Monday, February 22, 2010

cb: Life with Food Stamps

Sharon writes about "Life with Food Stamps as your only income," on Casaubon's Book.

Sharon shares part of a story of Eva, struggling in Harford, Conn. The comments vastly exceed the story in trite and thoughtful responses. One issue that came up was fat-cat bailouts, vs. social support programs.

I don't see fat-cat bailouts as solving problems. A business either succeeds, or someone else should have a chance. But we *have* to have the wealthy, the successful, and those that have proven by their own efforts that their investments result in assets being produced and jobs created and preserved.

Right now, the US seems embedded in a belief in "being your own rich man". Own or rent your own home, have all your luxuries from private bath to private kitchen and laundry, from private car to private entertainment - or you aren't keeping up with the Joneses. Conspicuous consumption is the real failing that Eva suffers. And trying to compete with her community in conspicuous consumption isn't finding her a way out of her dilemma.

In 1974 the US Navy was putting up an experimental barracks design, at Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago. Four shared bedrooms shared a common area and kitchen area. I don't see Hartford or other communities looking to reduce the cost of housing for people by creating variations on shared facilities, on the old time boarding house, etc. And I don't see that happening any time soon. Subsidies for housing and living, today, reward the "single family dwelling" myth investors - landlords and builders. People are reluctant to consider multi-generational or extended family dwellings.

Changing building codes, to enable and support multi-family dwellings, would be an important start.

Maybe certify neighborhood educators, to enable teaching neighbors for their GED, outside the formal economy. Learning doesn't take place in schools because the school has a license; learning takes place because a teacher and student come together.

Eva wants nothing to do with her daugther's father. The community began failing Eva, when children are raised in the community, that aren't suitable to be parents and mates. Every unsuitable adult is a weakness and threat to the community.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with the analysis. But let's stop expecting change to come from above. It won't. The change will come when the governments get too cracked, too gutted, too weak to interfere with people's efforts to do what needs to be done. (As long as they have the power to enforce stupid laws, they will. And with the Great Unraveling, hasn't the outpouring of stupid been of truly molochian proportions?)