Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Rich get richer! Poor get poorer!

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent.
"Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" by Joseph Stiglitz

The average income of the four hundred richest Americans (measured by AGI) has increased while their average tax rate has decreased:

More tax charts from Mother Jones magazine and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

As life gets better and better for the rich, the poor continue to suffer.

The World Bank has warned that rising food prices have put the world's poor "one shock away from a full-blown crisis."

Tax preparers are targeting the poor with their usurious refund anticipation loans.

Debt collectors using harrassing and threatening tactics have decided that the risk of violating federal law is just the price of doing business.

The Indiana Senate has voted to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a larger abortion bill - even though abortions are only 3% of their business and are funded by private giving. If this is signed into law we can expect more unplanned pregnancies.
Without Planned Parenthood, [Gayla Winston of the Indiana Family Health Council] said, there would be no clinic south of Monroe County and east of Dubois County where a woman could get free birth control pills.

A 2008 study by the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health policy nationwide, found that 31 percent of Indiana women who need contraceptives have those needs met. That's 10 percentage points lower than the national average.
I am a pro-life Christian, but defunding Planned Parenthood is a blockheaded thing to do. Many poor women use PP as a primary provider.

Dan Horan, OFM, on being willfully ignorant concerning the conditions of the poor:
"I just don’t want to know" is not a legitimate or justifiable excuse. It is a reflection of the sin of willful ignorance, because, although what you don’t know may not hurt you, it most certainly hurts others. We have an obligation, a responsibility as members of the human family and the Body of Christ to learn about both the “joys and hopes” as well as the “sorrows and anxieties” of the people of the world. And we should then, aware of suffering in the world, work to bring about justice and alleviate suffering in whatever way we can.


  1. So what's the Indiana GOP's advice to women seeking to avoid pregnancy: "pull your knickers up and cross your legs"?

  2. John, John, John. You poor, misguided non-American. The answer is abstinence-only sex education. And, according to the legislative director of Indiana Right to Life, there's always Wal-Mart.

    More seriously, they're expecting agencies other than PP to step up their services. Except that they're not providing any additional funding to these other agencies. Besides, I have a hard time believing that anti-abortion facilities run by cultural conservatives will be as willing as PP to make birth control freely and readily available.

    The ultimate aim is to destroy PP. Those who are harmed in the process are collateral damage.

  3. The idea that a lack of birth control contributes to abortion is a complete myth. PP's own statistics show that women seeking abortions actually report having access to birth control in overwhelming numbers. See the following article for more on this:

    I've also read that PP turns annual profits to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. If that is the case, then federal funding to PP amounts to corporate welfare for an organization whose tactics are at least as ineffective as abstinence-only sex education in preventing unwanted pregnancy.

    As George Will noted, funding for abortion was the one issue that the Democratic party was willing to go to the mat about and shut down the federal government. If nothing else, the recent budget dispute was rather revealing about their priorities, which in my view neither include the poor nor fiscal responsibility of any kind. Of course, the same is true of the Republicans as well as their proposed budget cuts were laughably small.



About Me

I'm Rachel's husband and Darcy's daddy. I'm a Hoosier, an accountant, and an Episcopalian. Politically, I'm a progressive who believes in the preferential option for the poor. I use the blog as a sort of journal - to interact with my reading and sketch out ideas.