"The Wondering Jew"
Sept. 27, 2003 - 19:44 MDT
THE WONDERING JEW
Does It Cost ?
Like a child wandering through the world blindfolded, encountering stumbling blocks no matter which way it turns -- that is me I think.
Headlines and blather, each side choosing one part of the news to denigrate the other.
"The number of Americans living in poverty increased by 1.7 million last year, and the median household income declined by 1.1 per cent the Census Bureau reported Friday.
Even in the article by Lynette Clemetson of The New York Times facts clash. "It was the second straight year of adverse changes in poverty and income, the first two-year downturn since the early 1990's." "The official poverty rate rose to 12.1 per cent in 2002 from 11.7 per cent the year before." Then, "Daniel H. Weinberg, chief of the Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, said the findings were consistent with the bureau's expectations. If you look at the historical timeline trend, there is a lag with poverty rates," he said. "Low points in poverty and income to come the year after a recession ends."
Lynette Clemetson goes on, "The most recent recession technically ended in November 2001, although job losses have continued at high rates this year.
She continues her article, "The White House largely deflected questions on the data. "The actions we have taken to boost the economy and to create jobs are essential to turn this around," said Scott Mc Clellan, White House spokesman, at his daily press briefing. He pointed instead to newly released figures from the Commerce Department that showed a bigger than expected rise in the gross domestic product."
Lynette Clemetson brings out these figures, "The poverty threshold for a family of four is $18,392. For individuals the amounbt is $9,183. The percentage of people in severe poverty, those with incomes below half of the poverty threshold, increased to 14.1 million from 13.4 million." Then further along Lynette Clemetson has this to say, "Liberal economists took the position that any increase in poverty was too high, given the relative prosperity of the country."
"Many also criticized policy shifts saying that they reduced the social safety net for the poor, like reductions in child care assistance and reduced unemployment insurance benefits."
At the last Lynette Clemetson brings out a point that perhaps is apropos, "This year the bureaus scheduled the release for a Friday, causing speculation that the government agency had been pressured by the administration to move the date so that the results which most people expected to be worse than they were last year, would generate less attention in the weekend news cycle."
Makes me think and wonder a little. One thing I wonder is just how much reality some of these suits sitting around a conference table and spouting figures on poverty and unemployment are truly in touch with ? 1.7 million more are officially poor -- not mentioned just how many people are unemployed and those figures usually do not count the people who have given up.
A telling sentence in the article, "The most recent recession technically ended November 2001 (it is now 2003 - September) Although job losses have continued at high rates this year." So what the heck does "technically" have to do with reality ?
Scott Mclellan, speaking for the White House, "The actions that we've taken to boost the economy and to create jobs are essential to turn this around." Then he, "Pointed instead to newly released figures from the Commerce Department that showed a bigger than expected rise in the gross domestic product." So what the heck measures - actions - whatever have been taken by the administration to boost the economy and create jobs ? Tax cuts for the rich ? Anything else ? I highly suspect the 3.3 percent increase in GDP too. With jobs going to foreign countries by the millions, from manufacturing and all other kinds of work too, how can they possibly come up with that figure ?
I do not know where Lynette Clemetson came up with the poverty threshold, I don't doubt it. One thing I do think of though, a wage earner with a family who has had enough income to sock away a goodly sum to tide the family over until "happy days are here again," is one lucky puppy. Otherwise with the loss of his job, he and his family are now immediately below poverty level and in dire straits. In a great many families both the man and the wife have to work to keep a family going. And the poverty threshold of $18,392 disturbs me too. A new development on Lowry is being built for low income people. Domiciles to be in the $100,000 area, aimed at people with an income of $40,000 plus. So now $40,000 is low income ? There is nothing being built to house people making less than $40,000 per year that I know of. I can imagine what poor folks are living in and paying high rent for.
Then, "Many also criticized policy shifts saying that they reduced the social safety net for the poor, like reductions in child care assistance and reduced unemployment insurance benefits." So when a wage earner loses his job, and unemployment insurance benefits (however little) run out -- what is he supposed to do -- take his family and flee ? Maybe across our southern border where he can work for an American corporation in a factory owned by them ? for peanuts ?
I think Lynette Clemetson heard the nitty gritty on the timing on the release too. "This year the bureau scheduled the release on Friday, causing speculation that the government agency had been pressured by the administration to move the date so that the results, which most people expected to be worse than they were last year, would generate less attention in the weekend news cycle."
Speculation ? Or good guessing ? Ya' know TGIF, a six pack, MacDonalds Big Macs and the weekend games on TV, parties, picnics and entertainment, who wants to think about the shape we are in ?
Now there are people who have been laid off who are not paying taxes of course -- no income, no taxes. Manufacturing jobs going overseas, other work moved out of country. Fewer and fewer people putting their share into Social Security. Corporations don't have to put in their share of FICA because those jobs are gone, out of country.
Then baby boomers, my son one of them, approaching retirement age. If fewer people are working and less money in FICA is coming in from workers and employers, aren't we in deeper trouble quicker ? So, now those of retirement age will have to keep working on into ? what age ? and perhaps keeping two jobs flipping burgers to survive. Hope the boomers have their houses paid off and their estates not so large that taxes will eat them up.
One final thing, I see no sensible reason for our people to do anything to better the standard of living for people not of our country, at our own expense. Which is what is happening by our jobs disappearing into foreign lands. Why isn't our government doing something to cure this problem ? I would rather pay more in the store for what I buy, knowing that the extra is going toward keeping an American working.
But I am in my dotage, an old senile reptile and don't really understand all this modern heebie jeebie stuff. This thinking now, how much Does It Cost ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 comments so far