A Q&A about life on the margins with sociologist and American University professor Celine-Marie Pascale
Dear God I want to scream!
It is our education system and our media... politics as a game played through the media, and our education system grooming the candidates. And today we have added the "likes" and follower’s tech media to add to the problem. What has happened is that it has attracted all the wrong types of personalities to politics.
There are personality types that are big problem solvers. They tend to be the successful people in the private sector. They have people reporting to them that don't do as well solving big problems but can solve some singular problems or handle a task or two at a time. Some of these people that cannot solve big problems end up with acting gifts and a driving need to be liked. Some of them go on to act in the theater and a few get to TV and cinema. Some of the less talented and less attractive of those go into politics.
The current state of our great and growing class divide is destroying the country. It is a problem with real causes and that requires real big problem solving. If you are a big problem solver type, none of the causes are really that hard to understand and none of the solutions to the problems are really that difficult to understand.
Here they are:
1. Globalism. It has been an abject failure for the working class of all industrialize countries because it has exported and thus destroyed working class economic opportunity. This has also devastated the poor that would otherwise have a path to the middle class. The US has a $1 trillion dollar per year trade deficit. Those that claim this is fine are idiot or they benefit from their Wall Street trading accounts. The big solution is to reverse course. Global trade is fine, but American jobs are not commodities to allow companies to ship overseas. We need regulatory changes that disincentivize exportation of American jobs and incentivize starting and growing business that hires… especially for small business and underserved labor areas.
2. Education. It is still based on a 150 year old lecture model that has always been behind what is needed, but now is actually damaging students from becoming good employees instead of helping them. The entire education system needs to be reformed to a singular mission of preparing all students for their next step to a final goal of becoming economically self-sufficient.
3. Housing. Our policies that encourage residential housing as a personal and institutional investment strategy need to be completely changed. And the environmental policies that NIMBYs use to block new housing development need to be significantly reduced. Lastly, there needs to be incentives for developers of new housing units.
4. Immigration. Immigrants compete for the jobs available, the housing available, the schools available, the healthcare available. We need immigrants, but we have allowed WAY too many and need to change our immigration system to stop the flow of so many poor and uneducated. It is just stupid to keep defending this practice.
5. Anti-trust. Some of the big companies need to be broken up. Four mega companies own 90% of the brands in the supermarket. That is one example of how we are being monopolized and it is preventing small start ups from existing.
Do these things and we will see a steady improvements in the income and wealth gap.
Meanwhile, the laptop class wants more inflation by forgiving their student loans.
I come from a family of chronically broke people. My mother and step-father inherited almost $400,000 from my great-grandmother. This was at a time when you could own a lovely home mortgage-free for less than $300,000. They died within a month of each other living in a mortgaged 1974 single-wide mobile home infested with rats.
My niece has three children from three different fathers. At almost 40, she is finally taking her first formal job training.
My sister and her husband went on a FIVE-week trip to Maui with their two children when they both had tenuous jobs. My sister lost her job, and within three months I was getting calls asking for money. I've never been to Maui.
The causes of poverty and economic disparity are outrageously complex, Many factors are beyond our personal control, and they are often beyond governmental control. There is no magic bullet. The best societies can do is try to give everyone a reasonable opportunity to build a good life for themselves, and this is incredibly difficult.
We can't forget personal responsibility. Everything we do has a consequence, so we need to make the best decisions we can. People make mistakes. We can give them a "safety net" (to the extent that it's affordable), but they are ultimately responsible for themselves.
There will always be people struggling on the margins who can't fully provide for themselves. They may suffer from physical disabilities, intellectual impairments, addictions, social/personality issues, and/or other issues. Society should provide for these people (to the extent that it's affordable), while at the same time working to help them resolve or at least mitigate their issues.
The challenge with safety nets and providing for the unfortunate is that, if they're too generous, people can forget about taking responsibility for themselves.
Societies constantly struggle to find balance and stability among the multitude of factors that affect the material well-being of their citizens. This is a never-ending struggle. There is no Nirvana. The Left needs to accept this. Stop looking so hard for villains to blame. Reality can be hard and unfair, and most people, even rich people, are doing the best they can to make things better for everyone.
To be sure, a focus on "the poor" is an important problem to address. But I'd like to also see some discussion on the obligations of all citizens for personal self-reliance and responsibility.
The state has no assumed responsibility for the care of all its citizens.
"Yeah, I wouldn’t say that we are a nation that is characterized by its great compassion. " I'm sorry but I take great umbrage to that statement. We are the most charitable people in the world (Source: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/most-charitable-countries) and provide more foreign aid, by magnitudes, than any other nation. But as someone who attended American University this type of America-bashing hyperbole is par the course for that institution.
Fantastic interviews Tara, interesting and really so well done.
I live and work in out-patient healthcare in Los Angeles county. Our clinic mainly serves the indigent and migrants. Among the many services that we provide is nutritional/food counseling. The example of the Dollar store stood out to me. Dollar stores are abundant here in LA, in the city and the suburbs. Lots of other markets exist here too; not only the big chains, but smaller ethic-focused markets with various, generally lower price points, even in the poorest areas of the city. My experience is that generally speaking, poor people are acutely aware of where to shop, and what they can and cannot buy. Buying a quart of milk for one dollar is equal to four dollars for a gallon (not eight as stated), is not a good choice unless it's for convenience only. People possess the awareness and mental ability to compare prices, realize differences, and make good decisions whether they are poor or not, and no one is forced to shop at a Dollar store.
The example of the woman being charged with a 250,000 fine for selling her food stamps would never happen in California, and I can't see that happening in the U.S. today because it would be considered to be inhumane and extreme. Yes, I believe that it is true that the fine exists on paper, but this is to deter people from making a business out of it, or committing extensive fraud. This would be very difficult for a single, qualifying individual to do, in order to make a significant amount of money for prosecution to be worth the effort. Even so, it would be considered to be so low level. It would never be prosecuted as stated, and I don't believe that Americans are so evil in nature as to prosecute a destitute woman who is selling her food stamps for whatever purpose.
What a great piece ! This explains the anger at wasteful government policies.
In South Africa we have an official unemployed rate of around 50% - and that's just those who keep trying. Those who have given up in despair are not counted.' / become invisible.
Unemployment in the younger brackets tends to be higher still, eliminating the hopes of many.
All that research and compassion...and it all comes down to public spending for elections? Huh?
One might read GDP or employment rate figures for a month or quarter, but these macro-numbers don't tell you the whole/real story, and are basically apropos of nothing; only economists and media punditry care about these things. To get a sense of how actual people are doing, you need to, in a manner of speaking, think small. Local numbers, job numbers specific to an industry or region, etc.
Of course, info that Celine-Marie and Tara have given us here is not something you would find in legacy media.....
I find this to be another one of an endless stream of articulate, somewhat logical articles that wallows around in the mud of humanity's problems, be they poverty, war, oppression, food insecurity, homelessness or the effects of climate change. Humans are, some say, the only species on the planet with intelligence or, others say, the species with the most intelligence. As individuals, either statement may be true as you consider humans individually, Collectively however it seems to me that our species is hopelessly stupid, perhaps even more so than many others. The human population on this planet increased from an estimated 500 million in year One AD, to about 2.5 Billion when I was a young boy, almost 2,000 years later. Since that time during a span of only 70 years, the population has increased by a further 5 billion to 7.5 billion.
Less than one out of 20 people I've talked to has been aware of the details as I've described them here. This is not taught in schools and I've seen much evidence that the subject is considered taboo among most responsible media people.
I cannot see how anyone with any intelligence cannot see that the root of all of humanity's problems arise out of these unsustainable population levels combined with humanity's well recognized insatiable greed (more politely referred to as "competition"). Anyone who cannot see that should try to imagine what this world would be like if the population had be maintained within , say 3 billion people.
Think of this in terms of carbon emissions from auto's, planes, houses and factories. Think of this in terms of decimation of our major fishing stocks in both oceans resulting both from over fishing and levels of ocean pollution as well as climate change. Think of this in terms of deforestation in order to produce both basic lumbers and exotic woods for an exploding population. I could go on and on but perhaps someone will see my point. What would the demands on the planet be if the population were less than half of what it is now? What levels of population would be sustainable? Does any family really need more than 2 children in order to be happy?
If, in fact, the human species is capable of developing a collective intelligence the beginnings of solutions to this most basic problem of incredible magnitude can probably only arise out of education and awareness. Not teaching this in schools and hiding it in the media is just really, really stupid in my opinion.
"...Everywhere you look in a struggling community, you find businesses that profit from poverty....."
Well, do you expect people to risk opening a business not to seek to profit?