Sunday, February 15, 2009

Replacing Suckups/Media

Over the past week, without use of a computer, I did a lot of watching the action in D.C., and that has a somewhat predictable effect in that I am dismayed and alarmed by the poseurs on all sides, but am unable to see that our media makes any attempt to get it straight. At least the constant reports that stimulus was dead were shown up as tripe.

I see the right wing comfortable in standing resolutely against the public interest, sure that their claims of newborn fiscal responsibility will be reported, and the big lies will see the light of day while the counterbalancing truths will disappear beneath the trampling in print - to be heard out only in our liberal blogs where only progressives will notice them. While we are finally being heard, and getting the votes, that doesn’t make a difference in those bastions of determined winger fixations that keep electing these lowlifes. As long as liars can be re-elected whatever they do, we will have to watch the public interest shredded for proven destructive policies.

No surprises, I encountered what started out as a paean to the great gains for women’s rights this a.m. and it turned into a helpful household hint of/for consumerism. Lily Ledbetter wasn’t making things any easier for her sisters now, she was used to slam them for their spending habits without taking any account of the upward push in prices - not wages, no never - she is facing.

Over the past 40 years, individual earnings have become more and more unequal -- as the effects of education on wages increased with technological change, unions declined, labor went overseas, and the minimum wage failed to keep up with inflation. The difference between the earnings of middle-class families and those on the bottom rung has remained flat, while disparities on the top end of society's ladder have grown, with the distance between the middle and the top expanding by 72 percent since 1967. But individual earnings are only part of the story when it comes to rising differences in family incomes. When we look at total household income inequality, the role of women as breadwinners is key.

In the "Father Knows Best" era, a janitor earned less than a doctor, but that disparity was likely to be the only source of difference in their respective families' standards of living. Neither man was likely to have a wife who worked. Now, with media-fed, ever-increasing consumer desires, what wage would be considered an adequate "family wage"? The more we make, the more we want. Furthermore, for those in the professional class, both men and women, work is seen as a central part of identity. Hence the "need" for two workers among the affluent. And among the less well-off, the increasing pressures put on the marketplace by the rich -- bidding up the price of housing and education, for example -- means that most middle-class couples probably need two incomes also, even just to keep a roof over their heads. Today, housing expenses represent more than half of household budgets among the bottom third of earners, and families cannot even rise above the poverty line ($21,300 last year for a family of four) with a single full-time worker at the minimum wage.

Okay, this is a bit of the social consciousness that has become ingrained - unjustifiably in my opinion. It’s that consumer urge that gets the big boot, and no acknowledgement that the costs that were worked into that family budget got pushed slowly, and then quickly, up as wages stagnated and prices of housing, cars, basics like gas and food, were kicked up. Usually doing the family home financing routine was Mom, and no matter how conscientious she might have been in planning, those plans never kept up with those mogul hordes who were jacking up what she had to pay out, while tamping down what she or the supportive other could earn. Taking second and third jobs broke out over the past few decades. Your horde members love that...and jacked up prices more to make sure they got a cut off of harder working Mom and Dad. Lily Ledbetter rather ironically got her day but only after she had been ripped off, with no recompense allowed. That would have required reining in the malefactors who steal from her (read US) daily, and are encouraged to go on doing it, because they are the businesses we are supposed to be getting the jobs from.

The author soon throws in another little acknowledgement of where the workplace was being pushed down into third world conditions.

There are secondary effects, too. When high-wage women aren't able to prepare meals as often, they hire low-wage women (and men) to do it for them by eating out or ordering in. The result is that -- as economists Frank Levy and Richard J. Murnane point out -- the fastest growing low-skill occupational category is food service and preparation. In fact, the number one profession for women without a college education is waitressing.

Working folks unable to keep up with the rising prices that went cataclysmic in the past year as gasoline and food basics went through the roof that they couldn’t afford anymore, blame them again. They brought on the next tide of workers unable to afford the price of living. So that maligned consumer became the cause for making another level of third world living. Yes, that is your illegul, although that’s only said (low-wage worker here) in code for the media these days.

In servicing the Master Class, your media never make the little step from advising us about impossible conditions to pointing the spotlight at the price setting element. Industry giants who rake off more of the national product than they earn are creating a disaster. There, was that so hard. Those low level wages don’t support all our out of control moguls in the style to which they are now accustomed. It’s a disaster for all of us.

The solution isn’t that we approach the problem just from the bottom. At least this author wants better wages and conditions. (His resolutions: “Of course, we don't want to accomplish either of these through economic catastrophe but rather through thoughtful social policies around parental leave, marginal tax rates and so on.”)

As long as irresponsibility at the price setting level is left completely off the hook, the profits are going to be raked off and work will not support life. That sucking up by the media will enable thieving from above. It’s good to have a place to find truths here on the internet, but we have to spread them unassisted until there isn’t a mainstream media that dominates if only for the plumped right wing. It’s not so sad to hear the media is laying off increasingly massive amounts, if they get it wrong.

Now for the next step; replacing them. They're broken and don't work. I’m working on it and hope you are, too.


That was good, just watched as Axelrod on MTP got in a end of interview point about the press having stimulus dead, which didn't work out for them, and that the conversation around the kitchen tables 'out there' was what we should be listening to, in D.C. the press is listening to each other. Good to hear on the air instead of all the cocktail party conversation without the weenies.

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