Dear Conservative Life Coach…

 

1983

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’m 23 and just graduated from college and I’ve met the most wonderful girl. Neither one of us believes in sex before marriage so ‘shacking up’ is out of the question. Should I ask her to marry me even though my career is still in its infancy?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! We know that the way to prosperity is to get married and have children.

CLC

1993

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’m 33 and just got a nice promotion at work. My wife and I have been renting but the kids are growing and we’re thinking about buying a home. Should we make the leap?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! Home ownership is a surefire way to prosperity! Plus home ownership makes for stronger neighborhoods and stronger communities in general. And with all the tax breaks and programs designed for first time buyers there’s never been a better time!

CLC

2005

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

My wife’s father has Alzheimers. We’ve been looking at extended care facilities but neither of us liked what we saw. Should we add a room on to the house or petition the government to expand care to the elderly?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

First of all, we conservatives know that government is never the solution to any problem. If I were you I’d take out a small loan, build your father-in-law a room and take care of him! Nobody is going to do that better than family. And to encourage and reward good people like you we’re working on providing tax breaks for caregivers.

CLC

2013

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

My oldest just graduated from high school and we’re looking at colleges. Are Federal Student Loans really the way to go?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! With the changing economy you know your child is going to to have to have at least a Bachelor’s degree to compete in the job market. Besides, we’re working to pass new changes to the Dependent Child Tax Credit that will reward good people like you!

CLC

2017

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’ve done everything you told me to do in the past. I’m 57 and farther and farther away from retirement with all the changes in Social Security. Now it seems my company is moving production overseas. All of the tech jobs here in the home office are being filled by H1B visa workers from India. I’m losing my job and my health insurance. I had to refinance the house after the ’08 crash plus I have those additional loans that I took out for the addition for my elderly father-in-law and college loans for both kids. And the real estate market here is pretty depressed. What do I do now?

Trump Voter in Ohio

Dear Ohio,

Why are you asking me? If you voted for Trump you’re obviously not a true conservative. Stop whining and looking to others to solve your problems! You should have thought about this a long time ago.

CLC

2019

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

Screw you.

Angry in Ohio

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  1. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male: If someone bought a house in 1993, I have a hard time believing the 2008 crash would not have knocked them underwater or caused them to need to refinance the 30 years mortgage that they’d be halfway through by that point.

    You have no idea what the rest of this poor guy’s life has been like, what job changes or other circumstances have come his way. This is but a snapshot. You don’t know the size of the house, the neighborhood, or anything else.

    Go with the larger point.

    MWM is correctly pointing out that the larger point relies on misdirection, part of which he is highlighting. Of course there may be hardships unmentioned, but if the guy was continuously employed from 1993 to 2008 and continued to live in the same house, something very unusual would have had to have happened for him to be following a conservative life coach’s advice and to have been forced to refinance.

    • #31
  2. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    I will admit that the advice to have children as a route to prosperity is surprising and calls into question the insight of the life coach. There are good reasons for having kids but the average child is not a profit center for their parents.

    • #32
  3. Misthiocracy secretly Member
    Misthiocracy secretly
    @Misthiocracy

    a) Are parents liable for their kids’ student loans?  Paying back that loan is the kid’s problem, isn’t it?

    b) Did the guy’s job move overseas, or is he one of the tech workers who was fired and replaced by a cheaper immigrant?  If it’s the latter it seems like an argument for abolishing at-will employment rather than an argument against free trade.

     

    • #33
  4. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    James Of England: If you purchased a home in 1993 and then lived in it, the 2008 crash ought not to have affected you. By the time of the 2017 job loss, the mortgage ought to have mostly been paid off. The median house in the US was worth a little over two and a half times as much in 2017 as in 1993…

    The compassion of statistics. But the median! And guess what? If you stop making payments does the bank have a clause in your mortgage that says “Ok, it’s mostly paid?” And what if your home mortgage is not on the up side of the median? Does it have worth if you can’t sell it?

    Another harm that have befallen our letter writer is that he has kids who have gone through college; it’s not obvious to me how this is a bad thing, but the context suggests it is a reason for discontent.

    A lot of things are not obvious to you. Did they get jobs? Are they living in the basement? If they’re not employed and Daddy co-signed their loans it couldn’t possibly be a bad thing. But like Amy, you assume a lot that doesn’t seem to be in evidence.

    The third harm is that the government is not taking someone else’s money to look after the writer’s father.

    That’s not the harm. The financial obligations of modern life make the much vaunted mobility a pipe dream. (By the way, it’s his father-in-law.)

    The final harm is that he’s lost his job and there were “no” tech jobs available. It doesn’t say when in 2017 this occurred, but if it was in the middle of the year, the professional, scientific, and technical services sector had an unemployment rate of around 2.4%, which suggests that *some* native born workers could find employment.

    Because who’s not scrambling to hire 57-year-olds from out of town? But the cold statistics suggest…

    That he has responded to what is, for the great majority of people in his position, a relatively brief period of unemployment with hostility does not speak highly of him, but we should reflect on the degree to which following the conservative life coach’s advice has given him a good life without the need for him to have a better character.

    You’re right. Their all ungrateful bastards of low character. Screw them.

    • #34
  5. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: Seriously, why do you give a [rodent’s hindquarters] or a [aerial fornication] about what any talking head says, right, left, or center?

    Seriously, do you have any idea what this site is about? I give a flying f-word because these issues are dividing us and creating great opportunities for the left to come in and make things even worse.

    Are your calls for more government programs to help middle class people house their elderly relatives and your defamation of our commentariat intended to reduce division? Could you outline the mechanism by which you hope the healing to take place? 

    If you’re going to blame people for why your choices didn’t work out, why not start with the people who are actually causing problems? Right now, it just looks like you’re blaming those whose only sin is saying things you don’t want to hear but still listen to in order to get your daily two minute hate on.

    Who said this are exactly my problems? And my choices? And who said you can’t have empathy for people who do have problems like this? And for the record, saying things are not their only sin.

    What relevant acts do the commentariat engage in other than speech?

    • #35
  6. Misthiocracy secretly Member
    Misthiocracy secretly
    @Misthiocracy

    James Of England (View Comment):

    I will admit that the advice to have children as a route to prosperity is surprising and calls into question the insight of the life coach. There are good reasons for having kids but the average child is not a profit center for their parents.

    Also, note that the writer didn’t ask if he should have children.  He only asked if he should get married.

    • #36
  7. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    James Of England (View Comment):

    I will admit that the advice to have children as a route to prosperity is surprising and calls into question the insight of the life coach. There are good reasons for having kids but the average child is not a profit center for their parents.

    Also, note that the writer didn’t ask if he should have children. He only asked if he should get married.

    While I haven’t heard her describe kids as a revenue stream, I think it’s fair to suggest that Mona and her predecessors have been willing to encourage natalism at the hint of an excuse.

    • #37
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    James Of England: If Reagan had, instead, adopted a Latin American approach and legislated that US manufacturers had to use only US inputs, we would not be competitive and there would be little in the way of US manufacturing exports to anywhere.

    Like Canada? Like your dear departed UK?

    James Of England:
    Reagan made the country more successful and more prosperous in part by creating vastly more jobs…

    “Vastly more jobs.” Do they all pay the same? Or is this another median statistic thing?

    • #38
  9. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Misthiocracy secretly: Are parents liable for their kids’ student loans?

    Yes. If they qualified for only Parent Plus Loans they are actually the parents debt.

    • #39
  10. Franco Inactive
    Franco
    @Franco

    Funny to watch people get all nit-picky about the specifics of this ad hoc hypothetical. The point is that there’s a whole class of conservatives who haven’t given a rats ass about the middle class while, quite obviously, they have benefited magnificently. Then they lecture them. Then they attempt to create their own little  party.

    I guess they’ll do fine no matter what, whilst lamenting their rivals, the leftists, and their enemies, the deplorables.

    • #40
  11. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Misthiocracy secretly: Also, note that the writer didn’t ask if he should have children.

    You’re right. We obviously have an out here. He did something without raising his hand and asking for permission.

    • #41
  12. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Hillary Clinton, when challenged on how her universal healthcare plan back in the 90s would damage small businesses, famously quipped “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized business!”

    She was prepared then (as are many politicians today) to do severe damage to millions of people because she was convinced her policy solution was a great idea. Free markets (and free people) be damned!

    In this sense, she wasn’t much different than the conservative policy-makers who care little about the working class because their policies are so great. I mean, who cares about the working class? They’ll just have to suck it up, because our policies are fantastic! The best policies! So what if we enact policies that send jobs overseas!? So what if we throw open the borders to illegal immigration flooding the job market with low-wage workers?! We can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized family!

    “Conservative” Policy-makers: This is all for the best! Trust us! We know what we’re doing! 

    Also “Conservative” Policy-makers: You’re not supposed to put your trust in the government, because that’s bad!

    See the problem here?

    Or do you lack all empathy?

    • #42
  13. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    Or do you lack all empathy?

    I sure don’t see a lot of empathy around these parts for people who bought houses with subprime mortgages, or who lost their houses in foreclosure, or who want to declare bankruptcy on their student loans, or who spent their fertile years deliberately being infertile and now can’t have kids at all. Us stupid millennials had it coming, after all. 

    So why do you think I’m going say “Oh yes, boo hoo, life’s been so unfair”? If “You made your bed now sleep in it” and “suck it up buttercup” is valid advice for me, well, right back at folks who had the Reagan Economy for their formative career years instead of the Obama Recovery Summers. 

     

    • #43
  14. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    When we were all at AEI last May Arthur Brooks made an impassioned speech about why it’s important for conservatives to learn how to tell stories in order to advance the cause.

    The “compassionate” responses to this hypothetical shows that many of us are simply incapable of doing that. Instead, the most passionate responses seem to range from “I got my own problems” to the dispassionate “statistically speaking…”

    • #44
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    EJHill (View Comment):

    When we were all at AEI last May Arthur Brooks made an impassioned speech about why it’s important for conservatives to learn how to tell stories in order to advance the cause.

    The “compassionate” responses to this hypothetical shows that many of us are simply incapable of doing that. Instead, the most passionate responses seem to range from “I got my own problems” to the dispassionate “statistically speaking…”

    Based on the observed experience of our inner cities, the only thing worse than not showing compassion for the poor, downtrodden, down on their luck masses  is to show them compassion.

    What would *you* have us do?

     

     

    • #45
  16. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    EDIT: Never mind. Not worth it.

    • #46
  17. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    EJHill (View Comment):
    The “compassionate” responses to this hypothetical shows that many of us are simply incapable of doing that. Instead, the most passionate responses seem to range from “I got my own problems” to the dispassionate “statistically speaking…”

    It appeared you were looking for policy responses.  And how else is government supposed to make policy for a nation of 300-plus million people except via “statistically speaking”? 

    If you want individualized “compassionate” responses to these kinds of problems, don’t look to government.  That’s not what government does.  Looks at churches, neighborhoods and private organizations.

    Or move where the jobs are.

     

     

    • #47
  18. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EJHill (View Comment):

    James Of England: If you purchased a home in 1993 and then lived in it, the 2008 crash ought not to have affected you. By the time of the 2017 job loss, the mortgage ought to have mostly been paid off. The median house in the US was worth a little over two and a half times as much in 2017 as in 1993…

    The compassion of statistics. But the median!

    In the bit you cut I specifically said that while the advice was generally good it is possible that the writer was very unlucky or unwise in the selection of a particular site. Unless the advisor was involved in site selection, though, that would not make the advice bad. 

    And guess what? If you stop making payments does the bank have a clause in your mortgage that says “Ok, it’s mostly paid?” And what if your home mortgage is not on the up side of the median? Does it have worth if you can’t sell it?

    Why would the housing crash cause someone who continued working to stop payments on their house? I agree that the value of the house that you’re not selling isn’t super relevant to the writer, but the typical outcome is relevant to the quality of the advice, and some people do need to sell their homes earlier than that. 

    Another harm that have befallen our letter writer is that he has kids who have gone through college; it’s not obvious to me how this is a bad thing, but the context suggests it is a reason for discontent.

    A lot of things are not obvious to you. Did they get jobs? Are they living in the basement? If they’re not employed and Daddy co-signed their loans it couldn’t possibly be a bad thing. But like Amy, you assume a lot that doesn’t seem to be in evidence.

    Okay, assuming they’re at home rather than elsewhere, is it your contention that they would likely have gotten better jobs if they had not been to college? This might be true in some specific cases, but in general unemployment is lower for graduates and the jobs better, and by a margin that significantly outpaces the costs of repayment on a typical loan (the current average graduating loan is around $30k).

    My reading of this was that the writer was in an affordable neighborhood and was not finding life cheap there. About 85% of students get Federal aid, and it seems unlikely that the parent would be means tested out of that category. Federal loans do not require co-signers. Maybe the kid has unusual circumstances that the writer didn’t mention.

    The third harm is that the government is not taking someone else’s money to look after the writer’s father.

    That’s not the harm. The financial obligations of modern life make the much vaunted mobility a pipe dream. (By the way, it’s his father-in-law.)

    I thought that the complaint was about this “Should we add a room on to the house or petition the government to expand care to the elderly?” Since the fruitless expenditure of effort to petition the government is obviously not remunerative for the individual, it seemed like you were saying that the commentariat’s opposition to expanding state elder care support was a bad thing. Could you expand on what you did mean?

    The final harm is that he’s lost his job and there were “no” tech jobs available. It doesn’t say when in 2017 this occurred, but if it was in the middle of the year, the professional, scientific, and technical services sector had an unemployment rate of around 2.4%, which suggests that *some* native born workers could find employment.

    Because who’s not scrambling to hire 57-year-olds from out of town? But the cold statistics suggest…

    If he lives far from the places that might employ him, I agree that he will struggle more than people who are more conveniently located. Still, the opportunities available to him are likely to be better than if we did not have an enormous tech tech sector providing a hair off full employment, a tech sector that exists because of immigration not being more heavily restricted than it is. This is particularly true if he’s willing to work for less than the $72k salary that is the minimum that can qualify for an H1B. 

    It is true that taking a pay cut can be difficult for older workers, and that this is often required of people who have not changed jobs much in their life. This is not the result of either the advice given to him by the coach, though, nor of commentariat supported policies, except to the degree that the alternative is working for the government in a nationalized industry (but then the housing expansion, sending kids to a good school, etc. would have been harder).

    That he has responded to what is, for the great majority of people in his position, a relatively brief period of unemployment with hostility does not speak highly of him, but we should reflect on the degree to which following the conservative life coach’s advice has given him a good life without the need for him to have a better character.

    You’re right. Their all ungrateful bastards of low character. Screw them.

    I wasn’t suggesting screwing people in his position. Quite the opposite; I was celebrating the degree to which life was good for him. Good on the life coach for guiding him through a successful life. Hopefully we will continue to follow conservative policies in the future, he will find a great job, and happily retire at some point in a couple of decade’s time. Leftists might say that redistribution toward the elderly would help him, but it’s no fun being a Venezuelan old man.

    • #48
  19. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EJHill (View Comment):

    James Of England: If Reagan had, instead, adopted a Latin American approach and legislated that US manufacturers had to use only US inputs, we would not be competitive and there would be little in the way of US manufacturing exports to anywhere.

    Like Canada? Like your dear departed UK?

    I’m not sure of your question. Canada is pretty great at trade and consequently at manufacturing. The UK went through a long period of awfulness until around the point I was born in the late 1970s, but is now much better. So, yes, those are two good case studies. If you were asking if the two countries are examples of places that import a lot of US manufacturing but would not if US goods were  uncompetitive, then yes, they’re also good examples of that.

    James Of England:
    Reagan made the country more successful and more prosperous in part by creating vastly more jobs…

    “Vastly more jobs.” Do they all pay the same? Or is this another median statistic thing?

    Jobs pay more today as a result of free market policies. You are correct, though, that different jobs pay different wages. I’m not sure where you’re going with this. Is it your claim that tech sector jobs have suffered in salary under Reagan et seq.?

    • #49
  20. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    EJHill (View Comment):

    When we were all at AEI last May Arthur Brooks made an impassioned speech about why it’s important for conservatives to learn how to tell stories in order to advance the cause.

    The “compassionate” responses to this hypothetical shows that many of us are simply incapable of doing that. Instead, the most passionate responses seem to range from “I got my own problems” to the dispassionate “statistically speaking…”

     You want a story? 

    My parents married in 1977 because they didn’t believe in shacking up. Dad was flipping burgers at the time while Mom was completing her second and final year for her RN. She got a full ride for academic merit. They lived on $8K that year, which was less than what my grandfather paid in income taxes. Mom got a job as a nurse while Dad became a police officer. They lived in a rented trailer. 

    In 1983, Dad joined the Navy and I was born. They remained a one income family until 1988 when Mom went back to work. They bought a 1200 square ft, 3 bd 2 bth house. Dad left the Navy in 1991, just before the Gulf War and the closure of the Charleston Naval Base, the latter of which economically devastated the region. 

    Dad went back to school for the next two years and got his associates in radiology and ultrasound. Again, we were back to a one income family.

    Job market was still crap, so we moved halfway across the country to Kansas City in 1997, where again we were a one income family while Dad played general contractor for our house and then searched for work. 

    They built an addition onto their house about 10 years ago for my grandparents to live with them. 

    My parents just paid off their mortgage. Dad still drives 1:15 each way to work because that was the best job he’s had. Mom has only worked part time for the last 10 years because she’s taking care of their parents. 

    Somehow, my parents did all the same things as your protagonist at about the same time, but things worked out for them. Granted, I think my folks are awesome, but I don’t think their success is so much more rare than your anecdote suggests. 

    • #50
  21. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    James Of England (View Comment):
    Jobs pay more today as a result of free market policies.

    Do they really?

    For most US Workers Real Wages Have Barely Budged for Decades

    Real Wage Growth is Actually Falling.

    Your personal inflation depends on how you spent your money. But unless you had no housing or transportation expenses in the last year, your cost of living probably rose at least 2.7%, and possibly much more.

    So, a 2.8% wage gain is essentially no gain at all. Inflation-adjusted wages are flat since last year. It is certainly not the fastest wage growth since 2009, or even close.

    But that’s not what you read in the news. They showed you charts like this one, which doesn’t adjust for inflation.

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis Federal Reserve BankFRED

    In this chart, wage growth started a nice rally in mid-2017. And apparently, it is set to go higher still. But again, that doesn’t consider inflation.

    Here is the very same data series for the same time period, but subtracting CPI-U inflation.

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis Federal Reserve BankFRED

    Quite a different picture.

    We see that real wage growth peaked in 2015. Since then, it’s been trending down, except for a brief pop in 2017. And it’s been about zero in recent months.

    Economists and journalists know about inflation. They often report gross domestic product growth in real terms, for instance. But not wage growth. For that, they assume inflation doesn’t matter.

    But it matters a lot. Workers whose earnings don’t keep up with inflation find themselves falling behind. Eventually, they notice the problem and look for someone to blame. Hence, our current social and political discord.

    • #51
  22. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Hillary Clinton, when challenged on how her universal healthcare plan back in the 90s would damage small businesses, famously quipped “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized business!”

    She was prepared then (as are many politicians today) to do severe damage to millions of people because she was convinced her policy solution was a great idea. Free markets (and free people) be damned!

    In this sense, she wasn’t much different than the conservative policy-makers who care little about the working class because their policies are so great.

    Is your argument that people who are not interested in the free market are not much different in policy preferences from people who are? Or are you making more of a class resentment argument that no one cares about the working class, regardless of their policy preferences?

    I mean, who cares about the working class? They’ll just have to suck it up, because our policies are fantastic! The best policies! So what if we enact policies that send jobs overseas!?

    If you compare countries with free trade approaches with countries with import substitution, you’ll see lower unemployment in the USAs and Singapores of the world. Government management of the economy may look humane, but it is an illusion. Hayek’s Fatal Conceit is probably the best place to learn the fundamentals of this stuff.

    So what if we throw open the borders to illegal immigration flooding the job market with low-wage workers?! We can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized family!

    We have the lowest number of low paid illegal immigrants we’ve had in decades thanks to conservative policies. We have about the same number of illegal immigrants total, but more of them are relatively highly paid visa overstays. The 700 miles of wall, the boosting of the border patrol form 2k officers to 28k, the introduction and widespread use of everify  etc. has really made a difference. Building walls and manning the border is the literal opposite of opening the border. Which conservative has torn down walls or reduced the border guard presence? Or even advocated such?

    “Conservative” Policy-makers: This is all for the best! Trust us! We know what we’re doing!

    Also “Conservative” Policy-makers: You’re not supposed to put your trust in the government, because that’s bad!

    See the problem here?

    There’s a sensible level of trust to have in the government. If you’re homeless (sorry, “home free”) because you don’t want the state to know where you are, you’ve gone too far one way. If you avoid providing for your retirement, you’ve gone the other (some people manage both!)

    The same is true of politicians. If you think that they have been making the border less secure, you have too little trust (even Mark Krikorian and other professional enforcement advocates don’t make that claim). If you think Trump really does know more about the Bible than anyone else or that Obamacare was going to reduce all premiums, you might be too trusting.

    Or do you lack all empathy?

    Eh, you know what, probably that’s the ticket. People who appreciate free markets probably do so primarily because they aren’t interested in the welfare of others. I don’t know what emotion you think pulls them to support freedom, given that apathy is neutral. Koch money?

    • #52
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    EJHill (View Comment):

    She: I think that really, all people ask for is an unswerving commitment to what is moral and right.

    Moral and right for their fellow Americans or for the rest of the world? And yes, before you ask, they’re not always one and the same.

    Oh, don’t I know that (thanks for giving me the opportunity to weigh in, BTW).  Nevertheless, I have a pretty good idea that you think there’s a “wrong” and a “right” side on this issue.  And I’m not sure why your response to me implies that you might think that’s a problem. Or, am I wrong?

    • #53
  24. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    James Of England (View Comment):
    Jobs pay more today as a result of free market policies.

    Do they really?

    For most US Workers Real Wages Have Barely Budged for Decades

    Real Wage Growth is Actually Falling.

    Yes, because jobs pay total compensation, not just cash wages.

    Your personal inflation depends on how you spent your money. But unless you had no housing or transportation expenses in the last year, your cost of living probably rose at least 2.7%, and possibly much more.

    So, a 2.8% wage gain is essentially no gain at all. Inflation-adjusted wages are flat since last year. It is certainly not the fastest wage growth since 2009, or even close.

    But that’s not what you read in the news. They showed you charts like this one, which doesn’t adjust for inflation.

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis Federal Reserve BankFRED

    In this chart, wage growth started a nice rally in mid-2017. And apparently, it is set to go higher still. But again, that doesn’t consider inflation.

    Here is the very same data series for the same time period, but subtracting CPI-U inflation.

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis Federal Reserve BankFRED

    Quite a different picture.

    We see that real wage growth peaked in 2015. Since then, it’s been trending down, except for a brief pop in 2017. And it’s been about zero in recent months.

    Economists and journalists know about inflation. They often report gross domestic product growth in real terms, for instance. But not wage growth. For that, they assume inflation doesn’t matter.

    But it matters a lot. Workers whose earnings don’t keep up with inflation find themselves falling behind. Eventually, they notice the problem and look for someone to blame. Hence, our current social and political discord.

    So this is a slightly more subtle cheat; he’s taking wages for people in non-supervisory roles on the basis that they are “ordinary folks”.  But the portion of Americans that represents has been coming down. By selecting from poorer Americans at the later stages of the chart than at the beginning, and then pretending that the chart represents America in general, he creates an image of decline.

    This sort of statistical creation of fake victimhood is common, and does have some of the political effects he notes, but that doesn’t make it accurate.

    • #54
  25. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    James Of England: I’m not sure of your question.

    Canada, the EU and the UK all have varying degrees of content regulation as far as origin to qualify as domestic goods.

    • #55
  26. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    She: Or, am I wrong?

    I don’t know how to answer that :)

    I just meant that there’s no universal definition of those words.

    • #56
  27. She Member
    She
    @She

    EJHill (View Comment):

    She: Or, am I wrong?

    I don’t know how to answer that :)

    I just meant that there’s no universal definition of those words.

    OK.  If you’re saying that there’s no “universal” definition of the words “moral” or “right” (which are the words we were talking about), that sheds considerable light on your position.  Thanks.

    • #57
  28. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    EJHill (View Comment):

    James Of England: I’m not sure of your question.

    Canada, the EU and the UK all have varying degrees of content regulation as far as origin to qualify as domestic goods.

    Literally everywhere does. Could you clarify further? Is it your argument that they are rich states that don’t trade much, so provide counter examples?

    • #58
  29. toggle Inactive
    toggle
    @toggle

    James Of England (View Comment):
    So this is a slightly more subtle cheat; he’s taking wages for people in non-supervisory roles on the basis that they are “ordinary folks”. But the portion of Americans that represents has been coming down.

    The implication of that statistical assertion is intriguing : The portion of people in supervisory roles is increasing as the number of those they supervise declines ?

    • #59
  30. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    A free-market economy is great, James. What makes you think we have one?

    Because that’s the point, isn’t it? That even conservative tinkering around with the economy has left the middle class behind. I mean, we know that leftists will screw things up. But conservative policy-makers (and their cheerleaders) refuse to accept their own role in the economic (and sociological) woes of middle class.

    Again, read this.

    • #60
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