May 14, 2017

"Over and over grandparents have whispered to me, 'Don’t use our name, but we bought their house' or 'We pay their rent.'"

Writes the "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl in a NYT op-ed about grandparenting.
[M]y generation is spending more money on our grandchildren, 64 percent more than grandparents did just 10 years ago.... One reason we pioneers have become the family piggy bank is a generational inversion: It used to be that the middle-aged took care of their elderly parents; more and more it’s the other way round....

Many of us want a second chance. As working mothers, we carried around bales of guilt because we felt (or were made to feel) we weren’t there enough for our kids. We know what we missed out on, so we’re making up for it by pouring not just money but also time into our grandchildren. My daughter likes to remind me how much I loathed taking her to the park. As a workaholic reporter in Washington covering the White House, I would push her on a swing and read a research paper at the same time. Today I love taking my granddaughters to the park, playing tea party, sitting on the floor with them coloring. My attention is all theirs.

Most of the grandparents I know are like me: We’ll do anything to hold those babies. We’re the babysitters who beg to come over, an offer that’s hard to refuse since we don’t charge a dime....
Stahl purports to love this, but she doesn't mention that she is —though we know, and it's obvious — quite rich. It's easy for her and her friends — the "Don’t use our name, but we bought their house" people — to make up for the income insecurity of the younger generation. But what about more average aging boomers? Stahl blithely describes their financial well-being like this: "Grandparents get their monthly Social Security checks; many have paid off their mortgage; and large numbers remain on the job, earning money."

I've read so many articles over the years about Baby Boomer women who are burdened with working, taking care of their children, and taking care of their aging parents. Now that we are older, we're still working, taking care of our aging self, still taking care of our children, and — if we're lucky enough to have any — taking care of our grandchildren. But, Stahl tells us, this is wonderful, because we must have extra money and time, and we must have developed a taste for caregiving, even if we were the sort who "loathed taking [our own children] to the park."

Stahl acts like she's laying down her "bales of guilt," but isn't she imposing guilt on her fellow boomers? Yikes! I was supposed to pay their rent?! I shouldn't have asked for tender care; I was supposed to be giving it? No attention for me; my attention is supposed to be all theirs?

And what's with "bales of guilt"? "Ol' Man River" starts playing in my head.
You an'me, we sweat an' strain,
Body all achin' an' rack'd wid pain,
Tote dat barge!
Lif' dat bale!
A cotton bale weighs 500 pounds. It's lift that bale, singular. Not bales. Even that poor, suffering African American stevedore only lifted one bale at a time. And he had to tote that barge. I'm sure Lesley totes barges. I'm being totes a jerk here now, I know. But making fun of Lesley Stahl is child's play. It's a tea party. It's sitting on the floor coloring.

102 comments:

Paco Wové said...

If you eliminate the category of "rich white woman gazes at navel", how much of contemporary media remains?

Fernandinande said...

baby monitors

Is that anything under 21 inches ?

Lucien said...

Hay bales are not as heavy as cotton bales, and more people grow up around hay than cotton.

Kevin said...

But making fun of Lesley Stahl is child's play. It's a tea party. It's sitting on the floor coloring.

And she's at the top of the journalism profession. She's what the rest of them aspire to be.

David Begley said...

Supposedly Stahl has never worn the same outfit twice on 60 Minutes.

rhhardin said...

This is why time travel was invented.

Once written, twice... said...

Ann, you are sounding a little defensive here. Probably because you don't share your riches with your kids.

EDH said...

Who's house or or rent? Their kid's or, skipping a generation, their grandkid's?

Ann Althouse said...

"Hay bales are not as heavy as cotton bales, and more people grow up around hay than cotton."

But when people talk of carrying a bale, the image is of a suffering black man forced to carry cotton.

If you are doing hyperbole, like Lesley, saying "we carried around bales of guilt," you mean to call up the image of something heavy. That's cotton.

And Lesley did not grow up around hay bales. She was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, to a wealthy family.

Kate said...

My mom (and dad) helped us when we were young and poor. They weren't rich and they didn't break their arms patting themselves on the back over it.

Here's a cookie, Lesley.

oldirishpig said...

I came here to say 'Lesley Stahl might finally be growing up' but I like this one better:

"My mom (and dad) helped us when we were young and poor. They weren't rich and they didn't break their arms patting themselves on the back over it.

Here's a cookie, Lesley."

Bay Area Guy said...

It's a kinda snarky article. I assume that most grandparents love their adult kids and spoil their grandkids. Conversely, I assume that adult kids and grandkids help take care of grandparents as they age.

Rich, elite Upper-West side Manhattanites like Lesley Stahl, what a surprise, are able to spend more $$ on their grandkids and then get to write op-Ed pieces in the NYTimes Good on ya, Lesley. But, frankly, your insights are fairly pedestrian.

Ann Althouse said...

I wonder how many millennials (and X-ers!) call their mothers for Mother's Day and bring up Lesley's op-ed and use it to guilt-trip them into paying for at least the braces, at least the down payment on the house or the security deposit on the apartment. And grandma, you'd better be doing all the free babysitting you can and you'd better act like you love spending the entire day coloring and playing tea party. This op-ed is powerful, and the funniest, unfeministic part of it is that it will probably only work on women. So don't just say fucking Boomers, they deserve it, ha ha.

PB said...

An old, rich, white liberal woman associating with other old, rich, white, liberal people are are basically admitting how they failed in raising their children. It wasn't enough for them to pay to put them through expensive private schools from kindergarten through college (and often graduate programs) developing "expertise" in things that are basically of low value in the real world, now they have to continue to pay for their liberal, progressive ideals.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Isn't this normal? Don't most Grandparents provide babysitting services, financial help and all around spoiling?

Now our better want both credit and sympathy for doing something that comes naturally?

Once written, twice... said...

Ann, have you visited your kids in the last year? You are sounding pretty guilty yourself here.

David Baker said...

What a wonderful excuse to talk about my grandson!

Like one day I took him to see the ducks. It was before he could talk, and sometimes even breathe because of my jokes. I mean, I'd have to do the "Heimlich maneuver" on the little guy just so he could catch his breath.

So, we're down by the adorable floating ducks, and for some (humorous) reason, I was inspired to yell: "HEY YOU DUCKS! GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE!" Then I spat, and quite dramatically, in their ducky direction. Well, my grandson went into convulsions. The little guy was laughing so hard he couldn't make a sound. Back to the Heimlich.

mockturtle said...

My parents loaned with interest--at the going rate. They were smarter than most, methinks.

David said...

The bales got lifted by machinery, often simple machines like levers and pulleys. It was still very hard work, as the machines often were leveraging the muscle power of the stevedores.

David said...

Once written, twice... said...
Ann, have you visited your kids in the last year? You are sounding pretty guilty yourself here.


Happy Mothers Day to you too, Mr. Nasty.

robother said...

In my experience, hay bales are way heavier than bales of guilt. In fact, I could argue that the trope is actually an attempt to appropriate male working class suffering by an upper class nice white lady. Cry me a river, Leslie, staunch your periodic flow of guilt; just keep your metaphoric hands off my male hard work.

Martha said...

I know several mothers who worked during their children's early childhood and missed out on potty training or witnessing that first step.
They are wracked with guilt. Some actually hope to have another baby once career demands become more reasonable so they can do it all the right way. Others become like Lesley Stahl a stalker grandparent.

As a stay-at-home mother who gave up a demanding career as a physician to raise 3 children, I have no desire to be the nanny for my grandchildren. My married son seemed to think I left medicine because I loved taking care of children. Nope. I left my career because I loved my children and believed they needed a hands on mother. You can find a replacement for your doctor in the yellow pages. You cannot find a mother replacement that way. My son and his wife get to sort out their priorities themselves.

AllenS said...

No black men, or any other color of men, picked up cotton bales and toted them around.

Sebastian said...

"the funniest, unfeministic part of it is that it will probably only work on women." You mean, because contrary to feminist propaganda, women actually do not form a sisterhood and prefer competitive bitchiness to female solidarity?

Anyway, taking it a small step further, the very notion that a piece by Lesley Stahl would "work" on anyone is funny in itself. Add it to the many mysteries we men fail to decipher.

Gahrie said...

My parents spent at least as much time raising my niece and nephew as my brother and his wife, but my mom will be lucky to get a phone call today from any of them, and it's for damn sure that I will be the only one actually visiting her.

Meade said...

"Bales of guilt" is agricultural appropriation.

mockturtle said...

Martha, motherhood--and fatherhood--are so diminished by today's self-centered culture that I find that very refreshing.

Michael K said...

"Happy Mothers Day to you too, Mr. Nasty."

Once written has always sounded like a bitchy female to me.

Probably with no kids.

mockturtle said...

"Bales of guilt" is agricultural appropriation.

Love it! ;-D

tcrosse said...

The tote dat barge, lift dat bale line was written by Oscar Hammerstein II, who probably had little acquaintance with either when he was at Columbia, or hobnobbing with Jerome Kern.

Ann Althouse said...

"They are wracked with guilt."

Body all achin' an' rack'd wid pain....

Bob Ellison said...

"And Lesley did not grow up around hay bales. She was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, to a wealthy family."

You crossed over the leftist line there. Lesley is not allowed to imagine guilt, because she was born rich.

Seeing Red said...

As a boomer, they fuckin' deserve it!

KARMA!

Now they get it and they're no more than a cash cow!

Ours gets a mostly paid for college education. She's going to Jr College to get more bang for our buck, but she's coming up with her wedding money.

Ann Althouse said...

"The tote dat barge, lift dat bale line was written by Oscar Hammerstein II, who probably had little acquaintance with either when he was at Columbia, or hobnobbing with Jerome Kern."

I was just reading about him. He was born and lived in NYC, in the theatrical environment. Everything he wrote about is cultural appropriation: Bali Hai did not actually call him, he wasn't experiencing alive hills in Austria, he didn't actually know shit about a real nice clam bake or the larks learning to pray. It was all made up, imagined, in his head.

mockturtle said...

Oklahoma is still one of the best musicals ever produced, even if its producers never saw a 'bright golden haze on the meadow'.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

Meade said...'Bales of guilt' is agricultural appropriation.

What's next -- whore to cultural appropriation?

Sorry, wrong thread.

tcrosse said...

It was all made up, imagined, in his head.

It's only make-believe. People find peace of mind in pretending.

Inga said...

Is it the slavery connotation that is the issue? Motherhood isn't akin to slavery so such phrases are annoying?

Michael K said...

"her children don't cry to stay home from daycare and actually learn socialization, early skill sets and have fun at daycare."

You know, my daughter went to day care a couple of days a week when she was little because we lived at the beach and there were not children around to play with. We thought, like you, she would enjoy it. Years later, as an adult, she told us she hated day care and the woman, who was highly recommended, was cruel to her and the other kids.

Don't speak for your children, especially if you are justifying something that is in your own interest.

Earnest Prole said...

Totes jerk or totes dorbs? It’s so hard to say with you girls these days.

Inga said...

Not every working mom finds herself feeling wracked with guilt. Her daycare situation is a good and safe one, her children appear happy and well adjusted, her children don't cry to stay home from daycare and actually learn socialization, early skill sets and have fun at daycare. The mom's job isn't highly stressful or one that impinges on family time. Some are lucky to have jobs are are accomdating to working mom's and don't have it held against them if she needs occasionally to go get a sick kid from daycare. Some working moms have husbands whose jobs are ones in which they can take the requisite time off for a sick kid, relieving their wife of the responsibility oftentimes, or sometimes.

There are professions that aren't good ones for working mothers, they aren't as accommodating, or forgiving when the mom needs to drop everything and run to daycare. These women have a much different working mom experience and I believe they may end up feeling more guilt and remorse for not staying home with the children. Then there are women don't have a choice, they must work, no significant other or grandparents to pick up the slack, it's sheer survival.

Everyone has their own experience and I'm not going to make fun of anyone's experience, but I'll say that some women have more reason to feel guilty than others, some have no reason to feel guilt yet still do. Relax grandmas and enjoy the here and now of your granparenting experience and don't sully it with guilt or remorse. Some things just are what they are and it's time to move on.

chickelit said...

The overly-PC objection to "cultural appropriate" was brilliantly lampooned in "Ghost World. That or Terry Zwigoff was reinforcing the PC aspect. Either way, it originated in Madison, Wisconsin.

Rob said...

"I gets weary and sick of tryin', I'm tired of livin' and scared of dyin'."

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

"Don't speak for your children, especially if you are justifying something that is in your own interest."

Don't speak for everyone else's children. Not all children are alike, not all daycares are alike. It's in the interest of the family or the single mom oftentimes when he mom works. It's not a choice, so I'm not about to lay unnecessary guilt or judgment on that working mom. Sending kids to daycare for socialization alone may not be a good enough reason for doing so. There are other ways to socialize your child.

(Tying fast to hurry up and get offline, to spend Mother's Day time with my family.)

Jack Wayne said...

I like the Paul Robeson version a lot better. The clip you chose is ersatz Hollywood emotion - like listening to a funeral dirge. Robeson does it in a matter of fact style which to me is more human. I rarely meet people who wallow in their despair.

wwww said...

I wonder how many millennials (and X-ers!) call their mothers for Mother's Day and bring up Lesley's op-ed and use it to guilt-trip them into paying for at least the braces, at least the down payment on the house or the security deposit on the apartment.


That would be a really shitty thing for one's kids to do, and especially shitty on Mother's Day.

The grandkids are on a lot of Mother's Day calls because of skype.

I'm trying to imagine this conversation amidst the chaos of skyping with the kiddos. Most fathers would be humbled and shamed to tell his mother he needed $$ -- especially in front of his kids.



Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

I would expect that the grands of Stahl and her peers are not graduating college burdened by student loans. So what professions are they entering that they can not come up with rent money? Unpaid internships for Elizabeth Warren? Where they are groomed to take over ruling the country. Unpaid jobs their poorer peers do not have the luxury of accepting. This is just another example of a rich leftist appropriating the guise of poverty to parade her wealth and privilege.

William said...

Ole Man River has supplied gainful employment for generations of black baritones. Frank Sinatra recorded it. It doesn't work when Sinatra sings it..

William said...

Growing up I knew some rich kids. My understanding was that they didn't get much walking around money. Something to do with building character I guess. They did,however,dress nice and throughout their lives there was someone around to help lift the heavy bales. When they needed a car or, later on, the down payment on a house, the money was there. You read it here first. It's a good deal having rich parents. You develop a sanguine, optimistic nature.

Rusty said...

Have a nice mothers day Ann. Get Meade to take you someplace nice for lunch.

DanTheMan said...

Happy Mother's Day, Ann!

holdfast said...

My immigrant parents ensured that I grew up with a solid work ethic, and received a good, if unglamorous, education. That's plenty.

Comanche Voter said...

Ms. Stahl has a special box of crayons when she colors with the grandkids. But her box of crayons contains one with the color "smug" and another one with the color "self satisfied".

As for Martha who gave up a career as a physician to raise her three kids. Yup, you can find another physician in the yellow pages, but you can't find a Mom. Those are individual choices, and they are important ones. My wife chose not to work from the time our first child was born until the last one was out of high school. There are some jobs that are so important that it's better not to contract them out. I had a decent career and so there were no financial problems. But I also recognized that there is as lot of satisfaction in a professional career, and my wife made a sacrifice in that regard. But in her, and in my calculus, it was worth it.

As for Ms. Stahl, I agree with Bay Area Guy that her observations are pedestrian at best.

Sydney said...

I was a working mother, and I have no regrets, no guilt. My kids have never complained about it. They seem to be doing OK. I was fortunate to have a good husband who is also a good father. Our family was and is the center of our lives. I think the kids pick up on that. If you make career the center at the expense of the family, then it is not so good.

Greg Hlatky said...

The John McGlinn recording of the original 1927 score to Show Boat - with Fredrica von Stade as Magnolia and Bruce Hubbard as Joe - also uses the original book and lyrics, complete with the N-word.

Bay Area Guy said...

Happy Mother's Day! Y'all are straying from the celebratory spirit, distracted by NyTimes Nonsense:)

Like many folks, I gotta wife, a Mom, a Step-Mom and a Mother-in-Law. Lotta females!

First priority - assist the kids to give flowers, nice gifts, and breakfast in bed to Bay Area Gal.

Second priority, cards, flowers, and calls and/or visits to Mom, StepMom and Mother-in-Law, depending on locale.

Good mothers make the world go round. Big shout out to these ladies for sacrificing so much to make their kids' lives better.

Richard said...

The way I see it, I can either give money to my kids and grandkids now, or give it to Uncle Sam after I die. Looking at it that way make the choice easy.

rhhardin said...

Baleful guilt.

glenn said...

Another spoiled brat self identifies.

Leslie Graves said...

There's a bright golden haze on the meadows.

AJ Lynch said...


What Cacimbo said at 10:21AM.

And Happy Mothers Day to Althouse too!

Birkel said...

Happy Mother's Day to Althouse and all the mothers.

Crazy Jane said...

Lesley Stahl has had much acclaim for her journalistic career, and now she wants to bask in the glow of her wonderful wonderful career as a fairy godmother grandparent. I'm sure her progeny and their progeny will celebrate her wonderfulness. And now maybe the nation will as well.

The NYT over the years has developed a large and unhealthy appetite for pieces of personal memoir, i.e., validation. I wish the paper should stop feeding the monster.

TWW said...

An overrated musical with a great song and great performance. South Pacific delivers the same message, more forcefully, more poignantly and with better songs (much better).

buwaya said...

South Pacific is much more sociologically accurate.
In the case of the natives, the enlisted sailors, and their officers. The reason is the material for it came from Michener's first book, "Tales of the South Pacific", which alone came from his personal experience, and is his best work.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

To mock Lesley Stahl for being from a wealthy family, leave being born in Lynn, Massachusetts out of it. The City Sin has a poverty rate over 20%. Go with "raised in Swampscott" - there are your silver spooners.

Big Mike said...

Upper West Side liberals who think everyone ought to do as they do and think as they think are the answer to the question "How'd we get Trump?" Clearly Lesley Stahl wants a lot more Trump.

Inga said...

"There are some jobs that are so important that it's better not to contract them out. I had a decent career and so there were no financial problems."

It's good to have the choice to work or not work. Some mothers don't have that choice, working means survival.

AJ Ford said...

Ann

Thank you giving me an excuse for posting this - my favorite - version of Old Man River.

https://youtu.be/HOkcZCRt5Vo

The Cracker Emcee said...

Good God, Inga at 9:58 wrote something utterly rational! Must be a different Inga than our old friend...

In any event her missive reflects our experience. We found the best daycare we could, stayed involved in what was going on there, and, thanks to family-friendly workplaces, worked together to keep our children's time there to a minimum. Yes, my war-generation parents eagerly offered to take the boys one day a week, for which we were grateful and they were happy but not over-taxed. It worked out well for us but I was aware that for some single (and even two) parent families it's a dicier calculus.

Michael K said...

"We found the best daycare we could, stayed involved in what was going on there,"

We did too and had no idea there was a problem until years later. As for Inga's alternatives for socialization, we had a 200 foot cliff on one side and a street on the other.

She is fine and visiting this weekend for Mothers' Day but daycare may be hiding something.

vicari valdez said...

PB said...
An old, rich, white liberal woman associating with other old, rich, white, liberal people are are basically admitting how they failed in raising their children. It wasn't enough for them to pay to put them through expensive private schools from kindergarten through college (and often graduate programs) developing "expertise" in things that are basically of low value in the real world, now they have to continue to pay for their liberal, progressive ideals.
5/14/17, 9:10 AM


very happy to see this kind of class warfare rhetoric in the althouse comments section. more please.

Rob McLean said...

she doesn't mention that she is —though we know, and it's obvious — quite rich.

Being rich makes everything better!

David said...

It's a prestige thing, in considerable part. They don't want the kiddies and grandkids to have to live in places they could afford on their own. Not upscale enough. Reflects badly on Dad and Mom.

tcrosse said...

she doesn't mention that she is —though we know, and it's obvious — quite rich.

But there are others who are richer, and that's where the canker gnaws.

rcocean said...

Stahl is still alive? Honestly, when are these boomers and pre-boomers going to retire shut up, and get off TV?

I just heard my local NPR station giving away tickets to a Bill Moyers lecture. Bill Fucking Moyers! What is he, like 100 years old? This asshole has been on TV for 50 years playing the some old liberal tune.

Mark said...

"we bought their house" people

Well, real estate has always been a fairly good investment, aside from having to pay the government yearly for the "privilege" to own property, and you have to put your money somewhere. But if grandma and grandpa intend to hold and pass on the property to the grandkids and are purchasing and holding title personally in their own name, that's fairly dumb.

Achilles said...

The baby boomer generation brought this on themselves. At no point in history has there been more wealth transferred from young generations to older generations. This goes beyond social security and obvious transfers. Lets start with the university system that makes a bunch of old liberals rich while dumping massive debt on younger generations and providing minimal value. Or all of those municipal pensions where we pay someone not to work instead of fixing potholes.

Baby boomers are the takers.

mockturtle said...

Rcocean asks: Stahl is still alive? Honestly, when are these boomers and pre-boomers going to retire shut up, and get off TV?

Stahl is no Boomer, having been born in 1941.

mockturtle said...

OK--sorry. She's a 'pre-boomer'.

eddie willers said...

I've always loved this anecdote about Ol Man River.

Supposedly, Mrs. Kern and Mrs.Hammerstein were attending a luncheon party. Making the introductions, the hostess says, “Mrs. Kern’s husband wrote ‘Ol’ Man River,’”. Mrs. Hammerstein "corrects" her with, “MY husband wrote ‘Ol’ Man River.’ Mrs. Kern’s husband wrote ‘Da da DA da.’”

Paco Wové said...

"First priority - ...and breakfast in bed to Bay Area Gal."

Sra. Wové got a Linux distro upgrade. Romance among the nerdly.


n said...

Gonna jump down, spin around
Pick a bale of cotton
Gonna jump down, spin around
Pick a bale a day
Oh lordy, pick a bale of cotton
Pick a bale a day. Lead Belly.

khesanh0802 said...

My two sons and their families make far more money than I ever made. The only thing I think grandfathers should do is make sure that their grandchildren have the appropriate sporting equipment (fly rods and shotguns) to use when they go into the outdoors.

Pookie Number 2 said...

I can't help but assume that there's significant overlap between the women who don't think they owe their husbands monogamy and the women that think that complete strangers owe them money for raising their own children.

Jonathan Graehl said...

brutal+delicious, althouse. thx

Michael K said...

The only thing I think grandfathers should do is make sure that their grandchildren have the appropriate sporting equipment (fly rods and shotguns) to use when they go into the outdoors.

Yes, my grandson has my dog tags and has fired my AR 15 and Walther PPK, which is small and fits his 12 year old hands better than the Colt 45.

Terry said...

Althouse wrote:
Stahl purports to love this, but she doesn't mention that she is —though we know, and it's obvious — quite rich. It's easy for her and her friends — the "Don’t use our name, but we bought their house" people — to make up for the income insecurity of the younger generation. But what about more average aging boomers? Stahl blithely describes their financial well-being like this: "Grandparents get their monthly Social Security checks; many have paid off their mortgage; and large numbers remain on the job, earning money."

I think that most of the commenters on this post (but probably not Althouse) are missing something important: what about the grandchildren of people Stahl's age w/o Stahl's money? If a typical grandchild could really use help with the down payment on a house or paying for rent or college expenses, what if there is no wealthy grandparent (or parent) with money to help out?
There really aren't many American who have grandparents who can write a check for, say, $10,000. According to Motley Fool, the 50th percentile assets of people 65+ is $171k.
https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/01/26/the-average-americans-net-worth-by-age-heres-where.aspx
30% of seniors have assets of < $70k.
Having a wealthy grandparent pay for college or living expenses gives some people an undeserved (I won't say unfair) advantage over others, and it's a generational advantage. It contributes to the very inequality many wealthy boomers claim to deplore.
As of 2015, you had to have a family income of $112k/year to make it into the top quintile. Mean family income for the middle income is about $56k/year: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/statistics/household-income-quintiles
The median home price in the US was $221k in 2010. If you need 20% down, that's $44.2k. How may grandparents can afford to pay for a grandchild's down payment on a house?


Bob Loblaw said...

Having a wealthy grandparent pay for college or living expenses gives some people an undeserved (I won't say unfair) advantage over others, and it's a generational advantage. It contributes to the very inequality many wealthy boomers claim to deplore.

I don't see the problem. What's the point of making lots of money if you can't use it to help out your descendants?

The median home price in the US was $221k in 2010. If you need 20% down, that's $44.2k.

Who puts 20% down? If it's your first house you can get an FHA loan, which is 3.5% down for people with credit scores over 580. So... $7735. And that's assuming you're going to jump right in to the median instead of buying, you know, a starter house.

Valentine Smith said...

Yon [Stahl] has a lean and hungry look. [S]he thinks too much. Such [Wo]men are dangerous. Especially when contaminated with haute bourgeois sensibilities.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Yes, my grandson has my dog tags and has fired my AR 15 and Walther PPK, which is small and fits his 12 year old hands..."

Can't tell if your AR-15 has the stupid CA bullet button magazine release, but the magazine looks to be too large for that state. Or have you brought it back to standard after your move back to civilization (or at least out of CA)?

Bruce Hayden said...

Maybe it is a classist or a White Privilege thing, but I kinda expect this cross-generational wealth transfer. My grandmother helped my father buy his first commercial building, when I was maybe in junior high. That was the start of the family company that provides us all a nice retirement. He in turn helped several of us with downpayments on houses or for paying for graduate school (boys 1&3 got help with down payments, while 2&4 got help with additional college). Also paid for my kid's camp for a number of years, and helped me with their college. Plus, last year, when he died, gave them enough of a nest egg for a down payment on a house some day. which is good, because they told me a couple months ago that they wouldn't take the money for a down payment from me. Something about being independent. At least from their meddling and overprotective parents.

I have to put my partner on a budget when she is around her grandkids. Still at an age when the younger ones can be bought with toys, but the toys are getting fairly expensive, as they get older. At least none of them are asking for a car. Yet. Her grandkids also currently stand to inherit both (part of) the ranch and the house in MT. And, in a decade or so, when they come asking for help with down payments, I expect we will figure something out. It really seems to be easier to give to grandkids than to our own kids. Even though she may have been too lenient with her own kids (and I would be with mine, if they let me, which they don't any more).

A couple things about giving to grandkids. First, doing the generation skipping thing can, even now, have positive estate tax benefits. And, secondly, you don't have to live with the consequences of being too lenient and nice, as you do as a parent. Indeed, that grandmother, nearing 50 years ago, gave my next brother and me our first car - something my parents were not about to do, on general principles. They were willing to pay to send us to nice private colleges, but not for cars - we could, and did, ride the bus instead. I did the same with my kid. And, I have little doubt that when the time comes, I will try to help any grandkids I (personally) may have with undergraduate tuition and a down payment on a house. And

So yes, white, middle class, privilege.

Valentine Smith said...

I do believe every grandparent of whatever class will do what they can for family. This alone makes Stahl's implicit condescension amount to arrogant virtue signalling.

Rusty said...

khesanh0802 said...
"My two sons and their families make far more money than I ever made. The only thing I think grandfathers should do is make sure that their grandchildren have the appropriate sporting equipment (fly rods and shotguns) to use when they go into the outdoors."

Yep.

David in Cal said...

"Tote means
1.to carry, as on one's back or in one's arms:to tote a bundle.
2.to carry on one's person:to tote a gun.
3.to transport or convey, as on a vehicle or boat.

Lifting a bale may be difficult, but carrying a barge on one's back would be harder yet.

I wonder what Oscar Hammarstein intended the phrase to mean?

human terms said...

Don't feel any guilt -- bales or otherwise -- about reading between the lines of Stahl's self-serving whine. Her daughter took music lessons at the same music school as my sister and me. The daughter always seemed like a nice young girl. She usually showed up for recitals with her father and her nanny, who both seemed genuinely fond of her and encouraging of her efforts. Leslie Stahl, if she showed up, showed up late, spent the time sitting in the back going over paperwork, and then made an excruciating show of "kiss-kiss, darling" before hurrying away.

I'm shocked her daughter lets her near the grandchildren, but I was certainly not surprised to learn that Stahl hated taking her daughter to the park, or anywhere else.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Maybe it's my lower middle class white privilege, but the idea of my grandparents ever giving my anything other than the yearly $15 Christmas gift (which stopped when my cousins and I turned double digits) is hilarious. I didn't even get birthday presents from them. My parents never gave me anything either. I bought my own clothes, car, insurance, and gas from the time I turned 16. My parents occasionally (not consistently) send modest birthday and Christmas gifts for my kids. There will be no inheritance-they don't have much, and I won't squabble with my siblings over junk anyway.

I have mom friends who complain that they never get to buy their kids clothes or toys because their parents buy their kids so much. Another friend's child goes to a wildly expensive Episcopal day school in Dallas, the tuition for which is paid by Grandpa the retired surgeon. Must be nice :)

Bruce Hayden ~ your family is lucky to have resources like that, and I would not describe that as middle class; more like upper middle.

cronus titan said...

Lesley Stahl's comments are a perfect caricature of the clueless rich white woman who has no idea how she sounds and why they have lost complete touch with fellow Americans. Self-absorbed to a comical degree, i.e. "I had to concentrate on me while my kids were growing up, now that I have time for grandkids, let's talk about me and all the great things I do." Awesome. One could easily see Hillary make a comment like that, and have no idea why it rubs people the wrong way.

cronus titan said...

Althouse wrote:

"So don't just say fucking Boomers, they deserve it, ha ha. "

Allow me to retort. They do deserve it. Those millennials and Gen-Xers learned the art of self-absorption somewhere. If you want to hold them accountable for not rejecting Boomer values, that is fair. Stahl is a good reflection of Boomer. She was too goddamned important to focus on her kds, and now she is too goddamned important (and rich) not to show her kids how parenting is done. Perfect.