The Upper-Class Bias of the 2016 Election Issues | C. Nicole Mason


The issue I see in the election right now
is that we’re not having the conversations that matter to people and families across
the country. We have moved so far away from the bread and
butter issues that families want to talk about. So we haven’t heard a lot about poverty. We haven’t heard a lot in this election
about bringing and making sure that we have a strong social safety net not only for low
income families but for middle class families who are still fragile or straddling between
being financially secure and close to the edge in terms of falling into poverty. And we’re just not having those conversations. We’re talking about things that matter but
when we talk about building a society where all people have a fair shot we’re not talking
about the issues that will make the difference for them. We don’t talk a lot about white poverty
and I think we should because I think if we talked a lot more about the way poverty impacts
different groups I think we would not see it as an issue that’s out there and doesn’t
impact me or it’s a black issue or a Latino issue. We would see it as an issue of lack and people
not having the resources that they need to be able to live a quality and a productive
life. What we know though is that black and Latino
people are more likely to live in poverty and white people are also poor. But we’re not, again we’re not talking
about those conversations. And we’re not even writing about those conversations
so when we’re not talking about rural communities and rural whites. Those people are invisible in media and culture
when we talk about poverty. And so until we can really wrap our minds
around the magnitude of who’s living in poverty and what poverty – the face of poverty
and what it really looks like we’re not really going to be able to make policies that
will reach the people who are really impacted or affected by it. One of the things I think is unique about
American poverty is the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in our society and that gap
continues to widen. And there are no efforts to close the gap,
to make sure that the people at the bottom of the economic ladder have the resources
and they need to just have a basic standard of living. There are no efforts. So, for example, you can work 40 hours a week,
get up every day, go to work and still need other resources and supports to be able to
make ends meet. Whether that’s housing, whether that’s
food stamps, whether that’s medical insurance. And that shouldn’t be the case here. I think that we really need to pay attention
to what’s happening to the most vulnerable and the fragile middle class who are sometimes
a paycheck away from living in poverty or being in poverty themselves. What frightens me is that there’s not enough
moral responsibility for others in our society. And so we can just turn our back. We can say hey, that’s not me. That doesn’t impact me or that’s happening
to them and not to me and not seeing the connection between us all. If I support programs that makes sure that
the most vulnerable in our society have what they need to have a basic standard of living
that somehow takes away from me. If we can get away from that idea and that
sort of thinking then I think we’ll be able to get to a place where we can say this is
not an us/them problem. It’s a problem that we all need to be working
together to solve.

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Comments

  1. I get you're too cheap to hire a regular green screen/vfx person, but for the love of all good things, get someone who knows how to shoot an automatic camera, as this camera guy is incapable of getting an in focus shot.

    You have this problem in most of your big think videos for couple of months now. I figured it's just a newbie camera guy that will eventually get it, but this opening shot is abysmal. Iphone can get a cleaner looking shot if you don't tweak it.

  2. Wow this is maybe the first non-bigoted video about the election, congrats Big Think, you seem to be trying to produce quality again.

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  4. Trump wants to help the rich get richer, and cut regulations so our air quality is just as bad as China's. There's a reason it's cheaper in China, because they don't care if their people live in filth.

  5. I have met a lot of poor people of all colors. You know what links most of them? They are lazy, stupid, and refuse to make an effort to change.

    There are people that legitimately need help, but most really deserve exactly what they have.

  6. "We don't talk about poverty in this election"??? Have you heard anything Trump has said, you muppet?! Are you aware that he's the only Republican who's talking about protectionism and NOT cutting social security??

  7. Politcal parties and individuals are sponsored by coorporations and foreign entities. Corporations are not interested in poor people because they have no money to spend benefitng their business. Thats why politicians dont care about poor people because their sponsors dont. Trump cares about his rich friends and models the gae of his daughter.

  8. The concepts of white and black in terms of poverty or anything else are classically racist descriptions of people and should not be used in discussion of a scientific nature. There are no specific alleles that can be used to define either white or black skin tones as it's a complex interaction of maybe 6 genes. Nothwithstanding no one is white or black. We vary from yellow pink to dark brown. Poverty should be an issue for the human species and that's it.

  9. i believe you need to go live in a socialist country… if, what you just said is what you believe in. you do understand that this is the land of opportunity, not the land of the "omg I don't have enough opportunities", that this is the best country in the world and that's the reason everyone wants to live here… and last but not least, the only way you can stop these issues that you talk about is education ms mason, not more bureaucratic programs to help the poor, the only way you can stop overpopulation is with education…. food for thought

  10. Did I just heard an actual liberal voice from a main stream outlet? In 2016? A black liberal woman that is not bigoted? That say that we should not make social issues into race issues ? HOW DO I SUBSCRIBE AGAIN?

  11. The circus has been so bombastic this time around that they really glossed over some of the most basic and recurrent issues people have. To be honest, I hadn't noticed it myself over how hypnotized I am by these two bowls of shit running for office.

  12. Making a safety-net is a fine idea, but everybody should contribute to it as equally as possible. Making this kind of system and delegating its funding to the rich will drive them away because that is not just.

  13. What I find most detestable about liberals is their condescending camouflage of the truth. Cause the truth is, if you pay taxes to give people a free living lifestyle, that is literally taking something from you . Not "somehow " but literally . Right down to the very penny

  14. Well in a socialist country there would be more poverty, Nobody want's socialism. . . . We want jobs, how is that socialism? This is only the greatest country in the world if you have an education, no money no education, no jobs no money, . . . . . there's a fine line between capitalism and monopoly, and it affects citizens hugely when it comes to education. Now It's capitalist if competition is a factor. That crates jobs, helps the economy. What we have is close to the death of capitalism by companies that are trying to make a monopoly that affects everyone in this country. I'm all for capitalism, but what some of these companies are doing should be considered un constitutional. They will bring this country to the dirt. And regular people will have to pay for it again. Like we haven't already been. We have to do away with 4 year college, push community colleges and inject money into companies so that they can start they're own in depth training programs to employ people regardless of college. There you have two avenues of affordable education, and jobs while at the same time people inject money into these companies to promote the country on the world wide scale and in return we get jobs. Will they use this money honestly? no telling but I'm gonna go with no. And that there, that greedy attitude gets called american and died down to secrecy. This is the greatest country in the world, but it's about to get destroyed by a few that they think they own it.

  15. She has a good point. Everything has been about the middle class and up, not about people working paycheck to paycheck or worse.

  16. The income gap has actually begin to narrow under the Obama administration, and this is according to 538.
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-income-gap-began-to-narrow-under-obama/

  17. I do agree that they could be better at addressing the issue, and trying to fix solutions to help the problem…..but, at the same time, it's ultimately the decisions that one makes that determines whether or not you will live in poverty or prosperity

  18. Poverty is a symptom of a more fundamental problem in this country. That of excessive laws blocking people from starting their own business. Get rid of the Consumer Protection Agency, get rid of local codes that require asinine business licenses ($1M for a taxi medallion). Get rid of the bureaucracy and you will see people begin to pull themselves out of poverty almost overnight. When the first person you have to hire is a lawyer, you have a system that works against creating new business.

  19. Watch the movie History of the World Part I. In the Roman senate session scene, you will get your answer for why resolving poverty is rarely addressed by politicians.

  20. Mentions inequality but can't explain why it's important. Just because some people are wealthy doesn't mean those people have enough money to pay for everyone else's benefits. This is the problem with promising welfare, especially when you start promising inefficient welfare reforms, like free college, which nominally should pay for itself over one's lifetime, often does, and thus paying for it ends up being expensive and welfare program for people with more money that other people. A welfare program for the upper middle class, or, possibly a prize for people who choose degrees which pay less, but even with these, these folks are much less likely to end up on the short end of the pay scale by any stretch of the imagination.

    I'm not really opposed to the welfare state, as I am to not taking the downside economics seriously. These programs cost the middle class money, the wealthy people can't pay it all, OR, they won't pay it all, they'll move somewhere where they can get a raise. So, the taxes need to be reasonable so that more money is more money for them still. Thus, if it is to work at all, it must tax the middle class, mostly. So, obviously, if they need to pay for their own, and other people's, it makes them poorer, it weakens the middle class, it also costs them discretionary income which makes them less likely to start businesses and less stable, and so forth. Similarly for the poor, who may have immediate benefits, but, remember, some of these benefits are things people work for in some places in the US. Getting them will actually force you to work harder. Accepting the realities of the welfare state isn't something we're good at in the US, especially amongst liberals, who, just about selected Bernie Sanders…

  21. Poverty effects everyone except the 1% but no-one's discussing it?! How did this happen?

    In a time when the middle class is disappearing and wages are at lowest they've been since The Depression, how is this being overlooked??? America is screwed

  22. Gary Johnson is talking about these things, loosening government restrictions and cutting taxes will ease up burdens on the poor. A free market can close the economic gap. Johnson 2016!

  23. Trump talks about trade, immigration, china's devaluation scheme, trade deals, jobs, etc. He really is pounding in those very issues constantly…

  24. there is no problem with the GAP… you can have ZERO GAP, and have EVERYONE BE POOR… the problem is the poor, NOT THE GAP…

  25. support programs?! we need to support ECONOMIC POLICY TO GIVE THEM JOBS, not programs to FINANCE AND PROCREATE poverty…

  26. The "efforts" should be coming from the parents to try and offer a better future for the kids. If you're not willing to try as parents, you shouldn't have kids. Yes, I know people will say they need help, but if you're waiting for others to help, it may never happen.

  27. The US is an oligarchy (like most countries), look at the Princeton University study that demonstrates it. So no wonder poverty is not a topic in the elections, because poor people have no influence whatsoever in the political decisions.

  28. I remember reading from a leftist organisation (forgot its name) that there are just three things you need to do to live (live – not by handouts) in America.
    1) Don't have a baby out of wedlock
    2) Graduate highschool
    3) Get a job.
    It is also a fact that single motherhood rate in America is staggeringly high

  29. Why is it just on a national level that we shouldn't think in 'us and them' patterns? Why not on a global level? Non-americans aren't humans and that's why these imaginary boundaries are still the most normal thing to accept?! or what

  30. And we continue to lessen the taxes on the rich or they simply find ways around it. This applies to both Trump and Hillary. It's a bunch of bullshit.

  31. The biggest benefit of this new perspective would actually be de-radicalising political discourse. Some of the most extreme supporters of the likes of Trump, or Farage here in the UK, are those white impoverished families and groups described, who feel like they have been belittled or overlooked by the establishment, and the have had enough, so they lash out and support the first person who SEEMS to be paying attention to them.
    I'm not for a moment suggesting that Trump, Farage, Le Pen or any of the other bigots actually have the right idea. Often their suggested policies do absolutely nothing for the white impoverished groups looking to them for support. However, the progressive and left wing parties of the Western world have collectively failed to address problems of concentrated immigration, lack of social integration and rural poverty which typically affects white people more than other racial groups. We absolutely need to follow Mason's plan here – we don't have to pretend that white poverty is as severe as black poverty, when we have evidence suggesting otherwise, but we can't ignore it or pretend all white people live well and have an easy time. Hearing "Things used to be great, they're not great any more, vote for me and I'll make them great again" is a much more appealing message for a white person struggling to get by rather than being told "Quiet down, you don't know how lucky you are, stop complaining."

  32. Well put.  The gap between the rich and poor is not the issue.  The issue is how can we help the poor and lower middle class maintain a descent standard of living.  It is hard to enjoy life if you are cold, hungry, and in fear of your safety.

  33. I thought that was exactly what people were talking about while they claim they're held back by the system.

  34. Finally someone who comes to big think knowing what she wants to talk about, talking about it in a structured manner, and bringing a great message as well. It's sad to see that the strongest country in the world still has such social injustice, and it is what makes me turn away from capitalism.

  35. Because identity politics has taken over. Instead of talking about poverty, we talk about specific minority groups who are over-represented below the poverty line. We pretend it's ok for white people to be in poverty because there are fewer white people living in poverty.

    Don't get me wrong, there are identity-specific concerns that need to be considered, but there are also issues relating to poverty that run across ethnic groups. We will never find a good solution if we continue to only analyse part of the problem.

  36. maybe they should teach them on spending, single mother of 3 gets her monthly check , spends it on an outfit and new shoes so she can have girls night out at the clubs. hoping she'll meet the guy that'll take care of her.

  37. We did have a candidate who talked about those issues. The problem is the people didn't vote for him. So we are stuck with Hillary and Trump.

  38. the problem is our country's economy is based on War it is an overwhelming burden on our country. our government made the conscious decision to let the country's infrastructure Fall Apart so they could feed the War Machine. our politicians do not have the slightest concern for the poor. look at how aggressively they went after food stamps
    they took the money that thay saved by slashing food stamps and gave it to Big Business Farmers as tax breaks. America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776

  39. I never really thought into it before, like I never saw any news related to white people being poor, except for those hobo make overs from youtube and even then it doesnt seem that they have it that bad.
    Really makes u think..

  40. I focused on every word, liked the vid, watched till the end and still didn't hear a thing. I'm stuck on the level of flow of intelligence coming from this woman. Preeeetty

  41. Like it was said in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five the American poor collectively all see themselves as being temporarily embarrassed millionaires. The concepts for even acknowledging and much less addressing systemic poverty are drowned out by historically inaccurate arguments like that "minimum wage jobs are for extra money for teenagers." It's a discussion that for the most part doesn't take place before it's over before it begins in the minds of many.

  42. Leave it to the first black woman in like 2 years on this channel to actually say something that actually doesn't make me want to vomit.

  43. Bernie Sanders thinks that white people don't know what it's like to be poor. He is in his lifelong bubble of public office that he is out of touch with reality. Hillary Clinton has not driven herself in a car in over 35 years. Trump spends more time in his private jumbo jet than anywhere else. At the end of the day, we continue giving more money and more power to a corrupt political system that is propped up by the main stream media, the propaganda wing of the establishment. Politicians pander to the poor for votes, while they continue to ship business overseas.

  44. Personally, although issues like poverty are hugely important I think that global warming and overpopulation should be paid much more attention.

  45. poverty is the most common problem in all nation, from the most sophisticated to the most developed. I think only several country done a good job dealing with poverty, maybe Iceland is the best of them all.

  46. Hear hear!
    Less identity politics and divisiveness, more fixing the issues that effect everyone.
    Solve the issue of poverty, social mobility and access to opportunity and those most effected gain the most anyway, without the need to ignore people based on arbitrary physical or cultural features.

    Well done, Big Think and well done Ms Mason!

  47. People really need to pay more attention to taking care of themselves and the things around them. Ex. Get rid of fast food! yeah it's jobs but it's killing us. Too often we rely on the government. I want the government to get out of my face and help those that really need it.. not the lazy people of America but the disabled.

  48. Um.. this is Bernie's main issue (he repeated this multiple times. Could have at least mentioned him a little). Like, he's still talking about it now, even while having the unfortunate duty of defending HRC against Trump.

  49. Maybe it's being overlooked because the 1% wants to keep the status quo. How is Trump going to put everyone to work? How is Hillary going to put everyone to work? They aren't. Jobs are disappearing by the day not being created because that's what is happening. Everyone is getting replaced by machines and the politicians have no solutions that will maintain their status quo. Peter Joseph has the answer. The ONLY answer. Fuck big business. Five hour work weeks for everyone and garunteed income for all. We have the technology.

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