Thursday, April 27, 2006
American Dynasty. Land of Opportunity Turns Sterile.
And I'm not sure of the connection between Reagan and workers becoming expendable. Dan's "superiors decided that the quality of his work exceeded the standards of the job." That has what do do with the President??? Sounds to me like it was Dan's superiors...
And I'm not sure how upward mobility is declining when the middle class is shrinking to the UPSIDE... Yeah, yeah, yeah, incomes are falling for the middle class blah blah blah. Don't gimme that poop. Read your washington compost and weep. (I do.) But go ahead and post to your negative heart's content.
The sad thing is that Right Wing Heckler thinks that he's on the winning side, that folks like Bush and Rove and Cheney and Limbaugh are his buddies. But the fact is that to them, he's just another useful idiot.
To recap what Right Wing Heckler's hoping you don't see:
1. The US has become one of the most rigid class societies in the world, more rigid than "France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States."
2. Very few people make it. First, understand that the top 5% is mostly lawyers, doctors, and small businessmen. "Children from low-income families have only a 1 percent chance of reaching the top 5 percent of the income distribution, versus children of the rich who have about a 22 percent chance." The middle class did marginally better, with kids having a 1.8% chance of making it to the top 5%.
3. Incomes are very insecure. "The share [of families] that saw their incomes decline by $20,000 or more (in real terms) rose from 13.0 percent in 1990-91 to 14.8 percent in 1997-98 to 16.6 percent in 2003-04.... The middle class is experiencing more insecurity of income, while the top decile is experiencing less."
The key graph is the middle one at the bottom of the page titled "Shrinking Shares." Notice that it shows that 20% of the people now get half the national income, up from 44% in 1967. A 6% shift might not sound like a lot, but it's very roughly $700 billion dollars. That means that if it were distributed to the remaining 240 million people, every man, woman and child would get a $3,000 raise.
The top graph is one of those that purports to show that everyone is above average. What it really shows is the weakness of the various methods for accounting for inflation. A lot has changed between 1967 and today. Probably the biggest issues are health care and college. This was, on average, a younger nation in 1967: health care was less of a necessity. And college was more or less optional if one wanted a good job.
Education is, of course, wasted if people will not remove their ideological blinders. But anyone too cowardly to sign their posts is probably immune to learning anything no matter how much time and money is squandered on them. The one thing that money can't buy is a sense that life is not a computer game. A person is accountable for what they do, and there are no do-overs.
it appers the link is relevant as it shows a shrinking middle class, a surging upper class and a shrinking lower class. this trend, of course, is over 40 years, so it'd be tough to argue political party responsibility in any direction. it also doesn't make sense to credit presidents or congress on way or the other because the arguments here show declines (that you're talking about) from the years of bush one, clinton, bush two and control switches of congress.
the statistics did not originate at the wash post, so saying "The Washington Post is famous for producing economic statistics that make no sense" doesn't make sense. in any case, i read a lot of complaints and doomsaying from you, but i read no solutions to what you clearly claim to be problems. and the statement that "very few people make it" is just stupid. make it to what? the top 5%? well, you're right about that; only 5% make it.
The statistics were shuffled around by the WP. And you so far haven't been able to disprove Charles' comments as to their validity.
And as for this comment:
in any case, i read a lot of complaints and doomsaying from you, but i read no solutions to what you clearly claim to be problems
Oh, he has a number of solutions. You just don't like them because they involve making the hyper-rich (with whom you identify even though they would likely not identify with you) somewhat less rich than they are today.
and as far as charles goes, i'll keep an eye out for specific solutions to real problems. (that's two (2) things he'll have to find.)
but telling folks how bad life is in america insults the 5.8 billion people in the world who do not enjoy the standard of living that we do. it also insults the 6 billion dead people who never even had a chance to have air conditioning or a toaster. (wanna guess what percent of the world has electricity?)
and as for the validity of charles' comments, his arithmetic is fine. he can multiply and divide with the best of them. but he says things like "Then Reagan came along, and Americans became expendable." that says nothing. how can you refute an empty rant like that? locate the sense and get back to me. "Very few people make it"? what does that mean? how about this one "BUT-- in post-Reagan America, he could be paid less." what?! and saying how few people will make it to the top 5% means even less than nothing. i'll give you the names of 5.8 billion people that would be happy with america's top 98%. and who cares if the top 5% are "hyper-rich"? it's not their job to hand out money to those who you'd like to see have more of it. and as stated, there is no clear political party at "fault" here as shown by the data; some of which goes back to eisenhower (good gracious are we talking about eisenhower?). so stop arbitrarily blaming republicans every time the world doesn't spin exactly how you want it to. if you can't find egregious faults on both sides of the aisle then i'm afraid you've gone looney tuney.
sorry, but charels rarely says anything of substance with which to argue. but he's entertaining, i will give him that.
The charts do not show life improving for the typical American. I'll explain a little bit more below, but I do understand that you're not here for honest debate and so there's no incentive for me to educate you.
The Post is kind of a joke among people who understand economics. Last we checked in on them, they were claiming that Mexico's GDP was rising 17% annually... because they neglected to correct for inflation. The real figure was ca. 3%. Since their population is rising faster, they're actually getting poorer.
Now, I am sure The Post got their figures from Census as they said, and Census is very reliable. But correcting for inflation-- and thereby producing new economic statistics-- is one of those things that's not so easy. CPI? Which series? PPI? GDP deflator? If you don't understand what those are, you're not minimally equipped to understand the issue. You're one more chump for the people who run things to jack around.
But we knew that.
Let me give you a simple example tp illustrate how very little you understand. Suppose we have a group of 10 people, some of whom are children and earn nothing, some of whom are adults and earn $100,000 per year, and some of whom are retired and earn $20,000 per year. In year 1, there is one adult, one elderly person, and eight children. What is the median income?
Why, it's zero.
But even with a median income of zero, this nation earned $12,000/capita.
Now suppose there are four kids, three adults, and three old people. The median income is $20,000 and the per capita income is $36,000.
Now suppose that 7 of the kids become adults, while the adult becomes old, and the old person becomes even older. The median income is $100,000 and the per capita income is $74,000.
Here's the question: have wages increased?
This is part of the game that The Post has played in constructing that chart. Wages tend to rise over a lifetime, then fall in retirement. So, in making these comparisons, it's important to know what the median age is. It's greater today than it was in 1967, reflecting the fact that there are fewer people in entry level jobs and more at peak earnings.
But there's more. The figures are family income. More wives are working. As hourly wages have fallen-- there's a nice graph of that on an earlier post-- more wives have been forced into the workplace to keep family incomes constant.
And there's more. Compare a family in which there are two wage earners. They may both need cars. They may be paying for child care. As all too many two-income families discover, it costs money to work. And so even though gross wages may rise, the net may not. It may even fall.
Now, in serious economic circles, these things are understood and they're not thrown around to make cheap political points. One can always grab one statistic and use it out of context, as The Post has done.
One has to look at the whole array of facts and figures. More important, one has to have the sincerity, integrity, and intelligence to understand what they mean.
Since your posts make it plain you lack those qualities, please forgive me if I don't waste too much time in refuting them.
As for solutions, it's pretty simple: increase the bargaining power of working people by (a) prosecuting management for hiring illegal aliens and for using illegal tactics against unions, (b) breaking the monopoly power of the media so that corporate behemoths like The Post can't get away with publishing baloney like the Mexican growth rates, (c) funding political campaigns with public money, so that working people get heard, and (d) prosecuting corporate crime with the same vigor as street crime.
If our government represented the will of the American people, deficits would cease. The wealthy and corporations would pay more taxes. There would be better roads and schools-- all things from which the country and its economy would benefit. But it all begins from the Golden Rule.
But, hey. You're a mind reader who imagines he understands everything I think. So you knew that already. Right?
It IS worth the time and effort to explain all of this, because to my way of thinking, our real audience isn't people like "jack"; it's the people who are sitting on the sidelines who are now aware that something is wrong, but don't know how to prove it.
Your comments help, brilliantly, to show that their suspicions are correct.
So while "jack" isn't even attempting to argue in good faith, he's useful to us in that a) he shows to fence-sitters the intellectual poverty of the American conservative class, and b) his arguments are easily turned against him, as you have done repeatedly and factually.
“but I do understand that you're not here for honest debate”
you keep saying that to people, yet you respond to nothing that illustrates your stupidity. nothing in jack’s post was answered. all you did was say that the post is a poor newspaper. gee, thank you, captain duh.
you continue to run around whining about how bad it is in the u.s. and your solution is to take more from corporations and rich people. (still, no one has answered as to who’s “rich”.) But let's debunk you (super challenge).
”Let me give you a simple example tp illustrate how very little you understand. Suppose we have a group of 10 people, some of whom are children and earn nothing, some of whom are adults and earn $100,000 per year, and some of whom are retired and earn $20,000 per year. In year 1, there is one adult, one elderly person, and eight children. What is the median income?
Why, it's zero.”
Moron. The median of your population is zero. But median incomes as we use them apply to the median income of households. You economic guru you.
”But even with a median income of zero, this nation earned $12,000/capita.”
somebody did say you could divide.
”But there's more. The figures are family income.”
Like I said.
"Now suppose there are four kids, three adults, and three old people. The median income is $20,000 and the per capita income is $36,000.
Now suppose that 7 of the kids become adults, while the adult becomes old, and the old person becomes even older. The median income is $100,000 and the per capita income is $74,000."
You went from 10 to 9 people. Forget what I said about your 4th grade math skills.
“More wives are working. As hourly wages have fallen-- there's a nice graph of that on an earlier post-- more wives have been forced into the workplace to keep family incomes constant.”
Wages have been falling because women have entered the workforce. And people are getting plenty wealthier even as wages fall in the face of inflation and rising milk prices, a fact you have repeatedly ignored in everyone of your poop laced posts about how gloomy life in the u.s. is. Duh. Or did you miss that in your econ 1.01 class? Forced into the workforce? Maybe they just wanted to go to work. Maybe they wanted money. Maybe they got tired of vacuuming. Or maybe they were forced. (Forced by what though? Giant metal eating fire ants?)
”And there's more. Compare a family in which there are two wage earners. They may both need cars.”
Stop right there! Admit how lovely it is to live in a place where you need a car. i need a drink.
“They may be paying for child care. As all too many two-income families discover, it costs money to work. And so even though gross wages may rise, the net may not. It may even fall.”
Moron. So people keep working even though they’re losing money? It’s a good thing you’re around to save them from doing that!
”Now, in serious economic circles,”
Serious economic circles are being run around you…
”As for solutions, it's pretty simple: increase the bargaining power of working people by (a) prosecuting management for hiring illegal aliens and for using illegal tactics against unions,”
Um, superman, why is it workers have been steadily abandoning unions? Lemme guess, too much bargaining power for management.
“(b) breaking the monopoly power of the media so that corporate behemoths like The Post can't get away with publishing baloney like the Mexican growth rates,”
There is no monopoly power in media. This is not fair. How come you’re allowed to say such stupid things? How come you’re allowed to publish baloney? (oh, it’s private property, I forgot.) (So is the Washington Post’s paper. so by your logic they can publish whatever they want...)
“(c) funding political campaigns with public money, so that working people get heard, and (d) prosecuting corporate crime with the same vigor as street crime.”
My world just ended. I might actually agree with you. Now if only you'd agree that doctors and lawyers are to bo included in your "working people" definition.
”The wealthy and corporations would pay more taxes.”
Take take take. All you want to do is take other people’s money.
“But it all begins from the Golden Rule.”
Oh yeah. Well, I think you’re rich. Fork it over.
Our mission here is complete, WRT to him.
You are one of those people.
Can't "Jack" defend himself? Or should we just assume that "Jack" is "Mike"?
You are presently disputing the field of mathematics. I don't doubt that your next debate will be with gravity and that you will "win" that all the way to the hospital.
I do love your argumentative reading of the statement that, "In year 1, there is one adult, one elderly person, and eight children....Now suppose that 7 of the kids become adults, while the adult becomes old, and the old person becomes even older." to try to claim that I can't add.
You have just claimed that 8+1+1-7+7-1+1 = 9.
I'm sure that in your universe it is.
You know, I asked Dean Baker about the Washington Post chart discussed on this thread. Dean Baker is "an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He was author of the Economic Reporting Review, a commentary on economic reporting in the New York Times and Washington Post, from 1996-2006. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan."
His reply was that the chart shows a deteriorating situation for the large majority of Americans.
So, who should I believe-- some guy posting juvenile insults or a well-known professional economist?
You did accomplish one thing here. I'm writing another check to a Democratic candidate to replace the people who can't even balance the budget. My family helped to found this country, defended it against its enemies, and made it wealthy and powerful. And now?
As Pogo might say, "We have met the enemy, and he is 'Mike'."
Or "Jack" or "right wing heckler" or any of a number of disposable pseuds, adopted by someone who is empty and dead inside.
Now, I for one don't need an article in the Post to tell me things are bad (and getting worse). I see it every day. Working people are working harder and working longer hours for far less money than they did thirty years ago. Now maybe "Jack" or "Mike" or whoever doesn't understand this, but I guarantee you for every "Jack" or "Mike" out there there are hundreds of "Joes" who know otherwise.
I don't know what kind of impact Monday's protests will accomplish, but maybe it will signal the beginning of the day when working people across the planet wake up to realize two things:
One, in a global economy, there are no immigrants.
Two: *They* are the "motor of the world."
When people tell me that things are going so great, I have three questions:
1. Why has the personal debt of Americans skyrocketed?
2. Why has the national debt skyrocketed?
3. Why has the deficit in the current account skyrocketed?
Economic statistics are difficult to interpret, are spun by partisans, can be tinkered with by an Administration intent on doing so, and sometimes are revised. They have to be understood in context. Individually, they can be misleading. But seen as part of a whole, one can get a sense for what's really going on.
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