Apr. 7th, 2017

sinisterporpoise: (Default)
The week where my moped was stolen and my laptop screen got cracked are behind me. I cannot fix these things right away, so I should not spend too much time worrying about them. (This doesn't mean they didn't suck.  They did.  It's just that there's not much I can do about things right now.) The MRI with contrast dye on the right wrist has been rescheduled, and the semester continues to wind down. So far, things are going okay. I even got a B on the quantitative reasoning test. (Despite going into an IT field, basic math is not my strong area. I tend to do okay with discrete math until you ask me to find the union of sets.) Now, I just need to come up with $23.79. I'm okay with borrowing it, if necessary, but I should be able to generate that much through my writing activities.

In any case, I'm doing okay.  It could be better.  Instead, I've been thinking about a Washington Post article that was posted two days ago. I first read about it on Media Matters. The Media Matters article accused it of bordering on poverty shaming. Later sites commenting on the article  seem to have dropped the phrase bordering on. Naturally, I read it for myself.

It was a difficult read. The situation too closely mirrored mine. The man in the article was dropped from his employer as soon as he was injured and no longer useful to him.  (Much like I was forced out of my job when my problems started.) He was reluctant to go on SSI, but he felt he had no other choice. I was not quite as reluctant. I've tried before. I didn't seriously apply because my mental health problems *were* getting better and I figured I no longer needed it. I was okay with this situation as long as I had a job. But well, physical disabilities can happen to anyone too, and they are more likely as a person gets older.

But I didn't see actual poverty shaming, I saw a good description of what is going on in mostly rural America. It was about someone who was too proud to accept help until he had no other choice. This is standard working class American values.  The social justice warrior can argue all day about how there is no shame in accepting help, but the article also goes a long way to explaining why Trump won. The people in these areas don't see welfare as a solution. They see the return of higher paying jobs as a solution.  Never mind that automation and outsourcing has forced many people out of such jobs, and technical companies have CEOs who mistakenly though outsourcing call center jobs to India was a good idea. (Many of these places have now moved back to the United States or Canada, but they are employing prisoners at a ridiculously low hourly rate. By the way, I'm not sure I agree with all of the IWW's politics, but I hope they organize more prisoner strikes in areas where they aren't being compensated for their labor. Texas should be ashamed of itself for this and many other reasons.)

But the reality is these jobs are gone and may not be coming back for a long time. Despite the job numbers, I have to wonder how many people are no longer on the unemployment roles, and how many people who are no longer counted in the labor force participation rate -- the number Dear Trumpenfuhrer was trying to quote during the campaign -- actually want to go back to work.

The only solution I see for the current problem is a minimum income that lets people pursue their own interests for a while. New businesses might even emerge during this process.


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