West Virginia poverty gets worse under Trump economy

CBS News – Moneywatch

West Virginia poverty gets worse under Trump economy, not better

By Aimee Picchi, Orig. Pub. September 28, 2018

West Virginia has a growing poverty problem, and experts there who study the issue say Americans in every state should pay attention.
The Appalachian state is, along with Delaware, just one of two states where poverty rose last year, bucking the national trend of growing incomes and declining hardship, according to U.S. Census data released earlier this month. West Virginia’s poverty rate climbed to 19.1 percent last year from 17.9 percent, making it just one of four states with a poverty rate above 18 percent.

President Donald Trump plans to visit West Virginia on Saturday, when he’s expected to tout his economic accomplishments. The president has said he’s “very proud” of the state and claimed that he “turned West Virginia around.” His administration has focused on reviving jobs in the coal industry, which has added about 2,000 jobs across the U.S. since Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

Mr. Trump has boasted about the state’s GDP growth, but its economy grew by 1.3 percent in the first quarter, or 37th in the nation and lagging the national rate of 1.8 percent, according to government data. It had fared better in 2017: up 2.6 percent for the year, tenth among the 50 states, compared with 2.1 percent for the nation.

Coal “is a potent message,” but it overlooks the reality of West Virginia’s economy, said Sean O’Leary, senior policy analyst of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a nonpartisan think tank. “The growth we’ve had is in low-wage industries. Folks who find jobs haven’t found jobs that keep them out of poverty.”

Donald Trump
President Trump acknowledges the crowd at a Make America Great Again rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Aug. 21, 2018.REUTERS

 

Jobs in low-wage industries have grown 14.5 percent since 2001 in West Virginia, compared with a decline of 2.8 percent in jobs that pay higher wages during the same time, according to the WVCBP’s figures. The state has about 22,000 people employed in mining and logging, compared with 131,000 education and health care workers and 155,000 government workers, two of the biggest industries in the state, according to government data.

West Virginia’s dismal trends point to an economic issue that’s impacting states across the country: Workers at the bottom of the pay scale aren’t benefiting from the growing economy. Their issues range from low pay to unstable and scanty work hours, which makes it difficult to earn a living wage. Almost one in four West Virginians is employed in a low-wage job, the WVCBP found.

“It’s cashiers, retail sales people, service employees — those are our fastest growing jobs, but those jobs don’t pay very well,” O’Leary notes.

At the Manna Meals soup kitchen, more people are coming in for nourishment, said its executive director, Tara Martinez. The Charleston soup kitchen served almost 10,800 meals in August, compared with about 9,700 in January.

wva-industries.png

“There’s a direct correlation between the hopelessness and the lack of jobs,” she said. “The jobs that are available are minimum wage and part time — they don’t have benefits. When you have that, coupled with the hopelessness of, ‘How do I get out of this cycle?’ and having to go to a soup pantry, it’s like a hamster wheel.”

And West Virginia plays directly into the issues highlighted by Deaton and Case. The state, whose population is 95 percent white, is frequently listed as one of the least educated states in the country.

About 21 percent of West Virginians between ages 25 to 64 has a college degree, according to the National Information Center for Higher Education Policymaking and Analysis. At the national level, about one-third of American workers have a college degree.

The post-recession economy has favored Americans with college degrees, providing them with both growing incomes and professional opportunities. But many who lack that credential have been left out of the recovery, as evidenced in West Virginia.

“People who don’t have jobs or don’t have any way out of this cycle, there’s a hopelessness that overtakes them,” Martinez said.

To be sure, West Virginia is coping with other hurdles in its battle against poverty, such as an aging population, higher rates of disability, and a small workforce compared with bigger states, such as New York or California. The state’s small size — just 1.8 million people last year, down 50,000 from 2010 — means it’s harder to lure employers to the state, O’Leary noted.

West Virginia had a net job loss of 26,000 from early 2012 to late 2016, according to a study from West Virginia University. And the state has the lowest labor force participation rate of all 50 states, at 53 percent.

Employment is growing slowly at a projected 0.7 percent per year through 2022, or below the national growth rate of 0.9 percent. At that rate, local employment isn’t expected to reach its 2012 peak until 2021, the study found.

wva.png

West Virginia’s poor residents will face another burden beginning in October, when work requirements for food stamps go into effect across the state. Martinez said she believes the measure, which requires able-bodied adults without dependents to work, volunteer or receive job training for at least 20 hours a week to receive food stamps, will push more into poverty and ramp up demand for her soup kitchen’s services.

“It’s frightening and I’m worried and I’m doing everything I can to make sure our doors are still open,” she said, noting that she expects demand for meals to rise by 30 percent. “It’s going to be a lot of fundraising and pleading.”

She added, “You have huge companies, corporations that do really well and make a substantial profit and paying their employees as little as possible — and their employees are on food stamps or other benefits.”

Bring Back Eisenhower Socialism

In Other Words

Bring Back Eisenhower Socialism

Conservatives want you to believe that not having to choose between paying for rent or medicine is Soviet-style tyranny.
By Chuck Collins      March 12, 2019
Chuck Collins directs the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

 

“Narcissist In Chief”

Bill Maher

September 22, 2018

Everyone knows that Trump is a narcissist – but we have to stop treating that like it’s an unfortunate personality tic and start treating it like what it is: a serious and dangerous mental illness.

Narcissist in Chief

Everyone knows that Trump is a narcissist – but we have to stop treating that like it’s an unfortunate personality tic and start treating it like what it is: a serious and dangerous mental illness.

Posted by Bill Maher on Friday, September 21, 2018

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

New York Times – Opinion

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.        September 5, 2018

The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

 

President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.

This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.

The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration.

These Sustainable Homes Are Made From Trash, But They’re Absolutely Stunning

Bring Me is at Earthship Biotecture.

April 28, Taos NM.

These Sustainable Homes Are Made From Trash, But They’re Absolutely Stunning

These Sustainable Homes Are Made From Trash, But They're Absolutely Stunning

These Sustainable Homes Are Made From Trash, But They're Absolutely Stunning

Posted by Bring Me on Saturday, April 28, 2018

Randy Rainbow – trump, a very stable genius

Randy Rainbow

July 16, 2018

***NEW VIDEO***

A stable genius of his magnitude deserves an anthem.
*Do not try this at home.

A VERY STABLE GENIUS – Randy Rainbow Song Parody

***NEW VIDEO***A stable genius of his magnitude deserves an anthem. *Do not try this at home. 🤪

Posted by Randy Rainbow on Monday, July 16, 2018

President Trump has told 6.5 lies per day since taking office

NowThis Politics

May 1, 2018

President Trump has told 6.5 lies per day since taking office

Trump Has Told Over 3,000 Lies Since Taking Office

President Trump has told 6.5 lies per day since taking office

Posted by NowThis Politics on Tuesday, May 1, 2018

More children have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook than U.S. soldiers in combat since 9/11

Newsweek

More children have been killed by guns since Sandy Hook than U.S. soldiers in combat since 9/11

By Ryan Sit      March 16, 2018

The number of children killed by gunfire in the U.S. since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, surpasses the total of American soldiers killed in overseas combat since 9/11, according to a Department of Defense report.

The report accounts for total deaths in the five military operations since the war on terror began following the September 11, 2001 attacks through 10 a.m. EST Thursday, March 15. Over 17 years of combat, the U.S. has lost 6,929 soldiers. Including Department of Defense civilians killed overseas, that number grows to 6,950.

In the five years and three months since the December 14, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six adults with an AR-15-style rifle, about 7,000 children have died by gunfire. Though the exact figure is unclear, it rivals the tally of U.S. military deaths overseas—in 11 fewer years.

An analysis of gun-related deaths among children and a new report by the Department of Defense shows that more kids have been killed by gunfire since the Sandy Hook massacre than the number of U.S. soldiers killed overseas since 9/11.DAVID MCNEW/GETTY IMAGES

On Tuesday, a global activist group placed 7,000 pairs of empty shoes outside the Capitol building—one pair for each child killed by a gun since Sandy Hook. The group, Avaaz, arrived at that figure based of an American Academy of Pediatrics report, which said about 1,300 children are killed by guns every year.

Related: Kids and guns: Here’s how easy it is for children to get their hands on a firearm

At that rate, the number of children killed by guns since Newtown would be about 6,825. But an analysis by the fact-checking site Snopes of the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention data—which the American Academy Pediatrics cited in its report—found that this figure may be low.

According to Snopes, a review of deaths for children 17 or younger for years 2013 to 2016 (2017 was not yet available), found 5,683 firearms-related deaths, or an average of 1,421 per year. Extrapolated over the five-year and three-month period, the tally is about 7,460, Snopes found.

Girl With Muscular Dystrophy Makes Amazing Paintings

Power of Positivity

March 14, 2018

This girl is a shining star!

Girl With Muscular Dystrophy Makes Amazing Paintings

This girl is a shining star!

Posted by Power of Positivity on Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The American Republiban

John Hanno       January 20, 2018

           The American Republiban

The self imposed burden Republi-cons are saddled with, their mis-educated and anti-fact base of supporters they fawn over and rely on to remain relevant, is shrinking and becoming ever more extreme. Almost 60,000 of these elderly voters die every month. They proclaim to represent an alternative to the Grand Old Party –  the Eisenhower / Rockefeller Republicans, an alternative “Alt Right” doctrine. What they really expound, is an ultimate “Ult Right” ideology. This new, poorly educated Republiban, immune to critical thinking, is much older and almost exclusively white and Christian. They profess racial purity, nativism, intolerance to humanism or secularism or other religions, exhibit a reckless aversion to history and science and exalt a single minded worship of wealth and exclusivity. Their moral compass has flipped true North.

Having drifted so far from traditional conservative principles, they’ve clearly forfeited any traditional fiscal argument, and with it, the cudgel routinely used to browbeat Democrats trying to help the poor or bolster America’s crumbling middle-class social and monetary infrastructures.

To embellish millionaires and billionaires and thriving multi-national corporations and their investors, who’ve all prospered like never before, with generous tax cuts that balloon the national debt, is not fiscally conservative. To prescribe their tax cut scam as a stimulus to an already thriving economy is not fiscally conservative and might achieve just the opposite. To work day and night for years, to cripple the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which finally slowed escalating insurance premiums and our national healthcare burden, is not fiscally conservative.

To wontonly repeal bipartisan regulations, implemented after decades of debate and evaluation, to guard against the monumental and costly remedies required to correct catastrophic environmental and fiscal disasters, is not fiscally conservative. These Republibaners disregard sound climate science and years of bipartisan environmental legislation culminating in Republican president Nixon signing the bill establishing the Environmental Protection Agency on December 2, 1970.

They disregard milestones of American environmental calamity and redemption, including Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, exposing widespread pesticide poisoning of man and nature; and Congress passing the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), charging the government to “become the protector of earth, air, land and water.” The law declared Congress’s intentions to “create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and “assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings.

New York City before EPA

New York Harbor 1970

The law also compelled all federal agencies to submit reports (Environmental Impact Statements, EIS’s) for all projects bearing on the environment, and also directed the President to prepare annual Environmental Quality Reports for Congress. When President Nixon signed the bill on New Years Day 1970, he said: “he had become further convinced that the 1970’s absolutely must be the years when America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of it’s air, it’s waters and our living environment.” “It is literally now or never.”

In short, America’s environment had become a giant shit-hole.

Highlighting this new focus in his State of the Union a few weeks later, Nixon “proclaimed the new decade a period of environmental transformation.” Nixon’s first Environmental Quality Report to Congress on February 10th, contained 37-points. Included in this report, he requested $4 billion for improvements to water treatment facilities. He asked for national air quality standards, a program to lower motor vehicle emissions and federally funded research on reducing automobile pollution. He also ordered a clean-up of federal facilities that contributed to the pollution of the air and water. He sought legislation to end the dumping of wastes into the Great Lakes. He proposed a tax on lead in gasoline. He sent congress a plan on strengthening safeguards on the transportation of oil over the seas. He instituted a National Contingency Plan for remediation of oil spills.

First Earth Day 1970

Public protest and demonstrations on Earth Day 1970 and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 were the turning points in America’s environmental consciousness – the realization that air and water pollution must be a national priority; and also the impetus for the creation of the EPA and Nixon’s confirming signature on December 2, 1970. And the scores of toxic super-fund sites discovered throughout the 1980’s, supercharged efforts to begin healing our environment.

The Cuyahoga River Ignites. Cleavland, Ohio –  1969.

But every one of these environmental programs and more, are under siege, face elimination or reductions by our current, non-conservative and toxic, fossil fuel pandering Republi-con president, the Republi-con controlled congress and Environmental Protection Agency destroyer in charge, Scott Pruitt.

                                                                                    Los Angeles Air Pollution

They’ve quickly rolled back the latest automobile CAFE standards implemented by the Obama administration. This administrations relentless attacks on environmental regulations, began during their first few days in power, with trump reversing President Obama’s rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline completion, without waiting for the Congressionally mandated Environmental Impact Statement. trump also quickly reversed President Obama by approving the Keystone XL pipeline without a full and comprehensive environmental impact study.

Scott Pruitt, who’s vigorously tried to dismantle environmental regulations and downsize the agency, has also attempted to undermine environmental enforcement actions by the Justice Department. He removed critical climate change and global warming information on the agencies website and ordered employees to not use those words or speak on those issues. Coupled with the attacks on President Obama’s Clean Water Act, the opening of America’s oceans and wilderness areas to oil exploration, and the trump administrations plans to hand over America’s public lands and National Monuments and Parks to fossil fuel and mining interests, these anti-conservatives will single-handedly attempt to reverse much of the progress made since the early days of the environmental movement.

No National Park or Monument or section of public land, set aside over the centuries by past presidents, is safe from these evildoers. Many of the regulations and protections proposed and passed for our environment and public lands were both Republican and conservative bipartisan initiatives. But this administration is not interested in protecting Americans, their environment or their National treasures, only in paying back their omnipotent campaign donors like the Koch brothers.

How far has this Ult Right, alternative reality, alternative fact collection of anti-conservatives, drifted from the Grand Old Party? The 1956 Republican Party Platform is but a distant memory.

Americans overwhelmingly believe in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, believe health care is a right, not a privilege, believe in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid for those who need it, believe in protecting our environment – our air and water, believe in sensible regulations, want work place protections for workers, believe Dreamers should be protected and offered a path to citizenship, want our National Parks and Monuments preserved, not exploited for private corporate gain and believe in a fair tax system, not one heavily favoring the rich and politically connected.

These Ult Right, flag waving Republi-con pseudo Constitutional purists  don’t believe in responsible governance or, for that matter, in government at all, don’t believe in entitlement programs or welfare, don’t believe in fair play or a level playing field, couldn’t care less about America’s ballooning income inequality, don’t really believe in Democratic principles and honestly believe political compromise in any form is just total capitulation.

This Ult Right only lauds our founding fathers, their Democratic blueprints – our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, if it suits their political agenda. They tout States Rights when the Federal Government finds it necessary to step into the fray to protect American’s rights, as they did during the Civil Rights movement in the South. But then extol Federal supremacy, when Progressive States find it necessary to protect their citizens from Federal malfeasance like the trump administrations attacks on environmental and workplace regulations and policies; or when cities or States attempt any sensible gun regulations.

Their latest vitriol is directed at the First Amendment. Republican Senator Jeff Flake took to the floor of the U.S. Senate this week to call out trump for constantly referring to the media as “enemies of the people,” and to defend the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Flake opened with the Declaration of Independence, by saying Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We Hold These Truths to Be Self Evident”. He said trump infamously uses words spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. He said: “it bears noting that so fraught with malice, the phrase “enemy of the people,” that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party, that the phrase was introduced by Stalin for the purpose of “annihilating such individuals who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

He also quoted a John F. Kennedy speech for the 20th anniversary of The Voice Of America. “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let it’s people judge the truth and falsehoods in an open market, is a nation afraid of its people. He said a free press is not the enemy of the people. Despotism is the enemy of the people and a free press is the despots enemy. He referred to George Orwell’s book 1984 and said Orwell warned: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

Based on the number of lies trump has told (over 2,000 since entering the White House) and the fairy tales that his cabinet, the Republican controlled congress and his supporters have applauded, excused and disregarded, the GOP is in for a whole bunch of hate, especially from the trump voters who were hoodwinked and who may come to their senses before the 2018 mid-term elections.

The Republi-con “family values platform”, arguably always a false identity, has been blown apart. To support a president who’s so far removed from Christian doctrine and the virtues and teachings of Jesus Christ, is not family values. And wayward Evangelicals have cast their lot with a devilish messiah who may deliver them unto oblivion. The latest blasphemy exhibited by prominent Evangelical leaders was exposed by the Wall Street Journal this week. To excuse and justify the $130,000 payment to a porn star to cover up a year long affair while trump was married to Melania and just after she gave birth to their son is the height of hypocrisy. These same religious popinjays spent years preachifying about Bill Clinton’s indiscretions.

trump’s attempts at reimaging, this pandering political party of the rich and powerful and multi-national, connected corporations, with a phony populist agenda, is laughable, if it weren’t so destructive. Supporting the Koch Brothers anti-labor ALEC legislative agenda breaks every promise he made to desperate rust belt workers during the election. And for con-man-in-chief trump to offer false hope to out of work steel workers and coal miners shackled to a dying industry is beyond cruel.

trump has no core set of beliefs, no modicum of integrity; he cares for no one but himself. His egocentric self obsession is boundless. He only admires people who’ve amassed fortunes, no matter how they attained that wealth, and dismisses and devalues anyone who labors for a paycheck.

Nothing is normal, or traditional or conservative about this president, his Ult Right administration or the Republi-con controlled congress. Those who’ve attempted to normalize trump’s un-presidential antics, his immoral character flaws, his obsession with undermining everything President Obama accomplished, his unfailing allegiance to Vladimir Putin and the Russians, his infatuation with autocratic despots and  anti-democratic fiat, and his self dealing and conflicted and criminal business ethics – will regret, like the dozens of folks already expelled from his administration, any association with this trump travesty.

America will survive trump but the GOP and the Christian Right may not.