[VIDEO] @ WNYC: The Real Cost of Unemployment

Above, Prof. Dorian Warren talks about how a combination of hope and seeking justice will propel the world towards change.


RF had the opportunity to sit-in during a live session of WNYC’s The Real Cost of Unemployment, hosted by Farai Chideya. The panel consisted of personal finance expert, CARMEN WONG ULRICH, author of The Real Cost of Living and frequent contributor to outlets including the Today Show, CNN and MSNBC; investor RYAN MACK, author of Living in the Village, contributor to CNN, CNBC and The Huffington Post, the president of Optimum Capital Management, who teaches and mentors entrepreneurs; and Columbia University Professor DORIAN WARREN, who studies labor markets with a focus on communities of color.


What an incredible run-on sentence! Once we find the archived show, we’ll post it right on site!


What sunk in for RF was this:


    • Age discrimination has increased as employers are searching for younger, less experienced workers who are far from overqualification and the retirement age. This has led to a massive pool of unemployed Baby Boomers who range in their 50s and 60s.


    • There are two types of economies that we’ve developed post World War II – a low wage economy between 1945 and 1973 and an economy for people who have received their Bachelor’s degrees. (Warren)


    • Much of the care of the elderly and children fall on women. Much of the time, healthcare access is a primary concern for families, as independent healthcare costs are exorbitant, and healthcare is mostly packaged with jobs. How do people receive affordable healthcare without jobs? (Wong- Ulrich)


    • We have to see two different parts of #OWS. Americans are reacting to having no voice in the political system, and they see no future by continuing to run the economy in this way. Unfortunately, there is a contradiction in society, where the opinion being projected is that “all government is bad, unless I benefit from it.” #OWS is our political voice. (Mack)


    • Political responsibility and political activism aren’t mutually exclusive. (Mack)


    • Is your degree worth it?


    • What is ethical wealth?


    • The middle class is shrinking. In NYC alone, there were districts: Meatpacking, garment, printing, etc. These were the industries that supported the middle class. (Warren)


    • There is no funding for projects. There are no jobs, because there are no projects. Banks are not lending after the bailout. (Ed Dabney, construction worker)


    • They should have create better stipulations in the bank bailout. (Warren)


  • To recession proof yourself, you have to create your own companies. You have to have a survival mentality. (Wong-Ulrich)
Story of Stuff

[NOTES ON] “The Story of Stuff”

I’m watching the entire Story of Stuff series.  Let’s watch it together, or check out my notes on all the videos, here.  Thanks – h!

The Story of Stuff is a very simple video that everyone must watch. When RF first saw this video a few years back, we were like, “OH SNAP! HOMEGIRL IN THE BLUE BUTTON DOWN IS CORRECT!” Imagine, being able to explain the mode of production, the dangers of corpocracies, imperialism, true democracy, and the effects on communities to 1.5 million people?

Let’s be real. ”Stuff” is what got us all into debt in the first place. Gadgets, cell phone bills, and expensive meals. What struck us at RF was when homegirl said @4:46 – “And if you don’t buy, or own a lot of stuff, you don’t have value.” (Let’s return to this idea soon.)

 The most important lessons:

  • history of production since the 1950s
  • planned obsolescence & perceived obsolescence
  • local living economies
  • close loop production

Please take the time while you fold your laundry:

[VIDEO] Not A Drug Bust: College Student Pays Tuition In Singles.

This isn’t loot from a robbery, it’s the cost of an education.”  Well, at least he’s not paying in Sacajewea golden dollar coins.


As we head into the school year, here’s a good read from the wonder couple at the ZeroPassiveIncome blog .  Nic Ramos, an out-of-state student in Colorado, was just trying to make a statement regarding the increasing cost of a college education.  What you see are dollar bills amounting to $14,300.00.  If RF had those dollar bills ready and available, all splayed on a table, we’d buy all our readers some ice cream.  (But, we suppose, that is part of our problem.)  Peep the video:

(HuffPo article here )

(**BTW, who is that young, silent fellow beside Nic? Is that his legal rep, or something?)

The cost of education has been aggressively rising.  Do any of you remember the 2009 UC tuition hikes?  The increase caused outrage and led to a number of protests across California institutions.  The hike was sudden and ridiculous — a whopping 30% increase — and caused many dear friends of RF grief in the form of overcrowding/cancelled classes, the bureaucratic run-around, or just plain dropping out.


The basic issue with tuition is that public education should be accessible to all, as it’s a larger societal investment in our thought-leaders.  In studies exploring the relationship between education and overall societal benefits – not a bad thing can be reported.  And if you look for any case study involving the social benefits of subsidized educational costs in the Scandinavian countries through their social security net features, you’re gonna wanna move to Denmark/Norway ASAP.


The point is, should tuition rise, the government should subsidize costs via federal funding to institutions ensuring the average student can still enroll and get their learn on.  Given the manner in which the current national budget is divided, the $38 billion spent on financial aid and subsidies is a small lawn gnome compared to the $800 billion spent on National Defense when we’re talking about the landscape of American life.  PS: “National Defense” includes a good $14 million in camouflage technology – the development of new camo patterns for military unifroms – said an RF insider.  Fair warning to ridiculous!


This past June 2011, the UC Board approved another round of tuition hikes.  This is very telling.  Once we set the precedent that the onus of educational costs fall squarely on students, the primary focus on higher learning shifts, and the educational system becomes a business as a business, is justified.  Unfortunately, since the UC/Cal system is one of the largest public school systems in the country, many other states have followed suit: instead of demanding a higher allocation in federal funding, the brunt of the tuition gap has fallen on students.


BONUS:  See the national debt stacked in Benjamins!


What are your thoughts on the state of higher education in the U.S.?

[VIDEO] Cartoon Explains the Current State of the Economy & Why You’re Poor As Hell.

RF enjoys this trend of Youtube-accessible animation being used to explain scary (and very adult) economic situations.   This video covers inflation, stagflation, the recession, and answers why the U.S. Treasury can’t just keep on printing dolla-dolla bills, y’all!  ALSO, this is the first time we’ve heard the current state of the economy called “a global economic collapse.”  So, this animation ends on a bit of a dark note: “The only thing we can do is to prepare for very. EXTRAORDINARY. CIRCUMSTANCES!”  OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!  LXD - Save us from impending doom with your impeccable dance steelo.  kthx!   Now that we better understand this situation, we  just hope the US didn’t borrow from Sallie Mae.  Because they be blowin up phones allldatime like cray, OHkayyyyy?  (…and we don’t even owe close to $14 trillion…)   Please take the 5 minutes to watch:

UPDATE: Adam Baker, a favorite blogger of ours, of Man Vs. Debt recently blogged about this video, too!  In his post, he covers the way these larger systems affect the average American family.  If you don’t follow the blog, Adam is a father to an adorable toddler, and currently lives with his wife in New Zealand.  They’re originally from Indiana, and sold all their belongings after a round of several debts to travel the world.  RF loves the blog, but you should check out what other people are writing in response in his comments section, too!   *Featured image source: