Randy Miller, a 39-year-old Iraqi war vet, found himself in that situation in November, when a judge in Floyd County, Ga., sent him to jail for violating a court order to pay child support.
Miller, who spent three months in jail before being released, is one of six plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed in March that seeks to force the state of Georgia to provide lawyers for poor non-custodial parents facing the loss of their freedom for failing to pay child support.
The ability of judges to jail parents without a trial is possible because failure to pay child support is usually handled as a civil matter, meaning that the non-custodial parent — or the “contemnor” in legal terms — is found guilty of contempt of court and ordered to appear at a hearing.
He or she is not entitled to some constitutional protections that criminal defendants receive, including the presumption of innocence. And in five states — Florida, Georgia, Maine, South Carolina and Ohio — one of the omitted protections is the right to an attorney.
Solyndra LLC (Fremont, CA) got loans of up to $535 million under a guarantee program authorized by Congress as part of the 2009 stimulus package. Now they are laying off 1,100 workers and filing for bankruptcy.
This was not a typical government guaranteed loan. Rather than being provided by a commercial bank and guaranteed by the government, the loan was provided by the government itself through an entity known as the Federal Financing Bank, a division of the Treasury Department. In essence, the program was loaning taxpayer dollars to these companies with one hand, while guaranteeing the repaying of these loans to the FFB, also with taxpayer dollars, with the other.
Two other American solar companies, Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt, also sought bankruptcy protection in August, and both said competition from Chinese companies had contributed to their financial problems.
#1 Only 58 percent of Americans have a job right now.
#2 Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.
#3 The median yearly wage in the United States is $26,261.
#4 The average American household is carrying $75,600 in debt.
#5 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
#6 At this point, American families are approximately 7.7 trillion dollars poorer than they were back in early 2007.
#7 The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#8 According to one study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.
#10 According to Newsweek, close to 20 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 54 do not have a job at the moment.
According to the International Air Transport Association, profits for the global airline industry will only be about $4 billion this year. Last year, the airline industry made $18 billion. Things look particularly bleak in the North American region.
Over the past decade, one out of every four airline jobs has been lost…..
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, passenger airlines lost one in every four jobs between 2000 and 2010, dropping from 523,208 jobs at the end of 2000 to 390,053 at the end of last year.
#1 From December 2000 to December 2010, the U.S. ran a total trade deficitof 6.1 trillion dollars.
#2 The U.S. trade deficit was about 33 percent larger in 2010 than it was in 2009.
#3 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.
#4 The U.S. economy is rapidly trading high wage jobs for low wage jobs. According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 percent of the job growth. Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 percent of the job growth.
#5 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.
#6 In Germany, exports account for approximately 40 percent of GDP. In China, exports account for approximately 30 percent of GDP. In the United States, exports account for approximately 13 percent of GDP.
#7 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe? Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.
#8 In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.
#9 The U.S. economy now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.
#10 The United States currently has 7.7 million fewer payroll jobs than it did back in December 2007.
#11 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.
#12 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world. In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.
#13 The United States now spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
#14 In China, working conditions are so bad that large numbers of “employees” regularly try to commit suicide. One major employer, Foxconn, has even gone so far as to install “anti-suicide nets” in an attempt to keep their employees from jumping off of their buildings.
#15 Wages for workers in China are incredibly low. For example, one facility in the city of Longhua that makes iPods employs approximately 200,000 workers. These workers put in endless 15-hour days but they only make about $50 per month.
#16 In Bangladesh, manufacturing workers toil in absolutely horrific conditions and make an average of about $38 per month.
#17 In Vietnam, teenage workers often work seven days a week for as little as 6 cents an hour making promotional Disney toys for McDonald’s.
#18 Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed.
#19 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.
#20 In the United States today, 6.2 million Americans have been out of work for 6 months of longer.
#21 8.4 million Americans are currently working part-time jobs for “economic reasons”. These jobs are mostly very low paying service jobs.
#22 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.
#23 According to Willem Buiter, the chief economist at Citigroup, China will be the largest economy in the world by the year 2020, and India will surpass China by the year 2050.