Balancing biography and quantitative research, Robert Putnam paints a sobering picture of the state of the American dream.
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.
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.
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.
The sequester cuts are a supreme case of Washington dysfunction. Yet Congress is actually quite capable of getting some things done.
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.
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.