Category: Economics

How to help with Texas — and what doesn’t help

Watching Hurricane (now Tropical Storm) Harvey ravage the western Gulf Coast, with no apparent intention of leaving before the entire region is under water, and feeling helpless? Reasonable. When what people need is to be literally boatlifted from their flooded homes, it’s hard to sit hundreds of miles away and feel like there’s nothing you can do to make anything better. But you can! There are things you can do to help.

Let’s talk about inspiration pr0n.

Rebecca Schmitt, Rashema Mason, Griffin Furlong, and Crystal Tarbell are incredible young people — they endured homelessness and incredible emotional hardship to become valedictorian at their high school and earn college scholarships. Their stories make for inspirational, heartwarming reads — unless you pause long enough to ask, “In what world should a girl and her family end up homeless because they can’t afford her mother’s cancer treatment?”

Senate Republicans take aim at the ACA, wing it, adjust their stance

Last night, under cover of darkness, Senate Republicans bypassed “roll back and revise” and “repeal and replace” with a third option for addressing the Affordable Care Act: “repeal and go fuck yourself,” wherein they repeal the current ACA and replace with jack shit. At 1:00 this morning, following a charmingly named all-night “Vote-a-Rama,” the Senate voted 51-48 along party lines to pass a budget measure that’s the first step in demolishing the ACA.

The guilt that comes with having no sympathy

A shot from "The Sound of Music" where Mary spins in a mountain prairie, overlaid by the words, "Look at all the fucks I give"

A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.

That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “realTrump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.

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.