Denial

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 1.16.46 PMI recently watched a Fox News video, a segment called FOX Faceoff featuring the host Matt Patrick and guest Quanell X. The topic was the removal of a confederate statues in New Orleans.

Quanell X is a Black activist who said he applauded the city for removing the statue, while Patrick, a white man, wasn’t a fan.

This video made me think about a bigger problem we have, when people deny that racism still exists while they also deny the intensity of our racist past. If people don’t see there is a problem, nothing will ever progress.

In the video, Quanell explains how some former presidents were slave owners and they would rape the slave women, while Patrick  dismissed that as if it wasn’t true. This denial leads to further racism in the country.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 1.16.05 PMThe scary thing is that the racism isn’t blatant anymore; it’s systematic, and institutionalized so that most people don’t even see it.

The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem and we will never solve the problem until America admits it has a problem. This goes deeper than just saying it. Americans must address the past realistically. Do not sugar-coat anything.

Quanell said, “In school, we never taught true history, we were taught the conqueror’s HIS-story.” We were taught what they want us to know and believe, and until true history is taught and the country admits its faults, change will not come.

By Donald Scott

Universal basic income is a terrible idea

Screenshot 2017-04-27 21.49.54The Economic Security Project, a group of technologists, investors and activists, are spending $10 million to test whether a universal basic income would work in the United States.

Everyone loves free stuff, especially free money. That’s the premise of a universal basic income. You can read more about the concept of a universal basic income (UBI) here, but the idea is that citizens receive an unconditional cash payment on an individual basis. Basically, everyone gets just enough money to make it by. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea at the surface level, does it? People will be lifted out of poverty. There will be no more homelessness. We will live in a wonderful place where no one goes hungry, cold, or exists without a home.

Except that’s not actually what would happen. There are several problems that will arise if a UBI is implemented.

First problem: where would the money come from? With 250 million people over the age of 18 in this country, the government would have to somehow come up with $250 trillion to fund a universal basic income if each adult gets $1,000 a month. And that’s only funds for one month. Oh, and don’t forget everything else that the government has to pay for, like national defense, foreign relations, and the like. In 2016, the total revenues in the United States were just under $3 trillion. So, to fund a UBI and literally nothing else, we’d have to increase our budget by roughly 100 percent.

Second problem: Even if we somehow come up with the money to fund it, a universal basic income doesn’t create incentives to work. At the bottom of the ladder where people make minimum wage for jobs that they hate, it would be hard to convince them to clock in and work hard when they’ll get money anyway. And this goes back to the first problem: How are we going to fund this damn thing?

Third problem: it’s morally wrong. If a UBI is funded, the money will come from taxpayers. That means the government will take money earned by hardworking people who make over the UBI and give it to those who don’t make enough money, or in other cases, any money at all. Taking money from someone without their consent and giving it to someone else is stealing, whether it’s a thief on the street or our own government.

You might say that the government does that now with taxes, but money that goes toward public services is different. Tax dollars that go toward things like fire or police departments, public transportation and roadways provide people with things they need. Protection from criminals, buses, trains and roads to get people around are necessary to have a functioning society. If the government can raise enough money to fund this program from willing participants, then that’s great, fund a UBI, but what are the chances of that happening?

Screenshot 2017-04-27 21.50.09It sounds great on the surface. Give enough money to people so they can survive and thrive. Stop people from having to work dead-end jobs that they hate just to pay the bills and put food on the table. I want to end poverty in this country just as much as everyone else, but a UBI in America just isn’t feasible. Humans have had to work hard to survive for our entire existence on this planet, and for the foreseeable future, I don’t see that changing. We all must do things that we don’t like to survive, and today, that means staying at that dead-end job that you might not like, at least until you can find something better.

By Lindsey Allen

Poverty is a complex situation that needs your involvement

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 1.06.20 PMPart of the American Dream is working hard to succeed — many of us hope to own a home in the suburbs with a white picket fence, steady job and healthy family.

It is easy to get caught up in the notion that those who are poor do not aspire for this American Dream — or at the very least, that they do not want to work for it.

However, that is not always the case, as many other complex issues lie at the heart of poverty:

High fines and targeted ticketing

Third parties with ticketing agencies take advantage of impoverished areas, making large profits from people who cannot afford to pay continuing fines.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 1.07.17 PMProfiling leading to generational prison cycles

Families get stuck in the father-son prison cycle, and become distrustful of authority.

Lobbying quiets those with small pockets

Policies that may be in the interest of poverty-stricken neighborhoods could be overshadowed by companies who can pay large amounts of money to lobby for certain bills to be passed.

Impoverished communities become everyone else’s dumping grounds

Environmental waste, chemical waste, pollutants- these lead low-income communities to get plagued with diseases and health concerns.

Education is important, but…

How can you compete if your education and resources are inadequate?

Healthy food is lacking

Many live in “food deserts,” without any healthy food, grocery stores or bulk options within walking/bus distance. Not only does this lead into unhealthy eating, but also means that in the long run the poor are paying more for their food.

It’s easy for those who are poor to become forgotten: if we can’t see them, they do not exist.

However, like it or not, they do exist, and becoming poor is an easy reality. From a 2006-2013 study, 88% of manufacturing jobs were taken by automation (robots). It is not just the manufacturing industry, but the transportation, paper work/research, medical and artistic and other jobs that will likely be replaced by more efficient technology.

Without a job, it is easy to become one of the 43.1 million Americans (2015) living in poverty.

Most of the time, we do not know what to do with the countless men, women and children who are poor, homeless, jobless or disabled.

We hope that the government or charitable groups will step in to alleviate the symptoms of poverty with programs and policies.

While many organizations exist to help end poverty, educate yourself, and use your voice to contact policy makers and spread the word. While it is important to address symptoms of poverty, we as a society need to try and stop it at its core.

By Lyndsi Petitti

 

On poverty…

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 12.32.54 PMAs the semester pulls to a close, I realize there is so much left to figure out about poverty in America. We’ve talked about different elements, from pay inequality to housing to food options. So many of the issues are solvable, but it’s hard to find a common solution to all of them.

At the beginning of class this week, our professor asked us if we thought that Universal Basic Income (UBI) would work. We all responded with the usual questions of how would it work, wouldn’t people want to stop working?

To answer how, we looked at different articles. This article, written by an economist and an economy professor, discusses exactly how we could make this work. The article discusses exactly where the money for a $1000 UBI could come from. They talk about cutting welfare programs, taking away tax returns, and adding a slight increase to taxes on goods and service.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 12.30.07 PMThe second question’s answer comes from a TED talk by Rutger Bregman (pictured to the right), a celebrated journalist, historian, philosopher, and economist. Bregman answers the question simply by asking the audience, “If I were to give you $1000 a month, would you stop working? 99 percent of you will say of course not. But if I said that I was going to give $1000 a month to other people, 99 percent of you would worry about them not working anymore.”

This eliminates the entire argument. If the majority of people who receive the UBI still work, then what becomes the problem from then on?

This isn’t something that is just a passing thought, or a passing theory. As reported by The Guardian, Ontario, Canada has decided to implement a UBI for the summer, just to see how it works. It will be a study with about 4000 people who are all low income or in precarious job situations. It’ll be interesting to see how this experiment turns out and if other countries follow the experiment.

By Kate Sahagian

Obesity=poverty?

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 12.21.31 PMSometimes we take for granted the basics in life, such as food. I find myself doing that a lot. I’m an athlete and I’m training for a goal in which nutrition plays a key part.

Some days I go to bed contemplating how I could have eaten so much food. I feel disgusted with myself for not being able to ration and stick to my macro count or I wonder how could I let myself eat that one cookie full of sugar.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 12.22.42 PMSome people go to bed at night starving, or having eaten only fast food and junk. Most people have seen the documentary, Supersize Me, and if you haven’t please take a look at what a daily diet of fast food does to a person’s body. Taking food for granted is an easy mistake, not only in relation to malnutrition around the world, but in our own neighborhoods.

Obesity  is prevalent among the less educated and in neighborhoods with high poverty rates. More than 1/3 of adults who make less than $15,000 a year are obese. In the case of people in the U.S., the most obese people are usually the must under-nourished and nutritionally deficient. If you’re a low-income household, you may look at McDonald’s dollar menu and think you can get more food for your money. However, these foods lack essential nutrient-dense vitamins and minerals that whole foods have.

Even if you have food stamps or choose to spend money in a grocery store, many impoverished families have to budget and plan their spending wisely. That means purchasing and eating foods such as sugars, cereals, and highly processed foods which last longer and are less expensive than fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Another reason families in low-resource neighborhoods go for cheap, processed food is that is their only alternative. Disadvantaged neighborhoods usually lack healthy food options. There are scarce supermarkets, compared to the fast food chains and smaller stores that provide cheap food.

This leads back to education, which is sometimes lacking in lower-income neighborhoods.

If your closest supermarket is miles away, many families are unable to find effective or cheap routes to get there. It’s not practical to walk miles or to pay to get to a grocery store. These ares are food deserts, or areas where 1/5 of the residents are living in poverty and 1/3 live more than a mile from a super market.

In the U.S., extra health care for one obese household member costs a family an average of 8 percent of their income. So not only are households unable to afford adequate food, but they are now having to pay for the consequences.

By Nikki Iannace

Tiny homes may be a solution

Screenshot 2017-04-27 07.18.26Tiny houses are a big trend, but are people really packing (and condensing) their stuff and moving into their new, small abode?

For some people, a tiny home can be a chance to start anew, travel the country, and pay less for bills and more for experiences. According to Zillow, the median cost for a home is around $196,500. At Tumbleweed Houses, a 20×26 tiny home starts at $62,950, not including add-ons like a larger fridge or more shelving. These houses can sleep four to six people, depending on the size and plan of the tiny home. Is this considered the bargain on the lot? Think again.

I also looked at how much trailer homes cost in Wallingford and the prices waiver. What is surprising is that the trailer homes have far more space than the tiny homes. For more room for stuff, getting a trailer or mobile home would be the best fit. For easier mobility and aesthetics, the tiny home would suffice.

Screenshot 2017-04-27 07.18.58Another trending form of tiny homes are “Granny Pods,” or, MEDCottages, a big room/small space in the backyard of an elderly person’s relative. These rooms are 12×24, the average size of a master bedroom. There is more room for activities and storage, while some elements of an average house are not present. Granny Pods don’t include any stovetops or ovens and everything is on one floor. These homes range from $85,000 to $125,000. With the elderly population increasing, I do expect to see a few of these popping up in neighbor’s yards. However, families may prefer nursing homes, because constructing a $100,000 structure in the yard may not be practical for them.

On a lighter note, the stigma for mobile homes/trailers seem to be waning. When people think of trailers, they think of the stigma that the housing is for poor or old people. With younger people trying to find homes, starting off in a trailer might not be that bad if you find the right community to park in.

By Leah Myers

 

 

Eat poorly, or not at all?

Screenshot 2017-04-20 19.52.54.pngAs an adult, when I don’t eat I get a little grumpy. And if I eat something that doesn’t have much nutritional value, I may not pay attention to how it affects my body, attitude, and behavior. Usually, it’s nothing major.

With children it’s different.

About 40 percent of children go to school without having breakfast. The saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” stands true, at least in my book. Children who eat breakfast before their day starts at school are more inclined to perform better than children who don’t. A healthy breakfast guarantees improved attention and better concentration. Just think about the children who aren’t eating breakfast before school.

Screenshot 2017-04-20 19.56.06Academic performance isn’t the only influence food intake has on children. Behavior can also be affected. There are certain foods that aid in mood and behavioral changes within a child. Artificial coloring, dairy, sugar, and preservatives all have a negative impact on a child’s mood and behavior. These ingredients can be found in foods that are more affordable and are often found in poverty stricken areas. It is harder to eat healthy when you don’t have the funds to purchase a better choice.

So, we have a dilemma. Do you send your kids to school without eating breakfast affecting their academic performance, or do you give them something to have on their stomachs that lack nutritional threatening their mood and behavior?

By Kendra Key