intimate partnerships can promote unhealthy habits, moon lit beach, fox defends our overlords

Isn’t one of the conventional wisdoms of the committed relationship that your partner, who says they love you for what you are, then proceeds to change you. If, in their opinion you drink too much, or smoke, or crack your knuckles, leave bathroom towels on the floor( I once considered becoming a paid assassin to track down the bathroom floor towel reprobates), talk too much, do not socialize enough, read too many comic books, wear bad shoes, burp during dinner, chew with your mouth open, wear your pants too long, wear your skirts too short? Your loving partner will, with the kindness and patience of a modern saint, help straighten you out. Or they could drag you down with them, Long-Term, Intimate Partnerships Can Promote Unhealthy Habits 

For better or for worse, in sickness and in health – there’s a long line of research that associates marriage with reducing unhealthy habits such as smoking, and promoting better health habits such as regular checkups. However, new research is emerging that suggests married straight couples and cohabiting gay and lesbian couples in long-term intimate relationships may pick up each other’s unhealthy habits as well.

[  ]…Corinne Reczek, a UC assistant professor of sociology, reports three distinct findings into how unhealthy habits were promoted through these long-term, intimate relationships: through the direct bad influence of one partner, through health habit synchronicity and through the notion of personal responsibility.

Reczek reports that gay, lesbian and straight couples all described the “bad influence” theme, while in straight partnerships, men were nearly always viewed as the “bad influence.”

“The finding that one partner is a ‘direct bad influence’ suggests that individuals converge in health habits across the course of their relationship, because one individual’s unhealthy habits directly promotes the other’s unhealthy habits,” reports Reczek. An example would be how both partners eat the unhealthy foods that one partner purchases.

The straight men as slobs who think of their girlfriends or wives as also their mother substitutes and maids, is occasionally funny when safely removed from the immediacy of it by the TV or movie screen. Not so funny is the reality of month after month, year after year. Neither is that well-kept secret that at least half of the female population are bathroom slobs who collect lotions, creams, ointments, tubes and canisters for years.A little scary are the subclass of bathroom slobs who keep the little ledge around the sink lined with lipstick, lip balm, mascara and whatever. It would require some kind of super human dexterity to use that sink to wash one’s hands. So some hands must be going unwashed.

“Gay and lesbian couples nearly exclusively described how the habits of both partners were simultaneously promoted due to unhealthy habit synchronicity. For these individuals, one partner may not engage in what they consider an unhealthy habit on their own, but when their desire for such a habit is matched by their partners, they partake in unhealthy habits,” writes Reczek.

“Third, respondents utilized a discourse of personal responsibility to describe how even when they observe their partner partaking in an unhealthy habit, they do not attempt to change the habit, indicating that they were complicit in sustaining their partner’s unhealthy habits. The final theme was described primarily by straight men and women,” says Reczek.

I’m going to guess that the tendency not to speak up is based on conflict avoidance. We hate to confront our partners. Our culture teaches that all personal conflict is bad. So many people keep that hidden. The resentment builds up and suddenly you’re having a terrible fight about stupid overcooked potatoes. If more people realized that low-level confrontation was a good thing. And in addition learned how to have constructive confrontations with their partners those fights that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere would be rare.

It is interesting that same sex couples seem to be able to recognize and acknowledge the unhealthy habit synchronicity. I wonder if it isn’t because the psychology that goes along with the war of the sexes is not in play. Gender pride doesn’t keep either side from admitting that something isn’t quite right.

sea coast, full moon,

moon lit beach wallpaper

If you just landed on this planet and all you knew about history is what conservatives told you, this is what you would know: Michele Bachmann fears the rise of the Soviet Union. The USSR ended in 1991. Paul Revere’s famous horseback ride was all about warning the British. The housing bubble did not burst until Jan. 15, 2009 – Sean Hannity may have just gone on record as the last person on the planet to recognize the housing bubble. The Civil War? That was “Christendom’s Last Stand.” The states can nullify any federal law they don’t like – Rick Perry Signed Unconstitutional Law Nullifying Federal Light Bulb Law. Former Catholic and now occasional Mormon Glenn Beck knows more about Jews in Israel than the Jews actually living there.

blue lake, western U.S., landscape

dam and lake

Jon Stewart Defends the Poor from Money-Grubbing Conservatives (Video). Stewart got the graph and statistics he uses from Business Insider, but since the graphs at their link is broken we’ll use this blog post instead – The ‘mind-blowing’ surge of wealth inequality in America

Business Insider has an excellent slide show that adds depth and breadth to this phenomenon. Here’s one graphic (via the Institute for Policy Studies) showing that in 2007 the top 1 percent owned over a third of the nation’s wealth while the bottom 50 percent had a measly 2.5 percent.

Here’s what Dennis Kucinich told me a couple months ago: “Every area of the economy is still about taking wealth from the great mass of people and putting it into the hands of a few. If you don’t have a economic democracy, you don’t have a political democracy.”

 

 

Stewart uses the fact that the bottom 50% of the population – half the country owns 2.5% of the wealth. These are the people who Fox pundits, like a chorus a good little sheep, declare should be chipping in to pay down the deficit rather than taxing those hard-working “producers” at the top. In Fox lingo it is a war between the “makers” and the”takers”. Let’s take someone in that bottom 50% like a roofer that doesn’t feel they’re doing too bad at $14.00 an hour. It is Foxes POV that someone who makes millions of dollars off just having money is a valuable member of society for which the roofer should be grateful they pay as much taxes as they do. What was even more stark in terms of financial rewards versus merit is the top 10% in terms of income. They own 71% of the country’s value. Fox says this is the natural order of things. The wealthy at the top of this steep pyramid do all the work. Being a capitalist I would agree that work should be rewarded. That money and all the things it buys are indeed quite an incentive, or should be. The problem with all the pundits on the video ( which includes a deeply ignorant libertarian) is that the wealthy are not rewarded in proportion to the work they do or the intellectual capital they add to the system. They are rewarded because they are wealthy. As Warren Buffett recently explained,

Taxes on investments. Okay, now we’re getting closer to Buffett’s main point here, and that’s taxes on investments. The tax rates on investments tend to be lower than taxes on regular income. If you make money buying and selling stocks or receiving dividends from stock ownership, those earnings are generally taxed at 15 percent, the rate for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends.

Some hedge fund managers and other finance-sector executives get taxed at this rate on their earnings because their compensation is classified as “carried interest” and taxed as a capital gain. (The Wall Street Journal breaks down how carried interest works.) In fact, some economists believe that the lower rates for capital gains actually encourages tax dodges, because it motivates high earners to look for ways to classify normal income as capital gains. Defenders say the lower tax rate helps the economy because it rewards investors for risk-taking and entrepreneurship. They also argue that taxing dividends amounts to double taxation because corporations pay taxes on their income before investors are paid dividends. We won’t settle the argument here, but there’s no doubt that investors get lower tax rates on their income than workers.

 

The argument usually goes that these high earners deserve a break because they are taking risks, encouraging growth, financing new entrepreneurs. The latter two are just so much urban myth. The part about risk is part of what is out of wack. That 50% of the people who only own 2.5% of the nations’ asset take regular risks – financial and physical – all the time. If they screw-up that, well that is why we have these predatory pay-day/car title lenders. The 2.5 can end up out on the street. We hear about the occasional millionaire going broke, but those stories are rare. Notice that none of the big players at Goldman-Sachs or AIG Financial, or even GE Capital which lost $50 billion during the crash of 2008, ended up in homeless shelters. The executives at the big three auto companies have been mismanaging those companies to some extent for years. Many have walked away with millions in golden parachutes. There are losses – straight up business losses, plus eroding shares of the marketplace, but they never pay for risks the way the myths makers of crony capitalism at Fox would have you believe. When Dick Cheney was VP he kept getting a multi-million dollars salary from Halliburton( it went into a trust while he was in office). What did Cheney do exactly to earn that money. The system is rigged to punish the speculators at the bottom, but those at the top stay at the top almost regardless of their behavior, and certainly regardless of how much work they do. Half of America does pretty much operate on the capitalism of that we so often hear about. Those above that 50% on the other hand have become the modern version of entitled overlords.

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