2013年10月17日木曜日

貧困の選択

米国の貧困率は15%のようだ。
 米国勢調査局が発表した統計によると、2012年の国内貧困層人口は
4650万人で、前年の4620万人から若干増加した。

貧困
・2012年の貧困ラインは4人家族で年収2万3492ドル以下。
・貧困率は15%
・子供は161万人で、65歳以上が390万人。
・無保険人口が4800万人。
・被保険者は2億6320万人。
・高齢化でMedicare加入者が増えた。
・世帯収入(中央値)は5万1017ドル。

米国の貧困率は変わらず、Medicare加入者は増加。
周期的に出てくる煩悩や大罪の報道。
貧困を意図的に選ぶのは自由で、実践している人を紹介。
いつも思うのは、富裕層は煩悩を持ち、大罪を犯しているのに、肯定
するのは宗教的な犯罪の勧めではないのか。
日本では、ホームレスとの呼称でも自家製の家を持っている。

資本主義である以上、経済格差ができてしまうが、特定企業支援のため
に、使い捨て労働者の増加もどうかと思う。創造的な業務以外は、機械と
向き合うような経営を推奨したほうが良いのではと思うことがある。

会社の部品だった労働者を社会の部品とすることで、企業が活性化する
とは思えないし、想像力の欠如だろう。
蘭拠点のフィリップスは、今では、分離と売却を繰返しているが、制度の
効果があったとは思えない。

平均5万ドルの年収は、国籍登録者の話。
米国の底辺を支える違法移民は、2万ドル以下で生活しているのだろうか。

貧困率 15.7%
米格差最大


---産業競争力強化法案:規制緩和認める企業特区制度創設へ---
毎日新聞 2013年10月15日 12時49分
http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20131015k0000e020118000c.html

 政府は15日、企業競争力強化を目指した産業競争力強化法案と、先の通常国会で廃案になった電気事業法改正案を閣議決定した。同日午後開会する臨時国会に提出する。政府は、両法案ともアベノミクスの成長戦略の柱に位置づけており、早期成立を目指す。
 産業競争力強化法案は、革新的な技術開発を目指す複数の企業に対し、特例的に規制緩和を認める企業版特区制度「企業実証特例制度」を創設するのが目玉になる。医療関連などの新分野で事業を始める際、国が適法の範囲を明示する「グレーゾーン解消制度」創設も盛り込んだ。また、企業が新規事業を行う際、事業再編する際の事業計画を国が認定すれば、会社設立時などにかかる登録免許税を軽減する新制度も盛り込んでいる。国が主導する形で、企業の新規参入や業界再編を支援し、企業の国際競争力を高めるのが狙い。
 一方、電気事業法改正案は、今年6月の通常国会で衆院通過したものの、参院選前の与野党対立のあおりを受け参院で採決されず、廃案となった。閣議決定した改正案は、発送電分離に向けた電力システム改革を進めることが柱で、大手電力会社による地域独占体制を崩す戦後最大の電力改革の入り口に当たる。改正案は2015年をめどに全国規模で電力を融通する「広域系統運用機関」の創設が柱だが、付則には16年の電力小売りの全面自由化や、20年までの発送電分離の実現など改革全体の工程表も盛り込まれている。【大久保陽一】


---2020年までに貧困層の人口比率を半減させる必要=世銀総裁---
2013年 10月 10日 14:49 JST
http://jp.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idJPTYE99904A20131010

[ワシントン 9日 ロイター] - 世界銀行のジム・ヨン・キム総裁は9日、CNNとのインタビューで、2030年までに世界の極貧層の人口を全体の3%(現在は18%)に抑制するとの目標を達成するには、2020年までに極貧層の人口を現在の半分(人口比9%)に減らす必要があると述べた。
 2030年の目標は4月に設定された。極貧層は、1日1.25ドル以下で生活している人。
 総裁は「この目標設定にあたり、全責任を負う用意がある」と語った。
 総裁の任期は2017年までだが、再任の可能性もある。
 1990年時点の世界の貧困層の人口比率は43%だったが、新興国の生活水準向上で大きく低下した。
 ただ、改善の大半は中国で、南アジアやサハラ以南のアフリカでは依然困難な状況が続いている。このため、さらなる状況改善はより困難となる可能性がある。
 世銀は、発展途上国が今後20年にわたって歴史的な経済成長水準を維持したとしても、世界の貧困層の人口比率は2030年までに8%に低下するにとどまるとの調査結果を引用している。


---12年の米貧困層は前年比微増 貧困率は15%で変わらず---
2013年9月18日17時43分
http://www.asahi.com/international/reuters/RTR201309180082.html

 [ワシントン 17日 ロイター] - 米国勢調査局が17日に発表した統計によると、2012年の国内貧困層人口は4650万人で、前年の4620万人から若干増加した。
 貧困率は15%で、前年と変わらず。2012年の貧困ラインは4人家族で年収2万3492ドル以下。
 リベラルな政治グループ、センター・フォー・アメリカン・プログレスの代表は「議会が緊縮財政から雇用や経済成長の恩恵を共有する政策に焦点を移す時期がきていることを示している」と述べた。
 貧困層のうち、子供は161万人で、65歳以上が390万人を占めている。
 統計によると、医療保険については無保険人口が4800万人で、前年の4860万人からわずかに減少した。被保険者は2億6320万人で、前年は2億6020万人だった。高齢化でメディケア(高齢者向け公的医療保険)加入者が増えたことが理由。
 世帯収入(中央値)は5万1017ドル、前年は5万1100ドルだった。


---Living on $5,000 a year, on purpose: Meet America's 'intentional poor'---
Published: Monday, 14 Oct 2013 | 9:09 AM ET
By: Nona Willis-Aronowitz, NBC News contributor
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101109785

More than two decades ago, then-33-year-old Dan Price had a wife, two small children, a high-interest mortgage, and a stressful job as a photojournalist in Kentucky. He worried daily about money and the workaday grind.

"I told myself, 'buck up and pay the bills,'" said Price. "This is just the way normal life is."

Then he learned about what he calls "the simple life." Price read "Payne Hollow," a 1974 book about author Harlan Hubbard's rejection of modernity and his primitive home on the shore of the Ohio River. Price's marriage dissolved soon after, and the whole family moved to Oregon, where he grew up. Price opted to move alone into a tiny cabin in the woods, then a flophouse, then a teepee, and finally into an underground "Hobbit hole" on a horse pasture near a river, where he still lives. During the winter, he decamps to Hawaii to surf and avoid the harsh weather.

 Price's version of the simple life costs $5,000 a year, which he earns from publishing a wilderness zine and doing odd jobs around Joseph, his eastern Oregon town. "I like being able to do what I want to do," said Price, who pays $100 a year for his land. "I don't believe in houses or mortgages. Who in their right mind would spend their lifetime paying for a building they never get to spend time in because they are always working?"

Price is part of a long tradition of eschewing the American dream of a house with a white-picket fence, from 1920s hobos to 1960s hippies. Nowadays, groups going back-to-basics are just as diverse, such as live-off-the-land types like Price, punky street kids, and twentysomethings living in modest group homes known as intentional communities. But they all have something in common: They've chosen poverty.

Some, like Price, have lived this way for decades. For others, it's a decision spurred by the recession and its exposure of economic precarity. Either way, it's often a political choice, one that questions a consumerist, deeply stratified society. The intentional poor are "looking for something real that goes beyond commodity," said Karen Halnon, a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University and author of "Consumption of Inequality."

 Dan Kerr, now an assistant professor at American University, lived as a squatter 20 years ago in Manhattan's Lower East Side and says the lifestyle was a way to challenge the notion that "the one-family home with a 9-to-5 job" was "the only way to provide meaning to our lives."

That New York neighborhood is still a hotspot for street kids, or "gutter punks." A 23-year-old who identified himself as "Banjo" (then admitted that wasn't his name) came to the city for Occupy Wall Street and now hangs out on the eastern tip of 14th street. He explained his choice as more relevant than ever: "We saw how mortgage companies screwed people," he said. "The economy is a joke. We travel all over, and people help us out."

At Sycamore House, an intentional community in Harrisburg, Pa., young people volunteer with nonprofits in exchange for food, rent, and a $400 monthly stipend.

Emmy Corey, the program's director, said that a third of residents signed up after struggling to find work after college. "Doing this has offered more security than the job market," she said.

 Of course, no matter how bad the job market is, there are clear distinctions between those who have the privilege to opt for poverty and those who are poor through no choice of their own. If things get rough, Price has a career to fall back on. Banjo can return to his childhood bedroom, where he stayed before hitting the road. Corey's young charges aren't stuck in high-crime neighborhoods with subpar schools and services like most of America's poor. And people who choose poverty are often free to make exceptions; despite his otherwise modest lifestyle, Price pays $53 a month for a cell phone and owns both an iPad and a MacBook Air.

The demographics of these two groups are also starkly different: The pockets of people who choose poverty are nearly all white, experts say, while around half of the impoverished in the U.S. are black and Hispanic.

For people involuntarily living on four figures a year, upward mobility would be a gift, not a trap. "Those people know that if they gave everything up, it wouldn't be so easy to get it back," said Kerr. Many have trouble understanding why privileged people would turn their nose up at creature comforts, "especially if you grew up yearning for these things," said Halnon.

Still, some among the intentional poor believe their lifestyle can serve as a model for anyone who narrowly defines success as being wealthy. "People are so incredibly spoiled," said Price. He prioritizes self-reliance and feels strongly about never using food stamps or welfare. "My job is simply to live as pure and authentic as I can and make an example for people."

Sometimes, though, intentional poverty isn't a rejection of mainstream success so much as a deliberate means to it.

 After being laid off twice from journalism jobs in Chicago, Amy Hayden, 40, moved to New York City last year with $50 in the bank and a dream of working in publishing. She was inspired by reading the memoir "Just Kids" by singer Patti Smith, who arrived penniless in New York in the late '60s determined to make it as an artist.

"I hear a lot of messages about how you can't be an artist in New York anymore," said Hayden. "That makes me angry, because you can. It just depends what kinds of changes you want to make."

Hayden now lives on $1,000 a month or less, renting a tiny room for $135 a week and picking up blogger jobs and one-shot gigs between her publishing internship hours. She plans to write a book about living frugally in New York. If a literary agency offered her a job tomorrow, she'd take it, but she wouldn't "sell out" and go into marketing or PR. She's made the choice "not to just look for any job."

At least for now.

While Price vows to live simply until he dies, Hayden expects to do this for no more than three years. Kerr, too, abandoned the squatter life for graduate school, and eventually, a stable university job L studying voluntary homelessness.

In 1995, Kerr recalls, there was a squatter eviction on 13th Street, a moment that separated the privileged from the stagnant poor in dramatic fashion. "I could go back home to Cleveland," said Kerr. "Some of the other squatters weren't so lucky."


---About 15% of Americans live in poverty, so why is no one talking about it?---
Daniel A Medina   
theguardian.com, Saturday 5 October 2013 11.30 BST   
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/05/american-media-ignores-poverty-issues

Mainstream media give very little coverage to poverty and the working class. It's a public interest failure

It's not my intention to belittle the government shutdown or the political showdown underway between President Obama and the GOP, but more often that not, America's fickle news media is dominated by one subject. It's what gets left out that is often more telling than what everyone (or at least the news) is talking about.

Remember the food stamp fight? It was only two weeks ago that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill that would strip $40bn from Snap (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka the food stamp program) over the next 10 years by imposing work requirements and eliminating waivers for "some able bodied adults". The move, which would effectively cut support for millions of poor Americans, was seen by critics as a heartless attempt by House Republicans to hack away at the nation's dwindling social safety net. But, what is more outrageous is that it took a draconian piece of legislation to even get the nation's attention on what has become one of the country's most ignored issues: poverty.

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that out of 52 mainstream media outlets analysed, coverage of poverty amounted to less than 1% of available news space from 2007 to 2012. It's even more astonishing considering that period covered a historic recession.

One of the report's conclusions was that media organizations chose not to cover poverty because it was potentially uncomfortable to advertisers seeking to reach a wealthy consumer audience. As Barbara Ehrenreich, who contributes articles on social issues for Time Magazine, put it:

    They don't want really depressing articles about misery and hardship near their ads.

Poverty coverage is seen as non-lucrative, time-consuming and involves high levels of commitment that editors are unwilling to give their reporters in this age of newsroom budget tightening. The greatest irony, however, is that poverty, as Tampa Bay Times media critic, Eric Deggans, told The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard earlier this year "is in some ways the ultimate accountability story - because, often, poverty happens by design".

In a nation where, according to the US Census Bureau's poverty statistics released last month, 46.5 million people (roughly 15%) of the nation's population lives in poverty, the idea that the media would not cover such a pressing human interest story because of financial troubles is misguided, if not inexcusable. It represents a failure on the part of the industry in fulfilling its role in serving the public interest.

The absence of coverage has left the poor with no voice in American society. As the plight of the nation's shrinking middle class, a central issue in last year's presidential campaign, consistently leads media coverage, the idea of poverty in America almost seems a relic from the past.

Nearly 50 years after President Lyndon B Johnson launched the "war on poverty" program that ushered in social security, Medicare and Medicaid amongst others, you could be fooled into believing that poverty is no longer a public policy problem in the US. Or as former Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, put it in a US News & World Report op-ed in May:

    It feels today like a 'war on poverty' would need to begin with a battle just to gain recognition that poverty even exists.

New media outlets, from blogs like Daily Kos to social media, appear ready to fill the coverage vacuum. There are independent journalists and Twitter activists who prolifically cover issues that affect the working poor from debates on raising the federal minimum wage to securing labour rights. The American Prospect, a left-leaning socially conscious bi-monthly magazine, particularly does great work on highlighting poverty.

The fast-food worker marches this past summer were a watershed moment for poverty coverage in many ways. Mainstream media coverage of the protests was scant (the Guardian a notable exception), but reporting and analysis were available elsewhere online, most notably from Democracy Now!, the independent TV network that ran a feature online titled "Forgotten Poor", offering viewers a glimpse of those struggling to make ends meet.

If this growing underclass of poor Americans continues to be ignored, it will be permanently damaging to what remains of the independent character of US journalism. By bowing to their corporate sponsors in forsaking poverty coverage, the mainstream media is doing a huge disservice to us all by denying us a national discussion on poverty that has not taken place in decades.

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