Tag: Economics

WTF is School Lunch Debt?

America, fuck yeah! from r/MurderedByWords

xXx69TwatSlayer69xXx
What the fuck is lunch debt?

DespressoCafe
Just what you think it is.

You buy food at school, if you can’t you get debt.

reach a certain threshold and you can only get a PB&J or some shit. nothing else

Thetallerestpaul
Fucking hell. Free school meals was massive when I was growing up. It’s a social mobility issue as well. Poorly fed kids can’t concentrate, fall further behind and the cycle of being poor and staying poor continues. Breakfast clubs are now in a lot of UK schools so they kids that need it are able to get at least 2 meals. Not sure how lockdown changes that, but when the first lockdown was announced a lot of teachers I know’s first concern was a load of kids aren’t gonna eat now. And aren’t going to be seen by a responsible adult for months. Heart breaking.

But lunch debt is taking it to a whole other level.

Agreeable_Arrival_87
Fun Story: One school was literally threatening to put children into foster care if their families didn’t pay off their lunch debt so a CEO offered to pay off the families’ debts for them and the school told him no.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/24/us/pennsylvania-lunch-debt-offer-trnd/index.html

Another Fun Story: Lunch workers who take pity on children and feed them free meals because a lot of food ends up getting thrown out at the end of the day anyway? Those people are routinely fired.

Hard Times – Eviction and Unemployment

CYNTHIA: About the end of February, close to March, they laid us off because of the pandemic. And during…

CAMP: She was surviving. And then this pandemic, by no fault of her own, took her job away, took away her ability to pay her rent.

CYNTHIA: They laid us off. They sent the letters, saying, sign up for employment.

CAMP: She struggled to apply for unemployment benefits.

CYNTHIA: So I signed up for unemployment. I didn’t get unemployment till four for five months.

CAMP: And in fact, through the better part of last summer, she did not even receive unemployment.

CYNTHIA: I’m trying to find a place to live. I can’t find nothing. I can’t find another job. I’ve been looking and looking. It’s been a whole year now – you know, going on a year. I still can’t find anything.

SHAPIRO: We’re not using Cynthia’s last name because she doesn’t want this story to affect her future ability to find a place to live. She’s 52 and lives in the St. Louis area with her two adult kids, who’ve also struggled to find work, and her 8-year-old grandson. They’re all in a house where she owes about a year of back rent. There is sewage backing up in the pipes, and the landlord wants them to leave.

CYNTHIA: And I know these people want us out of this house. I want to be out of here just as bad they want us out ’cause I’m not like that, not paying my bills and don’t want to pay. I want to pay.

NPR

General Strike in India

In late November, what may have been the single largest protest in human history took place in India, as tens of thousands of farmers marched to the capital to protest proposed new legislation and upward of 250 million people around the subcontinent participated in a 24-hour general strike in solidarity. This massive people’s movement has gained attention worldwide and, moreover, forced the government to come meet the protesters where they are instead of just cracking down and brutalizing them, a first in the six years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule.

NITISH PAHWA,
India Just Had the Biggest Protest in World History
Slate

Opinion | Stocks Are Soaring. So Is Misery. – The New York Times

So big tech stocks — and the people who own them — are riding high because investors believe that they’ll do very well in the long run. The depressed economy hardly matters.

Unfortunately, ordinary Americans get very little of their income from capital gains, and can’t live on rosy projections about their future prospects. Telling your landlord not to worry about your current inability to pay rent, because you’ll surely have a great job five years from now, will get you nowhere — or, more accurately, will get you kicked out of your apartment and put on the street.

From the comments:

Mickey NY Aug. 20 Times Pick
It’s sad really, this free market worship. No investment in post secondary education affordability in the rust belt, no investment in infrastructure during the often bragged about this period of Wall Street record setting, no bipartisan long-term game plan for preparing and training citizens of this nation for 21st century skills. And the environment seems to go the opposite of record Wall Street numbers. Red states need to look in the mirror and ask themselves about how giving tax cuts to billionaires and building 3 miles of walls is working out.

Paul Krugman commented August 21 
@Mickey
Prediction: almost nobody will look in the mirror. A sad reality I’ve learned over the years is that almost nobody ever admits having been wrong about anything.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/20/opinion/stock-market-unemployment.html

Crises in Lebanon

A currency collapse is raising prices for everything and an overall economic collapse is making imported meat soar to about $25 a pound, driving Lebanese to the brink.

“Some people perceive bartering as a terrible thing, using it to explain how desperate we are… No, Lebanese are not poor, they are generous people who need to maintain their dignity,” “Lebanon barters” creator told Hassan Hasna.

“A Lebanese person would say: ‘Yes, the economic situation is tough, and the situation is deteriorating but it doesn’t mean I want to humiliate myself and beg. I am willing to barter a piece of clothing in exchange for bread.’ I am proud of such people. They’re doing the impossible to survive and live with dignity.”

france24.com

Lebanon Barters facebook group

Tom Colicchio Spent 19 Years Building a Restaurant Empire. Coronavirus Gutted It in a Month.

What it’s like to lay off nearly 300 employees—and rethink unchecked capitalism

Now New York is facing another unthinkable catastrophe — this time, along with the entire world — and the restaurant industry is threatened as never before. Last week, Danny Meyer, Colicchio’s one-time partner, shut down all 19 of his storied establishments, laying off 2,000 people — some 80% of his workforce. Thomas Keller furloughed 1,200. And Colicchio has done the same, laying off all but a few of his 300 employees.

Recognizing an existential crisis for his industry — with many other sectors of the economy sure to follow — Colicchio has turned his attention to defending independent restaurants and their 11 million employees around the country from total devastation.

Aaron Gell talking with Tom Colicchio, March 27 2020
Medium

Freakonomics, Andrew Yang Interview

YANG: Now, I studied economics. And according to my economics textbook, those displaced workers would get retrained, re-skilled, move for new opportunities, find higher-productivity work, the economy would grow. So everyone wins. The market, invisible hand has done its thing. So then I said, “Okay, what actually happened to these four-million manufacturing workers?” And it turns out that almost half of them left the workforce and never worked again. And then half of those that left the workforce then filed for disability, where there are now more Americans on disability than work in construction, over 20 percent of working-age adults in some parts of the country.

DUBNER: So the former manufacturing workers, a lot of them are on disability, a lot of them are also — especially if they’re younger men — they’re spending 25 to 40 hours a week playing video games.

YANG: Yeah so it did not say in my textbook, half of them will leave the workforce never to be heard from again. Half of them will file for disability and then another significant percentage will start drinking themselves to death, start committing suicide at record levels, get addicted to opiates to a point where now eight Americans die of opiates every hour. When you say, “Am I for automation and artificial intelligence and all these fantastic things?” of course I am. I mean, we might be able to do things like cure cancer or help manage climate change more effectively. But we also have to be real that it is going to displace millions of Americans.

People are not infinitely adaptable or resilient or eager to become software engineers, or whatever ridiculous solution is being proposed. And it’s already tearing our country apart by the numbers, where our life expectancy has declined for the last two years because of a surge in suicides and drug overdoses around the country. None of this was in my textbook. But if you look at it, that’s exactly what’s happening. The fantasists — and they are so lazy and it makes me so angry, because people who are otherwise educated are literally wave their hands and be like, “Industrial Revolution, 120 years ago. Been through it before,” and, man, if someone came into your office and pitched you in an investment in a company based on a fact pattern from 120 years ago, you’d freakin’ throw them out of your office so fast.

freakonomics

Big Business Is Overcharging You $5,000 a Year – The New York Times

Figuring out why has become a core part of Philippon’s academic research, and he offers his answer in a fascinating new book, “The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets.” In one industry after another, he writes, a few companies have grown so large that they have the power to keep prices high and wages low. It’s great for those corporations — and bad for almost everyone else.

Many Americans have a choice between only two internet providers. The airline industry is dominated by four large carriers. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are growing ever larger. One or two hospital systems control many local markets. Home Depot and Lowe’s have displaced local hardware stores. Regional pharmacy chains like Eckerd and Happy Harry’s have been swallowed by national giants.

David Leonhardt, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/10/opinion/big-business-consumer-prices.html