Category: Economics

The Cost of Living

(As a Clash aficionado, this phrase always makes me think of the EP released in 1979. This has nothing to do with the post, but I thought I’d get it out there and out of the way for myself. I…

Thoughts on nail salons

Thinking about the 1909 Shirtwaist Strike got me thinking about immigrant women workers today. You may have read these NYT articles about the exploitation and abuse of undocumented immigrant women working in nail salons in New York City. What these…

Invisible Child

This long-form feature and photo essay on Dasani, a homeless girl in New York City, is a phenomenal piece of journalism. And it sheds important light on the many dysfunctions of this grossly economically unjust city.

Republicans use weird, creepy tactics to push college students away from Obamacare

Republicans are pushing college students to opt out of Obamacare, and they’re doing it by invading that most sacred of college institutions: the tailgate party.

Generation Opportunity, a Virginia-based group […] will launch a six-figure campaign aimed at convincing young people to “opt-out” of the Obamacare exchanges. Later this month, the group will begin a tour of 20 college campuses, where they plan to set up shop alongside pro-Obamacare activists such as Enroll America that are working to sign people up for the insurance exchanges.

The rise of female breadwinners, and the betrayals of U.S. policy

Over at the Guardian, I’m writing about the new stat that 40% of breadwinners in American families are women. With women making up half the workforce, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re an increasing proportion of primary earners. But the 40% stat doesn’t tell the whole story. For starters, the majority of that 40% are single moms — the breadwinners in their families, yes, but not because they’re married to men who make less. Those women make an average of $23,000 per year. The third of breadwinner women who are married to men are significantly wealthier, with a combined family income averaging $80,000. And when you look at divorce and marital satisfaction stats, the happiest couples are those who both work, but where the husband makes more money. Stay-at-home moms have higher rates of depression and marital dissatisfaction, and unhappiness comes in again at the end of the spectrum where a wife out-earns her husband. A strong majority of Americans also believe that the best situation for a child is with a mom who stays home (only 8 percent believe the same about a kid with a dad who stays home). These problems are complex, but traditional ideas about gender play a strong role, and those ideas shape the social policies that leave working parents between a rock and a hard place. Our particularly American gender traditionalism coupled with our idealization of individualism-as-freedom (without recognition that such individualism has generally been a male pursuit, enabled entirely by an unpaid female at-home support system) creates major cultural disincentives to implementing the kids of policies that could actually help families. The full piece is here, and a section is below:

Why Partnerships Were All the Buzz at Women Deliver

Does the private sector have a role improving health systems? According to some participants at this year’s Women Deliver conference on maternal health, absolutely.

The conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, brought together thousands of health care providers, advocates, politicians, journalists, activists and human rights workers to discuss the challenges, victories and potential solutions in the maternal health field. One of those solutions: Private sector involvement.

Your Weekly Lachenweinen: College student fights for men’s equality

Here’s something that should make you smile-cry of a Monday morning: Feminism has met its goals and achieved what it set out to do, and we’ve become equal both in education and in the job market. We’re on top, and that’s why men can slack off and make C’s. It’s time, says University of Nebraska senior Zach Nold, for men to jump up on that pedestal next to women as equals.

Hope for Haiti

In 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, and people around the world mobilized to raise funds for recovery. Nearly three years later, much of Haiti is still in ruins. Part of the problem is that while there are many development groups on the ground, their works are disparate. Unemployment is high, and while there are enormous numbers of Haitians working to rebuild their communities, there isn’t a place for them to come together. JCI, an excellent community-based nonprofit, conducted a detailed needs assessment and is now working on building a community center in Haiti. The center will offer employment opportunities not just in its construction but in its ongoing mission to provide economic empowerment, child care and project development. It’s a great and important project. More details are below. And getting involved is simple. Sign up, shop online and make money for your giving fund.

Divorcing ourselves from traditional marriage

My latest column in the Guardian is about the latest move from a group of conservatives to call a truce on gay marriage and get back to blaming single moms and poor people for destroying marriage itself. They say that poor and middle-class people aren’t getting married, and that’s hurting them financially and socially, keeping them poor. I say that working-class and middle-class people are marrying less often precisely because of economic insecurity: Outdated views of men as breadwinners mean that men who aren’t making enough to support a family may be less enthusiastic about marriage; increases in gender equality mean that working women no longer need to get married for social status and may not want to take on a husband who doesn’t pull his own weight inside the home and out; and with divorce being financially ruinous for women in particular, it’s probably a good idea to avoid marriage if you aren’t reasonably sure you’re hitching yourself to a good horse. If conservatives actually care about the things they say are the purpose of marriage — a good environment for children, family stability, accumulation of personal wealth — then they should support policies that directly promote those things instead of claiming marriage is the one and only solution, because it’s clearly not. A taste: