Against Sanders

 

I’ve probably forgotten a variety of lessons my parents and others tried to teach me when I was young.  But I haven’t forgotten everything.  The most important thing my mother taught me was that we should count our blessings.  She never used that exact phrase, as I recall, but that was the sentiment.  My brother and I complained, as kids do, but my mom always counseled us to put things in perspective, and she was very correct to do so. I probably think about that lesson at least once a week.

I was reminded of it again when I read this article at National Review*.  Bernie Sanders, as usual, is whining about how shabbily the American worker is treated in our (mostly) capitalist system, and is calling for a change in the federal law that considers a 40-hour work week to be standard, with overtime kicking in after that.  The ancient socialist senator from Vermont — who was once kicked out of a commune due to his laziness — wants that number changed to 32 hours a week, without a decrease in weekly earnings.

The part of the article that reminds me of my mother’s advice is when the authors take us for a stroll down memory lane of what life was life was like for the common people before the Industrial Revolution.  I won’t quote the examples they gave, you can go read the whole article, but I do want to expand on those examples.  It wasn’t so many generations ago that many kids went around barefoot in the summer because shoes were too costly for many families to keep their kids in shoes all year long.  Even the wealthy didn’t have shoes that were made specifically for their right and left feet before the 19th century.  Not so very long ago, plowing a field was done behind a mule or an ox, and washing clothes was done by hand, beside a creek, using soap that you had to make yourself.  Metal ore and coal were brought out of the ground by miners who often did not live to old age because the occupation was so dangerous.  And in much of the world lacking free enterprise, things haven’t moved far beyond these examples.

Even the American working at a car wash today, driving a 25 year old car, and living in a trailer house — someone who we would think of as poor today — lives a luxurious life compared to the doctors and lawyers of 200 years ago. Queen Victoria of England would have been astonished by the choices we have when we go to a modern supermarket. Who among us would want to trade places with even the richest pharaohs of ancient Egypt?

So the advice from my mother still stands.  Appreciate the good things in your life.  Stop whining because someone else has more than you.  Odds are you have a better life, with more opportunities, than 99% of the humans who have ever lived and died.  And go read that article at NR.

The mother in question

*Yes, yes, I know.  All true conservatives are supposed to hold those globalist, elitist, America-hating cocktail sippers who write for National Review in contempt.

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  1. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    First, people today do not realize how good they have it and how thankful we should be to those who made this civilization.

    And a related point: It is far easier to destroy than to create, and once destroyed civilizational recovery can take many centuries.

    • #31
  2. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):
    The author also makes the imbecile but fashionable* assertion that it is a fact(!) that “hard times only exist in the reality of our perceptions” and thus people back in the day did not know they had it tough. It is true that those people did not know what improvements the future would bring, but they certainly knew they were vulnerable to poverty and starvation, could die suddenly of disease or accident or in childbirth, and were very likely to die if they required surgery.

    But those experiencing it at the time would not have the comparison available to our times that we cannot help but see the past through no matter how “objective” we may try to be.

    • #32
  3. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    I guess it could be worse than what Sanders is demanding.

    Many young people are adamant that what needs to be done is to institute an annual  guaranteed income, courtesy of the government, without a requirement that anyone receiving such lift a finger.

    As for me, having been part of both parties, what separates the Dems from the “R”s is that the Dems do not understand economics. Many of them do not even know what “supply vs demand” happens to mean. This is true even among the college educated.

    Adjusting the wages ever higher  in an America where we are about to witness AI eliminate many industries, with Elon Musk’s fleets of “Smart vehicles” also to take a bite out of the delivery job segment, is beyond ridiculous.

    In any event, my small Northern Calif county is reeling from the imposition of a 20 dollar an hour minimum wage. Our favorite restaurant’s owners look much more worried than they did even during COVID. Unless an eatery raises the prices of food to absurd amounts, trying to pay the workers this ridiculous amount spells death to many businesses.

    “The Dollar Tree” has announced that it is culling 600 to 1000 of its stores nation wide. Many of them will be here in Calif, again due to the 20 buck an hour minimum wage. This store is a favorite of mine, as I can buy the same gardening implements, kitchen accessories etc for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

    And for the town of Lakeport, it is one of the few consistent employers of young people, who were already getting 15 dollars an hour. They also were already getting  full health insurance coverage. Unlike Starbucks up the street, one does not have to be a pink haired AntiFa member to get hired and many older people are employed there as well.

    I think before anyone takes office, they should be “re-educated” about what reality is. The local public radio station blares out that allowing  any business that is a national franchise to exist is a bad bad  thing. I’d love to see the top people at that station have to undergo such a training on good ol supply and demand economics.

    • #33
  4. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):
    “The Dollar Tree” has announced that it is culling 600 to 1000 of its stores nation wide. Many of them will be here in Calif, again due to the 20 buck an hour minimum wage. This store is a favorite of mine, as I can buy the same gardening implements, kitchen accessories etc for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

    I’ve read an article about people cheering for the closing of these type of stores.  So we’re supposed to believe that many millions of Americans are underprivileged and living in a “food desert” because the nearest grocery store is more than a few miles away.  And we’re also supposed to be angry that there are all these little grocery stores all over the place, like Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and others bringing groceries to low-population zones that cannot support a big supermarket.  And we’ve got a befuddled president who is railing against the entire grocery industry for their greed — an industry which survives on a very low profit margin. 

    We’re a very well-fed nation with an unbelievable array of food choices, and yet we have plenty of people who whine and complain because someone somewhere is making a buck.  It’s a shame they cannot appreciate how good we have it.

    • #34
  5. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    So we’re supposed to believe that many millions of Americans are underprivileged and living in a “food desert” because the nearest grocery store is more than a few miles away.

    Many of these supposed “food deserts” contain smaller grocery stores which the activists “accidentally” failed to count.

    Other “food deserts” are places where nobody lives: I once studied a metro area food desert map and found areas which were public parks, industrial zones, and airports. “Oh no! the center of that runway is several miles from a grocery store!”

    But a cause of “food deserts” which activists persistently ignore is crime: Stores close or move to safer areas. But locking up thieves and robbers is never considered a reasonable policy.

    • #35
  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    So we’re supposed to believe that many millions of Americans are underprivileged and living in a “food desert” because the nearest grocery store is more than a few miles away.

    Many of these supposed “food deserts” contain smaller grocery stores which the activists “accidentally” failed to count.

    Other “food deserts” are places where nobody lives: I once studied a metro area food desert map and found areas which were public parks, industrial zones, and airports. “Oh no! the center of that runway is several miles from a grocery store!”

    But a cause of “food deserts” which activists persistently ignore is crime: Stores close or move to safer areas. But locking up thieves and robbers is never considered a reasonable policy.

    A couple years ago I saw a video where people went to look at areas designated food deserts, and yes, one of them was smack-dab in the middle of an airport. 

    • #36
  7. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Globalitarian Lower Order Misa… (View Comment):

    One more thing about affluence. I know I take clothes for granted but here is a good article, explaining why in 1347 a high-quality shirt cost $3,500 (or in 2013 with inflation to $4,200).

    ***

    And we’ll say that the spinner is in a hurry to make this thread because the shirt’s for her or someone she knows (all spinners were female in medieval times), so we’ll say she worked her tail off and did it in 500 hours.

    So, 7 hours for sewing, 72 for weaving, 500 for spinning, or 579 hours total to make one shirt. At minimum wage – $7.25 an hour – that shirt would cost $4,197.25.
    And that’s just a standard shirt.
    And that’s not counting the work that goes into raising sheep or growing cotton and then making the fiber fit for weaving. Or making the thread for the sewing.
    And you’d still need pants (tights or breeches) or a skirt, a bodice or vest, a jacket or cloak, stockings, and, if at all possible, but a rare luxury, shoes.

    NOTE: Back in the pre-industrial days, the making of thread, cloth, and clothing ate up all the time that a woman wasn’t spending cooking and cleaning and raising the children. That’s why single women were called “spinsters” – spinning thread was their primary job. “I somehow or somewhere got the idea,” wrote Lucy Larcom in the 18th century, “when I was a small child, that the chief end of woman was to make clothing for mankind.” Ellen Rollins: “The moaning of the big [spinning] wheel was the saddest sound of my childhood. It was like a low wail from out of the lengthened monotony of the spinner’s life.” (Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, p. 26)

    ***

    We are swimming in affluence.

    Drowning. 

    • #37
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Lower Order Misa… (View Comment):

    One more thing about affluence. I know I take clothes for granted but here is a good article, explaining why in 1347 a high-quality shirt cost $3,500 (or in 2013 with inflation to $4,200).

    ***

    And we’ll say that the spinner is in a hurry to make this thread because the shirt’s for her or someone she knows (all spinners were female in medieval times), so we’ll say she worked her tail off and did it in 500 hours.

    So, 7 hours for sewing, 72 for weaving, 500 for spinning, or 579 hours total to make one shirt. At minimum wage – $7.25 an hour – that shirt would cost $4,197.25.
    And that’s just a standard shirt.
    And that’s not counting the work that goes into raising sheep or growing cotton and then making the fiber fit for weaving. Or making the thread for the sewing.
    And you’d still need pants (tights or breeches) or a skirt, a bodice or vest, a jacket or cloak, stockings, and, if at all possible, but a rare luxury, shoes.

    NOTE: Back in the pre-industrial days, the making of thread, cloth, and clothing ate up all the time that a woman wasn’t spending cooking and cleaning and raising the children. That’s why single women were called “spinsters” – spinning thread was their primary job. “I somehow or somewhere got the idea,” wrote Lucy Larcom in the 18th century, “when I was a small child, that the chief end of woman was to make clothing for mankind.” Ellen Rollins: “The moaning of the big [spinning] wheel was the saddest sound of my childhood. It was like a low wail from out of the lengthened monotony of the spinner’s life.” (Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, p. 26)

    ***

    We are swimming in affluence.

    Drowning.

    But let’s be careful, it’s the left who claims we have too much affluence and need to do something about it.

    • #38
  9. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Randy Weivoda:

    Queen Victoria of England would have been astonished by the choices we have when we go to a modern supermarket.

    Check out this painting titled “King Charles II being Presented with a Pineapple.”

    The painting commemorates the first pineapple ever grown in England in the mid 1670’s.  The museum casts doubt that the first one was grown that early, but  the point is still made – this was considered a luxury back then.

    https://www.rct.uk/collection/406896/charles-ii-presented-with-a-pineapple

    • #39
  10. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda:

    Queen Victoria of England would have been astonished by the choices we have when we go to a modern supermarket.

    Check out this painting titled “King Charles II being Presented with a Pineapple.”

    The painting commemorates the first pineapple ever grown in England in the mid 1670’s. The museum casts doubt that the first one was grown that early, but the point is still made – this was considered a luxury back then.

    https://www.rct.uk/collection/406896/charles-ii-presented-with-a-pineapple

    There was a GLoP a while back where I think Rob Long brought up a book describing how wealthy people in the 1600s or something displayed their opulence by serving TWO kinds of fish for dinner.

    • #40
  11. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    While I agree with the theme of the post, and put my kids to bed each night reminding them that they were having a wonderful childhood, there’s a point that Jordan Peterson has made over the years that gives me pause. And no, I don’t have a link. I’ve seen Mr Peterson live several times and listened to dozens of hours of him on YouTube and I’m not going looking.

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    In the years since I began to pay attention, many have joined the rich, and many have joined the poor. The ranks of which were increased by the subtracting from the middle class. A society with a shrinking middle class is headed for disaster.

    I do have a partial solution. Privatize SS (even partially will help), enabling those without resources to build inheritable wealth. Will it work for everyone? Of course not. But it would give an opportunity to many, and enable them to join the middle class.

    The best description of my parents would be “poor immigrants” when they got to the States. They spent wisely (if at all). But the impressive nest egg they managed to accrue over a lifetime began with a $1,000 loan they got from friends, used to purchase their first home. JY and I have no financial complaints, largely thanks to a $10,000 loan we received from my parents to buy our first home.

    I could go off on a rant here that it’s obvious the government as it stands now is discouraging private wealth and encouraging dependence on the government, so my fantasy will never materialize. But that’s a different post.

    • #41
  12. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap.  It lies with envious people who covet what others have.  If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    • #42
  13. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    The way I would explain this to someone is like this.  Let’s say the company you work for has a great year and you get a $3000 bonus, but the president of the company gets a $400,000 bonus.  Are you better off or worse than a couple years ago when the company had a poor year and no bonuses were given?  I’d be happy, because I received an extra $3000.  Maybe some people would be aggrieved because for this year the income gap between themselves and the company president is $397,000 greater than it had been.  If that is a person’s mentality, I guess they should hope for a really terrible year where the company goes bankrupt and both he and the company leadership are all unemployed.  Now everyone has an equal income of zero.

    • #43
  14. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    The way I would explain this to someone is like this. Let’s say the company you work for has a great year and you get a $3000 bonus, but the president of the company gets a $400,000 bonus. Are you better off or worse than a couple years ago when the company had a poor year and no bonuses were given? I’d be happy, because I received an extra $3000. Maybe some people would be aggrieved because for this year the income gap between themselves and the company president is $397,000 greater than it had been. If that is a person’s mentality, I guess they should hope for a really terrible year where the company goes bankrupt and both he and the company leadership are all unemployed. Now everyone has an equal income of zero.

    That’s how “equity” tends to work.

     

    • #44
  15. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    The way I would explain this to someone is like this. Let’s say the company you work for has a great year and you get a $3000 bonus, but the president of the company gets a $400,000 bonus. Are you better off or worse than a couple years ago when the company had a poor year and no bonuses were given? I’d be happy, because I received an extra $3000. Maybe some people would be aggrieved because for this year the income gap between themselves and the company president is $397,000 greater than it had been. If that is a person’s mentality, I guess they should hope for a really terrible year where the company goes bankrupt and both he and the company leadership are all unemployed. Now everyone has an equal income of zero.

    So what you’re saying is, nothing from nothing does leave nothing.  But $3,000 is gotta be something.

    • #45
  16. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    I don’t have problem Elon’s net worth, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. And you’ll notice I never mentioned “income gap”, for that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the wealth gap. And my suggestion about making Social Security at least partly private and inheritable addresses wealth gap; not a damn thing to do with income gap.

    I’m trying to make a different point: that a large wealth gap, with a small middle class, is by definition a destabilized society, regardless of whether people are committing the sin of coveting.

    I noodled on this quite a bit before I brought it up in any discussion, the reaction that I have received from fellow conservatives has been predictable: I got mine. I’m fine. If I can do it, so can anyone. Any problem that we have is due to the covetous nature of those without. Bootstraps, blah blah blah.

    In other words: Not. My. Problem.

    To which I say, if we are all living in an unstable society, it becomes all our problem.

    • #46
  17. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    The way I would explain this to someone is like this. Let’s say the company you work for has a great year and you get a $3000 bonus, but the president of the company gets a $400,000 bonus. Are you better off or worse than a couple years ago when the company had a poor year and no bonuses were given? I’d be happy, because I received an extra $3000. Maybe some people would be aggrieved because for this year the income gap between themselves and the company president is $397,000 greater than it had been. If that is a person’s mentality, I guess they should hope for a really terrible year where the company goes bankrupt and both he and the company leadership are all unemployed. Now everyone has an equal income of zero.

    That’s how “equity” tends to work.

     

    Equity. Nothing to do with my comment.

    • #47
  18. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    The way I would explain this to someone is like this. Let’s say the company you work for has a great year and you get a $3000 bonus, but the president of the company gets a $400,000 bonus. Are you better off or worse than a couple years ago when the company had a poor year and no bonuses were given? I’d be happy, because I received an extra $3000. Maybe some people would be aggrieved because for this year the income gap between themselves and the company president is $397,000 greater than it had been. If that is a person’s mentality, I guess they should hope for a really terrible year where the company goes bankrupt and both he and the company leadership are all unemployed. Now everyone has an equal income of zero.

    I personally don’t know anyone who feels that way. And I never mentioned “income gap”. I am specifically talking about a wealth gap.

    That said, I do know a lot of young people who are becoming ever resentful of funding the nice retirements of their elders. Because they have a clue and know the chances of them ever receiving any SS income is low. And the chances of getting income from SS before the age of 75 is damn near zero.

    • #48
  19. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    I don’t have problem Elon’s net worth, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. And you’ll notice I never mentioned “income gap”, for that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the wealth gap. And my suggestion about making Social Security at least partly private and inheritable addresses wealth gap; not a damn thing to do with income gap.

    I’m trying to make a different point: that a large wealth gap, with a small middle class, is by definition a destabilized society, regardless of whether people are committing the sin of coveting.

    I noodled on this quite a bit before I brought it up in any discussion, the reaction that I have received from fellow conservatives has been predictable: I got mine. I’m fine. If I can do it, so can anyone. Any problem that we have is due to the covetous nature of those without. Bootstraps, blah blah blah.

    In other words: Not. My. Problem.

    To which I say, if we are all living in an unstable society, it becomes all our problem.

    As long as society is getting richer, the “wealth gap”/Income gap MUST widen, by definition, because it’s bounded at the bottom end by “zero”, and unbounded at the top end.

    • #49
  20. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    I don’t have problem Elon’s net worth, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. And you’ll notice I never mentioned “income gap”, for that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the wealth gap. And my suggestion about making Social Security at least partly private and inheritable addresses wealth gap; not a damn thing to do with income gap.

    I’m trying to make a different point: that a large wealth gap, with a small middle class, is by definition a destabilized society, regardless of whether people are committing the sin of coveting.

    I noodled on this quite a bit before I brought it up in any discussion, the reaction that I have received from fellow conservatives has been predictable: I got mine. I’m fine. If I can do it, so can anyone. Any problem that we have is due to the covetous nature of those without. Bootstraps, blah blah blah.

    In other words: Not. My. Problem.

    To which I say, if we are all living in an unstable society, it becomes all our problem.

    As long as society is getting richer, the “wealth gap”/Income gap MUST widen, by definition, because it’s bounded at the bottom end by “zero”, and unbounded at the top end.

    Agree 100%.

    But is society in fact getting richer? (I legit have no idea) But we just lived through a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. Not members of the middle class working their way up and becoming wealthy. We witnessed actual wealth from the middle class being transferred to the wealthy.

    • #50
  21. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    I don’t have problem Elon’s net worth, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. And you’ll notice I never mentioned “income gap”, for that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the wealth gap. And my suggestion about making Social Security at least partly private and inheritable addresses wealth gap; not a damn thing to do with income gap.

    I don’t think it makes any difference whether it is about income or wealth.  The principle is still the same.  Greedy people will always be unhappy about something.  In fact I think the wealth gap is far less than the income gap.  In our country the people at the bottom get all kinds of welfare benefits that raise their standard of living (another way of saying “wealth”) that their income would not generate.  I remember seeing estimates that people on welfare could receive as much as the equivalent of a $60,000.00 a year salary in certain States.  By this measure we really don’t even have poor people like those in most other countries, except for those who choose to opt out of the freebies or fall to catastrophic circumstances.

    I’m trying to make a different point: that a large wealth gap, with a small middle class, is by definition a destabilized society, regardless of whether people are committing the sin of coveting.

    I think that only applies to people who are already destabilized.  The most destabilized societies are hardly ever Capitalistic with enormous income gaps , such as Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, all the former Communist Countries, etc……..

    • #51
  22. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Annefy (View Comment):

     

     But we just lived through a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. Not members of the middle class working their way up and becoming wealthy. We witnessed actual wealth from the middle class being transferred to the wealthy.

    I’m not disputing that because I haven’t looked into it, but do you know that to be factually true?  Is there some measurement or statistic that shows it?

    • #52
  23. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    I don’t have problem Elon’s net worth, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. And you’ll notice I never mentioned “income gap”, for that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the wealth gap. And my suggestion about making Social Security at least partly private and inheritable addresses wealth gap; not a damn thing to do with income gap.

    I don’t think it makes any difference whether it is about income or wealth. The principle is still the same. Greedy people will always be unhappy about something. In fact I think the wealth gap is far less than the income gap. In our country the people at the bottom get all kinds of welfare benefits that raise their standard of living (another way of saying “wealth”) that their income would not generate. I remember seeing estimates that people on welfare could receive as much as the equivalent of a $60,000.00 a year salary in certain States. By this measure we really don’t even have poor people like those in most other countries, except for those who choose to opt out of the freebies or fall to catastrophic circumstances.

    I’m trying to make a different point: that a large wealth gap, with a small middle class, is by definition a destabilized society, regardless of whether people are committing the sin of coveting.

    I think that only applies to people who are already destabilized. The most destabilized societies are hardly ever Capitalistic with enormous income gaps , such as Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, all the former Communist Countries, etc……..

    I think there’s a difference between income and wealth. Which is why making SS private and inheritable is important and a solution to the problem I’m talking about.

    • #53
  24. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    I don’t have problem Elon’s net worth, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. And you’ll notice I never mentioned “income gap”, for that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the wealth gap. And my suggestion about making Social Security at least partly private and inheritable addresses wealth gap; not a damn thing to do with income gap.

    I don’t think it makes any difference whether it is about income or wealth. The principle is still the same. Greedy people will always be unhappy about something. In fact I think the wealth gap is far less than the income gap. In our country the people at the bottom get all kinds of welfare benefits that raise their standard of living (another way of saying “wealth”) that their income would not generate. I remember seeing estimates that people on welfare could receive as much as the equivalent of a $60,000.00 a year salary in certain States. By this measure we really don’t even have poor people like those in most other countries, except for those who choose to opt out of the freebies or fall to catastrophic circumstances.

    I’m trying to make a different point: that a large wealth gap, with a small middle class, is by definition a destabilized society, regardless of whether people are committing the sin of coveting.

    I think that only applies to people who are already destabilized. The most destabilized societies are hardly ever Capitalistic with enormous income gaps , such as Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, all the former Communist Countries, etc……..

    I think there’s a difference between income and wealth. Which is why making SS private and inheritable is important and a solution to the problem I’m talking about.

    Seems like there would have to be a lot of changes before SS could be inheritable without causing some even worse problems down the line.  If you start from the idea that every retiree takes a lot more out of the system than they ever put in.  If you put inherited benefits on top of that….  KABOOM!!!

    It’s also worth thinking about how if all someone has is inherited/inheritable SS, doesn’t that suggest a certain lack of personal responsibility?  Why make that multi-generational?

    • #54
  25. Annefy Coolidge
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Regardless of how good even the very poor have it, it’s very destabilizing to have an ever-growing gap between the upper and lower classes. I’ve had this argument with my family members over and over, how “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is nonsens. And I always win. So don’t bother. That’s not my point.

    Jodan’s point, (and it’s worried me considerably since that vast transfer of wealth thanks to the reaction to Covid, and an open border importing the very poor) is that such a huge wealth gap is destabilizing to society, especially when we have politicians working to exploit resentment.

    I don’t think the problem lies with the income gap. It lies with envious people who covet what others have. If you have enough material goods and a good family or social life to make you happy, then it shouldn’t matter whether Elon Musk has 100 Billion or 100 Trillion dollars.

    I don’t have problem Elon’s net worth, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. And you’ll notice I never mentioned “income gap”, for that is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the wealth gap. And my suggestion about making Social Security at least partly private and inheritable addresses wealth gap; not a damn thing to do with income gap.

    I don’t think it makes any difference whether it is about income or wealth. The principle is still the same. Greedy people will always be unhappy about something. In fact I think the wealth gap is far less than the income gap. In our country the people at the bottom get all kinds of welfare benefits that raise their standard of living (another way of saying “wealth”) that their income would not generate. I remember seeing estimates that people on welfare could receive as much as the equivalent of a $60,000.00 a year salary in certain States. By this measure we really don’t even have poor people like those in most other countries, except for those who choose to opt out of the freebies or fall to catastrophic circumstances.

    I’m trying to make a different point: that a large wealth gap, with a small middle class, is by definition a destabilized society, regardless of whether people are committing the sin of coveting.

    I think that only applies to people who are already destabilized. The most destabilized societies are hardly ever Capitalistic with enormous income gaps , such as Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, all the former Communist Countries, etc……..

    I think there’s a difference between income and wealth. Which is why making SS private and inheritable is important and a solution to the problem I’m talking about.

    Seems like there would have to be a lot of changes before SS could be inheritable without causing some even worse problems down the line. If you start from the idea that every retiree takes a lot more out of the system than they ever put in. If you put inherited benefits on top of that…. KABOOM!!!

    I’m thinking about SS where someone has paid in more than they ever receive. It’s certainly not true that EVERY retiree takes a lot more out of the system than they ever put in, though I recognize it’s the case for many.

    As to this comment, I don’t even know where to begin:

    It’s also worth thinking about how if all someone has is inherited/inheritable SS, doesn’t that suggest a certain lack of personal responsibility? Why make that multi-generational?

    Are you saying that someone who dies with no money for his/her heirs to inherit is irresponsible? Before I comment further I would need more details.

     

    • #55
  26. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Lower Order Misa… (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    A quick search found some interesting perspective that may be useful:

    https://medium.com/@ weadorebooks1/peterson-makes-a-rookie-mistake-96d2255403f4

    Could Peterson be thinking that 1895 is where that phenomenon really started taking off?

    Personally, I think it’s poppycock saying that you don’t know how bad it is because you don’t know how good it can be. Death and disease and children dying (and those who live growing stunted) is just about the definition of “bad.”

    Yes, but, in those times that was pretty much the situation for EVERYONE. The “grass is greener” phenomenon wouldn’t have gotten started then.

    As recently as 1924, so just 100 years ago, the son of the PRESIDENT died from an infection due to a blister on his foot that he got while playing tennis on the White House grounds. And I expect it took quite a while before many people found out it happened.

    Do you really think that life being a struggle, and losing a parent before you’re eighteen, and having a child or two die young, and being widowed is ever any less painful than having less of this happen to you?

    Do you think that today having any of these things happen to you is any worse to the person because there are not as many of them statistically?

    In certain ways, it might be worse to have these things happen now than in the past.

    Even in the 1950’s and in a large city, most families lived in communities where people knew each other. I walked home a mile and a half each day after school. My mom, a woman who worried about a lot of things that  I thought were stupid, never thought twice about me trekking along that route. (One time I came perilously close to being clipped by a commuter train, as I bolted across the tracks the moment the freight train cleared, without my realizing a second train was coming along from the other direction. At the last nano second, I flipped myself backwards and landed on my butt but was so ashamed at my stupidity I didn’t tell a soul.)

    My mom never worried about her 8 yr old daughter walking the route because except for the area near the tracks, there were people in houses or apartments all along the way. If anything went on affecting any of us kids, the neighbors would have dealt a serious blow to those inflicting harm. (A friend of mine calls these people “the granny brigade ” and he laments their disappearance. But in fact many in the brigade were 30-something housewives putting out the wash on clotheslines or older teens waxing their muscle cars.)

    Now people are dependent on their  co workers to be family. Often if  people do not belong to a church or an association of some kind, they can be very isolated when something bad happens to their loved ones.

    In bad neighborhoods, so many bad things happen that no one can afford to look out for anyone but themselves. In affluent neighborhoods, there often are only the school aged kids at home once school is out, with the housekeeper or nanny to look out for them. Even if there are people present in some of the homes, everyone is busy-busy on their screens. Houses have gorgeous designer windows that no one ever bothers to look out.

    • #56
  27. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):
    If anything went on affecting any of us kids, the neighbors would have dealt a serious blow to those inflicting harm.

    That is now a felony in many jurisdictions.

    • #57
  28. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Lower Order Misa… (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    A quick search found some interesting perspective that may be useful:

    https://medium.com/@ weadorebooks1/peterson-makes-a-rookie-mistake-96d2255403f4

    Could Peterson be thinking that 1895 is where that phenomenon really started taking off?

    Personally, I think it’s poppycock saying that you don’t know how bad it is because you don’t know how good it can be. Death and disease and children dying (and those who live growing stunted) is just about the definition of “bad.”

    Yes, but, in those times that was pretty much the situation for EVERYONE. The “grass is greener” phenomenon wouldn’t have gotten started then.

    As recently as 1924, so just 100 years ago, the son of the PRESIDENT died from an infection due to a blister on his foot that he got while playing tennis on the White House grounds. And I expect it took quite a while before many people found out it happened.

    Do you really think that life being a struggle, and losing a parent before you’re eighteen, and having a child or two die young, and being widowed is ever any less painful than having less of this happen to you?

    Do you think that today having any of these things happen to you is any worse to the person because there are not as many of them statistically?

    In certain ways, it might be worse to have these things happen now than in the past.

    Even in the 1950’s and in a large city, most families lived in communities where people knew each other. I walked home a mile and a half each day after school. My mom, a woman who worried about a lot of things that I thought were stupid, never thought twice about me trekking along that route. (One time I came perilously close to being clipped by a commuter train, as I bolted across the tracks the moment the freight train cleared, without my realizing a second train was coming along from the other direction. At the last nano second, I flipped myself backwards and landed on my butt but was so ashamed at my stupidity I didn’t tell a soul.)

    My mom never worried about her 8 yr old daughter walking the route because except for the area near the tracks, there were people in houses or apartments all along the way. If anything went on affecting any of us kids, the neighbors would have dealt a serious blow to those inflicting harm. (A friend of mine calls these people “the granny brigade ” and he laments their disappearance. But in fact many in the brigade were 30-something housewives putting out the wash on clotheslines or older teens waxing their muscle cars.)

    Now people are dependent on their co workers to be family. Often if people do not belong to a church or an association of some kind, they can be very isolated when something bad happens to their loved ones.

    In bad neighborhoods, so many bad things happen that no one can afford to look out for anyone but themselves. In affluent neighborhoods, there often are only the school aged kids at home once school is out, with the housekeeper or nanny to look out for them. Even if there are people present in some of the homes, everyone is busy-busy on their screens. Houses have gorgeous designer windows that no one ever bothers to look out.

    Family was family then and now.  Same with neighbors.  What I’m asking is, is losing a husband, or a child, or a father any less traumatic when it’s just one trauma among other similarly traumatic things?

    If you had your life to be born into all over again, and you got to choose your life circumstances, would you rather only lose a husband at twenty-five?  Or lose a father a eighteen, a child at twenty and a husband at twenty-five?

    I mean, compounding tragedies does not make them any less tragic.  It just makes for more tragedy to undergo.

    • #58
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