naked cap: Americans Increasingly Angry With Corporate Desertions via Tax Inversions.
Catapult: The Fierce Triumph of Loneliness.
“I moved through these scenes like a ghost yet felt astoundingly whole.” Well-expressed.
NY Times: Priced Out of a Childhood Home.
Not NY, but anyone who grew up in Princeton knows this. My childhood home sold for about $360k in 1996. Sells for over a cool million now. I’d love to be able tell Dad he lived in a mansion ...
Oxford American: Not Yet Lost. [Must-read!]
“We both knew what it felt like to mourn something we had not yet lost.” I call this the read-of-the-month. Wonderfully written, best thing I’ve seen online in ages.
ABQ Free Press: Insurance Rates Headed Up.
“The preliminary rates aren’t yet public and will most likely be adjusted by Franchini’s office, but a source told ABQ Free Press that two insurers are seeking average rate increases of 28 to 30 percent. Another is asking for increases of up to 80 percent, and two are asking for increases in the 3 to 12 percent range.” All the independent contractors of my acquaintance are going ballistic over this. Payment of the penalty and going without, seeking non-exchange out-of-state insurance are being discussed.
The Atlantic: Need Cash Fast? Ask Reddit.
The Atlantic: Truck Stop - How One of America’s Steadiest Jobs Turned Into One of Its Most Gru
“This is the experience of many truckers. They are convinced to work as independent contractors by trucking carriers trying to rid themselves of the financial responsibilities of employers and shift the risk of owning and operating trucks to workers.” This is not just in trucking - nearly everyone I know who used to be full-time, are now forced into independent contracting.
The Atlantic: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Homecomings.
“It is true what they say about celebrity—people suddenly don’t quite see you. You walk into a room and you are not a person, so much as symbol of whatever someone needs you to be.” The downsides of being a ‘somebody’.
The Atlantic: The Average 29-Year-Old.
“The median income at 29 is about $35,000. Talk of a steady ‘career’ for most young people is more aspirational than descriptive. Jobs are still temporary for twentysomethings. The average American has had more than seven jobs before she turns 29, and a third of them lasted less than six months.” Jeebus, just read it.
NY Times: Drastic Cutbacks in Illinois.
The Atlantic: Opting Out of Coastal Madness to Live a Low-Overhead Life.
“So it turns out you can get richer simply by moving to where people are poorer. That is horrifying. And some might find it insensitive to praise the virtues of living a middle-class life in a region beset by deindustrialization and poverty, where the low cost of living is enabled, in part, by the difficulty so many have in scratching out a living.”
The Atlantic: Trump’s Plan to Bring Jobs Back From China Misses the Point on U.S. Manufacturing.
“The truth is, even if China blinked out of existence tomorrow, there just wouldn’t be a need for much of the work America lost. While low-skilled labor dominated manufacturing in decades past, automation and computers have made factory floors both tremendously productive and relatively human-free. A revitalized American manufacturing sector would raise employment, but not to the levels seen in 1979—a heyday that economists say is unlikely to be repeated.”
The Atlantic: The Two Contradictory Ideas Many Americans Have About the Economy.
“Many Americans, then, are holding two contradictory ideas in their mind at once: the optimistic belief that their success is in their hands (on display since Tocqueville’s Democracy in America) and the acknowledgement that wages have been steadily stagnating (on decline since the band America).” Dumb reference, that last one.
Dissent: Is Labor a Commodity in Wisconsin?
“Surely if labor (or labor power) is a commodity, it is as Marx and many others have noted a peculiar one. It has sentience, feelings, ideas and the capacity for resistance. It’s not just another bar of soap.”
Pacific Standard: Why Are Americans Killing Themselves?
“Consider that some three-quarters of the eight million jobs lost during the Great Recessions were in manufacturing—the sort of trade that primarily employed white men. And those jobs aren’t coming back any time soon.” No upward mobility, debt bondage, isolation ... how hard can it be to understand?
Inverse: This Community in Sulawesi, Indonesia Keeps the Dead in Homes for Years.
If deceased persons and buffalo sacrifice bother you, don’t watch the video.
The Atlantic: How ‘Concept Creep’ Made Americans So Sensitive to Harm.
“Pathologizing normal experience.” Oh boy, this is the READ OF THE WEEK. Long, but mark out some time to take it all in.
BBC: Oil exporters set to discuss output freeze.
“The world’s leading oil exporters could be finally about to take action following the fall in prices.” Ruh-roh. Hope you didn’t buy any V8s.
NY Times: In Wyoming, Hard Times Return as Energy Prices Slump.
As I’ve warned, when there’s a boom there’s always a bust. The American West is littered with evidence of the previous cycles. Going into one, you’ve gotta chuck most of your earnings into savings. One can escape neither history nor inevitability.
The Atlantic: Why Promising Baltimore Students Don’t Escape Poverty.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. You pull a child out of a bad situation, put her/him in a good one, they’ll thrive. Boarding schools might help solve this - if there were the will to vivify them. America might end up stunned at the excellence unleashed. I saw, via his childhood diary, how my own father (ensconced in an orphanage) went from near-illegible and near-unintelligible to quicksilver, witty and erudite in a few short years after being sponsored to a private prep school (where he had to shovel out the stables, do the most menial chores to stay). Riffing off an earlier post, ‘social elites’ felt he had to ‘prove’ himself by superhuman efforts in order to ‘deserve’ education. Physical labor, excessive hours ... and catching up to grade level? Efforts that social elites could never match, even if they wanted to. And that is what is wrong with having the ‘haves’ legislate aid to the ‘have nots’. They load the dice. The fact that Dad succeeded, is amazing.
NY Times: A Renewable Energy Boom.
BillMoyers: Why Bernie’s Right About Glass-Steagall.
Vox: Low-income Americans can no longer afford rent, food, and transportation.
If Vox just noticed, I give Congress a couple of years before it becomes known in the Beltway.
Boston Globe: High-deductible health plans make Affordable Care Act ‘unaffordable.’
November, 2015. This is *exactly* what ACA touters are missing. I went from a $500 individual deductible to $5,000 to keep my premium the same. The ACA has hurt me by giving me less. Significantly less. And I’m supposed to be happy? Sure, I appreciate the other aspects of the ACA (preexisting conditions, etc.). But this feels like a colossal ripoff. You wonder why Sanders does well in certain states - look no farther. Hillary would do well to propose common-sense repairs.
Gallup: U.S. Uninsured Rate 11.9% in Fourth Quarter of 2015.
“... the uninsured rate declined 5.2 percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013, right before the key provision of the health law requiring Americans to carry health insurance took effect in early 2014.” I have previously quoted the number of 3%, prior to this update, as the decline - the new number is officially 5.2%.