Friday Night Fun and Culture: Suzy Bogguss

I’m Just Not Obsessed With Gender and/or Some Supposed Gender Binary

Gender seems to be an obsession of the religious right, corporate advertisers, Feminist Studies/Gender Studies Majors and a lot of TS/TG folks.

Me?

Not so much…

Do I think some aspects of gender are innate?

Please…  If you don’t then you have never watched Animal Planet.  Humans are animals, animals show gender and aren’t socialized into that role therefore some of what we call gender is innate.

Make-up, high heels and all the merchandise of gender?  That’s socialization.

I get really tired of people in the TG Community telling me I have to fight the “gender binary.”

No what I have to do is pay the mortgage, gas, power, water etc so that I don’t become homeless in my old age.

As I wrote earlier this week the holiday season has become a time when people feel they have license to hit you with begging pleas and guilt trip you for not giving.

Do people live in a vacuum?  Aren’t folks aware of how the middle class has been destroyed and how little most people have now that a handful of people have so much?

I’m a product of the 1960s.  I don’t have a problem with people expressing themselves any way they feel when it comes to gender.  I’ve spent my live in bohemian alternative cultures where marching to the beat of your own drummer is considered admirable.

But your cause is your cause and there is a difference between asking me to support your cause and demanding I support it via guilt tripping me if I have other priorities.

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Let’s protect the future of caterpillars, caribou & mankind

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Labor Productivity Growing At Rapid Clip, But Workers Won’t See Much Benefit

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/17/3075421/labor-productivity-2013/#

By Aviva Shen
on December 17, 2013

American workers increased their productivity over the summer at the fastest pace since 2009, according to new data released by the Labor Department. Higher productivity is generally welcomed by analysts as an indicator of strong economic growth, but may not translate into much benefit for workers.

Though workers produced more per hour over the third quarter of 2013, their hourly wages haven’t quite kept up. Theoretically, increased productivity means businesses can pay workers more without triggering inflation. However, this logic has failed to play out in real life, as wages have stagnated even as worker productivity soared over the past decade. Productivity rose even faster after the 2008 recession due to massive layoffs that allowed businesses to reduce their labor costs while remaining workers increased their output. Workers’ share of the economy, meanwhile, dropped to record lows during this period.

Boosted productivity, then, has largely benefited businesses, not workers. Businesses’ labor costs dropped in the third quarter, suggesting little movement in terms of wages or new hiring. Some companies have touted draconian efficiency schemes to reduce labor costs, paying employees minimum wage while literally counting the seconds it takes a worker to complete a task. As labor expenses drop, corporate profits are sky-high.

Though productivity has risen, the quality of work has declined. Low-wage, part-time jobs in the retail and service sectors have made up the bulk of job growth since the recession. Though these low wages help businesses reduce their labor costs, taxpayers usually pick up the slack; workers are increasingly turning to public benefits like food stamps and Medicaid to make ends meet.

Even with low labor costs, many businesses are fighting a minimum wage increase that could lessen the persistent gap between productivity and compensation. Studies show that the minimum wage, if it had kept pace with productivity gains over the past 30 years, would have been $21.72 last year — a far cry from President Obama’s recent proposal of $10.

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Precarious Democracy

From In These Times:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/16005/precarious_democracy/

A political agenda for the precarious class.

BY Joel Bleifuss
December 17, 2013

In our January 2014 issue, In These Times explores how life has become increasingly precarious for the many Americans who lack job security—a trend that is the predictable result of the ongoing disempowerment of the American worker.

But it is not only the corporate system that is impoverishing our citizens. Millions of Americans face a precarious financial future, thanks to the democratic institutions that are meant to represent them.

Seniors who rely on Social Security are beset by D.C. budget-cutters bent on reducing cost-of-living increases. The poor go hungry in the wake of congressional cuts to food stamps. Retirees in the public sector face uncertain futures as state and local governments turn away from their pension obligations.

As college costs rise, recent graduates, temping for dollars, struggle to pay record-setting student loans.

The list could go on and on.

It’s not that the United States, one of the richest countries on earth, lacks the resources to remedy the situation. The problem is how our nation’s immense wealth is distributed—or, more accurately, how it is maldistributed to the very few. The figures are stark: In 2010, the richest 1 percent of Americans owned 35 percent of the nation’s privately held wealth, and the next 19 percent owned 54 percent. The remaining 80 percent of Americans held only 11 percent of the wealth.

In a speech on Dec. 4, 2013, President Obama decried “an economy that’s become profoundly unequal” with the end result being that “a family in the top 1 percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family.”

There are remedies. National and state laws mandating more progressive taxation could transfer some of the wealth held by the top 1 percent into public coffers, where it could be allocated to alleviate the precarious existence of Americans.

Will that happen? Fat chance.

Continue reading at:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/16005/precarious_democracy/

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