Category Archives: Economy

A Postcard From Menlo Park (CA)

Greetings From Facebook Jail

 

This week’s postcard is actually from several places.

It’s from Menlo Park. But it’s actually from East Menlo Park. To be more specific from the campus of Facebook in East Menlo Park.

More specifically it’s from the cyber location called Facebook Jail.

No, I’m not in jail, but in the last few weeks a couple of my friends have been placed there, so like in Monopoly, I’m just visiting. I get to pass Go and collect $200.

It’s the algorithms I tells ya, they rat you out before you can even finish the comment.

Take my friend Don. Nice guy. We used to write together. We even wrote a musical for him to star in.

He’s the blonde on the left. If you’re thinking to yourself I know that face it’s probably from one of his many commercials or appearances on Letterman. He semi-gave up the glamour of show business for the academic life a few years ago and now teaches creative writing at a college in Connecticut. Which makes his crime even more, what’s the creative writing term for it, ironic.

Why is he in Facebook Jail? Because he had the temerity to make the following comment as a reply to someone else’s post:

We have more stupid Americans than at any other point in my lifetime.

That’s it. That’s all. For making the rather obvious statement of fact/opinion that a huge swarth of the American public are stupid. If I’m not mistaken Tucker Carlson has built an entire career on the basis of that assumption. The Repugnicant party as well.

I can hear you now saying to yourself “self, what’s so bad about saying a great number of people are stupid? It’s not like he called a specific person a particular racial slur or maligned an entire group of people by saying all were stupid, he just said there are a lot of stupid people living in America.”

Well self here’s the answer. The algorithm Facebook uses to check for hate speech on it’s site considers the word “stupid” to be hate speech.  Why? Apparently because some people still use stupid as a derogatory synonym for mentally challenged, hence stupid in the context of other human beings is hate speech. Stupid in the context of The Bachelor is okay, though don’t call whoever is the bachelor on The Bachelor stupid even if he was mentally challenged enough to go on a reality dating show.

But stupid has other meanings in relation to humans.

  • “A benumbed or dazed state of mind” as in “I was rendered stupid for awhile after I fell off the ladder”.
  • “Tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense” as in “This party is stupid”.
  • “In a state of stupor” as in “I am stupid from staying up all night”.
  • “Annoying or irritating” as in “This recitation of all the meanings of stupid is stupid”

So Facebook, do I go to jail for saying “Man last night I was so stupid from going to that stupid party that I tripped on the curb, hit my head, and got stupid for so long that I was stupid to the guy who gave me a ride home”?

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Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Oligarchy Definition

OK class, use it in a sentence.

It’s been a bad week for oligarchs.

From the 48 hour birth, life, and death of the European Super League in soccer to the pullback of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, the fat cats have been taking a bit of a pounding, most of it at the hands of the so called little guys.

If you still can’t quite understand the entire Super League fiasco don’t worry. I follow European soccer pretty closely and I am hard pressed to come up with a rational for the absurd circus the Dirty Dozen have put us through. The no longer failing New York Times has a good play by play of how this all came to be.

Suffice it to say, twelve of the fourteen richest teams in Europe decided they wanted to create their own league to play in, one that they would have total control of and which ultimately would have destroyed the delicate pyramid that feeds and nurtures the other hundreds of teams in dozens of national leagues. Fans, the people who actually pay to go to or watch games on TV, revolted. It was quickly established that even the most ardent of fans would abandon lifelong allegiance to one of the twelve in favor of continued allegiance to their national leagues. Television networks, the ones who would be paying the largest portion of the tab for the Super League, started muttering “what if they have a league and no one watches”.

And just like that, poof, it’s gone.

The birth and demise of the Super League is being laid squarely at the feet of the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United as well as being the guys who sign Tom Brady’s checks, Stan Kroenke owner of Arsenal, the LA Rams, the Denver Nuggets, and the Colorado Avalanche, and John Henry, owner of Liverpool FC as well as the Bahstin Red Sox. The line being put out is it’s all American hubris, coming in and thinking they can make this into the NFL. They’re taking the fall, but this whole plan stinks of Russian and Arab oligarchic slight of hand.

That’s how oligarchs work. They quietly pull all the strings so that if something goes wrong they can walk away with clean hands. That’s what’s happening in this case, Americans are taking the fall while the Russian oligarch owner of Chelsea FC and the Emirati prince owner of Manchester City get to say “I know nothing!“.

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Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin

Hack Looks Askance At Hick Schtick.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

Thus spake Willie Stark in Robert Rossen’s brilliant film adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men. The line was adapted from advice Willie’s fixer Jack Burden gave him in the book after Willie delivered a dull speech:

“Just tell ’em you’re gonna soak the fat boys and forget the rest of the tax stuff…Willie, make ’em cry, make ’em laugh, make ’em mad, even mad at you. Stir them up and they’ll love it and come back for more, but, for heaven’s sakes, don’t try to improve their minds.”

I realize that sounds like something that pardoned felon Steve Bannon would have said to the Impeached Insult Comedian, but it’s sound advice for any politician even an honest one like Joe Biden. It certainly fits the time we live in:

Quite literally, the super-rich got richer, and the poor got poorer during the pandemic.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

One way to do this is to enact the Biden administration’s increase in corporate taxes. Another more satisfying way is to enact the Wealth Tax proposed by Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren. It will make the fat boys squeal like the pigs they are.

But will the Emperor of the Senate Joe Manchin support such a surtax? He’s from one of the poorest states in the Union but raising taxes became heresy for Blue Dogs after Mondale was blown out in the 1984 election and reinforced by the Gingrich wave election in 1994.

in 1984, Fritz Mondale made it a point of honesty in his acceptance speech:

‘Mr. Reagan will raise taxes and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.’

When I searched for the exact quote, it turned up articles warning Democrats not to raise taxes. All were written before the boom, bust, and boom of the pandemic.

Income inequality began its rise in the Reagan era, and exploded last year. Since the right no longer has an appealing salesman like Ronald Reagan, that makes it time to:

Biden’s infrastructure bill *should* be enormously popular. We can all cite crumbling infrastructure in our states and communities. In New Orleans, the greatest infrastructure need involves our water system. The vast majority of the pipes are over 100 years old. They burst with alarming regularity, which leads to frequent boil water orders. The city needs federal money to replace the system. It will take many years, but we need to get going as soon as possible.

I, for one, am relieved that Mitch McConnell has declared his entire caucus against the American Jobs Act. That means there will be no bad faith negotiations with Republicans as Leader Schumer plans to use the filibuster proof reconciliation process again. As with the COVID relief plan, I consider McConnell’s move to be cynical: GOPers will pop up to support projects if the bill passes.

It’s up to Democrats to find middle ground between AOC and the Man of La Manchin. It may sound hard but it’s easier than getting libertarian creeps like Aqua Buddha to agree to a spending proposal that’s guaranteed to attack income equality while improving roads, bridges, and the like across the country. It’s ironic that the original proponent of internal improvements, Henry Clay, hailed from Kentucky given the Turtle and Aqua Buddha’s posturing but he was a Whig, they’re Trumpified Republicans.

The Republican attack on the COVID relief plan was muted because they knew their states would benefit. I expect the same dynamic to play out here. Besides, the faux populism of Trump has seeded the ground for more government spending. Infrastructure week may have been a running joke under Trump, but President Biden hopes to make every week infrastructure week.

Willie Stark was famously based on Huey P. Long who was a blowhard with authoritarian tendencies, but he was big on infrastructure before it was called that. He talked a lot of rubbish, but delivered massive projects throughout the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Joe Biden seems an unlikely heir to Long but the mere fact that he’s regarded as a moderate helped pass the first huge spending bill and will help pass the next spending bill if the Man of La Manchin allows it. He should follow the example of former West Virginia Senators such as Jennings, Byrd, and Rockefeller and take the money and run.

Make it so, Joe, make it so.

Soak the fat boys by passing a wealth surtax and/or corporate tax hikes, then spread it out thin by passing the American Jobs act.

The last word goes to the Steve Miller Band:

 

It’s The Money, Stupid

Yeah, we have known this:

The problem is with the governance structure of the corporation. CEO pay is most immediately determined by corporate boards, who largely owe their jobs to top management. Furthermore, keeping their jobs depends almost entirely on keeping other board members happy. Board members who are nominated for re-election win well over 99 percent of the time. Since these jobs typically pay several hundred thousand dollars a year for a few hundred hours of work, board members generally want to keep their jobs.

One sure way of pissing off other board members is asking questions like, “Can we get another CEO who is just as good for half the pay?” It is a safe bet this sort of question is almost never asked in corporate board rooms, even though this is supposed to be precisely the question they should be asking all the time.

This IS the question workers are asking all the time, not that anybody listens to THOSE GUYS. Jesus, it’s not just the base pay and the perks, it’s the severances. If you told me I’d get paid twice my annual salary immediately plus a bunch of stock and my leftover vacation time of which there is 3 months’ worth and I get to keep the really nice car you gave me, do you KNOW how fast I’d get fired?

There’s something broken when our society incentivizes people not to work, we hear over and over and over in relationship to giving out cash to lower-income families so they can, you know, feed their children. Somehow we never quite zero in on the idea that if the head of the company is being paid to do work that most of their underlings and assistants do for them on the off chance they might get promoted, then that’s the same disincentive.

But somehow it only counts when it’s imaginary welfare queens.

Look. Things are bad right now and they ain’t getting no better so long as we continue to pretend there’s no money while we stiff the warehouse floor.

A.

Digital Deserts

This kind of thing is why internet triumphalism always sounds like it’s coming out of someone’s ass: 

The schools recently sent Chromebooks to all of Black’s grandchildren, so they’ve been driving to the high school parking lot to get online. Each day they pile into a red minivan and drive 7 miles to the high school, where they work for up to four hours — or until somebody needs to go to the bathroom.

But Black said she worries about them getting kidnapped or injured when they’re gone.

“You keep calling them and they get agitated, and then they say ‘Grandma, I was in the middle of the work and you just called me,’ ” she said.

This is why it makes me insane whenever somebody starts screaming about how DIGITAL IS THE FUTURE MAN because … for who? How?

Maybe one of our Silicon Valley fanboys who “consult” for half a million dollars a minute can figure this out before we go back to foldable phones or whatever the hell dumb toy is jerking the joint of the Kids These Days. These are Kids These Days too, and they don’t need a watch that talks to their fridge, they need what middle class white kids had 10 years ago.

Yo Elon when you’re done with your supertunnel to the sun or whatever.

A.

CEO Pay is Fine and Great and There Are No Problems

Just burn it the fuck down: 

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s former CEO, left the company with $80.7 million in pay and benefits, after being fired over two aircraft crashes that killed 346 people in total. His compensation dwarfs the $50 million set aside for families of the crash victims.

Boeing denied Muilenberg severance pay and forced him to forfeit stock awards worth tens of millions of dollars, but he keeps $62 million in pay and pension benefits. He also keeps unexercised stock options worth $18.5 million.

Records handed to Congress paint a picture of Boeing as an organization rife with cover-ups and attempts to dodge regulatory oversight. In an internal message, one employee described the 737 Max, the aircraft model which crashed in October 2018 and again in March 2019, as “designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”

Do you guys know how fired I would get if there was 80 million dollars in it for me?

I wouldn’t even bother to kill the 300-plus people in totally avoidable disasters, that’s how fired. Like forget the wide-ranging amount of fuckery this guy is accused of perpetrating. That’s just showing off. Just do some garden-variety Bad Shit, get myself canned, and step three is an in-ground pool full of ice and champagne.

If I had 80 million promised to me just for leaving the job I was supposed to do, I would leave that job in seconds. I would take my 80 million dollars, I would buy Barbados, and I would invite you all to come live there.

Provided the people of Barbados were cool with that. I assume they would be, because I would drop about 40 million of those dollars from a helicopter my first day there. Finders keepers, fuckers! Who cares, I got 40 million more. In my entire life, not if I bought all of an entire nation, would I be able to spend that kind of cash.

Course, I don’t have multiple wrongful death lawsuits headed my way.

This fucking guy, and every fucking guy like him: Excused from responsibility, and still getting paid to cock things up, while some of the best people on the planet go broke teaching preschool. This is the kind of horseshit we mean when we say “tax the rich out of existence,” not your cousin with the second Lexus. We mean this prick. Eighty MILLION dollars. What, and I cannot stress this enough, the fuck.

There are SO MANY OF HIM. So many shitty dudes out there who keep getting paid to screw up good people’s lives. Maybe that’s not new, I mean robber barons used to literally rob baronies, but the scale of it certainly is, and the speed with which they are hoovering up all the available resources of the earth seems to be increasing rapidly. The only people who should make this kind of money are hospice nurses and the 18-year-olds fighting the wars that fuel this company when they come home with missing limbs and brain damage.

These kinds of exorbitant exit packages are always justified with a mountain of bullshit about paying people to take risks and insulating them from the consequences of said risks so that they can be very special geniuses and shit. Most of them are boring idiots whose only good ideas are like, “what if we built a really big plane but instead of flying it crashed a lot,” don’t tell me this human conference call was worth one tenth of the lousiest janitor at the local park district field house. If we took every dollar he earned and used that paper to make pinatas it would be better spent.

I mean what incentive do you have to succeed, if you get paid no matter what? My incentive to work is to keep feeding my kid and my two asshole cats, maybe help a few folks, maybe die someplace warm. If I didn’t have to haul my two herniated discs and clicky knees onto a bus and a train every day it would not incentivize me to design a new airplane, it would incentivize me to do jack dick while under some blankets in front of the fire. I want to make stews and watch Band of Brothers for the 49th time but other people in this house have ideas like “keeping the electricity on” and “not getting foreclosed.” BORING.

Give me 80 million dollars after I do my job so badly they boot me out the door. I’ll sing as I pack up all my shit and buy the first round at the “fuck yeah you got fired” party I’m throwing with the bar I just purchased. In Ireland. Actually it’s Ireland. I bought the whole thing and you’re all invited.

Things make no fucking sense right now.

A.

Desertion

On January 2, I signed up for two meal-kit plans and two fitness apps due to some seriously unflattering Christmas photos and also feeling generally like hell after not working out for two months and eating like garbage. The apps were free, of course, til I started “unlocking features” and “connecting other apps” and shit, but the meal plans, together, added up to about $160.

For lunches and dinners for about two weeks.

Now, of course that is insane, and it was fueled by more of a desire for convenience than anything else. Even when I’m not getting suckered into questionable things by social media ads and moments of aging-related panic, I still spend on food. I buy perishable fruits and vegetables, I buy ingredients like sausage from a butcher or a high-end meat counter. I eat a $10 salad (downtown Chicago prices for lunch) instead of a $5 burrito or a peanut butter sandwich from home.

On Sunday I prepped lunches and snacks for me and Kick for the week. I filled and stacked little reusable containers of blueberries and carrots and pita chips and salami-cheese rolls in whole wheat tortilla, strips of fresh bell pepper, soy & rice crackers, quinoa and chicken salad. It took about an hour, was about $30 worth of food. I have both an hour, and $30. What would I do for us if I didn’t?

If you want people to eat healthier, to buy from sustainable farms and local farmers, to prepare their own food instead of using processed, to behave like you do, you need to give them what you have. Which isn’t fancy grocery stores. It’s money. And time.

If I get home at 6, I have time to cook dinner for the family (cauliflower rice, salmon, peanut sauce, veg). If I get home at 7, 7:30, 8, and the kids need homework supervised and the stove’s broken and everybody’s hangry GUESS WHAT WE’RE GOING TO KFC, because I can feed five people meat, potatoes and vegetables for $15 and sometimes you solve the problems in front of you.

These things aren’t inherent virtues. I’m not, like, a better person because I can afford to cook for my kid; I’m just lucky. This stuff is math and physics. Give people money and the time money buys, the leisure and mental room to cook and portion and prep (the “leisure” which was once upon a time referred to as “all the stuff mom did” for middle class kids when she didn’t have to work two jobs to pay her student loans), and they’ll eat healthy. Okay, maybe not AS healthy as our cheftepreneurs would like them to, since sometimes you just want some goddamn potato chips, but this isn’t a case of “if only there was a Whole Foods here nobody would have diabetes.”

This is a case of money buys less and less, and wages aren’t going up. This is a case of God forbid you need food assistance, which has been nickel-and-dimed all to shit by people worried about what the poor will buy for their children, and which of course you CAN use to buy oranges and apples, or, like, an entire week’s worth of cereal for the same price. Poor people aren’t idiots and they make the choices in front of them because that’s what we all do.

Food deserts aren’t just created by not having grocery stores. They’re created by the people in them not having any money to spend on food, having to make short-term choices in the little time poverty affords. It’s the people who’ve been deserted, not the landscape, and the problem isn’t getting solved by looking at a map and finding a vacant plot of land on which to plant a Wegman’s.

A.

Just be rich and shut UP, Jesus Christ

This is really not that difficult: 

In the interview conducted Friday, Dimon says his critics shouldn’t be vilifying people who work hard to accomplish things. “You know, most people are good, not all of them. You should vilify Nazis, but you shouldn’t vilify people who worked hard to accomplish things. And so my comment is, American society – we’re just attacking each other all the time.”

No one is vilifying you for being rich.

They are vilifying you for being rich and supporting policies that harm the poor and for bitching all the time about how hard you have it.

You can be rich.

Just go be rich.

I swear to God I don’t get these people. Just shut UP, for fuck’s sake. Go to Barbados. Go sit on the beach and drink $5,000 cocktails for all I care. Just close your fucking platinum-plated GOBS. If I had Jamie Dimon/Jeff Bezos/Michael Bloomberg money you would never HEAR from me again.

“What happened to her?”

“A long-lost relative left her a billion dollars so she bought Ireland. We’re spending Christmas there, you should come. You can have your own room in the castle.”

Alternatively, I would put it all in the bank and just pay for stuff as I heard it needed paying for. Local school needs a playground? Anonymous donation, done. Neighbors a little short on the mortgage? Whoops, it’s paid off. Who did it? No idea. Suddenly the city center’s been replaced by a ferret park and somebody paid John Kerry to give sixteen speeches to an elementary school four blocks from my house, well, that one might give me away but do you see how much fun this could be? Why aren’t these people having any fun?

I would fuck off to Europe for two years and eat everything. I would make sure every new baby born at the local hospitals went home with a $300 Target gift card and a bottle of whiskey for its parents. There are two or three places that would wind up mysteriously purchased at fair market value and razed to the ground, sure, I’m not some kind of angel here. The W. Bush presidential library would develop incurable bedbugs.

My point is that you have enough cash to do whatever you want. WHY AREN’T YOU DOING THAT? Why are you spending your time complaining?

I get that maybe you’re responding to questions from reporters but when they ask you things like, “what do you think about how people who have lots of money are oppressed in this country” you can just, like, laugh and change the subject.

If you don’t like what they’re saying about you on TV, turn the TV off. You can afford that. Hire an assistant to interact with the world on your behalf and tell you only the good things. Hire another one to tell that one what to do and you’ll never have to hear any of it. You can be sheltered completely, and you are choosing not to do that, and as a person who only has human conversation when it absolutely cannot be avoided I will never understand not using your privilege to get out of talking to people.

If you are a megarich person reading this, and you have a horse barn and a swimming pool and a couple of houses and nice cars and you have a helicopter, and you’re just, you know, reliably voting Democratic and paying your taxes in a way approaching fair, as far as I’m concerned you can go dive into your giant pile of cash like Scrooge McDuck because you’ve made it possible for me to not know you exist. Good on you. Teach your children to do likewise.

(If you are a megarich person reading this and you want to buy a website full of cat pics and cock jokes, please do avail yourself of the e-mail up there, we are not for sale exactly but I’m not too proud to rent.)

But if you’re out here in the public sphere running a propaganda channel or a fraud-bank or a megacorp paying its workers 6 cents an hour, if you’re complaining about the amount your businesses pay into the public piggy bank and asking everyone to love you and venerate you and elect you president, we’re going to have a conversation about your priorities.

Imagine having all that money and power and using it to whine.

A.

People Need Money

This is great and everyone should do it: 

Tubbs’ program, which started in February, could serve as a test case. For eight months, 125 Stockton residents living at or below the median income line (about $46,000 annually) have been getting $500 monthly stipends. The money is distributed through the mail in the form of debit cards.

This week, the city released the first set of data about the program. Most participants, it found, had been using their stipends to buy groceries and pay their bills.

The presumption that the poor will spend money frivolously is a deeply racist and offensive wingnut creation designed to keep middle class white people in the suburbs scared of the slavering hordes of welfare queens roaming the city streets armed with Your Tax Dollars. Fuck’s sake. People are people and everyone I know has a bill they could make disappear with $500. Even people who are relatively well off would benefit from that and if you’re NOT well off? That’s a goddamn windfall.

That’s the home repair you’ve been putting off or the dental work you’ve been struggling to pay for or the school fees for all of the kids plus your sister’s, that’s the coat you couldn’t replace plus the field trip you told your son he couldn’t take or the groceries for a month, for two months if you stretch.

And who does that sort of thing benefit? The local grocery, clothing and drug stores, the mom-and-pop places we’re told will benefit so hard from our support only nobody’s got any money to support them. Look, if you don’t have any customers it doesn’t matter how many tax cuts you get, you’re gonna close down, and you won’t have customers if they don’t have money.

Plus these thing spiral. We know this now, the missed bus leading to the lost job to the poorhouse, but also the $500 home repair not getting done and turning into $1,500 plus a fine from the city. If anyone thinks an extra $500 is some kind of incentive to not work they haven’t paid rent in several decades.

Five hundred dollars does not cover rent and utilities and the occasional hamburger, and even if it did, Jesus tits, the presumption that you’re the only one busting your ass is so goddamn conceited I want to put my fist through some thing.

A.

 

Enabling

When I was post-collegiate first-job broke, I lived out of Steve’s day-old bagel bin.

Steve owned the coffee/ice cream/pastry shop across the street from my retail job at a bookstore and he and my boss were buds. They’d hang out in each other’s places and give each other shit, and Pat paid in books for what Steve gave him in treats. If we couldn’t find somebody who worked for one of them, chances are the missing employee was in the other’s shop. It was that kind of neighborhood and, by virtue of selling used books to Pat’s customers, I was presumed to be a member of their family.

So when Steve noticed I was skinny and drinking tea from home instead of buying coffee from him, because a bill was due or a freelance check hadn’t come, he gave me a huge bag of bagels.

“Nobody will buy them if they’re more than a day old,” he said, shrugging, but he was being kind. There’s no way to tell if something’s a day old or not, he could have sold them toasted and masked their staleness.

Six bagels, twelve meals: Toast half of one (these were real bagels, thick, big as a third of a loaf of bread) with butter and jam for breakfast, toast the other half with butter and green-canister “parmesan” cheese for lunch. If I stuck them in the freezer they didn’t mold during paycheck-cashing times when I could buy chicken or Pop-tarts or pasta or eggs, and I had them when the money got thin again.

Steve gave me his day-old bagels for a year, and to this day one of the most satisfying comfort foods for me is an everything bagel with butter and parm. The real stuff now, grated by hand at the cheese counter, bagel still hot from the bakery oven, but it still makes me think of Steve banging through the door of the bookstore, or handing the bag over the counter when I stopped on my way home.

I think of him whenever I read something like this:  

“We’ve recently learned that some employees have been giving away Vita gift cards, food, and coffee to homeless people in the neighborhoods we occupy,” Washington wrote in the email. “Although these were well placed intentions, please understand, it is our belief that feeding homeless people without comprehensive services actually enables, increases and promotes homelessness.”

Washington went on to write that “giving away products is theft and the grounds for immediate termination,” and then argued customers “will likely choose alternatives” if the cafe is “filled with homeless people.” The email concluded with an invitation to “discuss opportunities to volunteer or donate” to the company’s “charitable efforts aimed at homelessness” if employees wanted to “make a meaningful impact.”

I work now in a rich area with a shitload of heroin problems and I’m not ever going to shame you for giving money to an organization working for affordable housing instead of a fiver to a twitchy guy whose sign says HUNGRY AS FUCK. I am sure as shit going to shame you for shaming other people for giving food to the homeless out the back of a store where they’re not bugging anybody:

In an interview, former Capitol Hill manager Hannah Delon, who worked for the company at multiple locations for five-and-a-half years before getting fired for “failure to enforce protocol,” said for “at least the last ten years” baristas have given “pastry waste” to a homeless man they believe distributes the confections to other people experiencing homelessness. Delon also said baristas sometimes give away drip coffee dregs to homeless people who offer to help bring in tables and chairs at the end of the night.

Like God forbid people, even twitchy dudes with drug problems, are just people and you can be kind to them. There are cures for homelessness and addiction but no cure that I know of for being an asshole.

I looked Steve up the other day. I know I thanked him for the bagels but I couldn’t remember if I ever thanked him for what he was really giving me: The knowledge that someone cared about me, just for a moment, when I was living alone and scared and needed something warm.

A.

A Cruelty Turducken

“Medical bond” so that jails can get out of paying for sick inmates, who can’t afford treatment from hospitals, that write off those expenses, so that nobody’s responsible and nobody gets paid and only the inmates get punished: 

Tidwell had been on the receiving end of a practice referred to by many in law enforcement as a “medical bond.” Sheriffs across Alabama are increasingly deploying the tactic to avoid having to pay when inmates face medical emergencies or require expensive procedures — even ones that are necessary only because an inmate received inadequate care while incarcerated.

What’s more, once they recover, some inmates are quickly rearrested and booked back into the jail from which they were released.

Local jails across the country have long been faulted for providing substandard medical care. In Alabama, for instance, a mentally ill man died from flesh-eating bacteria 15 days after being booked into the Mobile County Metro Jail in 2000. And in 2013, a 19-year-old man died of gangrene less than a month after he was booked into the Madison County Jail. In both cases, officials denied wrongdoing and surviving relatives settled lawsuits alleging that poor jail health care contributed to their loved ones’ deaths.

But the use of medical bonds isn’t about inferior care. It’s about who pays for care.

How anyone can look at this system and say what we need here is to tweak it around the edges and phase in improvements by 2035 and walk very, very softly so as not to upset the Very Fine People who think LETTING A DUDE OUT OF JAIL TEMPORARILY SO HE CAN BE IN A COMA SOMEWHERE ELSE don’t get upset.

And look, we tried that. We tried the absolute mildest reforms possible, and even that opened up a gigantic GOP hellmouth spewing “death panels” and “government takeover” and “mandated birth control,” so maybe it’s time to clue into the fact that howler monkeys howl because it’s right there in the name. Maybe it’s time to do what needs to be done despite the entirely predictable, utterly disingenuous flipout that will most certainly occur.

You can’t convince me THIS is sustainable, or good for anybody, or can be improved upon by degrees.

A.

The Capacity

You know the responses that come out to a story like this always, because they come out anytime somebody gets hurt/sick and our health care system flattens them: Well why didn’t he … why didn’t she … what if you had …

It’s all deflection, of course, it’s all plain old animal fear and basic-bitch bargaining, that if I just do everything perfectly no one will get tumors and I’ll stay rich forever, but that doesn’t make it better. It makes it worse. If your only “lifehack” is “have a fuckload of money and an army of personal assistants to take care of the chaos of the world,” like if that’s the only way anything remotely works, that’s not a sign that you alone have your shit together. That’s a sign that the way the world is constructed is only remotely bearable by the very wealthy and everyone else is ten seconds away from being utterly screwed.

Okay, you have “health insurance” that will now pay for 90 percent of your $100,000 cancer treatment bill. Where does the other $10,000 come from? You have health insurance and maybe you even have $10,000, good for you, but that was your down payment on a house in a mostly ok school district and now you’re back in your shitty apartment with no savings and your toddler. You have health insurance and savings and a house but if you take time off work you’ll be fired and then the health insurance goes away and eventually so do the savings and the house. Without a million dollars in the bank and good credit, how do you even DO this? Like this doesn’t make sense.

The smug people who feel like they “made it” on their own before student loans and before hospital consolidations and before, you know, all the GOP tax-cutting, they have no concept of the precariousness of things. Of how taking a half day off can affect the entirety of someone’s future. Of how “a job” isn’t enough anymore, of how “two jobs” sometimes isn’t enough, in the face of a system that dooms you for one step outside the lines.

And it’s not all money. It’s the time that money buys. It’s the capacity to figure out the solution to a problem and you can’t think when you’re in the middle of it, when you’re scrambling to get to the bus that will get you to the train that will get you to the job that will pay for the childcare that allows for the job and the bus and the train fare. You can’t sit back and make strategic decisions about the ongoing juggling act that is your life because if you take your eyes off the balls for even one second you’re going to drop them. Even people with money are like this, can you imagine what it’s like without any?

We don’t have the capacity to make every single decision perfectly, to reason out all the angles and decide if I just set my alarm two seconds earlier I will never miss the bus. I will never accidentally overdraw my checking account and incur a $50 fee I have no way to pay for. I will never forget anything, lose anything, break anything. You can’t live like that, none of us are built that way, and the more things we have to keep track of the less capable we are of keeping track. The more we need help the less room we have inside our heads to ask for it, or get it. I mean, I need six hours on Sunday to do any kind of meal planning and I have no problems anyone should care about, you know?

We do not have a system that is built for people. For poor people, for any people who aren’t wildly rich and incredibly capable and assisted by everyone on the planet. Those assistants? There’s no world that makes their world possible.

A.

No Reason to Make People Choose

Zero versus sum: 

The Green New Deal (GND) remains controversial within much of the labor community, particularly among those in the manufacturing and extractive sectors who fear mass job losses or the dissolution of their entire industries. For them, and for coal miners in particular, the focus is on the idea of a “just transition” — a means of transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy in a way that will create good-paying new jobs and viable career paths, and won’t leave them high and dry when the last mine closes.

The GND resolution does come with a universal jobs guarantee, but the thought of taking job-training classes or switching careers in middle age can be an understandably tough pill to swallow for someone who’s spent their entire working life underground. Despite these real complications, detractors of the GND often resort to the disingenuous, divisive tactic of pitting coal miners against environmentalists, as if it’s a zero-sum political game instead of gambling with the future of the planet. These critics act as though the miners as a monolith don’t care about the climate crisis, which certainly isn’t the case; while some unions still have their reservations, the growing support for the GND among miners and labor in general paints a different picture.

Here’s the thing. You could take what Jeff Bezos blows on lunch and use it to pay every single coal miner currently employed or on pension from a coal company their exact same salary for the rest of their natural lives, thus ensuring that nobody has to lose out when we need to save the dang planet or even move a factory.

There’s no reason why everybody who works someplace has to get screwed when an industry goes under. They wouldn’t even need to “learn to code” or whatever glib shit we’re yelling at people these days. They could retire right now and live lives they enjoyed for a little more than their bosses spend in Vegas brothels on the annual “company retreat.”

So sure, job training and health insurance and support for a career switch if that’s what people want, but let’s be realistic about what people need to live decent lives in the places they live, and just, like, give them that money as part of the cost of saving the earth. There’s no need to overcomplicate this and/or make it seem like a person who’s already their ass off down in the hole should now work even harder at something else for the last 10-15 years of their career.

We’re a very wealthy country and we could afford to say look, we recognize that it is not fair that you have to lose out on your livelihood because the companies you work for have exhausted their usefulness. We recognize that we are asking you to sacrifice more than most in order to change the way we do things, and we can compensate you accordingly.

We could give every coal miner in the United States $1 million for less than it cost to make that Avatar movie. We could afford that tomorrow and I’m tired of pretending we can’t so that people get mad at the Sierra Club or whoever, meanwhile we’re out here nuking the hurricanes.

A.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Cheeto Bandito edition

Oh dear.  In spite of Orange Julius’s economic advisers (the ones he hasn’t fired yet, anyway) telling him that this was just about as good an idea as pissing on an electric fence…

There’s a new tariff in town!

June 10th, United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico
Real Donald Trump Twitter ^ | May 30, 2019

Posted on 5/30/2019, 6:50:28 PM by SMGFan

On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,..

….at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.

*************

great
1 posted on 5/30/2019, 6:50:28 PM by SMGFan
NotSureIfSarcasticOrStupid
To: SMGFan

 

KaBOOM

The screaming starts in…3, 2, 1…

4 posted on 5/30/2019, 6:52:27 PM by Regulator

Oh, I don’t think you’re going to have to wait that long…
To: SMGFan 

market down right now on the news.

Yeah – just a tad.

Tariffs

I have started closing positions at the end of the day because these tweets just really roil it.

9 posted on 5/30/2019, 6:55:11 PM by RummyChick

Do they, now?

To: SMGFan

 

I think he is getting a little wild with tariffs. He is going to shock the economy. Too much too fast never goes well.

84 posted on 5/30/2019, 7:37:39 PM by Sequoyah101 (It feels like we have exchanged our dreams for survival. We just hava few days that don’t suck.)

 

(skipping about a hundred posts about how only avocados and tequila are going to get more expensive)

One Freeper points out the obvious.

To: MeganC

 

You do realize that Mexico actually won’t pay he tariffs, right? China doesn’t pay the tariffs either. The American businesses that import the goods actually pay the tariffs. That’s how a tariff works. It’s not like a Mexican truck full of avocados is now going to get charged a 5% tax at the border. The importer pays that when it gets delivered and hen they pass that on to the store and they pass that on to you.

92 posted on 5/30/2019, 7:44:17 PM by NELSON111 (Congress: The Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog show. Theater for sheep. My politics determines my “hero”)

So – how’s ya’ll’s 401Ks doing these days?
More below….

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – World’s Biggest Losers edition

Hello, sports fans! Well, The Darnold seems determined to do to our economy what he did to the Taj Mahal casino, so let’s get right to the mayhem!

US tariffs on China jump
CNBC ^ | 10 May 2019 | Jacob Pramuk | Everett Rosenfeld

Posted on 5/10/2019, 12:09:09 AM by BeauBo

The Trump administration is hiking duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products to 25% from 10%… Industries and businesses affected by the tariff hike will not feel the effect right away: it will apply to goods exported after May 10, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It will not affect products already in transit to the United States. Trump has prepared to put even more pressure on China as he pushes for an agreement. The president has threatened to slap 25% tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods that remain untaxed.

*************

This is going to rip whole industries out of China, if they don’t make a deal – but they may just not be able to.

Nah – they’ll just subsidize any affected industries with state resources, just like they always have. They can probably only afford to do this for 15-20 years, though.

This is a big deal, and Chinese markets should take it hard on the chin when they open.

1 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:09:09 AM by BeauBo

I think you’re worried about the wrong markets, shithead.
To: BeauBo

 

While a agree with Trumps actions here. It is going to be painful for our 401k accounts. I’ve lost 25% of the gains I have made this year already this week. I have painful memories of being up 11% in October of 2018 only to be down 1% for the year in December. I hope that does not happen again. Then again, I don’t need to access my 401k until about 2023. So should be recovered by then, provided we don’t elect another obama.

3 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:32:07 AM by JoSixChip (Trump stands alone.)

Commie.
.
“cba123” wants to throw gasoline on the fire our 401Ks are currently burning in :
To: MtnClimber

 

I don’t know.

I think the Chinese should be punished for going back on the original aggreements.

Trump should enact 25% tariffs on everything as a new baseline, but should then announce they are going to 100% in a month, 200% in two months, then 500% in three months.

THEN start negotiating from there.

We do not repeal the 25% tariffs, ever.

8 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:47:32 AM by cba123 ( Toi la nguoi My. Toi bay gio o Viet Nam.)

Aren’t you glad there’s so many professional economists posting on Free Republic?
To: BeauBo

China says they will retaliate – but there is not $200 billion of US imports remaining to them to raise tariffs on. This round is the end of equivalent tit for tat exchanges of tariffs.China is running out of ammo. The next (final) round, if imposed, would be largely one sided, and would likely send Chinese our markets into crisis, their our economy into recession, and risk a debt and/or asset bubble and/or currency crisis.

FIFY.

I’d guess this round will be triggering some stops on Chinese stock markets tomorrow. Much of the industry getting these tariffs will simply be leaving China, if the tariffs stay in place.

6 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:41:20 AM by BeauBo

Meanwhile, in the real world…
To: BeauBo

China is running out of ammo.

They could recall the US debt we have to them. That would do some damage.

9 posted on 5/10/2019, 12:47:46 AM by JoSixChip (Trump stands alone.)
Ya think?
Oh and about that 401K thing :
To: JoSixChip

 

No one cares about your precious 401k.
This is about the fight for our Republic.

16 posted on 5/10/2019, 1:13:29 AM by mkleesma (`Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’)

More meta-economic stupidity below the fold….

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The Point Is To Be Mean

I’ve written before about how everything right now is designed to make you give up, lie down and quit fighting, and of course twas ever thus for those we nice white people didn’t want participating in the system, but increasingly we are weaponizing our customer service systems against ourselves: 

Elizabeth Cloinger, 47, who lives in a trailer next to her cousin’s house just outside town, thought she was complying with the new rules. She has been on Medicaid for years and already had a job, working seven days most weeks as a home health aide. Her wages — 9.25 an hour, with 50 cents more for hospice patients — and her hours met the new rules. Yet she received a June letter saying she needed to verify that her income made her eligible, or she would be cut off.

She called the listed phone number and faxed information to a state employee in Pine Bluff. She was told that, like many people, she was exempt from the work requirements — in her case, because she was caring for her 20-year-old daughter recovering from a car accident and her 3-year-old granddaughter.

But on Aug. 18, she received another letter, saying she had been terminated because she had not verified her income. In December, four letters arrived saying she needed to update her email address, then 11 more in January. Each letter told her to create an online account. She doesn’t have a computer and didn’t realize that the program requires everyone to get an email address.

A federal judge struck down these requirements recently, but of course they’ll come back, and of course the GOP and some MY BRAND IS CENTRIST Democrats will keep trying to make the poor prove they’re poor, the disabled prove they’re disabled, and everybody having a hard time will be forced to perform that hard time for the public to make us all feel better or something.

The point is to get people to give up and die already. It’s to exhaust them, the way endless appeals to insurance companies and run-arounds and “log in to your account except you need an account to log in” mechanisms are designed to do so. The point is to make people who have a limited capacity to fight struggle even harder. The point is to be mean.

And to who? To people who take care of the elderly in nursing homes and hospices, for ten goddamn dollars an hour. Hospice workers are angels on this earth and should be paid like star quarterbacks, this is already disgusting, and here come our National Scolds to make things worse. As if someone who works in a nursing home has to prove anything to anybody. If these lawmakers had to empty even one bedpan they’d faint from exertion.

I will never understand — as a person who, full disclosure, paid a healthy amount of taxes last year for the first time in my adult life — what I am supposed to get out of punishing people like that. Atrios says all the time that the health care system can be wildly complicated and expensive on the back end but should be absolutely free and simple on the front end and I absolutely agree but for EVERYTHING.

Yeah, people are gonna game the system. Somebody’s gonna be a welfare queen. Get the hell over it. If the choice is between “a system that can be gamed but hospice nurses get paid and can see a doctor themselves” and “a system that nobody can game WHICH IS IMAGINARY and is also a huge pain in the ass for the people who literally care for the dying and drives such people into poverty” I will gladly, enthusiastically accept the former.

A.

How You Gonna Pay For It?

Whenever someone asks that, in response to some mild environmental proposal, we should just say that WE ALREADY PAY FOR IT, DIPSHITS:

The ponds and landfills used to store coal ash are frequently unlined, allowing toxins to leach into groundwater.
The report is based on groundwater monitoring data from more than 4,600 wells. It compared measured levels to drinking water or other standards. Contamination was found in groundwater near 242 of the 265 plants that recently reported data required by the 2015 rule.
Fifty-two percent of those sites are contaminated with cancer-causing arsenic, and 60% are polluted with lithium, which is linked to neurological damage, according to the report.

There’s this idiot idea that we are not now paying for any kind of environmental damage we have caused, as if asthma and cancer and lead poisoning are things that don’t cost anyone any money. If that’s true I gotta boatload of friends what need the money they’ve spent on inhalers and chemo and testing reimbursed.

A.

People Are Such Assholes, I Am Exhausted

Nope. Nope nope nope. Just made a donation to The Night Ministry in honor of these pricks because I cannot with “poor gay children near my park will ruin my life” right now:

In a question to The Crib’s leaders, parent James Walsh echoed the sentiments of several parents who — in any other neighborhood — say they likely would have supported the idea of a youth homeless shelter.

“I think everybody in this room thinks the Night Ministry does amazing work,” he said. “(But) you’ve searched for two years, and you couldn’t find a space that isn’t a stone’s throw from an elementary school? And a stone’s throw from a kid’s park? … I’m not trying to be a NIMBY alarmist in this situation. I’m really not. But it seems like it’s right on top of it.”

Some members of the crowd clapped as Walsh went on to press The Night Ministry leaders on logistics.

Before anyone can come at me with WELL WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR KID’S SCHOOL, lemme just tell you my kid regularly gives her bags of crackers and applesauce pouches and pocket change to the guys panhandling on the train because she’s a generous kind child, and in 20 years of living where we live I have had exactly zero real problems with the homeless people we’ve encountered, so I see no reason to beat those instincts out of her.

I’m far more worried about her frequent interactions with judgy racist holier-than-thou suburbanites, to be honest.

What if it was your child? Well, what if my child was homeless? What if something happened to both Mr. A and myself and she was on the streets? What if she was addicted, if she was alone, if she was scared? What if she rejected us, or we didn’t know where she was, and all we had to cling to was the forlorn hope that someone somewhere was taking care of her? Would I want her to have a safe place to go, in a neighborhood near a park and a school instead of in some industrial shithole, where she could lay down her head?

Fuckin’ A right I would and people need to put themselves in that position more often because it takes startlingly little to fall from grace these days. I am beyond exasperated by anybody who thinks they’re safe right now. How? How can you be that clueless?

The earth is caving in and so many people are trying with their own two hands to keep it all together, and we don’t have time for this kind of petty selfishness. We don’t have room to be threatened into a giant hissyfit over a shelter that holds 20 kids, most of whom are gay and are on the streets because their mean-ass families kicked them out. Come the hell on. Focus here.

You don’t want to do the work, fine. Not everyone has to have the same cause. But you can’t then refuse to make space for the people who do. That’s not a level of control you get to exercise over a world this out of whack.

A. 

People’s Capacity

This is a fascinating approach: 

A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that between roughly 2,800 and 5,500 premature deaths that occurred in New York City from 2008 to 2012 could have been prevented if the city’s minimum wage had been $15 an hour during that time, instead of a little over $7 an hour. That number represents up to one in 12 of all people who died prematurely in those five years. The chronic stress that accompanies poverty can be seen at the cellular level. It has been linked to a wide array of adverse conditions, from maternal health problems to tumor growth. Higher wages bring much-needed relief to poor workers. The lead author of the 2016 study, Tsu-Yu Tsao, a research director at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was “very surprised by the magnitude of the findings.” He is unaware of any drug on the market that comes close to having this big of an effect.

A $15 minimum wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect. But why? Poverty can be unrelenting, shame-inducing and exhausting. When people live so close to the bone, a small setback can quickly spiral into a major trauma. Being a few days behind on the rent can trigger a hefty late fee, which can lead to an eviction and homelessness. An unpaid traffic ticket can lead to a suspended license, which can cause people to lose their only means of transportation to work. In the same way, modest wage increases have a profound impact on people’s well-being and happiness. Poverty will never be ameliorated on the cheap. But this truth should not prevent us from acknowledging how powerfully workers respond to relatively small income boosts.

You need to have the capacity to exercise, to eat well, to sleep soundly. Back when I was working two jobs when Kick was a toddler I ate like shit and threw my back out and could barely get it together to clean my house much less do meal prep with organic vegetables. I would get a cold and it would knock me out for weeks. I had no reserves from which to draw, and an unexpected inconvenience would send me into a full-on tailspin. Financially speaking, I was okay. Not great, but okay. And the stress of it all still staggered me completely. 2015 alone took five years off my life.

On the one hand DURR OF COURSE MONEY MAKES YOU HEALTHIER. But we have not approached money as a public health concern. When you are broke and tired, you cannot expect to function at a level that lets you do everything you need to do and in case anyone hasn’t noticed shit is INSANE right now. The world is big and dumb and complicated and calling your doctor is like an all-day ordeal and nothing is easy. If the bus is late five minutes your whole, like, thing comes crashing down, and living like that takes a very definite health toll.

This is obvious. It should be obvious, but we are determined to be cling to our fantasies of the laziest poor people who just need to be told to work harder: 

West Virginia delegates are set to vote Tuesday on a bill that would terminate health insurance for some low-income West Virginians, a vulnerable population that a state analysis says is especially prone to death by overdose.

Last week, West Virginia House of Delegates Finance Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, introduced a bill in his committee that would require people who receive Medicaid in West Virginia to work, volunteer or participate in workforce training 20 hours a week.

In 2017, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources released an analysis of more than 800 overdose deaths in 2016 and found that about 71 percent of them were low-income people on Medicaid. About a third of the state’s population is currently on Medicaid.

Not only are we not saving people, we are making it harder for them to save themselves. We are taking away the few things — public assistance, services — that give them room to breathe and then putting a pillow over their faces.

A.

It’s ALL About Money

I look forward to this explanation of how church and “civic life” are entirely divorced from economics because everyone knows you don’t need money to buy, say, land to build your sanctuary on, or textbooks: 

Why do so many people believe that the American dream is no longer within reach? Growing inequality, stubborn pockets of immobility, rising rates of deadly addiction, the increasing and troubling fact that where you start determines where you end up, heightening political strife—these are the disturbing realities threatening ordinary American lives today.

The standard accounts pointed to economic problems among the working class, but the root was a cultural collapse: While the educated and wealthy elites still enjoy strong communities, most blue-collar Americans lack strong communities and institutions that bind them to their neighbors. And outside of the elites, the central American institution has been religion.

That is, it’s not the factory closings that have torn us apart; it’s the church closings. The dissolution of our most cherished institutions—nuclear families, places of worship, civic organizations—has not only divided us, but eroded our sense of worth, belief in opportunity, and connection to one another.

Let’s ignore for a moment three generations of people subjected to a national media narrative driven by a 24-hour propaganda network telling them to feel alienated from modern life, and pretend they arrived at this feeling of alienation independently.

Let’s take this nonsense on its face for a moment because there’s a romanticism to this argument that a lot of people passively watching this guy get interviewed on GMA will find persuasive.

It’s entirely CRAP to say “factory closings” are somehow separate from “church closings” or that the loss of civic institutions isn’t economic. You know what closes a church? MONEY. If people can’t afford to send their kids to the local Catholic school, and can’t put anything in the collection plate, the lights won’t stay on. God may take an IOU but the electric company won’t.

That’s not “morality,” that’s reality.

Morality isn’t just mouthing words at a podium, or bowing your head once a week, or joining a bowling league. Morality is your actions toward others, the way you construct your days, the world you decide to build.

If you build a world without libraries, without schools, without roads and water pipes and snowplows and street sweeping, that will erode the feeling of community connection. If you replace every small music venue with a Starbucks, that will erode the feeling of community connection. If you make seeing a dentist a disaster on par with the car breaking down or your house catching fire, that will erode the feeling of community connection.

If you make it impossible for the elderly to stay in their homes and put decent retirement out of reach. If you stop picking up litter in neighborhoods where people aren’t likely to have time to complain. If you pay people sub-minimum wages so that they have to work two or three jobs and don’t have time to take their kids to the park much less join the damn bowling league.

All of that is immoral. All of that will erode the ties that bind us to one another. I understand the appeal of this argument that modern life sucks so hard because young people would rather be on their phones than attend church services. It lets us all off the hook for the world that we have built, and lets us sit back and judge others as silly and shallow without even once talking to them about how they feel and what they need.

I am happy to have a conversation about the morality of the way we build our lives now. I am beyond thrilled for us to start talking about why our sense of responsibility to one another is disappearing. I would LOVE the chance to explain, on national TV or with a Big 5 book deal, just how it is the world of the middle class disappeared and all the churches closed.

But somehow that conversation is never about money, and it needs to be.

Also? Not for nothing, but the bona fides of this whisperer of the great unwashed?

Timothy P. Carney is the commentary editor at the Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money and Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

I’m sure he’s welcome to move to a small town in Idaho and run their community rec center anytime he likes. Amazing how all these extollers of the virtues of Heartland poverty run zero risk of encountering it in the wild.

A.