I received an interesting email a couple weeks ago on a topic I’m not that familiar with but follow a bit — crowdfunding of green projects and start-ups. As the writer pointed out, “the market for sustainable and locally sourced products and startups is continuing to grow, but at the same time, our current economy is making it harder than ever to raise the capitol necessary to get off the ground.”
The British Guardian has just published a fascinating interactive map which plots out where violence has taken place in the last week, in relation to the regions in England where poverty and unemployment are the most severe. Data journalist Matt Stiles took the newspaper’s data on economic poverty, and all the information available about the recent riot incidents, and overlaid the two together. The darker red colors represent poorer neighborhoods, while the blue areas highlight the richer regions. A correlation does not equal a causation, but this data map is definitely a wake up call.
More people in the United States are using food stamps now than ever before in the history of our nation — 41.8 million Americans are currently getting food aid. The Department of Agriculture just released updated national participation numbers for food assistance programs, which show that the amount of food stamp recipients has jumped 18% from last year, and has increased 1.4% just since June. Although this ignoble new record is not really so very surprising; our nation’s dire economic situation has caused the number of families in need of food assistance to set new records for each of the last 20 months straight.
The distribution of wealth and resources in this nation is more extreme and inequitable than it has ever been in our country’s recorded history. In this current economic Depression the richest 5% of our populace now owns and controls 2/3 of everything. The wealth gap is so severe that it has helped to create the violently volatile and unstable economy that we currently enjoy. The Pew Research Center has just released some mind boggling income survey research which shows just how gargantuan the disparity of resources has now grown.
“You want this government to get out of debt? Then you get out of debt personally. Stop the spending! Stop the borrowing! Stop over-consumption — buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have, that’s robbing you and your family of a future. It’s robbing this country out of jobs.
So I’m going to ask every American right now, get out your credit cards, cut them up, free yourselves — free yourselves! Don’t count on this Congress to help you. This Congress already voted to end Medicare. They’re flirting with disaster on this debt right now.”
Stop blaming yourself if you feel exhausted and overworked, because you are. If it seems like for years you have been laboring more hours and making less money, struggling more just to get by, it is indeed true. Even though U.S. citizens on average are now working more hours with much greater productivity, our wages remain stagnant. If we are lucky enough to even have a job in this dire economy, we are told to be grateful and industrious, and not to complain about the increasingly small pittance we are now earning.
It is difficult to comprehend just how rich the plutocracy in the United States has now become. The distribution of wealth and resources in this nation is even more extreme and inequitable than what we are all earning for our wages (if you are fortunate enough to actually even have a job). According to new research released by the Economic Policy Institute,”The State of Working America’s Wealth”, the volatility and turmoil in our economy continues to increase, as the massive chasm between the grotesquely rich and everyone else grows even more immense.
Stimulus Funds Best Spent on Public Transportation and Repairing Infrastructure – Not Building New Roads
In 2009, the U.S. government launched an economic stimulus and allocated $26.6 billion in infrastructure funds to state budgets with the goal of creating jobs. In February 2011, Smart Growth America (SGA) released a report analyzing the effects of the program after two years. They found that states who used the funds to repair roads and bridges and invested in public transportation projects created the most jobs. States who primarily used the funds to build new roads fell to the bottom of the rankings for job creation.
In August 2010, the Center for American Progress and the Energy Resource Management Corporation released the report Efficiency Works: Creating Good Jobs and New Markets Through Energy Efficiency. They report that due to the mortgage crisis, the construction industry and related jobs were among those hit the hardest. In the first three months of 2010, construction unemployment hovered near 25 percent. Between 2006 and early 2010, residential construction declined by 38 percent which translates into more than one in three construction workers losing their jobs because of the recession.
The results of a recent survey by Sun Connect, an Australian solar power installation company, show that rising electricity bills have a major influence on homeowner’s decisions to go solar. Respondents pointed to high electricity bills, anticipated electricity price rises, and pain caused by high power costs, as significant areas of concern. In fact, when solar panel owners were asked why they originally converted to solar, the results show that people were 2.6 times more likely to identify “electricity bills…
Following up on Rhonda’s great post the other day on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker admitting he wanted to destroy unions to a blogger on the phone who he thought was David Koch, here is a great infographic by the other 98% on the connections between Scott Walker and the Koch Brothers, titled “Koch Brothers Monopoly.” Enjoy 😀 (click title/link at top to view full infographic if you are on the homepage)
Think those “buy local” campaigns are a waste of money? Or, think they are great? Well, whatever your opinion, there is research on the matter that seems to show that they are worth the time and investment. For the 4th consecutive year, a national study by the Institute for Self-Reliance has shown that “buy local” campaigns really do support local businesses. “Independent businesses in areas with ‘buy local’ campaigns have much greater revenue growth than independent businesses in areas…
West Virginia coal miners have always taken pride in supplying energy to the world. Although their work hours are long and the hazards of the job are many. They reluctantly dig coal to support their families, because there are no other opportunities for these hard working individuals. In a state that is politically controlled by the coal industry, politicians are bought and paid for every election. The campaign funds provided insure that clean energy will not find its way into…
Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address (full text) is important to us all because it is not only a critical reflection on where we stand today, but also on where we’re going, where we need to go, and how we can succeed as a nation (all according to our President and his team, the people with the most power concerning this matter… or who should have the most power concerning this matter). Here are my reflections (and the…