Last month, 103,000 jobs were created. The unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percent. Which means more people have dropped out of the job market. That is, they have Given Up. Others cling to part-time employment.
Let’s not ignore that 1 of 4 children in the United States is food insecure. Which is a convoluted way of saying 25% of individuals under 18 –according to the American Community Survey, they number over 53,000,000 so that’s over 13,000,000 people– do not know whether they’ll have regular meals everyday, let alone what nutritional value those meals will have. How many of us choose fast food when fast food and subpar store items are sometimes the only option for hungry families?
It may be true that many middle classers are comfy at home with the heat set at 72, lights on in the hall, and 5 different screen savers glowing while video gaming goes on in the insulated basement. But, first of all, that middle class is shrinking and shirking the next generation(s). Yes, that generation, raised self-centered and imbued with entitlement, has been screwed and solicited by fraudulent profiteers and misdirected parents. This one (you know, the national economic, political atmosphere of popular powerlessness) can hardly be blamed on the babes.
Second of all, a grand number of folks who happen to be hungry have to decide whether to pay for heat or food. I am not food insecure, and already this conflict confronts me. My roommate and I simply cannot afford to use our heat. The only rooms in which it does any good are my bedroom and the bathroom. Sure, we’ve purchased a space heater recently (it isn’t helping at the moment) and put up insulating curtains. Do they help? Not really. Not at all probably. I guarantee, based on the chill factor of my nose, that the temperature of our apartment is in the 50s. Not because we shop for gratuitous things, but because we have loans to pay off, car bills, and inadequate heaters! We should talk to our landlord or gas company about the last one, but we have and we’re still shivering for heat. How must a parent making minimum wage feel?
And I don’t know about other people, but the endless freeze kills any miniscule ambition I may have to do anything. Wear a coat to make dinner in the kitchen? Well, why not skip dinner or quickly microwave some frozen crap? Read a book? Why not watch a movie so I can stay under a pile of blankets? Why would I want to get out of bed in the mornings onto the frigid floor?
Yet I’m not close to the poverty line–some outdated threshold established 40+ yrs ago. Nonetheless, it’s generally expected that food insecure folks –some (not all!) of whom live at or below the poverty level– suck it up, get in their likely shitty cars, get a job, get another 3 jobs, buy business-y clothes for a proper job, which they might not be qualified for, get kids to school on time, etc.
Meanwhile Google is trying to spread everywhere and art coverage is taking us the way of disconnect. Corporations and banks have so much protection they have their way with us regularly, and I’ve lately watched an episode of West Wing reminding all about the absurdity of collecting census data. To top this Monday off I watched Fuck, the funny documentary that reignites my love of Sean Connolly and George Carlin. So on that note, I take my leave!