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View Diary: 50 years of failure. Our sad safety net. (10 comments)

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  •  Great diary! (9+ / 0-)

    As a long time activist for low income poeple and low income myself I can tell you something else about poverty: Poverty is an institution it is not a "choice". According to Websters institutions are, " a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, any established law, custom, etc..." the Institution of Poverty is maintained through racism, sexism (including LGBTQ ),classism, ageism, and disabilities.

    Why should we see this institution for what it is? Because
     until we do we will not be able to deal with it and we are dealing with it all wrong. Unlike the way society wants to view the poor, poor people are far from a burden, indeed the poor are the very base of our economy and are being depended upon for the upper classes to maintain their own class positions. The upper classes would be shocked, SHOCKED I tell you and will deny they themselves profit off the backs of the poor, but they do.

    You mentioned a few ways they are profiting such as with outsourcing to mega-non-profits. Mega-non-profits are nothing but the Cayman Islands for the rich to hide their money for tax breaks. According to Guidestar these mega-nons average between $54,000-$67.000 per client yet only give about $2000 in direct services.

    Corporations outsourced to do government work employ the middle class as "gate keepers" for the services the low income need such as childcare, job searches (which are useless except for the $500 bonuses the government gives the staff and compay for micromanaging McJobs that do not even make a living wage, are not good situations for families with special needs, do not help with childcare, or even the often unavailable transportation needed to get to work and the kids to daycare.

    But it is even worse than that. Do you know that welfare moms are being forced to work for free for these for-profit coporations and mega-nons? Yes they are under much hidden laws that say they can be forced into these jobs under state and federal laws that used to pertain to college work (student internships) but are now being imposed on low income moms. Not only is this undermining paid work (why hire someone when you can get them for free AND $hundreds of $millions in grants and tax breaks for "being so nice" as to make a woman work slave labor???), it forces these moms to work alongside paid personnel doing the same jobs without the corporation or non-profit having to obey simple labor laws such as regular breaks. She can be forced to labor on her feet for up to 8 hours a day with no lunch break, not even being allowed to take a pee.

    Furthermore we can look at the cost of unpaid caregiving and what it gives to our communities. Ann Romney got all veclept because she was told she "does not work" while raising her kids. Indeed she was outraged that she was not given credit for the labor she did getting her nails done and that massage while her maids and nannies did the real work.  

    But unlike multi-billionaire Mrs Romney, low income women are told when they actually DO that unpaid work they are "doing nothing" according to Welfare DEFormed. The only work they can do that "contributes" is paid work. We tend to view this unpaid work as only for the particular family for which it is being done, when in fact this is not true. And it is not just children women are caring for unpaid, it is also their elders and then their spouses who need 24/7 care with no sick leave, no vacation, no medical care, no support whatsoever. Kids who will grow up to care for us when we can no longer care for ourselves with the Social Security they pay as well as the physical care we will need, elders who cared for us, and the disabled spouses and family members who have no one else to care for them because their care is unavailable and/or unaffordable.

    According to the AARP and labor statistics this unpaid work forces women to lose over $400,000 over a work lifetime. It also says that in order to replace this unpaid labor with institutuions so women could go out and work for corporations saying, "Do you want fries with that?" that it would cost almost $1/2 Trillion per year ~ over $450 billion per annum!!! http://www.aarp.org/....

    But women doing this unpaid care are often forced to live off the incomes of the loved one they care for. Indeed Social Security calls these unpaid years "zero years" meaning they don't count toward any benefits when she get old. You would be stunned at the many middle aged women, often well educated with Masters degrees, who live in their cars (if they are lucky enough to have one) after decades of unpaid caregiving that used up all the resources of their loved one and left them bereft, thanks to the $millions they saved this country. Due to age and sex discrimination, much less if they are women of color, they have little hope of finding paid work that will support them. Unless they can prove they are themselves disabled after all those years of hard labor (and many of them are physically and mentally disabled from the work but have few resources to prove their disability), they are left on their own with no support.  

    I could talk alot more about how the upper classes depend on the poor, and why they have no desire to change the Institution of Poverty. I could talk about the massive amounts employing and giving tax breaks to those "serving" the disabled and the elderly. I could talk about the costs of medical institutions employing the upper and middle classes to give shoddy treatment to the poor. I could talk about how the face of The Institution of Poverty being shown as "dog whistles" in publications and the media as those of color when in fact more whiltes are on welfare (thus enforcing the racism, sexism and classism issues). But suffice it to say this Institution is firmly embedded and will remain until the upper classes admit their dependence on the poor instead of pretending the poor are such a terrible burden on them.
     My 2 cents,
     Cat in Seattle
     Board member of POWER http://www.mamapower.org

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    by mntleo2 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 04:24:53 AM PST

    •  This reply is a stand-alone diary. (5+ / 0-)

      Please go for it.

      'A scarlet tanager broke the silence with his song. She thought of the bird hidden in the leaves somewhere, unseen but nevertheless brilliant red. Nevertheless beautiful.' Barbara Kingsolver/ Prodigal Summer

      by flowerfarmer on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:07:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Guidestar (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LinSea, Free Jazz at High Noon

      Do you have a link? I can look it up, but if you have exactly where that figure you stated is that would be GREAT. Thanks for your great comments!

      “Go to where the silence is & say something.”― Amy Goodman

      Speakeasy at The Black & Tan Show

      iTunes

      by theblackandtanshow on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:37:32 AM PST

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      •  Yeah the link was included in the comment but (4+ / 0-)

        ...here it is again: http://www.aarp.org/....

        It can be kinda wonky and dry reading but there are links on the above webpage with the actual study in PDF form for the caregiving part and the cost to women (and while most are women, me should also be included since they are sometimes in home caregivers too). Also labor statistics and others have gotten the information on the pay loss such as Moms Rising and Labor Statistics  ~ tho the AARP study shows far more of a loss (lbor stats say women losre on the average of $427.000 opver a work lifetime ~ but either one would buy a nice home AND a retirement, don't you think?)and IMO the AARP one is more thorough.

        Here is a Huffpo article with an analysys of the AARP study: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

        Labor stats:  Here is a good paper from the Family Caregiver Alliance on financial and physical costs of unpaid caregiving: http://www.caregiver.org/...

        Those are a few links but I can get you more if you need them. Again thanks for your diary, it is excellent!

        Cat in Seattle

        First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

        by mntleo2 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:19:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh and Pee Ess about Mega-nonprofits ... (4+ / 0-)

        You have to do the math with these, but I have used my own math I have gotten off Guidestar and other government info that is puiblically available about these nons. Just divide the amount of grants they recieve by the number of clients they have served and VOILA! I have used these numbers in meetings with legs, wonks, and Suits and they do not deny them.

        NOBODY wants to discuss the major take these Mega-nons get from the government (and the $millions in donations that they do not have to claim) because many advocates fear if it is shown then those services will go away and there will be nothing. I do not agree. I think if it were made more public perhaps this nonsense about outsourcing and using non-profits will be reconsidered and these middle class "gate keepers" would find better employment with the state and feds anyway.

        Do not confuse mega-nons with small nonprofits who often do the real work on the ground these megas refuse to do. They seldom get the government grants (do not have the accountants, grant writers and lawyers), operate on budgets less than half of what a DSHS manager makes, accomplish better results, as well as do 10 X the work.

        There is a group of scrappy WI moms who have done the math and even got some megas prosecuted and fined! But that did not daunt the state (and most other states) who still use them as contractors and to "replace" their own services they should be giving at far less the cost. They are awseome. you can contact Pat Gowens there who has done much of this work and has seen this stuff 1rst hand:  http://www.welfarewarriors.org/...
        http://www.welfarewarriors.org/...

        Do not think that just because it was found in WI this is the only state doing this. ALL states do it. NOBODY wants to do the investigating or math and the government certainly don't want their wonks doing this work. They know full well how expensive that research would be that shows them as the corporate pimps they are ~ and would be for reasearchers such as universtiy research, to ferret this information out.

        Hope this helps!

        My 2 cents,
        Cat in Seattle

        First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

        by mntleo2 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:43:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The issue with small nonprofits is the pay (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LinSea, Free Jazz at High Noon

          I feel in general nonprofits depoliticize the community. All of them. I think many of these jobs and supports should go back to the government. The small nonprofits have to compete against the big nonprofits for money. Why should you have to compete for money to help people? What kind of since does that make?

          The small ones are great, but it's still part of outsources the safety net and we shouldn't have a safety net. That is a weak way to support the community...we should just move away from this entire model. It is broken and exploitative.

          “Go to where the silence is & say something.”― Amy Goodman

          Speakeasy at The Black & Tan Show

          iTunes

          by theblackandtanshow on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:00:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is so true! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LinSea, Free Jazz at High Noon

            But unfortunately a small non is the best way people in need get services nowdays that isn't disgustingly punitive and actually have real people in their corner who actually understand their plight.

            But I do agree, it would be best if these things went back to the government.

            Did you know until Welfare DEFormed was signed into lasw it came out of Social Seurity and was a required part of the federal budget? But now since they passed the ironically name Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunites Act, the real name of Welfare DEFormed, legs can now decide the budget as they please under "discretionary" funding.

            it would be a start to change that bak to its original intent. When it was originally under Social Securuty all was good until more women of color began accessing it. Many of them were abandoned in the South when their partners moved north for better work. Oh the outrage! The NERVE of these women!

            Have I mentioned how much I detest these elitists? GRRRR!

            Cat in Seattle

            First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

            by mntleo2 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:23:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Guidestar (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LinSea

        Nowadays they want you to be a paid member since those of us "wonk wannabes" were using their stats to get information. However there is a way to view a particular charity and there are other ways as well by perhaps visiting a mega-non and asking for the information, filing a Freedom of Information Act Request and often if you call your state or federal legislators they can get this information for you.

        The truth is whenever government gives out grants We The People have a right to know ~ in spite of the fake outrage these mega-nons and the government may try to put on. it takes some legwork and some moxie as many times you are treated as if you are a terrorist for have the "nerve" to ask for this information.

        The WI women I mention below often "went under cover" working as volunteers in fundraisers, offices, stores, etc. They took pictures and kept diaries, took recordings of meetings along with other "nefarious" actions. They got the required public information these organizations are supposed to provide but refused to give to the public but try to hide. But these rich nons and the government know most people do not have the time or the oprganization to do any of this and so it goes on and on and on ...

        Hope this helps ...
        Cat in Seattle  

        First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

        by mntleo2 on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:09:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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