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Why is the American social safety net so weak?

This piece is a crossposted excerpt from a slightly larger piece originally posted on DailyKos. Our thanks to the writer, Democrats Ramshield, for the crosspost. The opening has been slightly edited for clarity, as the original lead-in material is not included within this crosspost. Those are the only alterations. -- GH

How does the US social safety net protect working families?

Did you know that virtually speaking the United States is the only major industrialized nation in the world that doesn't offer job protected paid maternity leave by right of law? To which this diary offers a number of quotes below. In reviewing those quotes please ask yourself the question, what type of family values is Yankee capitalism promulgating for the working class?

Paternity Leave / international comparisons

Did you know that 157 countries offer paid maternity leave?

Check out Wikipedia: "Parental Leave": there's a shocking chart which is an embarassment to the United States

Source: http://comet.lehman.cuny.edu/...

Let's take a look at how the French maternity leave policies work to support families as an earned benefit provided to working people. In doing so please consider the quote below.

Maternity Leave in France

CNN: Bindi Dupouy, an Australian living in Paris, and her French husband, just had their first child, a son born in the country.
Dupouy, a 28-year-old lawyer, got almost five months paid maternity leave from her company for the birth. She can take another seven months off beyond that -- a year total -- unpaid, if she wants, with her job guaranteed under French law.

Source: http://articles.cnn.com/...

Would you please consider telling your friends, family about how our British cousins are provided with extensive maternity benefits which maybe shared by hetero-sexual couples, as well as same-sex couples and single parent families? Isn't it time that we in the U.S. adopted these types of progressive family friendly policies?

Now we're talking about real family values not just lip service.

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Open Thread - Consuming Teens: Kids + Money

This a quick trailer from photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield's movie "Kids + Money":

If any of my kids ever want to see purses or clothes that cost "4 digits" they will have to buy it on their own because 4 digits is a lot of weeks worth of eating for many families, ours included. When you consider that 1 of 8 adults and 1 of 4 kids are on food stamps and for too many of them it is their only income, I can't see wasting that kind of money on stuff my kids will rip, wear out, write on with pens and markers and outgrow.

With food-stamp use at a record high and surging by the day, Ms. Bermudez belongs to an overlooked subgroup that is growing especially fast: recipients with no cash income.

About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid — no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay.

Their numbers were rising before the recession as tougher welfare laws made it harder for poor people to get cash aid, but they have soared by about 50 percent over the past two years. About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but a food-stamp card.

I know that many people can afford to buy those expensive things and do give to charities to help people in need, as well, but the real question is: "Should this really be the way we want things to work?" The amassed wealth at the top of pyramid has a cost, and that cost is often the people in America and around the world that are at the bottom being put in a position of severe poverty.

Over the next week Open Thread may highlight and contrast a few more of the social, economic and environmental problems with this issue, and how "Commercialized America is Consuming You". A little longer excerpt from the movie "Kids + Money" below the fold.

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Michelle: "It Hurts!!", "It Hurts!!"

I went over to ABC News to see if they had posted a video report that I caught last night, never got to that as this is what I found, and will be airing this morning on GMA.

 

Exclusive: 'It Hurts,' Says First Lady of Military Families on Food Stamps

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