America in 2013: As Told In Charts As the New York Times put it, here are “10 charts to illustrate a depressing first year of President Obama’s second term.” Highlights (lowlights?) include:
- Acceleration in the diverging fortunes of the rich and everyone else.
- The stock market up a stunning 32 percent.
- Corporate profits rose to a record $2.1 trillion.
- Incomes remained nearly flat (up just 1.4%) and jobs tallies grew slowly.
- Only relative bright spot for the average American was sale prices of homes were up by 13.3 percent.
- If the economy adds jobs at the current rate of 200,000 a month it will take until 2019 to return to post-recession levels.
- Disproportionate number of new jobs have been in lower wage occupations, such as retail clerks and fast-food workers.
I wonder what God’s charts for America in 2013 look like? What does he measure and how do we shape up? Ten charts for each of His moral laws? And one chart above them all entitled “Faith in Jesus Christ”?
What’s Next for Gay Rights in 2014 (Warning: Offensive picture)
And you thought there couldn’t be anything left for them to win? Well, you’re wrong. Although 2013 was “the biggest year ever for gay rights,” they are not resting on their laurels. Sometimes you think they won’t rest until they rest their feet on footstools made of Christians. The goal is to reach “beyond the civil rights framework of mainstream integration, and beyond the partial equality that it delivers, to imagine and create a different movement whose goal is genuine social change.” On the basis that four out of five families fall outside the “traditional nuclear family,” the author says:
To have our government define as “legitimate families” only those households with couples in conjugal relationships does a tremendous disservice to the many other ways in which people actually construct their families, kinship networks, households, and relationships.
And she concludes with this rallying cry:
We should certainly celebrate the great leaps forward for gay rights in 2013, in marriage equality but also with cultural markers and especially polls showing that the public is becoming more accepting. But in 2014, we must revisit the guiding philosophy of the gay movement and whether our strategies and tactics are pursuing liberation for all—gay and straight, black white and brown, women and men and trans—or merely some. This debate, more vibrant in decades past, is in urgent need of revival. If 2013 was the year that Americans of all stripes and social movements joined the careening bandwagon for gay rights, may 2014 be the year in which the LGBT movement returns the favor with a vision of liberation for all.
The War on Poverty Turns 50: Why Aren’t We Winning? Given that the poverty rate has only dropped from 19% to 15% in 50 years, it looks like this is going to be a very long war. The poverty rate remains stubbornly high because “the government’s best efforts to get cash to working families have been offset by the fact that Americans are—for a variety of reasons—working less.”
Reason 1: The Recession. The poverty rate for full-time workers is very low: 3 percent. For those who don’t work, it’s very high: 33 percent…Even with unemployment falling, the share of working-age people who are actually working has retreated to its lowest point since the 1970s, partly because America is aging and partly because people have dropped out of the workforce.
Reason 2: Family arrangements—in particular,the rise of single-parent households—make it all but impossible for many parents to work full-time.
- The poverty rate among married couples is quite low: 6 percent.
- The poverty rate among single-dads/moms is quite high: 25/31 percent
- The share of single-parent households doubled since 1950.
- For the 61 million people married and living together, both working, there is practically no poverty.
- Among marriages where one person works and the other doesn’t (another 36 million Americans) the poverty rate is just under 10 percent.
- There are 62 million single-parent families in America. Forty-one percent of them (26 million households) don’t have any full-time workers.