Class Warfare Blog

January 23, 2017

White Privilege on Display

Filed under: Culture,History — Steve Ruis @ 11:16 am
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Over the past long weekend I indulged in an old passion. I watched, on and off, for hours the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, AZ. Yes, I like cars. And there were about 1700 cars auctioned off this last weekend. (This is the largest of these affairs but not the sole auction sponsored by this company and there are quite a few other companies doing this.)

These cars were all over the map as to kind: race cars, classic cars, novelty cars, muscle cars, vintage cars, you name it. Some were newer, others older. Some were restored, others were “survivors.” I was astonished at the prices, but these cars are not something one needs but are something one wants. There were not many “daily drivers” changing hands this past weekend.

I looked online to see if there were any statistics associated with past auctions and … yes! A recent comparable year was 2015 in which 1617 cars were sold for a whopping 132 million dollars. (I don’t know whether that total include the auction fees, which were 10% added on top of whatever was bid.) Dividing those two numbers results in the average sale in 2015 being just under $82,000 dollars. Since I have never paid as much as $20,000 for a car, this appears to me a display of a great deal of extravagance.

I was, therefore, attracted to the people signing the paperwork for these purchases. Who were they? They were older. No surprise there. And they were men. Again, no surprise there. But they were almost exclusively all white men. The auction starts with cars estimated at lesser value, reaches a crescendo on Friday and Saturday and tapers off on Sunday. The buyers of these lesser value cars were almost universally older white men. Much silver hair on display. When the prices got up well over six figures, the buyers became younger: middle-aged, I’d say.

Now I didn’t watch all of the coverage as there were hours and hours and hours broadcast, on two different networks (Discovery and Velocity), but I saw several hundred of those cars rolled across the block. And I saw one person of color buying. One.

I can imagine what this appears like to a viewer who is Black or Hispanic as one or another nonessential bauble gets sucked up by old white guys who have six figures of room in their checkbooks this month. Some of them seemed to have even more than that as they bought several cars, so maybe they had seven figures of slack in their check books.

Even though I live from paycheck to paycheck as apparently most Americans do now, I do not begrudge the rich their money, if they came into it in a fair and equitable way. As a member of a minority which had been economically exploited over decades if not centuries, I might just want to puke at the display of ostentatious wealth.

The Constitution and American Foreign Affairs

Filed under: History,Politics,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 10:36 am
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There is almost a constant cry about what the U.S. should “do” about China, or ISIS/ISIL, or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or … or …. Quickly, what does the Constitution say about conducting “foreign affairs”? Go ahead, look, I’ll wait <waiting …>.

So, you found out it says very little. According to one source:
The Constitution., has certain explicit passages dealing with the foreign affairs power. Specifically, the President is given authority to make treaties, to which the Senate is given the authority to advise and consent (Article 11, Section 2). The President is made Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy (Article II, Section 2); but the Congress is given the authority to raise and support armies, and to provide and maintain a Navy (Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 12 and 13). The Congress alone is given the power to declare war* and—in a much overlooked provision—the Congress is given authority to define offenses against the law of nations and to set punishments for them (Article I, Section 8, Clause 10).
Source Thomas J. “An Understanding of Constitution’s Foreign Affairs Power” (here)

So, the Constitution says very little about foreign affairs. In fact, the founders wanted us to have very little interaction with other countries except in the form of trade. They saw Europe’s intermingling alliances and treaties as a source of almost continuous conflict and war. They felt that if we were “neutral” and treated with one and all the same in trade (no “special nation” scheme status for them), that we would escape the trap of “foreign entanglements.”

Mr. J. continues:
In addition to these explicit provisions, there are also certain powers that flow merely from the fact that the United States is a sovereign nation. Justice Sutherland, writing in United States v. Curtiss-Wright E2Mort Corp., 29 U.S. 304, in 1937, observed that “The investment of the federal government with the powers of external sovereignty did not depend upon the affirmative grants of the Constitution.”

Uh, oh.

In essence the “law” gives the President the power to meddle in “foreign affairs” to their heart’s content as long as he doesn’t start a war or enter into a treaty without Congressional approval. And the Congress passed the War Powers Act and then looks the other way when it is violated. Oh, and President Bush declared a War on Terror (never authorized by Congress except in that it keeps allocating funds for it) and President Obama didn’t change that “policy” with the minor fact that the battlefield is the entire globe.

And … Trump.

OMG….

January 22, 2017

Fueling the Economic Engine of the U.S. … Not

The U.S. emerged as a major economy in the later 1800’s and then grew from there. A certain source of that economic growth came from having a capable workforce. Consider the following points:

During the mid-nineteenth century, America surpassed the impressive enrollment levels achieved in Germany and took the lead in primary (grammar, elementary, or common) school education (Easterlin 1981). But by the turn of the twentieth century, various European countries had narrowed their educational gap with the United States (Lindert 2004). As the high school movement took root in America, however, the wide educational lead of the United States reappeared and was expanded considerably to mid-century.”

“In the first several decades of the twentieth century, the United States pulled far ahead of all other countries in the education of its youth. It underwent what was then and now termed the “high school movement,” a feat most other western nations would achieve some 30 to 50 years later. We address how the “second transformation” of American education occurred and what aspects of the society, economy, and political structure enabled the United States to lead the world in education for much of the twentieth century.”

“From 1910 to 1940, America underwent a spectacular educational transformation. Just 9 percent of 18-year olds had high school diplomas in 1910, but more than 50 percent did by 1940.

Quotes are from “Why the United States Led in Education: Lessons from Secondary School Expansion, 1910 to 1940” by Claudia Goldin (Harvard University and the NBER) and Lawrence F. Katz (Harvard University and the NBER)

Now, in addition, in the 1960’s in what is certainly a third transformation of American education, the U.S. expanded college attendance hugely at both four-year institutions and in a fast growing population of two-year colleges. We now find in a major report issued last week (available here) that many colleges are engines of moving students out of the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder to higher up that ladder.

Gosh, could American schools be like, you know, a major cause of economic prosperity? If so, what should we do?

According to the neo- and ordinary conservatives, we need to cut education funding. Heck, students don’t vote and all those teachers are pigs at the public trough, locked slavishly to their unions, and mostly vote Democratic, too. So what if we diminish a major driver of economic success, rich people will still be rich and as the majority of Americans get poorer, they’ll look even richer.

January 19, 2017

But When We are Wealthy …

But when we are wealthy … well, the song has the same notes but the lyrics change when countries go from poor to rich.

I have made the point in previous posts that “free trade” is a weapon used by the “haves” against the “have nots.” (Free Trade’s basic function is to prevent the have nots from competing with the haves by selling them our more cheaply made stuff so they cannot develop a capacity to make that stuff for themselves and become our competitors.) China’s President just stated that China is committed to free trade. Therefore China has left the Club of Have Nots and entered the Club of Haves.

A similar dichotomy occurs within nations between those who are now “rich” and those who are “poor.” One often hears from the plutocrat’s representatives (pretty much all elected representatives now) that we can’t solve our problems by printing money. To do that would cause rampant inflation! Plutocrats do not like inflation because they are debt holders and they do not want those debts being paid with dollars worth less than when the debts was created.

And while simply adding dollars to the nation’s balance sheet can cause inflation it doesn’t have to, consider the $16 – $29 trillion the Federal Bank “printed” in the wake of 2008 financial sector meltdown to fix the frauds of the financial sector. Have you noticed the rampant inflation caused by this? No? Neither have I because there was none.

This yuge amount of money is four to seven times what Social Security would need to remain solvent … forever (depending on whose estimates you choose to use). Or a similar amount of money could have been printed to bail out all homeowners or student with onerous loans, but if one were to suggest any Social Security insolvency to be solved this way (there is no such thing currently, of course) or an effective homeowner/student bailout this way, you will hear the plutocrat’s representatives cry loudly that “We can’t solve our problems by printing money. To do that would cause rampant inflation!”

In other words, to solve their problems, it is okay. To solve our problems it is absolutely forbidden.

Note The money isn’t actually printed as $100 bills or any other kind of currency. Here’s how it works. If the Fed gives a bank $10,000,000 and it is required to keep a 10% “reserve” by law, then most dweebs like you an me think that the bank can load $9 million of the $10 million, keeping one of the ten in reserve. No, fool, that $10 million becomes the ten percent and the bank issues $90,000,000 of loans. So, $10 million just became $100 million. Note that the bank never handles any printed money in these transactions, they just add numbers electronically to accounts. Easy peasy.

January 15, 2017

You Have to Ask “Why?”

Have you ever heard of the High School Movement? I certainly had not, so I looked it up in Wikipedia, which provided the following:

The high school movement is a term used in educational history literature to describe the era from 1910 to 1940 during which secondary schools sprouted across the United States. During this early part of the 20th century, American youth entered high schools at a rapid rate, mainly due to the building of new schools, and acquired skills “for life” rather than “for college.” In 1910 19% of 15- to 18-year-olds were enrolled in a high school; barely 9% of all American 18-year-olds graduated. By 1940, 73% of American youths were enrolled in high school and the median American youth had a high school diploma. The movement began in New England but quickly spread to the western states. According to Claudia Goldin, the states that led in the U.S. high school movement (e.g. Iowa and Nebraska) had a cohesive, homogeneous population and were more affluent, with a broad middle-class group.

“The United States exceeded Europe in mass secondary education. The American system of education was characterized as open to many (mostly white) students, forgiving, lacking universal standards, and academic. On the other hand, the European system was closed, unforgiving, with uniform standards, and academic for some and industrial for others. Secondary schools in America were free and generally accessible, while in most of Europe they were costly and often inaccessible with difficult entrance exams. In the United States, schools were provided by small, local districts. Because decentralized decision making system rose competition among districts for residents in the United States, the U.S. moved quickly in building schools initially. In contrast, schools were provided by the central government as a national decision in Europe. Further, high school was designed to be the terminal degree rather than a pre-college diploma of office or skilled blue-collar workers in the United States. By 1955 80% of United States youth had graduated from an academic high school. In this setting general skills and social mobility were emphasized, not specific training or apprenticeships. Even by the 1930s, America was virtually alone in providing secondary schools that were free and accessible; however, this accessibility was limited to white students. While in Europe the rate of those graduating from academic high schools was only 10%-20%. Most Europeans, 40%-50%, attended full-or part-time vocational training.

“From the viewpoint of economics, this movement led to the increase of women’s labor force from 1930 to 1950 in the United States. Knowledge and skills women gained in high school helped them attain better jobs outside the home.

I didn’t know this. I did know that the transition the country was in from a farming-based economy to one less involved in farming made a great many farmers job’s superfluous. In the late 19th century, 40% of all jobs were in farming; now it is closer to 2-3%. As labor required more expertise to be effective, it became smart to keep kids in school longer. It also kept the kids out of the job market for non-farm related jobs.

So, greater prosperity for all and greater opportunities for women. Wow! But, wait, there’s more!

In the early 1960’s a combination of events lead to a similar expansion, this time in U.S. citizens going to college. In the mid-1800’s there was a tremendous growth in the number of four-year colleges, mostly in the western states. But, still, the number of colleges was relatively small. Also, the entrenched eastern colleges had different ideas regarding the purpose of a college education from the newer western colleges. The western colleges were more pragmatic, teaching subjects like engineering and mining and animal husbandry. The eastern colleges were more traditional, emphasizing philosophy, the arts, as well as the law and medicine. We have remnants of those disputes still today: in many eastern colleges the BA degree is considered superior to the “more pragmatic” BS degree. In the west, it is the reverse.

As few people went to high school as there were in the early 1900’s, the demand for students to take slots in U.S. colleges and universities was still being met. But in the early 1960’s there was a huge explosion in the number of community colleges. These were colleges which only addressed subjects that were addressed in the first two years of a tradition four-year program, hence their label as “two-year colleges.” At one point in California in the early 1960’s, a new community college was opening about one per week. Even though many derided these colleges as “high schools with ash trays” and pointed to programs in cosmetology and welding as being inappropriate topics for colleges, this expansion lead to a number of things: for one it lead to a great many students being able to afford a college education (I was one of those) and it allowed a great many more to attend college due to having one in close proximity. The State of California credits the expansion of the college-educated workforce for a great deal of the expansion of its economy, especial in areas like aerospace, electronics, and high tech (Silicon Valley, etc.).

As a community college professor (later), I remember entertaining delegations of Chinese educators coming to this country to see our colleges and universities and especially they wanted to see our two-year colleges. Nowhere else in the world was attendance in college being offered to so many citizens as was being done in the U.S.

So, since the expansion of education to a greater and greater share of the U.S. population has lead to unprecedented prosperity and well-being, you have to ask why are our public schools currently under attack? “Entrepreneurs” have high jacked the voucher school and charter school movements expanding those offerings substantially by siphoning off funds from public schools to do so. Of course, there was a disinformation campaign involved (a major weapon in the plutocrats arsenal). Our public schools were described as failing, not up to international standards, etc. “Evidence” was cherry-picked to support these false claims. And people have offered almost no resistance to these efforts resulting in the dismantling of our system of public schools and colleges. Why is this being done?

Oh, greed. Well, that explains it. There is money to be made in opening these “schools.” So much money that new stories of mismanagement and malfeasance at charter schools are now a daily occurrence. These schools, being offered as a promise to do better than the “failing public schools” are, of course, not doing better, most are about the same but many are far, far worse and many only do as well as they do by excluding “difficult” students: those “of color” and/or disabled.

This is another example of the Killing the Goose that Laid Golden Eggs Syndrome. You know how the parable goes: a goose is discovered that lays golden eggs. After extensive discussions, the owner of the goose is induced to kill the goose and harvest all of the eggs inside of it. (This is a terrifically stupid story in that anyone ever having lived on a farm knows that fowl take a day or more to create one egg; they aren’t egg dispensers having many eggs inside and just dispensing one a day.) Of course, killing the goose reveals no more eggs and now that the goose is dead, there will be no more eggs.

The Great American Economy was built not on capital and entrepreneurship, but on educating American workers so they became the most productive workers in the entire world. We are now in the process of destroying that educational base. I remember when “public education reform” was something done to make education better, not just more profitable for the rich.

Let me requote the above “The American system of education was characterized as open to many (mostly white) students, forgiving, lacking universal standards, and academic. On the other hand, the European system was closed, unforgiving, with uniform standards, and academic for some and industrial for others.” Why are we trying to take the system that worked so well and transforming it into the one we superseded?

Oh, greed, I forgot for a second.

And, you will notice that we denied this opportunity to people of color, to whole we offered only substandard educations. Why are we continuing this practice, a practice that has worked so poorly and not offered them what worked for white people?

Not with a bang, but with a whimper. Is this how you want to go out?

Trump Trumped?

Filed under: Politics,The News — Steve Ruis @ 8:17 am
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The NY Times has joined a chorus of writers on a singular topic: should the recent accusations associated with Russian claims to have a “hold” on Mr. Trump have been released to the public (“Was BuzzFeed Right to Publish Accusations Against Donald Trump?,” 1-11-2017).

I find this puzzling. Mr. Trump was elected because the news media provided many millions of dollars of free television coverage precisely because Mr. Trump made outrageous, unverified, untruthful claims about his opponents and the state of the nation.

So, when were they supposed to stop? And why?

 

January 12, 2017

Repeal and Delay Becomes “Delay, Delay, Delay”

Our President-elect just threw a monkey wrench in any plans the GOP had for taking any kind of action on Obamacare any time soon. According to The Nation magazine “Asked about Obamacare, Trump largely reiterated comments made to The New York Times, that any overhaul of the system must both repeal the bulk of the Affordable Care Act and replace it ‘essentially simultaneously.’ In addition, Trump said that he would introduce his own plan as soon as Representative Tom Price, the nominee for secretary of Health And Human Services, is confirmed.”

The GOP has had seven years to cobble together their replacement for the “Affordable Care Act.” When Obamacare was crafted, there were two viable paths to be taken: 1) “single payer,” aka “Medicare for All,” and 2) some version of Romneycare, aka Massachusetts’ health care plan, scaled up. Mr. Obama tanked the single player possibility (which was not, not “dead on arrival” as many have claimed) and opted for the plan that gave us the ACA.gop-head-in-sand

My basic point is that these are the only two reasonably possible options, neither of which meets the GOP’s approval, so I will second Paul Krugman’s assessment “There will be no GOP alternative health care plan.” This is so simply because there is none the GOP approves of.

If the GOP simply follows their spleens, and guts Obamacare, millions will be negatively affected and many will die prematurely, all at the behest of the GOP. This is not exactly a recipe for a second term for the coming President Trump, which may be why he decided to nip it in the bud. Mr. Trump has the enviable position of being able to blame any failure on Congress which makes it puzzling why he would promise to “introduce his own plan as soon as Representative Tom Price, the nominee for secretary of Health And Human Services, is confirmed.”

Oh, I forgot. Mr. Trump is comfortable saying “I didn’t say that” and making up something entirely different that he said, even when their are perfectly good recordings showing he said what he said.

The only way out for the GOP now is to delay, delay, delay, and hope that it all goes away. (Hey, how is that for a slogan: Delay, delay, delay, until it goes away? Chant after me … ♫♫! Maybe they could ask Tom Delay back to act as their spokesperson for the effort.)

At least we will be warm as American Democracy burns down.

Having a Reason to Live, But Wait There’s More!

Filed under: Philosophy,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 12:26 pm
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In my last post (Having a Reason to Live, January 12, 2017) I focused on what having a “meaning” for one’s life means. But one sentence in the letter to the editor of that Canadian newspaper from a theist subscriber has continued to have reverberations in my mind. It was the claim that if the letter writer were to subscribe to a secular worldview he would conclude that “I exist on a tiny planet in a minor solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe.”

Let me ask a rhetorical question at this point (of you): what do you think would happen to us if all of the other galaxies (200-300 billion by count at this point) were to disappear in an instant? Poof, they are gone and what happens next … to us?

Got an answer? I do.

Basically noting that happens in those other galaxies affects what happens here on Earth. Life would go on quite as it has.

So, why was all of “that” necessary to be created? Why create 200-300 billion galaxies when only one was needed to support life on Earth? It certainly wasn’t to create the conditions to support life here on Earth. In fact, other than the solar system, we could do without the rest of our own galaxy about as well as we are doing with it in existence. Those other 100 billion stars and their planets? Poof, they are gone. Well, that would cause some effect. Other than the Moon and the other planets, the night sky would be black which would be kind of boring, but unless you believe in astrology, those other stars in the sky have no effect on us here, so we can live without them. (Actually the Bible tells us this!)

This Hubble Telescope image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001.

This Hubble Telescope image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001 plus a lot of meaningless extra stuff.

So, whether or not you live in a created world, the rest of most of the universe is meaningless: meaningless for theists; meaningless for secularists.

Unless . . .

. . . unless, there are “people” on those other planets circling those other stars, in our galaxy and all of the other galaxies, and those people are creating meaning for their own lives. Then … then, the rest of our universe has meaning … just not for us.

 

 

Having a Reason to Live

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:57 am
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It is illuminating to hear from theists what they think “the meaning of life” is. A letter to an editor of a Canadian newspaper from a theist subscriber gives a typical glimpse:
The secular view, which leaves God out of the process, reveals that I am the descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm—the arbitrary product of time, chance and natural forces. … I exist on a tiny planet in a minor solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe. I have no intrinsic value beyond my body, and at death I will cease to exist.

“Therefore, I conclude that I came from essentially nothing and I am going nowhere. But, if I am only a dash between the womb and the tomb and I don’t know why, then I must ask if there is any real purpose for my life either now or in the future?

“In contrast, the Christian story offers me tremendous hope. I discover that I am not the result of some cosmic accident but the special creation of a good and all powerful God — His crown of creation. I am created in His image, with capacities to think, love, worship and make moral choices that set me above all other life forms.

“My creator loves me and gave His son to pay the supreme sacrifice for my salvation. I am completely unworthy and undeserving of such love. My salvation is entirely by grace through faith and not of myself.

“Best of all, the fact that Christ died for each one of us and wants to live within us by His spirit in a meaningful relationship makes us incredibly valuable. And when we are willing to accept His gift of salvation, through repentance and faith, we can become children of God and spend eternity with Him.

Okay, so setting aside whether or not this theist’s soul preexisted his life here on Earth, presumably his existence will be spent 99.9% of his time in Heaven where he will … “spend eternity with Him.” Uh, doing what? In order for this person’s life to have meaning it has to be in some sort of context, no? Certainly it cannot have anything to do with “helping other people” as all of the other people in Heaven don’t need help and the people in Hell, well they need help, but … what that’s not allowed?

Apparently the definition of “meaning” being employed here is “something meant or intended.” What is meant here as a “meaning for this person’s life” is that he was created for a purpose and that purpose is to spend the vast bulk of his existence in the presence of his god. Hmm, if I were there, in his god’s presence, I would expect some sort of euphoria, an understanding of all things and why they are the way they are, but then what? Do I just exist with a god buzz for millennia? What good am I at that point? I am not even an example to others because they have no idea as to which “place” I ended up in.

Am I a marker in God’s game? Do He and Satan have a big scoreboard up showing how many souls they have collected? What was God’s purpose in going through this whole thing, and putting us through this whole thing; was it just to have one more “presence” in Heaven? What is life on Earth if it constitutes just a tiny, tiny slice of time in a soul’s existence but determines where the 99.9+% of eternity each of us will spend, either in Heaven or a Lake of Fire? Since wisdom seems to come with age, why are our lives cut off after a measly 100 years or so? What not give us two or three hundred years to figure it out?

“One does not have to be a member of a church to donate time at a food bank
(or even a church, which I have done) or to do other charitable works.”

I am impressed with this theist and the many others who have backed a scheme they know so little about. They make Pascal seem a piker with his puny wager. They have gone all in.

What I find appalling however is the lack of appreciation for the opportunities of life, life on Earth. Unlike rocks, we can do things. Where do the attitudes that generate sentences like “I have no intrinsic value beyond my body, and at death I will cease to exist.” and “I must ask if there is any real purpose for my life.” and “My salvation is entirely by grace through faith and not of myself.” come from? Possibly from theists painting the most dismal picture of secular lives as they possibly can. On the other hand, as a real secularist, unlike the one’s existing in this writer’s imagination, I am grateful for my life. I don’t particularly attribute my life to my parents because I don’t really think they knew what they were getting into. They were responding to the rhythms of life: to live, to cherish, to propagate, etc. I am grateful to my parents for all of the loving care they lavished on me growing up and later in life. I am grateful that I was provided a good education (at least the opportunity for one) and a great deal more. I am grateful to have opportunities to help people, which I do in small ways all over the world. I feel that if my life is to have meaning, then I have to get cracking and make that meaning. If one’s life has a great deal of meaning, then a goodly number of people will remember you positively, so there is a measure of whether or not a good life was lived. People will also tell you whether or not you have helped them, which is very nice direct feedback. Facebook “Likes” and other phony connections do not count and, of course, being remembered for bad actions is not a good thing at all.

One does not have to be a member of a church to donate time at a food bank (or even a church, which I have done) or to do other charitable works. Secularists are not trying to get good grades to get into Heaven, and neither are theists, certainly not the ones who say things like “My salvation is entirely by grace through faith and not of myself.” If salvation comes only by the grace of God, where does the urge to help others come from? Why are theists not participating in an “I am in this for myself” contest with Heaven as the prize? (Maybe they are.) If God really wanted us to be good to one another, why did He not make it clear that we are to do “good works” as a qualification for graduation? Why is the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? Why is it not simply “Do good for others, no matter what they do to you”? Now that would be clear, instead of telling us to “turn the other cheek” inviting further abuse, why not do some good for the person who struck you?

January 7, 2017

A Thought About the Universal Basic Income, Feminism, and “Family Values”

I just had a massive collision in my mind while reading about the possibilities of having a Universal Basic Income. It was caused by three things colliding simultaneously (a very rare feat, even in physics): the idea of a universal basic income, the feminist idea of a wage for “homemakers,” and a smattering of conservative family values.

As you may recall, conservatives have this ideal family meme that appears to be out of the 1950’s. Mom and Dad live with their two children, a boy and girl, in a lovely home with green grass and a white picket fence defining its perimeter. Dad goes to work, Mom stays at home, raising the kids and caring for the home and Dad. They go, of course, to a protestant church and the kids attend good schools and all is well.

This ideal had a massive dent put in it during the reign of … wait for it … President Ronald Regan. It wasn’t exactly his fault, but Presidents get more of the credit and so get more of the blame, so that principle applies. The lifestyle of middle class Americans had become so eroded and RR had increased taxes enough on everyone (to pay for the tax cuts for the rich)—many people forget about Reagan’s massive tax increases, especially in payroll taxes (which do not affect the wealthy much)—that many “homemakers” found themselves in the workforce and no longer “at home moms.”

Feminists, on the other hand, showed us that women were trapped in this model family, in a role of caretaker for husband and children, with little power over their own lives and family directions. (Studies showed that as women earned more and more money starting in the Reagan years, they had more and more say over the family money.)

So, if conservatives really wanted to support their so-called “family values” (that is, were that support not a scam), why not give all women who have “under 18” children at home, a Universal Basic Income? This would recognize important work the government, that is all of the people, want done well—raising the next generation of citizens. It would clear a lot of people out of the job markets who really would rather not work (at least during this time), which would expand employment opportunities for other people. It would provide for the possibility of the better raising of kids, and it would reduce the wear and tear on mothers, eliminating their need to work, while allowing them to work if they wish but not requiring them to work, if they wish.

This would be “universal” only in that it would apply to all mothers.

And, yes, I can hear the conservative’s heads exploding that such a system would incentivize the lazy and shiftless to keep popping out babies in order to continue on the dole. Obviously, some standards of care for children need to be applied to avoid obvious abuse, but such situations would be rare, very rare, and the idea itself is colored by the imaginations of conservatives, because when they think of such hypothetical people, they are invariably black or brown. They will need to get over this and come up with useful ways to avoid having children abused for economic gain, something conservatives reserve for their charter schools.

Make it work, people! You can do it!

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