Archive for Poverty
Paul Krugman’s observations on the impact of urban sprawl reminded me of “Automania 2000,” the 1963 John Halas animated short the 1963 John Halas animated short I watched at Furman Univerity as part of the first Earth Day observance in 1970. (I was still in high school.) Krugman’s column on sprawl is sparked by a study by the Equality of Opportunity Project. Led by economists at Berkeley and Harvard, the study finds an inverse relationship between increased sprawl and decreased social mobility. Eventually, the jobs are literally out of reach. Opportunities are simply too far across town for too many families.
And in Atlanta poor and rich neighborhoods are far apart because, basically, everything is far apart; Atlanta is the Sultan of Sprawl, even more spread out than other major Sun Belt cities. This would make an effective public transportation system nearly impossible to operate even if politicians were willing to pay for it, which they aren’t. As a result, disadvantaged workers often find themselves stranded; there may be jobs available somewhere, but they literally can’t get there.
Starting before sunup in the little town of Wise, Virginia this weekend (July 19-21), thousands of struggling Americans camped out in their cars at the fairgrounds will line up for free medical services provided by Remote Area Medical (RAM), a charity based in Knoxville, TN. (This is a re-post of a story I wrote for Huffington Post after visiting the RAM clinic in 2009.) For those who need it, Wise is about a two hour drive from Asheville.
For opponents of universal health care who advocate that churches and charities should such provide such services, not We the American People, this is what that looks like.
This weekend was the tenth anniversary of Remote Area Medical’s free health fair in Wise County, VA. Stan Brock founded Knoxville-based RAM in 1985 to insert mobile medical teams into remote areas of third-world countries. Now over 60 percent of RAM’s work is in rural areas of the United States.
More than one thousand people arrived before sunup this Friday or camped out in their vehicles for a chance at health care they cannot afford to buy. Most are the working poor and hail from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and other surrounding states. Cars in the county fairgrounds parking lot held comforters and pillows, sleeping bags and sleeping people.
For some reason last night I was pondering the endless panoply of wingnut night terrors when a song from childhood TV popped into my head. When I looked up the lyrics and video, I was astonished. You will be too.
A century and a half after the Civil War ended, the GOP-dominated North Carolina legislature is finishing the destruction Gen. Sherman’s troops never got to visit upon Raleigh, NC. Over 150 people have been arrested at the Legislative Building in four weeks of protests led by the NAACP. A crowd of 600 gathered last week for the latest Moral Mondays protest against a flood of conservative legislation targeting the poor and minority voters.
A few short years after Barack Obama won the state’s electoral votes, Republicans are firmly in control of the legislature and the Governor’s Mansion. They are busily unmaking the American Century in what has been one of the South’s most progressive states. The Washington Post calls it “a sweeping conservative agenda”:
Legislators have slashed jobless benefits. They have also repealed a tax credit that supplemented the wages of low-income people, while moving to eliminate the estate tax. They have voted against expanding Medicaid to comply with the 2010 federal health-care law. The expansion would have added 500,000 poor North Carolinians to the Medicaid rolls.
Homelessness, unemployment and PTSD among women veterans. In the last decade, the USA went into wars with no plan for the aftermath. The armed services recruited women to serve in those wars with no plan for their aftermaths. America can and must do better.
Just when you thought you couldn’t be shocked by the North Carolina General Assembly’s radical lurch out of the mainstream, they go and do something that leaves you slackjawed again. This edition – kicking poor, pregnant women off of Medicaid months after rejecting billions of dollars offered via the federal Medicaid expansion. Adam Linker:
One of the Senate budget provisions moves Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women down from 185 percent of federal poverty level to 133 percent of federal poverty level (about $15,000 in annual income). The rest of the provision is a poorly constructed attempt to provide political cover for this mean spirited move.
Maybe it was the flurry of ALEC-backed legislation in Raleigh. Or maybe the vote suppression legislation. But something about Moral Mondays in Raleigh reminded me of this post from March 2011 as events unfolded in Madison, WI:
Colonist or Royalist?
It’s what every American should be asking themselves this week. The Tea Party too.
Do you stand with the modern-day British East India Corporations and their masters (the Kochs, the Olins, the Bradleys and other royals that want to unmake the American Century and rig American democracy like they rigged the financial markets)? Or do you stand with the people in your community? Who do you serve?
It’s pretty clear who Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP leadership in Wisconsin serves. They and their brethren and Forbes 400 patrons have declared open war on the middle class, with rafts of industry ghost-written legislation in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana — in about half the states. To strip the collective bargaining rights of political enemies, to defund public schools (and teachers), to suppress the vote by requiring photo IDs (Jim Crow, Jr.), to dissolve elected local governments in a corporate coup d’état, to arrogate sweeping executive authority over state agencies in a single unelected … tzar(?), to transfer tax dollars from the poor and middle class to give tax breaks to corporations, the works — all supported by the same press-shy billionaire ideologues behind Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council. As the fake “Koch” phone call demonstrated, they don’t care about your jobs or your economy, and they don’t care about you.
So where do you stand? Colonist or Royalist?
Pretty sure those guys are followers, not leaders. Look, this is a movement named for a famously expensive act of vandalism against the private assets of the British East India Company, probably the largest corporation of its day. A company so in bed with the British government — and Members of Parliament — that their tax subsidies were allowing them to undercut the price of illegal tea smuggled in from Holland. This pissed off the smugglers. Royally.
It’s hard to imagine the Walter Mittys in that video lifting a finger against their corporate overlords like the patriots they fancy thyemselves. I’d charge them with false advertising, but they’ve helped their masters see to it that there’s little funding for enforcement of consumer protection laws against corporations. Pretty much the sort of thing going on in Raleigh right now.
Believe it or not, this is not a late April Fools joke. Not exactly. Via Laura Clawson at dKos:
Tennessee has among the lowest average monthly benefits for a recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in the country. But not content with that, the state legislature is pushing a plan to cut benefits for families of kids who don’t do well enough in school.
Being a kid living in poverty is tough enough. Being a kid living in the kind of poverty that comes with reliance on Tennessee’s rock-bottom TANF benefits has to be simply brutal. And then having your family face a 30 percent reduction in benefits if your report card isn’t good enough?
Opening soon in North Carolina.
Somehow, I don’t think these Golden Calfists are sharp enough to be doing this just to shift Overton’s Window. Like Dickens’ Victorians, they mean it.
Workhouses and gruel are next.
It’s been a busy session for the new Republican dominated North Carolina government. Here’s some other folks’ rundowns on what’s been happening:
F to North Carolina’s leaders for pressing ahead with a plan to radically slash unemployment benefits.
The cuts mean the state can’t take advantage of long-term unemployment insurance supplied by the federal government. With a statewide unemployment rate still about 9 percent this is alarming.
“If enacted, the legislation also would cut off all federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation — that is, benefits after 26 weeks of unemployment — to 170,000 unemployed North Carolinians.
the state’s economy will lose $780 million in federal funds that are vital to reducing North Carolina’s high unemployment rate.”
Tonight! Pisgah Legal Services presents a forum for donors and community members to examine the disturbing trends of deepening poverty and inequality in the United States and in western North Carolina. Join us to explore the public and civic actions needed to make progress on poverty.
Wednesday, October 24th
Cocktail Reception – 5:30 pm
Forum with Peter Edelman – 7:00 pm
Diana Wortham Theater, Asheville
Pisgah Legal Services is thrilled to bring lifelong antipoverty advocate and Georgetown University Professor of Law Peter Edelman to WNC to stimulate our thinking and challenge our assumptions.
Cocktail reception and forum – $50, Forum only – $15
For more information, contact Betsy Fedder at 828.210.3444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.