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Look, if you can’t make rent without working 10-hour days 7 days a week, your minimum wage is too low November 23, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Housing [chronically homeless adults] led to dramatic cost savings that more than paid for the cost of putting them in decent housing, including $1.8 million in health care savings from 447 fewer ER visits (78% reduction) and 372 fewer hospital days (79% reduction). Tenants also spent 84 fewer days in jail, with a 72% drop in arrests.

“It gets even worse for the GOP when you consider that 9 out of the 12 states seeing faster growth are those that set their minimum wages to rise with inflation.

“A screen that OSHA said would have prevented workers from falling into the sugar hopper was removed 13 days before Salinas’ accident.

“There are other examples. We talked last year, for example, about Minnesota and Wisconsin – two similarly sized states with comparable populations […] The former raised taxes, the latter cut taxes. Which state is better off now? Take a wild guess.

“Gender-specific markups mean that in California, women were paying about $1,350 more than men a year for the same products before the state banned gender pricing. Women’s deodorant, for example, costs 30 cents more per ounce on average than men’s even when the only difference is the scent. Women also get charged more for haircuts, dry cleaning, and other beauty products like razors.”

“She was sent last Sept. 9 to the emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital, which was out of her insurance network, instead of to Meriter Hospital, three blocks away, which was covered by her insurance. It’s the difference between a $1,500 maximum out-of-pocket expense and the now-$50,000-plus she’s facing in bills.

State-by-state map of working hours needed at minimum wage to afford rent. It’s at least 70 hours a week, or 10 hours a day every single day, in all states but 2 (Arkansas and Montana).


Good people doing good things November 7, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Voters have approved a ballot question that supporters say will give Massachusetts the nation’s strongest requirement for providing paid sick time to workers.” Go state!

“You can see the effect Abbott’s civil disobedience is already having on the Fort Lauderdale police officers. The first time they stopped him from feeding people and took a 90-year-old man away in a police car. Those officers weren’t inclined to do that again, so now they’re just filming from a distance. Why? Because it’s a stupid, unjust law, and enforcing it made them feel stupid and unjust.

“Then she placed the stone on a shelf in the kitchen, and it stayed there as a permanent reminder of the promise she had made to herself at that moment: never violence!” Astrid Lindgren, everybody.

Gorgeous fantasy photographs of adorable tiny girl (maybe 3?). The blurb is all “look how amazing and inspirational this is, she only has one hand” and utterly fails to mention “look how pretty this is, in some of these she has wings.” (Normal!AU Megan Wallaby, y/y?)

[Video] The latest in bionic limbs: a talk presented by a double amputee walking around stage, and ended with a performance by a dancer who lost her leg a year before.

“It’s not that Gus doesn’t understand Siri’s not human. He does — intellectually. But like many autistic people I know, Gus feels that inanimate objects, while maybe not possessing souls, are worthy of our consideration. […] So how much more worthy of his care and affection is Siri, with her soothing voice, puckish humor and capacity for talking about whatever Gus’s current obsession is for hour after hour after bleeding hour?” A like story about a kid & a voice app.

The economy, in hard numbers and sharp snark. May 14, 2014

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“Ford added that she would definitely sit right down and intently watch the full documentary the minute she had a few hours free from her 75-hour workweek and around-the-clock parenting duties.” (The Onion knows what’s up.)

“Other members of Congress tried to make sure he dressed as warmly as possible, Stoops recalled. But when it’s 20-something degrees out, an extra sweater only goes so far.

Hours Worked On Minimum Wage In Order To Pay For One University Credit Hour, 1980-present.

The mind of the 1%: “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game?” Uh, dude, I’m pretty sure the players make the game. They do the work. They earn the money. Working people are not some kind of pets, that you feed out of the goodness of your heart because their presence amuses you. They are adult human beings whom you employ, and pay to do a job.

Banks are awful, part eleventy million. Seriously, credit unions will cleanse your soul.

Being poor is expensive, credit ratings are scams, and private charity is already overwhelmed as-is. February 20, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Most private-sector employers offer no sick days, and many will fire a person who misses a day of work, even to stay home with a sick child. A nonfunctioning car can also mean lost pay and sudden expenses. A broken headlight invites a ticket, plus a fine greater than the cost of a new headlight, and possible court costs. […] No amount of training in financial literacy can prepare someone for such exigencies—or make up for an income that is impossibly low to start with.

After food stamps were reduced at the beginning of November, New York City food pantries and soup kitchens ran out of food, turned people away, and reduced the meals they handed out after experiencing a surge of demand.” Just one more reason you can be sure that anyone who says “oh, private charities can handle it!” doesn’t actually care enough to know what they’re talking about.

“MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston had told Stephanie that their insurance (for which they paid $469 a month) was virtually worthless. So the hospital demanded $83,900, in advance.” (The health care they just got through Obamacare is…completely subsidized. Free.)

“For eight months, she did not tell anyone. There was shame and a residual hope that one of the 300 job applications typed out on her mobile phone would come through. Above all, there was the fear that child services would take away her boy. […] At 3, he has developed a quirk: He saves food.”

“A 46-year-old woman near St. Louis would like to to refinance her mortgage and maybe get some new credit cards. She can’t, though. As far as her bank and the credit bureau Equifax are concerned, she’s dead.

Rich people are enormous tools, news at eleven.

They use the library to look at drugs and food stamps on the Internet! January 16, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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One manager at the apartment complex where I worked while in college told me, repeatedly, that she knew I was ‘Okay’ because my little Nissan was clean. That I had worn a Jones of New York suit to the interview really sealed the deal. She could call the suit by name because she asked me about the label in the interview. Another hiring manager at my first professional job looked me up and down in the waiting room, cataloging my outfit, and later told me that she had decided I was too classy to be on the call center floor. I was hired as a trainer instead. The difference meant no shift work, greater prestige, better pay and a baseline salary for all my future employment.”

If the minimum wage had stayed on par with U.S. average wages of non-supervisory workers alone, it would be up to $10.89 an hour, and if it had kept on pace with skyrocketing productivity, which made workers exponentially more efficient and profitable, the minimum wage would be a whopping $18 an hour.”

“For Roberts, a fifteen-dollar-an-hour wage would allow her to buy basic items: a kitchen table, a new pair of work shoes, the occasional fresh peach or banana or Fuji apple. It would mean that she could buy her kids Christmas gifts, or go out with them on their birthdays.”

Republicans fight to abolish ~burdensome~ regulations on ceiling fans…which were adopted by Republicans in 2005 at the request of the fan manufacturers.

“$2000 for a night’s stay, a juice box and a pill.

“Them junkies and hippies and food stamps (recipients) and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps (on the Internet). I see them do it.”

“There’s no question that providing housing for the homeless is the right thing to do, for humanitarian reasons. But it also makes economic sense, so cities can spend less money and still help more people. In 2005, Utah did a study that found the average annual cost for emergency services and jail time for each chronically homeless person was $16,670. The cost to house them and provide case management services was only $11,000 per person.

“When her bankruptcy proceedings concluded in 2010, ECMC began to hound her, and garnished her Social Security income, all in the name of repaying loans that had already been paid in full.

“Ally Bank has agreed to pay $98 million, including $80 million in refunds to settle allegations that it has been charging higher interest rates to minority borrowers of car loans.” Here’s to the CFPB.

“They only start calling it class warfare when we fight back” November 20, 2013

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“During the farm bill debate, when the the first bill with $20 billion in SNAP cuts went down, I assumed that the tea partyers voting no opposed the corporate welfare, but when they had a standalone farm bill, which was just an orgy of corporate welfare, they voted for that. Only eight House Republicans voted against it. It stripped away any fig leaf that they’re anti-government intervention.”

“Another member [of Congress] was given $3,588 for food and lodging during a six-day trip to Russia. He probably drank a fair amount of vodka and probably even had some caviar. That particular member has 21,000 food stamp recipients in his district. One of those people who is on food stamps could live a year on what this congressman spent on food and lodging for six days.

More than half of fast-food workers’ families nationwide rely on public assistance to get by — double the rate of the overall workforce — at a cost of nearly $7 billion a year to US taxpayers.”

Almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 have neither a job nor are in school…about 19 percent of all Americans say they have more education than they need to qualify for their job…40 percent of Americans now make less than minimum wage workers did in 1968, based on numbers adjusted for inflation. ”

“Florida resident and Vietnam veteran Charles Boykin says, in the clip above, that he can’t understand why legislators would do anything to reduce his SNAP allotment. ‘Why take it away from us?’ he asks of Congress. ‘We were there for them, why can’t they be there for us?’

We bet the state will just recover oodles of money. (Pity that the dollar-to-oodle exchange rate is so lousy these days.)”

“But the free clinic is also where some people learn that there is no hope for the chemotherapy or surgery that they need but can’t afford. When UTMB refuses to treat them, it falls to us to tell them that they will die of diseases that are, in fact, treatable.” A medical student talks about the systemic failures of the health insurance system, from a perspective that’s personal and systemic all at once.

The politicians who are eager to have SNAP recipients go through drug testing never seem interested in going through it themselves…and Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) provides a shining example of why.

At least we’re getting prevention-based health care in spite of our crisis-based government. October 22, 2013

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Meet Butch Matthews, A Republican Who Came To Love Obamacare After Realizing It Will Save Him $13,000.” Noat $13,000 in total, either. $13,000 every year.

“And in all the angry conservative rhetoric about the ACA, I have never seen any proposals that would keep me personally alive.

“The cost of Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC) program combined: $25.2 billion.” Compare that to just the preliminary costs of the government shutdown.

“As Congressional leaders and the President discuss a potential temporary solution to the current fights over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, the repeated cycle of lurching from crisis to crisis has significant costs to the U.S. economy, according to a new report released today.”

Government for decades has directly subsidized individuals’ costs of employer-based health care, to the tune of roughly $250 billion every year – sums far greater than the annual costs of the subsidized insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”

“Congress approves spending bills without always approving the funding needed to cover the spending, like an impulsive shopper who buys stuff at the mall without having cash at the bank to pay the bills. […] [G]overnments of most other advanced countries include the authorization for borrowing, if necessary, in spending bills passed by the legislature. So there’s no need to raise borrowing limits months after bills that require more borrowing actually pass.

“While the country’s most recent elections were generally considered to be free and fair (despite threats against international observers), the current crisis has raised questions in the international community about the regime’s ability to govern this complex nation of 300 million people, not to mention its vast stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.