Food Stamp Nation

15% of Americans are on food stamps. 40% of food stamp recipients are employed.

17 thoughts on “Food Stamp Nation

  1. From what you say, it seems you blame digitization of music in itself. Of course, there’s no way to put that genie back in the bottle, unless you support using the full force of government to support even more draconian measures than RIAA’s feeble attempts to thwart the tide. Very populist and liberal that!
    I also disagree that someone like Elvis Costello would starve. He certainly wouldn’t hit it big, but he would manage, as some artists do, even today. Time will tell what the new business model for musicians would be, but I for one don’t mourn the passing of arena shows, even though I like a *lot* of the artists that thrived in that model.

  2. Unfortunately, a tech glitch in WordPress which has afflicted me for months has caused the cartoon for next Wednesday (about Steve Jobs) to make a sneak preview here. Many of the comments above are about that cartoon. Sorry, but I had to fix things, so now the correct (8/29) cartoon is back in its proper position. I know it’s confusing.

    For those of you familiar with Comicpress, I time my cartoons to go up ahead of time, but sometimes the order gets mixed up when a timed post goes up. I hope they fix this…

  3. I agree with bucephalus on this one. iTunes and 99¢ music did not hurt musicians, just the conglomerates. Those CDs cost about 7-10¢ and burning a CD can cost less then 1¢. Throw in a cheep plastic case, cheep cover art on cheep cardboard, and a cheep booklet and such stapled together and the total production cost for a CD is 50¢ to $1. So sure there were gratuitous profits on CDs, but musicians were getting almost NOTHING of them. Almost all of it was going to giant record labels who were using their massive war chests to silence diversity in the music industry increasingly producing only the music that would appeal to the lowest common denominator. This was done to sell the most number of copies to the public of the fewest possible different recordings from the fewest possible different bands as to maximize profit.

    iTunes and similar services allows more direct distribution. Not only is the record lable monopoly of music targeting only the lowest common denominator significantly broken, but artists who dare to record and hock their own music can actually make more money then they could back in the record label and CD dominated days. Sure the Uber-pop bands can’t because their monopoly of mediocrity is broken, but everyone else now has the opportunity to actually make more money.

    As a result of iTunes and similar services music is now cheaper for the populous, more diverse and independent music can both be discovered and survive better then ever before, and proactive artists (of non Uber-pop groups) actually can make more money. Besides the Uber-pop groups and the faceless corporate middle men who were busy at work ruining music through homogenized mediocrity, who actually looses out? This is almost nothing but a huge improvement.

    As time goes on my feeling that Ted is just a contrarian grows. In some impossible hypothetical alternate reality where we all lived in a Utopia Ted would be doing cartoons about why happiness and perfection are the work of the devil and are bad for us.

    • Nah, I’d just laze on a beach.

      No one contests the fact that record labels exploited musical artists. The point is, iTunes and digitization has robbed even successful musicians of the chance they once had to strike it big. Nowadays the only musicians who get big paydays are those like Lady Gaga who are able to manufacture a huge stage extravaganza to go with their music and/or those who magically write a hit single.

      Most working musicians–people who are great but don’t have a hit in them–can’t make coin.

      Elvis Costello would be a poor starving wretch if he were just starting out…and would remain so.

  4. Yet more ignorance from people who just hate Jobs cause he’s rich and successful. As others have pointed out, Apple did not destroy the music industry, which deserved to be destroyed if not only for the fact it shafted musicians. Anyone who thinks the situation is worse off for artists now than it was, say thirty years ago, is insane. She may only be a big star on Youtube, but somebody like Julia Nunes would have never been given a chance in the golden days of the industry you mourn.

    I wonder if you have a fawning, loving cartoon in store for when the mummy of the monster Fidel Castro finally kicks the bucket.

  5. The Music Industry deserved to fail they were greedy monkey’s. No, most of the money bands make, should not come from a plastic disk that will only work for about a year, they should make that money touring. Give Jobs one thing, he is very good at stealing another persons idea and marketing it better.

  6. Big block corporate record stores, such as Tower or Virgin died at the hands of iTunes. Small independent CD and Record stores continue to sell “obsolete” CDs and Vinyl LPs (along with the inexplicable return of the tape cassette). So hooray for the fricken’ internet.

    I invite all of you to blow your next paycheck at the last surviving big blocks: The independent-minded Amoeba which still exists brick and mortar style in Berkeley, San Francisco and, monolithically so, L.A.

    If you prefer freakier and more carefully curated fare: Aquarius Records in SF or Other Music in NY.

    128kbps MP3s with DRM are God’s punishment for endlessly arguing the superiority of scratchy old vinyl played back on $10,000 sound systems. If you really want to get down to business, here’s the real truth: CDs killed the music industry (they sold us their precious master tapes in an easily copyable format — HA!). So hooray for fricken’ CDs. I really should watch my language.

  7. $.99/track for 128kbps with DRM didn’t devalue the content. Steve Jobs didn’t invent P2P. Apple has nothing to do with the imagined mass closing of live music venues. Record stores (CD stores) died because their product is obsolete.

  8. Steve Jobs did not destroy the music industry. The music industry destroyed the music industry. Steve Jobs merely feasted on its lawsuit-reanimated corpse.

  9. Its good for the government and the people on welfare. The government has control, fuck with them you lose your food stamps. Government assistance… ensuring that true rebellion never ever happens again, your life might suck but you aren’t going to starve.

  10. Similarly this EXACT thing is happening with pilots for most of the major airlines. Their employers actually tell them not to ware their corporate uniforms in the food stamp and welfare lines because it creates bad corporate publicity.

  11. Yah, as has been often said, corporations LOVE socialism because they like to privatize gains and use socialism to cover their expenses and losses.

    This is precisely why it is BS when major corporations say “If you impose more taxes or regulations we will leave.” It is a hollow threat to get more subsidy (corporate welfare). There are so many countries that have basically no building codes or financial regulations, for instance places like Estonia. Corporations, however, never move to these places, because they are poor shit holes that can’t provide wealthy nanny states to do things like: feed company employes so that the companies can pay them less or bail out the companies after their own unstable greed creates a multi-trillion dollar hole in the very economy they depend upon for their rapping and pillaging.

    While there is movement to places with less regulation, like Mexico, one actually sees things like all the Detroit manufacturing that doesn’t go to Mexico going to Candida. This is because the socialized health care in Candida saves the companies from having to pay tones of money for employee health insurance as they would in the US. Similarly if you look at the success rate for small business, it is noticeably higher in Europe then the US, because Europe’s large social safety nets effectively subsidize many of the employer expenses that the small business in the US would have to cover themselves.

    By 1995, all 100 of the top 100 transnational corporations were actively benefiting from “industrial policy” (a.k.a. corporate welfare) from the country where they were based. Twenty of the 100 had been bailed out from total collapse at some point in their existence, many by the US, and some had been bailed out from total collapse more then once.

    Socialism, its good for business and its good for you.

  12. shocking, (yawn) just shocking. as a young man back in the 1980s I lived the Minimum Wage Lifestyle for quite awhile. didn’t spend all of time penniless and homeless, but when I was, I was employed full-time. they say times are harder now. life is nice for me now, living indoors, food in the fridge. but I wonder how many of our corporate overlords know just how close they are to having their employees rise up and start jamming pipebombs up their asses? maybe they feel secure living in a bubble… but bubbles do have a tendency to pop.

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