FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum   
my profile login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Occupy Wall Street and the sad state of American protesting (Page 9)

  This topic comprises 20 pages: 1  2  3  ...  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  ...  18  19  20   
Author Topic: Occupy Wall Street and the sad state of American protesting
natural_mystic
Member
Member # 11760

 - posted      Profile for natural_mystic           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Ah, okay, I see what you mean. To a certain extent I agree, when you make rationalizations for why gov intrusion into "X Issue You Really Care About" is okay then you can do this ad infinitum and end up with lots of government intrusions. I do still think the abortion one is sort of sticky because to many people they literally see it as killing another human being that should have full rights as a human being, and that's why I say it becomes a discussion of philosophy rather than politics. I mean, saying it's a decision between a woman and her doctor leaves the proposed 3rd party out of it. That's like saying if you and I plan to kill Fred, and the government stops us, it's interfering in a personal decision between you and I.

No dispute that abortion is a sticky issue.
quote:

I have never seen a similar justification for ostensibly small-government types who favor illegalization of drugs, though. I doubt it exists. Ditto for drinking ages (or any ageism, really) and ditto again for homosexuality. These are issues where the only "victims" are the people engaging in them, and I can't see how anyone can argue otherwise. What other victim could there be?

Drunk driving enforcement's really interesting for me. I mean, drunk drivers are indisputably operating a death machine and endangering other people. The minarchist in me still doesn't like the idea of government intrusion, but the minarchist in me usually takes a backseat to the realist in me. How different is drunk driving than, say, a guy shooting his rifle in random directions from his porch? Both are sort of his right/his property etc... but he's also actively endangering everyone around him. Overall I'm fine with this being considered a crime.

Presumably the justification is that there is some unacceptably high probability that the drunk driver will do some serious damage to property and/or people. There is also quantitative evidence showing that having a drinking age of 21 instead of 18 will result in fewer fatalities. What exactly is the difference between these situations from a libertarian perspective?

quote:
So... this is interesting. I think there is compelling evidence to suggest that most of the goods and services I listed are cheap because of market forces, while the two key services you listed both have severely inflated prices. Would you agree with that? We probably disagree on why the prices are inflated, but I'm wondering if you also disagree on my premise so far.
Edit: You mentioned more than two services, but the Big Two I was referring to were healthcare and education costs, in case it wasn't obvious.

I definitely agree that the costs of healthcare and education have vastly exceeded inflation. I don't know what happened with education, but I would argue that healthcare is attributable, to some degree, to certain interests being able to circumvent market forces.
Posts: 644 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Well, sure, but the host also invited the other "human being" to live there. (Except when they didn't, but even a lot of pretty staunch christian right conservatives still are willing to allow for a rape clause)

I have to say I am semi-uncomfortable with us continuing down this avenue too far, because I don't really want to get into a full blown abortion debate... especially one where I take the devil's advocate role of a pro-lifer. That sounds... exhausting.

I am content to abandon this particular conversation but not to leave your earlier statements unchallenged.
Posts: 11187 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Nor do we eat leaves and grass. Seriously. You are going to act like a jerk over an analogy demonstrating that beings who are well off have an advantage when it comes to becoming more well off? Are you disputing that?
Your analogy doesn't demonstrate anything, and I'm very frustrated that you think it does.

Rabbit: your link doesn't go anywhere, and I'd be very surprised if it says what you say it does, because as far as I'm aware, median household income in that period went up over 25%.

quote:
I'm curious how some of you are defining "in proportion" in this context. How do we determine the "right" proportion for increases in wealth? If the rich are getting richer, and the poor are also getting richer but not as rich as the rich are getting, well, that slogan seems a hell of a lot less compelling to me, and I suspect that's why nobody uses it, despite it being more factually accurate.
I'm going with that the proportion drastically changed starting around the 80s. More people became far more better off before then than after then, even using optimistic numbers.

quote:
And finally, a commonly cited stat that is supposed to prove middle class wage stagnation is that household median income has not increased significantly over the last thirtyish years, while productivity has. But this only works if you look at household income. On an individual basis median income has improved at a rate commensurate with productivity increases. It's just that more people are living on their own now than were then, because they can afford it.
You're drastically understating what the statistic means. For many people, living alone isn't voluntary, and it means giving up the large (and mostly unmeasured) output that used to come from someone engaged in housework and the like (and also frequently engaging in the informal, very undermeasured economy of childcare and the like). What's more, household size decline has not been very dramatic in the period we're talking about -- 2.76 in 1980 vs 2.63 in 2009. It *did* have a dramatic decline from 1950, when it was 3.37, though, which completely undermines your argument: if the gains from household size decrease are what's compensating for the change in household income now, the greater decrease in household size then could only have resulted in an even larger scaling factor for changes in household income back then (which were drastically increasing). After all, the biggest expense of a (median) household is support of the number of individuals in it.

quote:
In a literal sense the poor are getting poorer. They are less likely to be able to get good healthcare (hopefully this will change shortly), less likely to be able to afford to send their children to college, less likely to be able to find affordable daycare for their kids. Ie their access to the resources/mechanisms whereby their kids have a better chance to climb the social ladder is severely limited. But they have a big screen tv, so it's all good.
Healthcare for the poor (as opposed to the middle class) is largely through a lot of healthcare institutions not pursuing medical debt owed by the poor, private social endeavor, and (in large part) government healthcare. All of those have been increasing in this period, not decreasing. There are numerous colleges low income families can afford to send their children to, and daycare among the poor has almost always been a matter of informal systems, not purchasing through a daycare provider.

And anyways, you're ignoring the most important things. We *know*, with certainty, what the biggest expenses are on average in the lives of poor people: food, transportation and housing. Those have dropped as a percentage of income for those in poverty quite drastically, while quality has in all cases gone up drastically. The poor are not getting poorer, overall. (By the way, given the way college education is structured in the US, it is probably better overall for poor families *not* to save for college, strangely -- household assets are counted strongly when determining available financial aid).

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
natural_mystic
Member
Member # 11760

 - posted      Profile for natural_mystic           Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Healthcare for the poor (as opposed to the middle class) is largely through a lot of healthcare institutions not pursuing medical debt owed by the poor, private social endeavor, and (in large part) government healthcare. All of those have been increasing in this period, not decreasing.

Do you have a link for this?

quote:

There are numerous colleges low income families can afford to send their children to,

What colleges are you thinking of here?

quote:

and daycare among the poor has almost always been a matter of informal systems, not purchasing through a daycare provider.

Do you have a link for this? My inclusion of this was based on anecdotal evidence and my own observations, so I'd appreciate seeing an actual study on this.

quote:

And anyways, you're ignoring the most important things. We *know*, with certainty, what the biggest expenses are on average in the lives of poor people: food, transportation and housing. Those have dropped as a percentage of income for those in poverty quite drastically, while quality has in all cases gone up drastically. The poor are not getting poorer, overall. (By the way, given the way college education is structured in the US, it is probably better overall for poor families *not* to save for college, strangely -- household assets are counted strongly when determining available financial aid).

I defined the sense in which I regard them as getting poorer. The growth in after food/transportation/housing income doesn't really speak to this. The housing costs is also a bit misleading. They would not find housing cheaper if they were to try and live in a good school district. Which, again, speaks to the poor being priced out of the mechanisms of social mobility.
Posts: 644 | Registered: Sep 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:

Rabbit: your link doesn't go anywhere, and I'd be very surprised if it says what you say it does, because as far as I'm aware, median household income in that period went up over 25%.

The link is to a pdf document. Check your downloads.
Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
The link doesn't download anything, and gives page not found. I found it with a little googling, and it looks like you just copied google's elided URL rather than the real URL.

The graph you show has some sort of problem, possibly related to the CPR's changes over time. If you go to the census directly for the info, you'll find this page: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html . If you'll check out the appropriate link, you'll see that household income went (in 2010 dollars) from about $40k in 1967 to about $53k in 2000 (though it's lower now), an increase of a decent bit over 25% (1967 to 2010 is probably very close to a 25% increase).

Your graph only shows around a 10% increase.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
natural_mystic: I'll try to get you all your links as soon as I can, but keep in mind we're talking about poverty, not the middle class. The average cost of regular childcare for a 4 year old was, in 1997, over $3000 in every state, and in many places over $5000: http://www.policyalmanac.org/social_welfare/archive/child_care.shtml .

In other words, well beyond the means of those in poverty even if drastically lower. Certainly there are probably some using it, especially occasionally, but it just isn't possible for someone in poverty in the US to be relying on paid childcare. Not that it shouldn't be possible, but at least in recent history, it hasn't been possible.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:

And finally, a commonly cited stat that is supposed to prove middle class wage stagnation is that household median income has not increased significantly over the last thirtyish years, while productivity has. But this only works if you look at household income. On an individual basis median income has improved at a rate commensurate with productivity increases. It's just that more people are living on their own now than were then, because they can afford it.

You're drastically understating what the statistic means. For many people, living alone isn't voluntary, and it means giving up the large (and mostly unmeasured) output that used to come from someone engaged in housework and the like (and also frequently engaging in the informal, very undermeasured economy of childcare and the like). What's more, household size decline has not been very dramatic in the period we're talking about -- 2.76 in 1980 vs 2.63 in 2009. It *did* have a dramatic decline from 1950, when it was 3.37, though, which completely undermines your argument: if the gains from household size decrease are what's compensating for the change in household income now, the greater decrease in household size then could only have resulted in an even larger scaling factor for changes in household income back then (which were drastically increasing). After all, the biggest expense of a (median) household is support of the number of individuals in it.

Interesting. I think we can chalk this up to me operating from memory. So, to clarify: There is a study that claims median household income did not increase significantly in the last 30 yrs, isn't there? Is that what Rabbit tried to link? But now you said median household income increased during that time, so maybe that stat was just wrong? What I'd read was that the stat may be accurate but it was misleading because individual median income had increased during the same time. I think I filled in the gap with "people are living alone" when in reality there are a number of ways both of those could be true. Like, going from two earners making less to one earner making more, for example.

Just want to add a thank you for your participation here. You're obviously very learned with regards to economics. If it's cool for me to ask, is it just a serious armchair interest, or do you work in a related field?

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Well, sure, but the host also invited the other "human being" to live there. (Except when they didn't, but even a lot of pretty staunch christian right conservatives still are willing to allow for a rape clause)

I have to say I am semi-uncomfortable with us continuing down this avenue too far, because I don't really want to get into a full blown abortion debate... especially one where I take the devil's advocate role of a pro-lifer. That sounds... exhausting.

I am content to abandon this particular conversation but not to leave your earlier statements unchallenged.
To clarify, feel free to continue to challenge what I've said. My comment wasn't intended to give me the last word at all! I'm not really exhausted yet, I just anticipate a time when the prospect of continuing to play devil's advocate here will feel more trouble than it's worth. It was basically just a warning that I may concede at any point. As long as you're cool with that, challenge away! [Smile]
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
After all, the biggest expense of a (median) household is support of the number of individuals in it.
I question this. Many of the major expenses for middle income households, such as rent/mortgage, insurance, cars, major appliances, and utilities are at most weakly dependent on the number of individuals in the household. When a household splits up (due to divorce for example), they suffer economically because it is significantly more expensive to support 4 people living in 2 households than it is to support the same 4 people in one household.


The biggest factor influencing the size of households in the US over the last 30 years has been the increasing median age of the population which has resulted in fewer households with children. It's certainly expensive to raise children, but the major expenses for a family of four don't drop by a factor of two when the kids move out on their own.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Well, sure, but the host also invited the other "human being" to live there. (Except when they didn't, but even a lot of pretty staunch christian right conservatives still are willing to allow for a rape clause)

I have to say I am semi-uncomfortable with us continuing down this avenue too far, because I don't really want to get into a full blown abortion debate... especially one where I take the devil's advocate role of a pro-lifer. That sounds... exhausting.

I am content to abandon this particular conversation but not to leave your earlier statements unchallenged.
To clarify, feel free to continue to challenge what I've said. My comment wasn't intended to give me the last word at all! I'm not really exhausted yet, I just anticipate a time when the prospect of continuing to play devil's advocate here will feel more trouble than it's worth. It was basically just a warning that I may concede at any point. As long as you're cool with that, challenge away! [Smile]
That's fine.

Here is yet another set of numbers that show the gap increasing.

http://blogs.reuters.com/david-cay-johnston/2011/10/19/first-look-at-us-pay-data-its-awful/

Or this: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/bankers-salaries-vs-everyone-elses/

A handy combination? http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1

Posts: 11187 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post 
Perhaps relevant
quote:
DAVID FRUM

The American Dream moves to Denmark
At the GOP's latest debate, Rick Santorum utters some hard truths about our economic decline
...
The American dream is still alive. It's just more likely to come true in Denmark than in the USA. In fact, the American dream is less likely to come true in the USA than in any other major economy except the United Kingdom's.

The freezing of income mobility is distinct from, but probably related to, two other important trends in American life: The stagnation of middle-class incomes and the widening of the gap between rich and poor.

The American dream is less likely to come true in the USA than in any other major economy except the United Kingdom's.

A generation ago, an American family did not need to "climb the ladder" to become better off. If a family started in the dead middle of the income distribution in 1947 and ended in the dead middle of the distribution in 1973, it still saw its standard of living approximately double. By contrast, middle-class incomes barely budged in the quarter century leading up to 2007.

At the same time, the richest have pulled away from the middle and the richest of the rich have pulled away from the merely affluent.

Conceptually, you could imagine a highly unequal society with rapid income mobility. You could imagine a society with little mobility, but in which all classes were getting richer at approximately the same pace. America, however, is a society of widening inequality, hardening class lines, and stagnating living standards for most people. And all of these trends rely on numbers from before the economic crisis and before the election of Barack Obama.

http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/220484/the-american-dream-moves-to-denmark
Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13

Taking poor get poorer literally might be Dan's contention; the poor in the US have consistently improved in how well off they are for quite some decades. And most of that increase has been because of the operation of free markets, because most of that increase is from the increasingly cheap availability of food, clothing, and consumer goods.

quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank
In a literal sense, the poor are not getting poorer. Part of this is in reduced price of commodity goods that make up a large portion of the poor's expenditures, as he said

Once again, I question the validity of these claims. Over the last half century, the price of essential consumer goods like food, energy and housing has not been decreasing relative to median incomes. Here is some data on average prices as a percent of the median income which I've put together from a variety of internet sources

code:
         
1965 1980 1990 2009
house 200% 430% 430% 450%
car 38% 31% 36% 51%
loaf of bread .003% .003% .004% .003%
gallon of gas .0045 .007% .004% .003%


This is hardly a comprehensive study but the data does not support the contention that the prices of staples have been dropping relative to incomes.

The data is also consistent with my personal observation that the costs of essentials like housing, energy, transportation and food have risen faster than the general rate of inflation over the past several decades. I can't find any data on it, but it seems to me that in the US the prices for fresh fruits and vegetables have risen considerably more than the prices for other foods.

**Edited to add: Before someone accuses me of cherry picking the data for effect, these were the only stables for which I could find prices for a large range of years. If anyone has access to price histories for other staples, I'd be very interested.

[ October 21, 2011, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
The biggest factor influencing the size of households in the US over the last 30 years has been the increasing median age of the population which has resulted in fewer households with children. It's certainly expensive to raise children, but the major expenses for a family of four don't drop by a factor of two when the kids move out on their own.
Luckily nothing I said implies that. Even if we attempt to apply my statement to the individual level, I'm only (approximately) saying that overall expenses will drop by a substantial amount with each person that moves out. Some of that drop will only be taken when a household downsizes living arrangements, of course -- but that does happen, and more and more frequently, as households rent more and more often compared to owning.

It is more important to keep in mind I'm talking at a population and generational level. A given household will move only rarely, so it is a reasonable approximation to, in the short term, say its housing costs are independent of family size (though, as I mention above, a lot less so in the long term). But as households have changed in size, the size of their dwellings (in terms of relative expense to other dwellings) most definitely has changed in size. The median household today is, a good percentage of the time, living in an urban home, and urban home prices are extremely sensitive to their capacity (much moreso than rural ones). Further, this is before we get into the ~11 to 12% of the median household's income that's spent on food (again, heavily dependent on number of people), the 3% on clothing, the 14% on transportation (how sensitive this is to household size depends on composition of the household, of course), the 6% on healthcare (extremely sensitive to family size).

I'm not so certain you can pin the fall in household size as soundly on an aging population, either. Age of first child is also rising, so even an older population will frequently still have children. I think the increasing population of single people (and single parents) is also going to be a big contributor -- and reducing a household from two adults to one adult (again, this is at a population and generational level, not an individual household level, though it applies there, too) *does* drastically decrease expenditures for that household, as I described.

quote:
Interesting. I think we can chalk this up to me operating from memory. So, to clarify: There is a study that claims median household income did not increase significantly in the last 30 yrs, isn't there? Is that what Rabbit tried to link? But now you said median household income increased during that time, so maybe that stat was just wrong? What I'd read was that the stat may be accurate but it was misleading because individual median income had increased during the same time. I think I filled in the gap with "people are living alone" when in reality there are a number of ways both of those could be true. Like, going from two earners making less to one earner making more, for example.

Just want to add a thank you for your participation here. You're obviously very learned with regards to economics. If it's cool for me to ask, is it just a serious armchair interest, or do you work in a related field?

Starting at the last, I've done some minor stuff relating to economics as work, and it is more than just a serious armchair interest (a decent bit of education, plus I intend to work in a related field, international development, eventually), but I don't work in a related field at the moment.

Median household income has not increased very much (well, sort of; median household income has fluctuated up and down a good bit in this period) in the past thirty years. Rabbit was trying to say it hasn't increased very much in the last 45-ish years, which is very wrong. But most of that growth came in the first 15 years of those 45 years.

That's what's concerning. Starting about 30 years ago, richer people started getting more well off at a higher rate than they had for about the forty years (or more, with an intermission when the economy was rather wonky with the great depression) before that, and people in the middle class suddenly saw their rate of increase in well being drop like a rock (the story's a lot more complicated, because "income" isn't really a good measure of that, but it works as an approximation).

Poor people are actually doing reasonably well (in terms of increase in standard of living), though you don't see it in earned income statistics as much, both because government transfers to the poor have overall improved a lot and because the particular products poor people consume most have dropped hugely in price and improved hugely in quality.

But that change in middle class improvement in well being from "improving at a good clip" to "hardly improving at all" when the upper income segments went from "improving at a good clip" to "improving at an even better clip" is very worrisome, especially as it accompanies a big drop in total factor productivity. Yes, it is great that an increasing number of people are moving out of the middle class upwards. But it looks like part of how that is happening is by extracting rents from the rest of the middle class.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Poor people are actually doing reasonably well (in terms of increase in standard of living), though you don't see it in earned income statistics as much, both because government transfers to the poor have overall improved a lot and because the particular products poor people consume most have dropped hugely in price and improved hugely in quality.

This is what I was getting at, but I came to that conclusion very much more from a layperson's perspective. What I've read and heard over the years fits this-the poor aren't getting poorer in the sense that they cannot afford necessities and such, they're getting poorer in the sense that there is an amount of prosperity in the United States, and it's going to have some limit. And the poor and middle class are getting less of it now than they used to.

'Getting poorer' is not the same thing as 'poor'.

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Destineer
Member
Member # 821

 - posted      Profile for Destineer           Edit/Delete Post 
fugu, do you know of any good data on how the SOL of US poor compares to poor people in the real full-on welfare states?

Sorry, it must feel like I treat you like a human encyclopedia sometimes. But please take it as a compliment, which it is!

Posts: 4600 | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
Rakeesh: the poor are getting about the same amount of additional prosperity as they did in the past, possibly more, and their situations are improving, not declining. It's the middle class(es) that's not receiving as much prosperity as it used to, and about treading water (though probably not declining, except in relative terms).

Destineer: an extremely difficult to measure question. Poor people in the US have better housing (including things like necessary heating and air conditioning), and at least until quite recently ate better. I'd have no problem saying rural poor in the US have a higher standard of living than poor people in all but maybe two to four European countries. But urban poor are a different story. Urban poverty in the US carries with it increased levels of violence, increased drug-related crime (mostly driven by our counterproductive war on drugs), social systems that perpetuate poverty more than in Europe, and worse (though not all that bad; the lower middle class has it much worse) healthcare. It is a much more complicated story.

Even so, the urban poor in the US are better off than the urban poor in many countries in Europe. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and so forth, are in many closer to third world countries than we commonly think of them.

I think you might find this report very interesting: www.timbro.se/bokhandel/pdf/9175665646.pdf

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
the poor are getting about the same amount of additional prosperity as they did in the past, possibly more, and their situations are improving, not declining. It's the middle class(es) that's not receiving as much prosperity as it used to, and about treading water (though probably not declining, except in relative terms).

Sorry, I said that wrong. Thinking of the top tier vs. everyone-I should've said that it was my understanding that, overall, the 'not rich' are getting less prosperity proportionally now than in the past. As for the poor, it's always been my impression that standards of living have steadily been rising for pretty much everyone, overall, for a very, very, very long time. And to me, the relative terms part you mentioned last is what's most relevant to this discussion.

Are the super-rich just...more deserving or something of higher relative prosperity gain than everyone else? There's wealth being generated by our economy, but proportionally our population isn't getting as much of it anymore (is my understanding).

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Are the super-rich just...more deserving or something of higher relative prosperity gain than everyone else? There's wealth being generated by our economy, but proportionally our population isn't getting as much of it anymore (is my understanding).
I don't think they're more deserving of a higher relative prosperity gain (than the middle parts of the income distribution: the poor are keeping up pretty well, once you include the effects I mentioned).

Regarding wealth generated by our economy, it looks like most of the wealth being generated by our economy for the last 30 years has been mostly the increased application of capital and manpower, unlike previous growth, which was more heavily driven by increased technology. That doesn't mean the wealthy are more deserving of the increase, but it does help explain why they've been so good at extracting the increase, I think.

Honestly, a lot of it has probably been absorbed by the increasing costs of healthcare -- instead of raises, people are receiving increases in employee-related expenses (which often means they're getting roughly the same level of actual healthcare, but at a higher cost to their employer, and often to themselves as well). That may even be hiding some actual increase (that is, the ratio might not be as bad as it looks), but the data is very hard to untangle.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post 
I think I've finally figures out how to post the correct link for graph I referred to earlier. Here it is

The graph does in fact show no signicant increase in the inflation adjusted median household income between 1965 and 1995. The graph does not give the source for the data so I can not judge its accuracy. It is however consistent with the numbers fugu gave for median income in 1965 so I presume the discrepancies are in the period between 1965 and 1990.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
By the way, it isn't the super rich who are corralling the gains, just the fairly well off. The households showing disproportionately high growth start at about $90k a year.

Rabbit: yep, no idea how they're getting what they're showing (and as you say, they've failed to explain their calculations). The numbers in the official reports (which explain their calculations extensively) don't look like what they say (and it isn't like they're talking about something different; the graphs are clearly labeled).

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I don't think they're more deserving of a higher relative prosperity gain (than the middle parts of the income distribution: the poor are keeping up pretty well, once you include the effects I mentioned).
You keep saying this but how can it be given that housing, medical care, transportation, energy and food have all increased faster than income growth. Do the poor really get all the basics from public assistance so their spending their money on stuff like that is going down in price like cell phones and computers?
Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Destineer
Member
Member # 821

 - posted      Profile for Destineer           Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks, fugu. Interesting article. I'm afraid I thought the argument of section 4.4 (for the thesis that increased leisure in Europe doesn't do much to explain the productivity disparity with the US) was extremely weak. But it wouldn't surprise me much if the taxes in a typical EU nation are currently high enough to stifle growth undesirably.

quote:
By the way, it isn't the super rich who are corralling the gains, just the fairly well off. The households showing disproportionately high growth start at about $90k a year.
That certainly fits with my anecdotal experience.
Posts: 4600 | Registered: Mar 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
Rabbit: Because that's not true in the timeline I'm talking about. For instance, food prices only started rising recently, and are still down from 30 years ago. What's more, the categories of food that are high shares of costs for the poor are among those doing the best.

Medical care for the poor has also gotten cheaper (for them, not in terms of actual amounts spent): medicaid, in particular, grew to cover a much higher percentage of the poor in the past 30 years (that's in the public assistance part of the equation, of course).

Housing's a much more complicated story. Housing prices were going up a lot, which was causing a lot of problems, but that only started exceeding the growth of income in about 2000. Luckily, housing prices have since crashed, and the 30 year trend for housing prices is back to below the growth of income in the poor.

Heck, even average gas prices over the past 30 (well, 31) years have barely increased, and were down until now except for a brief spike a few years back. That one's a bit unfair because the early 80s gas prices were an anomaly, but even so.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrSquicky
Member
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post 
Little side story. Eric Cantor was supposed to give a talk at Penn today about his view of economic inequality, but Occupy Philly protested and some of them may have been able to get in to see him, so he ran away like a little girl.
Posts: 10177 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post 
I think some of our disagreement is based on the who we consider to be the poor. There is a great deal of controversy about the official government poverty level and many people argue that many families earning up to twice the official poverty level can be reasonably considered poor. In my experience, lower income families that don't qualify for government assistance are the ones who have suffered most over the past few decades.

I also question some of your information like this.

quote:
For instance, food prices only started rising recently, and are still down from 30 years ago.
This is not consistent with either my personal experience or the data I've been able to find. The data I've found has shown that food prices for staples, like bread and rice, were nearly constant as a percentage of the median income between 1965 and 2005. But that's a bit misleading because eating patterns have changed significantly over that time. Families are less likely to have a stay at home Mom than they were decades ago and so they are more reliant on prepared foods. Even though the prices of specific items has remained flat, the amount that a family needs to spend on groceries has gone up.

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post 
I would bet money that in caloric terms, food is more affordable than 30 years ago, particularly for the poor. But food prices and availability do not equate to quality nutrition. And the fact that people can get more calories for less money is a dubious indicator of economic health- the implications regarding public health, productivity, education and quality of life are obvious enough. If you're using food as an indicator of prosperity, you have to take into account that obesity is an epidemic among the poor- few Americans are starving, true, but the effect of food quality and distribution on quality of life is still important above a basal metabolic necessity.
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Blayne Bradley
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
I don't think they're more deserving of a higher relative prosperity gain (than the middle parts of the income distribution: the poor are keeping up pretty well, once you include the effects I mentioned).
You keep saying this but how can it be given that housing, medical care, transportation, energy and food have all increased faster than income growth. Do the poor really get all the basics from public assistance so their spending their money on stuff like that is going down in price like cell phones and computers?
Indeed, it must also be pointed out that since the Clinton administration the CDI, which is used to calculate social security payments and similar has been slowly been fabricated as to be not resemblant to reality.

Using inflation measurements as back prior to clinton and plugged into SS, social security payments would be 70% higher.

Also GDP growth is also falsified significantly because it also uses a falsified inflation measurement to determine gdp growth.

In reality, using the original measurements one would see that the US has been in a recession during the time time, the mortgage foreclosures, high unemployment, etc are all consistent with a recession, not with a growing economy.

its all explained in that Chris Martenson video I linked earler.

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.

Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I think some of our disagreement is based on the who we consider to be the poor. There is a great deal of controversy about the official government poverty level and many people argue that many families earning up to twice the official poverty level can be reasonably considered poor. In my experience, lower income families that don't qualify for government assistance are the ones who have suffered most over the past few decades.
That's very true. There's a bad gap problem between, where earning more can remove significant gov't assistance.

Regarding food prices, here's an index on commodity food prices on the global market: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/11/economist_food-price_index

Down since 1980, only starting to move upward after 2000. Regarding the highest food costs, here's the price of the same quantity (actually a bit more) of red meat as a percentage of income since 1970 through 2008: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/30/our-cheap-cheap-food/

Down a lot, and has only leveled off in the past decade, not climbed any amount worth noting.

quote:
Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.
The price of new cars has risen faster than inflation. Poor people are generally not buying new cars. If you check the price of used cars, especially the lifetime costs (which are much lower, as more recent cars require far less maintenance), you'll find it has remained well under increases in income.

Regarding needing more cars, I think you're going to need to show some data that shows that's actually had an impact worth talking about on transportation costs among the poor.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.

Yeah, if I have to spend more than 3 days in the office in a given week something must have gone seriously wrong.
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Blayne Bradley
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
Part of it is austerity measures though, laying off empoyees and having 4 day work weeks in order to save on utilities and wages.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post 
Perhaps for temp and hourly workers. 4 day work weeks are somewhat meaningless to many salaried workers- the workweek is the amount of time necessary to finish the work on time.
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
T:man
Member
Member # 11614

 - posted      Profile for T:man   Email T:man         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.

Yeah, if I have to spend more than 3 days in the office in a given week something must have gone seriously wrong.
Was that sarcasm? I can't tell, but that's how I read it.
Posts: 1574 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SenojRetep
Member
Member # 8614

 - posted      Profile for SenojRetep   Email SenojRetep         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
Little side story. Eric Cantor was supposed to give a talk at Penn today about his view of economic inequality, but Occupy Philly protested and some of them may have been able to get in to see him, so he ran away like a little girl.

Yeah, I doubt this would have been much of a disruption to his remarks. According to Weigel the audience "would have consisted almost entirely of protesters" which is why Cantor backed out.
Posts: 2926 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Blayne Bradley
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
So cantor is a coward then.
IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
C'mon Blayne, gimme a break. If true, the man wasn't going to be giving a speech, he was going to be heckled and booed and shouted down by a hostile crowd. That's not cowardice, that's just deciding, "OK, today I'm not going to work for OWS."
Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Blayne Bradley
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post 
Its clear they lack the confidence in their platform and are unable to stick to their guns and unwilling to face directly the people they have had such an easy time demonizing from the safety of their 1% bought political positions.

The OWS movement wants to be heard and taken seriously, so Cantor was clearly fearful of directly engaging them.

On a related note, anyone else struck by the thought that if the US hadn't invaded Iraq, Iraqi's would be right now overthrowing Saddam by themselves WITHOUT destroying the nations infrastructure?

IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
Blayne -

That assume the Arab Spring would have happened exactly as it has without the Iraq War happening. It also assumes that there wouldn't have been a destructive civil war in Iraq that DID destroy the infrastructure.

Both are incredibly thin assumptions.

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Its clear they lack the confidence in their platform and are unable to stick to their guns and unwilling to face directly the people they have had such an easy time demonizing from the safety of their 1% bought political positions.

Is there a politician in this country who has sufficient confidence in their platform to go and speak before what will likely (again, if true) be a hostile, unruly, pre-planned crowd of opponents? Lemme know when you find one, k, and I'll credit your accusation of cowardice as something more than a totally partisan, "Ha!"

quote:
The OWS movement wants to be heard and taken seriously, so Cantor was clearly fearful of directly engaging them.

Well, sure, the movement as a whole would like to be heard and taken seriously. What's that got to do with anything? Fred Phelps wants to be heard and taken seriously, presumably. That's not to liken OWS to Phelps, but to point out how inaccurate it is to claim that 'wants to be taken seriously' equates to 'should be taken seriously in all cases'. It doesn't. One could say, with quite a lot of fairness, that if they wanted to be taken seriously, they shouldn't behave in such a way as to make it so easy for Cantor to dodge them-that is, by pointing to their own behavior as a justification.

Your notion on Iraq and the Arab Spring is just plain silly. It's so much conjecture. You might as well throw up your shoulders and say, "Huh, well maybe Saddam woulda gone down anyway!" (That is, in fact, precisely what you did, in different language. With another, "Ha!" on the end.)

I wonder how many political heroes of yours, Blayne, would have behaved the way you wanted Cantor to behave so as not to be a coward? Can you name one? An example of a politician who went out of his way to go and speak in front of an overwhelmingly hostile crowd that had rigged the audience before the event began?

Man. I'm no fan of Cantor, but it's viewpoints like yours that make it easier for people to blithely dismiss OWS.

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
If this had been a group of Cantor's constituents, I think he would have been obligated to see them. But a random rabble demanding to have time to yell at him? I don't think he's obligated to be yelled at and use as a media tool (he has a Tool Exclusivity contract with the RNC anyways) for OWS.

Would be been a neat thing to try to watch a dialogue though, if either side had been willing to engage in one.

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I don't think he's obligated to be yelled at and use as a media tool (he has a Tool Exclusivity contract with the RNC anyways) for OWS.

Unless he's some sorta coward.
Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
On the other had, if he had tried to engage the crowd but they shouted him down and he left in disgust, I would have gained some respect for the man.

And it probably would have been a PR positive for him as well.

"Look, I TRIED to meet with them, but all they wanted to do was shout and wave pitchforks."

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post 
I suspect the same people that accuse him of cowardice now would then go on to accuse him of a cynical PR ploy, had it played out, as well as dismissing the audience in that case as the fringe.

With more moderate observers, however, it could well have been good PR for him as you say.

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post 
The people who would have done that wouldn't have liked him either way. The people who like him will like him regardless. It's the people in the middle, for whom this was likely a non-event, that he could have gained some goodwill with.

I have zero respect for him, and I want to throttle him when I see him on TV most of the time, but even I would have seriously thought twice about entering that room with that crowd in his shoes. I still would have done it though. A chance to debate for me is like a moth to a flame. But I'm not a soulless politician, so there's that.

Posts: 21898 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by T:man:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.

Yeah, if I have to spend more than 3 days in the office in a given week something must have gone seriously wrong.
Was that sarcasm? I can't tell, but that's how I read it.
Nope, not at all. Orincoro makes a good point.
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
T:man
Member
Member # 11614

 - posted      Profile for T:man   Email T:man         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Nope, not at all. Orincoro makes a good point.

Wow.

I really can't understand that lifestyle.

ETF:qb tags

Posts: 1574 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post 
What lifestyle? Telecommuting? Being able to spend more time with my loved ones? Yeah, it's pretty incomprehensible.
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post 
PS: That time, it was sarcasm.
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post 
T:man's reaction is more one of incomprehension. You forget that there was a period of your life when you would have found it hard to believe that someone would trust you enough to get work done, that you were being payed good money for, on your own at home, without their supervision. For people like me who entered the workforce during difficult financial times, that kind of an arrangement is a pipe-dream.
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 20 pages: 1  2  3  ...  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  ...  18  19  20   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2