Wednesday, November 18, 2015

poverty

If you have been reading the stories regarding the recent Paris attacks, with more promised, you probably have also seen the discussions regarding how poverty is part of what has led to this whole problem-- worldwide poverty on a level often we can't even imagine in the United States. I don't have answers for the problem, maybe nobody does, but I posted a huge comment in someone else's blog where she was writing about this book:  '$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America' by social scientists Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer. My comment, which virtually was a rant, ran over the limit. I decided  not to cut it down, not post it there, and instead bring it here with a few modifications--

A beginning answer to the working poor in the US is to up the minimum wage to $15 an hour but also understand that some will not then be able to hire the help they used to hire. This is particularly true for senior citizens who might want to hire some assistance, but their own income has not risen with the cost of living. 

Likewise farm laborers will lose some work-- where often the owner of the farm doesn't make a lot of money for the many hours he/she puts in (I know my husband would not want to figure out what he actually makes for his many hours with the cattle and sheep. I don't think it's $2 a day though because we often don't break even by the end of a year, and he puts in a LOT of hours. By the time ranchers pay for feed, fencing, etc. etc., they are doing it for the love of the animals and to provide healthier meat for other families. But if that small rancher had to make a living wage from it, it'd likely not be an option, which explains the growth of corporate farms with far less healthy meat-- but it can make money

Small operations like ours would often like to hire extra help but as the wages rise, it becomes out of the question. In our ranching/logging community, I know many people who don't make much and what they do is sometimes off the grid-- i.e. they are paid in cash and nobody reports any of it. We convinced one man that we had to pay him on the grid and it would be better for him. Because he had skills, we paid him $20 an hour. He hadn't wanted to do it on the grid  because of paying taxes and some other complications. Once though he did, he then got other jobs and more steady employment. His off the grid work looked good but in the end limited him by no 'record' of what he was doing.

Having a niece who was on welfare back when the rules changed gave me another insight. She actually benefited from the law change, as back then they gave her work for I believe two years and training. That enabled her to get a 'real' job when the two years ran out. She has worked since and has a job with respect attached.


Recently, I have gotten a view into the minimum wage economy when our home vacation rental here in Tucson needed to find an agency to clean between renters. Living in Oregon most of the year, we can't do it ourselves. We already had this season's renters or we might've just plain quit renting it with the complications of using an agency where we don't know the people and the house is full of art, books and gourmet cooking tools. With the new system, we aren't sure what we will end up paying per cleaning, as it's done with a minimum but no maximum. Two will come in, each getting $22 an hour with the agency, of course, getting part of that. The workers also have travel time between jobs; and of course, this is all on the grid. 

Tucson has enough wealthier retirees, some with plush pensions or who invested well, that there are a lot of agencies that do cleaning. Not so many probably where I live in Oregon (I had never hired anybody to clean any home of mine until we got this vacation rental). 

When we have come here to do the maintenance on the house, we've hired what we can using those who work from job to job, independent contractors-- most of whom are on the grid. Talking to one of them this time, my husband said the guy told him he has a hard time getting workers. Too many people in this area don't want to work or lack any skills. The contractor said he would hire more but instead has to do it himself. If someone does not want to work and can get money for doing nothing, how do you make them?

America has many tiers to its culture and I think it's hard to evaluate what anything means today. Ethics vary from community to community as well as era to era. My mother worked, in her middle years, as a home cleaner for wealthy ladies, coming in once a week. My dad had worked with his muscle all his life but when he couldn't do the heavier work, he became a school janitor. They didn't ever ask for government assistance and that means no food stamps either. They considered themselves middle class as I always saw them too. But that was maybe based on things other than income.

There at least had been a respect for work in our culture even among the poor. I am not sure we will be ahead to form a guaranteed hand-out society even with problems like this Homeless in LA huge problem. We know that many homeless don't want to work or be tied down to a job. That is just a fact and some of it based on mental problems but some just their personalities. 


The thing is though-- working a job for 40 hours a week should mean you can live on it with enough to cover food, clothing and shelter. Guaranteeing that higher minimum wage though isn't simple. How do we find those who can afford to pay the salaries if more want $15 an hour jobs maybe with no skills or work ethic. We can guarantee the handicapped are given enough to live on. Should we guarantee those, who could work but choose not to, also get one?

It's a bigger problem than words will solve. Seeing again the fear from the right wing and their resentment of the poor, Seeing the working middle class's anger at those they believe are sucking at their tit, and I think it's going to be hard to get any of this fixed. The right fears the poor getting money for nothing, but for some reason don't worry when it's the rich.

Most recently, when I saw the maps of the states that are trying to refuse any Syrian refugees, even when well vetted, it doesn't look like this is going to get fixed soon. Those states mostly have Republican governors and it looks from that map that the country is turning strong right. (Oregon's governor said we'll take them for which I am proud of her). Logic though is missing on votes like Kentucky's recent turn to a right winger for their governor. And if any of the Republicans get in the Presidency, and I mean any of them, it'll be worse and maybe worldwide with their big mouths on war with total ignorance (willfully so) of history. :( They know where they want their tax money to go, that that they are willing to pay, and it's for wars and war machinery not the poor.

All this worries me with grandchildren coming up into the world and what kind of world is it going to be? My granddaughter says they'll fix what we messed up. My generation thought that once too...

18 comments:

Ingineer66 said...

I think it is funny that Republican governors are getting blamed for not wanting terrorists imported. I didn't check but I would bet it has been at least 50 years since Obama's home state of Illinois has had a Republican governor. And they were one of the first to say no.

And will the same State Department be vetting these refugees that sent Mohammed Atta an extension to his student Visa 6 months after 9/11? Now that really instills confidence.

Rain Trueax said...

The point one of my friends made on this is there are easier and faster ways to get into the country than applying to be a refugee. Currently mostly they have been women and children. But a man with no record can just come in on a visa for a vacation. The worry over the Syrian refugees though does get votes from those fearful. The true irony is the same people are not interested in background checks or limiting ownership of AK-47s... Logic plays no role in fear.

Rain Trueax said...

And nobody wants terrorists here. The question is are the refugees terrorists? And you can blame Bush for not caring about the warnings before 9/11

Ingineer66 said...

It is funny that 7 years into Obama, people are still blaming Bush for everything that goes wrong. But 9/11 happened 8 months into Bush's term but nothing is blamed on Clinton.

Ingineer66 said...

70% of the refugees coming out of Syria are military age males.

Rain Trueax said...

I wondered about that, ingineer, until I learned that if they remain ISIS either forces them into their military or kills them. It's easier to understand why they'd want to go. If we could create a safe zone in Syria, some of this might be eased-- a no fly zone, a place they were safe from Assad and ISIS.

Rain Trueax said...

On 9/11, remember when Clinton bombed the factory to try and get bin Laden and he was accused of only doing it as an election gimmick. The reason Bush is held responsible is because of the way he responded to the warnings. This story is only one example-- warnings two months ahead of time ignored. They even said it could involve aviation schools and planes-- which we know it did. Seriously had Obama done that the righties would be crying impeach but when it's Bush, they shrugged it off.

The reason Bush comes up now is because of how the right wing blames Obama for a lot that he didn't start. I don't say he's been a saint or done all I'd like but why you can't see your current crew would be worse is beyond me. Do you have one reasonable republican running for president this time?

Ingineer66 said...

No there is not a great choice on the Republican side but most of them would be better than Hillary.
We pretty much agree on most of this terror stuff. Except the Clinton part. During his term Al Qaida attacked us in Somalia, blew up the World Trade Center, blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, bombed the USS Cole and blew up the Khobar Towers. On the day of Monica Lewinsky's testimony Clinton fired 100 cruise missiles into a malaria drug factory in The Sudan and a few targets in Afghanistan. The attacks did virtually nothing to harm Al Qaida command and control. Other than the missiles, the Clintons treated the attacks like they were a bank robbery not an act of war.

Ingineer66 said...

Bin Ladin thought the new President would respond to the airline attack the way Clinton did to all the previous attacks, send the FBI to investigate and maybe arrest a few people. He didn't realize that W. would go to war to bring them to bring them to justice.
Hillary's disdain for the military should disqualify her from national office, the rest of her policy stance is just window dressing to me. But she would have been better than Obama ended up being.

Rain Trueax said...

You have to be kidding. Ben Carson would be better??? Do you pay any attention to what that guy says? they all would end legal abortions and legal gay marriages if they get Congress to go along. Guess that's not a deal breaker for you? As for Clinton I think it's an aspirin factory that was a front. But he had a Republican Congress and he didn't get us into a ground war which I guess Republicans love but never want to pay for.

Obama has done well if someone is a leftie. And where he hasn't done what he promised, it's mostly blocking from Republican Congress. He's always been too much on the side of business but overall, he fulfilled his actual promises as much as he could. A ground war that you don't pay for is more a republican stance. And then vote down Veteran benefits. Oh yeah, like the blocking abortions so the babies are born and then against all programs to help them grow up. That should not be called pro-life and instead should be pro-birth.

Ingineer66 said...

I said most Republicans. There are a few who could be worse.

Ingineer66 said...

You know that we agree on abortion and gay marriage. But those issues only affect a tiny portion of the population. And yet somehow they become the national topics. A few hardcore conservatives that I know have talked about leaving the Republican party over the religious viewpoints they always spout. Like them I am more interested in the issues that affect all Americans.

Greybeard said...

You're against Ben Carson?
RACIST!
(Gosh it feels good to use that idiotic retort.)

Rain Trueax said...

lol Graybeard. Good to see you. I check into Pitchpull once in awhile ;). We're in Tucson right now but head north middle of next month.

I never felt everyone against Obama was racist... but when they put out certain jokes... well, if it's quacking like a duck...

Abortion and gay marriage impact a lot of people, Jim. Right now I read a lot of places how important it is to end all legal abortion. It matters to those of us with kids or grandkids even if we are past the age to worry about it for ourselves. Should one person's interpretation of their religion impact the laws I have to live by? I grew up when abortion was illegal and saw the ramifications. I don't want us to go back to it. And for gays, when we deny one group civil rights, isn't that an impact to us all!!! These are important issues for us all.

so is going to war when we don't need to. When we pay trillions in regions we can't win by blowing up people and things. I don't like the easy war talk that comes from some.

Ingineer66 said...

Like I said I agree with you on those issues. In the Middle East there is no easy solution. But we have an absense of leadership right now. President Leading from Behind isn't doing anybody any good. Maybe we should partner with the Russians and split everything up like they did after WW I. What could go wrong?

Rain Trueax said...

And uh who do you see on the right wing side who would provide that leadership you want? Lots of hot air and blustery talk but exactly what do you want done and how were you planning to pay for it? You seriously see Rubio as leadership material when he admits he cannot handle his own finances and is so baby-faced. He can stand up to Putin? Seriously? lol Or Kasich who will want a new branch of government to go over there and convince them Judeo-Christian values are what they need-- naturally the christianist version not Christ's. lol

28,000 bombing strikes in Syria and I agree they should have hit the oil which Turkey and Saudi Arabia may be profiting from letting get through. Who is buying all the antiquities that go through Turkey?. It appears Putin is just interested in attacking the ones who are trying to get rid of Assad. He lost an airliner and hasn't done more than talk. Now he has a military jet down with Turkey claiming credit.

What is so impressive with you guys on the right where it comes to Putin? How he murders anybody who stands in his way politically? I think we are kind of partnering with him now but he isn't interested in ISIS as much as we are.

Ingineer66 said...

Putin is a KGB thug, but silly gimmicks like pressing the Staples reset button aren't doing anything to deal with him. The only thing people like him understand is strength. Obama has capitulated to him at every turn. Whether it is losing military bases in former republics that we used for the war in Afghanistan or missile defense or Ukraine we have rolled over every time.

Rain Trueax said...

So you are ready for WWIII? and think it's a good idea right now? I don't agree with you on Obama giving into him. Crimea was an issue for the Ukraine, since that country got divided by other than them. If a group are more aligned to one side than another, you want to force them together? That's worked well with Iraq. The point is you want a loudmouth leader who is willing to fight a war against a major power and paying for it how? A lot of countries by the way don't want our military bases. That's called occupation. I thought we did not do that... Some of this has been a long time coming but a lot of those bases are all about securing economic power for our oligarchs. That's who you support? Bush set up the leaving of Iraq... but then you know that...