Over the past 50 years, televisions have gotten a lot cheaper and college has gotten a lot more expensive. Consequently, even a low income person can reliably obtain a level of television-based entertainment that would blow the mind of a millionaire from 1961. At the same time, if you’re looking to live in a safe neighborhood with good public schools in a metropolitan area with decent job opportunities you’re going to find that this is quite expensive. Health care has become incredibly expensive. The federal poverty line for a family of three is $18,530 a year. I wonder how many Heritage Foundation policy analysts are deciding they want to cut back and work part time because it’d be super easy to raise two kids in DC on less than $20k in salary? (via Poverty Is Mostly About Housing, Health Care, And Education | ThinkProgress)
One thing that strikes me about this list, which, along with its accompanying report is definitely presented with an air of “these so-called poor people sure do have a lot of nice things” is that a lot of these things aren’t necessarily owned by the family in question.
If you rent a home as most poor people do, the stove/oven and refrigerator are almost guaranteed to be included. Often a dishwasher, microwave and washer/dryer are included as well. Same with air conditioning and ceiling fans — and with heat indices across the country over 100 degrees today even in the north I posit these are no more luxury items than working furnaces are — they’re provided by the landlord.
Once you take away those big ticket items, the majority of the things on this list are mostly items which cost under $100 to purchase new, or don’t have a very steep ongoing cost. Even cable/satellite TV and internet service can have a monthly cost lower than that of a full tank of gasoline.
But overall, there’s something very ugly about this. There’s an idea put forth here that it’s exceptional that American poor people have even basic home appliances, and that they shouldn’t have anything meant for entertainment purposes or that’s deemed a “luxury,” such that a computer or a cordless telephone (can you even buy corded ones any more?) are luxuries. There’s an extremely problematic handwaving of the concept of buying things when they can be afforded (or receiving them as gifts) and keeping them, often well after the technology is outdated, so long as they’re still working and useful.
There’s also a question of what the researchers involved in this think that poor people ought to be doing with the small amounts of money involved in acquiring these sorts of items? The $30 that can buy a DVD player (at the right wing’s favorite retailer, Walmart) can’t buy healthcare coverage. It can’t even buy one month’s worth of a serious prescription. Even a “big screen” TV is a one time purchase of less than $500, which isn’t going to amount to much, under today’s interest rates, in a college fund — not that college is in reach for most kids who grow up in poverty, anyway.
What is this list meant to prove?
About Lady Gaga’s repeated appropriation of disability and how much I would love to see someone (other than me, because I don’t have the brain or spoons for it right now) get into it in relation to her other issues, like the hamfisted handling of the trans* issue in the “Telephone” video, and the racially inapt (to say the least) lyrics in “Born This Way” and so on.
But I am not the one.
The definition of “being tough” has changed. In an older usage, being tough consisted of enduring pain. Today, it consists of imposing pain on others.
Tumblr user smukherjee14
Republicans are furious because President Obama’s gambit — to make himself look like the “adult in the room” by offering Republicans a disastrous but sweeping debt reduction deal that would combine tax increases with cuts to the social safety net — appears to be working. It’s working in the sense that it has revealed for all to see that Republicans aren’t really interested in cutting the debt.
What Republicans are really interested in doing is cutting the welfare state. That’s why they’re opposed to any increase in taxes, even though the biggest single driver of the deficit is the Bush tax cuts, which Republicans overwhelmingly supported. Despite Krauthammer’s claim that Obama’s interest in the deficit is “sudden,” the truth is that it’s also ”sudden” for Republicans — it wasn’t an issue for them until Obama was elected president. Before then, Republicans were perfectly willing to increase the debt through tax cuts, war with Iraq, and Medicare Part D.