Captain Kirk and Lemon Squeezy

I’ve been working on my song-writing career, trying to get it to take off.  Tell me what you think about this:

“They raise the babes and Captain Kirk

to take it lemon squeezy

Until it comes time to pay the Duke

Pop! Goes the weasel!”

This verse is a continuation of the original “Pop goes the Weasel,” and this new verse will be on the soon-to-be-released Nursery Rhymes 2.0.*

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3 things the U.S. doesn’t include in poverty measurement

One of the showstoppers from the 1996 musical Rent deliberates ways to count a year in the life. In minutes? (525,600, for those who don’t know the song.) Handshakes? Cups of coffee?

That song was in my head as I was thinking about the way that the United States measures  poverty and how much it shapes our understanding of it.  The U.S. measures poverty in one straightforward simple way: income. This refers to a family’s income before taxes, but not non-cash benefits like food stamps. There are three things that the U.S. doesn’t include when measuring poverty, but are included in other country’s measures:

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Robbery at ball-point

Banks and other traditional financial institutions are regulated in such a way so as not to charge usurious fees and strap customers with predatory loan terms. Banks are in business to make money, and sometimes this happens at the expense of the consumer (which then eventually threatens the whole system). So there are regulations in place.

Okay.

Payday lenders, on the other hand, aren’t so mainstream. They’re fringe banks and so they aren’t regulated in the same way. By the same logic, a bank isn’t a payday lender, and they don’t have anything to do with payday loans.

Okay.

Banks do something extra, however.

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Perspective

Talk about first world problems.

Image

I write about structural forces that reinforce poverty in the US, part of this includes American economic inequality. I just read this article from the Mail Online that presents in picture that economic disparity across the globe, never mind in the US.

The top one per cent comprises anyone with an income over $34,000 after tax

(Incidentally, many social workers don’t fit into that category, just FYI. 🙂

This ties in to something I’ve been mulling over and will write on soon, relating to the way that poverty is measured.

Until then, this is a nice dose of perspective.

Did you know this about SSI? Follow-up

So after I posted this, I linked it up with some other social sites, kept talking about it with folks around me, and got some more insight.

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