Inequality

What Marriage (And Remarriage) Has To Do With Money

re-marriage for women is correlated with a number of positives, whereas uggghhhhh staying divorced for a woman can spell d i s a s t e r

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For Whom Is The New York Times?

Of course newspapers are, if we’re being cynical here which we are, a way of disseminating advertising. But shouldn’t they still strive to be populist?

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John Oliver Throws Stones at the Lottery

People hate taxes yet love lotteries, even though lottery winners are often quite unlucky in the long run.

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Cutting The Boys’ Pay To Give More To The Girls

as Jill Abramson would say: TOO BAD.

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“I survived the cancer but was fired from my job”

You might remember Deborah Copaken from the fascinating kerfuffle around the release of her book Shutterbabe. Her name was Deborah Copaken Kogan at the time. Since then, as she recounts in a raw and intense personal essay at Cafe.com, her life flipped over like a speeding car:

Last year, during a ten-month period, the following happened in this exact order: I got separated from my husband of two decades, who, having lost his job to the recession, moved across the country to start a business, leaving me as sole provider and parent to our two children still at home; I abandoned the novel I was working on and found a job with benefits as an Executive Editor at a health and wellness website; I took a boarder into the room newly abandoned by my college freshman to help pay my rent, which the new owners had hiked up an extra $900 a month because they could; I was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer; I watched my company, which was preparing to go public, fire dozens of qualified people within my first month of work, after which I was informed that my job, too, was on the chopping block; I survived the cancer but was fired from my job. Then, unable to afford my rent any longer, I moved my remaining family into smaller digs. 

At that desperate point, this Emmy-winning, New York Times-bestselling author and Harvard grad got an email advertising holiday openings for jobs at the Container Store.

Of course I applied! You would have, too, if you had one kid paying his own way through college, another applying, no health coverage, a bum boob, a broken marriage, and an empty bank account. There is no time for shame in a recession. You do what you have to do. 

Reader, she didn’t even get an interview; she got a form letter rejection.

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‘I Had My Backpack and 20 Cents’: How Cheryl Strayed Does Money

“We had a happy life. I would say I really had a very happy one, even though we lived in poverty, on food stamps, government cheese, and sometimes the food pantry shelf,” said Strayed.

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Is There a Class Component to Catcalls

By now you’ve surely read about, if not watched, the Hollaback video footage of a normal, 30-something woman walking around NYC for ten hours getting catcalled by men. The unwanted attention is astounding, despite the fact that she’s dressed in regular clothes and neither speaking nor smiling.

It brings back all sorts of memories for me, especially one awful pre-ear-bud summer when I was a self-conscious teenager working at a non-profit in DC. I got catcalled every day. All I wanted was to be invisible and instead guys shouted things out of their cars about how they wanted me to “Lewinsky” them, or walked by and said something savvy and sophisticated like, “Tits!”

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Kids Trick-or-Treating Across Class Lines Makes 1%er Feel Faint

Halloween, as much as Thanksgiving, is a holiday about generosity.

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Should Economic Equality Have Come Before Marriage Equality?

At the Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg reflects on the new movie Prideusing it as a launching pad to discuss whether the LGBTQI[infinity symbol] rights movement made a mistake by putting marriage first, as a goal, instead of economic equality. After all, she writes,

According to a Williams Institute analysis of data from the American Community Survey, lesbian couples in the United States are more likely to live in poverty than married heterosexual couples, and gay African American couples “have poverty rates more than twice the rate of different-sex married African Americans … Almost one in four children living with a male same-sex couple and 19.2 percent of children living with a female same-sex couple are in poverty, compared to 12.1 percent of children living with married different-sex couples. African American children in gay male households have the highest poverty rate (52.3 percent) of any children in any household type.”

Marriage, she argues, only helps those who are partnered for the long-term. Passing a national Non-Discrimination Act would help more broadly. Especially because lots of people in the community are poor. The Williams Institute reports, “We find clear evidence that poverty is at least as common in the LGB population as among heterosexual people and their families.”

Yet many folks — up to and including one of the nation’s most powerful short-sighted bigots men, Justice Antonin Scalia — harbor the misconception that to be gay is to be rich. In an opinion in the 90s, Scalia wrote of the queer community’s “high disposable income” and its concurrent “disproportionate political power.” Presumably Scalia watched an episode of “Will and Grace” and another of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and drew conclusions. But he’s not alone, here or abroad. The Atlantic calls the widespread notion that gays have influence and cash “the Myth of Gay Affluence.”

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“Freelance Money Isn’t Like Other Money”

This aggrieved response, in Salon, to the NYT magazine piece about Portland — why people move there, what they do then, and how the city is changing — makes some sobering points about how our culture views freelance work and the money that results.

In 2013 my husband had a salaried position and did some freelance work — freelance work he has been doing for the past 10 years — on the side. In 2014 he quit the salaried job to pursue freelance full-time and is making roughly three times what he used to. Had he left that salaried job for another, we’d have no problem. We’d produce his last two pay stubs and even though it was a new job his work history would demonstrate some indelible quality about him and we’d have our mortgage.

But it doesn’t work like that for freelancers. The invoices we send out every month, the checks we deposit, the estimated taxes we’ve already paid — none of it really means anything until we file our tax return. Freelance money, we’ve come to realize, isn’t like other money. At a time in our economy when a salaried worker can lose his job without warning and then be unemployed for months, if not years, he’s still seen as a safer bet than a freelancer. Our money doesn’t count, and neither do our jobs. This is cultural, I understand, and there are countless ways — from healthcare to the tax code — that our culture is set up to favor salaried workers.

No one who reads this site could mistake freelancers for slackers. But it’s true that when Ben and I both jumped off the freelance cliff, we didn’t consider the long-term ramifications in terms of things like mortgages. (Move somewhere significantly cheaper and buy in cash?) Anyone have experience convincing banks to lend to you as something other than a FT employee?

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Time Banking In Ithaca, New York

Perhaps most of my time bank’s professionals, however devoted to egalitarianism in theory, still value their professional skills too highly to give them away for mere hours. And perhaps people in genuine poverty are too busy struggling to get by to participate in a time bank that may or may not help them when they need it most. This might be the most we could hope for from a hippie, progressive town that otherwise still runs overwhelmingly on dollars.

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