November 7, 2012

"Listen, I like stopping by Althouse, but let's get real. Althouse and Meade are living a high-income, privileged life that many of us can only dream about."

Rants Jeffrey in my "time to stop talking about the election and have our lives be about love and beauty" post.
It takes a day like today to put all of that into focus. Cultivate your garden?! I've seen the photos of where she and Meade live. C'mon. Many of us would love to live surrounded by all those expensive toys and have the summer off to order a pile of books for the Kindle and take a few leisurely vacations.

The class (and income) issue rarely comes up here. I think it's about time we hashed this out.

As others have pointed out above, Ann's cavalier, gather-ye-rosebuds response is predicated on being financially stable for the rest of her life. She has the good life NOW and will have it till the day she dies (or almost).

Let me repeat, though. I generally enjoy Ann's blog, but today seems like a good time for people to discuss this issue.
I'd said "cultivate your garden" in a comment in that thread. It's a reference to Voltaire's advice in "Candide" — damn, I typo'd "candidate"! — where it's not just advice for the comfortably affluent. Here, you can put it in your Kindle — in English — for $0.00 — absolutely free. You can read the greatest books ever written and never run out of reading material — all free

And I have the summer off because I choose not to teach during the summer. I choose not to make more money. As for Meade's economic choices, you don't know what they are, and I choose not to invade our privacy by explaining the structure of the economic unit that is our household. But we do, in many ways, choose noncommercial activities over moneymaking things, and we take advantage of the wealth that we have built up in our lives by enjoying our home and the natural beauty of our state and our country. We buy a state park sticker for our car every year and county ski and bike trail passes, and we never run out of incredibly cheap things to do.

If Meade and I were starting our lives together and in our 20s — a topic we've discussed many times — we would put a premium on love and beauty and on maximizing our free time... and our freedom generally. But that isn't where we happened to meet. You may be somewhere else, and if you are, use your brain. Figure out what your values really are and what you should be doing with your life. You are not your job. You are not a slave. Think! Pay attention! Do something with what you have. Don't pester your mind with envy. It's perfectly idiotic to wait for the world to change into a form you like.

That's what Voltaire was talking about when he had his long-suffering character Candide say:
"I know... that we must cultivate our garden."

"You are right," said Pangloss, "for when man was first placed in the Garden of Eden, he was put there ut operaretur eum, that he might cultivate it; which shows that man was not born to be idle."

"Let us work," said Martin, "without disputing; it is the only way to render life tolerable."

The whole little society entered into this laudable design, according to their different abilities. Their little plot of land produced plentiful crops. Cunegonde was, indeed, very ugly, but she became an excellent pastry cook; Paquette worked at embroidery; the old woman looked after the linen. They were all, not excepting Friar Giroflée, of some service or other; for he made a good joiner, and became a very honest man.

Pangloss sometimes said to Candide: "There is a concatenation of events in this best of all possible worlds: for if you had not been kicked out of a magnificent castle for love of Miss Cunegonde: if you had not been put into the Inquisition: if you had not walked over America: if you had not stabbed the Baron: if you had not lost all your sheep from the fine country of El Dorado: you would not be here eating preserved citrons and pistachio-nuts."

"All that is very well," answered Candide, "but let us cultivate our garden."

568 comments:

1 – 200 of 568   Newer›   Newest»
EMD said...

I would hope with the looming Wisconsin winter you would have thicker skin ...

; )

John said...

Ann, I would gladly choose to make less money... if I (like you) did not need it. You are not accepting the fact that you have a relatively (relative to most) leisure life. Nothing wrong with that. Own it.

Andy R. said...

In a question about privilege, Ann gives an answer completely lacking in self-awareness and completely un-self-conscious about her privilege.

Is this performance art? Is she trolling her own blog?

chickelit said...

Jeffrey sounds like a real asshole. The world is full of them.

Shanna said...

I think he was saying that the stakes are higher for some than they are for others. They just are.

It's hard to gather the rosebuds when you are not able to feed your family. Unless you want to feed them rosebuds.

edutcher said...

OK, you are an aesthete, that's fine.

We need people like you - I love your photography and your trips. I love the little romantic touches you put into things, such as finding it poignant that you and Meade were separated for a time because you were in different voting lines.

That's what the Liberal Arts are supposed to be about - realizing there's more to life than toys and money.

And, yes, we need to keep perspective about this. We lost a big battle, but we keep fighting on. We don't give up.

So we do have to focus on the larger picture.

It's just a little tough right now. As I commented on another blog (yes, Madame, I am only monogamous with The Blonde), it's like watching the Wehrmacht roll into Paris.

Moose said...

Meh - sorry.

Seeing those matching electro-desks kinda sealed it for me. You've got the means to sit back and *ponder* and *muse* about things that are really freakin' important to other people.
Then you can take a nice bike ride.
You are insightful and witty, but a bit spoiled.

m stone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, I would gladly choose to make less money... if I (like you) did not need it. You are not accepting the fact that you have a relatively (relative to most) leisure life. Nothing wrong with that. Own it."

I can't see what you are doing and what your needs are, but I am saying that if I were in a different place, I would structure my affairs to maximize freedom. It's very easy to have your needs build up to the point where your income ought to be twice what it is to make your lifestyle feel comfortable. I have roots in the hippie era, and I began my adult life with those values. For reasons of my own, I chose to go to law school when I was 28, but if I had been with Meade back then, I am almost certain I would not have taken that path. If Meade wanted to tell the story of what he did with his work life, you would hear some interesting things that might inspire you.

Meanwhile, you grouse about your life, the only life you have.

I don't know enough about you to give you more particularized economic advice, but comparing what you have to what other people have is, unless they have stolen from you, foolish.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Sounds like someone is just jealous. You and Meade are happy, enjoy your life, and are prosperous because you took advantage of opportunities. Living a good life does not mean spending huge amounts of money either. Toys, tools, and other wants and desires can be shopped.

Some people are just miserable because they lack the capacity to see beyond their own self imposed worthlessness.

chickelit said...

As others have pointed out above, Ann's cavalier, gather-ye-rosebuds response is predicated on being financially stable for the rest of her life.

I would disagree with that. My father, while he was dying, told me once "you lose your health, you lose everything."

Anyone of us could be stricken with something terrible, something inoperable (like Obama's mama), and all the healthcare in the world couldn't do a damn thing.

Jeffrey said...

Nice. I got heat, that's for sure. Let's have some light, too.

Ann, if you're not willing to post scans of your and Meade's joint income tax information, then I really can't consider you a serious blogger.

Rusty said...

Althouse.
You don't have to explain yourself to me. I don't envy you what you make.You made good choices so far. May you continue to do so. Live and be well. God bless you.

mccullough said...

This is defensive Boomer bullshit.

If you were in your 20s you would have loans to pay back and shitty job prospects and very little chance of starting a family.

It's not like you don't encounter people in their 20s everyday with their wide-eyed ignorance in taking out loans to attend an expensive law school not really comprehending that they will never get a job that made it a worthwhile investment. No chance to have a family. No chance to have a house. A much lower standard of living and high taxes to pay off all the Boomer narcissism.


chickelit said...

PETER V. BELLA said...
Sounds like someone is just jealous.

True Peter. Hold a mirror up to the ugly when you see it. It's hard to do without provoking scorn and more envy, but it's important to do it.

TosaGuy said...

It does not benefit people to engage in class envy, the Obama's of the world want us to do that. Ms. Althouse has worked hard in life and had done well. She is entitled to do with it as she wants.

However,

"we take advantage of the wealth that we have built up in our lives by enjoying our home and the natural beauty of our state and our country."

Fewer people will be able to live life as you do now because it will become much harder to accumulate such resources over the entirety of one's working life. A bare subsistance will be provided, but fewer people will be able to live above than do today.

Leisure is a relatively new phenomenon and the fact that your average person can engage in it was unheard of even 100 years ago. It's a concept that is not guaranteed to continue at its present level of scale.

66 said...

"Don't pester your mind with envy."

What a beautiful turn of phrase. Thank you for that. There are many things that pester our minds (at least my mind) that we should let go of. Envy is an excellent example. I will try.

Comanche Voter said...

Well hell. Let them eat cake. Ann "chooses" not to work in the summer because she doesn't have to--I'm all right Jack, and all that.

That's not to say that Ms. Althouse is not entertaining and occasionally englightening.

But for the 50 percent of kids coming out of college that can't find a job in their chosen field of say Environmental Maintenace or "Sustainable Farming", the future they face is of a lot of summers off. Living in their old bedroom in Mom and Dad's house with $150,000 worth of student loans that they can't pay.

They'd love to "choose" to have a job, but none are on offer.

I'm retired now and I've made my (small) pile. I won't be as comfortable as I was when I was working, but I'm not going to starve. But now I have to think about things and expenditures in a fashion that's somewhat new to me. I say somewhat because I had the same reticence re expenditures when I was just getting started.

So go gather your rosebuds. I'm planning to hunker down and survive four more years of this--and hope that there is something left at the end of the downhill slide.

Patrick said...

we need to hash out the Professor's economic situation? Really? She owes us an answer, and an answer that reflects "self awareness?" That comment lacks self awareness. Maybe she owes us some of that wealth too?

Ridiculous.

Jeffrey said...

To be honest, people, I not only sound like an asshole, I look like an asshole. Damn! Life really isn't fair.

elcrain said...

Of course it will never happen here (of course), but there must have been some nice gardens that were owned, tended, and enjoyed by Jewish families who lived in Eastern Europe back in the 1930's.

And I am as eager to move on, pursue my interests and enjoy the beautiful fall weather as the next Romney voter. It's just that more and more often I find myself thinking about those people, and that thing that will never happen here.

Lisaocean86 said...

Here, Here! Class envy is a terrible beast.

Pastafarian said...

I don't think Althouse lives ostentatiously; she's successful, probably because she spends quite a bit of time working (either teaching or blogging). She's also remarkably intelligent and talented, and I begrudge her nothing.

So don't misinterpret this.

Some of us don't have the ability to live a simpler, less driven life. We have responsibilities, to children or parents or employees.

Maybe Jeffrey isn't the covetous ass that he appears -- maybe he's just pointing out that for some people, facing four more years like the last four years isn't something that can be shrugged off.

Lisaocean86 said...

Here, Here! Class envy is a terrible beast.

tim in vermont said...

"From each according to his abilities" has always been the nut that socialism can't crack. "To each according to what we think he needs" has always been a much simpler task until they started to run out of the fruits of the abilities of the gifted (gifts both great and modest) among them.

Trying to eradicate "privilege" is a fool's errand, it is like trying to eradicate unequal sexual attraction, should her life be covered in a bourqa?

Pastafarian said...

Jeffrey: "Ann, if you're not willing to post scans of your and Meade's joint income tax information..."

Oops. No, I was wrong, he's just a covetous asshole.

Bender said...

[you] are prosperous because you took advantage of opportunities

Tenure in the ivory tower and on the public dole isn't opportunity, it is privilege, it is legally protected denial of opportunity to others.

Rather than seeing virtue in having the leisure to take the summer off to smell the flowers, it would be better to give up the guaranteed government salary and get a real job out in the real world.

Geraldus Maximus said...

Wow, the circular firing squad some people are trying to engage in is just silly. Why would you unload your anger on Anne? Did she slap your grandma or something? I don't have as much as Anne, but then again I made quite different choices with a lot of gambles taken that I wound up losing. I made those choices and had fun doing them. What does that have to do with Anne? I'm not White Knighting here. I don't play that.

I won't repost but please consider my 12:21pm post in the "I don't really care about politics. What I care about is how the pissant goings-on of political people affects the important things in this life..." thread.

Tank said...

Andy R. said...

In a question about privilege, Ann gives an answer completely lacking in self-awareness and completely un-self-conscious about her privilege.

Is this performance art? Is she trolling her own blog?


Ann lived the kind of life our generation was able to live. Anyone with her ability and work ethic could have done that, or something similar.

Because of the terrible path our generation, and the one before us, took us down, future generations will not, for the most part, have our options. Instead, today they're born owing $200K each.

On the other hand, younger generations generally vote for the wrong thing too. See yesterday. Of course, they've been brainwashed since birth.

Yes, we've royally screwed up this land of ours. Ann and Meade may or may not get to continue living the way they do. That's true for all of us.

Lisaocean86 said...

Jeffrey,
Well if you look like an asshole, sound like an asshole than you most likely are one too! Hard work, studying and good life choices are something to EMULATE, Not ENVY. Trying switching around your "E" words.

edutcher said...

PS To make my point, today's our wedding anniversary and The Blonde (in addition to a nice card) got me an "Irish" rosary - the stones are green jade and there's a St Patrick's medal on it.

So I try to appreciate that.

But I do appreciate also what those people facing the economy as its prospects look bleak and all the other "blessings" of the Welfare State.

Paul said...

Better start saving your rupees and hunkering down.

Obama is gonna tax the stuffings out of everyone while inflation roars in (and he takes those muti-million dollar vacations.)

And don't forget those carbon taxes and coal taxes! And no drilling folks while he gets 'green' companies to fail some more (after all, so many unknown 'credit card' donors who do have to be paid back.

And gas prices to rise again, 'unexpectently', while unemployment rises 'unexpectently'.


Yea, do your guarding stuff. Stick your head in the sand.

We are gonna get the exact kind of goverment we have had for four years.

Rusty said...

I do have a new proposal though. Tell me what you think.
A surtax of 2&1/2% on all public pensions over $100,000 a year.
And we'll make it progressive. Another 2&1/2 % for every $25,000 after that.
That way the people who get the most from the taxpayers can give a little back. Show a little appreciation. Yeah?

Bob Ellison said...

That's a good lesson from Voltaire, but in times like these, I think "Candide's Meditation" is more therapeutic.

rhhardin said...

Breaking out my score of Candide

SOFRONIA
I have always been wily and clever
At deceiving and swindling and such,
And I feel just as clever as ever,
But I seem to be losing my touch.
Yes, I'm clever, but where does it get me?
My employer gets all of my take;
All I get is my daily spaghetti,
While he gorges on truffles and steak.

(chorus=)
What's the use?
What's the use?
There's no profit in cheating.
It's all so defeating
And wrong,
Oh, so wrong!
If you just have to pass it along.

FERONE
That old hag is no use in this gyp-joint;
Not a sou have I made on her yet,
And the one thing that pays in this clip-joint
Is my fraudulent game of roulette.
But I have to pay so much protection
To the chief of police and his men
That each day when he makes his collection
I'm a poor man all. over again.

(chorus)

PREFECT OF POLICE
It's a very fine thing to be prefect,
Shaking down all the gamblers in town.
My position has only one defect:
That there's somebody shaking me down.
For this fellow unhappily knows me,
And he's on to the game that I play,
And he threatens to shame and expose me
If I do not incessantly pay.

(chorus)

FAT MAN
I could live very well by extortion,
But I simply can't keep what I earn,
For I haven't a sense of proportion,
And roulette is my only concern.
I've a system that's fiendishly clever,
Which I learnt from a croupier friend,
And I should go on winning forever­
But I do seem to lose in the end.

(chorus)

edutcher said...

elcrain said...

Of course it will never happen here (of course), but there must have been some nice gardens that were owned, tended, and enjoyed by Jewish families who lived in Eastern Europe back in the 1930's

I think this picture expresses it nicely.

Jeffrey said...

Shanna,

I think he was saying that the stakes are higher for some than they are for others. They just are.

It's hard to gather the rosebuds when you are not able to feed your family. Unless you want to feed them rosebuds.


That's a very good paraphrase. I couldn't resist adding a little snark to that basic idea.

66 said...

"Anyone with her ability and work ethic could have done that"

You make it seem so simple. Anyone? Individual effort, sacrifice, insight, compassion, good-nature, good looks, etc. mean nothing? We are all just the end result of our gene pool? Stop pestering my mind.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dante said...

and we take advantage of the wealth that we have built up in our lives by enjoying our home and the natural beauty of our state and our country.

Just a point, you have now linked economic well being to being able to enjoy natural beauty, and presumably as well as your ability to enjoy the beauty you have created in your life.

The cold reality is that, this is why politics is important. Does anyone doubt that politics affects ones economic well being?

And given the amount of money (read labor) people expend on government, and the greater amounts of labor our children will expend on government, shouldn't a person concerned about their and their progeny's well being ought to expend the energy to make wise presidential choices.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I've been saying all this for weeks.

Ann was too cowardly to debate me, though. Whatever.

mojavehicular said...

An essential rule for a happy life: Don’t compare yourself with anyone.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeffrey said...

Lisaocean86,

Trying switching around your "E" words.

Hey, would you be willing to be my life coach?

carrie said...

But love and beauty can't pay the rent. I have clients who had very successful businesses that are now worth nothing. The businesses are still running so people are confused that they are worth nothing, but they really would be worth nothing if the owners tried to sell them, so the owners keep them going as best they can with the hope that things will get better and they bear all the stress that comes with keeping a struggling business afloat. These business owners took reduced incomes and put everything that they could back into their businesses, so they don't have piles of cash, or pension plans, that they can rely on for income if they just stopped working--they just have their businesses and hopefully they will earn enough to keep their homes and have a decent lifestye, at least as long as they are able to work. Love and beauty are great if you get a government paycheck and have a government pension because you are really set--there is very little risk associated with a government employee's investment in his/her job. However, the economy will tank if love and beauty are all that Obama has to offer for the next four years because business owners can't survive on love and beauty.

shiloh said...

Althouse introspection.

She provides a service er supply and demand as the blog hits just keep on comin'. Indeed, she's a con pied piper, much like her hero, Limbaugh.

Bottom line, peeps who have a problem w/her, her lifestyle don't have to read.

Again, personal choice/preferences. It's all good, but there are much more enjoyable hobbies than being a lemming at a political blog.

Addictions are hard to overcome, ask Limbaugh.

tim in vermont said...

"privilege" is what envy looks like in the mirror.

gmama3 said...

It is much easier to envy those who have made better choices than to deal with one's own shortcomings.

Envy...just look how swimmingly everything is going in Europe. After all those nations who chose to blame the rich (or Jews, or both) always do so dang well!

Wade Phillips said...

I'm with Althouse on this.

If people are so delusional that they think ANY election is a decisive factor in their quest for a better life, they're the ones lacking self-awareness.

It's just an election. Get over it and get on with your lives.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Austin said...

Ann, I'm doing in business what I love.

The problem is that for many of us, our President has made doing those things we love very difficult.

Things like small business, Christian religion, coal miners, energy explorers and those in the insurance and banking industry (which now are being moved to monolithic state controlled entities)

Heck even commercial and sport fishing is being wrecked from Obama since he's shutting down certain sport fisheries while letting the Asian carp move into the great lakes.

Sure, I can do the Dennis Miller thing and pick up a guitar, some foodstamps and an Obamaphone.

But that's not what I love and want.

mccullough said...

How is any of this class warfare?

People are just pointing out that when Ann was in her 20s she didn't have the amount of debt and shitty future prospects and high taxes that the current young generation has.

The fact that she teaches these kids knowing they are ignorant in taking out high loans for shitty legal jobs or no legal jobs is just the icing on the cake. Boomer Narcissism.


Jeffrey said...

Ann,

I would have preferred if you had used the word "observes" instead of "rants." It wasn't a "rant." It was a tongue-in-cheek observation and recommendation to the local commenters that class issues ought to be discussed from time to time (today being one of those times). So, if you could just edit out "rants" and write: Observes Jeffrey.

Thanks in advance.

tim in vermont said...

OMG, Shilo made sense!

My favorite comment in the monster thread last night was from inga

"Shut up while Obama is speaking..."

As if she couldn't turn off the blog by simply not looking, or as if we did not live a country of free men and women who could listen to the man spout his feel good lies of whatever moment, or not.

Maguro said...

Althouse is right. Unless you're a politician or some kind of professional activist, there's really no point in freaking out over politics, one way or the other. It's like getting mad at the weather or something.

MathMom said...

Ann prepared herself years ago for her success today. She studied law, and evidently was good enough at it that she has maintained a job teaching it for years.

If she had become a waitress or secretary or barrista or truck driver or some other work that did not require years of college, she would not be living the lifestyle she lives now. She sacrificed several years in her youth, hitting the books, and in her 60's it is paying off. That is the American Dream. Don't let the dream die.

Good for you, Ann.

Renee said...

My parents and in-laws are in the same age range with the same lifestyle. They are financially stable and live/enjoy within their means. They didn't do anything to make themselves 'rich', but when it comes to money none of them did anything irresponsible with their incomes.

The are concern we're economicly unhealthy as with the future of the grandchildren, but they voted for Obama/Warren. So oh well their heart was in the right place.

Surfed said...

Ya' need a spell check app for the Blog Ann. - You and Meade mirror my girlfriend and I in the choices we make/made at this stage in our life (we are much the same age as you and Meade) and the discussions we've had; just recently the "what if we had met in our 20's" conversation. Is it an age or socio-economic one? Both? For what it's worth - I love having my summers off. Haven't ever missed one in 60-ish years.

Bender said...

Love and beauty are great if you get a government paycheck and have a government pension because you are really set

Yes, I'd have more sympathy for her argument were she to give up the government job and go hang a shingle as a sole practitioner, or at least get an at-will employment job in the private sector like most people have.

There is a lot of merit to the argument that there are many more important things in life than a mere job, but not coming from one in this position.

66 said...

"The problem is that for many of us, our President has made doing those things we love very difficult."

Perhaps you should not give the president control over the things you love.

Jeffrey said...

MathMom,

If she had become a waitress or secretary or barrista or truck driver or some other work that did not require years of college, she would not be living the lifestyle she lives now.

Damn straight. And here's the kicker. We wouldn't be reading her blog.

Marshal said...

You can read the greatest books ever written and never run out of reading material — all free.

Someone's giving away free Kindles? And chargers? And electricity? And internet connections?

LilyBart said...

I'm reading Obama's victory speech this morning, and, though I voted against him, I feel uplifted. I get a chill

Ann, over the years, you've really been taken by his 'speeches'. But these are just words. My mother always taught me that how a person lives is far more important that what they *say*.

Obama has not been a 'uniter'. He has been rather petty and small. A few high sounding words on a such a day does not and cannot change that.

I think you are rather gullible. A perfect American for modern America.

Renee said...

BTW my parents do not have a four year college degree and live as well as the Professor. All you need is a healthy economy and know how to balance the checkbook.

The Farmer said...

mccullough said...
This is defensive Boomer bullshit.

If you were in your 20s you would have loans to pay back and shitty job prospects and very little chance of starting a family.

It's not like you don't encounter people in their 20s everyday with their wide-eyed ignorance in taking out loans to attend an expensive law school not really comprehending that they will never get a job that made it a worthwhile investment. No chance to have a family. No chance to have a house. A much lower standard of living and high taxes to pay off all the Boomer narcissism.


My children's godmother worked her way through law school (her husband also works full-time) while interning, had two more kids, turned her intern gig into a kick-ass job, and just paid off her law school loans. They're doing great. Granted, she's a highly motivated type A personality, but it's not like it was impossible.

Re: you other guys whining about Althouse's money, come on. I'm sure she makes more than my family. Who cares. We make more than lots of other people. In regards to most of the rest of the world, we're wealthy, and so are all of you. Not enough for you? Like Althouse says - make different choices.

I'm so tired of hearing people whine about not being able to get jobs out of college. Who told you you were owed a job? Boo hoo. Take your education and knowledge and skills and make something happen.

Instead of complaining about Althouse and her money why don't you get your shit together and make something happen for yourself? Start your own business. Or go back to school. Take a chance for once, you pussies. Yeah, it's hard. Yeah, you might fail. You'll PROBABLY fail. So what? Either go back to your grey little job and your grey little life and be thankful for what you have, or don't, but don't blame those of us who took the bull by the horns and made things happen for ourselves.

Wahh, wahh, the country's changing, it won't work for the younger generation. Please. Maybe the younger generation needs to put their balls on the table and start realizing that unless you're born into it, you make your own luck and wealth. No presidential administration is ever going to be able to stop ambitious, driven people from succeeding.

I read a lot of dumb stuff by you guys but I never thought I'd hear this kind of pitiful whining over here.

Life is hard. Get over it.

Paco Wové said...

"You can read the greatest books ever written and never run out of reading material — all free"

There are also these wonderful new innovations... I think they're called "libraries".

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
I don't know enough about you to give you more particularized economic advice, but comparing what you have to what other people have is, unless they have stolen from you, foolish.


No one is grousing about what you have. We're pointing out that we're in a completely different place than you and therefore your advice, which may be appropriate for people in your environment, is not relevant.

Michael said...

We have been doing nothing except discussing class issues for the last two years; that in many ways is what this election was about. The president very much wanted to stir up those who have less against those who have more and he wanted to make it clear that it was luck alone that caused the distinction. there were plenty of hardworking and smart people who were poor went his logic. OK. The country didnt buy it, or at least half the country didn't buy it the other half already believing it. So what is it we should discuss about the great divide other than how to divvy up the boot that can be taken from those better off?

66 said...

"Someone's giving away free Kindles? And chargers? And electricity? And internet connections?"

And library cards?

Geraldus Maximus said...

Marshal, yes you can have a kindle absolutely free. Google, "Kindle for PC" or "Kindle for Mac." If you can post here you can take read thousands of years of culture for free.

Bender said...
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roesch/voltaire said...

Well I think this is not an either/or activity as paying attention to the present, cultivating compassion and beauty involves both the mirco and macro levels of our life. While I live in financial security able to enjoy what is free in life as well as expensive, I am keenly aware that as Robert J. Gordon writes, "the most important (headwind) holding down the growth of our future income is rising inequality." In my comfortable life, I can not turn away from that fact.

LilyBart said...

I'm reading Obama's victory speech this morning, and, though I voted against him, I feel uplifted. I get a chill


Ann, I'm curious to know what you think is going to happen when we run out of money. And we will. High taxation on the 'richies' isn't going to cover off the spending and the pension promises.

We are in so much debt, and spending more everyday. No workable plan to get out of this downward spiral.

Bender said...

All you need is a healthy economy and know how to balance the checkbook

That should be in the past tense, not the present -- all you needed was a healthy economy, etc.

The problem is that we don't have a healthy economy, and because of the policies implemented by past generations and the current political class, we will not have one for a very long time, if ever again.

Scott said...

I love to envy other people. Or at least I'm attached to the habit. It's sort of like the habit of smoking cigars. It's earthy and it sort of tastes good, and you can watch the smoke. But afterward it gives you a sore throat and you hack up phlegm, and in the long run it makes your life shorter.

The latest object of my envy is Ben Henderson. He's a lightweight-class Mixed Martial Arts fighter who will be 30 this month. He's athletic, damn good looking, a born-again Christian. To be at the top of his sport, he has to be disciplined and really aware of his mind and body. And he looks happy, like he's enjoying life.

I will probably never meet Mr. Henderson. I will certainly never be Mr. Henderson. He may have had some blessings in his life, but his biggest one is his ability to do beautiful things with the raw material he was given. Me? I'm a mid-50s gay guy with a BA in Journalism who's gone about as far as he wants to go as a technical writer. I struggle with an imperfect relationship, life in New Jersey, life in a house with upkeep that overwhelms me at times, and chronic depression that has dogged me for as long as I remember. I'm better off than some, worse off than others. And I like to smoke a cigar once in awhile.

So I envy Ben Henderson, a little bit, in my weaker moments. But I should never, ever consider it an injustice that I could not live his life. Just as Krishna explained to Arjuna in The Bhagavad Gita, my challenge is to be who I am, and fulfill the promise of the life I have been given.

That's what I believe, and that's why the politics of the left leaves me cold. If I'm driven by envy of others' blessings, then I'm blind to my own. That's just sad.

So when I see a picture of Ben Henderson smiling, I smile. People can be happy. Traveling the spiritual path to happiness and peace in my life is my privilege, and my blessing.

Jeffrey said...

Marshal,

No one is grousing about what you have. We're pointing out that we're in a completely different place than you and therefore your advice, which may be appropriate for people in your environment, is not relevant.

Damn, that's good. Now I know why politicians have speech writers.

tim in vermont said...

"Someone's giving away free Kindles? And chargers? And electricity? And internet connections?"

that would be Obama, except I think they were iPads.

EDH said...

And I have the summer off because I choose not to teach during the summer. I choose not to make more money.

Economic theory says that choice, and the preference and ability to make it, has to do with:

(1) how much one is paid when one does work, ie the backward bending supply curve of labor,

(2) in combination with how much one loses to taxes and other costs incurred for each additional dollar earned at the margin,

(3) with Modigliani's life-cycle hypothesis thrown in.

Accordingly, a corollary of Jeffery's "rant" about Althouse's conspicuous consumption of liesure and point (1) above is whether paying academics less when they do work might actually result in them working more for less cost per unit to the tax/tuition-payer.

Giving Jeffery the benefit of the doubt, those who must exist in the market economy confront that relentless pressure in their everyday lives whereas those in tenured sinecures typically don't.

Moreover, their retirements aren't guaranteed against loss by the taxpayer like many public employees often are.

Whether it's fair for that debate should take place by conducting a "lifestyle audit" of Althouse's, er, lifestyle, is another question.

Marshal said...

Geraldus Maximus said...
Marshal, yes you can have a kindle absolutely free. Google, "Kindle for PC" or "Kindle for Mac." If you can post here you can take read thousands of years of culture for free.


So my computer was free?

I have a kindle, that's not the point. Nothing is free.

Tank said...

66 said...
"Anyone with her ability and work ethic could have done that"

You make it seem so simple. Anyone? Individual effort, sacrifice, insight, compassion, good-nature, good looks, etc. mean nothing? We are all just the end result of our gene pool? Stop pestering my mind.


I did not say we're just the result of our gene pool. You said that. I said ability + work ethic. Almost all of the people I grew up with, generally smart, middle class people, are just like Ann, me and many others. They had some ability, worked hard, made good choices, and are reasonably comfortable. Sure, there are exceptions, but it's generally true for our generation.

Not anymore. My kids are gonna have a much harder time. And, it's not just "this" crappy President. It's 40-50 years sliding toward this.

LilyBart said...
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LilyBart said...

All you need is a healthy economy and know how to balance the checkbook

People who have been working hard and living by the (old) rules are starting to wake up to the idea that they are being made CHUMPS by their politicians and fellow citizens.

We will see more non-compliance with rules, and more fudging and cheating. Because playing by the old rules just makes you a chump in today's America.

You've changed the rules. So now people will change their actions and strategies. Evey action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Geraldus Maximus said...

Scott quoted. . .
"My challenge is to be who I am, and fulfill the promise of the life I have been given."

That is a beautiful quote. See, tending your garden can be as simple as understanding the simplest of life's truths. This is one of them and nearly as central as those taught by Jesus in His sermon on the mount. Put them together and tend that garden. Your life will be happier and the world will be a better place.

Conserve Liberty said...

I haven't read a single comment on this thread. I won't be as elegant as Althouse.

I have, for my entire 57 years, done what it was suggested I do; lived simply; saved money; actively raised my children; worked hard; voted; saved more money; gave some away every year; denied myself time and again so I would have comfort in the future.

I am fortunate to have had the benefit of time to allow compound return to work on those savings, so that the days that I have waited for, are before me. I can actually spend some of this accumulated wealth experiencing the gratifications that I have so assiduously deferred.

And NOW you want to be all jealous and, "You evil bastard," and "Give me some of that?"

Well I have this to say.

Fuck you.

Michael said...

Scott: Very nice post. And whereas you might not be able to actually be Mr. Henderson you can emulate some of those character traits which got him to where he is today.

Marla Singer said...

I don't think it's grousing or envious to point out that our road to economic ruin is likely to have more severe consequences for some than for others. My parents do the same thing as Ann, here, too. They both work for the government and so have a rather incredible amount of vacation days, a lot of job security, and very high incomes. They also have no kids in the house. And they get really defensive if you suggest that their wealth and the fact that they work for the government (key point, that one--more than their wealth, actually) insulates them a great deal from some of the consequences of Democrats' economic policies. Our family, where husband has a good job but in the private sector, and we have young children to feed, is much more in jeopardy, especially since husband works in an "extractive industry." If we stick out the next four years in America, it's going to be very tenuous--except that America needs what my husband produces very badly. But it's not at all like being a professor with an empty nest and Whole Foods bacon. I wouldn't change my life to Ann's, so this isn't grousing or envy. Just reality.

The stock market is crashing, a fresh new round of debt was issued, gold prices are rising, Boeing and Lockheed are announcing layoffs, even of management positions--and it's only the day after the election. So, by all means, gather rosebuds. Show us the bulbs Meade is putting in.

sleepless nights said...
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66 said...

"My kids are gonna have a much harder time. And, it's not just "this" crappy President. It's 40-50 years sliding toward this."

I suspect you heard something similar from your father when you were a young man -- I know I did.

No question we are going through a rough patch. No question last night's result was sub-optimal. It's not the end of the world. I guarantee it.

Marshal said...

Jeffrey said...

Damn, that's good. Now I know why politicians have speech writers.


Thanks. Sometimes it seems whenever the professor is involved the comments become an exercise in how to misread in order to justify taking umbrage.

Mitchell the Bat said...

I have absolutely no idea what you people are talking about.

chickelit said...

Jeffery observes that class issues ought to be discussed from time to time (today being one of those times).

OK, I'll bite. But since we don't have as much income disparity as say Europe does, let's talk seriously about Europe. How has growing income homgeneity improved European culture and contributions to science, medicine, and the arts?

Since they only got serious post-WW II, it is off limits to invoke their prior (to WW II) accomplishments. If you seriously want to be like Europe, tell me what is so great about their trending demographics and fiscal health.

Also, the relative peace which Europe currently enjoys was largely due to American efforts. See Bosnia.

Geraldus Maximus said...

Marshal,

So, ok, then libraries are free as other people have already pointed out. Looking at clouds is free. Loving and being loved is free. Taking a walk and praying are free.

What do you gain from harping on Anne? How is it going to make your life better? Her point is that it is what it is so find some beauty and joy in your life however and wherever you can. And that is offensive in what way?

Hint one for tending your garden: Let go the bitterness.

Dave said...

I'll tell you who I envy (actually admire captures it better): Franciscans. They have nothing but faith and no ties, except to the Church and each other. They strive to be wholly detached from this world: that's maximizing freedom.

chickelit said...
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chickelit said...

Dave said...
I'll tell you who I envy (actually admire captures it better): Franciscans.

The first building in Oceanside was a Franciscan Mission. They still run it. They do very good community work.

66 said...

In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

Molly said...

Candide is definitely not one of the world's greatest books, Ann.

It's mostly Voltaire's dreary attack on Leibniz for his "best of all possible worlds" concept.

But also, the Candide reference and the post that preceded it do seem a rather high-handed way to comment on an election that will have a huge impact on many lives.

sleepless nights said...

Well, yeah. It's pure Marx actually. Keep people on the bourgeois level satisfied to delay any ugliness.

I'm fine with the results because I fully understood it was the end last election and went through my regrets then. (Still, I can't believe that in response to this guy's pain, Ann just snootily explained that it's a reference to CANDIDE DAMMIT!)

As far as that goes, my main thing would be that Ann's a government employee, and Meade is the marital beneficiary of government largesse (at least if we are to believe ***his own words*** in the NY Times interview), and I think it's kind of cute, but utter bs that he's running around trying to be all gonzo libertarian reporter under those conditions. Kind of like a trust fund baby socialist, but in reverse. It's fat boomer play time with a twist. It is not real. And you should remember how you feel right now and stop spending time here and rethink your priorities.

For people who are in trouble economically - just remember to freaking blame the global corporate level, as well as the middle and lower class that suck on the government teat as the last refuge for a secure life.

Yeah, your portfolio may go up a bit, but at the expense of the ground level U.S. economy. Since the real financial game has gone mobile and been taken offline, it been stuck in a never-ending loop. The Dow hits a certain level and goes straight back down. (Why, you could almost say it looks like someone was planning it.) Big money has has been the biggest beneficiary of government free money in the last four years, and they have not passed it on in the form of small business loans, etc. to kick start the Main St, nor have they kept real jobs or corporate assets here.

This creates a pernicious economic cycle in which more people fall into government dependency and therefore must vote dem just to survive - because the fear is too great otherwise. Yet people here scoffed at #Occupy and told them to get jobs. Did you not see the tie in?

Those 'kids' have been put $250000 in debt at the start of their lives. They have an enormous harness. The rich kids among them are still young enough to care. Even if they were a bit naive and inarticulate at times, they were instinctively correct and should have been supported by the Tea Party. Instead people on both sides were drawn into sniping against each other, instead of their masters, their owners.

Ann's thang has nothing to do with that, being willfully blind does.

Jeffrey said...

Marshal,

Sometimes it seems whenever the professor is involved the comments become an exercise in how to misread in order to justify taking umbrage.

Yeah, maybe it's actually something that Ann teaches in her law classes.

A: What are you taking this semester?
B: Althouse's Wilful Misreading class. I hear it's pretty good.

chickelit said...

Oops, I meant:

OK, I'll bite. But since we don't have as much income equality as say Europe does, let's talk seriously about Europe. How has growing income homgeneity improved European culture and contributions to science, medicine, and the arts?

Robert Zaleski said...

It's funny, because this is the Nation that chose "Spread the Wealth" I'm surprised you bothered with that post. I totally understand what you're saying. I make more than most people I meet, and yet I avoid a smart phone to pocket another $1,000 a year, and live in a smaller house with 5 kids so I can save another $10,000 a year. Yet I'm told I'm just lucky.

Robert Zaleski said...
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Lukedog said...

Hey, if Ann and Meade are so loaded why did I see Meade riding down State St. on a "rent a bike"? :)

Jeffrey said...

Sleepless Nights,

As far as that goes, my main thing would be that Ann's a government employee, and Meade is the marital beneficiary of government largesse (at least if we are to believe ***his own words*** in the NY Times interview), and I think it's kind of cute, but utter bs that he's running around trying to be all gonzo libertarian reporter under those conditions. Kind of like a trust fund baby socialist, but in reverse. It's fat boomer play time with a twist.

Whoa! Phew! You're cooking with gas, dude.

Ann will have to change my "rants" to "observes" now.

Tank said...

66 said...
"My kids are gonna have a much harder time. And, it's not just "this" crappy President. It's 40-50 years sliding toward this."

I suspect you heard something similar from your father when you were a young man -- I know I did.

No question we are going through a rough patch. No question last night's result was sub-optimal. It's not the end of the world. I guarantee it.



Well, you're right that the world hasn't ended, but the America I grew up in is gone, and not coming back. No generation in the forseeable future will have the path that Ann and I and others here have. That's gone.

The Farmer said...

66 said...
In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.


LOL. This deserves to be acknowledged.

AJ Lynch said...

Reneee said:

......"All you need is a healthy economy and know how to balance the checkbook."

Heh- I agree with that sentiment Renee but sadly we may have to go to a museum one day to see what a healthy economy and a balanced checkook looked like.

damikesc said...

The are concern we're economicly unhealthy as with the future of the grandchildren, but they voted for Obama/Warren. So oh well their heart was in the right place.

...or in other words, they don't care.

If she had become a waitress or secretary or barrista or truck driver or some other work that did not require years of college,

One of the problems, though, is that those are the only jobs that college grads can get nowadays.

People who have been working hard and living by the (old) rules are starting to wake up to the idea that they are being made CHUMPS by their politicians and fellow citizens.

We will see more non-compliance with rules, and more fudging and cheating. Because playing by the old rules just makes you a chump in today's America.


Absolutely. In my family, the biggest Obama supporters are:

1) A disabled vet
2) His wife, also on disability
3) A friend, who gets more money in food stamps than I spend on groceries.

I feel like a chump for even trying at this point.

Michael K said...

"completely un-self-conscious about her privilege. "

Why is this privilege ? I am so sick of people whining about privilege. Let's talk about it. My father was a bartender and owned a tavern until he died. When I was small he was prosperous but that was lost by the time I was in high school. My mother went back to work when I was in 8th grade.

I worked and studied and did without a lot of toys until I was 34. Those were good times because the Carter/LBJ inflation had not yet come. In 1969, my father died and left me $3500. With that I bought a house in South Pasadena for $35,000. My house payment was $204/ month.

The Democrat Congress in 1974 took that away from my kids and everybody's kids by economic ignorance. That same house cost $595,000 20 years later.

For a time when we were first married and I was a medical student, we spent $10/ week on food. As it happened I have always liked casseroles. My wife hated them but that was all we could afford.

I eventually had five kids. All went to private school and university, except one who is a fireman, because, by that time, I could afford it.

Right now, at age 75, I live on a modest fixed income because I gave most of it away. To my kids, to my employees who were the best paid doctor's office staff in Orange County. I didn't "give" it away to my staff because they did a great job and I did as much with two full time employees as my former partner did with 14. The difference was when we had had a real busy patch, I would send one of them with her husband or BF to Hawaii.

What you do with your life is in your power, or used to be. I am content with my life but feel sad for my kids. I don't have enough left to pay their way any more. They got a good start but the playing field isn't fair anymore.

Nobody ever died of hard work, even if I doubted that sometimes as a kid.

bpm4532 said...

thus begins phase 2 of the left-wing take-over. Identify, locate, and vilify your opponents one-by-one. Grind them into submission.

Straight out of the Alinsky playbook.

sleepless nights said...

And I'm happy Elizabeth Warren got in and didn't fall prey to that bullshit attack on her pre-Google claim of native ancestry.

Bender said...

Why is this privilege?

Please tell me that you really do know the difference between (a) government employment with a guaranteed paycheck, iron-clad job security, plentiful benefits, and guaranteed gold standard pension, and (b) private at-will employment, with no job security, no guaranteed paycheck, and the only retirement plan is the one that they self-financed, where regardless of how hard and good you might work, there is always the risk of lay-off or slow-down, and always the need to have to go out and hustle for customers/clients/etc. to provide them work to do.

66 said...

We have a fauxcahontas sighting.

ricpic said...

You are not your job. You are not a slave.

Many people love their job. It is the furthest thing from enslavement to them. Oh, they may resent the drudgery that is part of any job at times. But without necessarily thinking it through they know that the job keeps unstructured chaos at bay and therefore meaninglessness at bay.

LarryK said...

I got the reference - and who better than Meade to show how best to cultivate one's garden? (literally! as Crazy Joe Biden would say).

Michael K said...

"But for the 50 percent of kids coming out of college that can't find a job in their chosen field of say Environmental Maintenace or "Sustainable Farming","

Good point. My youngest daughter is attending U of Arizona and working as a waitress. She got promoted to bartender and is doing an internship with a luxury resort in Tucson.

A kid I used to know got his degree in water management from one of the state ag schools in California. He was working for his father-in-law building barns and corrals when the father-in0-law got sick. So Billy took over the business and built it up to five times what it had been He was a workaholic but he was young. Then he and his uncle were running a practice round for a Las Vegas off road race when their dune buggy was hit head by a guy driving a big 4x4 the wrong way. At the joint funeral there were about 50 trucks with the company logo.

Life is short.

66 said...

"regardless of how hard and good you might work, there is always the risk of lay-off or slow-down, and always the need to have to go out and hustle for customers/clients/etc. to provide them work to do."

Is this a bad thing?

Indigo Red said...

For all the philosophy Ann has put into this post in defense of her real and perceived wealth, I see it more simply - Ann worked for it, and probably damned hard, too. She made choices early on to provide for a time when could no longer provide, she has disposable income of which she is disposing by making choices that benefit her and all those to who she disposes that income.

I am poor no matter how I slice my crust of bread and such. Like Ann, I am poor because I made choices that were rosy so long as I wore those damnable shades. The reality to late in coming is that my choices were poor and I remain poor.

We're told "no one said life is fair." Well, I'll say it, "LIFE IS FAIR" and you can quote me. It is so because life doesn't care about me, or you, or anyone - it just is. We make of it what we will and suffer or rejoice in the outcome.

Good on Ann and Meade for winning the game.

Ann Althouse said...

"Someone's giving away free Kindles? And chargers? And electricity? And internet connections?"

Apparently you have a computer with a screen. Just download the Kindle app and read the free books on your computer.

Or spend $50 on a Kindle and have free books enough for many lifetimes.

There's also that thing called the library.

edutcher said...

LilyBart said...

I'm reading Obama's victory speech this morning, and, though I voted against him, I feel uplifted. I get a chill


Ann, I'm curious to know what you think is going to happen when we run out of money. And we will. High taxation on the 'richies' isn't going to cover off the spending and the pension promises.

We are in so much debt, and spending more everyday. No workable plan to get out of this downward spiral.


As our Fearless Leader once said, "Words, just words".

Our particular uplifter was able to go back to bed after condemning 4 good men to death.

There's more than one kind of chill.

Ann Althouse said...

What's with conservatives doing class envy and bitching about how the world doesn't provide everything free?

I say you can structure your life to need less money, and you don't even want to hear it.

It doesn't speak well for conservatism! Or are these lefties talking here?

The Farmer said...

Ann Althouse said...
What's with conservatives doing class envy and bitching about how the world doesn't provide everything free?

I say you can structure your life to need less money, and you don't even want to hear it.


Fucking A, Althouse. Fucking A.

Marshal said...

Geraldus Maximus said...
Marshal,

So, ok, then libraries are free as other people have already pointed out. Looking at clouds is free. Loving and being loved is free. Taking a walk and praying are free.

What do you gain from harping on Anne? How is it going to make your life better? Her point is that it is what it is so find some beauty and joy in your life however and wherever you can. And that is offensive in what way?

Hint one for tending your garden: Let go the bitterness.


Not harping at her, not bitter at her. Merely pointing our her advice doesn't help people who are far more effected than she. Politics is changing the economic environment under our feet. People who have already made sufficient wealth to ensure their retirement are not effected in the same way as others.

Pointing this out is sober observation which doesn't merit the overreaction of so many commenters, particularly when they have to misread the point to generate the "class warfare" hysteria.

AJ Lynch said...

Michael K:

I always enjoyed the alleged Reagan quote:

"Hard work never killed anyone but why take any chances".

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
What's with conservatives doing class envy and bitching about how the world doesn't provide everything free?


Now noting that something isn't free is a call for it to be free?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Since we're all redistributionists now, I'm calling dibs on the Althouse Audi TT.

MadisonMan said...

Nobody ever died of hard work

Exactly. And hard work can pay dividends.

Maybe it's harder now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Maybe that's because my viewpoints haven't evolved with the economy. There are so many opportunities out there for people if you just open your eyes and look for them. America is still the best country on Earth to make something of yourself.

But you have to stop whining.

MadisonMan said...

And I have to say when I saw "Cultivate your garden" all I could think of, as others here have pointed out:

It's freakin' November in Wisconsin! Gardens? Are you crazy?

Robert Cook said...

"Nobody ever died of hard work."

Of course they have.

damikesc said...

Ann, doing good and working hard is for chumps. Why should I beat my head against a wall further?

EDH said...

The legitimate public policy point here is whether the government should take by threat of force money from people who've created that wealth or income in the private sector in order to pay it to public "servants" according to a tenure pyramid caste system at compensation rates high enough so that they actually choose to work less than full time, largely as a payback for their profession's political influence and support?

Jeffrey said...

I'm calling dibs on Ann's pension and those ergonomic chairs.

mccullough said...

The Farmer,

I largely agree with your viewpoint. So let's end Medicare and Social Security. The Boomers were undertaxed compared to the benefits they are receiving, and they young are going to have to pay higher income taxes to pay off the Boomer debt, so it's fair to both generations. Let the young flourish and start their businesses and cultivate their garden. And let the elderly Boomers take care of themselves.

The Farmer said...

And all you Boomers getting misty-eyed about how tough it's going to be for the younger generation - it already is, and has been for some time. You just didn't realize it because your generation was pampered and mollycoddled. Things were tough before your generation, and things got tough after. That is the rule. You were the exception.

66 said...

I will not further clog this thread with my impertinences, except to recommend that you stop letting impertinences pester your minds.

mccullough said...

MadisonMan,

The tax rates, alone, that these college kids will have to pay is enough to discourage any type of business starting. Tough to start a business when you have six-figure debt and will be paying an effective state-federal-payroll income tax rate of 40%. The deficit is not going to close itself. It's going to be paid for by tax rates on people who didn't and won't get the benefit of services that Boomers have taken and didn't pay for. It's not class warfare. It's inter-generational warfare. Time for the young to fight back. There's your fucking Tea Party.

Smilin' Jack said...

"Althouse and Meade are living a high-income, privileged life that many of us can only dream about.""
...Rants Jeffrey in my "time to stop talking about the election and have our lives be about love and beauty" post.
The class (and income) issue rarely comes up here. I think it's about time we hashed this out.


OK, let's hash it out, Jeffrey. Assuming you're an American, you are "living a high-income, privileged life" that most of the world "can only dream about." The third world lives on about $300 a year. Are you living on $300 a year, and donating the rest of your income to Bangla Desh? Until you are, why don't you just enjoy your over-privileged 1% life and STFU.

Funny how people's enthusiasm for "social and economic justice" suddenly evaporates when you point out it would really mean much less, not more, for them.

David said...

Jealousy rears its ugly head.

For you election junkies, here's a very interesting statistic on the popular vote:

As of this afternoon, Obama's popular vote total for 2012 is 60,085,524. In 2008 he got 69,456,987 popular votes. Thus Obama's vote total declined by nearly 9.3 million votes.

McCain got 59,934,814 popular votes. As of this afternoon Romney has 57,401,992. He drew 2.5 million less votes than McCain.

Obama loses 9.3 million votes from the last election and still the Republicans can't beat him.

Just what this means is not entirely clear, but it's not good for Republicans, whatever it is.

The Farmer said...

mccullough said...
The Farmer,

I largely agree with your viewpoint. So let's end Medicare and Social Security. The Boomers were undertaxed compared to the benefits they are receiving, and they young are going to have to pay higher income taxes to pay off the Boomer debt, so it's fair to both generations. Let the young flourish and start their businesses and cultivate their garden. And let the elderly Boomers take care of themselves.


Nah, I think we have a responsibility to look after the basic needs of the stupid and lazy.

The Farmer said...

mccullough said...
MadisonMan,

The tax rates, alone, that these college kids will have to pay is enough to discourage any type of business starting. Tough to start a business when you have six-figure debt and will be paying an effective state-federal-payroll income tax rate of 40%. The deficit is not going to close itself. It's going to be paid for by tax rates on people who didn't and won't get the benefit of services that Boomers have taken and didn't pay for. It's not class warfare. It's inter-generational warfare. Time for the young to fight back. There's your fucking Tea Party.


If college is too expensive, don't go to college. Good God. It does not earn you a right to a good job. It does not earn you anything but a diploma. If you want a good job, the odds are probably much higher if you go to a vocational school. if you want to do great things, take chances, skip college, work your ass off for a while, suffer, be poor, and make your own way. Here's the problem though - you might fail. That's why almost nobody takes that route and winds up working in a cubicle instead. It's safer. Until the company downsizes and you start crying about that. Then the government raises your taxes and you cry about that. Meanwhile, the people who make things happen keep on keeping on, stylin' and profilin'.

X said...

And I'm happy Elizabeth Warren got in and didn't fall prey to that bullshit attack on her pre-Google claim of native ancestry.

Did Warren, a woman, born to poor parents, of native american ancestry, beat or rig what she declared at the convention to be a rigged system? If you choose beat, show your work.

Jeffrey said...

Smilin' Jack,

Actually, I'm typing this from an internet cafe in Somalia. I WISH I made $300 a year. Boy, now I feel really bad.

The Farmer said...

I really never would've expected all this bitching and moaning from the Althouse crowd. You guys are real good at pointing the finger at lazy union thugs, but you're a bunch of bleeding heart liberals when it comes to your kids and grandkids with their useless college degrees.

Renee said...

@ LilyBart

"People who have been working hard and living by the (old) rules are starting to wake up to the idea that they are being made CHUMPS by their politicians and fellow citizens.
We will see more non-compliance with rules, and more fudging and cheating. Because playing by the old rules just makes you a chump in today's America."

Depressing isn't it. I told my parents, the America we knew is gone. We need to deal with such realities you mentioned.

We actually talked about the 50s. When things we're very family orientated, but also my mother remembers children very engaged in learning and knowledge coming from large families. Everyone had a skill/trade or in smart enough went to college, even if they were a family of 6 or 7 children.

I get accused of not doing enough for my children in terms of 'checking their homework' or being involved in their schooling. I provide a stable loving home, I'm here if they need help. My children aren't a chore or a want, they're my children.

chickelit said...

The Farmer said...
I really never would've expected all this bitching and moaning from the Althouse crowd.

Who exactly are you fingering, my agrarian fellow--with your all-encompassing language?

Bender said...

whether the government should take by threat of force money from people who've created that wealth or income in the private sector in order to pay it to public "servants" according to a tenure pyramid caste system, etc.

Exactly right, EDH.

The issue here isn't about working hard, getting ahead by own merits, and reaping the rewards therefrom. Rather the issue is utilizing the force of government in order to personally profit.

You all do know that you are all paying a portion of the professor's salary? You do know that a portion of her paycheck comes from being forcibly taken out of your paycheck, that you all have to work a little more each day so that she can have the luxury of smelling the roses?

The least that she could do, instead of lashing out defensively and claiming a virtue in "hard work" of profiting off of government, is to thank us for our money.

Mutaman said...

Ann's picture taking stupidity is right up there with Hannity's. At least he's not a trained lawyer- what's her excuse?

garage mahal said...

Hopefully the confidence fairies will take one for the team realizing they simply can't wait another four years to fly.

Mutaman said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/sean-hannity-voting-ballot-broken-law_n_2082929.html?ncid=wsc-huffpost-cards-image

Robert Cook said...

"I say you can structure your life to need less money, and you don't even want to hear it."

I don't mean to pile on and I certainly don't begrudge you whatever fortunate circumstances you enjoy--after all, you're not a banker or financier, and thus have not stolen your wealth from others--and I think it's rude for visitors to your blog to hector you about your good fortune, but this remark seems rather in the nature of a latter-day "Let them eat cake," or, to refer to the literary example you quoted, in the nature of the oblivious-to-the-world's-horrors pollyannaisms of the foolish Dr. Pangloss.

Yes, many of us take our comforts for granted and can certainly structure our lives to need less money, but many in the nation are already at or past their breaking point. If one's expenses that cannot be restructured (rent or mortgage, food, utilities, recurring medical expenses, etc.) exceed one's income, one is in trouble. If one's income just meets or is a only little in excess of one's unrestructurable expenses, any unexpected expenses--repairs, emergency medical costs--can put one deep into a financial crisis.

Your counsel is applicable largely to those who are affluent enough to "eat cake," as it were.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I just found this last night, looking for books to listen to while commuting. 3000 free public domain books for many platforms, including Kindle and mp3. The first one I downloaded was The River War, Winston Churchill's account of the late 19th century Sudan conflict.

chickelit said...

Drudge has a link up right now regarding Obama wishing to introduce a carbon tax. My very first thought was "I thought Congress levied taxes." But these days, with Executive orders and such, who really knows any more.

Anyways, I think it's a terrible idea.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

What's with conservatives doing class envy and bitching about how the world doesn't provide everything free?

I say you can structure your life to need less money, and you don't even want to hear it.

It doesn't speak well for conservatism! Or are these lefties talking here?


I think you have it. Until yesterday, almost everybody crying about your salary, etc., was on the Left-hand side of the aisle.

Who is Jeffrey and has he done any commenting here before today?

I don't remember him.

Robert Cook said...
Nobody ever died of hard work.

Of course they have.


Cook' big heartthorb, Uncle Joe, was the main proponent of it.

Robert Cook said...

I say "wealth" in the general sense and do not mean to imply that I think you are "wealthy."

LilyBart said...

I'd said "cultivate your garden" in a comment in that thread. It's a reference to Voltaire's advice in "Candide

Sounds to me like a reference to the Laffer Curve. As people see taxation increase, and their share of their income decline, they will choose leisure over labor. Play sounds better than work when you don't get to keep that extra income.

Or maybe 'going Galt'

Baron Zemo said...

When you put yourself in the public eye people often think they know you. They might get a glimpse of part of your life and think they know everything about you. They make assumptions based on only part of the facts because no one is all of a piece. So it is unfair to point at someone who you only know through TV or on a blog or a radio show and think you know all the details of their life.

Take Honey Boo Boo and her family. Everyone loves to look down on her family and mock them for their uneducated ways and lack of employment or education. That's not fair. The life that is portrayed on TV or through blog post or radio commentary is not all the life that they live. Honey Boo Boo spends a lot of time getting ready for pageants but she also spends a lot of time just being a little girl. Her Daddy Sugar Bear seems underemployed cretin but perhaps his job fluffing swine before they breed is all he can get. So many people are underemployed. Pig fluffer. Dog Babysitters. Whatever. Who are we to judge?

You should not be so invested in the life of people you don't really know be they TV stars or bloggers or radio talk show hosts. People love to try to bring them down by making sweeping assumptions about people they don't really know. It might be best to let people live their lives and tend to our own knitting.

That is what going Galt is all about. Just sayn'

MadisonMan said...

My very first thought was "I thought Congress levied taxes."

You probably think Congress passes budgets too.

chickelit said...

Who is Jeffrey and has he done any commenting here before today?

Jeffrey comments with that wink-wink confidence that tells me he's been around here for a while is some form or other.

traditionalguy said...

I just paid $4.59 for a Starbucks specialty drink.Should I feel guilty?

The Boomer's retirement plans are based upon wealth put aside and unspent for 40 years. The income from investments and not the principal is what we spend.

But that IS Obama's target. He has always been after wealth laid up by Boomers and inherited by them from from their parents.

Obama sees our retirements as Bourgeoisie Lucre that he intends to expropriate by inflation or other devices of theft.

X said...

Mutaman how do we know you're not a government employee violating the Hatch Act? you seem to be an asshole, so it's definitely possible you work for the government.

mccullough said...

The Farmer,

If you're getting gov't subsidies for your farm, then get off my lawn.

As for paying for Boomer social security and medicare, the young have absolutely no moral obligation to do that. Let the Boomers get sick and die like their grandparents did.

mccullough said...

Tradguy,

Seeing as how we're $16 trillion in debt, the gov't has to get the money from somewhere. Boomer retirements are a good place to start. Unless you served in 'Nam, I don't want to hear about it.

The Farmer said...

chickelit said...
Who exactly are you fingering, my agrarian fellow--with your all-encompassing language?


Nobody, you sickie.

The Farmer said...

mccullough said...
The Farmer,

If you're getting gov't subsidies for your farm, then get off my lawn.


I'm not.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mccullough said...

The Farmer,

I'm kidding. I dig the cut of your jib.

chrisnavin.com said...

Oh God, this conversation has attracted Robert Cook.

R/V-You measure love and beauty on the "micro and macro levels" ....while remaining aware of "income inequality" as though it were some kind of commandment?

That's rich.

n.n said...

Unless your privilege was earned through involuntary or fraudulent exploitation, then you are welcome to enjoy the benefits it engenders. Class warfare on its merits is a retrogressive response and is unbecoming to anyone who respects individual dignity. The optimal outcome would be individuals of privilege, whether through circumstance or merit, voluntarily redistribute their wealth through economic exchange and charitable causes.

LilyBart said...

Obama sees our retirements as Bourgeoisie Lucre that he intends to expropriate by inflation or other devices of theft.

Yep. I think that's exactly right.

Rusty said...

"the most important (headwind) holding down the growth of our future income is rising inequality."


No it's not.
Please stay inside your area of expertise.
What is going to hold down the growth of your future income is taxes.

Carol said...

"There's your fucking Tea Party. "

Nah...the TP and its ilk are just gnats on the back of a bureaucratic Leviathon. Or something.

X said...

inflating away dollar denominated assets has always been the plan. and COLA adjustments for public pensions can be manipulated just like BLS figures.

Marshal said...

And I have the summer off because I choose not to teach during the summer. I choose not to make more money.

How about that, the professor went Galt before it was cool.

Jim Howard said...

I don't begrudge our hosts lifestyle at all, more power to them.

I don't want to hear anyone who questions our Professor's long vacations to ever claim that teachers at any level are underpaid.

They are NOT, not by anyone who places any value on their time.

Teaching is and should be a well compensated profession.

gerry said...

Jeffrey is spewing class war bullshit. That is stupid, stupid, stupid.

Colonel Angus said...

Unlike flowers, class envy never withers.

Freeman Hunt said...

Some people are talking about the luxury material things in Althouse's house, but I don't know that those things contribute to their happiness.

Say you had a house full of flea market furniture, a library card, and no television. Say you got your clothes at the flea market and learned how to cook so that you could take inexpensive ingredients and make tasty meals. If you wanted a computer, you could buy a used laptop for about $100 (I know because I looked.) Say you never bought a nice car.

You could have a wonderful, cheap life like that.

chrisnavin.com said...

Obama believes in passing things around, taking tax money from whence it came and spreading the wealth to gain votes, political power, and to solve "inequality" and gain "social justice"

For the love of God, he was a community organizer, and this is what they do. It's always been a bit of a hustle. Whatever moral concern they have for their fellow man (and black folks on the SOuth side of Chicago) their action plan has baked in problems, yielding questionable results for the black folks on the South Side of Chicago and the people who generated the wealth they redistribute.

All you'll ever hear is how he gave the people a voice, and the committees and organizations he's left in his wake that serve the "common good" and which can't survive on their own.

This ties the money supply hopelessly into politics, making less economic freedom and ultimately, less political freedom for everyone, and making our politics a lot uglier, and more personal.

We're now experimenting with that model for 8 years on the national level, and Obamacare is the crown jewel.

One key is to appeal to liberally minded people and point out just how flawed this progressive model is.

Sorry for the off topic rant.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

BTW, it should be noted that Meadehouse does fall on the southern front of the class war.

I doubt they make much more than $250M, so even commie-BHO doesn't think that they're redistribute material.

chrisnavin.com said...

As for Althouse, she worked for a long time in law firms and at a law school, and that takes real smarts, long hours, discipline, and hard work.

Apparently she's falling into that liberal trap (or blogging and writing trap) of "wanting to be loved."

I don't begrudge her her gains.

chickelit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O said...

So, I pretty much am on the opposite end of Meadhouse in terms of income and status. Finishing a PhD, working as an adjunct (the lowest of the academic low), poor pay, '97 civic, non-smart phone, back house. Living with hope but presently experiences all the struggles of near poverty.

I say that because I've never found Althouse to act privileged or class oriented. They have a nice life, one that has been enabled both by choices and by work, and indeed by grace.

I celebrate that. Why should we live lives in which we are oriented by what others have? Or what they are enjoyed or the benefits they have been given, deserved or not.

What a sad way to live.

Much more fun to be people who embrace the moments, the contexts, each other.

Maybe that's why I've resonated with this blog. That's the sort of life I want to live now--even in the struggles and questions--and it is a life that can be lived even now.

Folks should stop defining themselves in terms of what others have or who they are, and start living a life that embraces the present possibilities.

That's the life of love--and it knows no class boundaries.

AprilApple said...

Ann said : "I don't know enough about you to give you more particularized economic advice, but comparing what you have to what other people have is, unless they have stolen from you, foolish."

A certain political party who specializes in grievance, petty jealousy, and class warfare; a political party consumed with social justice and the removal of individual liberty - a political party that despises people who make smart choices and desires to punish and shame such individuals -- just won the election yesterday.

chrisnavin.com said...

One more bit: The community organizer model is why Obama might feel more comfortable campaigning rather than governing. He "brings people together" but it's never discussed at what cost and to what end, and it's why Sandra Flukes have everything to gain.

That's the major way he's learned how to think and organize in politics, and in Chicago politics where you just have to keep the Blagos and at arm's length and get endorsements from white academics by appealing to them too, or at least promising you will by seeming as above board and non-threatening-black as possible.

We know you Obama, and many of these reasons are why we reject your politics and you reffects on the rest of us.

AJ Lynch said...

Look - I am in Althouse's age group and she is just one of the fortunate boomers who happened to work at a job with a good pension plan. You can't blame her for that but I do think her solid financial security makes her a bit immune to relating to the average person's economic anxieties.

EMD said...

I could care less what the incomes at Meadhouse are.

None of my business.

Envy looks awful on anyone.

Jane said...

My husband was in tears this morning. He hates his job, but there are no other jobs. Not for a guy who's 40, trying to hang on in a technical job.

He was hoping so much for new President who wasn't a socialist, and that life would be like it was eight years ago, when he could just switch to a new job, and when we had money and nice new things that are getting shabby now. But there aren't any jobs. We are in Northern VA, where it's going to get far worse.

His older brother is nearing sixty, and four years ago he lost a six-figure software architect job and his standard of living and eventually his house.

I'd really love to get back to thinking about love and beauty. But when you wonder if you can afford toilet paper or milk for your kids, life isn't so beautiful.

Jeffrey said...

Who is Jeffrey and has he done any commenting here before today?

I haven't commented here in a long time. The last time (and this was several years ago) was when a bunch of us here were talking about Frank Zappa and various guitar players. I said that Jeff Beck was better than Clapton.

I don't follow politics very much, so I've been pretty silent the last couple years. Today, I thought a different angle on Ann's blog entry might stir up some debate. I had to smile when I saw that Ann had featured one of my comments to the top of next blog entry.

Oh, I also ran a blog for five years (with a couple co-bloggers) from 2004 to 2009: Iraqi Bloggers Central. I was known in that blogging community as something of a sharp-tongued wise-ass. I not sure how accurate that characterization is, though.

PWS said...

I agree Ann. Happiness studies show that more time off makes people happier; not more money (once basic needs are met).

So maximizing free time (not always striving to make money), figuring out values and not over-identifying with one's job..... Who do you think is closer to that? Romney or Obama?

Patrick said...

Maybe we should require W2's for the Professor and Meade. Yeah, and they should provide us with 10 years of tax returns and all of their bank account information. When we have all of that, we can determine how much they owe all of us.

WTF.

Michael said...

But this is all such old stuff, things we learned as little kids or should have learned. The three little pigs!! And now the other little pigs are sad they don't have a nice brick house what with the wind suddenly and unexpectedly blowing. And they want in the brick house. They are tired of dancing in the cold.

The Farmer said...

mccullough said...
The Farmer,

I'm kidding. I dig the cut of your jib.


You have an awesome jib, too, mccullough.

Rabel said...

I don't at all resent or envy Althouse for her financial and emotional success. But it's fair to note that her view of the seriousness of yesterday's vote is affected to some extent by her own sense of ecomomic security.

I'm in good shape myself and probably will be slightly better off in the short to mid-term as a result of Obama's victory.

The problem is in the longer term effects of an electorate that refuses to confront it's economic problems. I don't know if Romney could have returned the country to prosperity, but he would have at least put us on a path that would have given us a chance.

Obama and the Democrats will spend the next four years expanding their base of dependent voters. A less effective/sympathetic Democrat candidate will most likely use that expanded base to continue to control the presidency.

This was our last opportunity to avoid the economic collapse that an ever increasing debt must inevitably bring about.

That collapse could take any of several forms. All of them are ugly. And in addition to what that will do to our standard of living, it will likely end our standing as the world's predominant military power. Eventually, whether in ten years or twenty or more, someone will fill the void.

Patrick said...

after all, you're not a banker or financier, and thus have not stolen your wealth from others

You're not seriously suggesting that bankers and financiers have no way of earning mother other than stealing, are you? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

When bankers and financiers receive money they have not earned, it is mostly from the government. The only solution is less government.

Michael K said...

"
I doubt they make much more than $250M, so even commie-BHO doesn't think that they're redistribute material."

In California, the top tax rates start at $48 k. Be glad you are in Wisconsin.

Bob Ellison said...

I resent The Farmer's and McCullough's jibs. My own jib is poorly cut, and I do not have access to a quality jib-cutter.

Geoff Matthews said...

So, if, in your twenties, would you have attended law college?
People forego current awards for future returns, and you are currently reaping the awards of foregoing enjoyment/consumption/happiness/earnings during you time at law school. But you also have a level of ability that allowed you to reap those awards. Are things at a level where someone who is merely average ( those one Steve above and below the mean) can afford not to worry about their future, or their children's future?

Freeman Hunt said...

Now this conversation assumes that one earns enough money to meet basic needs at their truly basic. Some people don't. They may have sick relatives who they must subsidize. They may not have the intelligence to work anything beyond menial jobs. They may have been abandoned by a spouse. They may not be able to find work of any kind. Or something else. Or all of these.

That's a real struggle. With Obama as President, there will be more real struggles than there otherwise would have been.

Carnifex said...

I just don't give a shit anymore. The country was stupid enough to vote Zero back in because they want free shit. Guess what? I want free shit too, but I was man enough to work for everything I have. That changes as of last night. I'm gonna be the biggest welfare bitch you ever saw. I'll break this mother fucker down in bills. If they wom't stop for reasons of sanity, and they won't, then they'll stop because this fucker is going up in flames. And I can guarantee, when that shit hits the fan I will make sure that every whiny enabling retard that voted and appeased the sack of shit we have for a president gets hit with it too. I will make it my personal business.

Fuck all you traitorous liberals. I'm coming for you. You'll know it's me, I'll be the bitter clinger about to shit down your throats.

Some might find my rant offensive...good.

Some might fine it funny...even better.

I'll laugh at your tears while you die. Scum.

Freeman Hunt said...

While a crummy economy downgrades our lifestyle choices at the middle and upper levels, it is hell on low income people.

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