Archive for February, 2012

February 16, 2012

It’s like a man who has just eaten a hearty meal turning to a starving person, “Look, we’re in the same boat. My plate is empty too!”

A verbatim section from a fantastic post on Gawker today: “The Top 1% Must Stop Insisting They’re Not Rich This Instant”

This is a common theme, reiterated everywhere from golf course bars to the pages of various rich person-centric newspapers and magazines: “[Salary much higher than yours] might sound like a lot, but once you consider the cost of living, I’m really not even close to being ‘rich.'” Yeah. Fuck you. Today’s entry in this category comes in the form of a Toronto Life essay by Jonathan Kay, which is god damn enraging, assuming you make less than $196K per year (the cutoff line for Canada’s top 1%). “That’s no small amount of money, but hardly the means for a life of leisure,” Jonathan writes. OH? “In an increasingly pricy city like Toronto, where we pay a premium for everything from milk to car insurance, $196,000 can seem positively middle-class.” Please Jonathan, justify yourself, with numbers.

Break it down, and it translates to roughly $10,400 a month, after taxes. For many Torontonians, that $10,400 disappears fast. Thousands go to the mortgage. For those with young kids, daycare can cost upwards of $1,500 a month. There are the car and RSP payments, wardrobe refreshes, utility bills and something to set aside for when the furnace inevitably conks out. Plus the cost of the sushi, pad Thai and butter chicken that we order in three nights a week-because we’re all too tired to cook by the time we get home from work.

Then there’s the stuff that fills our houses-the calibre of which is the subject of intense, unspoken competition among my peers and neighbours.

And here we see the fundamental dishonest characteristic of each and every article which advances this particular enraging argument. “Sure, it’s an objectively large sum of money,” they say. “But it is far smaller after I spend it.”

No shit.

Money pays for the costs of life. That is what money does. You can’t fucking argue that, hey, your money doesn’t go that far after you’ve already spent it. You used it! Paying taxes and paying bills and paying the mortgage and putting money in a retirement fund and going out to dinner are the things that money gets you. You asshole. Just because you didn’t blow it all on jewelry, caviar, and cocaine doesn’t mean you didn’t get anything out of it. This argument is like a man eating a hearty meal, licking his plate clean, then turning to a starving person and saying, “Look, we’re in the same boat. My plate is empty too!”

February 16, 2012

Contraceptives & “Religious Freedom”: A Cold Political Calculation

Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Massachusetts Senate Candidate, spoke tonight on Rachel Maddow about the very broad language in the recent contraception legislation introduced in the House. According to Warren, the legislative language is so broad (including “any moral objection” by an employer to cover “any type” of health care costs) that it opens the door wide open for employers to diminish and eliminate health care coverage for employees.

She calls it “a cold political calculation” to further diminish worker’s rights and benefits. She makes a very good point!

February 16, 2012

A Submerged State

“A submerged state, according to political scientist Suzanne Mettler, is what you get when a government refuses to distribute funds and services directly to individuals and families, and instead uses tax breaks or payments to private companies all in order to hide the hand of government and exaggerate the role of the market.”

Read the article “Thirty More Years of Hell” by Connor Kilpatrick.


February 14, 2012

Keeping Prisons Full: the New Jim Crow

The Huffington Post published an article today on private prison corporations making profits off of the mass incarcerations of human beings. This is old news. The “noteworthy” news today was that the Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, recently sent a letter to 48 different states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for “challenging corrections budgets” and in return the Corrections Corporation of America is demanding that states ensure they keep the prison system at least 90% full, for which the state will receive some of the profit made from the resulting human suffering. 

“In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.”

How does a state ensure that a prison is at least 90% full? Take a good guess. We have the “war on drugs” for one, which is a law that is preferential to white and rich Americans, and targets largely black and poor Americans. Michele Alexander describes this huge issue in more detail in her latest book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

Establishing a profit incentive to imprison citizens is absurdly immoral. Not only that, but this horrific behavior is affecting only one group of citizens: black Americans and other ethnic minorities. 

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