Sweat ‘s unflinching mission is to lay out the slow strangulation of the American Dream.
Filing taxes used to be a routine process for Tanya James -– until the Great Recession upended her financial life.
Several years ago I produced a documentary film about young men who had been in gangs and in prison, men who had had their lives turned around when they were accepted into building trades unions. They all came from tough and economically deprived backgrounds. In addition to their social environments, what was similar about all of the young men who had gotten in serious trouble was the absence of a father in their lives.
Most of them explained to me that while they respected their mothers’ feelings while in the home, when outside of the house they gravitated towards other male figures. Arturo Peña, who was part of a gang in Los Angeles’ Ramona Gardens housing project, reflected on his experience as a young man. “We didn’t have fathers growing up so we looked up to these older gang members who dominated and controlled the streets.”
The lucky ones from so-called “broken families” —
Twice a year Sacramento goes into a frenzy analyzing the state budget. First, in January, the Governor releases his proposed budget, then the “May Revise” appears as the Governor adjusts projections and heeds advice from Senators and Assembly members. The budget, however, is more than a long economic document. It becomes part of the Governor’s legacy, it’s a statement of his priorities, how he will want to be remembered and what he believes will be best for Californians.
Governor Jerry Brown is shaping a legacy based on fiscal responsibility. He wants to be remembered as the Governor who solved the debt crisis and bequeathed fiscal stability to California. Unlike his predecessor, Governor Brown has invested in education, by creating a solvent K-12 system and reinvesting, albeit modestly, in public higher education. However, he is missing some crucial elements that will undermine this success: namely, an investment in low-income families. The Governor forgot that it is working families who most need fiscal solvency.