Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Barbara Ehrenreich on the real toll of the recession
THE human side of the recession, in the new media genre that?s been called ?recession porn,? is the story of an incremental descent from excess to frugality, from ease to austerity. The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee?s. In some accounts, the recession is even described as the ?great leveler,? smudging the dizzying levels of inequality that characterized the last couple of decades and squeezing everyone into a single great class, the Nouveau Poor, in which we will all drive tiny fuel-efficient cars and grow tomatoes on our porches.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Toon: Tax Cut Success!
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I still can't believe that after the complete and total failure of Bush's economic policies that Republicans still think the stimulus package should be all about TAX CUTS.
But then again, these guys also think that $500,000 is a pitifully low wage for a CEO. I mean, there couldn't POSSIBLY be any smart or innovative business-minded folks who would work for such POVERTY WAGES, right?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Toon: Recession-Proof Jobs
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I was trying to come up with a funny cartoon about weird jobs that would be "recession-proof", but I came up with crap. No one is safe when things suck this much. But although the economic crisis is hitting every sector, it sucks the most for people who were already living on the margins or in lower income brackets. My sympathy for unemployed bankers with offshore tax shelters to keep them warm while they scale back on private-jet travel is less than minimal.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Toon: New Year’s Resolutions For Our New Economy!
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This is a little poke at the columns and articles and such that have been praising our crappy economy for making Americans rethink their consumerism and remember "what really matters", etc. Not that I'm not all for an anti-consumerist wakeup call, but... is that really what's happening?
This cartoon was particularly inspired by a ridiculous piece in The New York Times that speculated that some New Yorkers decided to travel to the Hamptons instead of the Caribbean as a way of "cutting back" for Christmas. (actual quote "Somehow, the Long Island chill would have to be made as alluring a holiday destination as the isles of the Caribbean.")
Yes, maybe some middle-class and upper-middle-class people who still have jobs will learn to cut back and stop blowing through credit like crazy... Maybe these lucky folks will spend less than they earn, spend more time with their families. Maybe they'll "make do" with a mere luxury weekend in the freaking Hamptons...
Meanwhile, people on the margins will be making do with a weekend at the homeless shelter.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Toon: Currency After the Collapse
Monday, June 30, 2008
Toon: QwikBaby "Baby Plant" Seeds!
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For a country that trumpets its "family values," the U.S. comes up laughably short on parental leave. We've been the worst industrialized country in that department for a while, as this piece in USA Today detailed in 2005:
Out of 168 nations in a Harvard University study last year, 163 had some form of paid maternity leave, leaving the United States in the company of Lesotho, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.
The pitiful Family and Medical Leave Act only guarantees 12 UNPAID weeks of leave (for workers at larger companies.)
Companies have discretion to offer more leave (and pay for leave) if they choose to—but fewer and fewer make that choice. A recent study by the Families and Work Institute found that "far fewer employers provide full pay during the period of maternity-related disability, today at 16%, down from 27% in 1998."
It's part of a national trend towards cost-cutting and crappier workplace benefits (of course, these things should be provided by the GOVERNMENT, but gosh, that might be too SOCIALIST). More details here and here:
"I had my son on Thursday and, on Monday, I had to go back to work," said Selena Allen, a 30-year-old mother who was working at a non-profit agency near Seattle when she had a baby five years ago.
No paid maternity leave for Allen meant leaving her premature son, Conor, in the hospital for weeks without being able to care for him.
"I was an emotional wreck, I was devastated, but in order to feed my family, I had no other option," Allen said.
P.S. On a feminist note, I of course support a good long period of paid parental leave for parents of any gender and sexual orientation (including adoptive parents!), not just maternity leave or leave for heterosexual couples. I certainly don't want to encourage any policy that implies childrearing should be women's work, or that only women should stay home with kids, etc. Just to be clear and all...
P.P.S. A reader on Flickr notes that my cartoon reminds him of a creepy-sounding Czech movie called Otesánek (Little Otik). Eeek! I'll have to check it out.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Toon: Rich folks are feeling the recession — just like us!
Ted Rall Looks Forward to the Free Future
Universal Press Syndicate
Mar 24, 2008
I meant to post a link to this fantastic cartoon ages ago. Folks need to stop drinking the Wired magazine "Isn't it GREAT that everything is going to be free?" Kool-Aid. Ted's cartoon is a great response to wealthy outfits like the Huffington Post that only pay freelance writers and cartoonists ("content providers") in "exposure"--only regular staff get actual money. Last time I checked, my landlords didn't accept "exposure" as payment, and not everyone can sustain a cartooning habit with witty T-shirt designs or book sales. (Personally, I had fun putting out my book collection, but I basically broke even on it.)
That said, considering how rough sales for political cartoonists were at the MOCCA Art Fest this year, I think I had better go design some witty T-shirts.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Toon: The Joys of Tax Time!
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As you may recall, Masheka and I got married last year. So, as a married male/female couple, we had the experience of filing our taxes jointly this year, which made it much easier to account for our cartooning deductions and calculate everything and definitely saved us a heap of change.
But of course our bigoted laws don't allow same-sex couples (or domestic partners of any gender) to file joint returns or get all the benefits and protections that come with that legal status--even for couples married in Masschuestts who get those protections and benefits at the state level.
As a side note, I just felt like randomly drawing a really tiny kitten into this cartoon because kittens are fun to draw, much more fun to draw than politicians.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
"They're not REALLY poor-they have color Teevees!"
Tom Tomorrow did a great cartoon skewering this bogus argument 10 years ago. Apparently it's still around, now with all these fancy charts claiming that the prevalence of certain consumer goods--televisions and the internet, for example--prove that there is not really a gap between the rich and poor at all.
The idea that consumption is somehow some great wonderful equalizer is so twisted I don't even know where to start.