Rushpubliscum poverty

They have stayed ever-loyal to Rushpubliscum candidates, voting in about the same percentages for them in 2012 as they did in 2000 or 2004.

In the past, it was easy to do so, because the suburban bubble insulated these voters from the consequences of their votes. THEY were getting along fine, so why should they worry about the mayhem occurriung a few minutes down the road? They abandoned the cities to their fates, and they were quite pleased to sit in their bubbles, smug in their self-righteous notions of “I done got mine ‘cuz I DESERVED it!!!”

No, in many cases, they did not; the accident of birth, more than merit, has been the determiner of one’s path for a long time now. But in voting Rushpubliscum for 30 years, voters have considerably narrowed who benefits from those accidents of birth.

As Ye Sow and all that.

 

Like many Americans who move to the suburbs, Tara Simons came to West Hartford because she wanted her daughter to grow up in a nice, safe place with good schools.

Her fall from a more financially secure suburban life to one among the working poor also happened for the same reason it’s happened to so many others. She had a bout of unemployment and couldn’t find a new job that paid very well.

As a single mother, that’s made it hard to hold on to the suburban life that is, in her mind, key to making sure her daughter gets off to the right start.

“I’m basically paying to say I live in West Hartford,” she said. “It is worth it.”

It’s a struggle that many Americans bruised by the weak economy can relate to.

The number of suburban residents living in poverty rose by nearly 64 percent between 2000 and 2011, to about 16.4 million people, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of 95 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. That’s more than double the rate of growth for urban poverty in those areas.

“I think we have an outdated perception of where poverty is and who it is affecting,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of the research. “We tend to think of it as a very urban and a very rural phenomenon, but it is increasingly suburban.”

Simons’ situation is complicated by the fact she’s a single mom. Poverty and financial insecurity among single moms is far higher than for households headed by single dads or two parents.

The rate of poverty among single mothers actually improved dramatically through the 1990s, thanks to a strong economy, more favorable tax breaks and the success of so-called welfare-to-work programs. But two recessions and years of high unemployment erased many of those gains.


Simons and her daughter Alexis moved from Massachusetts to West Hartford eight years ago because Simons had a job with a local rug retailer.

Alexis, now 14, made friends, became an avid lacrosse player and is now a high school freshman.

The picturesque suburb, with its well-kept homes and an upscale town center, has a median household income of $80,061, more than double that of Hartford itself, which is $29,107 according to the Census Bureau.

And yet the number of people needing help has skyrocketed in recent years, said Susan Huleatt, the human services manager for West Hartford.

About five years ago, Huleatt said a mobile van began coming to town once a month to distribute fresh produce to people in need. Now, four vans come each month, and more than 200 people sometimes line up for the food. That’s in addition to the city’s own food pantry.

Simons expected to work for the rug retailer until retirement, but about a year ago she quit after disputes with one of the two owners. She had never had trouble finding a new job and was unprepared for how hard it would be.

“I know that part of it is my fault and I absolutely take responsibility for that, but I never in a million years thought that I would (be in this position),” she said.

Simons went without work or unemployment benefits for five months before she got her current job about six months ago. The position, as a customer service representative for a local health products company, pays $14 an hour. That leaves her with take-home pay of about $460 to $480 a week, plus about $127 a week in child support. Simons has full custody of her daughter.

She is behind on her electric and gas bills and owes nearly $400 to her daughter’s club lacrosse team, which has her worried that her daughter won’t be able to play this spring.

Like many working poor people, she has fallen into a debt spiral. She took out an $800 payday loan, and she estimates that it will end up costing her $1,600 to pay it back. She also has several hundred dollars in credit card debt and has worked to pay off hundreds of dollars in bank overdraft fees. She’s sold jewelry for cash.

She and Alexis had to leave the house they were renting after she lost her job and a roommate. She got one-time aid from the city’s crisis fund to help with the down payment for her new, cheaper apartment. Still, the $1125 rent eats up more than half of her monthly take-home pay.

She went on Medicaid after being unable to afford health insurance.

Simons said it’s been hard, and sometimes embarrassing, to accept help.

“The thing is, I don’t want it,” she said. “I want to pay my bills.”

 

She should talk to her neighbors, who have been unswervingly loyal to the people who dreamed up things like making taxpayers foot the bill for offshoring, suppression of the minimum wage, and a tax code that almost begs American firms to locate as many of their facilities as they can outside of the US. This was all by design, and it was meant to break the backs of the American workers. Somebody always close to starvation is a lot more amenable to crumbs than someone not so close.

Will these people learn now? Or will they do what they always do in 2014? History says they won’t learn. We are only getting past their stubborn ignorance now because of a rise in the minority population. This means, of course, that we’d all better vote in 2014, or the suburbanites will vote themselves right into starvation.

 

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