Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Cartoon: So, what do YOU do?
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.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Toon: Poverty Wages
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Toon: Tax Cut Success!
Click to enlarge
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
Click to enlarge
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!
Click to enlarge
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.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Toon: The Bailout, Take 2
Toon: Let Me Get This Straight (Bailout, Take 1)
Click to enlarge
Yes, this is three weeks old and therefore super dated--the bailout was no fun, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the whole mess! Can I just say that it sucks to have RSI (what many folks know as carpal tunnel) and be unable to use a computer much in the midst of an economic meltdown and election? I can't keep up with my posting!
Also, this is probably my last-ever cartoon of Bush before the election. That's something.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Toon: The Wall Street Crisis
Click to enlarge
A few thoughts, in no particular order, about the crisis on Wall Street and with our economy in general.
First, how exactly is John McCain planning to clean up the greed on Wall Street that he seems suddenly so concerned about? As I recall, he believes in pretty much total deregulation. So I guess his plan involves using magic mind fairies to suck the greed right out of the heads and hearts of these CEOs!
Also, how can he simultaneously claim that the economy is in crisis but that "the fundamentals are strong"? Or that he and Palin are somehow "proven reformers" of economic greed and corruption?
Next, how could Bush possibly still claim that the economy is just going through a minor short-term adjustment?
Finally, please don't misinterpret this cartoon. There are a lot of people who will be affected by the failures at Lehman Brothers and other financial giants besides just the rich bonus getters. But there really is a double standard-there's no stigma on corporate welfare or corporate bailouts. And it's often the wealthy people who benefit most from those bailouts who turn their nose up the most at a little bit of help for struggling Americans and social spending in general.
So while I am concerned about the effect this will have on the economy and jobs in New York and nationwide... I'm really not crying for those millionaire bonus makers who exploited and inflated the subprime mortgage mess (and the luxury cars they may no longer be able to afford) but didn't get a bailout. And yes, I realize that very few of them are likely to actually end up eating barrel-grilled cockroaches--depends on how long this little economic "adjustment" lasts. But a girl can dream.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Toon: Currency After the Collapse
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Toon: Rich folks are feeling the recession — just like us!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Toon: Americans Go Splurge-Crazy With Their Stimulus Checks!
Click to enlarge
Of course, I'm lactose intolerant and I don't own a car--so I'm buying an extra quart of rice milk!
But seriously--these stimulus checks are such a joke, especially the idea that we should spend them on crap we don't need, like fancy appliances or big-screen TVs. Considering rising food and gas prices and the housing crisis and rising unemployment and health care costs and stagnant wages, the amount of debts so many Americans are in, that one-time check is going to evaporate real fast.
A one-time stimulus check worth $600-$1,200 isn't going to do much for folks facing foreclosure--it probably won't cover even one missed mortgage payment. Though with the average American family in something like $9,000 worth of credit card debt, it could be a nice start towards becoming debt-free.
I'm planning to give some as-yet-undetermined portion of mine to a deserving charity (probably one helping with the global food crisis, like Oxfam America). The rest will go to savings or the hungry open maw that is the cost of attending cartooning conventions.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Toon: Give Me Convenience (and Give Me Debt)!
Click to enlarge
This cartoon was inspired by a column my dad sent me about RFID emitters being developed for cellphones. Obviously there are security and privacy issues involved when your credit card or bank account number is being broadcast from your phone, but that's not the point of this piece.
The real thing that pissed me off is the idea that somehow BUYING USELESS OVERPRICED CRAP is so damn DIFFICULT that we need to make it even EASIER to part people from their hard-earned cash.
If anything, it's way too EASY to spend, spend, spend. The statistic I generally hear is that the average American has no savings at all and is $9,000 in credit card debt. We might as well have flying telepathic products that reach into our pockets and grab our credit cards, the way we're surrounded by advertising and flooded with deceptive and manipulative marketing and pitches and credit card offers.
Why do we want to make it so easy for retailers to take our money in exchange for useless crap that clogs up our lives? Features like "one-click shopping" and magical cell phones are not conveniences--they're tickets to a life as an overspent American.
Masheka and I keep our debit cards (and the one credit card that we haven't shredded) in a neat little "Wallet Buddy" sleeve that I downloaded as a PDF from the Center for a New American Dream. The sleeve has a list of things to stop and think about before you buy anything, and makes you pause before buying.
P.S. The cartoon title is a Dead Kennedys reference, for all you 80s political punk rock fans out there.
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.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Toon: Future Stimulus Packages
A few hundred dollars doesn't mean squat when you're about to lose your house because you've been conned into a subprime mortgage. A few hundred dollars doesn't mean squat when you don't have a job. Maybe you can buy food and heat for a month or two, but what about the next month? Also, the last thing most Americans need to do with their money is spend it--most need to pay off debt with it.
As for those other things that piss me off, here are some notes about the four other stupid quick fix stimulus packages:
- The Education Rebate. Remember Bush's horrible SOTU address last year, when he spent half his speech randomly singing the praises of those awful bogus "Baby Einstein" videos? If Bush is so misguided as to ignore the research that says no child under two should spend ANY time in front of any type of television or computer screen, I figured he might be deluded into thinking that one Baby Einstein DVD per student of any age could solve our educational crisis.
By the way, I thought about somehow trying to explain or indicate why this girl was a high school dropout, but then I thought it was beside the point. Maybe she went to a crappy school and fell through the cracks. Maybe she got pregnant and didn't get the support she needed to stay in school. Maybe she had such horrible underfunded overcrowded schools since she was young that she never developed a love of learning. Who knows?
- The Hunger Healer. This is real, actually. Back during the initial stages of the Afghan war, the U.S. tried to assuage/offset any small guilt about dropping all those bright yellow cluster bombs on civilians by dropping bright yellow packages of food along with the bombs. Food that looked like bombs, often burst or spoiled on landing, led children into minefields, and made many Afghans very sick. And yes, each packet contained PB&J. Which is fine if you know what that is and how to eat it and you don't have peanut allergies. Here are some quotes from a Boston Globe piece ("Afghan Food Drops Found to Do Little Good") about the backlash to this ill-conceived faux-humanitarian effort:
The Bush administration's much publicized food ration airdrop in northern Afghanistan - hailed by the Pentagon as a way to feed starving residents while winning their loyalty - achieved neither goal in many targeted areas, military experts, aid workers, and a report by retired US special forces officers now conclude.
...The bright yellow plastic-wrapped meals ruptured upon impact because they were dropped from too high an altitude and spoiled, endangering the Afghans who ate them, the report by the retired officers said.
Moreover, the meals often were collected by local warlords and sold for a profit at Afghan markets and seldom reached hungry families, according to aid workers. In other cases, Afghans were lured by the bright packages into minefields or confused them with cluster bombs of the same color.
- The Nature Stimulator. CFL bulbs are great. They're all I have in my house, and they sure do save a little bit of energy. But promoting the false idea that every American making one TINY change is somehow going to be enough to stave off global disaster is ridiculous. Sure we should all do our part--but we need much more drastic and widespread change as a society to make a real difference. We need real regulations on corporate polluters and real tough emissions standards and smaller more efficient vehicles and better public transport and a whole lot more than just a CFL bulb in every house. Etc.
- The Peace Patch. This is just in reference to all those Iraqis who were supposed to love their U.S. liberators. It's kind of hard to love the people who shot your innocent husband for driving slightly too fast past a checkpoint you just set up at random.