Saturday, February 1, 2014

I welcome their hatred

Terrence Heath reports that in spite of GOP efforts in rebranding they are waging a pretty effective war on women. Heath shows a series of images of various Congressional committee meetings and bill-signing ceremonies that feature anti-abortion bills. All images are all or almost all men, almost all white, and certainly all GOP. And the flurry of abortion restricting measures being passed in states across the country:
Last year, 22 states passed new abortion restrictions. According to data analyzed by Mother Jones magazine, of the 330 state legislators to propose or sponsor such bills, 257 — more than 75 percent — were male. The overwhelming majority — 94 percent — were Republicans; only 20 were Democrats. In the states, the restriction of women’s reproductive freedom has been an almost exclusively a white, male, Republican affair.
There is still a big income gap in America. Two-thirds of people earning $10K or less are women. In the middle class range, women pretty much match men. But of those earning $100K-$250K only a third are women. And above $250K less than a quarter are women.

And that income disparity means women are hit harder by GOP policies.

* The Paycheck Fairness Act is stalled in Congress because of too little GOP support.

* Cutting anti-poverty programs hurts women. About one third of American women are in or close to poverty.

* Cutting public-sector jobs hurts women. They hold lots of public-sector jobs because anti-discrimination laws affect those jobs more than private-sector job.

* Refusing to raise the minimum wage hurts women. See the stats above.

So much for "rebranding."

Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column, notes that several in the 1% are quite over the top in their complaints against Obama. Concentrating so much wealth at the top "creates a class of people who are alarmingly detached from reality -- and simultaneously gives these people great power." So they hold and proclaim "political and economic views that combine paranoia and megalomania in equal measure." They make it sound that our economic woes are because of their hurt feelings.

Yes, they are doing (slightly) worse under Obama. Their taxes are a bit higher. There has been some financial reform that limits their exploitation of weak regulations. Their money is a result of wheeling-and-dealing. Their loud response to Obama's efforts makes Krugman think the 1% has some serious doubts about deserving all that money. Which makes their lashing out all the more furious.

Perhaps Obama should claim a phrase from FDR. Roosevelt's actions against the 1% were much stronger than we've managed today. FDR said, "I welcome their hatred." It meant he was doing something right.

I like the outcome, but I'm skeptical of the reasoning. Thom Hartmann has a progressive radio show. I doubt I've heard of him before and the only talk radio I listen to is NPR. Hartmann looked at a bunch of state rankings put together by Politico and said that by a wide variety of measures Americans living in Red states did worse than those living in Blue states. That's the outcome I like.

Wanting to know more I went to the Politico story (though it took a bit to find it). On the first webpage it presents an overall ranking of the states along with the governor's name and the party. New Hampshire is at the top. Mississippi is at the bottom (at 51 -- DC is included). Michigan is 36th. The "R" and "D" designations are rather mixed with Gary Herbert (R) of Utah in 4th and Mike Beebe (D) of Arkansas at 49th.

Page 2 has all the individual stats and rakings for them. This is how Michigan fared:

Michigan's rank, value, range of values

Per Capita Income
34, $25,547, $20,670 to $45,004 (DC is way ahead)
49, 8.8%, 2.6% (North Dakota) to 9% (Rhode Island!)
Population below poverty level
36, 16.3%, 8.4% to 22.3%
Rate of home ownership
3, 72.8%, 73.7% to 42.4% (DC way behind all others)
This one I expected because Detroit was well known for its rate of home ownership, having the highest percentage of single family homes. One can get into a tall building and look across the city and see trees instead of high-rise apartments.
High school graduation rate
21, 88.7%, 92.1% to 80.8%
Life expectancy in years
35, 78.2, 81.3 (Hawaii) to 75.0
Infant mortality rate
38, 7.6, 4.9 to 12.0
Obesity rate
36, 28.5, 18.7 to 33.5
Gallup index score for wellbeing
36, 65.6, 71.1 to 61.3
Income inequality GINI coefficient
27, .4624, .4166 to .5343
Crime rate
39, 454.5, 122.7 to 1243.7 (DC has almost twice the rate of any state)
Percent of employees in Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math jobs
16, 5.6%, 9.7% to 2.7%
Back in 1931 H.L. Mencken, and Charles Angoff did a similar study, though with incomplete data. In that one Michigan ranked 12th. Mississippi was at the bottom.

I'm skeptical of Hartmann's claims because he doesn't show his methodology. Take the data for "R" and "D" states and average them all together? Pick the categories that best show his case? I don't know. And I don't know if I can trust him.

Hartmann concludes by saying that the GOP wants to enact policies such as slash the social safety net, cut corporate taxes, and privatize education and institutions held in common. But the GOP has already done this in the states they control and those policies have already been disastrous to residents.

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