The Common Good

Quick Read - Economic Justice

Why Education Matters More Than We Know

For The Huffington PostRobert Gallucci writes:

Around the world, 35 million girls who should be in primary or secondary school are not; half of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank. For those of us committed to addressing global poverty, improving education for girls may be the closest thing to a silver bullet.

Read the full piece here

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Who or What is to Blame for the Struggling Economy?

John Hudson of The Atlantic writes:

"Everyone agrees the latest jobs report is a disaster, but economists are split about the underlying cause. Did increased gas prices choke off employment? Did uncertainty in Europe? How about job cuts in the public sector?"

Learn more here

 

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TV Bad for Kids' Self-Esteem — Except White Boys

 

Watching TV is bad for kids' self-esteem, except if they're white boys. (Seems likely that too much TV is bad for everyone's esteem for their fellow humans, made in the image of God ...)"A new study suggests exposure to today’s electronic media often reduces a child’s self-worth.

Indiana University researchers say this is the case if you are a white girl, a black girl or a black boy.

However, researchers believe the media exposure can help the self-confidence of white boys.

... In the study, the researchers surveyed a group of about 400 black and white preadolescent students in communities in the Midwest over a yearlong period."

Read more here.

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Senator Calls Seniors Concerned About Social Security Cuts 'Greedy Geezers'

If there’s a contest for the title “greedy geezer,” a Social Security recipient living on $14K/year probably isn’t in the top ten…

"…former Sen. Alan Simpson recently referred to a group of seniors concerned about cuts to Social Security as “greedy geezers.” While Simpson characterizes retirees who receive an average annual Social Security benefit of $14,000 as “greedy,” a new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that simply raising or eliminating the Social Security payroll tax cap would only affect a tiny percentage of workers – the wealthiest in our nation -- while strengthening Social Security. …"

"[Currently,] a worker who makes twice the Social Security wage cap – $220,200 per year – pays Social Security tax on only half of his or her earnings, and one who makes just over 1.1 million dollars per year pays the tax on only about a tenth."

Read full report HERE.

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Money Unlimited

A good history in The New Yorker of attempts at regulating campaign finance leading to the Citizens United case before the Supreme Court and how Chief Justice Roberts orchestrated the decision:

"The decision followed a lengthy and bitter behind-the-scenes struggle among the Justices that produced both secret unpublished opinions and a rare reargument of a case. The case, too, reflects the aggressive conservative judicial activism of the Roberts Court. It was once liberals who were associated with using the courts to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government, but the current Court has matched contempt for Congress with a disdain for many of the Court’s own precedents."

Last evening, retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who led the dissent in the case, commented on it in a speech at the University of Arkansas.  Asking why those with the most money are permitted to dominate the airwaves, he said:

"During the televised debates among the Republican candidates for the presidency, the moderators made an effort to allow each speaker an equal opportunity to express his or her views. Both the candidates and the audience would surely have thought the value of the debate to have suffered if the moderator had allocated the time on the basis of the speakers' wealth, or it they had held an auction allowing the most time to the highest bidder."

Yet thanks to the Court, that is essentially what we have in this election.   

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Is Income Inequality to Blame for the Faltering Economic Recovery?

In a thought-provoking piece for Al Jazeera, Yale lecturer John Stoehr writes:

According to a study by the Center for American Progress, there is a striking correlation between the decline of infrastructure and the rise of inequality over the past four decades. In other words, the more money going to the top income earners, the more the rest of us deal with potholes, decrepit bridges, rusting rail cars and the rest.

Read the full piece here

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Report: U.S. Failing to Tackle Child Poverty

From Think Progress

According to a new report from the Office of Research at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world. Of the 35 wealthy countries studied by UNICEF, only Romania has a child poverty rate higher than the 23 percent rate in the U.S.

Read more here

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Illinois Bill Allows for Free Hospital Care for State's Poorest

CBS reported yesterday:

Illinois hospitals would be required to provide free surgeries and other inpatient care to many uninsured poor people under a bill the Legislature passed Tuesday, a mandate already on the books in eight other states.

The Illinois Hospital Association supported the bill. Spokesman Danny Chun said patients affected already are being cared for in hospitals.

"Many hospitals are now voluntarily providing charity care that would meet the requirements of this proposed legislation," Chun said. "However, there are some hospitals, which would have to do more charity care."
 
Read the full story here

 

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Finding a Space for Occupy

A key figure in the Occupy movement, Arun Gupta writes for Al Jazeera:

The real stumbling block for the Occupy movement is also the reason for its success: space, or now, the lack thereof. Understanding the significance of political space and Occupy's inability to recapture it reveals why the movement is having difficulty re-gaining traction.

Read this full article here

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Where is the Occupy movement going?

For The Washington PostJonathan Capehart fears that the Occupy movement won't survive if it doesn't adapt:

If Occupy doesn’t use this time to get actively involved in political process, it will never move from protest to power to achieve the goals it says it has.

Read his full analysis here

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Uncovering the real National Security budget

Writing for Tom's Dispatch and The Huffington PostChristopher Hellman and Mattea Kramer estimate what the U.S. really spends on national security:

National security accounts for one quarter of every dollar the federal government is projected to spend in 2013. And if you pull trust funds for programs like Social Security out of the equation, that figure rises to more than one third of every dollar in the projected 2013 federal budget.

Learn more here

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Long-Term Unemployed Losing Benefits

For The NationGreg Kaufmann writes:

The long-term unemployed now make up over 40 percent of all unemployed workers, and 3.3 percent of the labor force. In the past six decades, the previous highs for these figures were 26 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively, in June 1983. Instead of helping these folks weather the storm and find ways to re-enter the workforce, our nation is moving in the opposite direction. In fact, this past Sunday, 230,000 people who have been looking for work for over a year lost their unemployment benefits. More than 400,000 people have now lost unemployment insurance (UI) since the beginning of the year as twenty-five high-unemployment states have ended their Extended Benefits (EB) program.

Read more here

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Apocalypse Fairly Soon

Paul Krugman looks at the European financial crisis and sees Apocalypse Fairly Soon.

Suddenly, it has become easy to see how the euro — that grand, flawed experiment in monetary union without political union — could come apart at the seams. We’re not talking about a distant prospect, either. Things could fall apart with stunning speed, in a matter of months, not years. And the costs — both economic and, arguably even more important, political — could be huge.

 

 

 

 

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Making Money Off the Poor

Barbara Ehrenreich invetigates the growing practice of businesses and government making money off of the poorest in society:

It’s not just the private sector that’s preying on the poor. Local governments are discovering that they can partially make up for declining tax revenues through fines, fees, and other costs imposed on indigent defendants, often for crimes no more dastardly than driving with a suspended license. And if that seems like an inefficient way to make money, given the high cost of locking people up, a growing number of jurisdictions have taken to charging defendants for their court costs and even the price of occupying a jail cell.

Read her full article here

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