income

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.

Flushing Out the Ongoing Bank Fraud and Financial Terrorism

The number of foreclosure filings hit a record high in the 3rd quarter: "Despite signs of broader economic recovery,
number of foreclosure filings hit a record high in the third quarter -
a sign the plague is still spreading."

And banks are keeping losses off the books as they ignore the people that are not paying their mortgages:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And William Black, where is the outrage? It
seems to me, at this stage, with the—as the foreclosures continue to
escalate in numbers, and yet we’re seeing these enormous profits less
than a year after the financial crisis. There doesn’t seem to be the
kind of outrage, even in Congress, that there was six months or eight
months ago.

WILLIAM BLACK: There’s no palpable outrage, certainly not
in Congress. The reform efforts on derivatives, for example, are a
scandal. They exempt virtually all of the problem derivatives, and
they’re designed to exempt it. And that’s the bill that’s introduced,
and of course it’s likely to get worse with additional lobbying from
the special interests.

Link the things that you’ve just been talking about. You talked
about foreclosures reaching record highs. But in fact, foreclosures,
relative to delinquencies, are quite low compared to historical ratios.
In other words, banks have tons of folks who are not paying their
mortgages on time, and they’re not foreclosing. And the reason they’re
not foreclosing is, once you foreclose, you have to recognize losses
under the accounting rules. And the banks gimmicked the accounting
rules. They put pressure on Congress, and Congress put pressure on the
accounting profession to gimmick the accounting rules now about a year
ago. Now, these bonuses, of course, are paid compared to alleged
profits.
What happens if you understate your losses dramatically? You
report much higher profits and much higher bonuses. So this is a web of
fraud, in which they are getting as much as they can before the place
goes to hell in a handbasket again.

Here we are neck deep in debt to pay off the gambling debts of the bankers and now they are completely ignoring their very real losses that are piling up at a record rate simply so they can keep the bonus money flowing into their own pockets:

The Dow is Up but Your House is Gone

So here we have another bankster scam being waged on the consuming public. The scam is to create another "too big to fail" scenario as they make record profits and pay out record bonuses by rigging their books.

But the good news is the Dow is up.

So you or someone you care about is likely without a job or looking for more work. But the elite are rigging the system again, and you are going to fix things next time by voting for a Republican.

And what are these bankers with their Enron style accounting doing to help the homeowners that are on the verge of losing their homes? You can be certain that they are still out there offering ARMs to unsuspecting victims of their financial rape of the world.

And as for you? You get nothing but shafted:

It's the Inequality, Stupid!

Crossposted at DKos. Graphs there are in wider format.


Updated numbers and commentary from Emmanuel Saez (h/t Krugman) reminds us just how bad things are and have been for a while.  One might hope that the current economic crisis does not divert our attention from the longer term issues.  


I would argue that pretty much all of our problems and issues, be it health care, education, environment, collapsing public infrastructure, jobs, trade, taxes, and yes right-wing populism can be directly linked to income and wealth inequality.  And the fact that inequality has gotten MUCH MUCH worse ever since 1979-1980 (I suggest looking up who became president in the United States at that time):



 


On the one hand, it is not just a U.S. story. Income inequality has risen throughout the developed world, according the OECD.