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Showing posts with label economics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label economics. Show all posts

01 July 2013

Review: Venus Vs. - A #NineforIX Film by Ava DuVernay

Venus Vs. Premiere Date | July 2nd at 8:00PM ET on ESPN

People, pop the popcorn, grab your sodas and get comfy because "Venus Vs." is a must watch film. And no, you don't have to be a sports fan. Let me tell you why.

I love tennis, but I don't follow it very closely. When the Williams sisters arrived on the tennis scene, I fell in love. They were brassy and definitely not "country club" players. In Serena William's memoir, she discussed some of the racism that the sisters have experienced at the professional level. In "Venus Vs." this racism is addressed via the and other incidents.

But most of this film focuses on Venus' decision to take on the decades long battle to obtain equal prize money for women players at Wimbledon. When Billie Jean King won Wimboldon in 1968, her prize money was equal to 37% of the men's pay package. In 2005, Venus joins the off-and-on fight for equal money. And in 2007 when women finally go equal pay, Venus is the one who wins the championship.

What truly had me glued to my screen was the fact that Billie Jean King kept going back to the idea that women's tennis needed that "one voice" to bring about this equality. Chris Evert is shown saying that the unequal prize money wasn't really a big issue for her, showing that even a superstar like her went along with the inequality. And when Venus came along and took the issue up as her cause, stuff got done.

Perhaps it was all Venus. She is definitely a superstar who did command attention to the issue. So much that the women of Parliament joined her. There's one amazing scene where the power of the red jacket is shown and now I need to get myself one. But do things really get done because of one person? Was it the right voice at the right time? Was it the right catalyst to get others moving on the issue? Who knows. But it's an amazing path to watch.

So if you are a tennis fan, sports fan, fan of women's equality or hell, even the political process, you are going to love this film. After the film, leave comments here or head over to the "
I Pledge to Attend a Women's Sports Event" Facebook Page to discuss.



Venus Vs. Premiere Date | July 2nd at 8:00PM ET on ESPN

Director | Ava DuVernay
Producers | Ava DuVernay, Howard Barish, Tilane Jones, Libby Geist, Deirdre Fenton
Cast | Venus Williams, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe


22 June 2013

The Student Loan Crisis May Bust Us for Good

When I graduated college in 1997, I walked away with just over $10,000 in student loan debt. It seemed insurmountable back then. It would seem like pocket change today.

Today, student loans are impacting a generation of young people like nothing else.

Democracy for America has created this great infographic to show us exactly what is at stake when it comes to the student loan crisis. Besides the marketplace reasons to get student loan debt under control, I am seriously worried about the number of people putting off starting a family.

I am also worried about what this crisis is doing to young women's earning and savings power. Due to the wage gap, women end up paying MORE of their newly earned income compared to the men they graduated with:
A woman with a B.A. in psychology and social work without a graduate degree brings in a median of $40,000 annually, compared to a man with the same credentials, who makes $52,000. Take-home pay can vary by state, but if this woman is single and childless and lives in Minnesota, for example, monthly income comes to roughly $2,600, versus around $3,200 for the man, which means a $300 monthly payment will take a much bigger bite out of that woman's paycheck. [link]
So what can we do about it? Senator Elizabeth Warren has a bill that will address this crisis. It won't solve it, but it will help. Click over to DFA and become a citizen co-sponsor...essentially, tell her you support her bill.

Click to Enlarge Image

Democracy for America Infographic

Banking on Education infographic via Democracy for America




20 June 2011

Walmart low prices are at the expense of women's paychecks

I have to be honest, I really didn't expect the Supreme Court to toss the Wal-Mart class action. I don't know what I was thinking, but when I read that the USSC sided with Wal-Mart I yelped...and not a good one.

The issue that the class action hinged on? Commonality. Apparently because the majority did not think that all the 1.5 million women of Wal-Mart had a common experience, the case can't be a class action suit. I wonder where they leaves other large class action suits? But what really got my goat is the implication that Wal-Mart is so large that it can't be held responsible for what a few "bad" managers do in respect to women employees. Really? Wal-Mart is too large to sue for sex discrimination? Oh hell no!

Then in the majority decision, Scalia says that he believed that any manager would want the best person for the job, man or woman.

Really? This clearly shows that Scalia has no idea what happens in the real world and hasn't had to cold apply for a job since high school. A real, cold, apply for a job. Not a "My uncle Bob called his fraternity brother Skip and he wants to  meet you" interview. This from someone who should have recused himself due to his son being connected to the case. And conservatives complain about "the Chicago way" just getting to DC in Obama's backpack. HA!

Rep. Pelosi used this moment to restate why the Congress needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act: 
"Today’s ruling underscores the need to act boldly and strongly on behalf of women’s rights: we must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work," Pelosi continued. "It is a matter of fundamental fairness in our nation, and we must work — in the courts and in Congress — to correct this injustice throughout our country."
Which, by the way, WAS passed under Speaker Pelosi, but Sen. Reid and Sen. Durbin FAILED to whip the Democrats into line in order for it to pass. And I'll add that it was also President Obama's failure to make it a real priority.

Yes, I am PISSED OFF!

If you are pissed off, tell your Congressperson to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. There are also rallies on Tuesday, check if your city has one!

What we need to remember is:
  • This was NOT a decision on the merits of the case. Merely on the ability for the women of WalMart to sue as a class action;
  • This means that the individual women will need to make a decision if they will go this alone. After ten years, the word is that most of them will continue on;
  • There is also some thought that perhaps instead of one big class, there will be a lot of smaller classes (managers, floor workers, executives, etc). We'll have to wait and see. 
Until then, I'm thankful I can keep my hard money out of Walmart's aisles.

20 April 2010

Equal Pay Day 2010: Wage gap in science and engineering

Today is Blog for Equal Pay Day! 


This post isn't meant to be lazy, but I realized that the idea I had for today I already did over at Girl w/Pen. Yes, I've finally gotten to the point in my writing where I have forgotten what I've written about. It took a web search to remind me. Oh, so pathetic...but back to today's post....

One reason why I am passionate about piquing girls' interest in science and engineering as a career path is the money. Even in this recession, starting salaries for computer-related and engineering careers are on the rise. They are also usually higher than any other field. This can be quite a carrot for sticking out a second semester of Calculus or even organic chemistry.

But I also tell my students that there is a wage gap for scientists and engineers. Back in 1999, the National Science Foundation found that the wage gap for engineers was only 13 cents. Not bad. Overall for science, engineering and math, it looks like the wage gap in 2001 for starting salaries was 24 cents.

Some have theorized that the difference in the wage gap between science and engineering can be attributed to the market. Since there are less women in engineering, they can usually negotiate a better salary since they are more in demand. Some have also theorized that the biological sciences are facing dropping salaries since more women are entering...This is yet to be proven...salary wise anyway.

Bottom-line is that the wage gap impacts all women. Even in uber-women dominated careers like nursing, men out earn women.

And of course the gap widens for women of color as seen in these lovely graphics that the Feminist Looking Glass posted from NPR. Although considering the serious lack of people of color in science and engineering, I'd love to look at that wage gap.

Other Equal Pay Day links of note:

12 February 2010

Why Can't We Walk Away from Our Mortgages?

This was originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog.

There is a reported rise in people simply walking away from their mortgages. To me, that's pretty darn scary. And what's more, considering that the Obama-backed refinancing program isn't all it's chalked up to be, I can picture more people doing this. And why shouldn't they? Businesses do it without much repercussion. Well, the big stick in this picture is our credit history. Walk away from your mortgage and who knows what the future has for you?

The credit risk is high and akin to smashing a mirror on purpose -- back out of a mortgage and get yourself seven years of bad credit. There's also the theory that by walking away from your dream home that is underwater, you start to sink your neighbor's dream as well. That's a lot of guilt to manage.

On a recent NPR segment,
a caller named Bill said he thought that paying one's mortgage was the morally correct thing to do. Brent White, law professor from the University of Arizona, responded, "I think this works to the advantage of lenders who actually understand that a contract is not a moral document, it's a legal document."

What I don't understand is how an abandoned business doesn't impact the value of my home, but a foreclosed condo does. The inequality in the economic landscape between businesses and individuals continues to grow and grow... At least in our awareness of the inequality anyway.

10 November 2009

Will the recession change our view of homelessness? - From AWEARNESS

Originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog

Fellow AWEARNESS writer David Alm shed a light recently on the plight of teenage runaways. Having to cope with economic uncertainty ripping their families apart, and even sex slavery (that's what I call underage prostitution, especially when it involves 10-year-olds), many of our nation's youth are facing tough times that can result in homelessness. Even my favorite "Golden Girl," Bea Arthur, chimed in on the topic from the heavens when her estate revealed last week that she left $300,000 to a gay youth shelter. Now that's being a friend to the end. . . and then some!
But if there is any silver lining whatsoever to the cloud of homelessness, it's that the media are beginning to show homelessness in a new, human, light. The Chicago Tribune just profiled a family who goes between living in a storage unit and various motels. Why is this news? Because it is straining our education systems:
Ron O'Connor, Will County's homeless liaison, said this academic year has been like no other. 'Where we used to see single moms, maybe leaving a domestic situation, now we're seeing more and more two-parent homes that just aren't making it,' O'Connor said. 'That's never happened before.'
The Tribune profiled a working family. They aren't slackers, but people whose jobs were hit hard by the recession. This profile, and others like it, gives a face to the homelessness crisis and shows readers that not only lazy "bums" are struggling to find shelter. This is happening to families and individuals of all walks of life, and it could happen to just about anyone - even you.

This got me thinking. . . Will profiling families like this help the homelessness problem? Will we stop assuming that people live on the street because they are lazy and don't want to work? Can we begin to see them as human beings who caught a bad break or have other issues which require outside help? The face of a homeless person appears to be changing in the media, but many of the factors that contribute to the situation are the same. In fact, NOW on PBS updated their website on homelessness to reflect the new statistics on homelessness.

If one good thing comes from the current recession and the increase in homelessness, I do hope it is a change in our culture's notion of who is homeless and most importantly, why.

28 September 2009

Nurturing Responsible Privilege

Can it be done? I sure hope so.

While I still identify with my working class background, I also acknowledge the numerous privileges I have earned. My mother always let my sisters and I know that my parents moved us into our school district for the "better" education we would get. This wasn't just so we would get a good education, it was so that we would have better career options than our parents had and thus for our children to have a "better" life.

So here I sit with bachelor's and masters degrees in my fairly comfortable upper middle class life. wow.

What got me thinking about all of this were two things:

1) Our daughter came home with a note about an after-school science program. My husband asked her if she wanted to do it and she said yes. He immediately filled out the application and was ready to grab the checkbook to pay the almost $200 fee. WOW. I pulled out of Model UN and color guard camp for money reasons. Thus when I did get to participate in something it was a real privilege. One reason why I started working in high school was so that I could buy my own shampoo that was cruelty-free. My dad worked for a major cosmetic company (that tested on animals) and we got a ton of free stuff. The fact that we can pay for an after-school program without much thought is still breathtaking to me.

2) My daughter was skipping and jumping around campus on Friday. She said that it was her home. She was toting her notepads and crayons in a tote bag that I got in New Orleans at the 1996 American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Annual Meeting. Seriously, how many kids are this exposed to science at this age? At all? I was sitting, watching her climb and was overcome with jealousy.

I am jealous of all the things we will be able to provide her that I could only dream of when I was a kid. If she wants to go to Space Camp, done. Tennis shoes worn out? Let's head to the store. Sports lessons? Sure thing. What keeps her from being six with six different lessons is our desire to not wear her too thin.

In the same heartbeat I am proud that we can provide her with these things. We played by the rules: Worked hard, went to college and got good paying jobs. We have been rewarded - not richly, but just enough.

Now I'm pondering how do I raise her to value all these things that we can provide her? How to raise her with knowledge of how we got to this point without being all "when I was your age..." I feel like we're at this critical point in her development that if I don't figure it out, she'll grow up to be a spoiled ungrateful kid. Then again, she's such a loving and caring person that it's hard to see her turn out like that ever.

Perhaps living in an old home where we put plastic on the windows in the winter and still haven't remodeled the kitchen will help temper her own view of her privilege.


Note: I put better in quotes here because it's a value judgement. Was my childhood terrible? No. Could it had been better with more money in the bank? Maybe. Will my daughter have a better childhood? Can't say. But she will have more opportunities than I did.

11 February 2009

Guest Post:: What stimulus could mean if it included the formerly incarcerated

By Seth Wessler




Fourteen months ago, Vincent, a slim 46-year-old Black man with a youngish face and a pressed plaid shirt, worked as a maintenance technician in Detroit. He’d been with the company for almost three months, but five days before he would have become eligible for full-time hire and benefits, his employer ran a criminal background check, and told Vincent to pack up.

“A lot of times, they cut you out of the job before they hire you in [full time],” Vincent said, sitting at a diner near the temporary worker center where he waits for work from 8 am to 6 pm every day.

Vincent has had a few temporary jobs since but hasn’t found even a day of work in recent weeks. A breaking and entering conviction from 25 years ago follows him everywhere. “It’s real hurtful to know that your chances are so broke down to zero,” he said.

I met Vincent last month while traveling the country to explore the hidden impacts of the recession for my job at a racial justice think tank. Dozens of people told me how criminal background checks punish them indefinitely by imposing life-long barriers to successful employment and housing. The policies make reentry an uphill battle, negating the criminal justice system’s putative aim of rehabilitating prisoners. They also block our collective need to get people working in this economic crisis. Inequitable rates of joblessness and poverty are bad for all of us.

Millions of people leave jails and prisons every year and that number is about to grow. Citing unconstitutional health conditions, a panel of federal judges on Monday told the state of California to reduce prison overcrowding by 55,000 people, about a third of the total state prison population, over the next three years.

If the ruling holds up to appeal, tens of thousands of people, overwhelmingly Black and Latino, could return to their communities. But, like Vincent, these men and women will find themselves with no real chance of getting a job, having a place to live and supporting themselves – in short, the situation that Vincent is in.

The White House has appropriately put creating and saving jobs at the center of the stimulus plan. But for people with criminal records, the prospects of inclusion in the national recovery are dismal. It’s not enough to create a job when a quick criminal background check will result in so many people losing it or not getting it at all. Those with prior convictions will be excluded from the game before the starting whistle sounds.

Communities of color experience higher rates of joblessness. This is due in part to the damning mix of the stigma of having a criminal record, the assumption that ex-prisoners can never redeem themselves, the ensuing ban on public employment for people with felony convictions and the practice of employers doing background checks.

According to Princeton sociologist Devah Pager, joblessness among former prisoners after a year is somewhere around 75 percent -- three times the level among the same population before incarceration. The trend toward never-ending punishment, even after people have served their time, infects communities of color, especially Black people, with particular venom.

So why does it matter to white people in places like Orange County, California or Flint, Michigan that three quarters of formerly incarcerated people in places like Oakland or Detroit can’t get a job a year after prison?

Because racial inequity eventually hurts us all.

Consider, for example, the subprime mortgage crisis. It could not have occurred without a whole population of people of color whose economic and political vulnerability made them easy targets for exploitative loan products, which eventually spread out to other homeowners and took down the entire mortgage industry. And that kind of inequity is growing. In January Black and Latino unemployment was 12.6 and 9.7 percent respectively, compared to 6.9 percent for whites. Black and Latino poverty is close to 3 times that of whites. To get this economy moving again, we need people working, spending and paying taxes.

Fixing inequity is a prerequisite for constructing a healthy and just economy. As historians tell us, massive inequity preceded and contributed to the Great Depression. Removing concrete barriers to employment is one step in that direction. As we are implementing this stimulus plan, we should at the very least expunge the records of people with non-violent convictions, as the state of Illinois did in 2005. We should also severely limit employers’ rights to conduct criminal background checks, especially in situations like Vincent’s, whose employer routinely used them to keep the workforce temporary and insecure.

At the diner in Detroit, as the waitress dropped our check, Vincent said, “I look at myself every day that I get up and I actually wonder if it’s going to be the day that things totally fall apart.” It’s up to us to prevent that, starting with changing the rules that now sentence people to a lifetime of punishment.

Seth Wessler is a research associate at the Applied Research Center. Cross-posted from RaceWire.

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If you are interested in guest posting at Viva la Feminista, please feel free to contact me!

01 October 2008

Economics + Feministas

In my attempt to understand economics better, I've made friendly with Susan F. Feiner. I asked her a few months ago if she could address the issue of and this is what she sent me:

A friend and colleague, Robert Pollin (see PERI, political economy research institute) has done fabulous work on fair trade (and living wages). In his book Contours of Descent he works up an example asking "what would happen to US retail prices if the wages paid to workers in Mexican garment assembly factories in the maquiladora zone were paid a Mexican living wage?" The answer is surprising: US retail prices MIGHT go up as much as ten cents (on items that now cost around $25), or the price increase might be as little as a nickel.

Like Pollin I think most Americans would be happy to pay ten cents more for a $25 shirt or pair of pants if they knew that meant the workers making the clothes were receiving a living wage.

If you'd like I can explain the real reasons politicians regale us with tales of "free trade." Basically opening other weaker, poorer nations to our exports makes our trading partners dependent on us. Which feeds corporate profits. But few people in developing nations can buy much of what we make and export .. except for food stuffs. So the free trade mainly displaces the poorest farmers, making more unemployment in developing countries, without creating a single job here. A bad deal all the way around. Except for agri-businesses and the bankers who lend to them.
So after I wrote my Work it, Mom! piece this week, I sent Susan the link and asked her to please comment. AND WHOA BOY DID SHE! Here's a snippet, but please click the links to her comments. Skip my piece if you will, but read her comments. I have a much better understanding of what mess we're in.

OK, now to explain what the Treasury will do once it takes the dubious assets off the hands of the banks.

The banks and other players are holding BUNDLES of mortgages. Each bundle has upwards of 5000 mortgages in it. Some of the mortgages are sub prime, some are just fine, some are in foreclosure, some are already foreclosed, some were written fraudulently. A big F***ing mess.


If my econ prof had swore like this I might have a PhD in it by now.

04 September 2008

Hockey Mom vs. Soccer Mom

I was thinking about how Palin keeps touting her experience as a hockey mom, that I'm a full fledged soccer mom now (practice was yesterday!) then I was inspired by Mamita Mala's post about privilege, I thought that I'd price out the starting cost for this executive experience:

All prices are from Sports Authority. Please leave a comment if you think I forgot a piece of equipment. I left out things that might be under uniform (t-shirt, jersey, etc.) and I priced things out as cheap as possible on both sides.

Hockey Equipment Cost
Soccer Equipment Cost
Easton Synergy SY50 Senior Ice Hockey Skate 49.99
Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball 9.99
Nike Bauer Supreme 30 Senior Ice Hockey Shoulder Pads 59.99
Pro Feet Mens Acrylic All-Sport Team Sock - Minimum 2 Pairs Per Order 2.99
Nike Bauer Supreme 30 Senior Ice Hockey Elbow Pads 39.99
Lotto Stadio Azzurri Team FG 2T Soccer Cleat Mens 44.99
Nike Bauer Supreme 30 Senior Ice Hockey Shin Guards 24.97
adidas Predator Lite Shin Guards 6.99
Nike Bauer 1500 Ice Hockey Helmet & Cage Combo 44.99
adidas Valiente Short Mens 19.99
Koho 2100 Ultimate Senior Hockey Stick with ABS Blade 14.99







Total 234.92
Total 84.95


Something makes me think that the experience of a hockey mom isn't as shared as the GOP wants us to think.

10 June 2008

Happy Birthday, Equal Pay Act!

You're 45, but don't look a day over 5.

Why? Because Fair Pay is still an issue, so it's hard to believe that you are 45. That for 45 years we have had fair pay "the law of the land" yet we still wonder if the man down the hall is getting paid more than we.

You are the law that made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform equal work — which was signed by President Kennedy back in 1963. Since women still only earn 77 cents to the dollar, you are in desperate need of some back-up. But even though several bills have been introduced repeatedly — including the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act — Congress still hasn’t stepped up to the plate. Plus, of course, the Senate still hasn’t passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have a major impact on the lives of women who’ve been subject to pay discrimination.

Of course, we wouldn't know if we were being discriminated against because some people don't have the legal right to know what everyone else is being paid.

So, on your birthday, I thank you for at least being on the books so we have something to point to when we know we're being screwed. The only present I can give you is some company and perhaps wishing you a new Supreme Court who will recognize your strength and allow you to do your work. Maybe I'll send my Senators (one of which is a Presidential candidate) a card reminding them that it's your birthday! Now they can really get you something.

Technorati tags: Fair Pay, Equal Pay, NWLC

29 May 2008

I'm in love

Remember my post about a new feminist economics blog? Well, there's another!

Susan Feiner left a comment to let me know about her blog. I just zoomed thru her first posts and I am in love. Not sure if with her or the idea of feminist economics, but it's love. Here are just a few snippets from her blog:

  • 45 years ago American feminist Betty Friedan saw how suburban isolation undermined women’s health and restricted women’s choices. In a now classic essay, “The Problem That Has No Name” Friedan successfully linked the repressive domesticity of the 1950s to suburbanization.

    Friedan’s analysis was pooh-poohed as a “women’s” issue.

    Coming soon to a station near you: $5.00/gallon gas. VOILLA!

  • Here’s the basic idea. In a recession, people are losing their jobs, businesses are cutting back, and the level of private spending is falling off. The government can step in and replace some of the purchasing power that’s disappead. People without jobs have no income so their spending goes down, a lot! In today’s world of highly indebted consumers the loss of a job is even more disastrous, since people have so little put aside in savings.

    In the face of a recession government can, for starters, extend unemployment insurance. This puts spendable income directly in the hands of people who’ve lost jobs.


    But, and here’s a critically important point for women: part-time workers are not eligible for unemployment compensation. Most part time workers are adult women. So extending unemployment insurance is not going to be much help. Congress could enact changes in the program that would make part time workers eligible.
For reals...go check her out. I know I'm a big time nrrd, but I don't think she's writing above anyone's head over there. Which in itself is proof of feminism. (Yeah, I'm looking at you Judith Butler!)

Technorati tags: Susan Feiner, economics, feminism

21 May 2008

Feminist Economics

I have a some-what secret obsession...economics.

I've only taken one economics course and I HAD to take it for my master's degree. I dreaded it like nothing I've ever taken before - Yes, even Organic Chemistry was less of a dread. My freshman year of college, my roommate's (not the hubby!) dad was a well-known economist. He had held positions in I think the Bush I administration and kept bugging me to take economics. "You're a smart girl and I think you'd like it." GAG! Economics? Learning about the market forces that I knew were keeping poor people poor?

Well, yes...I really did need to know about that.

That said, during my econ course, I swear I must have made the instructor so upset that he wanted to kill me. This was microecon I...total intro to econ course, thus reality was to be left at the door. Except that NO ONE told me that!

I vividly recall one night where he was talking market forces, supply & demand, and why local entities shouldn't tax businesses because there will always be a town down the road that will lower their taxes for the right business. He then went to make the case that we as employees were the same. That health care packages were like tax breaks. If we were unsatisfied with our health care package, we can always go find another job.

WTF!?

My arm shot up and I argued. "Um, not everyone has the luxury to go and find another job." We argued for quite some time until I realized that I wasn't going to win and he wasn't going to stray from the party line.

That's why I was PSYCHED to read that Allison from Shameless has a feminist economics blog! It's called Economic Woman and you should must check it out. Don't worry, as much as I am a nrrd, I'm not Alex P. Keaton...I need my economics translated into human talk as much as the next grrl.

There's also this piece from Beacon Broadside on how my generation is failing to do even just as good as our parents. Err...well in a general sense anyway. My parents & the hubby's parents really struggled to do half the things we can do for our daughter today. Yet, despite us making more money than I believe all three of our parents make together, we still aren't living la vida loca the way were to told growing up. As poor Latin@ kids we were told that if we just worked hard enough we could go to college and get good jobs and not worry about money. Of course student loans and a craptastic economy wasn't in that scenario. Nan Mooney brings us these fantabulous statistics:

  • Consider these statistics: College tuitions have gone up 35 percent in the past five years. The average college graduate today carries close to $20,000 in student loan debt. For those who also attend graduate school, the average debt rises to $46,000.

  • In the late 80s, 56 percent of major corporations still believed that “employees who are loyal to the company and further its business goals deserve an assurance of continued employment.” By the late 90s, that number dropped to just 6 percent.

  • Health care premiums have increased at five times the rate of inflation since 2000. 46.6 million Americans lack health insurance, almost twice as many as in 1980.

  • Between 1992 and 2005 CEO pay — including wages, bonuses and stock options — rose a staggering 186 percent, while the average worker experienced an income gain of just 7 percent.

  • The United States is one of only two industrialized countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave to its citizens. In an international survey compiled by the Project on Global Working Families, out of over 168 countries studied, 96 guarantee paid annual leave, 45 also guarantee some form of paid paternal leave for fathers, and 37 mandate paid leave specifically designated for caring for sick children. The U.S. is not among them.

  • The net worth of black and Latino college graduates is similar to the net worth of white high school graduates.

  • In 1949, mortgages were equal to 19.7 percent of disposable income; in 2000, they had risen to 66 percent; in 2005, they reached 96 percent of disposable income.

  • The wealthiest 400 tax payers in the country now pay the same percentage of their earnings in income, Social Security and Medicare taxes as families earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year, those at the heart of the middle class.

  • 2005 was the first year since the Great Depression in which Americans spent more than they earned.

So if you're still in college and have access to an econ class...take it. It'll pay off in you being able to use fancy economic words when people shrug and say, "It's market forces!"

Technorati tags: feminism, economics

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