Time for Hunger Games

Paul Krugman tries to explain that not all Americans have trust funds.

We seem to be hearing less these days about cutting Social Security, and we’re even seeing some attention paid to proposals for benefit increases given the erosion of private pensions. But my sense is that Washington still has no clue about the realities of life for those not yet elderly. Which is where that Federal Reserve study comes in.

We learn, for example, that 3 in 10 nonelderly Americans said they had no retirement savings or pension, and that the same fraction reported going without some kind of medical care in the past year because they couldn’t afford it. Almost a quarter reported that they or a family member had experienced financial hardship in the past year.

And something that even startled me: 47 percent said that they would not have the resources to meet an unexpected expense of $400 — $400! They would have to sell something or borrow to meet that need, if they could meet it at all.

 His point is that most of our policy maker are utterly oblivious to the realities of life for these Americans. But maybe they can learn from reality television

On Wednesday, CBS debuted “The Briefcase,” a show in which, as Reality Blurred’s Andy Dehnart explains, “two poor families get $101,000 and have to decide whether to keep it or give it to a needy family, not knowing that family is making the same decision.” He notes it is produced by “Biggest Loser” creator Dave Broome’s 25/7 Productions and Sony, so you know that there’s some experience exploiting desperate people built in to the thing….

… In Vulture, Margaret Lyons does a ferociously great job explaining exactly why the show’s “altruism pornography” is so repulsive, starting with the fact that “In the 2014 fiscal year, Les Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp, earned over $54 million…. There’s something really perverse about Les Moonves earning money based on the emotional and financial anguish of poor people, by making a game-theory spectacle of human suffering that he could end, himself, personally, if he wanted to.”

At least they don’t have to kill each other. Yet.

6 thoughts on “Time for Hunger Games

  1. “But my sense is that Washington still has no clue about the realities of life for those not yet elderly. Which is where that Federal Reserve study comes in.”

    No, no clue at all!

    The powerful political and media people are as insulated from reality, as was Marie Antoinette.

    If people have ancient microwave ovens, refrigerators, DVD players, a beat-up car, and a cell phone, why, THEY’RE WEALTHY

    Poor people in other countries can’t afford those luxuries!

    But in American today, those are necessities.

    Walk a mile in the brace for my crippled ankle – I can’t – and tell me how good I have it.

    When my Mom passes-away, I have no idea where I’ll live!
    I’m thankful that I finally got SSDI, but it’s not a whole hell of a lot of money. If I expect to survive, I’ll need at least one roommate, or move to a much cheaper area. But, that means driving, and having a reliable car, and, though my car’s fine now, how long will that last?

    Conservatism, and the conservative uber-“Christian” mouthpieces – Rush, and other Reich-Wing talk radio hosts, and (DUMB)FUX “news” – have done more harm to this once great country, than any imaginary “Fifth Columnist’s” have ever imagined.

    As that great comic character, Pogo, once said, “We have met the enemy and it is us!”

    And it IS US.
    Divide and conquer has worked.
    Punching down on the DFH’s has worked.

    The only that doesn’t work, is our political system.

    Thanks, conservatives!

    And, FSM help us, if a Republican wins the Presidency, and keeps the Congress.

    We’ll soon be a Theocratic uber-“Christian” Plutocratic Totalitarian Fascist state.

  2. On a spiritual level, you can have an attitude that says, ‘We’re all in this together.” or you can have a sincere belief that, “Everyone’s in it for themselves.” Most people have some mix of the two – society is not overcrowded with Mother Theresa types but any mail carrier who has collected for the annual food drive can tell you that plenty of people, especially the lower middle class, do care.

    For the past few decades, Limbaugh and some Libertarian types have been selling greed as a virtue and suggesting that individual wealth is a measure of an individual’s contribution to society. (I won’t go as far as suggesting that this is a universal Republican ethic – and you don’t have to look far for a greedy democrat.)

    Overall, the democrats have proposed more legislation that suggests we should protect the needy, and generally, republican legislation has been built on the assumption poor people are institutionally lazy and will become productive when there is enough pain.

    People need to recognize the spiritual dynamic that drives the political dynamic.

  3. This kind of show bothered me when the undercover boss show started. Wow, these bosses have no clue what the workers’lives are like and, when shown, only help out the ones they encountered for the show(and expect eternal gratitude for it). I want to slap them upside their pointy little heads and tell them,”All your subordinates are struggling because of your greed and ignorance! Show some leadership and value them as people!”

  4. My thoughts go out to the Biden family.

    What a terrible, terrible, loss… :’-(

Comments are closed.