Return to Krista's Korner

"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Interdependence and the Social Welfare System

Countdown till Surgery: 5 Days.

So I finally finished The Way We Never Were. Stephanie Coontz really opened my eyes to a different line of thought regarding welfare and the system, and American attitudes towards independence and "standing on our own two feet." Families are not islands and have never been. The 50's were a fluke in our economy, and there are significant parallels between the 1860's through the 00's and the 1960's and the 00's.

A few factoids I found intriguing: Mississippi has the lowest welfare and food stamp benefits of any state, but has the highest percentage of out-of-wedlock births (Coontz 83). States with higher AFDC/TANF benefits tend to have lower rates of illegitimacy than the national median. Welfare recipients also have relatively low fertility rates- the longer on welfare, the less babies women have on average. That shatters a few of the myths the right propagates, doesn't it.

Higher benefit states have a lower percentage of children in poverty (and yet, children on benefits are always below the poverty level...) There is also no causal relationship between welfare benefits and single parent families. (Coontz 82)

I was captured by the description of moral muckracking vs social reform. I did not have a vocabulary to discuss what I had already sensed in society.

I also finished Nickel and Dimed. I am intrigued by this book and Ehrenreich's description of living life doing entry level jobs. I have lived this life, and cannot dismiss her experience as beyond the norm. I do find it an interesting companion to The Way We Never Were, since often she described the very interdependence that people shun and insist is not the American Way. It is the only way to survive.

On a less high thinking note, it was a good weekend. I got out of the house (which has been hard to do lately) and Chris and I saw Rent. I was mildly surprised by the older demographic in the theater, but that may have a lot to do with the older demographic in the area. I would love to have gotten in their heads and listened a bit as they discovered what the Play really is about. The restroom discussion afterward didn't reveal anything except that it wasn't what they were expecting. I think the trailers lead you to believe that it is a feel good story about friends, love and New York. Instead you are hit with tragedy, alternative lifestyles, aids and philosophy.
I was moved to tears many times during the movie, and on my wishlist is the complete Original Cast Recording.

Now I just have to get my paid work for the DDD, so my bills get paid, and my schoolwork, which is suffering greatly due to these health issues. Forgive this post if it drags too long... I shouldn't write under the influence (still a cocktail of Percoset and Phenegren- this keeps up, I will need to detox post surgery).

Now I am reading Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked. I guess I am on a social reading kick.

Tomorrow, after Aidan's eye appt, I have the debriefing from the Washington trip. I still haven't done my expense report yet. I spend more time in the bathroom throwing up than anything else (sorry if it is TMI). Tuesday is school, Wednesday is a luncheon from the Practive Improvement reviews and Thursday is school again.