I’ve been reviewing various reports about the proposed ballot measure and special election that seeks to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). Proponents tell us this is needed to fund a Convention Center expansion, pave our streets, and provide shelter for homeless people- wow!
By Dave Rice / OB Rag
How well can one eat for less than $5 a day? My family is about to find out.
According to the latest available statistics, 285,000 people in San Diego County receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Once referred to as “food stamps,” here the government food assistance program goes under the moniker CalFresh.
The average benefit for a program participant is currently $4.18 a day, down from $4.27 eight months ago. As I’m quickly learning, those few pennies can quickly add up.
The Great Recession, a new study shows, has driven the sharpest decline in reported happiness since researchers started collecting consistent data.
By Josh Hoxie / Inequality.Org
On average, our economy tanks every seven years or so. By now we should have a pretty good idea of why that tanking happens, how we can protect ourselves, and what the impact will be. Unfortunately, we don’t.
“It’s one thing to oppose President Trump and expose his broken promises to workers, but it’s also important to lay out a positive path forward”
By Deidre Fulton / Common Dreams
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Tuesday unveiled its “People’s Budget,” offering a vision of economic equality and fairness that comes in sharp contrast to the Trump administration’s “slash-and-burn approach to governing based on ideological extremism.”
The People’s Budget: A Roadmap for the Resistance (pdf) includes a $2 trillion infrastructure investment; closes corporate tax loopholes; ensures families don’t pay more than 10 percent of their income for childcare; and supports progressive measures such as a minimum wage increase, clean energy expansion, and debt-free college. Bottom line, the caucus said Tuesday, the document “puts political and economic power back in the hands of the people.”
By Rafael Bautista / San Diego Tenants United
San Diego is the 4th most expensive city in the United States. It is considered the second worst city for renters in the country and it is the largest city in California without rent control. Rents are increasing 4 times faster than incomes and the economic downturn actually created an upward spike in rental prices. According to Rent Jungle, as of March 2017, one bedroom apartments in San Diego rent for $1771/month on average and two bedroom apartment rents average $2197/month.
One full time minimum wage worker can’t even pay rent with their entire, pre-tax, monthly income. Thus, in America’s Finest City, two incomes are needed to live a life of mere subsistence. The truth is that too many working people are only one to two pay checks from being homeless. High rents, low incomes, a housing shortage and substandard living conditions are part of the 12 year housing crisis and the explosion in our homeless population.
Bill to expand Social Security ‘gives lie to the myth’ that safety net program is going bankrupt
By Deidre Fulton / Common Dreams
Legislation that would expand benefits for Social Security recipients while giving millions of seniors a tax break was re-introduced in the U.S. House on Wednesday, with support from over two-thirds of the Democratic caucus—and, its backers hope, from large swaths of the grassroots resistance movement.
Rep. John Larson’s (D-Conn.) bill, the “Social Security 2100 Act” or H.R. 1902, bears more co-sponsors than any other previous proposal to expand Social Security.
It “gives lie to the myth that Social Security is going bankrupt and the only way to save it is by cutting benefits and raising the retirement age,” said National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare president Max Richtman upon its unveiling. “This legislation asks the wealthy to start paying their fair share so that current and future retirees know that Social Security is there for them well into the future—solid, strong, and uncompromised.”
My kids experience little socioeconomic diversity – am I doing them a disservice?
By Rachel Stewart Johnson, Ph.D.
I grew up in a working class neighborhood outside Denver. It was a suburban tract housing development of “starter homes” built in the early 1970s. One could find well-manicured properties, but also an abundance of crab grass and dandelions. An apartment complex occupied a large lot behind us, blocking much of our view of the Rocky Mountains to the west.
My children have different stories than mine. Here, in twenty-first century San Diego, the school district has a week off in February known as “Ski Week.” My kids have been to countless birthday celebrations through the years, where they have jumped on many square feet of trampolines, ridden ponies, petted exotic animals, played laser tag and paintball, and visited Snow White. Fourth graders at our elementary school can take a one-day trip to the state capitol by airplane, a 14-hour excursion with a $470 price tag.
This is a bubble, most definitely. The question is whether that matters, whether the affluence my children are surrounded by is a boon or harm to their moral compasses.
Kenneth Arrow, Nobel prize winning economist, passed away February 21, 2017 at the age of 95 at his home near Stanford University where he was Professor Emeritus. He was the youngest person ever to win the Nobel prize. Dr. Arrow made many academic contributions, but chief among them was his Impossibility Theorem.
Profits Can Stay In State, Provide Local Funding
Alarmed by the corruption and greed of Wall Street, many US cities and states are studying the feasibility of establishing public banks. Public banks are owned by cities, states or other jurisdictions and serve to keep funds local instead of being deposited on Wall Street. The funds are then used to support local economic activities like small business loans and student loans.
Washington state has already cut its ties with Wells Fargo because they funded DAPL. Now they want to get rid of Wall Street as a place to park their money making use of the local economy and profiting the people of Washington instead of the bankers of Wall Street. Bills were introduced on January 18 in both the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature that add Washington to the growing number of states now actively moving to create public banking facilities.
By Murtaza Baxamusa / UrbDeZine
Having invested a billion and a half dollars of public funds in downtown redevelopment, it is worth asking if it helped or hindered in solving the affordable housing crisis that San Diego faces. From the catalytic start of downtown’s boom with the construction of the ballpark to the unceremonious demise of tax increment financing under Governor Brown, there has been a lot of change.
Census data shows that from 2000 to 2015, downtown’s housing stock doubled. About half of downtown’s current stock of 25 thousand housing units has been built during this time frame. About 5 thousand renter-occupied housing units were added to the stock. Of the total housing stock almost 18 percent (over 4 thousand units) are vacant, compared to 9 percent vacancy back in 2000. This indicates a greater share of investor-owned units or second homes that are not occupied.
By Dan Bacher / Daily Kos
On February 17, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) officials announced they are joining over 100 fellow investors asking major U.S. and international banks backing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to address the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota.
The statement endorsed by CalPERS supports a rerouting of the pipeline, but doesn’t call for halting DAPL, a project that poses enormous harm to the drinking water supply for 17 million people and to many fish and wildlife species on the Missouri River.
The announcement came four days after 150 people from a coalition of environmental and Native American Groups held a march and rally in front of the CalPERS office in Sacramento to tell the retirement fund to divest from its investments in banks backing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
While most of us were busy watching the Trump administration and their crack team of “populist” millionaires light the world on fire, a new study released by Thomas Piketty, Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, and Emmanuel Saez underlined the fact that the steep costs of our historic level of economic inequality are being borne by those at the bottom of the economic system, particularly here in the United States. As the Market Watch story on this new research outlined:
In the U.S., between 1978 and 2015, the income share of the bottom 50% fell to 12% from 20%. Total real income for that group fell 1% during that time period.