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Today in the Houston Chronicle, there was an interesting article about a young woman named Tameka Morris who completed her nursing degree in 2010. Following her completion, she'd hoped to capitalize on it and join the ranks of the professional field. Unfortunately:

Since graduating in May, however, she's been unable to capitalize on her education. Employers want more experience than she had accumulated, or job opportunities were too far away for her to consider because of transportation issues.

The single mother survives by working two to three temporary home health jobs. In a good month, she earns about $900.

There are a few issues that spring to mind just in reading this small quote. Employers have long been demanding levels of experience at cheap wages, especially since the beginning of the recent recession. Of course, there's also the issue of transportation. While Republicans have put a halt on the construction of infrastructure in the name of budgeting, they've affected the lives of people like Tameka Morris. Time and again, Texas has seen resistance to the construction of new transportation methods like next generation rail systems. Houston is, fortunately, internally developing its own system. However, there are still people, like Tameka, waiting in the wings. There's an even greater half truth hidden in this story, however.

In the wake of the recession, 41 percent of households headed by single women with children live in poverty - nearly triple the national poverty rate, according to 2010 census data.

And while the economy in Texas has recovered more quickly than in the rest of the country, the state's single mother poverty rate is just as high at 42 percent. (Emphasis added.)

Going back to the early days of the Perry campaign, we've seen these claims of Texas' strong economy and how well it's doing. However, for individuals like Tameka, there is no change. A lack of investment in infrastructure is only one problem that lower income workers are facing. It is true, of course, that Texas is one of the leading states in job growth. The state nearly doubled the nation in the growth of non-agricultural jobs.

However, it is not only the growth of jobs, but the quality of the jobs grown that is important. In that respect, Texas has not been on the cutting edge of development. Time and again the claim has been made that Texas somehow has done wonders for its citizens by slashing taxes on business and by removing protections from workers. Never mind that Rick Perry and the state legislature did this by slashing the education budget, one of the surefire ways of crippling your states future viability.

Texas closed its budget by removing funding for both public education facilities and higher education. Those attending the neediest schools were left with even less resources, and those with the least ability to pay for college were left wondering what to do with their futures. Its graduation rate in high school is one of the worst in the country, ranked somewhere between 46th and 50th, depending on who you consult. Its college graduation rate, however, is indisputably poor, topping out around 50% for four year college attendees. Meanwhile, health and human services, as well as medicaid operators, were left with drastically slashed budgets.

What was the goal of such drastic reduction of aid to the poorest in the population? Was this truly in the name of good business? Because if so, Texas took up the wrong business plan. Nearly ten percent of the state is employed at the minimum wage rate, and many Texas earn less money than their peers around the country working in the same jobs.

So Texas politicians expect the citizens of the state to believe that worse paying jobs, backed by an underfunded education systems and lack of safety nets for the neediest citizens, is somehow the key to the future? Where is the logic? Where is the passion for the state's people? There is a future coming, one in which the great nations of this earth are investing heavily into next generation technologies and resources. We are seeing the advent of new types of cars and energy production, and that wave of technological development isn't awaiting in some flighty, science fiction future. It's here, it's coming now, and will be maturing within a few years. Can Texas honestly expect to be competitive in that realm when its doesn't bother to educate its future generations properly, and funnels its citizens into low paying jobs without any support?

The state, instead, looks to continue a trend of generating underemployed citizens with few options. Women like Tameka Morris are an unfortunate part of the new Texas underclass, a group of skilled individuals who cannot find adequately paying employment due to a variety of circumstances, and who find themselves without the necessary social supports to live safely month to month.

Originally posted to DAISHI on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 12:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans, Houston Area Kossacks, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Which is why after more than (17+ / 0-)

    a decade of Rick Perry's backward vision for the state Texas will need a new leader to help the state win the future for Texans of all levels. Could it be Mayor Castro?

  •  Republished to TexKos (5+ / 0-)

    where we know that the "Texas miracle" is a figment of Rick Perry's imagination. Good diary!

    More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 01:07:20 PM PDT

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)


    " Texas's ", not " Texas' ".

    There's only 1 Texas! Thank God! :D :D

    Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

    by GayIthacan on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 01:09:03 PM PDT

  •  Where is the Texas Democratic Party? (9+ / 0-)

    Seriously, Texas is one of those states in the U.S. that has a great potential to becoming a swing state so long as Democrats man up and get their act together in grassroots efforts.

  •  Everything is going exactly to plan in Texas... (7+ / 0-)

    the state economy is recovering, but workers are ratcheting down the wage scale.  Services for the poor are becoming nonexistent.  On the healthcare side, the Raw Story has a true horror story up called "Perrycare: Texas effort to ban Planned Parenthood also excludes pregnant women".

    Amongst the appalling details is this:

    Making matters worse, the Kaiser Health Foundation says the state of Texas has the most restrictive Medicaid program in the country, requiring parents of a family of three make no more than $188 a month in order to qualify.
    Even though the new women’s health program will send pregnant applicants to Medicare, that program as well is being restricted by the lone star state, with Gov. Perry vowing to refuse more than $164 billion in federal aid intended to expand coverage for low-income people.

    Perry’s act of political defiance will ultimately deny coverage to more than 1.2 million low-income Texans who would otherwise be eligible under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

    Perry's Texas is well on its way to becoming Ayn Rand's idea of "paradise" and no doubt a model that Romney/Ryan would like to apply to the rest of the nation.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 10:25:15 PM PDT

  •  They want to be the "prostitution state" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where you go to buy girls and women cheaply, even the intelligent ones with a college education, who can carry on a conversation.

    It's about driving the girls and women into the arms of abusive and cruel men, who will use them until they get too old, then discard them for a younger girl/woman. The older women are expected to get sick and die far too young, because they are "useless" if they can't be used for breeding, sex and/or domestic slaves.

    It's an old story.

    Women create the entire labor force.

    by splashy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 12:29:32 AM PDT

  •  I lived half my life in Texas (9+ / 0-)

    despite being from New England, to which I have returned. I am a product of public high school in Texas where I attended one of HISD's highly progressive magnet schools (High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Houston). When I moved back from college, I was able to afford to do part of my graduate work at public university, the University of Houston, because public colleges were affordable. I went to work for one of Texas' innovative Medicaid programs, CLASS, which helped severely disabled children and adults live at home or independently instead of ending up in nursing homes (Texas has historically been very progressive in public health).

    This is the Texas I know and love. But it's not the Texas of today.

    The Texas of today (and I've been there in the last couple of years and have family and friends there) I don't recognize. It is run by people with an agenda of reckless public policy, predatory and unregulated capitalism, a kind of selfish individualism which would make Ayn Rand blush, who use God as an excuse, Guns as a political weapon and voter suppression and rank racism to hold on to power.

    I don't recognize the Texas I used to love, be proud of, brag about to people all over the world. The Texas strong in the arts, state universities second to none, (I don't care how much we joke about Aggies), progressive public health programs, great roads, great beer, wine that can compete with the best (my Austrian friends loved the big Texas reds partly because they were amazed Texas, of all places, had such a sophisticated viticulture), and all its other strengths. The Texas where politics was always a kind of tailgate sport, not a gladiator slaughter, the Texas with lots of flaws and rough spots but the will to grapple with problems, to make things better.

    That Texas seems to be hiding somewhere, and it's a damned shame.

    [I tried to move back to Texas a couple of years ago. It was so foreign to me--I had moved back to New England in 2002--and so frightening to me, I couldn't stay.]

    I know what Mitt Romney is hiding: Mitt Romney.

    by commonmass on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 04:12:45 AM PDT

  •  Here on the front lines, in Texas (3+ / 0-)

    About public transportation, Texas is a large place.  Even when public transportation does exist, it may exist in the urban area, but not in the small towns surrounding it.   A family must often make a choice to live in a more dangerous and expensive area in order to access public transportation, so the savings from public transportation is offset by the cost of higher rents.  There is also the issue of schools, which are often far better in the areas that do not have public transportation.

    The impoverished family of five that I am aquainted with struggles with this problem.  They can no longer rent because their credit is not good enough.  They live in a Budget Suites, and pay $200/week.  They know of a cheaper place, but cannot come up with a thousand dollars to pay deposits, and even if they did, they would struggle to pay the rent all in one chunk.  They manage their finances better on a weekly basis, even though it is more expensive.   Their very old audi won't run right now because the security system was triggered, and won't allow it to start.   The mother can't drive because she has seizures and cancer.  Dad uses the other car to get to work.   Gas money is a huge issue, and sometimes the focus of arguments.  This family had food shortages last year.  They shopped in a food bank, but would run short near the end of the week.    They had two children under the age of 3 at the time.

    With respect to "single mother poverty rates", it is important to remember that rules regarding public assistance are different for married women than for women who are not married, so the choice to marry a life partner is a serious financial decision.   Many Texas single mothers receive some support from a partner, but choose not to marry because it would be economically disadvantageous.   Families scrape by on the father's earnings, combined with assistance for the single mother who qualifies as impoverished because her partner's income is not taken into account or taken into account differently.   I am not disputing the reality of poverty in Texas, just pointing out that there are nuances not reflected in those numbers.     We might note that the party of "family values" has created programs that financially encourage impoverished single mothers to avoid marriage.

    This points to another problem, that shady area just on the fringes of "poverty", that most of us would consider to be true poverty, but that is just outside of the range that the government uses as a cutoff, where families lose benefits and often end up worse off than if they'd had just slightly less income, but access to government benefits.   Texas single mothers often struggle to figure out how to navigate this system to the best advantage for themselves and their children.    It is sometimes the best financial choice not to work when caring for very small children, because having a higher income, combined with childcare costs, and losing benefits adds up to a clear financial loss for the family.   When the children reach age four, and headstart kicks in, there is help for very impoverished families, and when the kids reach age five, when they get kindergarten, mothers have a huge break, because that means that the income from working will not be eaten up by childcare costs.

  •  There is another side (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The young mother was also dxd with cervical cancer. Her medicaid was terminated without explanation by the state and she took a $500 hit for chemo (she has developed a metastatic lung cancer as a result.)  She will probably be another "killed by lack of access" statistic.
    Block QUOTE
    "We're not that interested in poverty in the United States," Albelda said. "With single mother poverty, you can be interested but you have to be willing to address the other problems. It would take a real change in the way we think about child care, collective responsibility, quality early education and after-school care."

    But Robert Rector, a researcher with the Heritage Foundation, said safety net programs have done nothing more than sustain child poverty, which is, in essence, single mother poverty. He said the solution is marriage.

    "The welfare state has been about picking up the pieces from non-marital births, and it's not working," Rector said. "The reality is that you can't create a substitute father." BLOCK QUOTE

    Of course the Heritage Foundation says that marriage is the solution for all her problems.....

  •  This is a great diary, thanks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nothing like a dose of reality in the morning.

    Texas is part of a long-term trend, widespread in all the states, that of each recession wiping out more public-sector and blue-collar employment, and each "recovery" adding more minimum-wage jobs. It's been happening for a while.

    Don't think it isn't directly serving somebody's interest.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 07:36:21 AM PDT

  •  Encourage marriage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    In the wake of the recession, 41 percent of households headed by single women with children live in poverty - nearly triple the national poverty rate, according to 2010 census data.

    And while the economy in Texas has recovered more quickly than in the rest of the country, the state's single mother poverty rate is just as high at 42 percent. (Emphasis added.)

    Seems like the best action would be to encourage marriage instead of putting the glass back together.

    I know quoting this won't be popular but...

    In recent testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution noted that individuals who follow three rules -- complete at least high school, work full time and wait until age 21 and get married before having a baby -- have a 2 percent chance of winding up in poverty and a 72 percent chance of being in the middle class.
    I suspect Tameka is African American where poverty is rife.
    In 2008, according to a Pew Research Center report, 32 percent of black adults were married, compared to 61 percent in 1960.
  •  You live in Tex-ass (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    Run, run for your life, for your future, for your children's future. Tex-ass is an oil soaked redneck shit hole. move to a blue state, any blue state for your chance to live the American dream. red state dream= no minimum wage, no social safety net, no clean water or clean air enforcement, cops that shoot colored people routinely and get promoted for it, Tex-ass the dirtiest filthiest state in America.

  •  become an invention (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Texas is on track to become an invention of Ayn Rand "paradise" and undoubtedly a model that Romney / Ryan would like to apply to the rest of the nation.

  •  Religion? (0+ / 0-)

    Aren't many Texans devout Catholics or evangelical Protestants?

    They should be Democrats then.  There's no way that anyone could possibly perceive that Democrats are hostile to religion.  None at all.

    And the Republicans have nominated an Apostate who worships the wrong Jesus.

  •  Back when Mitt was just an Empty Suit (0+ / 0-)

    And not a Crooked Empty Suit; I rode around on Dallas light rail cars.

    They were here for the 2002 Winter Olympics.  They were nice than our own!

    I am pretty sure that the loan and/or rental agreement for the light rail cars was in place long before Mitt showed up.  

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