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Why Don’t the Unemployed Get Off Their Couches?
And Eight Other Critical Questions for Americans
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Last year eight Americans — the four Waltons of Walmart fame, the two Koch brothers, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett — made more money than 3.6 million American minimum-wage workers combined. The median pay for CEOs at America’s large corporations rose to $10 million per year, while a typical chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker’s salary, up sharply from 181 times in 2009. Overall, 1% of Americans own more than a third of the country’s wealth.

As the United States slips from its status as the globe’s number one economic power, small numbers of Americans continue to amass staggering amounts of wealth, while simultaneously inequality trends toward historic levels. At what appears to be a critical juncture in our history and the history of inequality in this country, here are nine questions we need to ask about who we are and what will become of us. Let’s start with a French economist who has emerged as an important voice on what’s happening in America today.

1) What does Thomas Piketty have to do with the 99%?

French economist Thomas Piketty’s surprise bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is an unlikely beach read, though it’s selling like one. A careful parsing of massive amounts of data distilled into “only” 700 pages, it outlines the economic basis for the 1%-99% divide in the United States. (Conservative critics, of course, disagree.)

Just in case you aren’t yet rock-bottom certain about the reality of that divide, here are some stats: the top 1% of Americans hold 35% of the nation’s net worth; the bottom 80%, only 11% percent. The United States has such an unequal distribution of wealth that, in global rankings, it falls among the planet’s kleptocracies, not the developed nations that were once its peers. The mathematical measure of wealth-inequality is called “Gini,” and the higher it is, the more extreme a nation’s wealth-inequality. The Gini for the U.S. is 85; for Germany, 77; Canada, 72; and Bangladesh, 64. Nations more unequal than the U.S. include Kazakhstan at 86 and the Ukraine at 90. The African continent tips in at just under 85. Odd company for the self-proclaimed “indispensable nation.”

Piketty shows that such inequality is driven by two complementary forces. By owning more of everything (capital), rich people have a mechanism for getting ever richer than the rest of us, because the rate of return on investment is higher than the rate of economic growth. In other words, money made from investments grows faster than money made from wages. Piketty claims the wealth of the wealthiest Americans is rising at 6%-7% a year, more than three times as fast as the economy the rest of us live in.

At the same time, wages for middle and lower income Americans are sinking, driven by factors also largely under the control of the wealthy. These include the application of new technology to eliminate human jobs, the crushing of unions, and a decline in the inflation-adjusted minimum wage that more and more Americans depend on for survival.

The short version: A rising tide lifts all yachts.

2) So why don’t the unemployed/underemployed simply find better jobs?

Another way of phrasing this question is: Why don’t we just blame the poor for their plight? Mention unemployment or underemployment and someone will inevitably invoke the old “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” line. If workers don’t like retail or minimum-wage jobs, or if they can’t find good paying jobs in their area, why don’t they just move? Quit retail or quit Pittsburgh (Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis) and…

Move to where to do what? Our country lost one-third of all decent factory jobs — almost six million of them — between 2000 and 2009, and wherever “there” is supposed to be, piles of people are already in line. In addition, many who lost their jobs don’t have the means to move or a friend with a couch to sleep on when they get to Colorado. Some have lived for generations in the places where the jobs have disappeared. As for the jobs that are left, what do they pay? One out of four working Americans earn less than $10 per hour. At 25%, the U.S. has the highest percentage of low-wage workers in the developed world. (Canada and Great Britain have 20%, Japan under 15%, and France 11%.)

One in six men, 10.4 million Americans aged 25 to 64, the prime working years, don’t have jobs at all, a portion of the male population that has almost tripled in the past four decades. They are neither all lazy nor all unskilled, and at present they await news of the uncharted places in the U.S. where those 10 million unfilled jobs are hidden.

Moving “there” to find better work isn’t an option.

3) But aren’t there small-scale versions of economic “rebirths” occurring all over America?

Travel through some of the old Rust Belt towns of this country and you’ll quickly notice that “economic rebirth” seems to mean repurposing buildings that once housed factories and shipping depots as bars and boutiques. Abandoned warehouses are now trendy restaurants; a former radiator factory is an artisanal coffee shop. In other words, in a place where a manufacturing plant once employed hundreds of skilled workers at union wages, a handful of part-timers are now serving tapas at minimum wage plus tips.

In Maryland, an ice cream plant that once employed 400 people with benefits and salaries pegged at around $40,000 a year closed its doors in 2012. Under a “rebirth” program, a smaller ice cream packer reopened the place with only 16 jobs at low wages and without benefits. The new operation had 1,600 applicants for those 16 jobs. The area around the ice cream plant once produced airplanes, pipe organs, and leather car seats. No more. There were roughly 14,000 factory jobs in the area in 2000; today, there are 8,000.

General Electric’s Appliance Park, in Louisville, Kentucky, employed 23,000 union workers at its peak in 1973. By 2011, the sputtering plant held onto only about 1,800 workers. What was left of the union there agreed to a two-tier wage scale, and today 70% of the jobs are on the lower tier — at $13.50 an hour, almost $8 less than what the starting wage used to be. A full-time worker makes about $28,000 a year before taxes and deductions. The poverty line for a family of four in Kentucky is $23,000. Food stamp benefits are available to people who earn up to 130% of the poverty line, so a full-timer in Kentucky with a family still qualifies. Even if a worker moved to Kentucky and lucked out by landing a job at the plant, standing on your tiptoes with your lips just above sea level is not much of a step up.

Low paying jobs are not a rebirth.

4) Can’t people just get off their couches and get back to work?

There are 3.8 million Americans who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. These are the country’s long-term unemployed, as defined by the Department of Labor. Statistically, the longer you are unemployed, the less likely it is that you’ll ever find work again. Between 2008 and 2012, only 11% of those unemployed 15 months or more found a full-time job, and research shows that those who do find a job are less likely to retain it. Think of it as a snowball effect: more unemployment creates more unemployable people.

And how hard is it to land even a minimum-wage job? This year, the Ivy League college admissions acceptance rate was 8.9%. Last year, when Walmart opened its first store in Washington, D.C., there were more than 23,000 applications for 600 jobs, which resulted in an acceptance rate of 2.6%, making the big box store about twice as selective as Harvard and five times as choosy as Cornell.

Telling unemployed people to get off their couches (or out of the cars they live in or the shelters where they sleep) and get a job makes as much sense as telling them to go study at Harvard.

5) Why can’t former factory workers retrain into new jobs?

Janesville, Wisconsin, had the oldest General Motors car factory in America, one that candidate Obama visited in 2007 and insisted would be there for another 100 years. Two days before Christmas that year and just before Obama’s inauguration, the plant closed forever, throwing 5,000 people out of work. This devastated the town, because you either worked in the plant or in a business that depended on people working in the plant. The new president and Congress quickly paid for a two-million-dollar Janesville retraining program, using state community colleges the way the government once used trade schools built to teach new immigrants the skills needed by that Janesville factory a century ago.

This time around, however, those who finished their retraining programs simply became trained unemployables rather than untrained ones. It turned out that having a certificate in “heating and ventilation” did not automatically lead to a job in the field. There were already plenty of people out there with such certificates, never mind actual college degrees. And those who did find work in some field saw their take-home pay drop by 36%. This, it seems, is increasingly typical in twenty-first-century America (though retraining programs have been little studied in recent years).

Manufacturing is dead and the future lies in a high-tech, information-based economy, some say. So why can’t former factory workers be trained to do that? Maybe some percentage could, but the U.S. graduated 1,606,000 students with bachelor’s degrees in 2014, many of whom already have such skills.

Bottom Line: Jobs create the need for training. Training does not create jobs.

6) Shouldn’t we cut public assistance and force people into the job market?

At some point in any discussion of jobs, someone will drop the nuclear option: cut federal and state benefits and do away with most public assistance. That’ll motivate people to find jobs — or starve. Unemployment money and food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) encourage people to be lazy. Why should tax dollars be used to give food to people who won’t work for it? “If you’re able-bodied, you should be willing to work,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said discussing food stamp cuts.

The problem with such statements is 73% of those enrolled in the country’s major public benefits programs are, in fact, from working families — just in jobs whose paychecks don’t cover life’s basic necessities. McDonald’s workers alone receive $1.2 billion in federal assistance per year.

Why do so many of the employed need food stamps? It’s not complicated. Workers in the minimum-wage economy often need them simply to survive. All in all, 47 million people get SNAP nationwide because without it they would go hungry.

In Ohio, where I did some of the research for my book Ghosts of Tom Joad, the state pays out benefits on the first of each month. Pay Day, Food Day, Mother’s Day, people call it. SNAP is distributed in the form of an Electronic Bank Transfer card, or EBT, which, recipients will tell you, stands for “Eat Better Tonight.” EBT-friendly stores open early and stay open late on the first of the month because most people are pretty hungry come the Day.

A single person with nothing to her name in the lower 48 states would qualify for no more than $189 a month in SNAP. If she works, her net monthly income is multiplied by .3, and the result is subtracted from the maximum allotment. Less than fifty bucks a week for food isn’t exactly luxury fare. Sure, she can skip a meal if she needs to, and she likely does. However, she may have kids; almost two-thirds of SNAP children live in single-parent households. Twenty percent or more of the child population in 37 states lived in “food insecure households” in 2011, with New Mexico (30.6%) and the District of Columbia (30%) topping the list. And it’s not just kids. Households with disabled people account for 16% of SNAP benefits, while 9% go to households with senior citizens.

Almost 22% of American children under age 18 lived in poverty in 2012; for those under age five, it’s more than 25%. Almost 1 in 10 live in extreme poverty.

Our system is trending toward asking kids (and the disabled, and the elderly) to go to hell if they’re hungry. Many are already there.

7) Why are Walmart and other businesses opposed to SNAP cuts?

Public benefits are now a huge part of the profits of certain major corporations. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Walmart was oddly blunt about what SNAP cuts could do to its bottom line:

“Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors, and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control. These factors include… changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, [and] changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans.”

How much profit do such businesses make from public assistance? Short answer:big bucks. In one year, nine Walmart Supercenters in Massachusetts received more than $33 million in SNAP dollars — more than four times the SNAP money spent at farmers’ markets nationwide. In two years, Walmart received about half of the one billion dollars in SNAP expenditures in Oklahoma. Overall, 18% of all food benefits money is spent at Walmart.

Pepsi, Coke, and the grocery chain Kroger lobbied for food stamps, an indication of how much they rely on the money. The CEO of Kraft admitted that the mac n’ cheese maker opposed food stamp cuts because users were “a big part of our audience.” One-sixth of Kraft’s revenues come from food stamp purchases. Yum Brands, the operator of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, tried to convince lawmakers in several states to allow its restaurants to accept food stamps. Products eligible for SNAP purchases are supposed to be limited to “healthy foods.” Yet lobbying by the soda industry keeps sugary drinks on the approved list, while companies like Coke and Pepsi pull in four billion dollars a year in revenues from SNAP money.

Poverty is big business.

8) Should We Raise the Minimum Wage?

One important reason to raise the minimum wage to a living one is that people who can afford to feed themselves will not need food stamps paid for by taxpayers. Companies who profit off their workers’ labor will be forced to pay a fair price for it, and not get by on taxpayer-subsidized low wages. Just as important, people who can afford to feed themselves earn not just money, but self-respect. The connection between working and taking care of yourself and your family has increasingly gone missing in America, creating a society that no longer believes in itself. Rock bottom is a poor foundation for building anything human.

But won’t higher wages cause higher prices? The way taxpayers functionally subsidize companies paying low-wages to workers — essentially ponying up the difference between what McDonald’s and its ilk pay and what those workers need to live via SNAP and other benefits — is a hidden cost squirreled away in plain sight. You’re already paying higher prices via higher taxes; you just may not know it.

Even if taxes go down, won’t companies pass on their costs? Maybe, but they are unlikely to be significant. For example, if McDonald’s doubled the salaries of its employees to a semi-livable $14.50 an hour, not only would most of them go off public benefits, but so would the company — and yet a Big Mac would cost just 68 cents more. In general, only about 20% of the money you pay for a Big Mac goes to labor costs. At Walmart, increasing wages to $12 per hour would cost the company only about one percent of its annual sales.

Despite labor costs not being the most significant factor in the way low-wage businesses set their prices, one of the more common objections to raising the minimum wage is that companies, facing higher labor costs, will cut back on jobs. Don’t believe it.

The Los Angeles Economic Round Table concluded that raising the hourly minimum to $15 in that city would generate an additional $9.2 billion in annual sales and create more than 50,000 jobs. A Paychex/IHS survey, which looks at employment in small businesses, found that the state with the highest percentage of annual job growth was Washington, which also has the highest statewide minimum wage in the nation. The area with the highest percentage of annual job growth was San Francisco, the city with the highest minimum wage in the nation. Higher wages do not automatically lead to fewer jobs. Many large grocery chains, including Safeway and Kroger, are unionized and pay well-above-minimum wage. They compete as equals against their non-union rivals, despite the higher wages.

Will employers leave a state if it raises its minimum wage independent of a nationwide hike? Unlikely. Most minimum-wage employers are service businesses that are tied to where their customers are. People are not likely to drive across state lines for a burger. A report on businesses on the Washington-Idaho border at a time when Washington’s minimum wage was nearly three bucks higher than Idaho’s found that the ones in Washington were flourishing.

While some businesses could indeed decide to close or cut back if the minimum wage rose, the net macro gains would be significant. Even a small hike to $10.10 an hour would put some $24 billion a year into workers’ hands to spend and lift 900,000 Americans above the poverty line. Consumer spending drives 70% of our economy. More money in the hands of consumers would likely increase the demand for goods and services, creating jobs.

Yes, raise the minimum wage. Double it or more. We can’t afford not to.

9) Okay, after the minimum wage is raised, what else can we do?

To end such an article, it’s traditional to suggest reforms, changes, solutions. It is, in fact, especially American to assume that every problem has a “solution.” So my instant suggestion: raise the minimum wage. Tomorrow. In a big way. And maybe appoint Thomas Piketty to the board of directors of Walmart.

But while higher wages are good, they are likely only to soften the blows still to come. What if the hyper-rich like being ever more hyper-rich and, with so many new ways to influence and control our political system and the economy, never plan to give up any of their advantages? What if they don’t want to share, not even a little more, not when it comes to the minimum wage or anything else?

The striking trend lines of social and economic disparity that have developed over the last 50 years are clearly no accident; nor have disemboweled unions, a deindustrialized America, wages heading for the basement (with profits still on the rise), and the widest gap between rich and poor since the slavery era been the work of the invisible hand. It seems far more likely that a remarkably small but powerful crew wanted it that way, knowing that a nation of fast food workers isn’t heading for the barricades any time soon. Think of it all as a kind of “Game of Thrones” played out over many years. A super-wealthy few have succeeded in defeating all of their rivals — unions, regulators, the media, honest politicians, environmentalists — and now are free to do as they wish.

What most likely lies ahead is not a series of satisfying American-style solutions to the economic problems of the 99%, but a boiling frog’s journey into a form of twenty-first-century feudalism in which a wealthy and powerful few live well off the labors of a vast mass of the working poor. Once upon a time, the original 99% percent, the serfs, worked for whatever their feudal lords allowed them to have. Now, Walmart “associates” do the same. Then, a few artisans lived slightly better, an economic step or two up the feudal ladder. Now, a technocratic class of programmers, teachers, and engineers with shrinking possibilities for upward mobility function similarly amid the declining middle class. Absent a change in America beyond my ability to imagine, that’s likely to be my future — and yours.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. ATom Dispatch regular, he writes about current events at his blog, We Meant Well. His new book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Economics • Tags: Minimum Wage, Unemployment 
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  1. AppSocRes says:

    No mention of immigration!

    When unemployment among unskilled, low wage native-born workers in this country keeps rising why the hell are we not doing everything we can to stop and reverse the influx of unskilled, low-wage foreign-born workers and their welfare-sucking dependents? Have the laws of economics magically altered and an increased supply of labor is expected to drive wages up? Further up the wage scale, why the hell are we planning to increase issuance of H-1B visas when there are currently about one-and-one-half native-born STEM workers for every existing and planned STEM job?

    In fact, data from various federal household economic surveys suggest that, were it not for immigration of unskilled, low-wage workers, the demand for unskilled, native-born labor would not only have reduced unemployment in this population but would also have significantly increased their average take-home pay. Again, this is not exactly rocket science: decreased supply of any economic resource, including unskilled labor increases the market price of that resource.

    And the canard that native-born, unskilled labor will not do these jobs under any circumstances is both absurd and racist (“Oh, those lazy negro workers!). Native-born Americans will do any work that needs doing if paid enough and given decent enough working conditions. Most of the potato crop in Maine is harvested by native-born high school students.

    Another piece of propaganda is the assertion that giving native-born American workers decent wages will raise the cost of living to exorbitant levels. Again the data prove this to be absurd. Total labor input costs to agricultural production, e.g., the costs of Mexican stoop labor, amount to 10% or so of total food production costs. If massive reserve armies of immigrant labor wwere not available to agribusiness these businesses could readily attract native-born labor with wage increases and improved working conditions that would probably not raise food prices more than say 5% or 10%; a bargain for the whole country! (Except maybe Archer Daniels Midland, Zuckerberg, and their ilk)

  2. AG says:

    Inequality is bad in most people’s eyes. Progressive people are fighting against it on behalf of majority. Here you have many failed attempts like communism, nazism, and man other form of socialism in last century.

    Why does pushing for equality often end up in failure?

    Just think about Olympic game with new rule which awards every participants with gold medals regardless of performing rank. You can bet that no body will run fast. When there is inequality of winner vs losers, every body run fast as he can. The result is that even loser runs faster than winner in game of equality. The very fear of losing is greates motivation for most people.

    Do powerful rich people fight against redistrbution based on above understanding? Doubt it. But absolute equality is not place to be. Mild form of redistribution to pacify the losers is good to prevent violent revolution like those in Russia or China or Africa. When losers become desperate, the world is dangerous.

  3. While I don’t doubt the article is substantially true, it needs to be said that illegitimate birth is a major factor in poverty at both the individual and social levels. Women who give birth out of wedlock and their children are far more likely to live in poverty than anyone else. Restoring intense social pressure on women not to give birth out of wedlock would go a long way towards alleviating poverty.

    And we have absolutely no hope whatsoever of reducing poverty to tolerable levels if we don’t get our borders under control and stop importing poverty.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  4. For AG:

    Nobody is talking about absolute, perfect equality here. We’re just talking about having a national community where the average Joe or Jill can reasonably expect to have a family and not live in poverty if they’re willing to get an education and work hard.

  5. “At the same time, wages for middle and lower income Americans are sinking, driven by factors also largely under the control of the wealthy. These include the application of new technology to eliminate human jobs, the crushing of unions, and a decline in the inflation-adjusted minimum wage that more and more Americans depend on for survival.”

    Someone must have clipped the end of the second sentence. I don’t see anything about importing millions of aliens to drive up housing prices, burden public services, increase crime, and work for substandard wages.

  6. RJ says:

    ” … not live in poverty if they’re willing to get an education and work hard.”

    You’ve identified a substantial part of the problem.

  7. AppSocRes beat me to it. 2000 words and not one mention of immigration! Fifty years of legal and illegal immigration has created a vast over supply of labor and a tremendous downward pressure on wages at the lower and lower-middle end.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Very left wing view of the current job/unemployment situation, although not entirely without merit. However, being a leftist (as the argument presented here would imply) he most likely favors amnesty and even more immigration. Does he have any understanding of what a disaster mass immigration from third world countries has been to both skilled and unskilled workers? Does he even care? Probably not, until they start flooding the authors profession and it becomes increasingly harder to make a living.

  9. Great article. Could have been better if the author mentioned the effects of billionaire open border globalists flooding the country with cheap compliant immigrant labor, effectively lowering wages of working Americans for decades and stealing job opportunities.
    The only people in favor of massive immigration profit from it, and then pass on all the social, economic and environmental cost to the communities, while smearing all who oppose as racist nativist xenophobes.
    immigration is a racket, a transfer of money from labor to capital. want to increase jobs and raise wages? then have an immigration moratorium tomorrow, and learn to take off your moral crown you are wearing for caring more for the ” others’ while ignoring the working poor here now.

  10. To get more people working we should eliminate food stamps and eliminate the minimum wage.

    To reduce the appearance of inequality within the United States we could deport the Illegal immigrants, which would reduce inequality instantly and provide more jobs for Americans.

    most of the bottom quintile in the United States is composed of illegal immigrants and their children.

  11. Rod1963 says:

    Again another author who goes out of his way to avoid talking about immigration, both legal and illegal and it’s effects on the labor market.

    Simple fixes to our labor woes include:

    1) Imprisoning those who hire illegals.
    2) Removing illegals off the welfare rolls.
    3) Enforcing current immigration laws.
    4) Stop importing H1-B and L-1 foreign workers to replace Americans and start sending the ones here home.
    5) Shut down the Chambers of Commerce and Business Roundtable groups – they are nothing but open border and globalist sweat shop advocates.

    The minimum wage debate is essentially a straw man used by cheap labor conservatives and the Left for their own agendas. The Conservatives scream about this because they don’t want to talk about the Free Trade policies they support that have gutted the tech and manufacturing sectors of the economy and set the stage for permanent mass unemployment and the fact we are now China’s b**ch because of their love of cheap goods. The Left raves and rants because they don’t want to talk about their support of open borders in order to acure more political power which has resulted in wiping out the low end of the labor market for native born Americans.

  12. The only way to make people work is to let them starve to death if they won’t.

  13. “The only way to make people work is to let them starve to death if they won’t.”

    The supposition there is that there exists work which they could be doing, but that they refuse to do it. That supposition does not correspond to reality.

  14. PSR says:

    As most other commenters have observed, this article can’t be taken seriously without mention of the millions upon millions of unskilled, uneducated illegal aliens who comprise a large portion of the bottom rung of our society. With our borders under control and illegals out of the country the fortunes of all working poor Americans would likely rise dramatically.

  15. No doubt the oligarchy-influenced want to blame it all on the immigrants. Notice that immigrants didn’t offshore the good-paying job you used to have. And the immigrants are desperate precisely because the same corporatists have ravaged their homelands, further along the same fate they have planned for us. But just like all colonialist control mindsets – turn those dominated and exploited against each other, so your greed can continue to be slaked to the disadvantage of everyone except the wealthy predators.

  16. O'really says:

    Snap given to tax evaders
    Drug dealers living in projects evade taxes with every sale of illegal drugs. Projects having parking lots, every space is taken. A place full of poor people with cars? In nyc where you don’t even need a car?
    Illegal immigrants work off the books , many making more than minimum wage. Every penny goes untaxed. And they too receive government assistance.
    Small business owners evade unknown (billions?) in taxes.
    Many Houses of worship have become shelters for tax evasion.
    Who can stop you from building one , and then using it to hide illegal money transfers ?
    Why are snap receipts hungry? In a country plagued with I obesity .
    Snap credits are being sold to small business owners across the country.
    Snap holders sell the credit to stores , they buy say $400 in credit (which the government pays the store) for $200 . The snap recipient gets $200 cash and the store owners gets $400 from the government. They both profit $200 . But no one is getting the food I (tax payer) paid for.
    Poor people beg for money all the time. I get to decide . I always decide , no!
    But hold on, let me look at my check.
    I don’t get to decide. A percentage check gets split up over millions of people (if you can call them that)
    So we cry about the economy , yet when I pull in $20 an hour you want to chop it down to 12 ? And when I make 50 , will it be 25 ?
    And at the rate the poor are breeding ?
    Poor people with low iq don’t use birth control.
    So I can’t afford a kid but the criminal up the block can afford to have a kid I help susidize ?
    Eric cantor said stop giving free moneys.
    The. He loses biggest upset ever.
    Coincidence ? No.
    It’s not.
    The people telling you that you should not be afraid of (xyz)
    Have gates and armed guards. Bunkers, and safe houses. Guns and security firms .
    I see the kids graduating and I think “how in the hell did my friends gets pushed into getting their “g.e.d.” Just a few years ago.
    Half the graduates I see don’t speak English , and yet the claim they don’t speak Spanish and take Spanish as a second language and as a result get a good grade (not great , considering they still can’t read) but somehow they pass English class even though many can’t even read in English.
    The list goes on and on.

    Cabrone, Send the kids, they won’t turn them back.
    Oh Yes we will, as soon as you tell us who their parents are!
    Well I ain’t telling!
    Then … Well, we ain’t send them back!

    How about this.
    The economy is fucked up.
    Detroit is selling houses for cheap.
    I say “wow, that’s cheap . I would invest my pennies there”
    I read on “only the locals who have destroyed detroit can get homes at the discount prices .” Huh?
    Aren’t they to blame? Now give them the chance to profit? And what are the chances of the place becoming profitable if your investors are your beneficiaries .

    What would make sense is “hey all you working shmucks . Here’s a chance to invest . Toss a few bucks out way and the place is yours. And who knows , maybe you can do something with it. They sure couldn’t” (watchyoumean “they”!?)

    Instead I’m paying an over inflated cost of living set in place by the same person that is collecting the money at every register .

  17. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    How exactly is continuing high rate of unemployment not a story? the ’employment gains’ of recent months are basically keeping up with population growth–we’re still down by millions of jobs relative to where we were at the time of the Lehman crash. The rest of the ‘gains’ are accomplished by people dropping out of the workforce. Sending out resumes is a joke. The line is that there are three people for every job available, but that’s even an exaggeration–you’re also competing with marginally employed part timers who are struggling as well.

    And who’s speaking on behalf of the jobless? Certainly not the GOP. Not the Democrats (except when using them as props in commercials). The protests that might get them off the couch aren’t happening (which isn’t the case in Europe). The last time I looked, the remnants of Occupy Wall Street were organizing protests around Monsanto and the Trans Pacific Partnership. one wing here is supporting fast food workers, but their fight for a $15 an hour rate won’t go anywhere as long as there’s a reserve army of the unemployed ready to step up and replace them.

  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @The Plutonium Kid

    “Women who give birth out of wedlock”

    yeah, lets blame the women…it’s all their fault that some scumbag drops his seed and then doesn’t think he has to pay for his kids……I told my kids when they were old enough to understand that “if you think you’re going to get some girl pregnant and not take of the kid you got another thing coming”

    it takes two bro and I’m not sure why you place the blame on only one half of the equation but oh so many do AND THAT is why the country is circling the drain.

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