U.S. Student Homelessness Up 10% Since Last Year

On Bill Moyers last week, Henry Giroux talked about how our political system is willing to throw young people on the trash heap:

…. you have a whole generation of young people who are now seen as disposable.

They’re in debt, they’re unemployed. My friend, Zygmunt Bauman, calls them the zero generation: zero jobs, zero hope, zero possibilities, zero employment. And it seems to me when a country turns its back on its young people because they figure in investments not long term investments, they can’t be treated as simply commodities that are going to in some way provide an instant payback and extend the bottom line, they represent something more noble than that. They represent an indication of how the future is not going to mimic the present and what obligations people might have, social, political, moral and otherwise to allow that to happen, and we’ve defaulted on that possibility.

Another symptom is the general lack of concern about high and rising levels of homelessness among students. Of course, we’re supposed to be in a recovery, so we can’t acknowledge that American has rising levels of desperation for the lower orders. But the reality, as many here know altogether too well, is that only group that has shown meaningful gains over the last few years is the top 1%.


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46 comments

  1. Massinissa

    You know whats even worse than this though?

    That most people dont notice, and even if they did, most people wouldnt care.

    Americans. (mostly) Dont. Care. About much of anyone.

    A culture of callousness has been created in the last 40 years. Its… It has relatively little precedent. Not on this scale.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Actually I think many, even most, Americans do care about this. That’s why they voted for Obama in ’08 and ’12. The sad fact is that the media in this country has almost totally whitewashed the reality facing young people in favor of a narrative that paints them as self-involved narcissists. Only now are a majority of Americans realizing what a liar Obama is, but they are still brainwashed into thinking things are getting better. After all we’re in a recovery right? The media serves the corporate state. And the interests of the corporate state are to convince everyone things are pretty good and getting better, even to the point where they don’t believe their lying eyes. Many people think their experience of the economy, if not positive, is the abnormality. After all what we see on television all the time is affluent people having fun, or fantasies of pretty people, and the news media certainly avoids telling the truth.

      At some point this whitewash is going to fail (the cracks are already showing) and the anger that is already present is going to boil over. The reactions I’ve seen to movies like The Hunger Games is testimony to this truth. Many people simply don’t know what they can do, and are waiting for a groundswell to carry them along.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “The Hunger Games” is a series of books being turned into movies to appeal to teenage girls and morons, but the setting is a small society of super haves who use teenagers killing each as a spectacle to distract the masses. I guess Jennifer Lawrence fights back or at least speaks out instead of embracing the games after she wins which is why there are sequels. There is the Matt Damon movie with Jodie Foster.*

          Much like the Walking Dead, the sympathy for the character of Jesse Pinkman who is drug peddling thug who happened to be good at making drugs, and even the mass commercialism of characters who had once been limited to children and losers/nerds/outsiders (the plethora of superhero movies) demonstrates a desire for escape from the current society.

          Reality shows are about people debasing themselves to escape with riches which mimics the growing reality in the workplace.

          Take the youth obsession with Game of Thrones. The situation is static. Even the seasons last for years, the characters are fighting for survival of their families and so forth. There is no sense of community, or there is little sense. Admittedly, I don’t think the series deserves the praise and happen to think South Park’s take on the author is quite clever. The characters in Game of Thrones unlike the nameless peasants do seem to have some control in this world despite winters and summers which last for unknown lengths which readers/viewers find appealing. Take LoTR as an opposite piece of fantasy from a different period and way better. The main characters (The Hobbits) were fighting to preserve, but those same characters despite growing were also at the whim of larger forces such as finding the ring.

          There is the show “Duck Dynasty.” Its about multi-millionaires who are free to live life as the drunken hillbillies they are without fear of consequences of losing a job because they are rich. Americans love the show.

          The great anti-hero Dirty Harry was still a cop who played within the rules. His issues were with some bureaucratic problems, but at the end of day, the great anti-hero was an honest cop who was lauded for his efforts. Admittedly, I haven’t seen this series in a long time. The Lethal Weapons movies might be more upbeat, but those two characters bent the rules way more than Dirty Harry. In Star Trek, they worked for the government, but in the most recent Star Trek movie which I refuse to watch, the villain is the government or elements within the government. Kirk would violate orders or the prime directive from time to time, but most of the time, the show revolved around Kirk following orders and pushing his superior morality to demonstrate why stand-ins for 20th century humans were backwards even Spock.

          I think, despite arguments about quality, there is a sense something is seriously amiss in society, and the characters are raging against the system, rebelling against the system, or completely free of the system (Doctor Who and Duck Dynasty) except when they choose to interact.

          *I hate the movies, so I really have no idea what happens. I have to guess from commercials.

          1. TimR

            And FWIW, I’ve heard here and there that our intel types get involved with crafting major pop culture narratives, in the interests of “predictive programming” and such. Star Trek in particular supposedly had those kind of connections.

      1. Banger

        Certainly the propaganda organs are expertly and cynically run by political operatives and courtiers posing as “journalists” but most people kind of know that. But the need for conformity and a clear narrative trump truth and compassion. Most Americans have made the conscious choice to live in fantasies that buffer the hard knocks of the real world. Since the vast majority of Americans can afford the sports channels, porn, high heels, cheap clothes, games and endless and varied entertainment and silly trinkets they don care if a few “losers” can’t find jobs or shelter because contemporary morals are focused on narcissism.

    2. from Mexico

      The US has always been schizophrenic.

      If we want to talk about the high priests of “the culture of callousness,” we couldn’t find a better exemplar than Herbert Hoover, Mr. Callousness incarnate.

      Of course “the culture of callousness” always comes dressed up in the garb of self-righteous piety: at first as good Christian moral purity and/or political rectitude; more recently as the Gospel of efficiency, this change being brought about as a result of market fundamentalism subsuming Christianity in the age of “enlightenment.”

      Look at the Rockefellers, for instance. What we find here is nothing short of the Holy Family of “the culture of callousness.” PBS did a program on them which delves into this to a limited degree:

      http://video.pbs.org/video/2334127894/

      The grandaddy of the clan, John D. Rockefeller, wrapped himself in the garments of Christian piety and paraded as the big Protestant benefactor, all of course with the help of the Baptist priestly caste, which are some of the best preachers money can buy.

      But as the Canadian filmmaker Scott Noble documents in this video, successive generations of Rockefellers, and especially in the wake of the Ludlow massacre, have cloaked their callousness more in the garments of scientific management and neoclassical economics, all trotted out with the help of finest public relations experts and university academic departments that money can buy:

      http://metanoia-films.org/psywar/

      1. susan the other

        I think we care. We care enough to band together and fight when it comes down to it. In the meantime we make the mistake of being too patient and trusting and thinking politics will work for us. Interestingly it is the centennial of the Ludlow massacre. A shameful incident in Colorado against poor and starving miners who were little more than slaves. And at that time public outrage was rising rapidly. People were fed up with 30 years of oppression. The Haymarket riot, in Chicago; the brutal strike breakers working for Ford and the other industrialists. It may have been a time that was pre-television, but it was not pre-propaganda. FDR, in the early years of the depression, commissioned all sorts of mural art in public places depicting the wonders of American capitalism and prosperity. No images of brutality were allowed! Gag me perfection. It didn’t fool people as much as we are fooled today. There was a groundswell for socialism and the only thing that stopped it was WW2. It speaks well for us that even though we are bombarded with absurd propaganda today, we still are fundamentally outraged by the mismanagement of our society and the lack of justice on every level. We’ve all had enough. I don’t think we are callous – I think we are starting to turn purple and we’re gonna start losing our temper. At which point, because circumstances are so awful, public anger will cause a sea change. Even if the military lines up the tanks on the edge of the city, the city will still be overtaken. They couldn’t quell the revolution in the Middle East; they can’t do it here either.

    3. TimR

      I live in a red state so sitting around the Thanksgiving table with family I feel like an anthropologist trying to understand the psychology of a strange tribe, lol. I’ve been trying my whole life I guess, since I’ve never really lived elsewhere, but never accepted the prevailing dogmas on offer.

      They are schizophrenic as fM says below, they struggle with this stuff. Watching the news, they briefly accept the implicit subtext of a story that a family’s need for charity (owners of an organic bakery) this Thanksgiving seems due to wider economic forces, not their own perfidy. But in general conversation they can’t resist throwing in barbs whenever possible about the supposed greed of the low-income-groups for govt handouts; how all those benefits are coming straight out of their pockets (citing things like the “Obamaphone”, and some sort of truck subsidy(?) somebody bragged to them about getting.) All the rage and ire is focussed on the low-income groups — never, unless pressed, do they worry about subsidies to the wealthy, who are apparently magic totems of wealth generation, of such obvious virtue that it’s only their due to throw money at them, I guess… after all, the government (they think) is viciously trying to tax the wealth away from those brilliant job creators, so why shouldn’t they have it back. It’s *their* money in the first place.

      They concede a distaste for crony capitalism, and are disgusted that we don’t have a more pure form of free market capitalism in their eyes. They see corporate/government corruption. But still, the ire is mainly against the government, which *forces* poor benighted capitalists to be corrupt just to get along. The government and the poor who foolishly demand minimum wages (“it will only lead to higher joblessness!”) are the arch-villains of this piece.

      They are amazed by co-workers or friends who are middle-income like themselves, yet somehow support Obama or Democrats. This is a source of great amusement, consternation, and incredulity that these people don’t see the contradiction of their lived experience vs. their belief system. E.g., a woman who works at a big insurance company and concedes Obamacare’s implementation has been badly botched, yet still voted for O twice, and thinks that liberal policies in other sectors must be doing some good, despite her personal experience (and here I’m not knocking my red state brethren’s views entirely, this does sound weird..) Or e.g., a former small business owner, who was over-extended when the economy crashed, lost his business, and now works in the produce dept. of a grocery store — He provokes incredulity because, his employer cut his hours and blamed it on Obamacare; yet he blames the grocery store. This is incredible because as a small business owner in past life he ought to know his employer is only responding to incentives! (And again, I see where the TPers are coming from with this story.. My own problem is I see too many sides of issues..)

      So to wrap up, one thing else I might try to get across.. The dogma I think has a sort of religious fervor, the religion of (a brand of) Americanism. There’s a desperation barely beneath the surface, a defensiveness about the glory and greatness of this country, its riches (“even our poor people have TVs, cellphones”) as they maybe see the country crumbling but are too wedded to the propaganda of US greatness and goodness to let it go — their own identity wrapped up in that of the country. There’s ultimately no reasoning because it’s a religious certitude — not even the genuine religiousness held up as desirable by Chrisopher Lasch, that challenges the believer, but the debased religiosity derided by atheists, the religiosity of comforting dogma, a worldview of Manichean b&w that all new information is slotted into, viewed in terms of that prism — They have found the answer, and nothing will shake that. It’s not about the facts, since facts will be made to fit the story. I think this Great Recession is difficult because it shakes the foundations of the Story/ Religion, and their response is to only embrace the myth more fervently, more desperately, exactly as a religious fundamentalist might.

      And on a final final note, since I’m throwing in all but the kitchen sink, I found interesting some of my TP relatives who have been doing Bible study, were discussing how all the “minor prophets” really had a thing about helping the poor, how difficult it was to be rich and get to heaven (no wonder they’re “minor”!) and I guess they were noting that (rather inconclusively) because it maybe threw them a bit given their competing ideology of the virtuousness of wealth that they get from American/red state culture… happy thanksgiving y’all…

      1. Crazy Horse

        TimR, you are indeed an excellent anthropologist. The quasi-religious delusion you document forms the mainstream core belief system of the majority of Americans. And Americans must of necessity become masters of self-delusion to function in this society. Should they fail there are few avenues other than drug or alcohol addiction. The traditional working class reward of pride in craftsmanship (even while being exploited) has long since been globalized out of existence, leaving mostly jobs in finance and other forms of criminal activity as alternatives to working for Wallmart.

        As with so many other facets of the operation of Capitalism, Marx got it right when he coined the term “False Consciousness”. Although he certainly could not have conceived the extent to which the techniques for mass manufacture of belief systems have evolved, any more than he could have anticipated phenomena like I-Phone addiction.

        Of course delusion itself exists within the constraints of a real world and cannot be sustained indefinitely when it is contradicted by reality. Concentration of wealth has a mathematical limitation: the Lord and his vassals cannot survive in a world where all the subjects are dying of starvation. And the planet doesn’t care whether Jamie Dimon or Joe Smith dies from polluted air or a hurricane, or Wall Street recedes under a rising ocean as Co2 PPM doubles and doubles again.

      2. Banger

        Tim this a lovely comment and very moving. I think you are right in your analysis–this is a religious issue and it has very little to do with Christianity for most of these people is mainly a tribal facade because the ideology of most of the right is directly contrary to any possible interpretation of the New Testament. I believe that the minor prophet in the NT said something about a camel and an eye of a needle.

        Americans, including leftist intellectuals do not understand religion. Religion has nothing to do with attending religious services or signing on the dotted line under some list of “beliefs” (whatever that is). Religion is something you do every day and involves everything you do. In America the religion is codified this time of year in our major religious festivals, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both festivals feature consumption of food and the cornucopia of toys, trinkets and absurdities the world manufactures for the American hearth. There is absolutely nothing spiritual, moral (other than greed is good) that is celebrated. Other religious traditions torn from the soil of other countries (mostly) and other times are, at best, secondary gods.

        What Americans do is go to work in order to partake in their religious lives of “making” the substance of the American God of Money. If you are out there hustling for money you are virtuous. If you don’t have a job you are on the road to damnation. Breaking moral codes and laws are ok if money is your God. If you neglect your family, can’t get it up because you are too stressed–all that’s fine as long as you have a job. One of the main reasons the majority of Americans rejected Occupy was because they believed the protestors did not have regular jobs thus their views no longer had validity. Most Americans don’t get worked up about the largest crime wave and systematic con game ever seen in American history they were upset that young people were rejecting God (money)!

        Let me make something clear here most Americans are not monsters who care only for money as such they are, rather, pious people who would follow real Christianity if that was the national religion–they are, like most people everywhere, conformists who connect to whatever culture they live in and will do their sacred duty to buy junk for their relatives, friends and children even if they know that what they are buying is crap and that the people receiving the crap will think so as well after a week or so anyway. But they are pious enough to do their religious duty.

        I blame, first of all, “religious” leaders for, essentially, handing over their traditions to the Money God, the education system K-12 to grad school to the public intellectuals who have done very little promote either moral education or critical thinking. As for the rich oligarchs aren’t they merely following the national religion so how can we castigate them?

    4. The Commentator Formerly Known As A Real Black Person

      Education reinforces social inequality…it doesn’t solve it but the propaganda from the academics are formidable. Colleges don’t care if there are jobs for their students or not…they are just another interest group wishing to extract as much money from society as possible…They know that there When was the last time you saw any organization turn down money?
      We increasingly have a global civilization that only wants to allow a decent living to people in the top twenty percent of income or cognitive abilities. Everyone else will end up as expendable servants ,at best, or prisoners, at worst. Terrorism and Wars on Terror are really unconscious solutions to the situation of what to do with those outside the top 20% of income or cognitive abilities. Everyone here must have noticed how often military service is chosen as a solution to someone who doesn’t have a living wage job. The beautiful thing about military service is that it takes young men who might cause trouble out of the picture. War is a check on population and it exists throughout nature.

      It’s a mistake to attribute wealth concentration capitalism, but it seems like highly complex civilizations itself requires a large population of desperate people, otherwise known as “cheap labor”.
      “Neglecting the young contradicts all religious mandates.” You’re making a mistake of applying your religious beliefs unevenly– of evoking religion when it works to your advantage, which is what many religious people do.
      I see that the problem lies a little deeper than religion.
      I think it relies on personality, which I determines religiosity. Society is dominated by positive, and upbeat people. A lot of people are content with the system because 1. the system provides cheap food,
      2. the system provides welfare with no strings attached, 3. It’s much more comfortable for many to be a bottom feeder in an urban environment than to dry to forage for their own things as subsistence farmers.
      3. They are extremely gregarious and can get what they want and have convinced others they are only an “attitude adjustment” away from success.

      The numerous sycophant committees that our complex society is made up of will call for more sycophancy when confronted with any unglamorous question. More homogenization! More obedience!

      Religion, economics, and other paradigms were conceived of to maintain social hierarchies. Even democracies don’t necessarily lend themselves to more egalitarian outcomes. Judging from the forced implementation of democracies around the world, Democracies don’t seem to work without a middle class, and I mean a real middle class, not a bunch of educated people looking for work,many democracies are systems where rich people vote for and against each other based on slight disagreements OR systems where different groups fight over scarce resources.

  2. Calgacus

    That this incredibly rich nation (or the rich nations of Europe) have any homelessness at all is a crime. And this crime, this problem didn’t really exist 30 odd years ago, before the end of the 70s, with an enormous spike under Reagan. A rich, but rather poorer country back then had no trouble housing everyone. What’s interesting and sad is that many either are too young to know this, or have forgotten or brainwashed themselves that there were always throngs of homeless people. There weren’t.

    1. Spring Texan

      I think about this all the time — how have we come to accept this? In Austin where I live there’s a memorial service each year for the homeless dead through exposure in the past year and it’s some incredible number like over 100. I grew up in the 50s and yes there were “bowery bums” but that was in some other city like New York they were not everywhere. Some housing was very poor but it was housing and everyone practically had it.

      Lately there’s even anger directed at people who give the homeless the odd buck.

      No it’s very unpleasant having a bunch of homeless around but how have we come to accept that you can’t get at least minimally housed without having a huge amount of bucks?

      I don’t understand but keep please reminding people it was not always this way.

      1. Calgacus

        I think about this all the time — how have we come to accept this? Many simply don’t know, think it is “normal”, that it was always like this. Even people who are old enough to know better if they could consult their memory rather than their imagination – e.g. one MMT frequent commenter I know.

        I grew up in the 50s and yes there were “bowery bums” but that was in some other city like New York they were not everywhere. I’m from NY, and the Bowery was the only place you could see anything like this. But even then there were flophouses at night for most who drank their lives away. Basically, back then, you could be homeless if you tried hard to be, so it was extremely rare. Now you have to try hard not to be.

  3. middle seaman

    Neglecting the young contradicts all religious mandates. In this quite religious country the question becomes how moral are we? What do we really believe in? Apparently, we believe in nothing. Is Nothing the new religion?

    The economic solution to lower and avoid poverty means small level of unemployment somewhere around 4% with small percentage of part time jobs. A strong economy became the solution to lack of moral fiber. Yet, nowadays we tolerate and exploit huge practical unemployment. As long as the financial sector does well, the ruling classes rejoice, nothing else matters.

    In the past, the Republicans were blamed. Sadly, with few exceptions, the support for exploitive student lawns, cutting the government to the bone, lowering of social services, plans and designs to cut social security, minimal or no support for students get the full support of the whole political spectrum.

    1. from Mexico

      middle seaman says:

      Neglecting the young contradicts all religious mandates.

      You really need to brush up on your history of religion.

      It makes no difference whether we look at traditional religions like Christianity or modern secular faiths (e.g., neoconservatism, neoliberalism, neoclassicism, Nazism, fascism, Marxism, capitalism, American progressivism and other branches of an overarching religion of progress), religion is and alwys has been a double-edged sword.

      1. diptherio

        Hmmm…imo, sh*tty people do sh*tty things and will look to whatever is at hand to justify their sh*tty actions. The problem doesn’t lie with religion or democracy or philosophy, it lies with the people who use these things to justify their sh*tty actions and with the people who go along with it.

        Everything, not just religion, is a “two-edged sword.” As Ani Difranco puts it, “every tool is a weapon–if you hold it right”

        1. from Mexico

          Well I certainly am not one to completely dismiss the role and the responsibility of the individual in these matters.

          However, this is where the structuralist critique enters the picture. As Leonidas K. Cheliotis explains (emphasis mine):

          on the one hand, the instrumental and moral motives people consciously evoke to explain their attitudes and actions are in significant measure the justificatory expression of their unconscious instincts, and that, on the other hand, both the instinctual ‘substructure’ and its justificatory expression are moulded under the influence of socio-political factors and the overarching economic ‘superstructure’(Fromm, 1970).

          http://www.academia.edu/785864/Cheliotis_L._K._2013_Neoliberal_Capitalism_and_Middle-Class_Punitiveness_Bringing_Erich_Fromms_Materialistic_Psychoanalysis_to_Penology_Punishment_and_Society_15_3_247-273

          The Frommian argument extends beyond neo-Marxist variations to assert that the ruling orders “keep the proletarian swathes of the population under physical control” by “instilling into them beliefs and values that legitimate the reproduction of capitalist relations of production”:

          The argument here is not merely that socialization serves subtly to align mass desires and their pursuit with the interests of powerful economic elites and their political allies. This alignment, it is argued further, requires that socialization works simultaneously to misguide people into actively accepting the legitimacy of the desires and pursuits prescribed for them.

          But where do we draw the line between blaming the individual and blaming the culture? I find myself conflicted, and hold the elites of society, regardless of whether they be economic, cultural, religious or academic, to a much higher standard than the lower ones.

        2. Mansoor H. Khan

          diptherio said:

          Everything, not just religion, is a “two-edged sword.” As Ani Difranco puts it, “every tool is a weapon–if you hold it right”

          Diptherio,

          Do you know of any philosophy or “a way of thinking” that cannot be abused/mis-used by people with purely self serving intentions or even evil intentions?

          Or are you a nihilist?

          Mansoor H. Khan

          1. diptherio

            Can’t think of one off hand, but that doesn’t make me a nihilist.

            As the old saying goes, “even the Devil can quote scripture for his purpose.”

            The truth can be used in furtherance of a lie, but the truth is not negated thereby…if that makes sense…

          2. The Commentator Formerly Known As A Real Black Person

            So, what if he is a nihilist? Why is that relevant, when people don’t really follow religious texts, if it prevents them from exercising dominance or privilege? W

            I’d hate to think he/she could be socially marginalized to the point he/she is destitute or murdered for having unpopular personal beliefs, in the name of righteous and to preserve social unity. I’m glad that we don’t live in a barbaric, back-wards society like that.

            Although, I understand some people desire such a society where “faith” rules supreme.

            1. Mansoor H. Khan

              Nihilism is a problem!

              (Proper/Successful) Management of man’s affairs requires action based on principles and some kind of decisive philosophy based usually on human experience and sometimes on god’s experience (i.e., the scripture). Nihilism won’t cut it.

              Mansoor H. Khan

    2. diptherio

      Religion is for Sundays, as Kierkegaard once quipped, but come Monday a person best put away his concern with religion and morality if he hopes to become, or remain, an up-standing, well-respected, citizen.

      This quote from Aldous Huxley is quite as relevant today as it was in 1954:

      These false and, historically, aberrant and heretical [materialistic] doctrines are now systematically taught in our schools and repeated, day in, day out, by those anonymous writers of advertising copy who, more than any other teachers, provide European and American adults with their current philosophy of life. And so effective has been the propaganda that even professing Christians accept the heresy unquestioningly and are quite unconscious of its complete incompatibility with their own or anybody else’s religion.

      ~Aldous Huxley, from the introduction to The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita, translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

  4. Jim in SC

    I agree. There was not such a problem of homelessness in the 70s. In our state we weren’t taxing small landlords so much to fund the schools and driving up rents, and the regressive sales tax was less than half what it is today. It’s a vicious cycle: we pump more money into the schools to educate students for the ‘jobs of the future’, but the future comes, and there are no jobs. So we pump more money in, and tax more. Now it’s ‘an I-pad for everyone, or the jobs of the future won’t come here.’ So we float another bond issue. School superintendents are paid like financiers, until they hop to their next posting. Their job description should be include ‘be great at talking people in to borrowing lots of money for the jobs of the future.’ They are like The Music Man in Meridith Wilson’s musical.

  5. Ep3

    Yves, what I hear talked about so much on sports radio is how the student athlete needs a way to earn extra money. I point this out because the running joke in college is that Shaquille oneal did not make his fortune in the nba, he made it while in college. And, as u point out, the only concern is for those that set an example that agrees with what “they” want the story to follow. College sports makes billions of dollars. And it all funnels thru these outside organizations known as the NCAA.

  6. jal

    We are all dependents.

    Even the 0.01% are dependents.

    Being independent is a false concept.

    I’ve known a lot of people who are “unemployed” but work their ass off.

    Having “a job” only means generating a cash flow for yourself but mainly generating “a surplus” for someone else to have “a profit” from your efforts.

    Starting your own way, (business), of generating a cash flow requires that you will be unemployed, without a job and not generating a profit and surviving on the accumulations from other sources. (if you eventually succeed, you’ll get praises)

    Look at the rest of the world where they don’t have any support structures for the unemployed. Those people know what they must do to survive.

    Being independent is a false concept.

  7. PQS

    I’ve been saying for a while now that I can’t imagine a quicker road to revolution than denying entire generations a future.

  8. Jesse

    I’m someone who has the somewhat unique status as a college dropout who returned and finally finished his degree in the immediate period after the crisis. I feel it’s difficult to express just how vastly outcomes have changed in such a short period of time. And I’m not talking about the Boomer/Millenial divide here

    I know this is unscientific/anecdotal evidence, but I knew someone who graduated in the 05/06 era who received several “likes” by slamming new graduates who wouldn’t take jobs working at McDonalds and such. Several people (grads from that era) commented about how bad their first jobs were, etc. I don’t doubt that their first jobs were shitty, it’s just that there is a massive difference between getting a full time job that allows you to work your way up, and a part time one (no benefits or evwn gauranteed hours) that is an automatic dead end.

    Meanwhile I know people who graduated in the post-recession era who still aren’t working full time jobs 3 or 4 years later.

    This massive division in outcomes over such a short period of time is definitely worthy of study and could potentially explain why there isn’t a more unified voice against what has happened.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      A majority of the problem is the tribal devotion to one’s particular sports team or American political party.

      Emotional investment and self-image aren’t given the credit they are due when it comes to explaining behavior.

      Look at the Obots who cried when Obama was inaugurated then denounced anyone to the left of Torquemada for not clapping louder. At some point, they have to either give up their devotion to Obama or claim success, and rising poverty has to be ignored to claim success. Its really no different than the rally for Joe Paterno by Penn State students.

    2. The Commentator Formerly Known As A Real Black Person

      The big change in outcome may revolve around the fact that without the existence of some kind of non-productive, speculative economic bubble, that there has been a permanent decrease in demand for the sheer number of college graduates. The lecture that everyone under the age of 35 had been getting about the gains of college education was based on rosy, optimistic, upbeat, and inaccurate predictions that predicted that demand for degreed high skill workers would grow proportionately with the stock market volumes. The correlations between economic growth, and labor market participation has permanently been broken, and we are finally starting to see the effects of outsourcing,robotics and computer technology. Every semi-industrialized country in the world is having trouble putting their college educated bodies to work and the U.S. and Europe can no longer take in waves of educated workers from developing countries and put them to productive use, despite what corporations and finance companies may say. There is strong demand, I think, for the high aptitude geniuses or elites with money to burn…but not for the average educated person in a developing country. Why? Because I believe that capitalists are beginning to realize that 200 excellent engineers are more useful than 1000 mediocre ones and because consumption or demand isn’t driven by the average person anymore, but by those in the upper classes, that the average educated person is no longer desirable.

      Sure, those un-employed , under-employed, and mis-employed grads could start a business that scratches an itch that a wealthy and comfortable person may have, and that’s a viable strategy, especially for women, but upper classes, the top 20 % are already are consuming as much as they can and their consumption is the only consumption that really matters. Only the top 20%, I think, can service any debt they take on.

      1. The Commentator Formerly Known As A Real Black Person

        References:
        http://therationalpessimist.com/2013/11/04/links-for-the-week-ending-3-november/

        The relationship between technological progress on the one hand and economic growth and income inequality on the other has exploded as a topic of debate over the last couple of years. Here is Brad Delong speaking (with characteristic style) on the issue at the Berkeley Festival of Ideas. Delong quotes Larry Summers on how many men are becoming increasingly superfluous in the modern age:
        [i]“My friend and coauthor Larry Summers touched on this a year and a bit ago when he was here giving the Wildavsky lecture. He was talking about the extraordinary decline in American labor force participation even among prime-aged males–that a surprisingly large chunk of our male population is now in the position where there is nothing that people can think of for them to do that is useful enough to cover the costs of making sure that they actually do it correctly, and don’t break the stuff and subtract value when they are supposed to be adding to it.” [\i]

        http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/11/rise-of-the-machines-from-the-inaugural-uncharted.html#more

        Summers’ April 2012 Wildavsky lecture entitled “Economic Possibilities for Our Children” is fascinating in itself and can be found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x_sEZZ2yJE (Summer starts at 10 minutes into the video).

        Going through these links has reminded me how political this situation is. Larry Summers’ non-empirical answer for why a ticket to a classical music concert is more expensive than ever doesn’t make sense. The paying audience for live Classical music has been restricted to members of the elite and since the elite have gotten more wealthy in recent decades, classic music musicians have been able to charge more for every unit (concert) because their small wealthy audience can afford it…not because of some b.s. opportunity cost..theory… and the thing is this guy has been guiding national economical policy to some degree since the 1990s…If he’s suppose to be one of the better economists out there I really wonder what the bad ones are like.

  9. Emma

    The number of homeless people in America is the measure of the economy. A promiscuously lavish egotistical economy complacently fucking its’ way through syphilis screwing up everything it touches.

    A full employment economy (meaning a population working full time and thereby earning sufficient wages to be able to afford to rent at fair-market value, apartments or homes), proper care for veterans, and mental healthcare, are all keys to sane, stable, safe & sound economic development.

    In addition, building decent quality eco-friendly homes and remodeling inner-city homes as public housing for the poor in neighborhoods where the unskilled are connected, have short commutes, and can live among the skilled, makes it easier for them to benefit from such agglomeration and boosts productivity. It contributes to reducing homelessness (and my definition of homeless means those in shelters or temporary housing, hotels, hostels and trailer parks too, not just on the street!) and creates jobs, stimulating the economy. Though perhaps it is clearly asking too much today, to perceive housing as a human right instead of as a commodity in America……

    And please, the judgements and criticism of the homeless must cease. If there is any lacking to comment on per se, it is the homeless, old and young, lacking a roof over their heads “full-stop”.

    For every example too, of the homeless picking themselves up, there are another 1000 behind who try and fail. Continuously focusing on and pointing at the rare success stories, is a cheap form of escape. Concentrating on satisfactorily dealing with the real problems and failures in our society is just too much hard work though, isn’t it? Let’s just allow the trash to pile up and step around it, extricating ourselves, shall we? Pretend the problem isn’t there.

    But that trash Americans ignore, simply gets more rotten and smellier, and it begins to contaminate everything else. Americans need to therefore respond earlier to poverty, stop depending on temporary solutions, and increase access to readily available decent housing. Temporary crisis solutions too are ultimately unjust, half-assed, deceiving, and do more harm than good. Offering crumbs instead of a loaf. But it is better than doing nothing, isn’t it? Ah, such simple and affected yet sweet and subjective horseshit! Surely however, better than everything is better, and the best solution?!

    This all means prioritizing ones’ own backyard and improving the well-being of Americans first and foremost before jet-setting off to drone around the rest of the world assisting others.

    Yes, I advocate an “America First” policy for a period. This would entail creating a respectable place to live, a decent place to work, and a proper place to learn, for all Americans. This is the kind of America that we can then genuinely call progressive and fair. A real measure of an economy and a true measure of democracy without homelessness.

  10. Emma

    The number of homeless people in America is the measure of the economy. A promiscuously lavish egotistical economy complacently f**king its’ way with syphilis, screwing up everything it touches.

    A full employment economy (meaning a population working full time and thereby earning sufficient wages to be able to afford to rent at fair-market value, apartments or homes), proper care for veterans, and mental healthcare, are all keys to sane, stable, safe & sound economic development.

    In addition, building decent quality eco-friendly homes and remodeling inner-city homes as public housing for the poor in neighborhoods where the unskilled are connected, have short commutes, and can live among the skilled, makes it easier for them to benefit from such agglomeration and boosts productivity. It contributes to reducing homelessness (and my definition of homeless means those in shelters or temporary housing, hotels, hostels and trailer parks too, not just on the street!) and creates jobs, stimulating the economy.

    Though perhaps it is clearly asking too much today, to perceive housing as a human right instead of as a commodity in America……

    And please, the judgements and criticism of the homeless must cease. If there is any lacking to comment on per se, it is the homeless, old and young, lacking a roof over their heads “full-stop”.

    For every example too, of the homeless picking themselves up, there are another 1000 behind who try and fail. Continuously focusing on and pointing at the rare success stories, is a cheap form of escape. Concentrating on satisfactorily dealing with the real problems and failures in our society is just too much hard work though, isn’t it? Let’s just allow the trash to pile up and step around it, extricating ourselves, shall we? Pretend the problem isn’t there.

    But that trash Americans ignore, simply gets more rotten and smellier, and it begins to contaminate everything else. Americans need to therefore respond earlier to poverty, stop depending on temporary solutions, and increase access to readily available decent housing. Temporary crisis solutions too are ultimately unjust, half-assed, deceiving, and do more harm than good. Offering crumbs instead of a loaf. But it is better than doing nothing, isn’t it? Ah, such simple and affected yet sweet and subjective horsesh*t! Surely however, better than everything, is better and the best solution?!

    This all means prioritizing ones’ own backyard and improving the well-being of Americans first and foremost before jet-setting off to drone around the rest of the world assisting others.

    Yes, I advocate an “America First” policy for a period. This would entail creating a respectable place to live, a decent place to work, and a proper place to learn, for all Americans. This is the kind of America that we can then genuinely call progressive and fair. A real measure of an economy and a true measure of democracy without homelessness.

    1. A Real Black Person

      I think we are at a point where the benefits of growth based capitalism and industrialization are starting to flat-line, globally, but we are quite unwilling to abandon our Iphones and industrially produced food for a simpler, much more difficult, but perhaps happier existence.

  11. John Yard

    I have to agree strongly about homelessness being almost non-existent until the 1980’s.

    People lived in poor conditions in Single Room Only conditions, but there was a roof over their heads and shelter from the elements. There was massive destruction of SRO’s in the guise of ‘urban renewal’ in the 1970’s and 1980’s . My first wife’s retired father lived in a very modest apartment replaced by condos as part of ‘urban redevelopment’ in this time span. . Your taxdollars at work.

  12. Lambert Strether

    I remember when “the homeless” first appeared, in the Reagan era, when I helped out at a food program.

    Of course, I assumed it was temporary, that the pendulum would swing back. Instead, it was a harbinger of the sociopathic viciousness to come.

    1. Emma

      Sort of Lambert – I think our social policies reflect the underlying social attitudes of our so-called democracy.

      What makes it worse is that most people incorrectly attribute too much explanatory power to individual actions and characteristics, and too little, to external and environmental circumstances.

      Worryingly, as living costs continue to rise and employment falls in America, it is likely that more and more people will become homeless.

      Combined with the fact that we have ultimately been unproductive in creating an efficient method of eradicating homelessness, the future looks bl**dy awful for the 95%.

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