A family with bags from a service that provides for people in need in Oswego, N.Y., last month. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
RONALD REAGAN famously said, “We fought a war on poverty and poverty won.” With 46 million Americans — 15 percent of the population — now counted as poor, it’s tempting to think he may have been right.
Look a little deeper and the temptation grows. The lowest percentage in poverty since we started counting was 11.1 percent in 1973. The rate climbed as high as 15.2 percent in 1983. In 2000, after a spurt of prosperity, it went back down to 11.3 percent, and yet 15 million more people are poor today.
At the same time, we have done a lot that works. From Social Security to food stamps to the earned-income tax credit and on and on, we have enacted programs that now keep 40 million people out of poverty. Poverty would be nearly double what it is now without these measures, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. To say that “poverty won” is like saying the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts failed because there is still pollution.
With all of that, why have we not achieved more? Four reasons: An astonishing number of people work at low-wage jobs. Plus, many more households are headed now by a single parent, making it difficult for them to earn a living income from the jobs that are typically available. The near disappearance of cash assistance for low-income mothers and children — i.e., welfare — in much of the country plays a contributing role, too. And persistent issues of race and gender mean higher poverty among minorities and families headed by single mothers.
The first thing needed if we’re to get people out of poverty is more jobs that pay decent wages. There aren’t enough of these in our current economy. The need for good jobs extends far beyond the current crisis; we’ll need a full-employment policy and a bigger investment in 21st-century education and skill development strategies if we’re to have any hope of breaking out of the current economic malaise.
This isn’t a problem specific to the current moment. We’ve been drowning in a flood of low-wage jobs for the last 40 years. Most of the income of people in poverty comes from work. According to the most recent data available from the Census Bureau, 104 million people — a third of the population — have annual incomes below twice the poverty line, less than $38,000 for a family of three. They struggle to make ends meet every month.
Half the jobs in the nation pay less than $34,000 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. A quarter pay below the poverty line for a family of four, less than $23,000 annually. Families that can send another adult to work have done better, but single mothers (and fathers) don’t have that option. Poverty among families with children headed by single mothers exceeds 40 percent.
Wages for those who work on jobs in the bottom half have been stuck since 1973, increasing just 7 percent.
Read it all HERE.
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According to a 2008 report, the average life expectancy in the world as a whole is 66.26 years. – Provided by RandomHistory.com
Earlier this year at the hospital, where I am in training as a psychiatry resident, some colleagues were discussing the case of a young woman who had presented with worsening headaches. On CT scan she’d been found to have a meningioma, an often curable tumor of the membranes covering the brain. The prognosis was excellent, and she was offered surgery. She refused, instead flying to the Philippines, where a folk healer—a “psychic surgeon,” to use the term of trade—pressed on her forehead, extracted a dripping gobbet of flesh, and pronounced her cured.
The discussion was charged, running from the failures of modern medicine to ethical quandaries of how to counsel a patient seeking alternative therapies, to the power of the placebo (the tumor hadn’t vanished on followup CT, but she still claimed to feel relief). At the time, however, I was mostly unsettled by a memory. Ten years earlier, traveling in Brazil, I had heard again and again the story of another miracle surgeon. I remembered only the most extraordinary details of the case: the healer, a peasant with no medical training, was said to enter trances in which a spirit guided him as he operated on thousands of patients, from the destitute and hopeless of the nearby villages, to patients as prominent as the Brazilian president’s daughter.
There’s nothing like a family get-together to celebrate your birthday, and 116* movers and shakers all turned up to help Paramount Studios celebrate its 100th.
According to photographer Art Streiber, even the biggest names were humbled.
‘This is epic,’ gasped Leonardo DiCaprio as he entered Studio 18 on the Paramount lot and gaped at the line-up, whose box-office takings have totalled a staggering $103 billion.
Undead: The Rabies Virus Remains a Medical Mystery
Eight years old, wiry and ponytailed, Precious Reynolds bounds from the elevator to the entrance of the pediatric intensive-care unit. She fidgets impatiently as she waits to be buzzed in, eager to return to the clinic where, by the ironclad expectations of 2,000 years of medicine, she should have died. It was nine months ago, here at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, that Precious survived a confirmed bout of rabies—a disease that for most of human history was considered to be fatal in 100 percent of cases.
Today, though, Precious is back just to visit. In the halls of the pediatric ward, where zoo animals cavort in backlit photos, doing their best to dispel the hospital pall, the nurses who treated Precious greet her with delight. She does not remember them at all. But she speaks shyly to each, listening as they recount to her, in turn, their roles in rescuing her. She grows more talkative when describing the life she has resumed back in Willow Creek, in the wilds of California’s Humboldt County. To get in shape for the peewee wrestling season, Precious has been running laps in the long driveway of the farm where she lives with her siblings and grandparents. She also has resumed her pursuit of “mutton bustin’,” a sport in which kids ride rodeo-style on the backs of frantic sheep for as long as they can; at a recent match, she took home the third-place purse of $23.
Medicare and Medicaid Are Established (This day in 1965)
The Social Security Act of 1935 established national social insurance, welfare, and other assistance programs in the US, but it did not address healthcare. Years later, President Harry Truman drew attention to this issue when he unsuccessfully lobbied for the establishment of a national healthcare program. By the 1960s, the political climate was more open to reform, and the Social Security Act amendments creating Medicare and Medicaid were passed. What is the difference between the two programs?
Warmer Seas Harbor Sickening Bacteria
Scientists say warmer seas are responsible for the emergence of a gastroenteritis-causing group of bacteria in northern Europe and outbreaks elsewhere in the world. They found that every year that the Baltic Sea’s surface temperature rose one degree, the number of Vibrio infections in the area rose by nearly 200 percent. These bacteria are generally found in tropical marine environments but are spreading in areas that are warming, and the Baltic Sea in particular has been warming at an unprecedented rate. Vibrio outbreaks have also been recorded in Chile, Peru, Israel, the northwestern US, and northwestern Spain and have been linked to warming in these regions.
Sex Class Action
On June 20, 2011, the US Supreme Court put an end to the largest civil rights class action lawsuit in American history: Betty Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a case that pitted over 1.5 million female Wal-Mart workers against the country’s largest private employer. Suing on behalf of all women who had worked at Wal-Mart between 1998 and 2011, the plaintiffs in Dukes accused the retail giant of discriminating on the basis of sex in pay and promotions, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Their case was historic — and slow moving. By the time it reached Washington, Dukes had been working its way through the federal courts for ten years. With it came ten years of accumulated resources: seven teams of legal counsel, over two dozen amicus briefs, and hundreds of pages of data backing the plaintiffs’ claims.
The women’s case was convincing, to say the least. Study after study revealed that in the thirteen-year window under investigation Wal-Mart paid its male employees
Armed police officers head to the local government office building where local residents gathered to protest against plans for a water discharge project in Qidong, China Saturday, July 28, 2012. AP
The Price Everybody Talks About and Nobody Really Knows: How Much Does College Cost?
If you’re a parent, and you don’t suffer palpitations whenever the topic of paying for college comes up, congratulations: You’re either unusually mellow, or unusually wealthy. Higher education is expensive, and getting more so by the year.
But how expensive? Ah, that’s a trickier question. What we talk about when we talk about the price of a degree can be a bit murky, thanks to the vast variations in tuition, financial aid, and lifestyle choices that determine how much a student spends during their time on campus. For parents paying the tab, and for wonks who’d like to make higher education more affordable, it’s useful to have a realistic baseline for how much a bachelor’s actually runs these days.
So without further ado, let’s look at the numbers.
WHY ONE YEAR OF COLLEGE = $21,200
The dispute between Poles and Jews about the Nazi period can move in unsettling directions, ones that make an unhealed wound hurt even worse. Perceived insults, like President Barack Obama’s recent reference to “Polish concentration camps,” are seen by right-wing Poles as part of a plot to blacken their country’s name in the West. Some on the Polish right are also quick to argue that Poles who assisted the Nazis in anti-Jewish actions, or who slaughtered Jews on their own initiative (such pogroms occurred both during and just after the war), acted from understandable motives: After all, Jewish “treachery” had handed their country to the Bolsheviks. But the treachery is a fiction. Polish Jews were overwhelmingly anti-Communist, and the Soviets deported many of them.
The Polish role in the Holocaust had other roots, darker ones: traditional anti-Semitism and the greedy desire for Jewish property.
Olympics Beach volleyball: Life’s a beach at Horse Guards Parade where beach volleyball has taken Britain by storm