MTA = Poverty Trap: It IS happening to you August 10, 2011Posted by larry in economics, social policy.
You may notice that they get the lyrics wrong toward the end, noticed by Nick Reynolds, confusing poor Charlie with the politician, George O’Brien. The electronic card used for the MTA (now the MBTA) is called a CharlieCard, so embedded in Boston cultural consciousness is the song.
It is not far-fetched to consider the subway fare increase to be analogous to Osborne’s and others’ austerity programs. In the song, Charlie is trapped in such a way that he is unable to help himself, not unlike, I would argue, the situation facing many stuck in poverty, even in so-called advanced industrial democracies. As an adjunct to the song, readers should avail themselves of the extract that Barbara Ehrenreich has provided of the Afterword in the new edition of her book, Nickel and Dimed (August 2011). You can find it here: http://www.guar dian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/aug/10/america-poverty-criminalised.
Another apt quote by Ehrenreich relevant to our times is this: “[M]odern welfare states, inadequate as they may be, are in no small part the product of war — that is, of governments’ attempts to appease soldiers and their families.” — Blood Rites