Barbara Ehrenreich 3-pack
The rise in New York's poverty rate as a result of the ongoing recession has pushed nearly half of the city's population into the ranks of the poor or near-poor. Ironically, the nation's largest city is run by a multi-billionaire. Almost on the same day, another report came out saying “Hedge Fund Titans Get Lavish Paydays Stretching to Ten Figures.” People are immiserated and dumped into the streets because of decisions made downtown in the suites. Do we lend a helping hand to the poor? Barely. Let them eat op-eds about values and the virtues of hard work. There's billions to fund the latest F-whatever fighter jet but scant little for people in distress. The pounding the needy are taking is particularly severe because much of the social safety net has been shredded. Can anyone say compassion and caring?
This event was presented by the Lannan Foundation.
The "reform" of welfare is an historic shift in public policy. One of the central linchpins of the New Deal has been undone. Millions, mostly women and many of them with children, have been thrown off the welfare rolls. Many have landed in dead end low wage jobs. Their quiet lives of desperation are not the grist for prime time specials. The media are largely silent. At the same time politicians trumpet welfare reform as a successful example of compassionate conservatism. Critics are not so sanguine. They call it welfare deform.
Political and economic trends point increasingly to the growth not of democracy but plutocracy, a system by and for the rich. The upper crust benefits at the expense of the many. And it's not about Democrats or Republicans. They both know and play the game. Most people are aware of what's going on. A recent CNN/USA Today poll indicates that 63% of eligible voters want an alternative to the two parties. In this witty speech, Barbara Ehrenreich presents a vision on how to change things.
Barbara Ehrenreich is a social critic, journalist, and activist. She received a PhD in cell biology from Rockefeller University. In the 1970s, she was involved with the nascent women’s health movement. After publishing an article in Ms. magazine, she became a regular columnist there and with Mother Jones. She is the author of numerous books including such bestsellers as Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, This Land is Their Land and Bright-Sided. In 2012 she founded the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a website designed to place the crisis of poverty and economic insecurity at the center of the national political conversation.