8478 –

Not nearly so creaky this morning… definitely connected to barometric pressure.

I dreamt last night that there was a rash of break-ins in my neighborhood… it turned out that some sort of mold was coating windows and making them shatter as the mold grew.

Forgive, oh Lord, my little jokes on thee/and I’ll forgive thy great big one on me–Ogden Nash

I have no interest in seeing the World Trade Center movie.

I can’t believe how truly fortunate I am, really. I sometimes just catch myself and even if I’m cranky, I’m amazed at how good I really have it.

Not getting together with Danny today – he forgot dance plans with the Mrs… no biggie, he’s going to visit on Thursday, instead, perhaps.

The High Cost of Being Poor- Barbara Ehrenreich comments on working in AmericaAlternately here.

There are people, concentrated in the Hamptons and Beverly Hills, who still confuse poverty with the simple life. No cable TV, no altercations with the maid, no summer home maintenance issues – just the basics, like family, sunsets, and walks in the park. What they don’t know is that it’s expensive to be poor. In fact, you, the reader of middling income, could probably not afford it.

A new study from the Brookings Institute documents the “ghetto tax,” or higher cost of living in low-income urban neighborhoods. It comes at you from every direction, from food prices to auto insurance. A few examples from this study, by Matt Fellowes, that covered 12 American cities:

* Poor people are less likely to have bank accounts, which can be expensive for those with low balances, and so they tend to cash their pay checks at check-cashing businesses, which in the cities surveyed, charged $5 to $50 for a $500 check.
* Nationwide, low-income car buyers, defined as people earning less than $30,000 a year, pay two percentage points more for a car loan than more affluent buyers.
* Low-income drivers pay more for car insurance. In New York, Baltimore and Hartford, they pay an average $400 more a year to insure the exact same car and driver risk than wealthier drivers.
* Poorer people pay an average of one percentage point more in mortgage interest.
* They are more likely to buy their furniture and appliances through pricey rent-to-own businesses. In Wisconsin, the study reports, a $200 rent-to-own TV set can cost $700 with the interest included.
* They are less likely to have access to large supermarkets and hence to rely on the far more expensive, and lower quality offerings, of small grocery and convenience stores.

I didn’t live in any ghettos when I worked on Nickel and Dimed—a trailer park, yes, but no ghetto– and on my average wage of $7 an hour, or about $14,400 a year, I wasn’t in the market for furniture, a house or a car. But the high cost of poverty was brought home to me within a few days of my entry into the low-wage life, when, slipping into social-worker mode, I chastised a co-worker for living in a motel room when it would be so much cheaper to rent an apartment. Her response: Where would she get the first month’s rent and security deposit it takes to pin down an apartment? The lack of that amount of capital – probably well over $1000 – condemned her to paying $40 a night at the Day’s Inn.

Then there was the problem of sustenance. I had gone into the project imagining myself preparing vast quantities of cheap, nutritious, soups and stews, which I would freeze and heat for dinner each day. But surprise: I didn’t have the proverbial pot to pee in, not to mention spices or Tupperware. A scouting trip to K-Mart established that it would take about a $40 capital investment to get my kitchenette up to speed for the low-wage way of life.

The food situation got only more challenging when I, too, found myself living in a motel. Lacking a fridge and microwave, all my food had to come from the nearest convenience store (hardboiled eggs and banana for breakfast) or, for the big meal of the day, Wendy’s or KFC. I have no nutritional complaints; after all, there is a veggie, or flecks of one, in Wendy’s broccoli and cheese baked potato. The problem was financial. A double cheese burger and fries is lot more expensive than that hypothetical home-made lentil stew.

There are other tolls along the road well-traveled by the working poor. If your credit is lousy, which it is likely to be, you’ll pay a higher deposit for a phone. If you don’t have health insurance, you may end taking that feverish child to an emergency room, and please don’t think of ER’s as socialized medicine for the poor. The average cost of a visit is over $1000, which is over ten times more than what a clinic pediatrician would charge. Or you neglect that hypertension, diabetes or mystery lump until you end up with a $100,000 problem on your hands.

So let’s have a little less talk about how the poor should learn to manage their money, and a little more attention to all the ways that money is being systematically siphoned off. Yes, certain kinds of advice would be helpful: skip the pay-day loans and rent-to-pay furniture, for example. But we need laws in more states to stop predatory practices like $50 charges for check-cashing. Also, think what some micro-credit could do to move families from motels and shelters to apartments. And did I mention a living wage?

If you’re rich, you might want to stay that way. It’s a whole lot cheaper than being poor.

See also – 75% of American workers don’t have decent wages and benefits

Momster dropped off the remnants of her fridge at work… stocked me up with granola, carrots, cheese, and apple juice.. not to mention an artichoke and spinach quiche big enough for the bulk of the office. She and Wilt are heading north today… will be up there until around October. I’m currently working out a good time to get up there, maybe brink Newt with me for a span. (Not comfy leaving Newt behind for a week…I’m rather a bit north for any of my buddies to take care of him in the interim, and I don’t trust Boarding places)

Via photocentricRobertGuide: Hiding/Removing the NavStrip on all journals you view.

graffiti bot has sort of a peter max vibe.

Moment of Lyric – mp3

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

1 year ago – secret agent dream, teachers, dan reads wee free men, humor-type, vnc2swf, magic, don ho shock the monkey mp3, v for vendetta trailer, blood cholesterol, travel journal gig, net times journalist trouble, survey, scary villain picture

2 years ago – candy, incense, my mental room, cannibals, ka-boom, CoH

3 years ago – viking on newtcam, hulk adds my graphic to his journal, starmark, poop, Chinese food, mage knight

4 years ago – ISS, bear-lynching, beauty, Conroy books

5 years ago – bro, cej, exhort, more majestic, mailing tardiness, news, Dr. Ernest Freaky Bootygrabber, Radio, time for life poll

6 years ago – Friends assessment, Spiritual BeliefsGeotarget

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