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May 11, 2018

Comments

Countme-a-Demon:

Thanks for the welcome!

What, did you just come in out of the rain from the intellectual dark web?

What? What the heck is that?

I'll just note that for, I guess forty odd years, the entire political establishment has been going rightward in its economic policies. Whatever party gets in power anywhere, they throw some socially liberal/conservative crumbs to the masses and then help the already wealthy steal from the not rich. It's a policy of distraction to hide the robbery.

WTF does it matter if guns(or abortions) banned or if one can get married, or not, if one can't make a living, get a good education, feed your family, or get healthcare? All the economic decisions of both parties have been beneficial for the the 20% at best, while leaving everyone else to go die.

So ask me just how I felt about social issues when I couldn't eat or was threaten with homelessness? Enough of this. The bulk of the political establishment is fricking corrupt, and I refuse to give them anymore chances.

So to Hell with Clinton, to Hell with both parties. I am not sure what the solutions are. Try to reform one of the parties? Join the DSA? Something else entirely? Who knows, but do not give me the bullshit that the Democrats or the Republicans actually give squat about most Americans of any race, class, ideology, or religion. They don't.

Perhaps another excerpt from bob m's Atlantic link from yesterday:

There is a page in the book of American political thought—Grandfather knew it by heart—that says we must choose between government and freedom. But if you read it twice, you’ll see that what it really offers is a choice between government you can see and government you can’t. Aristocrats always prefer the invisible kind of government. It leaves them free to exercise their privileges. We in the 9.9 percent have mastered the art of getting the government to work for us even while complaining loudly that it’s working for those other people.

Consider, for starters, the greatly exaggerated reports of our tax burdens. On guest panels this past holiday season, apologists for the latest round of upwardly aimed tax cuts offered versions of Mitt Romney’s claim that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax in a typical year have “no skin in the game.” Baloney. Sure, the federal individual-income tax, which raised $1.6 trillion last year, remains progressive. But the $1.2 trillion raised by the payroll tax hits all workers—but not investors, such as Romney—and it hits those making lower incomes at a higher rate, thanks to a cap on the amount of income subject to the tax. Then there’s the $2.3 trillion raised by state and local governments, much of it collected through regressive sales and property taxes. The poorest quintile of Americans pays more than twice the rate of state taxes as the top 1 percent does, and about half again what the top 10 percent pays.

WTF does it matter if guns(or abortions) banned or if one can get married, or not, if one can't make a living, get a good education, feed your family, or get healthcare?

getting shot obviates your need for any of those other things.

do not give me the bullshit that the Democrats or the Republicans actually give squat about most Americans of any race, class, ideology, or religion. They don't.

they don't?

as my mother always said: one must always endeavor to speak only for one's self.

Countme-a-Demon:

Thanks for the welcome!

What am I, chopped liver?

;)

Reset your "too soon" clocks, I guess.

This stuff doesn't happen in other places. Not like this.

Time for us to check our heads.

About that Atlantic article:

Stewart notes early on that the top 0.1% are the political-donor class, and that they have fattened themselves mainly at the expense of the bottom 90% while (wisely and perhaps by design) leaving the fat-dumb-and-happy 9.9% alone.

He then points out, rightly, that government policy has much to do with the growing separation between the unfortunate 90% and the increasingly-entrenched 9.9% crowd. (The 0.1% are of course on their own, unattainable plane.)

Now, government policies are in principle the fruit of voter preferences. Also in principle, voter preferences are what a majority of the voters want. It should go without saying that 9.9%+0.1%<<50%

So, what's going on? Do the 90% deserve any sort of blame for their own plight?

One theory that they do NOT goes like this: an unholy alliance between the 0.1% and the 9.9% has taken control of both major political parties, so that it hardly matters how the 90% vote. There's not a dime's worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats as far as policies affecting the (mal)distribution of wealth go.

I don't buy that theory, because I have not been asleep for the last 40 years. And even if I did, I'd have to ask: does 90% of the population really have no influence in either party?

An alternative theory: the 90% includes lots of smart (or at least, educated) people. I daresay most of the nation's teachers are 90%ers, for instance. But it also includes lots of dumb people -- 90% of any nation is going to include lots of dumb people. The smart ones are apparently outnumbered. They may not be prey to the insidious brainwashing funded by the 0.1% and embraced the 9.9%, but their dumber brethren are gullible enough to swallow the proposition that the rich don't have enough money and the poor have too much.

Whichever theory you subscribe to, the notion that 90% are helpless -- in a democracy -- to rein in the other 10% is a notion that needs examining.

--TP

90% of any nation is going to include lots of dumb people. The smart ones are apparently outnumbered.

Pretty much by definition, half of the population is going to be of below average intelligence. But what we are talking about here is those who merely can be persuaded (perhaps by that "insidious brainwashing") to act against their own (financial) interests. Whether by misrepresenting what is in their financial interest, or by shifting the discussion to non-financial issues.

As a side note, keep in mind that some of those "below average intelligence" folks also inhabit the 0.1% . . . generally courtesy of parents or grandparents who had more wit and/or drive than they. See Trump, Donald J.

Tony,

The top 10% have all the dough. They tend to have a great deal of political influence. They probably have a good deal more voter participation rates.

Just look at your local politics....Lawyers, real estate folks, business people. They're usually in charge. Some slice of regular folks, eh? Why it's as if nobody who cleans toilets or cooks at the local restaurant exists.

No, the 90% is not helpless, but the deck is stacked against them. That is why I heartened whenever I see collective action protest. Those 90% schmucks have to learn to use the one big advantage they have: NUMBERS.

Whichever theory you subscribe to, the notion that 90% are helpless -- in a democracy -- to rein in the other 10% is a notion that needs examining.

I think it must come at least in part down to what sort of democracy you're talking about. Structural considerations, perhaps.

getting shot obviates your need for any of those other things

True, but there are many, many ways to kill people in bits and pieces or all at once.

While the overall homicides (approximately 17,000) and homicides by guns (approximately 9,000) have been trending downwards for 30 years, counted homicides by the police (probably over 1,200 with just under 1,000 yearly) are likely to reach 1,300.

However!

Unemployment and homelessness have been increasing while income and life expectancy has been declining for roughly a decade. Unless you are in the top 20% then you’re fine. The top 10% has gotten some increase and the increase wealth and life expectancy of the 1% is significant.

So while the increase in mass deaths (which increases in all societies with increasing wealth disparities) is very bad, going OMG Gunz! while the total amount of death in our society is growing in the bottom 80% or 260,000,000 Americans. Mostly the poor, the old, the sick, and children.

It would be nice if the furor over the more than half a million homeless (500,000+) reaches even half of that over guns. Or the over 10% maybe as high as 20% looking at the participation rate. That would be nice, too.


I am too late to the festivities, and too frazzled by life, to participate meaningfully, or even frivolously, in political discourse. But I am still here, and listening/reading, FWIW.

And I can supply data on my (geographical) mobility, a topic raised earlier here, by age (roughly)

1-3: Los Angeles, California
3-7: Kunming, China
7-9: Santa Ana, California
10: Glendale, California
11-13: Santa Ana (2) - same house as before
14-20: Los Angeles (2) - same house as before
20-23: London
23 (briefly): Ann Arbor, Michigan
24-25: US Army - Ft Dix (NJ), Ft Myer (VA0
26-27: Ann Arbor (2) - new apartment
28-29: Madrid and Manila
30-37: Ann Arbor (3) - new apartment, then new house
37-38: Chicago
39-42: Canberra (Australia)
42-60: Hong Kong. One very early apartment change, but otherwise longest ever in one place - except for one year's leave in Fullerton (CA) and another six months in London.
60-74 (present): Durham, NC

So I'm "from" California, but basically left there more than 50 years ago, since when I've spent over a decade (each) in Ann Arbor, Hong Kong, and Durham. Home is here, now, but it's not "home" as many conceive it.

Along the way I've rooted for so many different US sports teams it's hard to keep track of, but just in baseball I've got some affection/affiliation for LA Dodgers, LA Angels, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs, and Tampa Bay Rays (whose AAA affiliate is the Durham Bulls). I even cheered for the original (?) Washington Senators before they decamped to Texas.

Not to mention Chelsea FC, Wales (in Rugby Union), and the Canberra Raiders

Also - during the year and a half my wife and I were in Madrid and Manila, every single member of both of our families moved. Some of them just across town, but some halfway across the country (NY to Missouri, Chicago to Glendale). No one at the same address as when we left.

Roots? What are these "roots" of which people speak?

It would be nice if the furor over the more than half a million homeless (500,000+) reaches even half of that over guns.

If you live in Seattle, you would not have written that! LOL.

JBird,

There's wide gulf between "OMG Gunz!" and the "Guns: fuggedaboutit" attitude favored by the NRA and a largish fraction of the downtrodden 90% of Atlantic article fame.

Almost no problem you can name has a magic-bullet solution (if you'll pardon the expression). Not poverty, not disparity, not cancer, not gun deaths, not global warming, not religion-fueled wars. Baby steps are the only steps available in most cases.

Registration, licensing, and insurance requirements do not prevent traffic deaths -- but only a fool would argue that 1)they don't do something to help, or 2)they impose an undue burden on the right to travel.

The real OMG!-spouting comes from the "OMG! Slippery slope!" snowflakes who talk as if a registered gun, wielded by a licensed owner who carries liability insurance is somehow less effective against "bad guys", and more prone to confiscation by jack-booted guvmint thugs than cars are. Some people react to baby steps as if they are either pointless or the end of the world. Such people probably opposed seat belts, too.

And not for nothing, but housing the homeless and feeding the hungry is never going to happen in a single noble leap, either. I wish it could be done, but I'll take any baby step in the right direction that can be taken (even by Democrats) against the opposition of the (generally Republican) "Oh noes! Soshulism!", slippery-slope-to-serfdom crowd.

--TP

It would be nice if the furor over the more than half a million homeless (500,000+) reaches even half of that over guns.

homeless people don't shoot up schools, movie theaters, and concert venues.

not disputing your basic point, just an observation about why some things get more attention than others.

pay people who work enough to have a decent life. take care of the people who can't work or have difficulty finding and maintaining a source of livelihood, for whatever reason.

these things aren't hard to do. most places that have the resources we do, do them. quite a few places that don't have the resources we do, do them.

we as a society simply value other things more. shame on us.

What russell said, 08:25

And another consideration for shooters getting all the attention being a bad thing....
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/thresholds-of-violence
In the day of Eric Harris, we could try to console ourselves with the thought that there was nothing we could do, that no law or intervention or restrictions on guns could make a difference in the face of someone so evil. But the riot has now engulfed the boys who were once content to play with chemistry sets in the basement. The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It’s worse. It’s that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts. ...

I will take a little shot at incrementalism. I guess it depends on how one defines it, but progress here tends to come in large steps. FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society. Also, on the other side, the Republicans have made government social programs the boogeyman because they speak in very large terms about how government and taxation are the worst things in the world, the road to serfdom, etc... They don’t get all of what they want obviously, and I don’t think they really want some of what they say ( big government has its uses for conservatives if they control it) but they always present their big picture as the obvious desirable goal we should all be striving for.

Do Democrats do the same? No. We are told single payer will never ever happen, we have to be practical, and if anything it is the Republicans who claim the Democrats are in their sneaky way trying to bring us socialism, which by their definition means Sweden or Pol Pot’s Cambodia as if there was any difference. Democrats sometimes try to sound like Republicans by claiming they are the ones who are really fiscally responsible and wish to strike Grand Bargains.

In practice you don’t get all you want, but the steps can sometimes be large and you should openly think big and not be defensive in saying that the free market dream of the Republicans is as unworkable as communism. Read Karl Polanyi, who I stumbled on in the late 90’s when Democrats were so proud of how they had left the New Deal behind. Back then Tom Friedman was yammering on about the wisdom of financial markets and CEO’s and golden straitjackets and wasn’t considered a joke. Social Security privatization was treated seriously.

On my favorite subject, the Palestinians in the US have always had to argue their case within a Zionist framework. One started out with the presupposition that the Israelis had every right to drive them out of 78 percent of their homeland and the argument was over how much of the remaining 22 percent they might be allowed to have if they were worthy, after an endless negotiating process. It is a bad place to be in if claiming all 22 percent of your homeland is one extreme of the political spectrum. The left in the US on economic issues has often acted like it was in the same position.

We are told

We are?

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/real-americans-vs-coastal-elites-the-myth-behind-this-un-american-conceit-2018-05-15?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

The next time either Schlapp uses the term "elites", they should have their teeth punched down their throats by someone living in flyover country ... me.


I really should give more work on a response to the thoughtful replies. Let me respond by saying that the various economic, social, and political dysfunctions (at least for most, although not top 10%) has been happening by baby steps since at least ~1970. Step by step. I have not patience really for using baby steps in reversing this.

I use guns as an example of the "Look Squirrels!" tactics used by the entire political establishment because homicides in general, and deaths by guns too, have been declining for roughly thirty years; the exception is the mass shootings my mainly white and it matches the increase in income/wealth disparity, and economic and social stresses suffered. You can almost make a straight line chart of stresses to mass shootings.

The main correlation among countries in homicides, and homicides using guns, is not the amount of guns, nor the legality of them, it is the increase or decrease in poverty, and wealth and income, differences. There are European countries with a fair amount of legal gun ownership, and there are the Latin American countries in which gun ownership is basically illegal. What are the differences in homicides, or deaths in general, between them. Has the United States become more like Latin America or more like Europe?

The goal of the current political leadership is not to deal with guns, or gun violence, but to increase the votes, money, and passions of their base. Whatever you views on guns only determines which political party is using you.

Finally, the World Socialist Web Site has an article that does a better job of explaining, I think.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/19/mssf-m19.html

World Socialists? Speaking of a constituency that deserves to be disappointed ...

Yeah, we were told single payer will never ever happen.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hillary-clinton-single-payer-health-care-will-never-ever-happen/

From your link, Donald:

"People who have health emergencies can't wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass."

Good for you, Donald, for finding that.

Maybe your health is good enough for you to wait, and if so good for you.

I'm scratching my head a bit about making healthcare the place where one proves that big steps are better than incremental steps. Looking at the history of Obamacare and the efforts by the current admin to sabotage any benefits really underlines how it is impossible to imagine any change, absent getting on board with some of the Count's policy suggestions, could be large steps.

Some kind of "topia" on the horizon, worse than "dys", I expect.

https://www.thecut.com/2018/05/sex-robots-realbotix.html

Via Balloon Juice

I have 38 jokes already and counting.

I could see mp appointing both male and female sex robots to Cabinet positions and replacing most of the White House staff, with the exception of Kellyanne Conway, during his second, third and fourth terms, the last one occurring after he's released from jail, the republican proving ground for advanced statesmanship, in 2064.

I look forward to the Ross Douthatalittletotheleft robot with the Jordan Peterson attachments and pre-programmed algorithms, including a head-mounted automatic weapon for those days when even a male robot is feeling a little rejected and Incel.

It will have a driver's license too, as an option.

And a Twitter account.

Were I making movie about a meatworld guy or girl shopping for a used personal sex bot, this song would lead off the soundtrack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JGPcOkebXc

nobody wants dinner and a movie anymore?

Donald: I will take a little shot at incrementalism. I guess it depends on how one defines it, but progress here tends to come in large steps. FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society.

FDR's New Deal wasn't exactly a single big thing, though one can reasonably call it an instance of punctuated equilibrium if analogies between political economy and biological evolution are permitted.

FDR's election over Hoover was a single big thing. I imagine, but stand ready to be corrected, that there were Americans in 1932 who opposed FDR "from the Left". That there were Americans, even in 1932, who went around claiming "not a dime's worth of difference" between Republicans and Democrats would not surprise me at all. Elections have had consequences for a long time, as have complaints that they're merely exercises in choosing the lesser evil.

JBird: There are European countries with a fair amount of legal gun ownership, and there are the Latin American countries in which gun ownership is basically illegal. What are the differences in homicides, or deaths in general, between them. Has the United States become more like Latin America or more like Europe?

Leaving aside the temptation to ask for further and better particulars on European gun ownership, I will merely ask: does regulation of all those guns in Europe differ from the practically-no-regulation regime Americans rejoice in?

--TP

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2018/05/20/the-invisible-hand-in-the-sexual-marketplace/

I have plenty of thoughts about the so-called "sexual marketplace", first of all, that calling it a marketplace is full of shit conservative thinking gone full-bore whackadoodle, but it has never occurred to me to demand affirmative action, reparations, and unemployment benefits to ameliorate my relative lack of opportunity in it, by which I mean I'm not Warren Beatty, and if my demands are not met, I just might have to become the Pol Pot of romance.

I know when to keep my invisible hands to myself and on the imaginary women in my dreams, where they belong.

If it's a sexual marketplace, may I cruise the aisles for free samples, like at Costco.

I will accept coupons for two for the price of one freebies.

I'd like to upgrade to funny business class.


there are the Latin American countries in which gun ownership is basically illegal. What are the differences in homicides, or deaths in general, between them. Has the United States become more like Latin America or more like Europe?

the implicit assumption that Latin America and the US are equal in every way except gun laws seems shaky, IMO.

I will take a little shot at incrementalism. I guess it depends on how one defines it, but progress here tends to come in large steps. FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society.

Politics and law tend to be lagging indicators of social trends. By the time politicians are ready to stand up for or against some policy or law, most of the country has already made up its mind.

An interesting article, tangentially related to making big changes.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stephanie-kelton-economy-washington_us_5afee5eae4b0463cdba15121

I think liberals should be unabashedly for single payer while accepting the ACA as better than what came before. It is possible to hold two such thoughts in one’s head simultaneously, except when talking about American politics. The far left has the same problem— a friend of mine in real life has trouble acknowledging that the ACA did help some people.

I think liberals should be unabashedly for single payer while accepting the ACA as better than what came before.

Kind of moot until we can get ... yes, wait for it ... Democrats elected.

Getting Democrats elected might possibly be easier if people on the left pushed back harder on conservative framing. Republicans have been pushing their ( hypocritical) small government pro market ideology constantly since the late 70’s or so. ( Hypocritical because they like big government for some purposes.) Democrats have often accepted that framework, thinking it was the path to victory. Actually, I am talking about Democrats as though they were a monolith, but they’re not. Anyway, I think centrist Democrats saw the Reagan era as an opportunity to pull the Democrats to the right. It worked. That was the Clinton era. I am not sure it works so well anymore. Of course I am also biased.

I am going to leave the argument there. There are others I have read who could make the point more strongly, but I am pretty rusty on this stuff.

One thing is for sure: if you want Democrats to win, don't let sapient run the PR campaign.

Sapient,
Then we’ll need to elect different Democrats will we not? It seems to be a thing to say that demanding single payer as the same as asking for unicorns. There has been efforts for close to a century to get actual universal healthcare, but regardless of what Party is the majority, it has not happened.

Usually pragmatic steps are better, but that’s not working, and people are still dying or going bankrupt despite the ACA. Honestly, I want to burn the current “medical” system to ashes as I have personally suffered and seen what it has done to people I know.

Tony P

I missed your question. Sorry.

The countries with the greatest gun violence, and violence in general, are countries that both have the strictest gun laws and the greatest income and wealth inequality. Please note that the countries with the greatest violence also do not have the highest rates of gun ownership. The main determinant looks to be the wealth and income gap. The greater the gap, the greater the homicide rate using guns.

http://www.gregpalast.com/florida-honduras-inequality-kills-want-to-end-the-american-shooting-epidemic/

I think centrist Democrats saw the Reagan era as an opportunity to pull the Democrats to the right. It worked. That was the Clinton era.

I have no problem with the thesis that Clinton was to the right of where a lot of Democrats wished to go. (Although I think that there's a case to be made for the idea that that's what enabled him to get elected.)

But I wonder whether it was a case of "pulling the Democrats to the right". Or more a case of moving them less quickly to the left. I confess that at the time I wasn't watching the internals of the Democratic Party closely enough to be sure at this distance.

However my perception is that, over time, the country as a whole has been moving to what would previously have been considered the left. Not without (temporary, partial) reversals -- one of which we are seeing currently. Not as quickly as some would like . . . although far faster than others like. But if you step back and look at what things are like now, vs what they were like 20-30 years ago (i.e. at a time we all can remember), the changes are pretty striking. And pretty much all in the same direction. Look back half a century, which a couple of us can, and it's even more striking.

One thing is for sure: if you want Democrats to win, don't let sapient run the PR campaign.

Your gem-like wit is on display again, novakant!

It seems to be a thing to say that demanding single payer as the same as asking for unicorns.

It's not "a thing". If you were paying attention to the political struggle just to get the ACA with a public option passed, you might have noticed that it was a political impossibility. The ACA was passed ten years ago. As all legislation does, it needed some minor amendments. Instead, any additional work on it was obstructed by Republicans, and now the program is being sabotaged. It can't really be judged on its own merits since the good faith of Republicans, and concern for their own constituents, is entirely lacking.

Single payer is fine with me, as would be many "socialist" tweaks to our current system. But I don't like Bernie Sanders for a number of reasons, not least because he refused to disclose his tax returns while negatively campaigning on facts made available through Hillary Clinton's transparency, and interviews made it plain that he didn't understand his own policy initiatives.

As for Clinton wanting to pull the Democratic party to the right? No, he wanted to win. He did win (after a primary against candidates running to his left), and he was able to do some good even with Newt Gingrich as speaker of the House.

over time, the country as a whole has been moving to what would previously have been considered the left

maybe, ish.

i think some social, which is to say everyday cultural, things have shifted.

in other ways, no.

You might want to consider (just for example) how much less constricted we are in who we will marry. Gay marriage being only the most recent bit. Some of us, after all, were born while anti-miscegenation laws were still on the book across most of the country. Today, there's no significant desire to reinstate them.

Are there still people who recoil from those changes? Absolutely. But overall the culture (not just the law but the culture) has changed, and it ain't going back.

Are there other places, social, legal, or whatever, which have not changed? Yup. But are there significant changes to the right? The only one that springs to mind concerns guns. Not to say that guns aren't a serious problem. Just that they're the only significant example* that I can think of right off where change hasn't been to the left.

* You could argue that tax laws have, too. But I think that's a case of a temporary shift, which is already showing signs of a limited shelf life.

wj: Just that [gun laws are] the only significant example* that I can think of right off where change hasn't been to the left.

Think harder.

Cultural and socially, yes, we've moved leftward, although it's unfortunate that the things you list are even framed in that way. Nor am I as sure as you are that we'll never start sliding backward. Access to abortion is under constant assault, just to take the most obvious example.

As to taxes, "temporary" is questionable. The top bracket marginal rate has been declining since I was a kid in the fifties, while economic inequality has reached obscene levels.

The rightward shift in the economic realm goes far beyond the tax laws. The buying power of the minimum wage has been declining for decades. Bargaining power for workers? Kind of a quaint notion these days.

The ACA represents a certain kind of progress, but our health care system is a Kafka-esque nightmare, even though the rest of the developed world has somehow managed to evolve not one but many ways to run better systems than ours.

Let's see. Citizens United? Is that a leftward shift? The ongoing decimation of government agencies and functions? Maybe temporary; one can only hope.

You might want to consider (just for example) how much less constricted we are in who we will marry.

Yes. So, a social or cultural change.

And how many people find Reagan's nine most frightening words compelling?

Labor law, financial de-regulation, environmental regulation, any response whatsoever to climate change. How many people are on some form of public assistance, and what hoops do they have to go through to qualify. How many people are a paycheck, or a couple of paychecks, away from financial disaster.

Compare the GINI index from 40 years ago, to now.

I think it's outstanding that people can marry whoever they want to marry. To be honest, that's not so much a "left" thing as a libertarian one.

But 40 years ago a family like the one I grew up in could be reasonably comfortable and basically financially secure on a single household income. I paid about $2k a year to go to an outstanding public university, and I got a Pell Grant to pay for part of it.

Over the last 40 years the ideology and rhetoric of the free market has come to dominate almost every area of public life. I don't know if you want to call that a movement to "the right" or not, but it's one that the right has embraced and identifies with.

As far as tax laws, in 1980 the top marginal rate was 70%. In 1986 it was 50%. Now it's 39.6%.

So, not temporary.

wrs.

In particular, I'm glad he mentioned the hoops people have to go through the get public assistance. I know someone who may end up unable to work because of a medical condition, and the disability system makes the Kafka-esque health care system look like a walk in the park.

Not to mention that there's a constant barrage of vicious commentary from the right on people who need help of one sort or another. Corporate welfare on a grand scale is fine, though....

our health care system is a Kafka-esque nightmare

A friend of my wife and I was recently diagnosed with squamous cell cancer. He asked my wife to help organize a support system for him while he undergoes treatment. He asked her because she's really good at stuff like that, and has done similar things for other friends when they've faced illness.

Our friend is in for a week of radiation five days a week for the next five weeks, plus chemo in the first and last week. There's a really good radiation therapy clinic about 10 minutes from where he lives, but he doesn't have any money, so he's got weird insurance, so he has to go about 45 minutes away for that.

Then, 45 minutes back to the next town over from here for the chemo. On the same day. He is doing all of this as an outpatient, so they're sending him home with some kind of chemo delivery fanny pack that will trickle the chemicals into him through a port in his neck. While he hangs out at home and reads a book, I guess. I don't know what he does if there's a problem or malfunction or complication.

Inpatient care is not available to him. There is no coordinated care regime available to him, he has to go one place for some things, other places for other things. He is really fucking poor - single room occupancy, cleans floors at the dog shelter and a local non-profit for a living poor - but he makes too much money to qualify for the free ride service available in this area. He has no car. Because he's really freaking poor. So, we're trying to cobble together rides for him, so he can get to his appointments and not freaking die.

He won't be able to work, so our church is trying to get some money together to cover his rent for a couple of months. I'm not sure who's covering meals, it's not enough to just buy groceries for him because he doesn't really have a kitchen. We're not sure if he has a refrigerator.

Because he's really freaking poor.

If he didn't belong to the particular community of people that he belongs to, he would be up shit's creek without a paddle. And when I say "the particular community", I don't mean we're all saints, I mean several of us are retired and have the time and resources to devote entire days to shuttling our friend around.

Not everybody has that. I don't know what happens to those people. They probably get sick and die.

This is what freedom appears to mean to a lot of people. May something like this never fall on their heads.

On taxes, let me note that one of the changes under Reagan involved tax credits for low incomes. Refundable tax credits. A lot of the folks who current "conservatives" bitch about paying no taxes do so precisely because the Reagan administration made that happen. And celebrated the day the changes were signed into law.

Do we need to not only back out the most recent tax insanity, but raise the top rates? Sure. (Not to mention getting rid of the nonsense distinction between capital gains and any other form of income.) But my take, perhaps unduly optimistic, is that what we just saw was a case of massive overreach. One which will not only collapse but result in the more sensible tax structure we need. Sometimes, regretably, it takes a serious blow upside the head to get across the message that a change is necessary. I hope and believe that this will prove to be it.

As a side note, I must point out that pretty much nobody actually paid those 1950s top marginal rates. The effective top rates, while higher than today, were a lot closer than the nominal top rate would suggest. (Remind me to work up a post on the subject of Enough. It's a concept that needs more attention.)

And when I say "the particular community", I don't mean we're all saints...May something like this never fall on their heads.

You're a lot more saintly than I am. Most of the time these days I wish something like that would fall on certain people's heads. I can tell myself that the point would be that they'd maybe learn some empathy, but the worst of it is, they probably wouldn't.

:-(

As a side note, I must point out that pretty much nobody actually paid those 1950s top marginal rates.

It's not actually that simple.

But 40 years ago a family like the one I grew up in could be reasonably comfortable and basically financially secure on a single household income.

They were financially secure on a lot fewer products and services that people expect to have and have now. And people have to work fewer hours now to have the same products available then. And there's a lot of products available now that weren't available then. Or only to the wealthy.

"Looking at the average hourly earnings, however, ignores at least three very important factors: expansion of non-wage benefits, fall in the price of consumer goods and rise in price of services, such as education and healthcare."
U.S. Cost of Living and Wage Stagnation, 1979-2015

After all the slicing, dicing, puréeing, mixing and manipulation of the data my parents could rent an entire house with real yards, support a family, and go to college on about 1.5 minimum wage jobs. In Santa Clara County. It did help that the minimum wage was around $11 adjusted for inflation, college was mostly free, and there were still enough fruit orchards left that among my earliest memories is of the beautiful scents of all those trees blooming. It says something when a preschooler is hit so hard by some smells.

Today, there’s an estimated 40,000 homeless people, living in campers, vans, cars, hidden encampments, or just on the street in the area with many of them employed. The absolute cost of living has crushed any increase in income that most Americans have gotten.

It is great to have this hand sized computer on which I am typing my post. So? Somehow, I think having black&white TV coming through the antenna (don't forget the eight stations!) real books, record players, and maybe TV dinners you heated in the oven would be a great trade-off for not living in a tent. The supposed cheap, or useful, services and devices don’t mean anything if the necessities life shelter can not be met.

I realize it's tempting to reason from personal experience. I succumb to the temptation myself from time to time.

But seriously -- Santa Clara County? I will be amazed if thete are a half dozen counties in the entire country which have experienced a bigger jump in the cost of living, especially housing, than the heart of Silicon Valley.

But seriously -- Santa Clara County?

A Silicon Valley house that burned out two years ago is now on the market for $800,000

But seriously -- Santa Clara County?

A Silicon Valley house that burned out two years ago is now on the market for $800,000

Two for the price of one click...

How I Caused California’s Housing Crisis: Efforts in the 1980s to curb the state’s explosive growth are having unintended consequences three decades later.

Somehow, I think having black&white TV coming through the antenna (don't forget the eight stations!) real books, record players, and maybe TV dinners you heated in the oven would be a great trade-off for not living in a tent. The supposed cheap, or useful, services and devices don’t mean anything if the necessities life shelter can not be met.

This strikes me as similar (or parallel) to the plaints of people who want the US to go back to some 'golden age' when all those things were operative. But two things to consider: How do you ask all those people who have grown to depend on those services just give them up and how the absence of those services led to other kinds of injustice and oppression. I'm not saying that having internet or everyone carrying a smartphone somehow magically makes those things disappear, but just turning the clock back doesn't somehow make the things that we've discovered about our society disappear.

In a sense, this is privilege talking, because one imagines themselves to be, in a return to 'the good old days', in the position to be happy with that level of goods and services. Perhaps it would be possible to turn back the clock and keep the social progress that has been made in terms of rights for women, people of color, LGBT, the handicapped. Yet the kind of progress that is generally lauded, that of entrepreneurial energy and technological advances, goes hand in hand with increased diversity. I don't think it is possible to say that one causes the other, but I think it is possible to argue that you can't have one without the other.

This would probably do a lot to help with housing costs...
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB827

But it's not without its other costs:
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2018/01/22/berkeley-mayor-wiener-skinner-housing-bill-declaration-war-neighborhoods

LJ, you have convinced me. We should keep all the technological inventions of the past several decades and the accompanying social progress. Black and white television, contrary to popular belief, is not the key to lowering the Gini coefficient.

The first part of JBird’s post was about the plight of American families below the top ten percent or so. He was repeating what the Atlantic article said and also what Russell said. He then waxed nostalgic about his youth, giving you and wj the opening needed to miss the main point.

Looking back, also what JanieM said.

I see that JBird was responding to Charles WT’s point. Conservatives commonly dismiss the issue of inequality by saying that poor people in America are richer by some quantitative measure than ordinary people in Mali or than people some decades back, but the issue is more complex than that. For one thing, humans inescapably compare themselves to the people around them. A poor person today is much better off in some material respects than a nobleman in the Middle Ages.

If you have to work harder to have the fancy gadgets people see as necessities than people had to work 50 years ago to have a black and white TV with three or four channels, then you are arguably worse off. You can acknowledge the social progress made and the point that economic inequality has increased simultaneously.

“A poor person today is much better off in some material respects than a nobleman in the Middle Ages.”

I forgot to include the “ So what?” that would have completed my point.

Donald, if you could restate the main point, I'd appreciate it. Bob McManus posted the Atlantic link, and I didn't see any indication that jbird was talking about it. I admit that I didn't follow his comments very closely, but I really don't see him making any reference to the Atlantic article.

At any rate, if you want to complain about the plight of American families and long for a return to the 50's when things were better, you are, even if you realize it or not, also suggesting that things were better because women and minority knew their place.

At any rate, if you want to complain about the plight of American families and long for a return to the 50's when things were better, you are, even if you realize it or not, also suggesting that things were better because women and minority knew their place.

lj, I don't think that's true at all.

It's entirely possible to wish for a return to relative economic equality (and to wax nostalgic about the fifties as a representative time) and for the preservation of the cultural progress we've made in civil rights and other areas.

I wish for both those things every day before breakfast.

And after breakfast, too.

Also, I don't think Donald meant that jbird literally cited the Atlantic link. I took him to mean that jbird was making a similar point as the Atlantic article, and as russell, and as yvt.

My first comment was in response to Donald's first in which he seems to know jbird's main point was. I read the Atlantic article and I really don't see much relationship to what jbird has posted, but as I said, I haven't followed him too closely.

To try and address the whole question of economic progress, it seems that the kind of society we have, where economic hotspots can emerge and concentrate, you are going to have these kinds of problems and the only way to stop them is to find ways to restrict people's movement or choice in some manner. Rent control, zoning, etc. But those kinds of schemes are susceptible to gaming by the 10%, so you need a relatively robust committment to social justice, which doesn't really obtain in the US. But the problem isn't the inequality, it is the lack of social justice.

Any population that does not have power can be exploited. This recent article in the Guardian about Australia suggests this.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/21/death-in-the-sun-australias-88-day-law-leaves-backpackers-exploited-and-exposed

Certainly, the problem would disappear if Australia would go back to the 50's when there wasn't agricultural industry that has developed. To quote Donald, so what? Making an industry disappear is not really an option, so waxing nostalgic for one's past and then suggesting that things would be better is really just a value signaling rather than an acknowledgement of the power issues that are the cause.

This is not to complain about waxing nostalgic, almost everything I write is generally based on some inchoate longing for the past. But that is all it is, longing. It doesn't represent an approach to dealing with inequality or power differentials, and when it is juxtaposed on jbird's 'both sides are equally guilty', it not only seems a lot more than simply wishing he was a preschooler breathing in the scents of the orchards, it carries the possibility being hijacked precisely by someone like Trump.

If cellphones suddenly disappeared and TV turned b/w again, the impact would be limited. Same with our portable music playing devices (tape would do as well and we could do even without that).
But the internet has by now become essential, losing it would mean major changes to society (and I do not mean coping with the loss of cat and prawn* videos).
It could be argued that the internet is the one fundamental thing dividing us from the 50ies as a point of no return. It also played an important part in social progress. I doubt that gay marriage (or a black president***) would have happened without it.

*you know what nsfw** word I mean
**not Nationalsozialistische Feuerwehr
***unfortunately it also made the current POS-OTUS possible.

As for "waxing nostalgic," I plunged into this conversation because of wj's However my perception is that, over time, the country as a whole has been moving to what would previously have been considered the left, which was, IIRC, a response to something Donald wrote.

If we're going to talk about which direction the country has moved, we're inevitably going to be making comparisons between the past and now. wj thinks we've moved "left," full stop. I think we've moved "left" culturally and socially (all to the good), and "right" economically (in a very bad way). That has nothing to do with waxing nostalgic.

Also, I disagree strongly with this: But the problem isn't the inequality, it is the lack of social justice..

They're both a problem. Solving one is *not* guaranteed to solve the other. Not that they're not intertwined.

If we want to recapture the economic equality of the 1950's, we need to raise taxes and provide government services. These are policies that Democrats have been putting forward since the 1950's. Democrats haven't been getting elected consistently because people became convinced (by Ronald Reagan) that government is the problem, and even "lefties" bought into the "technocrat" anti-data, anti-wonk view that policy matters less than rhetoric..

Are Democrats perfect? No. Have they tried work-arounds, using rhetoric they thought would appeal to Republicans in order to get elected? Yes. But the numbers show that their administrations have made things better each time. Going one step forward during Democratic administrations, and then two steps back during Republican administrations doesn't work out very well in the long run though.

The lesson here is quit letting Republicans get elected. They poison government, not only while they're in office, but by doing long-term damage to the judiciary.

This shouldn't be hard. The difficult part is unifying that 90% of the people to vote for their own interests. I have some sympathy for people who understand this; but I've lost interest in listening to people who cut off their nose to spite their face by enabling the election of Trump.

But the problem isn't the inequality, it is the lack of social justice.

This. As long as a significant part of our population can favor policies based on hate, including separating parents from children at the borders, and indefinitely incarcerating people; as long as significant numbers of people can buy into the corruption of Trump, there will be no effort to address inequality.

If cellphones suddenly disappeared...the impact would be limited.

Perhaps in the US and Europe though I think you're way underestimating the impact cell phones have had,

But, in much of the world, cell phones are people's first and perhaps only connection to the Internet. Also, in countries where large portions of the populations are bankless, the ability to transfer funds using the phones enables livelihoods that would not otherwise exist.

lj: But the problem isn't the inequality, it is the lack of social justice..

me: They're both a problem. Solving one is *not* guaranteed to solve the other. Not that they're not intertwined.

I take it back, partly. I objected and still object to the characterization of "the" problem, as if there's only one. But depending on what you mean by "social justice," inequality *is* social injustice. I was thinking more of race-based discrimination, LGBT issues, etc., which is a different way of slicing the conceptual cake, IMHO.

I left off economic, which may account for this. I don't think _economic_ inequality is a problem if the population has what they need, though it could have an aspect of panem et circenses.

Perhaps I'm just thinking that creating an America society where there is more equality would be a lot harder than creating a society where there is more social justice. I realize that they are intertwined, but the discussion here seems to lean towards the idea solving economic inequality solves social justice issues. I feel that this may be wrong, in that policies that improve the economic lot of visible minorities may actually encourage and justify oppression.

I'm reminded of something that I can't find that Eric Garner and Uber (I think) were essentially doing the same thing, but the latter is lauded as 'disruptors' while Garner is choked to death. Likewise, Coates writing about reparations and how they essentially have placed African Americans in a position where they are always starting with less. These seem to be issues beyond questions of economic inequality.

Furthermore, social justice issues boil down to the idea that people have rights that are permanent, like monads. Questions of economic equality end up devolving into arguing how much things are worth to different people and are too easily exploited for effect.

Just finished Class Matters by Steve Fraser. Not as good as the previous book, Age of Acquiescence, which has a great section on the Knights of Labor strikes in the 1870s, but very very readable. Chapters include Plymouth to Ellis Island to MLK. Great on race, not so great on gender, trying to being back class into discussions.

Fraser is an old crank, teaches labor history at Columbia(?), almost lost his cherry in an empty field in Miss during Freedom Summer, got arrested for having C4 in his refrigerator in 1969.

For the most part, I'm gonna let the kids figure out the new intersectionality configurations, since we old cranks don't understand the workplace anymore. Job of us olds talking to each other is to get us to shut up, point at books, and get out of the way.

Questions of economic equality end up devolving into arguing how much things are worth to different people and are too easily exploited for effect.

When economic equality (forget "questions of") reaches sufficiently high levels, violent revolution is often the result (or at least has been historically).

Don't let the argument devolve. Don't let it be exploited for effect. Make better arguments.

I think you underestimate how much issues of social justice and economic inequality are intertwined, lj. I tend to think it's almost impossible to solve the two problems independently.

Economic power is political power. Oppression is achieved largely by economic means.

But the problem isn't the inequality, it is the lack of social justice.

Inequality per se - the fact that some people have more money and more stuff than other people - is, all other things excluded, neither here nor there. Especially if the folks who have less money and stuff have enough money and stuff to live decent lives.

Beyond a certain point, money per se actually isn't that important.

However.

All other things are not excluded. We don't live in a socially cohesive country. We have no consistent or commonly-held sense of mutual obligation or responsibility.

Quite a lot of us resent being asked to help other people. Wealth is seen as the reward for a variety of kinds of personal virtue. People who don't have it, could have it if they simply changed their personal habits. Asking people with money to send some of that to people who have less money is, in that context, almost a violation of some kind of natural law.

I'm not just talking about welfare, I'm talking about, for instance, paying working people more. A $15 standard for an hourly wage is seen as a threat to the freaking republic. Not on pragmatic grounds, but as a matter of principle.

In the world we actually live in, inequality and social injustice cannot be teased apart.

Wealthy people have more resources, and they use those resources not just to have lovely vegetables and nice cars, but to further their own interests and preferences. Concerning 10 million things. All of which impact the lives, and the quality of life, of everyone else.

You can't separate them. Not in the real world.

"Job of us olds talking to each other is to get us to shut up, point at books, and get out of the way."

Yup, that's about all she wrote.

WE are the ones who need to get off the lawn, sippy cups and all.

As I wrote "all she wrote", it occurred to me to wonder why that phrase is not "all HE wrote", given that it's been around for eons and probably would have been subject to the prevailing male dominance.

Who is "SHE", and what did she write in the original instance.

Welp, wouldn't ya know:

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-tha1.htm

Turns out, maybe, that machine gun nests taken out by 19-year old American soldiers, and live grenades leapt upon by the same contingent of lads on both battle fronts in World War II were the live-action results of broken male hearts, the latter shattered by Dear John letters from the main squeezes on the home front.

I guess it beats the pitiful Incel cultist drama queens driving into crowds of people in Toronto or targeting young girls who might have snubbed prom invitations in schools across the country.

Soldier #1: I'm going over the hill alone and taking out that big gun emplacement. Tell Becky I loves her.

Soldier #2: Hold on, we have air support dialed in. Whaddaya, crazy?

Soldier #1: There's plum nothing to go back too, anymore. Best to go out a hero.

Soldier #2: Get a holt of yerself, kid. You have your whole life in front of you.

Soldier #1: I'm tellin ya, that's all she wrote!

Geronimo!!


Now THAT'S what you call a marketplace that plays for keeps.

I hope conservatives don't mind if the next time a young American battle hero gets in the way of incoming that the operative phrase becomes "That's all they wrote!".

https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/

Whaddya gonna do, court martial someone?


two things to consider: How do you ask all those people who have grown to depend on those services just give them up and how the absence of those services led to other kinds of injustice and oppression

Not to mention How do you recreate the businesses which provided stuff that is now dealt with via the Internet? The buildings are no longer available. The staff is doing other jobs (or retired and not interested). The mere expertise to do a lot of those jobs has died off in a lot of cases.

It could be done. But nothing like quickly and easily.

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-285_q8l1.pdfBoth sides do it?

Democrats don't appoint justices that consistently perpetuate inequality.

wj thinks we've moved "left," full stop. I think we've moved "left" culturally and socially (all to the good), and "right" economically (in a very bad way).

I would indeed say that we have moved to the left culturally and socially. But economically the record is . . . mixed. Certainly we have lost ground when it comes to income/wealth inequality, although I'm not sure I agree that this is a goal of the right. (A result, perhaps, of the way that we have achieved other goals.) I'd say rather that it is a goal of libertarians, rather than of conservatives.

I'm drafting up a post on my take on the subject. Hopefully to post later today. Long story short, MY goal would be
1) equality of opportunity,
2) NOT equality of outcomes
3) adequate support for those who are struggling, funded by money from those who have been most successful.

Sorry for the imbed fail. Here is the link.

Economic power is political power.

It is. But it have to be?

Suppose we got rid of the nonsense of Citizens United. And then provided campaign funding from strictly public sources. (You could spend all you want to promote Ideas. As long as you are not running for office.)

Oh yeah, and we'd need to extend the bribery laws to include a prohibition of some kind on working for lobbying/advocacy organizations for some time (a decade?) after leaving office.

But if we did those things, would economic power still translate straightforwardly to political power?

But if we did those things, would economic power still translate straightforwardly to political power?

Yes.

A comment on nostalgia
https://xkcd.com/1996/

I sometimes wonder if the guy who does XKCD reads this blog. He seems to have apropos offerings at a far higher rate than coincidence would explain....

But if we did those things

Doing those things is a big lift. Even setting the conditions for doing those things is a big lift.

You're talking about probably a couple of generations of sustained effort.

And even then, economic power is still going to be political power, it just might be less tilted in one direction.

Power is power. Justice that is based on charity, or noblesse oblige, is at best extraordinarily fragile.

If you actually want a political and social level playing field, you are going to have to address economic inequality as it is currently expressed in the US.

I'm not talking about leveling, I'm talking about addressing the situation where so many people are struggling in the first place.

Not re-distribution. Distribution. Stakeholder status, and stakeholder renumeration, needs to extend to include, not just more people, but most people.

People who work need to be paid.

But two things to consider

I'd like to challenge the idea that widespread availability of cheap consumer goods is a measure of a robust economy. Ditto cheap consumer electronics.

Economic robustness is not about cheap stuff at Walmart. It's about not facing bankruptcy or loss of your home if you are out of work for a couple of months, or if you get sick. It's about having access to training or education that enables you to participate in the economy at a level beyond being a human droid. It's about investing in infrastructure and research and industrial policy that sets the stage for the next generation or two of growth and economic health.

Cheap stuff is great. Not spending your life in fear of economic disaster, even better.

NOT equality of outcomes

If you select rich parents, the chances that you will die rich are pretty good. Similarly, if you selected poor parents, you most likely will die poor.

This strikes me as a rather pertinent observation regarding "equality of opportunity".

Job of us olds talking to each other is to get us to shut up, point at books, and get out of the way.

I hear you, brother. Fortunately, the iron laws of biology will take care of this....automatically.

If you select rich parents, the chances that you will die rich are pretty good. Similarly, if you selected poor parents, you most likely will die poor.

This strikes me as a rather pertinent observation regarding "equality of opportunity".

And there are two things you need to do to overcome them:
- You provide adequate funding for public education. Thru college. That's a step towards true equality of opportunity.
- You put substantial taxes on inheritances. (Above some threshold, of course, but nobody "needs" to get $1 million plus, basically tax free, in return for a deft selection of parents.)

Since it's an Open Thread, I feel compelled to share this. There is an immigration bill, the ENLIST Act, which has as cosponsors, over half of the members of the House . . . which still hasn't been brought to a vote by the GOP "leadership". Makes it clear why a discharge petition on immigration bills is on the verge of happening.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/50-million-american-households-cant-afford-basic-living-expenses-2018-05-18?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

And there are two things you need to do to overcome them:

Those are fine, but you have missed perhaps the most important one: Reallocation of the distribution of actually existing political and economic power...start by repealing the Taft-Hartley Act to take just one example.

Cheap stuff is great. Not spending your life in fear of economic disaster, even better.

This is what I have been trying to say. It does not matter what wondrous technology, fantastic medicines, exciting new industries, or even what your civil rights are, if you cannot support yourself, or worse, your family. Without having food, clothing, and shelter, nothing else matters at all. There are a large number of LGBT people living in San Francisco on the damn streets, or always facing that possibility. What do you think their daily concerns are? You can tell some white person that all things being equal it is better being white than black. Would you say that to some homeless man or in the large areas that are economic waste zones? "You are privileged you are straight, white, male!" Saying that to someone who has no job, or who can't send his kids to school, or even buy them shoes, is going to go over real well. It is common for many employed people in Blue areas to have the same problems are poor people in Red areas. They will have more money, sure, but the cost of living is so much higher.

The "greed is good" economics along with the general belief in low taxes, decreased regulations, and reduced social services is a part of both Parties; the differences between the parties are that the Democrats are less extreme and do expect government to work, while the Republicans want to eliminate everything and do want the government to fail.

Both Parties have also used often social issues like abortion, guns, marriage, blacks, gays, immigration, and so on as tool to distract, demonize, separate, and control their chosen bases while creating the economic and crises that we now have. Neither Party is truly left or right on social issues albeit compared to each other they are, and both are economically pro big business, pro-wealth.

There are a large number of LGBT people living in San Francisco on the damn streets, or always facing that possibility.

There's a reason San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. And it's not because property owners and real estate developers are deliberately limiting housing to keep least/sale prices up.

Italiexo!

"You are privileged you are straight, white, male!"

nobody says that. that's not what "privileged" means in the context of "white [or male] privilege".

"You are privileged you are straight, white, male!"

I'm hoping that Donald can hop back in and tell me what he thinks jbird's main point is.

- You put substantial taxes on inheritances. (Above some threshold, of course, but nobody "needs" to get $1 million plus, basically tax free, in return for a deft selection of parents.)

You believe this, and you call yourself a Republican?!?!?!?

You believe this, and you call yourself a Republican?!?!?!?

I don't expect he will man the barricades, but maybe he will knit us some good head gear. /:)

You believe this, and you call yourself a Republican?!?!?!?

Yup. One who believes that people should get ahead based on their own efforts and contributions. Not based on who they chanced to get for parents.

Surely I am not the only one who has noticed the bit of cognitive dissonance that denounces those who accept support from the government, because they haven't "earned" it. Yet have no problem with those who accept analogous unearned support from their parents (or grandparents, etc.). If unearned is the problem in one case, why not in the other?

I'm hoping that Donald can hop back in and tell me what he thinks jbird's main point is.

JBird’s main point is that he obviously can’t write.

I meant to say:

“You are privileged because you are a straight white male.”

I also should have added:

“Therefore you cannot complain about how badly off you are.”

If unearned is the problem in one case, why not in the other?

Well, certain denizens of this blog, never mind a lot of other people, would say that your idea interferes with people's God-given right to get as much of the world's collective wealth as they can under their own control, and then never be challenged as to whether they have the God-given right to decide what to do with it forever after.

I agree with you rather than with them, but who are we among so many? (To quote a phrase.)

Well, certain denizens of this blog, never mind a lot of other people, would say that your idea interferes with people's God-given right to get as much of the world's collective wealth as they can under their own control, and then never be challenged as to whether they have the God-given right to decide what to do with it forever after.

Who are you talking about? Sometimes it's important to name names.

I agree with you rather than with them

Who is them? Are you afraid of being banned?

Without having food, clothing, and shelter, nothing else matters at all.

i take your point here, but i would say that not living in fear of the police, and/or not living in fear of physical assault, are right up there with food, clothes, and shelter.

Therefore you cannot complain about how badly off you are.

one of my oldest friends is a straight, white male, who is trying to sell his car so he can make a $400/month rent on a single room rental.

he has no bottom teeth anymore because HE IS FREAKING POOR and has no insurance, but he's able bodied and doesn't have kids and so doesn't qualify for public resources to address that.

and, he works. gig economy, y'all.

privilege is certainly a thing, but it only goes so far.

I don't expect he will man the barricades

hey, you never know!

in any case, headgear is ok with me.

privilege is certainly a thing, but it only goes so far

I realize this is just a turn of phrase by Russell, but I feel that one of the problems we have when we deal with privilege is that we treat it as a 'thing' that people have or don't have. This is all of a piece of how Western society is able to commodify anything, but in this case, it really obscures what privilege is. As soon as we start thinking of privilege as something held by people rather than seeing it as built in to the relationships and implications from those relationships, it becomes something that we have to try and grab onto and throw out and leads to people getting all bent out of shape when it is pointed out that they somehow 'have' privilege. I've been turning over different ways to conceptualize it, from military rank or some sort of D&D force multiplier. But thinking of it as something that can be tallied up and measured, has us misunderstand it.

I have a similar complaint about the concept of microaggressions, because aggression implies some person is actually 'aggressing'. Yet microaggressions often come about because the person is simply unaware, but the reason we call is an 'aggression' is that we have to conceptualize it as an attack in order to make it into unacceptable behavior. Certainly, if we treated microaggressions as something like rain, it puts the onus on people on the receiving end to protect themselves, which is not right. But if we imply an idea that people are causing this, as I think the term aggression does, we have a hard time making people realize what is actually happening.

This is not to suggest that Russell is thinking privilege is 'a thing', it's just the train of thought that line set off.

Draining the swamp - pedophiles and princes edition.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/princes-president-fortune-seekers-201814656--finance.html

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