September 27, 2014

"Why Poor People Act That Way."

That's quite a headline. The piece is by Rod Dreher in The American Conservative.

MEANWHILE: Paul Krugman says his "point is that while chiding the rich for their vulgarity may not be as offensive as lecturing the poor on their moral failings, it’s just as futile. Human nature being what it is, it’s silly to expect humility from a highly privileged elite. So if you think our society needs more humility, you should support policies that would reduce the elite’s privileges."

123 comments:

Hagar said...

So, whose "elite" do we gore?

David said...

Finally, Krugman with some self awareness.

Bruce Hayden said...

Bad link and I don't read stuff by Enron advisor Krugman on general principles.

PB Reader said...

Reading Krugman is a waste of time. I don't.

Fritz said...

It's pretty silly to expect humility from Krugman.

rehajm said...

Economists are baffled why Krugman acts that way.

Fernandinande said...

So if you think our society needs more humility,

What a silly idea, even for Krugman.

Correct link:
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/poor-people-behavior/

Scott said...

Aerial shot of Paul Krugman's house in tony Princeton, New Jersey. It looks like a dump. Yeah, the world's rich should be limited to living in houses no better than his.

Ann Althouse said...

Link fixed. Thanks.

Fernandinande said...

Tracking the same households over time shows significant income mobility
"But the routine rise of millions of people out of the lowest quintile over time makes a mockery of the “barriers” assumed by many, if not most, of the intelligentsia."

Economic Mobility
Thomas Sowell


"Most people are not even surprised any more when they hear about someone who came here from Korea or Vietnam with very little money, and very little knowledge of English, who nevertheless persevered and rose in American society. Nor are we surprised when their children excel in school and go on to professional careers.
...
Those "social scientists," journalists and others who are committed to the theory that social barriers keep people down often cite statistics showing that the top income brackets receive a disproportionate and growing share of the country's income.

But the very opposite conclusion arises in studies that follow actual flesh-and-blood individuals over time, most of whom move up across the various income brackets with the passing years. Most working Americans who were initially in the bottom 20 percent of income-earners, rise out of that bottom 20 percent. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain in the bottom 20 percent.
...
"

Paco Wové said...

Wow, Krugman's yard is a dump. Almost expecting to see some cars up on cinderblocks out front.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

I am poor because I was programmed to believe it is better to be the exploited victim rather than the exploiter.

I was wrong, I know that, but exploiting is harder than it appears at first glance.

It is hard out here for a pimp.

Michael said...

Krugman fails to note the significance of the war that preceeded the Fortune article he admired for its passing reference to high taxes. That war would have been World War II, a conflagration that many , if not most, of the executives endured, probably as young officers. To live with some humility after that would have been natural as would the feeling that the world could, in fact, collapse. Missing also from Krugman's article was the fact that by 1955 the memory of many of these executuves of the great depression would not have faded. Finally, Krugman, shows no appreciation of the contribution of liberalism to the collapse of the culture, most especially in the relaxation of judgment of bad behavior, extravagance. The support of doing your own thing, tradition be fucked, is at the heart of that rancid liberalism.

The linked article at The American Conservative is worth reading and contemplating. As traditional values have been squashed so too have the dreams of the underclass.

Fernandinande said...

"Why Poor People Act That Way."
That's quite a headline.


Misleading clickbait headlines are most easily derived from anecdotes rather than data.

RecChief said...

or, support non governmental institutions that enforce humility.

But then, the left has spent the last 80 years tearing down those civic institutions. Now they see that they are needed, and they don't want to rebuild them, they just want a big government solution.

Trading one church for another.

Also, what Bruce Bruce Hayden, PB Reader, Fritz, and Rejahm said, upthread

rehajm said...

Best from the Vicki Madden essay..

I’ve paid a price in estrangement from my own people, but I was willing. Not every 18-year-old will make that same choice, especially when race is factored in as well as class.

AReasonableMan said...

George Romney was, by any reasonable standards, more successful than his son, he actually built something in his business career and he won three elections. He was rich but not extraordinarily so.

Why is Romney junior so much richer? What changed?

"George Romney also payed an income tax rate several times that of his son’s roughly 15%: He payed more than half of his income in taxes some years, and paid a total rate for the period over 50%."

Taxation rates changed and social mores have changed in parallel. We now live in a much less egalitarian society. Hard to argue that it is a better society.

Scott said...

North Korea is a shining example of how a society can effectively force humility.

Rusty said...


"Why is Romney junior so much richer? What changed?"

Compound interest.

Rusty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MayBee said...

I can't answer why poor people act the way they do, but I can certainly see some class markers that hurt them.
When I lived in the UK, I passed by their jobs agency almost every day. There were only a handful of times I went by and saw anyone who was even presentable, the rest were tremendously sketchy. I don't know what employer whould choose them *first*, above, say, a well presented Polish or African immigrant.
It wasn't a racial thing, I rarely saw a non-white person there.
They would stand outside and smoke and spit and curse and have skanky hair. I don't know if they knew how to be different than that, but without trying I don't see how their employment opportunities were going to change.

rehajm said...

"Why is Romney junior so much richer? What changed?"

Compound interest.


Carried interest.

rehajm said...

he actually built something in his business career

Bain Capital employs thousands of people today in well paying jobs. Very well paying jobs.

That's certainly not nothing.

MayBee said...

Taxation rates changed and social mores have changed in parallel. We now live in a much less egalitarian society. Hard to argue that it is a better society.

You really think so?
The Vanderbilts, the Kennedys, the Morgans, the Astors, the Fords, the Carnegies, the Roosevelts, the Dukes, the DuPonts...

ISTM America used to very much embrace the idea that some people just deserved to be very very rich and the rest of the people lived in tiny houses or apartment buildings with shared bathrooms and made enough money to get by. College was not even a thing. Certainly nobody from middle America was going to Harvard.

traditionalguy said...

Krugman's favorite political thinker once humbled the hell out of Chinese elites with The Great Leap Forward Cultural Revolution of denunciations and self criticism.

Krugman can take the cultural critics' high inquisitor job since he has practice at ridiculous accusation making.

We should denounce the Clintons first.

AReasonableMan said...

rehajm said...
Carried interest.


And the associated tax avoidance strategies.

AReasonableMan said...

MayBee said...
The Vanderbilts, the Kennedys, the Morgans, the Astors, the Fords, the Carnegies, the Roosevelts, the Dukes, the DuPonts...


Most of these names are from the last Gilded Era, where wealth inequality rose to similar levels to those we currently endure.

Paco Wové said...

Short answer:

no future orientation.

MayBee said...

ARM- when was the golden age of egalitarianism? And how much of our history do you think it covered?

In my lifetime, the lifestyle of the middle class has soared.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Springsteen should write some songs about this.

I hate Bruce Springsteen.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Humility is an interesting concept.

They would have us declare it a virtue, but it doesn't really get along with some of the other virtues, and that's a problem.

For example, if you are exceptional at something, there will be social situation where you are forced to choose between being modest, or honest (about your abilities).

So which should you be? falsely modest, or honestly proud?

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

Helping people learn how to have different priorities is why I support and believe in mentoring programs.

Paddy O said...

"you should support policies that would reduce the elite’s privileges."

Everyone now gets an article in the New York Times! No more regular columnists, equality of privilege for all! Thus humbled columnists will rejoice!

rehajm said...

Everyone now gets an article in the New York Times!

Tenure, too!

Anonymous said...

"Hey little girl, is your daddy home? Did he go and leave you all alone?... I got a bad desire."

Bruce Springsteen: pedophile.

Anonymous said...

The album cover of "Born in the U.S.A."

Bruce Springsteen: Ass Freak.

Paco Wové said...

"the golden age of egalitarianism"

Probably the 60's - 70's.

Whether we can re-create those conditions seems to be the subject of the debate.

buwaya puti said...

Funny, where I come from poor people tend not to act that way. They are however much poorer and work much harder.

AJ Lynch said...

Re Maybee's comment let me add some anecdotal evidence to support her view:

I know an office manager who is about 50 years old and is the only child of s single mother. She is married with one child herself, has a family income of I estimate $150K, drives a leased Mercedes, owns a single home with a mortgage, sends their child to private school but is generally stressed out about her work/home life.

Whenever she gets something new, I say to her "wouldn't your late mother [the single mother who died at age 55 and never owned a home or a car] be absolutely amazed at how well she and her family are doing?".

MayBee said...

Paco-

I'd agree those are the years. But such a short time in our history! And was life much better for the middle class then than it is now?

I'd say the main difference for the middle class was that then both partners didn't have to work to afford a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. But now, there is a lot of social (not just economic) pressure for both partners to work. At least among a lot of the people who are also concerned that today's society isn't egalitarian enough.

Anonymous said...

Every character in a Bruce Springsteen song is a thinly veiled reference to someone Bruce Springsteen has raped or murdered.

Rosalita: murdered or raped.

Candy: murdered or raped.

Mary: murdered or raped.

Bad Scooter and The Big Man: murdered or raped.

And the bastard gets to relive his crimes every time he sings the songs to an unsuspecting audience.

Evil.

buwaya puti said...

Actual real tax payments (in the US) as a pct of declared income in the age of high tax rates was about the same as today. High earners had many ways of sheltering income. Nominal rates are lower now but effective rates haven't moved much.
Asset values have indeed increased after reductions in tax rates, particularly in the 80s-90s. This is apparent in the stock market. Limiting capital gains taxes makes speculation in assets more remunerative. One can argue that high taxes suppressed asset values. But this does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the rich are getting richer. They owned as much real stuff in the past, they just priced it differently. Raise tax rates and asset values will crash.

Bruce Hayden said...

Probably the biggest difference between the middle class and lower class is delayed gratification. Why not start having sex at 14? What will delaying that another half a decade do? For women, it is probably one of the big determinations of whether they make it into the middle class and/or stay there. Sex is fun. So, why wait?

The most successful probably have to wait until their mid to late twenties to have families these days. That is a lot of delayed gratification.

Tank said...

Again: 85

AReasonableMan said...

MayBee said...
In my lifetime, the lifestyle of the middle class has soared.


Two incomes and large increases in productivity, albeit very unequally shared.

Michael K said...

"Actual real tax payments (in the US) as a pct of declared income in the age of high tax rates was about the same as today. High earners had many ways of sheltering income. Nominal rates are lower now but effective rates haven't moved much."

Don't try to explain this to ARM. It is against his religion. To say Mitt Romney's taxes are 15% of his income is to accept Harry Reid's lies as truth. That's what lefties do.

The worst fiscal policy is that of zero interest rates which led to the 1929 crash and is leading to the next one. It is one favored by the rich who live on speculation, like the Obama voters among the rich.

AJ Lynch said...

Arm - those analyses are not very meaningful when they don't break out the comparisons by age brackets i.e. compare 50-60 year olds today to 50-60 year olds from 40 years ago.

buwaya puti said...

BTW, labor - management conflicts are just that. There are few labor-owner conflicts among the speculative class as such matters are beneath their notice. Labor rates matter the most to small businesses and the people who actually run operations, middle management, who have to work within budgets.

The Crack Emcee said...

"If you think our society needs more humility, you should support policies that would reduce the elite’s privileges."

Ha! "Be Humble" white people!

I don't think you've got it in you.

But you'll say to anyone else,...

Bruce Hayden said...

Why did Mitt Romney make more money than his father? Likely because he created more actual wealth for others. Increased actual GDP more. And he was able to doit because he hired the best of the best at Bain. His father was mostly limited to blue collar workers with maybe HS educations in Detroit. The younger Romney was able to recruit from HBS, Warton, MIT, etc. American Motors was in fourth place in a market that really only had room for three US companies. And even that was problematic when the Japanese joined in and started shipping their cars here.

AJ Lynch said...

Dreher's piece is pretty good btw.

broomhandle said...

"In my lifetime, the lifestyle of the middle class has soared."

This. I see young people with relatively modest jobs and high school educations living full-bore middle/upper-middle class lifestyles, at least by the standards of my youth. Unlike the poor of similar race and class background, they work steadily, spend carefully, aren't tweakers, and don't get pregnant outside of marriage.
It isn't rocket science.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Krugman's yard is a dump.

The picture looks to have been taken during construction. It's all fixed up now. Worth $1.69m, says Zillow.

The main thing is that Krugman has quit even pretending that it's about anything but envy.

AReasonableMan said...

Americans Have No Idea How Bad Inequality Really Is.

Hard to argue this is a good thing. Our citizens should at least understand what kind of country they live in.

RecChief said...

"Our citizens should at least understand what kind of country they live in."

Perhaps some of our less traveled citizens should travel to other places, stay in a Pension or ZimmerFrei instead of the 4 and 5 star hotels, spend time in middle class areas ( to the extent they exist) and see how normal people live, not just the staff at the resort. I think they'd find how good they have it here, inequality or not, let alone in a third world country.

buwaya puti said...

Executive compensation as a proxy for inequality, as a matter of public policy, is pointless. "Executives" in real businesses (those that make things or provide services to the public) are hired help, no more and no less than the contract janitors that empty their trash baskets.
Your real inequality comes with the owners, or rather the financial speculators, that have the real money. These are also the players in the corporatist system where legislation bureaucracy and speculation form the iron triangle.
The Democrats own this iron triangle and its no coincidence that the extremely rich are overwhelmingly Democrats and support Democrats. The mass media is a useful tool of the triangle and they own it too. As they do the institutions of the cursus honorum that controls entry into the system.

Paco Wové said...

"Hard to argue this is a good thing"

But why is it a bad thing? Sure, it can be a symptom of bad things, and maybe it is. Maybe, for instance, it is a symptom of the bottom dropping out of the unskilled labor market (because of uncontrolled immigration) and of the loss of middle-class jobs (because of globalization and automation). But it seems to me that those are the real problems, and burning with envy at Mitt Romney misses the point.

Anonymous said...

ARM's Slate piece is based on a badly flawed study (PDF) which, among other things, tries to pass Sweden's income distribution off as its wealth distribution (see note 2). Some other problems with it are discussed here.

William said...

I don't come from the bottom of the pyramid so much as from the slit trench at the bottom of the pyramid. There was a pole you could use to climb out of it, but it was very slippery and hard to hold onto. And it wasn't grease that made the pole so slippery......I climbed no great heights, but I finished college and had a six figure income in my later working life. I can pass for middle class, but it's all an act. I try to mimic the moral grandeur of my middle class acquaintances, but I sometimes think they're as fraudulent as I am.......Anyway, when I was a scholarship kid I envied more the kids with great athletic ability rather than those with rich parents. The gifts of God are unevenly distributed, and wealth is not the greatest gift.

AReasonableMan said...

Bruce Hayden said...
he was able to doit because he hired the best of the best at Bain. His father was mostly limited to blue collar workers with maybe HS educations in Detroit.


The car industry was the equivalent of silicon valley at that time. It attracted the best engineers and was a prestige industry. You also seem to disdain the HS educated workers, but these workers were the envy of the planet as was US manufacturing. Not going to college did not mean that you were stupid or unskilled.

Romney junior worked with a bunch of financial analysts who have never made a thing in their lives. Probably not one of them can change the battery in his/her own car.

richard mcenroe said...

Yes, we need to reduce the elites' privileges. We need to stamp down to those who feel they are entitled to a lifestyle because of their ancestral history or simply existing... hey, wait a minute...

John Lynch said...

Poverty is social. I've worked jobs where my co-workers were poor and I was not. I made the same wage but my life was totally different.

The big differences were marriage and drugs.

When I worked at a pizza restaurant I was the only married person in the store. My wife has a job as a grocery store cashier, so it's not like she was paying all the bills. Just being being married gives a huge financial boost. I had options when something went wrong. I could drive her car when mine broke, and visca versa. If one of us had an unexpected expense we could cover it. We had a nice place to live. I was living in a different world simply because I made a good decision about who to marry.

The other advantage I had was not taking drugs. Drugs limit what you can do. Your whole life is different- what jobs you can work, where you can live, who you can marry (if at all), and how much money you can keep after your habit. Working with drug addicts is frustrating. They don't understand that their problems are self-inflicted, or they don't care. The role of drugs in poverty is very large. I don't see nearly enough attention given to it.

Poverty will always exist because too many people behave in ways that make them poor. I think it comes down to self-discipline. That's why drug use is so common, too.

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...
"Americans Have No Idea How Bad Inequality Really Is.

Hard to argue this is a good thing. Our citizens should at least understand what kind of country they live in."

Exactly. When people like Obama and Clinton are in charge all of the government policies seem to aid the 0.00001%. Clinton repealed Glaas-steagel. The fed bank and the SEC are revolving doors for democrat cronies who "work " at Goldman sachs. They raise taxes on the "rich" top income tax rate who are the entrepreneur class. They dump regulations written by general Electric chase bank Goldman government motors on the small business class.

None of the wealthy actually pay the higher taxes. They are meant to keep the 1% from getting in the 0.000001% way. Couple that with forcing poor people into shitty public schools that are stratified by income and heavily segregated.

Progressives want a permanent underclass.

AReasonableMan said...

Paul Zrimsek said...
ARM's Slate piece is based on a badly flawed study (PDF) which, among other things, tries to pass Sweden's income distribution off as its wealth distribution (see note 2). Some other problems with it are discussed here.


The second link seems a bit nutty and certainly doesn't undermine the main points of the Slate article, which are generally accepted.

AReasonableMan said...

Achilles said...
Progressives want a permanent underclass.


If we are going to go with conspiracy theories, the period from the Great Depression through to the 70's was very good for Democrats, why wouldn't they prefer that situation.

Sam Hall said...

AReasonableMan said...
"Taxation rates changed and social mores have changed in parallel. We now live in a much less egalitarian society. Hard to argue that it is a better society."

Hard to argue that it is a worse one. A lower tax rate encourages wealth building and the middle class becoming rich.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." - Winston Churchill

Tari said...

When did the discredited Ms. Tirado get rehabilitated? Last time I paid attention to her badly-written tripe, I thought it was all fake:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/2013/11/that_viral_poverty_thoughts_es.php

Paco Wové said...

Tari:

I thought it all sounded familiar.
I didn't realize it was a pack of lies, though.

AReasonableMan said...

Sam Hall said...
Hard to argue that it is a worse one.


Not really. A concentration of wealth leads to a concentration of political power. Not the result one might hope for in the world's greatest democracy.

Paco Wové said...

"When did the discredited Ms. Tirado get rehabilitated?"

Tirado seems to have created a job niche for herself, that of 'celebrity poor person'.

After her previous iteration of the scam got outed, she apparently laid low for a while, then peddled the same story to The Guardian. This sort of stuff is like mother's milk to them, so it's doubtful they did any checking of it (they'd probably run it even if they knew it was fake).

Michael K said...

"Romney junior worked with a bunch of financial analysts who have never made a thing in their lives. Probably not one of them can change the battery in his/her own car."

We currently live in a country that has regulated the auto industry out of existence. American Motors was never one of the big companies. By the time Romney cake along, the auto industry was in decline.

One reason for the marked upward mobility of Asian immigrants is their family structure that does not exist among black Americans who have been here for centuries and speak the language (well, sort of), which the immigrants have to learn.

Culture is a huge indicator of prosperity and it is ignored because it is not polite to talk about such things. Muslims also have a culture that does not lead to prosperity although individuals are quite intelligent and many have done well in school, like Mohammed Atta.

One reason why Mormons like Romney do well is their culture of saving, family and sobriety. Asians have similar cultural indicators.

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...
"Achilles said...
Progressives want a permanent underclass.

If we are going to go with conspiracy theories, the period from the Great Depression through to the 70's was very good for Democrats, why wouldn't they prefer that situation."

Whether it is a conspiracy theory or not is irrelevant. The fact that progressive policies are designed to create a permanent underclass is demonstrably true both in intent and result. What happens when you print trillions of dollars off and buy bonds from banks at face value? You give big banks a ton of money, hand out deficit spending largess to politically connected cronies, and the price of gas and food go up. All are predictable and all came true over the last 6 years.

Obama knew what would happen. He did it anyway. The result was Goldman sachs has a lot of money, the deficit is more than double, and the price of gas and food has doubled. His policies are all predictably helping the super rich and hurting the poor.

broomhandle said...

"If we are going to go with conspiracy theories, the period from the Great Depression through to the 70's was very good for Democrats, why wouldn't they prefer that situation."

Because the Democrat Party of today bears little or no resemblance to the Democrat Party of that period. Althouse provides almost daily examples of how bat-shit crazy, corrupt, and authoritarian modern Liberals have become.

When you can no longer appeal to patriotism, morality, the opportunity to exercise the worth ethic, can no longer tout your competence or integrity, bribing the ignorant and debased is pretty much all you have left. Fortunately for the Democrats, the ignorant and debased are now a near majority of voters.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

When you tax something, you usually get less of it.

That would include people willing to work hard to produce wealth.

Mr. Krugman perhaps went to a different economics school.

cubanbob said...

AReasonableMan said...

Sam Hall said...
Hard to argue that it is a worse one.

Not really. A concentration of wealth leads to a concentration of political power. Not the result one might hope for in the world's greatest democracy.

9/27/14, 12:53 PM

So who is worse? He who offers the bribe or he who takes the bribe?

rehajm said...

Americans Have No Idea How Bad Inequality Really Is

I'm struck at how equal 99.99% of us really are.

Achilles said...

What happens when you create a public school system that is mandatory that has to beg local voters for higher property tax revenues? Rich area schools get more money, lower socioeconomic areas get less money, and the very wealthy send their kids to private schools.

Progressives designed and implemented our public school system. They consistently fight against giving people a choice where their tax money is spent on schools. Thus only the wealthy can escape the shitty schools they dominate and you end up with a segregated system that makes sure your income level determines the quality of educational opportunity you get.

It isn't a conspiracy. People are usually trying to hide those things. They are doing this all out in the open.

rehajm said...

Except when it comes to paying taxes, where the wealthy do all the heavy lifting

Alex said...

Look I am as envious of the rich as the next middle-class guy. But I can't bring myself to hate the rich like I hate Krug-fuck the Commie. At least the rich grant me my middle class existence. Under Krug-fuck the Commie, we'd all be in gulags in a new Soviet Union. All blissfully in poverty, assuming we'd be allowed to live and not mass-starved/killed.

Alex said...

MayBee - the fact that people have HDTV and iPhone doesn't change the other fact that health care has become un-affordable except for the top 5%. That is not egalitarian.

Fernandinande said...

rehajm said...
quoting: Americans Have No Idea How Bad Inequality Really Is


How bad is it, Johnny?

I'm struck at how equal 99.99% of us really are.

An egalitarian society is very easily obtained: live in the forest and eat monkeys and bugs.

If you want to see some very unhumble egalitarians, watch Chagnon's Yanomamo video of women screaming insults at their visiting neighbors....followed by the guys whacking each other with sticks.

Alex said...

Maybe we should go back to Paleolithic days when humans numbered < 10 million. Life was nasty, brutish and short. But very egalitarian.

Unknown said...

Krugman is a conflict theory sociologist crossdressing as a serious economist.

n.n said...

Arrogance is correlated with but not dependent on economic or social station. Perhaps people who mischaracterize this relationship lack humility, or have extrapolated from circumstantial knowledge to reach an incorrect general conclusion.

n.n said...

Alex:

And expanding "insurance" coverage will not address causes of progressive inflation but will serve to mask them as people are temporarily comforted and lose interest. At least until the bubble bursts or the short-term consequences of shifting responsibility become visible and unavoidable.

Seeing Red said...

Health care or health insurance?

My, my Kruggies humble abode.

Seeing Red said...

Income or increased benefits, AR?

More poor because of the rise in single mothers.

Seeing Red said...

I had this argument 20! Years ago. She cared so much about the poor she had tears in her eyes.

She said to me I hope you're never poor. My response was here or in Bangladesh?

Achilles said...

Let's look at obamacare. This gem forces employers with over 50 employees to pay for insurance for their workers. So logically you would expect over 90% of new jobs to be under 30 hours. Shazam it has happened. Almost as if democrats wanted poor people forced into multiple part time jobs.

It also forces insurers to take on people with pre - existing conditions at no additional cost. You would logically expect adverse selection, only sick people signing up, premiums to skyrocket, and insurance companies to be paid off with subsidies. Shazam we got adverse selection, higher premiums, people who wait until they are sick to get insurance because it is too expensive to carry all of the time, and risk corridors for wealthy people who gave Obama lots of campaign contributions and now get big subsidies. Poor people get a shitty health care system. Rich people get their mayo clinics back without the riff raff clogging it up because obamacare only puts the lower tier hospitals in the insurance plans because costs. Insurance companies that are already wealthy get lots of sugar from uncle Sam.

Predictable. Expected. Executed. Progressives designed a system that obviously made the poor poorer and rich richer. No wonder Obama gets more campaign money from wealthy people than any president ever.

cubanbob said...

Achilles said...

Well said indeed. Anecdotally I reduced my staff to under fifty and outsourced the others to stay under the ObamaCare radar.

Take away those who are mentally handicapped, physically handicapped or to ill to work and I would like to know why I should be compelled to subsidize screwups long term? I pay taxes for services, what services do long term welfare deadbeats provide me? Maybe they should be required to cut taxpayers lawns, do the laundry to earn their keep.

AReasonableMan said...

rehajm said...
Except when it comes to paying taxes, where the wealthy do all the heavy lifting


Because they have a historically disproportionate share of the wealth, making the system unbalanced and vulnerable to their whims and fortunes.

Anonymous said...

"Americans Have No Idea How Bad Inequality Really Is.

Hard to argue this is a good thing. Our citizens should at least understand what kind of country they live in."

I disagree. I think it's a fantastic thing.

Equality is meaningless. We could, tomorrow, all be equally poor. How is that a good thing? We could all be living in dirt huts, eating bugs, and living without clothing and shelter. But it's hard to argue how that's a good thing.

In America, inequality means the rich have 200 foot yachts and the poor have 30 foot sailboats. The rich have an iphone and the poor have a a two your old samsung model. The rich have 100" television sets and the poor suffer with 27" walmart televisions. The rich have 10,000 square foot homes and the poor have 800 square foot homes. The rich eat steak, the poor eat McDonalds.

Go to Guatemala and see the difference there between rich and poor. The poor are literally dying from the conditions they live under. Their huts are built with four walls and a ceiling. The floor is dirt. They have no electricity. No running water. No sewage. All of the amenities we here in the United States have come to expect.

Sometimes, I think people in the United States are so spoiled, they need a good solid spanking.

buwaya puti said...

The Democrats no longer like the US working class. Its very different from the 1950s-70s.
The industries that common people work in are actively despised and oppressed, with the intention of eliminating them.
Democrats are now the party of the .01% to a degree that the old Republicans never were. I deal with old style industrial companies in California, such as remain. The old blue collar workforce now sees eye to eye with the "country club" local management and small businessmen. Both see the Democrats as the oppressive party of the paper pushers at corporate HQ and the regulators, politicians, financiers and grifters. The hate is increasing.

AReasonableMan said...

eric said...
In America, inequality means the rich have 200 foot yachts and the poor have 30 foot sailboats.


I own a boat. There are no poor people with 30 foot sailboats anywhere I have ever been. Do you know what a set of sails costs?



MayBee said...

MayBee - the fact that people have HDTV and iPhone doesn't change the other fact that health care has become un-affordable except for the top 5%. That is not egalitarian.

There is some truth to that, although the healtcare available in the egalitarian golden age of the 1960's-70's was nothing compared to what's available today.

Anonymous said...

"I own a boat. There are no poor people with 30 foot sailboats anywhere I have ever been. Do you know what a set of sails costs?"

They are all over out here in Seattle area. They live on their boats, and the sail boats are cheaper than the motor boats. They are cramped, but they can be lived on. And maybe they aren't 30 feet, maybe they are 28, or 32.

But we have lot's of poor people living on their sail boats up here.

Anonymous said...

I should clarify. These aren't poor people. These are people in America that are considered poor.

However, as far as the world is concerned, they are in the top 10% of the population wealth wise. They have all sorts of nice things that real poor people don't have.

AReasonableMan said...

eric said...
But we have lot's of poor people living on their sail boats up here.


Because they are locked out of the housing market and living on an old boat is cheaper than renting. Their boat almost certainly never moves.

Anonymous said...

"Because they are locked out of the housing market and living on an old boat is cheaper than renting. Their boat almost certainly never moves."

The reason is unimportant. The fact remains they wouldn't be able to afford the boat if the rich weren't buying the bigger boats. If the rich were buying the smaller boats, they'd be way more expensive.

This is how an economy works.

Just as an example. My cousin and her family live in Africa. Her husband is an engineer who gave up his lucrative job in Colorado to do missionary work in Africa. They live out in the middle of no where. There are about 200 people, mostly children, who live in their town. My family adopted one of the kids, we send money to care for him. They told us we need to send money now, or gifts now, if we want them to get there by Christmas. One of the things the 9 year old asked for is a bike for Christmas. He walks 3 miles each day to get to the school and a bike would make that journey much easier. No one has bikes except those with wealth. A bike is a luxury. All four of my children have very nice bikes. They were purchased at Walmart for $70.00. To buy this 9 year old African boy a bike will cost us $100.00. And the bike is a junker. It's not a new bike, it's an old, used bike. But, it's a luxury item. There is no walmart to go and buy a bike from. This is what real poverty is like.

Another example. I work for US Customs. Part of our job is exports. There is huge business in exporting old vehicles to Africa in the United States. Why? That doesn't seem to make any sense. And yet, a 2005 Saturn Ion with 140,000 miles on it, worth about $2k here in the States can go for as much at $7,500 in Africa. They more than triple their money. They load up a container with older, used cars, and each car triples their money.

Why? Because cars are a luxury in Africa.

I just went out the other day and bought a new (used) Chevy Cruze, 2013. I was able to shop around for it at 5 different dealerships in my immediate area. The lowest I found for it was around $16,500 out the door. Until the last place which had it at $14,900 out the door.

Why was I able to shop around for it? Because Americans are rich. This allows for their to be competition. Which in turns allows for 5 dealerships to be set up within 50 miles of me where I can shop around.

Am I rich? Not at all. A chevy cruze is a lower end vehicle.

And yet, I'm pretty sure where the rest of the world is concerned, I'm in the top 5% of the wealthy of this world, you probably are too. Income equality is asking to live in Africa, or Guatemala, or Mexico. Why? Because you're trusting such things to politicians, rather than to free markets. Politicians aren't the angels who will save us. They'll just turn us into Africa.

Seeing Red said...

Socialism kills free markets feed. If the 20th century wasn't enough if an example, Cuba, Venezuela and other Latin American countries can be an example.

The US surpassed our European betters' living standards around 1900.

AReasonableMan said...

eric said...
The reason is unimportant. The fact remains they wouldn't be able to afford the boat if the rich weren't buying the bigger boats. If the rich were buying the smaller boats, they'd be way more expensive.


No it is because GRP boats never die, they last indefinitely. As a consequence, the second-hand boat market is saturated with old boats that no one who actually sails wants to buy. They make adequate dock queens or live-aboards. They can be remarkably cheap.



AReasonableMan said...

I honestly do not understand how Africa is getting dragged into this discussion. We are talking about what was once the richest nation on earth with the best paid workers. We should be talking about Germany not Africa.

Seeing Red said...

Or they prefer to stay in Seattle instead of moving to a place with a lower cost of living.

We are not entitled to live where we want how we want as long as someone else foots the bill.

They may stay because they want to live near water or on water. Others prefer mountains. Others prefer warmer weather.

No one forces them to stay.

My parents met a young homeless couple living under a bridge. They chose that because they wanted to work at a job they wanted at the salary they wanted.

Their choice. I would have made a different choice.

Seeing Red said...

I read an interesting post on Obamacare and the risk corridors at Vodkapundit. Wait until the plans get dropped from that!

Anonymous said...

"I honestly do not understand how Africa is getting dragged into this discussion. We are talking about what was once the richest nation on earth with the best paid workers. We should be talking about Germany not Africa."

I agree. And one of the things that makes Germany so great is that it has the largest income inequality in the Eurozone.

MayBee said...

The car industry was the equivalent of silicon valley at that time. It attracted the best engineers and was a prestige industry. You also seem to disdain the HS educated workers, but these workers were the envy of the planet as was US manufacturing. Not going to college did not mean that you were stupid or unskilled.

But the cars were so crappy!

MayBee said...

Interesting link, Tari. The Guardian article kind of glosses over the whole background checking thing. There is a link there that does mention although money was raised for her to fix her teeth, she got new tatoos instead.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

[T]he fact that people have HDTV and iPhone doesn't change the other fact that health care has become un-affordable except for the top 5%. That is not egalitarian.

Alternate universe? Health care isn't merely affordable for everyone in the US; it's mandatory that everyone buy it. Everyone. Not the "top 5%." If you haven't gotten your officially-approved PPACA package yet, you're violating the law.

Maybe, though, you do belong to the top 5%, in which case, my apologies.

I'm still a mite astounded to learn that ca. 290 million people in this country are utterly unable to afford health insurance. But, hey, you learn something new every day, yes?

AReasonableMan said...

eric said...
I agree. And one of the things that makes Germany so great is that it has the largest income inequality in the Eurozone.


And it is still much much less than in the US.

Anonymous said...

"And it is still much much less than in the US."

Let's hope the trend continues.

As Greece, Spain, and Portugal become more equal, they also rely more on the unequal Germany to bail them out.

Some more income inequality is what Greece, Spain and Portugal need to survive.

AReasonableMan said...

Greece, Spain and Portugal all have higher income inequality than Germany. It is characteristic of banana republic economies.



CWJ said...

Yeah. Countries with higher income tax rates have lesser income inequality. Gee. Maybe just maybe that might have something to do with those near the top receiving compensation in ways that can avoid being characterized as "income." Nah! That couldn't possibly be it.

buwaya puti said...

Germany is probably the least corrupt large country in Europe, and the one where the political class is not terminally estranged from the actual producers of wealth. Even its bureaucrats are not antagonistic vs business, regardless of the strictness of its laws. It does stupid things but even then the bureaucrats find a way to cooperate with business to avert disaster, as with the electricity crisis.
The US is not so lucky. The owners of the country actively hate its people, especially those that keep it running. Its like a man despising his feet and seeking to cut them off. Its bureaucracy is a pack of mad dogs, raving away without regard to external reality. The courts are rigged. The news media no longer pretend to make money selling what people want to see; they exist as political tools and assets for the use of the plutocracy (NYT owned by Carlos Slim why? Because its an asset in political-regulatory games where the real money is).

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...
eric said...
"I agree. And one of the things that makes Germany so great is that it has the largest income inequality in the Eurozone.

And it is still much much less than in the US."

Income inequality is lower in Venezuela than the US. Cuba, Mexico, Russia all have less income inequality too. Who cares.

The point is nobody but you is trying to push policy that further concentrates wealth to the 0.00001%. Income taxes hurt the 10%. Heavy regulations affect small business and allow big business to operate free of competition. School choice allows poor people to escape the shitty public schools you try to force them into. Higher food and gas prices hit poor people harder than the rich and Obama has put in many policies that predictably raise those.

Progressives want rich and poor. Their policies are meant to create a permanent underclass.

Anonymous said...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2014/05/06/us-inequality-is-not-at-all-like-you-think-it-is/

I wonder why the numbers are put together differently in different countries?

I bet there are a lot of people in our government who make it a point to be sure America has high income inequality numbers.

People who believe these numbers have never worked for the government and been responsible for statistics. Nor are they aware of the term WAG.

AReasonableMan said...

eric said...
People who believe these numbers have never worked for the government and been responsible for statistics.


No one seriously argues that income and wealth inequality have not dramatically increased in the US since the 70's. No one.

AReasonableMan said...

Achilles said...
Income inequality is lower in Venezuela than the US. Cuba, Mexico, Russia all have less income inequality too.


No. Russia, like the US, has an economy dominated by oligarchs and has a very high income inequality.

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
rehajm said...
Carried interest.

And the associated tax avoidance strategies.


Your point being?

Rusty said...

AReasonableMan said...
MayBee said...
In my lifetime, the lifestyle of the middle class has soared.

Two incomes and large increases in productivity, albeit very unequally shared.


Again. What's your point?

Rusty said...

Shorter ARM.

The wealthy must be punished good and hard.

Guess what happens then.

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

ARM,

"I honestly do not understand"

We know.


:-)

We're talking about Africa and Guatamala instead of Germany because Germany doesn't have world-class poor any more than we do.