March 21, 2016

Upscale, Downscale.

That's a play on the old TV show title "Upstairs, Downstairs" — which I never watched (don't watch "Downton Abbey" either) — and assumes your familiarity with the first post of the day, the one that examines the phrase — spoken by WaPo's Ruth Marcus yesterday on "Face the Nation" — "downscale white guys."

I have an aversion to talking about people as "upscale" and "downscale." I think these are words for shopping malls and product lines. But let's assume the currency of these words, displacing — for some reason — the various other options, such as rich and poor or upper/middle class and working class, or affluent and... what's the counterpart of affluent?... struggling?

If we're going to say "upscale" and "downscale" right now, it might help to say upscale-downscale and downscale-upscale. I'm looking for a way to deal with the phenomenon of those so-called downscale white guys getting energized by Donald Trump.

Donald Trump himself is very rich, but he's speaking in a way that appeals to those who are getting called "downscale." He sounds like a proudly working-class New Yorker guy. Everyone knows he's a billionaire and that he was born rich, so what's going on there? I think he's a businessman who knows how to spot and appeal to an unfilled market niche. He presents his wealth in a way that those with upscale aspirations and pretentions find to be in bad taste — big name on a gold-plated building, heavily made-up model for a wife, steaks, bragging — but it's just fine to reach out in hearty friendship to the downscale white guys. He's upscale-downscale.

As for downscale-upscale... I'm thinking of all the unwealthy people who maintain the aspirations and pretentions associated with the political/academic/professional elite —  the prideful underpaid people of America who feel called to a higher taste level and look with repugnance upon Donald Trump.

86 comments:

Henry said...

As for downscale-upscale... I'm thinking of all the unwealthy people who maintain the aspirations and pretentions associated with the political/academic/professional elite — the prideful underpaid people of America who feel called to a higher taste level and look with repugnance upon Donald Trump.

You could call them "adjuncts."

The gig economy is downscale.

The adjunct economy is downscale-upscale.

Michael K said...

Some of his appeal for me is the enemies he attracts. I can't watch him for more than a minute or two but he certainly has antagonized the right segment of society.

National Review and The Weekly Standard have both gone nuts.

The protesters are winning the election for him.

If the GOP really thinks it can deny the nomination to him by fudging the rules, and there is serious concern they might, there is going to be hell to pay.

Limited blogger said...

Americans don't want the rules tilted in their favor, they just want the rules clearly defined, consistent for all, and those violating the rules penalized. Trump plays by these rules.

Meade said...

“affluent and... what's the counterpart of affluent?... struggling?”

I think “struggling” works. What’s that disease of affluence we’ve been hearing about — “a psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation” — affluenza?

Yeah — strugglinfluenza

Bob Boyd said...

"At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." - Nietzsche

Bill Peschel said...

If the "downscalers" were rich, they'd dress, act, and decorate their properties just like Trump.

Put it another way, you know the rappers who flaunt their money? Same kind of signal.

"I've been poor, and I've been rich. Rich is better."

(I wonder if "downscalers" is a modified import from Britain, where the posh say "downmarket." Have linguists looked at the influence of status-signaling on language changes?)

Bob Boyd said...

"strugglinfluenza"

dire-rhea?

Meade said...

From both ends.

Brando said...

"Some of his appeal for me is the enemies he attracts. I can't watch him for more than a minute or two but he certainly has antagonized the right segment of society."

The thing is I dislike a lot of those same people, whether it's the illiberal Left, the mindless business-as-usual GOP or the nabbering media talking heads. But if being "hated" by those groups were enough I'd have to side with some pretty repellant characters. Why let the opinions of such parties drive us to or away from someone who we can make our own judgments about?

J2 said...

I think she is suggesting inferiority which extends beyond economic status.

tim in vermont said...

Imagine if he starts talking about how he is the guy holding back the mob with pitchforks. .. Oh wait, that was Obama

Michael said...

Remember that Trump is first and foremost a real estate developer. He has other business ventures but development is where he began his career and he made his first mark in developing the Hyatt on 42nd Street adjacent to Grand Central. This was an extraordinarily complex deal which required the acquisition of the Commodore Hotel from the bankrupt Penn Central, the approval of the plans for the Hyatt with the City of New York, the negotiation of a management agreement with Hyatt and finally the planning and construction of the hotel within the skeleton of the Commodore. You can believe that Trump learned how to speak the language of the little guy during the course of that deal, especially as it related to the contractor, subs, FF&E suppliers, the rank and file workers.

Unlike any person running for President, Trump has dealt with and has a high regard for the men who create things with their hands and with their crafts. Not one of those running would know the difference between a fast track approach to building and a guaranteed maximum price contract. They would not know how to buy steel in advance of the need for steel, to price the purchase and delivery of high speed elevators, or how and where to stage materials and their delivery in a crowded metropolitan area.

Trump can talk to this cohort in an authentic voice

Gahrie said...

“affluent and... what's the counterpart of affluent?... struggling?”

???

The obvious answer is "poor".

The Left can't use the word "poor" because they can't admit that poor people are supporting the Republicans.

tim in vermont said...

Brando, the choice is Hillary

Gahrie said...

By the way...has anyone else noticed the media's refusal to cover poverty the last seven and a half years?

Anyone want to bet that if a Republican is elected president that poverty will once again be a huge problem in America?

EDH said...

Compare the definitions of "downscale" to "downtrodden".

Downtrodden: without hope because of being treated badly by powerful people, governments, etc.

Downscale: at the lower end of a scale, especially a social scale; downmarket.


Downtrodden is a term reserved for special victim-identity groups that form the Democrat coalition who suffer from all forms of oppression.

Downscale is reserved for people outside the Democrat coalition, and it's all their own fault, largely for not voting for Democrats (see "What's the Matter with Kansas").

Simple, really.

tim in vermont said...

I would vote for pig in a poke Trump over the pig in a pantsuit, Hillary, the ham handed hawk.

Brando said...

"Anyone want to bet that if a Republican is elected president that poverty will once again be a huge problem in America?"

Oh, they cover it--they seem to have discovered "inequality" as a problem. But what you won't hear is them saying any of this was caused by our current president and his allies.

Gusty Winds said...

The downscale-upscale crowd are the idiots that took out interest only loans so they could look rich in a bigger house than they could afford, and then whined like babies when the big bad bubble blew their straw house down.

Brando said...

"I would vote for pig in a poke Trump over the pig in a pantsuit, Hillary, the ham handed hawk."

And sadly that's the choice we get this year.

traditionalguy said...

Rich people can be a lot of fun. But many of them enjoy being introverts. They like like a private club filtered by a high price to avoid rowdy crowds that a general affluence empowers to go the same places.

Baseball is common man's play. And WWF is the lowest common man entertainment form. But a $500 a round golf club is whole other world.


But Trump does all equally well like he did High class European Models and Marla Maples equally well.

Trump is a Renaissance Man.

Birkel said...

I wonder about traditionalguy making statements of fact about Trump's sexual conquests. It's weird.

Gusty Winds said...

The downscale-upscale crowd are the people who charge $300 dinners at fru-fru restaurants where you get 1oz of raw tuna on a 1-gallon plate.

The upscale-downscale have the money to pay cash at those restaurants, but they don't, because they know it's a rip-off.

Terry said...

" I think he's a businessman who knows how to spot and appeal to an unfilled market niche."
I think that Trump is a guy who knows, down to a nickel, the value of the equity he owns (whatever it consists of). He looks at his sworn delegates as his equity. Do you think that Trump is going to walk away from equity? I don't think that Trump is going to walk away from equity. I think that he will either sell that equity, or he will try to increase his equity, or he will try to increase the value of his equity.
He has other options. He can try and convince buyers that he has more equity than he really possesses, or he can convince buyers that the equity that he has is worth more than it really is worth.

Michael K said...

" Why let the opinions of such parties drive us to or away from someone who we can make our own judgments about?"

It's not the only reason. I like his statements about immigration and Muslim immigration. I just can't watch him say it.

Political Correctness is probably my chief annoyance these days. I have a grandson I worry about. My granddaughters will probably be OK. He might be better off going into the military first or doing an apprenticeship. I worry about college as it is these days.

Trump is blowing up PC.

Meade said...

Maybe the reason Trump has to hire foreign workers is because all the potential American workers suffer from stugglinfluenza. They have, as Dr. Bob Boyd, M.D. diagnosed above, "dire-rhea"and just can't leave their bathrooms. Foreign workers are the true "working poor" because 1. they're poor and 2. they work.

TosaGuy said...

Downscale/Upscale

Hipsters on Foodstamps

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...As for downscale-upscale... I'm thinking of all the unwealthy people who maintain the aspirations and pretentions associated with the political/academic/professional elite — the prideful underpaid people of America who feel called to a higher taste level and look with repugnance upon Donald Trump.

What % of high-level "journalists" do you think this describes (with their Ivy League or expensive private school education bills, their addresses in the nicer parts of NYC/DC/VA/Los Angeles, their many rich & powerful friends/peers, and their modest-for-entertainment industry paychecks from slowly-dying high-prestige low-revenue news outlets)? 95%? Yeah, pretty much all of 'em.

Bruce Hayden said...

Not sure where I stand there. Initially, I thought upscale/downscale, because I easily talk and relate to working class, despite having most recently been with a prominent regional law firm, having been raised by an attorney, and with all my grandparents having college degrees (despite all being born in the 19th Century). We spend half the year in MT, and that is who I mostly hang around with, which is good because my partner will let me do a bunch of stuff around the house with an expert present that she won't let me do alone. But, then I would put on my traditional upper middle class uniform of blazer, slacks, etc, and fit comfortably with those making far more than I did. Or my parents ever did. I suspect that many of us fall in the middle here somewhere.

Not sure though that this is what is going on with Trump. It has been asserted that what he really is doing is talking to the Jacksonians. Yes, they are white, and tend to be working class. And for 200 years voted Democratic. They tend to brag the way that Trump does, etc. it will be interesting to see if his appeal is general working class, or just Jacksonian working class.

I do think that I am maybe like Michael K here. I am not impressed by what and how Trump says things, but rather by the enemies he makes. Very much like Sarah Palin to me in that respect. Maybe it is my downscale/upscale side. Despite all his money, and a shared religious denomination, my mother would never have voluntarily associated with Trump. According to her, the right sort of people just don't sound and act like him. Or, really flaunt their money like that. (And I think that a lot of the Country Club Republicans, and esp the establishment, think just like my mother did)

rehajm said...

If the GOP really thinks it can deny the nomination to him by fudging the rules, and there is serious concern they might, there is going to be hell to pay.

What happens if everyone plays by the established rules but Trump shows up at the convention just short of the nomination (and there's evidence that will happen) and there's a floor fight. Will there just be heck to pay?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Gahrie said...
By the way...has anyone else noticed the media's refusal to cover poverty the last seven and a half years?


The weird thing is homelessness ceased to be a national problem a few months after GW Bush left office. The GW Bush-caused housing meltdown put some people on the street, sure, but after 6 months or so those stories just dried up. Why, I remember when homeless veterans were the shame of the nation, but that was when a Republican was President. Since we're well into the Obama Admin I guess that problem just solved itself--at least that's what I'd have to conclude from watching the news and reading my city's paper.
I, too, get a funny feeling that problem might suddenly reappear (with a vengeance) were a Republican ever to win the Presidency again.

Will said...

I am 99% sure the Trump Presidential run started one Friday night after a Trump family viewing of Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School." In that movie a rich guy joins his struggling son at college and turns things upside down by having too much common sense…

Ann, the college in the movies is UW-Madison even though it is called Great Lakes University in the movie…

Watch as the GOP Establishment tries to lecture on how the American Economy works -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlVDGmjz7eM

Dan Hossley said...

"I'm looking for a way to deal with the phenomenon of those so-called downscale white guys getting energized by Donald Trump." Reagan did it first.

Bob Boyd said...

" we think that a lot of the press coverage of Trump misreads who is supporting him and what it means.
First, Trump’s support is not particularly ideological. In recent YouGov polls, 20 percent of his supporters describe themselves as “liberal” or “moderate,” with 65 percent saying they are “conservative” and only 13 percent labeling themselves as “very conservative.” Less than a third of his supporters say they are involved with the Tea Party movement. Their views put them on the right side of the American electorate, but they cover the Republican mainstream.
In terms of demographics, Trump’s supporters are a bit older, less educated and earn less than the average Republican. Slightly over half are women. About half are between 45 and 64 years of age, with another 34 percent over 65 years old and less than 2 percent younger than 30. One half of his voters have a high school education or less, compared to 19 percent with a college or post-graduate degree. Slightly over a third of his supporters earn less than $50,000 per year, while 11 percent earn over $100,000 per year. Definitely not country club Republicans, but not terribly unusual either."
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/09/09/who_are_trumps_supporters.html

Michael K said...

"I do think that I am maybe like Michael K here. I am not impressed by what and how Trump says things, but rather by the enemies he makes."

A pretty good description of the Trump phenomenon in The Daily Beast, of all places.

Trump clearly has an authoritarian personality , and he appeals to those with that bent, but he’s hardly a true heir to Mussolini. For one thing, Mussolini, like Hitler, was not born into money; they emerged from the life-or-death struggles of the Great War. Unlike those two, Trump does not boast an organized paramilitary black or brown shirt movement.
It is in the nature of his appeal where Trump does resemble the fascist leaders. His followers, like theirs, are people who feel left out of the calculations of the political class in both parties.


The Berlusconi comparison, I think, is pretty good. He also has a good model for Hillary.

Clinton, notes journalist Jamelle Bouie reflects a machine model, with control of the party itself as a goal. Rather than an ideological figure, she “appeals to stalwarts and interest groups (like banks and industry) far more than voters who choose on ideology and belief.”
This approach approximates, more than anything, the structure—though not the actual violence—of the Mafia, with “families.” .These groups that represent distinct, sometimes interlocking, interests, each functioning with almost total dominion over its respective turf but able to process competing demands through a central “commission” like the New York based one founded in 1931—when organized crime, incidentally, was under assault by fascist Italy.
Under a second President Clinton, the Democrats will operate under a similar system, with Wall Street, tech oligarchs, greens, feminists, gays, African-Americans, public sector unions, universities, Latinos, urban land speculators sitting around the table and her as il capo di tutti capi.


Sounds about right. Trump as Berlusconi and Clinton as Corleone, or maybe Tessio.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Hoodlum, etc

I don't think that it is just journalists, but also includes a lot of elected politicians. And, that is one of the reason so many of them get corrupted. Even Harry Reid, who managed to make himself a multimillionaire on a salary that never exceeded $170k or so, in one of the most expensive places in the country to live. My partner remembers him bringing his five kids over to play with her parents' five, when he had more kids than money. It is probably fairly hard for a lot of them to stay on the straight and narrow, with their govt salaries, while being wined and dined regularly by people making much more.

Michael K said...

"Slightly over half are women. About half are between 45 and 64 years of age, with another 34 percent over 65 years old and less than 2 percent younger than 30."

The Tea Party, when I went to rallies, was in large part, young women with children. Of course, I was in Orange County where lots of middle class families live and they may not feel safe going to his rallies. I suspect married women, regardless of age, will vote for him.

Sean Gleeson said...

"or affluent and... what's the counterpart of affluent?..."

I'll have you know, I gave this question a lot of thought. I came up with 'diffluent.' Since 'affluent' means flowing in, and 'diffluent' means flowing out.

Obviously, it's not an exact counterpart, in that nobody currently uses 'diffluent' in the same socio-economic sense as 'affluent.' But we could start, dammit.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Michael K

Interesting suggestion about Hillary, esp in view of Dinesh D'Souza's latest book "Stealing America".

Curtiss said...

If we're going to say "upscale" and "downscale" right now, it might help to say upscale-downscale and downscale-upscale. I'm looking for a way to deal with the phenomenon of those so-called downscale white guys getting energized by Donald Trump.

Your first thought was correct. These aren't words used to describe people.

But if we must, then Ruth Marcus is "upscale-upscale". So-called downscale white guys are energized by Donald Trump, because he interacts with them. Ruth Marcus doesn't even know any. They're just things to her anyway.

Bob Boyd said...

"Slightly over a third of his supporters earn less than $50,000 per year, while 11 percent earn over $100,000 per year. Definitely not country club Republicans, but not terribly unusual either."

So 65% of Trump supporters are earning over $50k. Not exactly poor and unemployed.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe they have sore-eyeasis from rubbing their eyes because they can't believe what tthey see happening to their country.

buwaya said...

Interesting reference here is George Orwell, of course, explaining the dimensions of class in "Wigan Pier" - which is required reading at this time I think.
In Orwell's system, Trump and maybe some of his family could be "upper lower-middle" class.
Not that he mentioned this category I think.

Michael K said...

"So 65% of Trump supporters are earning over $50k."

I don't know where $50,000 stands in the scale these days. I see kids joining the military whose parents' income is about $65,000. That sounds like a lot to us old guys but I don't think that is enough to send kids to college.

Nobody, except Sarah Palin, of course, talks about the role of inflation in creating poverty. I can remember that my life ambition was to be an engineer and make $25,000 a year. That would be as rich as I would ever want to be.

I bought my first house for $35,000. My first new car, a 1968 Mustang convertible, for $3500.

I see no talk about inflation anymore.

mccullough said...

The downscale-upscale seems to jibe well with those afflicted with the status-income gap. These are folks who are educated and work in the print media or mid-high level government managers who aren't at the level of political employees, and college professors, etc. whose income puts them in the middle class but they have a similar outlook to the global elite. They look down on blue collar, especially cops, are concerned about issues like gay marriage and transgenderism that affects a very small percentage of the population. They love solar panels and windmills and, contradictorily, international travel. The dislike oil drilling and fracking and coal and, contradictorily, nuclear power. They love blacks and Latinos but don't want their kids going to school with more than a handful of them. They love affirmative action in higher Ed but want to make sure Asians aren't getting too many spots to compete with their own children.

hombre said...

What a load of bullshit! The "intellectual elite" alternatively patronize and defend their intellectual and financial "inferiors" who support Trump as though their own "equals" couldn't possibly be troubled by the threat of our porous borders.

Never mind that polls indicate that Trump supporters come from all strata of our society.

More evidence that credentialed "intelligence" has little to do with good sense, the ability to observe or intellectual honesty.

The temptation to vote for Trump just to watch the pompous elite crap their pant grows stronger each day.

mccullough said...

Michael K,

Here are the five quintiles of US household income

A household income of $250,000 and up puts one in the top five percent. The median household income is about $47,000.

Michael K said...

"They look down on blue collar,"

This is especially peculiar when you consider the skilled trades jobs that pay over $100 k.

If trades unions would do more apprenticeships, they would earn their status in society. It is just amazing. India has suffered for years from the British disgust with trades that they transferred to the Indian upper classes. I have read that there is a real shortage of auto mechanics and other trades in India while people starve.

R. Chatt said...

Trump is turning a lot of assumptions upside down. One general assumption was that as a billionaire he could simply "buy the election." Turns out: "Trump spent $9.5 million in February, compared to Cruz’s $17.5 million and Clinton’s $31.6 million, according to the filings. They show that the biggest February spender was Clinton’s stubborn rival for the Democratic nomination Bernie Sanders, who spent $41 million as he desperately tried to keep pace with Clinton." TRUMP SPENT LESS TO WIN MORE
Politico


Turns out that he's successful because he knows how to handle money, not that he's successful because he has/had more money.

rehajm said...

what's the counterpart of affluent?

Lack The Means. (jaw locked, pinky extended)

William said...

It started with Marx. He dismissed some of the poor as being members of the lumpenproleriat. Not all the poor were deserving of the revolution. The Bolshies considered those skilled members of the working class who were not supporters of the revolution as being "petite bourgeoise", a class that they more or less made up. Then there were the kulaks. Kulak is a derogatory term. It's much like describing a doctor as a quack or a lawyer as a shyster. Kulaks were successful small farmers who because they didn't want to move to collective farms ended up buying the farm. But it was ok because they were kulaks, i.e. greedy, grasping peasants. They were like downscale Trump supporters who have no place in the dialogue of democracy.

sydney said...

McCoullough- that data is from 2005. Data for 2014 is substantially higher:
"Real median incomes in 2014 for family households ($68,426) and nonfamily households ($32,047) did not experience statistically significant changes from the levels in 2013."
I could not find a graph like the Wiki article had, but am at work and can't devote time.

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

The folks are looking for a Patton to lead the charge against the "final solution", not limited to reactive (abortion rites) and planned (clinical cannibalism) parenthood, class diversity schemes (e.g. racism, sexism), selective exclusion or "=", devaluation of capital and labor, inequitable trade, sequestered environments (e.g. environmentalism and "green" industry), gender dysfunction, progressive morality, etc.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Michael K said...I see no talk about inflation anymore.

Well if you check the charts (representative sample here) you'll see that the overall rate of inflation has been pretty low over the last decade or so--less than 2%/yr since 2010. The inflation of the 70's and early 80's skews things quite a bit and the cumulative effect of inflation over all those years is certainly quite large (thus the difference between your $25k dream salary and what you'd want to make today), but on the whole inflation has been relatively low in recent times.

Inflation is tricky, though. If you look at a lot of the macro trends w/r/t monetary policy and long-term demographics, growth, and future liabilities it sure seems like our borrowing (today and what we'll have to borrow in the future) can't help but cause quite a bit of inflation. We're in an odd spot now in that we should probably have seen quite a bit more inflation (based on our own economy/choices) but the demand for our currency has been unusually high because everyone else's economies have been so bad. For those Fed Reserve geniuses determined to fine-tune the economy as a whole we haven't had enough inflation, and they'd very much like to make changes that'd put it at a steady 2-2.25% or so. I, for one, doubt their ability to use the available tools to the level of precision they'd like, but that's another story.

Carol said...

Just putting this link here because I can't use email at work.

It explains everything re the Rise of Trump. Everything.

richlb said...

Funny thing is, before today I had never heard (or read) someone use the term "downscale". Sure, I had heard "upscale" with much regularity. But I never thought the opposite was really "downscale". For instance, in my city there was the upscale mall, and then the rundown mall. Or ghetto mall. Downscale. Such a weird word.

Michael K said...

"but on the whole inflation has been relatively low in recent times. "

Have you bought ground beef lately ?

I think the inflation numbers are skewed badly.

Hagar said...

@ Michael K'
I think you mean Barzini.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Donald Trump himself is very rich, but he's speaking in a way that appeals to those who are getting called "downscale." He sounds like a proudly working-class New Yorker guy. Everyone knows he's a billionaire and that he was born rich, so what's going on there? I think he's a businessman who knows how to spot and appeal to an unfilled market niche.

Trump is second generation native born. His Grandfather was an immigrant who came to the US with very little and pulled himself on his own and made his own wealth. (maybe in some unsavory things...but did it on his own) His father likewise was just a working guy in many ways. Trump also has this work ethic, that...just guessing....he inherited from his Grandfather and father.

Did Trump and his Dad start out with some significant advantages in being born to a successful Father and Grandfather? Sure. However, each of them took that advantage and made even more of it by being hands on and involved in their businesses. It would be easy to just coast along on the efforts of your ancestors and not make anything. It would be easy to become part of the "patrician" class like the Kennedy's.

Although rich , Trump is still what the brahmins in the East like to look down on as Nouveau Riche. Wealthy, but not really our class my dear. Guess what. All the rest of us out here would love to be Nouveau Riche and don't look down on the Donald's excesses. This is what is great about America...anyone can aspire to be a short fingered vulgarian :-)

Trump and his father speak the language of the downscale working class guy, because those are the people that they have needed to interact with in order to accomplish their projects. Actually dealing with and talking to those people instead of using intermediaries.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Michael K said...Have you bought ground beef lately ?

I think the inflation numbers are skewed badly.


Oh there are certainly measurement problems, no doubt about that, and I'm willing to believe that the measured inflation rate doesn't translate well to the actual experience of most people (same with the CPI, etc), but as long as the measurement method has been stable over the time period in question the measurement should be valid in relative terms. That is to say, it may be true that the measured <2% inflation doesn't mean inflation has been no big deal for the average person, but it does mean that as measured inflation itself isn't more of a big deal now than it was a decade go (again ignoring cumulative effects).

One thing I think you're seeing, too, is the impact of low overall wage growth (and/or low growth in cash income (as opposed to overall compensation, which was gobbled up by growth in the cost of health ins, etc)) coupled with low-ish inflation, low total employment growth, and time. If inflation is 1.5%/yr and net income growth (net of benefits, etc) is 1%/yr then it will definitely feel like you're losing ground even if the official figures disagree.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

richlb said..Funny thing is, before today I had never heard (or read) someone use the term "downscale"

The phrase "down at heel" popped into my mind; probably has something to do with thinking about one of the candidates for Prez being a bit of an Evita figure...

Carol said...

It would be easy to just coast along on the efforts of your ancestors and not make anything.

Wasting it all like Getty Jr or William S Burroughs is just sooo much more interesting.

buwaya said...

Ground Beef prices -
No nice chart, but you can find wholesale prices here -
http://www.beefretail.org/wholesalepriceupdate.aspx

This avoids local price variation due to changing nature and markup of retail trade - such as wages and health insurance.

Earliest data they have is first week of 2008 - Jan 4, 2008
For the lowest grade of ground beef -Blended Ground Beef 73% -

Jan 4 2008 - $1.14
March 8 2016 - $1.34

So in this at least there hasn't been much inflation in 8 years.

buwaya said...

But for
Ground Beef 93%
its
Jan 4 2008 - $1.93
March 8 2016 - $3.14
or about 7-8% annual

buwaya said...

Food prices index from the USDA -

http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/charts.aspx

Food price indexes are more variable than the CPI (Consumer Price Index), on average from 1995-2014 they have run a bit over the CPI.

Michael K said...

I don't have to worry much about ground beef since my basset hound, Winston died a couple of months ago. That was all he would eat. I would get the 73% lean stuff in 3 pound rolls. I watched the prices go up to as high as $12 for 3 pounds. Stater Brothers, where I shop, has sales every two weeks or so and I would stock up. On sale it would be around $10 for 3 pounds.

That was the one I noticed most and all beef has gone up but inflation has been creeping up in stuff ordinary folks buy. California, of course, is the worst as utility and gas prices are artificially high.

We adopted a new basset hound and she does not like ground beef so my freezer still has a few pounds.

buwaya said...

"That was the one I noticed most and all beef has gone up but inflation has been creeping up in stuff ordinary folks buy. "

Retail prices for things like beef are very variable by location. Retail overhead is considerable and very much affected by local regulation.
Wholesale prices are somewhat less so and avoid local issues.
No question that CA is peculiarly expensive as a result of the various public policies.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Sorry about your pup, Michael K; we're nursing my old black lab (14 years old yesterday) after some surgery to remove large lipomas and he's enjoying the chicken breasts he's getting so much I'm worried he won't go back to dry food again.

mccullough said...

Sydney,

Thanks. I skimmed a few different graphs but that one was the most easy to read. Didn't see that it was from a decade ago. My bad.

Michael K said...

"I'm worried he won't go back to dry food again."

Juliet won't eat dry food, either. She is in the lap of luxury, I fear.

Writ Small said...

As for downscale-upscale... I'm thinking of all the unwealthy people who maintain the aspirations and pretentions associated with the political/academic/professional elite — the prideful underpaid people of America who feel called to a higher taste level and look with repugnance upon Donald Trump.

"unwealthy", "pretentions", "prideful underpaid", "feel called", "look with repugnance".

I don't need my gut to tell me Althouse holds these people in contempt. That sentence is dripping with it.

Personally, my contempt is reserved for the actions and words of individuals and not groups. Often that contempt is reserved specifically for people who make broad and negative generalizations about whole classes of people.

Todd Roberson said...

Trump had identified and appealed to a long forgotten and marginalized "special interest group": average white people.

mccullough said...

Here's a decent graph of real household median income over the last 30 years (1984-2014)

tim in vermont said...

I wouldn't worry about a Labrador becoming a picky eater.

Paul Snively said...

"Although rich , Trump is still what the brahmins in the East like to look down on as Nouveau Riche. Wealthy, but not really our class my dear. Guess what. All the rest of us out here would love to be Nouveau Riche and don't look down on the Donald's excesses. This is what is great about America...anyone can aspire to be a short fingered vulgarian :-)"

This. My guess is a lot of Trump's fans would be surprised to learn that he was born into wealth, precisely because he comes across like: cut the passive-aggressive namby-pamby touchy-feely BS, build real goods and services people want, and you can get rich. He strikes people as unpretentious, and more than anything else this political season, I think we're seeing a referendum on pretension. Not quite enough of one—enough of one wouldn't have cynical, corrupt, mendacious Clinton anywhere near it. Thankfully, the FBI actually seems to be doing its job with respect to her. And while Sanders has the economic sense of a five-year-old, he doesn't pretend to more than that, so he attracts voters who share his five-year-olds' understanding of economics, i.e. millennials.

This is gonna be interesting.

Bill Roberts said...

"Turns out that he's successful because he knows how to handle money, not that he's successful because he has/had more money."

All the absolutely free media saturation hasn't hurt him either. His real skill is staying in the public eye.

"He strikes people as unpretentious"

He strikes me as an arrogant blowhard who says whatever he needs to say to a) stay in the public eye/media stream, crowding out all others and b) huckster his followers into voting for him. He talks about his own greatness non-stop, has incredibly thin skin, appears to be ready to use the full power of the executive branch (if he's granted that power) to go after his enemies, etc.

Michael K said...

"He strikes me as an arrogant blowhard who says whatever he needs to say "

I agree but I also see him as Danton with Robespierre in the green room if the GOP succeeds in stealing the nomination.

I have no idea what he would do as president and I hope that some serious GOP people join him, as Sessions and Gingrich have, to help him govern.

They had the Tea Party and didn't like them. Too "downscale."

Meade said...

"I wouldn't worry about a Labrador becoming a picky eater. "

Right. Now someone trying to palm off a picky eater as a Labrador — that, I would be very suspicious of.

Terry said...

Michael K. wrote:
"I have no idea what he would do as president and I hope that some serious GOP people join him, as Sessions and Gingrich have, to help him govern."

If Trump is elected president, there will be a long line of people willing to make a deal with him. I suspect that Chucky Schumer will be at the head of that line.

Bill Roberts said...

"I have no idea what he would do as president and I hope that some serious GOP people join him, as Sessions and Gingrich have, to help him govern."

Maybe, just maybe, we need a better nominee. Egad.

CStanley said...

"I do think that I am maybe like Michael K here. I am not impressed by what and how Trump says things, but rather by the enemies he makes."


Clearly a lot of people feel this way but I've never understood it. There are situations where "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" but the whole reason that's a saying is that we know that these are alliances of convenience, not relationships based on trust. Why should I trust Trump when he might have other reasons to want to harm the "GOPe" that have nothing to do with helping ordinary people. I guess for me, schadenfreude and destruction of the GOPe isn't an end unto itself as it seems to be for many people.

Michael K said...

"Clearly a lot of people feel this way but I've never understood it."

Let me try to explain. Trump says stuff that no one else is willing to say.

If Carly Fiorina or Walker had gone after the illegal immigration problem, or the Muslim importation issue as Obama brings 200,000 more "Syrians" into the country and hides them. they would be leading.

Once again, Glenn Reynolds explains it.

This is a revolution. I've seen the elephant, as they said in the Civil War.

Terry said...

Badvised, if you choose to respond to R&B's comment:

Listen, vinegar bag. I get that you're really upset about living in a land where no one is above the law and even a political challenger to Hillary's candidacy can't get up and make the citizen's arrest on her that you're so prepared to do. But stop being a bitch and tell me what I do and do not care about. If Plame had come up as I might have thought it should in the 2004 then I couldn't have indicted Bush or Cheney over that, either. You are out of your gourd. You are effectively castigating Democrats for respecting that prosecutions are a process and that no political show can derail them. You've made your damn point about disqualifying Hillary over it, did you think Bush/Cheney should have been disqualified for Plame? A fucking process played out then, as one is playing out now, and you're too much of a jumpy and juvenile legal and political ignoramus to respect the fact that this is how the law works in America. You don't get to tell people they can't go on with their lives just because there is suspicion that a proceeding will find something that it hasn't concluded yet. Just get over yourselves already.


That according to http://www.webpagefx.com/tools/read-able/ it is written at a tenth grade level:

This page has an average grade level of about 10.

It should be easily understood by 15 to 16 year olds.

Please remember to use words with few syllables and short sentences.

Rusty said...

. Why should I trust Trump

You shouldn't. You shouldn't trust any politician.
Trump has put a voice to the concerns of the american people. He has promised to address those concerns. For that he will be elected.
And, What the doc said.

mark weishan said...

She's got her nose so high in the air she'll get sunburn in her sinuses.