New and startling truth: Highest poverty rate in the USA is in the state of California

California—not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia—has the highest poverty rate in the United States.  California, with 12 percent of the American population, is home today to roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients. A higher minimum wage will do nothing for the 60 percent of Californians who live in poverty and don’t have jobs, and studies suggest that it will likely cause many who do have jobs to lose them.

 

 

According to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure—which accounts for the cost of housing, food, utilities, and clothing, and which includes non-cash government assistance as a form of income—nearly one out of four Californians is poor.

Given robust job growth in the state and the prosperity generated by several industries, especially the supercharged tech sector, the question arises as to why California has so many poor people, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased roughly twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5 percent, compared with 6.27 percent).

It’s not as if California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause, for decades now. Myriad state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200 percent above the poverty line receive benefits, according to the California Policy Center. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments, and “other public welfare,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Unfortunately, California, with 12 percent of the American population, is home today to roughly one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients. The generous spending, then, has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, some states—principally Wisconsin, Michigan, and Virginia—initiated welfare reform, as did the federal government under President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress. The common thread of the reformed welfare programs was strong work requirements placed on aid recipients. These overhauls were widely recognized as a big success, as welfare rolls plummeted and millions of former aid recipients entered the workforce. The state and local bureaucracies that implement California’s antipoverty programs, however, have resisted pro-work reforms. In fact, California recipients of state aid receive a disproportionately large share of it in no-strings-attached cash disbursements. It’s as if welfare reform passed California by, leaving a dependency trap in place. Immigrants are falling into it: 55 percent of immigrant families in the state get some kind of means-tested benefits, compared with just 30 percent of natives, according to City Journal contributing editor Kay S. Hymowitz.

Self-interest in the social-services community may be at work here. If California’s poverty rate should ever be substantially reduced by getting the typical welfare client back into the workforce, many bureaucrats could lose their jobs. As economist William A. Niskanen explained back in 1971, public agencies seek to maximize their budgets, through which they acquire increased power, status, comfort, and job security. In order to keep growing its budget, and hence its power, a welfare bureaucracy has an incentive to expand its “customer” base—to ensure that the welfare rolls remain full and, ideally, growing. With 883,000 full-time-equivalent state and local employees in 2014, according to Governing, California has an enormous bureaucracy—a unionized, public-sector workforce that exercises tremendous power through voting and lobbying. Many work in social services.

Further contributing to the poverty problem is California’s housing crisis. Californians spent more than one-third of their incomes on housing in 2014, the third-highest rate in the country. A shortage of housing has driven prices ever higher, far above income increases. And that shortage is a direct outgrowth of misguided policies. “Counties and local governments have imposed restrictive land-use regulations that drove up the price of land and dwellings,” explains analyst Wendell Cox. “Middle income households have been forced to accept lower standards of living while the less fortunate have been driven into poverty by the high cost of housing.” The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), passed in 1971, is one example; it can add $1 million to the cost of completing a housing development, says Todd Williams, an Oakland attorney who chairs the Wendel Rosen Black & Dean land-use group. CEQA costs have been known to shut down entire home-building projects. CEQA reform would help increase housing supply, but there’s no real movement to change the law.

Extensive environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions make energy more expensive, also hurting the poor. On some estimates, California energy costs are as much as 50 percent higher than the national average. Jonathan A. Lesser of Continental Economics, author of a 2015 Manhattan Institute study, “Less Carbon, Higher Prices,” found that “in 2012, nearly 1 million California households faced ‘energy poverty’—defined as energy expenditures exceeding 10 percent of household income. In certain California counties, the rate of energy poverty was as high as 15 percent of all households.” A Pacific Research Institute study by Wayne Winegarden found that the rate could exceed 17 percent of median income in some areas. “The impacts on the poorest households are not only the largest,” states Winegarden, “they are clearly unaffordable.”

Looking to help poor and low-income residents, California lawmakers recently passed a measure raising the minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour by 2022—but a higher minimum wage will do nothing for the 60 percent of Californians who live in poverty and don’t have jobs, and studies suggest that it will likely cause many who do have jobs to lose them. A Harvard study found evidence that “higher minimum wages increase overall exit rates for restaurants” in the Bay Area, where more than a dozen cities and counties, including San Francisco, have changed their minimum-wage ordinances in the last five years. “Estimates suggest that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating),” the report says. These restaurants are a significant source of employment for low-skilled and entry-level workers.

Apparently content with futile poverty policies, Sacramento lawmakers can turn their attention to what historian Victor Davis Hanson aptly describes as a fixation on “remaking the world.” The political class wants to build a costly and needless high-speed rail system; talks of secession from a United States presided over by Donald Trump; hired former attorney general Eric Holder to “resist” Trump’s agenda; enacted the first state-level cap-and-trade regime; established California as a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants; banned plastic bags, threatening the jobs of thousands of workers involved in their manufacture; and is consumed by its dedication to “California values.” All this only reinforces the rest of America’s perception of an out-of-touch Left Coast, to the disservice of millions of Californians whose values are more traditional, including many of the state’s poor residents.

California’s de facto status as a one-party state lies at the heart of its poverty problem. With a permanent majority in the state senate and the assembly, a prolonged dominance in the executive branch, and a weak opposition, California Democrats have long been free to indulge blue-state ideology while paying little or no political price. The state’s poverty problem is unlikely to improve while policymakers remain unwilling to unleash the engines of economic prosperity that in the past drove California to its golden years.

 

[From an article by Kerry Jackson in the CITY JOURNAL]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM  ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Wordless (almost) messages…

How has your week been going?  Good, we hope!  (If your week has been a little tough up to this point, here are a few nearly wordless messages to help soften the days still to come.)

 

determination

 

excitement

 

beautiful hope

 

As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment (and even enjoyment) by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Walmart giveth, and Walmart taketh away…

Walmart just made two announcements that perfectly illustrate the dilemma facing the developed world.

First, the omnipresent retailer raised its minimum wage to a respectable-sounding $11/hour:

(WGNO) – Walmart is raising its minimum wage and handing out tax cut bonuses because of the new Republican tax law.The retail company said the wage hike to $11 an hour would roll out in February. Employees are also getting a one-time bonus of up to $1,000.

Walmart previously raised its minimum pay for most employees to $10 an hour in 2015. As of December, the average pay for full-time workers was $13 an hour.

“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said in a news release. “It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”

He added that “tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”
The bonus amount will be based on length of service, according to the company. Workers who’ve been there for at least 20 years will get the full $1,000.

Because of the tax reform law, Walmart says it’s also creating a new benefit to assist associates with adoption expenses. The benefit, which will be available to full-time hourly and salaried workers, will total $5,000 per child.

The company, which is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, said it’s also expanding its parental and maternity leave policy. Full-time hourly workers in the United States will get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

The changes affect more than one million hourly associates.

“Thanks to the passage of historic tax cuts, American workers and their families are winning!” tweeted Ivanka Trump, the White House senior adviser and daughter of President Trump.

McMillon also said the company is “early in the stages of assessing the opportunities” that tax reform creates for Walmart. The company said it will share further details when it releases quarterly results next month.

But then it announced the closing of a bunch of Sam’s Club warehouse stores, resulting in thousands of layoffs:

(UPI) – Walmart announced Thursday it is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores across the United States, leaving workers at the membership club without jobs.

Ten locations for the warehouse club spinoff of Walmart closed immediately and will become e-commerce distribution centers, according to Business Insider, which listed store closings it knows about. The remaining places will remain open for a few weeks.

“After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy,” Sam’s Club posted on Twitter. “Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”

Employees in some cases were informed of the closings while arriving to work Thursday, KHOU-TV in Houston and KENS-TV in San Antonio reported.

“Club is closed today so we could inform our associates so we gave them the day off and closed the club. We will reopen the club tomorrow,” Anne Hatfield, director of communications for Walmart’s public affairs, said in a statement to KENS.

At one Sam’s Club in San Antonio, employees told KENS the store will close for good on Jan. 26. On Friday, it will offer 25 percent off on everything except for alcohol, tobacco, batteries and tires.

Sam’s Club, which has 100,000 associates, operates more than 650 membership warehouse clubs in the United States, according to its website. The first Sam’s Club, founded by Sam Walton, opened on April 7, 1983, in Midwest, Okla.

There are two problems here: First, rising wages increase the “wage inflation” measure that the Federal Reserve watches to decide whether inflation is becoming a problem and needs to be smacked down with higher interest rates. (See Walmart wage hike may show wage pressures building for lowest paid. )  The eventual result of rising interest rates in the late stages of an expansion is a recession in which millions of people are thrown out of work, thus canceling the minimum wage boost.

The second, much bigger problem is that next-gen automation becomes more attractive when wages rise. Walmart converting Sam’s Clubs to regional e-commerce distribution centers is, in effect, replacing store clerks with warehouse robots and a relative handful of website designers. To the extent that wages rise, so do automation-related layoffs, once again cancelling out those higher paychecks.

Automation has of course been around since the start of the industrial revolution, but this latest phase is vastly more pervasive and powerful than anything that’s come before.

The result: Life gets better for those who own the robots and harder for those the robots replace. And government encourages the 99% to borrow to make up the difference…until that trend also hits the wall.

 

[From an article published by DOLLAR COLLAPSE .com]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Climate change science: “The earth is so cold right now because it’s getting warmer”

Scientists look at the real world and work carefully to reach a conclusion that fits what they see. Fanatics like Al Gore work backwards: They take an assumption that they want desperately to be true, and force it on top of reality like hammering a square peg into a round hole.

That’s exactly what the failed presidential candidate seems to be doing, bending over backwards to explain that freezing temperatures in the U.S. are proof the world is getting warmer.

As much of the country battles bitter cold weather and temperatures well below zero, Al Gore used Twitter to spread his twisted brand of circular reasoning.  “It’s bitter cold in parts of the US, but climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains that’s exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis,” the politician-turned-guru declared.

“Climate crisis,” of course, is a term that’s being used as a substitute for “global warming,” which fell out of favor as a talking point as people became worried about freezing to death. Make no mistake, global warming is still what Gore is peddling, no matter the label.

The former vice president famously predicted that global warming would cause the arctic ice cap to melt… with a due-date of several years ago. It didn’t happen.  “Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979,” Forbes Magazine reported in 2015.

“Ice growth during November 2017 averaged 30,900 square miles per day,” the National Snow and Ice Data Center stated earlier this month.

It would be one thing if global warming zealots like Al Gore admitted that they came to the wrong conclusions, and updated their models and predictions to match reality — you know, like actual scientists do.  Instead, leftists are engaging in the exact same broken logic they claim to despise. The crowd constantly lectures people that “weather is not climate,” and a short-term spell is not the same as a long-term trend.

That’s what they did after Donald Trump posted a tongue-in-cheek take-down of global warming. The president humorously pointed out that the East Coast was facing near-record low temperatures over New Year’s Day, while liberals smugly scolded him that weather isn’t climate.

Yet, magically, when Al Gore needs it to make his case, it suddenly is climate.  Gore simply flipped the same argument, and pointed at the recent cold snap as “evidence” of earth-threatening climate change.

Media outlets frequently do the same thing: Use heat waves in the summer to whip up doom-and-gloom articles about global warming, while suddenly forgetting about a “climate connection” when icy winter weather shows up.

Here’s a thought: Maybe we don’t actually know enough about millennia-long climate patterns to predict the future. Maybe we should keep digging and asking questions, and not treat people who have healthy skepticism as some sort of Inquisition-era heretics to be burned at the stake.

That would never sell documentaries, though, would it?  Inconvenient truth, indeed.

 

[From an article published by CONSERVATIVE TRIBUNE]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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Loony liberals/leftists now confirm that logic is an enemy and truth is a menace; Democrats are anti-science, anti-reality

The Left has become the anti-science political party. To be a leftist, you must engage in outrageous science denialism on a large array of issues ranging from genetics to disease transmission. This “Science Denialism Disease” (SDS) has even infected educational institutions, where instead of teaching college students hard sciences, leftist professors are now offering degrees in “social justice” or “gender studies” where real-world facts are banished from all debate.

To the Left, it turns out, logic is an enemy and truth is a menace. It doesn’t fit the Left’s delusional narrative, so it must be criminalized, condemned and banished from society.

Leftists have become anti-science zealots who preach a dangerous new political cultism that’s devoid of actual facts. They’ve so completely abandoned scientific facts and physical reality that they truly qualify as being mentally ill (or at least deranged). See these examples below:

 

College professor (certifiable loony leftist) says “Chromosomes don’t determine sex”

As reported by Campus Reform:

A biology professor from San Jose State University recently argued in several tweets that “chromosomes don’t determine sex.”

The tweets were written in response to Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain, who had tweeted a picture of the XX and XY chromosomes as reminder of “how many genders there are.”

Colleges are now obviously attempting to rewrite genetic science to fit their “gender fluidity” narrative which is rooted in delusion and self-inflicted fantasy. According to leftists, there are now an infinite number of genders, and individuals can instantly transform their bodies from one gender to another by merely wishing for such a transformation to take place. As it turns out, if you believe in transgenderism, you don’t believe in science.

This is the new science of the Left: Total delusion to fit a political narrative.

 

Leftist nutritional science: All dogs must be vegans!

In another shocking example of left-wing science denialism, a California animal shelter has decided to declare that all dogs must be vegans, making sure they are only fed vegan diets.

Apparently they were too busy waving magic wands over their own reproductive organs to notice that dogs and cats like to eat a lot of meat.

Limiting them to vegan diets is, of course, is a form of animal cruelty. Thus, in the name of “compassion” and veganism, California liberals are now going to subject innocent animals to cruel forms of dietary deficiencies that promote disease and suffering. It’s all being done, of course, in the name of “peace” and “compassion.” This genius idea was dreamed up — try not to laugh — by a Hollywood screenwriter named Roger Wolfson.

The Los Angeles City Board of Animal Services Commissioners are currently mulling a proposal that would turn the L.A. shelter system into the first one in our country to give its dogs a strictly vegan diet… The idea was first proposed by Commissioner Roger Wolfson, who is also a Hollywood screenwriter. He claims that vegan diets can eliminate health problems in dogs.

What’s next? Will California pass a law that criminalizes dog food containing meat? Will all pet foods have to carry warning labels if they contain meat, but not if they contain GMOs?

 

LGBT sex couldn’t possibly spread cancer, according to the delusional LGBT community

There is a particularly nasty cover-up taking place in the LGBT community that denies the science of disease transmission. Anal sex — a common behavior practiced by gay men — turns out to be incredibly efficient at spreading anal cancer for all the obvious reasons. But the Left doesn’t want anyone to know the truth about the anal cancer pandemic now bleeding its way across the LGBT community, and any who dare point out the actual medical and scientific facts on this issue are immediately branded “intolerant haters.” (Y’know, because actual science is now categorized as “HATE” by brain-dead liberals.)

As reported by Natural News:

…[A]nal cancer is being declared as the most pressing problem among homosexual men, the Los Angeles Times reportedly calling it “the next big crisis” for the gay community. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has also declared that it expects to see 8,200 new cases of anal cancer just in 2017 alone.

One female porn star who declared she would avoid performing with male actors who had engaged in risky anal sex was so bullied by the Left that she ended up committing suicide. Thus, not only can you die from anal cancer gotten via LGBT sex, you can also apparently die by angering liberals in declaring you don’t want to expose yourself to their preferred variety of cancer.

That’s how dangerous the “Left Cult” has become: They will actually drive people to the point of committing suicide, rather than confront the truth and reality that normal folks are foolish enough to point out to them.

 

[From an article published by NATURAL NEWS]

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  How in the world did we get to the point of “If I say it ain’t so, then it ain’t so”?  Most people would simply call all this nothing but “boneheaded stupidity.”  That’s certainly what we call it.  And as this article aptly demonstrates, nothing is quite so dense as normal, carefully nurtured and developed stupidity.  Science has been telling us for years that nothing can escape from a black hole; we are now seeing biological black holes popping up all over the human race to prove that science probably got this one right, too.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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President Trump makes unannounced visit to Walter Reed Military Hospital in DC to visit troops

President Trump's unannounced visit to Walter Reed

President Donald Trump took a break from the politics of Washington, D.C. to do something he saw as more important — visit wounded warriors and wish them a merry Christmas.

During his unannounced visit, Trump personally awarded one soldier — 1st Lt. Victor Prato of the 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion — the Purple Heart. Prato, 25, suffered soft tissue injuries last month as a result of an IED blast that made his vehicle turn over, according to The Hill.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was particularly moved when the president presented Prato with the award, noting on Twitter that seeing the president confer this honor on an “American Hero” was “one of the most powerful moments of my life.  I’m amazed by the strength and resilience of the men and women in our Armed Forces,” Sanders wrote.

White House of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general, accompanied Trump to Walter Reed.

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Our Christmas wish to you is that you find someone this year who really needs your help, and that you extend that help with a spirit of selflessness and joy.  You’ll make it a great Christmas for both of you!

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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Just another day on the job at the International Space Station

Just another day on the job at the ISS...

Click on the image above for larger version. How would you like to wake up to this every day?

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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