Specific targets are important in anti-poverty work, and this is an ambitious one (though less ambitious than the report’s title, Ending Child Poverty Now). CDF’s policy proposals include a larger Earned Income Tax Credit and (not or) a higher minimum wage, along with expanded housing subsidies, child care subsidies, and food stamps. Add some more generous rules for tax credit refunds and child support recipients’ federal benefits—along with a new subsidized jobs program—and the whole thing starts to sound pretty expensive.
Dionne Searcey and Robert Gebeloff do a nice job crunching some numbers on what sorts of people are part of the middle class, and how they’re doing (the short version: not great). This caveat of theirs, however, is an important one.
Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, California, that “there is no there there.” Contrary to this being a putdown of her home city, she meant that because the house she grew up in was torn down, she no longer had a connection to that place. Mobility, globalization, and modern technology have eroded a sense of place. Much of the time we live in virtual reality.
If the nations of the world are to keep their pledge to combat climate change, vast amounts of fossil fuel—oil, coal, and even natural gas—must be left in the ground and sea, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. Over 90 percent of U.S. and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands must remain unused, and none of the oil or gas in the Arctic can be used—if the global temperature rise is to be less than two degrees centigrade, as nations have agreed. In the modeling done by this study, the Middle East must keep underground an amount equivalent to Saudi Arabia’s entire reserves (Guardian, January 7).