GFunkMoneyDog wrote: Cate McCalley wrote:
CrissyAlwaysSunny wrote:This has become a scary place.
Out of 120 Kentucky Counties, Harlan ranks 116 in Health Care. Has an unemployment rate of 13.6% (excluding those that have given on jobs long ago - the 'hardcore unemployed'), with 43% of the county population living in poverty. Child homelessness is more than 26% (children with appointments and state dependency). Highschool graduation and injuries (social factors) rank In the bottom 5%.
So yeah...according to the rest of Kentucky's stats, Harlan County is a scary place.
Here's where you can tell a person's thought process. Who's to blame?
I blame Classism. I found a four part series on YouTube of a young lady explaining Classism and it's relationship to poverty that I believe pretty much sums it up. I'll attempt to explain her viewpoint (that I believe to be correct).
Classism is based on either the real or perceived socio-economic class of an individual. The lowest socio-economic classes live in poverty and are marginalized. Other classes within society are achieved either through earned or unearned privilege. Earned privilege is what lifts people out of poverty. Unearned privilege is what helps to keep people in poverty, particularily women but others as well.
Aside from unearned wealth, unearned privilege are privileges that are afforded to a particular class that they really don't have to think about.
So...how have people of unearned privilege marginalized others to keep them in poverty?
Let's begin with Bill Clinton's passage of NAFTA, that was fast tracked by his predecessor Bush, and threw millions of people out of decent waged jobs. Jobs that went to countries without industry safety programs, worker protections or worker health benefits and much cheaper labor. Jobs that greatly benefited the preferred stockholders of those corporations, not the workers that had a few shares or built them.
These jobs were not replaced for the greater majority that lost them. Unfortunately most of those losing jobs were middle aged and unable to compete with a younger more able and technologically savvy work force. The competition for the few new jobs was fierce, in an economy that could not absorb the massive job loses. This was the beginning of marginalizing the working class we see in poverty today.
At the same time The Clinton Administration reformed welfare. Placing a lifetime five year limit on welfare benefits for single women with children, and excluding any safety net for any other individual or family that suffered economic hardship due to job unavaiability, illness, lack of child care, etc. . This was done without any consideration that these people would not be absorbed into an already shrinking minimally skilled industry.
Stats show that 41% of women are likely to end up in poverty. That stat includes all women, without respect to education. Women earn less and therefore pay in less into social security.than their male counterparts. Their working years,often interuppted by their child rearing years. Higher paying traditionally male dominated jobs have remained so in most "at will worker" states that protect employers discriminating in their hiring practices. Machinist, construction and freight management jobs,etc. are still male dominated.
Add to this the fact that our society is very image oriented and caters to 'the pretty people'. Two women with the same exact qualifications personality and work history can apply for a job, and without exception the one considered 'prettier' will get the job offer. Age, weight, body porportion, height and coloring all are a part of the 'image'.
In effect the 'pretty people' have an unearned privilege. A privilege that keeps others not meeting the 'image' from an opportunity to earn privilege. Everytime this happens it means the woman that didn't inherit the good 'image' genes doesn't get the dollars needed to provide a dignified life for herself and or her children. It usually means they are forced to take positions they are over qualified for at lower pay. It's not just women that are pushed into poverty by Classisim. People with disabilities and health problems have an unemployment rate of 96%, in spite of the Disabilty Act that was supposed to address this problem.
The most obvious unearned privilege is that of the wealthy class. The class of inherited monies, that buy the influence of our elected government representatives. Law makers that have repealed the most important part of the Glass-Steigel act that protected U.S. taxpayers from having to bail out failed financial corporations. Did The beneficiaries of those Wall Street bailouts shore up their companies to keep their employees employed? Did the banks use those funds to keep homeowners mortgages out of foreclosure? No they did not. Those bailouts were divided up between the top five percent of coporate management. Nothing, not one dime of taxpayers money saved a home from foreclosure or kept those compsnies employees in a job.
These same Law makers have created tax shelter havens for giant corporations to avoid giving anything back to a government they use to protect their international business interest. These Law makers give no bid contracts to the world's largest private armies of mercenaries, like Blackwater & Haliburton. They're the same Law makers that created FEMAS black budget. A budget that is not open to any government inquiry or audit. Not by Congress, not by SCOTUS, not by the POTUS and certainly not by the taxpayers that pay for that budget. FEMA can go to the GAO and get any amount of money it requests without any explanation, or accounting for those funds.
Should we really be focused on the few crumbs poor people get to barely exist, when our Law makers deregulation of the insurance, utility and banking industries have profiled the poor for the purpose of targeting them for higher rates? All of these industries calculate rates based upon credit scores. Poor people don't have high credit scores. They have low ones. This means they pay more for property and casualty insurance and financing based upon their low credit scores. Utilities such as gas and electric have higher rates in poorer regions than others. Not only are rates higher, it cost more to heat and cool an uninsulated or poorly insulated dwelling than one that is adequately insulated.
When we think of the poor we must also consider the poorest of the poor. Prisoners of the privately owned prison complex. Convict labor is paid approximately $.22 an hour to make sexy under garments for Victoria Secrets, making phone reservations for TWA Airlines, entering data for Chevron/Texaco, electronic and computer hardware, etc. Now who benefits from this slave labor? The taxpayers footing the bill for prisoner incarceration? Nope. Wealthy stock investors that subscribe to the syndicate of companies exploiting prison labor. Keep in mind no federal , state or local taxes are paid on this labor, nor are any social security or medicare tax paid or collected. No workers compenation or any other labor benefit is paid for prison slave labor. While some of the profits trickle down to the small stockholder, the major profits are divided between the preferred corporate stockholders. The owners of the syndicates. The unearned privileged.
Some people may not know why our working class children that want to pursue higher education can no longer afford it. Only 7% of the working poor's children get a university degree before age 26. Less than 1% are able to obtain a graduate degree. Law makers that passed the Graham Rudman Act during the Reagan Administration slashed funding of Pell and Stafford grants. Today's students that want to pursue higher education in fields that pay well, accumulate debts of $100,000 or more to obtain graduate education. Our Law makers are now set to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement that will give unlimited HB-1 Visa's to the foreign educated, to fill the demand for those higher paid positions. Which in turn means our own Americans that incurred student debt they are still paying off, will train those foreign workers to take their jobs. Foreign HB1 workers will work for much less because even though it is much less than American workers need to live on, it's significantly much more than they can make where they come from.
Those from the shrinking middle class whose parents can afford university study for them to obtain a four year degree, will find their employability threatened by foreign competition whose educations were free. Although people putting the work in to getting a university degree has certainly earned it, they are the beneficiarys of unearned privilege, as they did not finance their education.
Somehow we have been led to blame the victims of poverty, without ever raising the question of how unearned privilege has caused it. How is it that we American people can focus on the meager handouts of a battered welfare system, and completely ignore the politics of a system that has created such a tremendous inequality gap? How is it that Americans keep allowing these wealthy corporate tycoons to rob snd re-rob our governments treasury?
How can we continue to blame victims of poverty and completely refuse to blame those of unearned privilege responsible for it?