story. Financial insecurity is one of the top reasons why women return to their abusers, especially if they have children. I didn’t want to end up homeless. I didn’t want my kids to suffer. Logistically, it made sense to me to take him back.
    Kate Ranta
  [emphasis JS]

Monday, February 22, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1419-1421

The real Horatio Alger was a pedophilic minister from Brewster, Massachusetts who fled to New York to write formulaic short stories for newspapers. He died penniless in 1899.

 My own knowledge comes from universities, both in the United States and Britain. In both countries, the last thirty years have seen a veritable explosion of the proportion of working hours spent on administrative tasks at the expense of pretty much everything else. In my own university, for instance, we have more administrators than faculty members, and the faculty members, too, are expected to spend at least as much time on administration as on teaching and research combined. The same is true, more or less, at universities worldwide.

The growth of administrative work has directly resulted from introducing corporate management techniques. Invariably, these are justified as ways of increasing efficiency and introducing competition at every level. What they end up meaning in practice is that everyone winds up spending most of their time trying to sell things: grant proposals; book proposals; assessments of students’ jobs and grant applications; assessments of our colleagues; prospectuses for new interdisciplinary majors; institutes; conference workshops; universities themselves (which have now become brands to be marketed to prospective students or contributors); and so on.

As marketing overwhelms university life, it generates documents about fostering imagination and creativity that might just as well have been designed to strangle imagination and creativity in the cradle.
There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers.
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

[emphasis JS]

The call for full employment should not be confused with an affirmation of the work ethic at the expense of pleasure and leisure. We agree with Marx’s contention that the “true realm of freedom” begins exactly where work ceases and that “the shortening of the working-day is its basic prerequisite.” For socialists, freedom is exclusively identified with the time we spend outside the sphere of material production. We find ourselves through the relationships we build with friends, neighbors, and lovers, the political struggles we engage in alongside our comrades, and the creative and artistic endeavors we pursue as ends in themselves.
How Full Employment Means Working Fewer Hours
By Chris Maisano

[emphasis JS]

Monday, February 15, 2016

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1416-1418

...no less than nine provincial and territorial capital leaders support basic income or at least pilot projects, with innumerable smaller city and town mayors across the nation declaring their support as well. They know — as government leaders who are closest to the people — that a guaranteed income would reduce inequities in their communities, reduce crime, improve health outcomes, and strengthen social cohesion.
Sheila Regehr and Roderick Benns
Published on Thu Feb 11 2016
[emphasis JS]
[Bill] Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” and immediately sought to prove it by dismantling the federal welfare system known as Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC). The welfare-reform legislation that he signed—which Hillary Clinton ardently supported then and characterized as a success as recently as 2008—replaced the federal safety net with a block grant to the states, imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, added work requirements, barred undocumented immigrants from licensed professions, and slashed overall public welfare funding by $54 billion (some was later restored).

Experts and pundits disagree about the true impact of welfare reform, but one thing seems clear: Extreme poverty doubled to 1.5 million in the decade and a half after the law was passed. What is extreme poverty? US households are considered to be in extreme poverty if they are surviving on cash incomes of no more than $2 per person per day in any given month. We tend to think of extreme poverty existing in Third World countries, but here in the United States, shocking numbers of people are struggling to survive on less money per month than many families spend in one evening dining out. Currently, the United States, the richest nation on the planet, has one of the highest child-poverty rates in the developed world.

...Billions of dollars were slashed from public-housing and child-welfare budgets and transferred to the mass-incarceration machine. By 1996, the penal budget was twice the amount that had been allocated to food stamps. During Clinton’s tenure, funding for public housing was slashed by $17 billion (a reduction of 61 percent), while funding for corrections was boosted by $19 billion (an increase of 171 percent), according to sociologist Loïc Wacquant “effectively making the construction of prisons the nation’s main housing program for the urban poor.”

Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote

By Michelle Alexander
February 10, 2016

[emphasis JS]

 Right wing MEPs in the European Parliament including UK conservatives today voted car makers a 'get out of jail free' card over air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of citizens a year, allowing their vehicles to emit double the legal limit for nitrogen oxides.

Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates said: "It beggars belief that politicians are weakening pollution standards for new vehicles when people are dying from filthy air. These watered-down EU standards were supported by the UK Government, despite the fact that tens of thousands of its residents die early every year from air pollution which breaches legal health limits.

...However, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) said in a position paper seen by Reuters that the Commission's reform plans were 'too challenging' for current diesel models and could threaten the technology as a whole, jeopardising jobs across the region.
 MEPs vote for killer car pollution at double the legal limit
3rd February 2016

[emphasis JS]

thanks to Meg Howarth


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 AM
[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]