All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.
1. American wages have plummeted so low that a two-income family is now (on average) 15% poorer than a one-income family of 40 years ago.
Real wages peaked in 1970 at around $20/hour. Today the average worker makes $8.50/hour — more than 57% less than in 1970. And since the average wage directly determines the standard of living of our society, we can see that the average standard of living in the U.S. has plummeted by over 57% over a span of 40 years.
The Republicans suggest fixing this shocking number by continuing record low tax rates for millionaires and billionaires.
2. For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.
An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.
A shameful and sorrowful outcome of our lost decade at war.
3. TARP, a profitable investment by the U.S. Government and Federal Reserve? It would appear so.
The bank bailouts may result in a return of $2bn, the Treasury said in its latest projections for the government’s response to the crisis. And the recovering auto industry has added 230,000 jobs as a result.
The recession was the worst since the Great Depression and $19.2tn of wealth was wiped out, it said.
In the end, the Treasury expects to make $22bn from Tarp’s bank bailouts and $2bn on Tarp’s loans to restart the credit markets, offsetting the auto bailouts.
Next time you hear about the “Obama Recession”, remember that $19,200,000,000,000 worth of wealth was wiped out as a result of the systemic meltdown at the end of the Bush administration. If Republicans were allowed to blame Jimmy Carter for nearly twenty years, I think we can legitimately blame Bush for four.
4. Is Facebook making us lonely?
We know intuitively that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Solitude can be lovely. Crowded parties can be agony. We also know, thanks to a growing body of research on the topic, that loneliness is not a matter of external conditions; it is a psychological state.
Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy. The decrease in confidants—that is, in quality social connections—has been dramatic over the past 25 years.
The researchers found that lonely people are inclined to spend more time on Facebook: “One of the most noteworthy findings,” they wrote, “was the tendency for neurotic and lonely individuals to spend greater amounts of time on Facebook per day than non-lonely individuals.” And they found that neurotics are more likely to prefer to use the wall, while extroverts tend to use chat features in addition to the wall.
5. Gridlock is a not a result of bipartisan efforts. Turns out, Republicans are assholes.
Republicans have moved further to the right than Democrats have to the left, and that goes a long way toward explaining the gridlock of the last three years, during which time Republicans have refused to play ball on everything from economic recovery—they opposed the stimulus plan, even after signing on to George W. Bush’s plan for boosting the economy in 2008—to financial regulation and a health-care-reform bill built on conservative ideas.
These last four years have changed government forever. Brinksmanship is now the name of the game.
Fact Of The Day: Dan Rather once shot heroin and described it as a “special kind of hell“.
Quote Of The Day: “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan
Video Of the Day: “Safe Sex For Seniors” – Yes, this is happening.
Cartoon Of The Day: “Lonesome Lenny” – Tex Avery
Song Of The Day: “Feel So Bad” – Foghat, yes…Foghat, bitches.
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