No justice in New Haven
Journalist Nicholas Dawidoff tells the tragic story of Bobby Johnson and his neighborhood on the poor, Black side of town.
We need to stop talking about “good” and “bad” neighborhoods
Both Sheryll Cashin and Yelena Bailey investigate the scandalous inequalities between city neighborhoods.
The 2017 tax law is getting even worse
The law’s assistance to lower-income Americans was modest—and temporary.
It’s time to end the cash bail system
You don’t get people to show up in court by threatening to take away money they never had.
How Heather Cox Richardson looks to the past for hope
The “Letters from an American” author provides historical context for today’s threats to democracy.
by LaVonne Neff
How wealth and unjust tax policy erode democracy
Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman distill a complex topic into manageable takeaways.
Who’s the parasite?
Bong Jong-ho’s genre-bending film reveals the fantasies of salvation that feed off of us all.
Will the SAT’s new “adversity score” help students?
It’s not clear that college applicants will be the ones served by another number to measure them.
The resentment that capitalist modernity leaves in its wake
What do terrorists and populist nationalists have in common? They're fueled by inequality.
Is inequality the problem?
Our Kids, by Robert D. Putnam
Balancing biography and quantitative research, Robert Putnam paints a sobering picture of the state of the American dream.
reviewed by Timothy Mark Renick
Inequality isn't just about the 1 percent
Am I middle class? I don't feel rich.
The recent conversation around University of Michigan student Jesse Klein’s column on being middle class has been fascinating. Klein’s family makes $250k a year and lives in a $2 million house. But it’s not an enormo-house, because that’s $2 million in Silicon Valley.
What does "middle class" mean?
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.
Poverty's down, but not enough
Some modest good news this week from the Census Bureau [pdf]: for the first time since the Great Recession began, the poverty rate is down a little and the child poverty rate is down a little more. The latter was driven by a bit of job growth and—among families with children—higher income.
But at this pace it'll take years for the poverty rate to get back down just to where it was in 2000.
Bangladesh, guilt and solidarity
We may have the power and privilege to avoid having to work in a sweatshop. But we feel powerless to prevent such horrors from existing.
Who Congress works for
The sequester cuts are a supreme case of Washington dysfunction. Yet Congress is actually quite capable of getting some things done.
The moral contours of our new Gilded Age
When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio announced his papal name, he stoked hopes for a season of reform in the spirit of St. Francis. In the weeks since, the Argentinian pontiff, who was shaped in part by his experiences in Buenos Aires’ villas miserias, has not disappointed.
Pope Francis has garnered headlines with his simplicity, as well as with his calls for a “Church for the poor.” The surprise his actions have met reflects, among other things, this: that when it comes to the matter of the haves and have nots, Christians these days tend not to rock the boat.
Who. Are. The 47 percent?
So you've probably already heard that Mother Jones has video of Governor Romney saying, among other things, this:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. . . . These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. . . . My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
As is often the case, Wonkblog has heaps of great commentary.
More on the middle class and framing
I posted recently about how the rhetorical category “the middle class” seems to keep growing (even as the actual middle class is shrinking). Then I read Jon Ronson’s article in this month’s GQ. Ronson profiles six people—actually, five individuals and one family—who represent different spots on the U.S. income scale, giving a glimpse of “how to live on $____ a week.”
It’s a solid premise, and Ronson approaches his subjects with empathy and a dose of righteous indignation. But I was startled by his methodology.