Concerned about income inequality? Meet one of the causes.
There’s one thing we learned for sure this election year: If you want to get people excited, promise to fix the economy.Every economist and politician worth their salt have different ideas about how we can close the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and there’s one tried-and-true solution that lots of them keep coming back to: trickle-down economics. But aside from being named after something that conjures up images of faucets clogged with who-knows-what, what exactly are they? And, more importantly, do they work?To answer that question, we need to go back a few decades. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan became president after promising to reinvigorate the economy by cutting taxes on wealthy Americans. Their wealth, he promised, would inspire them to spend more on their businesses, creating jobs and wealth for the people in income brackets below them. Those people would do the same, albeit with less cash to spend, and their spent wealth would “trickle down” to the poorest of the poor. The rich would benefit, and the poor would benefit from the rich. Everyone wins! Reagan introduces his tax plan, which he never referred to as trickle-down economics, calling it “Reaganomics” or “supply-side economics” instead. Image via Reagan Library/Wikimedia Commons. Trickle-down economics sounds like an idea that might work. Except its benefits are, to put it mildly, not exactly as advertised. Here are a few important reasons why:1. Trickle down really trickles right back up. Image by Heather Libby/Upworthy. According to smart folks who studied the impact of Reagan’s tax cuts, the wealth he promised would “trickle down” ended up “trickling mostly up,” making income inequality worse. Between 1979 and 2005, after-tax household income rose 6% for the bottom fifth. That sounds great until you see what happened for the top fifth — an 80% increase in income. That split has become even worse since then. Income inequ
Concerned about income inequality? Meet one of the causes.
Five days after Americans celebrate and honor Martin Luther King Jr., Donald Trump will be inaugurated as our 45th president.It’s been nearly 50 years since King was assassinated for his role as a leader in the fight for civil rights and racial equality. As we enter this new era — one in which, for many, it feels like King’s dream of America is far out of reach — it’s more important than ever to reflect on what King truly stood for. Here are 27 quotes from the man himself that show us his actual ideal vision of America — and how far we still have to go before we get there. Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington, D.C. Photo by AFP/Getty Images. 1. King reminded us to stand up and speak out against the injustices we see in our world.”To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor,” King wrote in his essay “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression.” “Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. … To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right.”2. It’s better to be frustrated with an unjust world than to just accept it.In his sermon at Temple Israel of Hollywood, King said, “There are some things in our nation to which I’m proud to be maladjusted, to which I call upon all men of goodwill to be maladjusted until the good society is realized. … I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.”3. Just because something is legal, that doesn’t make it right, and not everything that is illegal is wrong.”One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. C
It all started with a congressional art contest. The winner would get to display their painting in the long hallway that connects House office buildings to the U.S. Capitol. It would be seen by thousands of people, including some of the most powerful in the country — members of Congress, staffers, lobbyists, and visitors. David Pulphus, an 18-year-old student in the Missouri district represented by Rep. Lacy Clay, won the contest with his striking painting of a violent and tense clash between police and protestors — a nod to the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, that garnered national attention in 2014 after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. If you want a better look at the painting: pic.twitter.com/QOnPSj6Dik— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 10, 2017 As promised, Pulphus’ painting was displayed in the hallway of the U.S. Capitol complex, where it hung for seven months. Then things got interesting. For better or worse, the painting has become the centerpiece of a complicated conversation about race, power, and the role of art in politics. The painting depicts police officers as pigs. Literally. (Actually, they’re more warthog-ish, but that’s just my interpretation.) Some police organizations took issue with this depiction and asked, in a strongly worded letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, that the painting be taken down. Shortly after, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California) took it down himself. Then Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) put it back up. A few hours later, two other Republican representatives — Dana Rohrabacher and Brian Babin — took it down again. Dana Rohrabacher and Brian Babin are taking the painting down again and bringing it to Clays office pic.twitter.com/d83Mj858bG— Alex Gangitano (@AlexGangitano) January 10, 2017 If the point of art is to get people talking, here are three big questions we should be talking about:1. First, what really is “offensive”? And what should you do when yo
“It’s time for our young girls to have a new standard.”
Not long ago, Angelica and Jason Sweeting were driving home when their 3-year-old daughter Sophia started crying and wouldn’t stop.When they asked her what was wrong, Sophia told them that she hated her dark hair and dark skin and wanted to look like Barbie or Elsa, with long blond hair and white skin.She told them she’d never be beautiful because she didn’t look like those dolls. Sophia’s fear hit the couple at their core. They took a hard look at the images their daughter was regularly exposed to, and they promptly saw the problem glaring back at them.The way Sophia looked wasn’t well-represented — not in the media nor in the toys she played with.They looked everywhere for a black doll that resembled Sophia but couldn’t find one.Yes, there are black dolls and Barbies on the market, but most are simply dark-skinned versions of white dolls. Few offer features that many black girls like Sophia see when they look in the mirror — like wider noses or fuller lips — and even fewer dolls come in a variety of skin tones. Meet my Co-Founders and biggest inspiration! Sophia + Sydney A photo posted by Beauty Doesn’t Come In A Box! (@naturallyperfectdolls) on Feb 8, 2015 at 6:05pm PST According to the Census Bureau, there are now more racial and ethnic minority children under 5 years old than white children under 5. While dolls have diversified significantly in recent years, it’s still a struggle for many parents to find dolls that accurately reflect their children’s specific demographic identities.Dissatisfied with the limited doll options available, Angelica and Jason decided to create their own doll. Happy Monday and first day of summer!!! We are still on track to ship out pre orders next month! Don’t miss out, we are almost sold out! Click the link in the bio! A photo posted by Beauty Doesn’t Come In A Box! (@naturallyperfectdolls) on Jun 20, 2016 at 3:39pm PDT Their first 18-inch doll, named Angel
Josette Belant has never planned a protest before. Much less one that might draw thousands of people to the streets of her hometown.Belant, a scheduler at a primary care clinic, was eager to lend a hand when her friend invited 15 people to a women’s march in their hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, on Jan. 21, in solidarity with the larger women’s march in Washington, D.C. She joined the steering committee along with two other friends, and buzz swiftly, unexpectedly spread far beyond the tight-knit group. Photo via iStock. As of January 11, over 6,400 people have indicated they’re going to the Madison rally. “We were angry. I mean that’s what a lot of it comes down to — is being done with it. Needing to do something is a very powerful feeling,” Belant says.While thousands of Americans are marching in Washington, D.C., thousands more are planning to attend “sister marches” in their home states across America.Many of the sister marches are being helmed by first-time organizers. Women’s march organizers state that nearly 300 solidarity rallies will take place around the world on the 21st. “I’ve never really been political or an activist really up until this past year,” says Billie Mays, an organizer with Women’s March Cincinnati. When one of her fellow organizers created a Facebook event to send a local delegation to Washington, D.C., she was the first one to volunteer help. The committee, which was soon joined by half a dozen others, came up with the idea to hold a local rally in addition — which they planned over four 18-hour days between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2.The weekend was a crash course in event planning for Mays — figuring out how to secure permits, raise money, and acquire insurance, among other tasks. “So many people feel like this, and they’re fearful, and they’re scared of what’s going to happen to themselves, their families, their friends, their coworkers. And it’s just been a growing movement,” she says.Mays, an administrative assistant, explains that
The history of bread wars have a lot to tell us about conflicts today.
You might have heard the saying “We’re only three square meals away from anarchy.” It turns out that for many people throughout the centuries, that meal was … bread. Bread is actually one of the oldest, cheapest prepared foods in the world, with archeological evidence dating it back at least 30,000 years. Historical accounts of breadmaking often say the Roman Pliny the Elder first detailed how the skim from beer was used to aerate bread. In ancient Egypt, the workers who built the pyramids are believed to have been given a daily allowance of bread loaves. Grain farmers in ancient Egypt. Image via iStock. Even today, a word used in Egypt for bread is “aish,” which means “life.” It’s also considered haram, or taboo, to cut bread with a knife in many Middle Eastern countries. If you’re like many Americans, you might wonder what your love/hate relationship with all of that gluten-y, carbelicious goodness has to do with centuries of civil conflict or even the recent Syrian crisis. It turns out that there’s an actual historical correlation between an increase in grain prices and civil unrest. A crowd throws bread in Stockport, Lancashire, in 1842. Image via Getty Images. That’s because bread, a magical alchemy of grain, yeast, and water, has managed to sustain poor people for centuries. Historically, when people could no longer afford bread, they knew they would starve. So they revolted. Entire nations have even toppled because of a lack of access to bread. We might not realize it, but bread uprisings throughout history have a lot to tell us about the global crises of today. Here are five of the bread revolts that have changed the course of history: 1. Flour Wars, France, 1775 Original lithograph of the French Revolution, 1789. Image via Getty Images. Surprisingly, Marie-Antoinette may never have told French peasants to eat cake. According to historians, it might have actually been F
For the first time ever, Lady Liberty will be depicted as a woman of color on U.S. currency.To celebrate its 225th anniversary, the U.S. Mint and Treasury unveiled a brand new $100 coin — made of solid gold — that features Lady Liberty as a black woman. Treasury & Mint officials unveiled the 2017 American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin! https://t.co/HkfcPN5Enq #USMint225 @USTreasury pic.twitter.com/0ShGHPn5oF— United States Mint (@usmint) January 12, 2017 “As we as a nation continue to evolve, so does liberty’s representation,” said U.S. Mint chief of staff Elisa Basnight at the coin’s unveiling ceremony.The coin, mostly a collector’s item, is the first of a series of 24-karat gold coins that are a beautiful nod to America’s diversity. The other coins in the series, the Mint announced, will feature a variety of Lady Liberty etchings, “including designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.”Since 1792, all U.S. coins have been required to feature an “impression emblematic of liberty,” and what could be more emblematic of liberty than diversity? The coins are also the latest move to make the faces on our currency more representative of the variety of important historical figures that have made America what it is today. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. In April 2016, the U.S. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman will appear on the $20 bill starting in 2020 — making her the first black woman to be featured on the front of a U.S. bill.As the United States becomes more and more diverse, and as we continue making progress in the fight for racial justice, gender equality, and equal rights — progress that will no doubt be met with resistence — representation like this will become more and more important.Displaying Lady Liberty — America’s most enduring symbol of hope and freedom — as a series of women of color sends a clear message that divers
The health care law is a hot topic in politics, but what about the people who rely on it?
A year after being diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, Kelly Angard is waging a fight for not only her life, but for millions of others.Over the past 12 months, the 52-year-old self-employed photographer and artist has undergone chemotherapy and surgery and is once again going through another round of chemo. With insurance, her treatment costs her around $16 per month; without insurance, her out of pocket costs rise to more than $5,200 per month — unaffordable on virtually anyone’s budget. Without treatment, it’s probable that her cancer would reach a terminal stage within months. Kelly Angard and her daughter. Photo courtesy of Kelly Angard. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Angard would have found it nearly impossible to find health insurance. Thanks to the 2010 law, also known as “Obamacare,” Angard couldn’t be denied coverage on the basis of having a preexisting condition. At the time of her diagnosis, Angard was still on her recently-separated husband’s insurance, and while she was able to stay on his plan for a while, she’d eventually found herself in need of her own policy. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she couldn’t be turned away due to her cancer diagnosis.November’s election brought a renewed call from the law’s opponents for its repeal. That’s when it hit home for Angard that she may soon lose what coverage she has.”It hit me like a freight train,” she says, noting that she had been rediagnosed just weeks before the election. Photo courtesy of Kelly Angard. She teamed up with two other women to create Faces of the ACA, a website dedicated to boosting the stories of individuals whose lives have been saved because of the law.The political rhetoric surrounding the law has overshadowed the reality of what its repeal would mean to the millions of people who benefit from it. Angard, along with others who have benefitted from the law, launched
You’re at the bar with your friends. Over a couple of cold ones and maybe a handful of peanuts, you talk about sports, politics, and … consent?That’s exactly what the four women behind Aisle 4, a “curatorial collective” based in Toronto, want to see more of in the world.Shannon Linde and the other curators work with local artists to create socially-engaged artwork that lives in the real world, not on gallery walls. Finding a way to tackle the topic of women’s safety in bars has been on their agenda for a while.”This has come up quite a bit. I mean, we are four women,” Linde says. “People making an effort to change the dangerous climate is not happening as quickly as you would expect.” Aisle 4: Emily Fitzpatrick, Patricia Ritacca, Renée van der Avoird, and Shannon Linde. All photos by Aisle 4, used with permission. Aisle 4 worked with local artists in Toronto to design a series of eye-catching coasters that would spark conversations in bars around consent, harassment, and assault.It’s no secret any place where lots of alcohol is being consumed can be dangerous. From aggressive, leering Tinder dates, pushy would-be suitors, or even people following them home, women can face an absurd amount of peril for simply wanting to go out and have a drink.The coaster project, called “On the Table,” quietly reminds that “Consent matters” and implores people to “Listen to your gut.”Linde says she knows a coaster isn’t going to deter an attacker, for example, but hopefully getting small groups of people talking about the issues openly will have a positive effect. “A coaster can’t change patriarchy but it can remind you that gender is fluid and empathy is imperative.” By Hazel Meyer There’s been a bigger push recently to get bar and restaurant staff involved in the fight against harassment.Plenty of establishments have been in the news lately for adopting “safe words,” i.e. a woman can ask for “Angela” or order an “Angel shot” to alert the staff that she needs help.Criti