Sorry FOXers, this isn’t about ‘envy’ or whatever your current word is.This is danger, a threat the future of the nation.

What David Frum called the conservative entertainment complex continues to dismiss and even mock any expressed concern about income inequality in the United States. They honestly don’t know what they’re talking about. This is one of the very best explanatory videos I’ve ever watched. It’s pretty viral right now, so you may have seen it. If not, take the full six minutes to watch; every moment of this is clear, precise, informative and ultimately of course quite alarming.

Any country that lets this continue dooms itself to oligarchy, to instability, civic unrest . . . a nasty future awaits and denying it doesn’t make it not so.

h/t friend Brian. (Nice to see you at the theatre too!)

26 responses to “Sorry FOXers, this isn’t about ‘envy’ or whatever your current word is.This is danger, a threat the future of the nation.

  1. every moment of this is clear, precise, informative and ultimately of course quite alarming.

    Not quite.

    The author shifts between wealth and wages. A confusing trick.

    Further, the video fails to take into account at least three things:

    1. There is no effort to track the poor of yesterday to see where they are today. Almost always they are wealthier as older individuals than as young college kids.

    2. Families are changing. A married family tends to earn more than a single adult family. And we have dramatically more single adult families out there.

    3. Older people are wealthier. It just makes sense They have had more time to work, gain experience, obtain higher wages and realize stock gains. And people are living to be older and older today than before.

    Last, you should investigate, instead of income, consumption. You would be surprised at the amount of consumption a “poor” household has. For not having a lot of money, they sure do buy a lot of stuff.

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    • [The author shifts between wealth and wages. A confusing trick.] I just watched it a second time pino – didn’t see that. It was all wealth as a measure.

      Even if I were to concede the impact of the things you list, they would in no way mitigate the horror we’re looking at. The trend, the gap – these are deeply dangerous. It’s not Greece we’re going to become; it’s Russia. A pure oligarchy.

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    • Also, re that ‘lot of stuff’, do you mean things like cell phones and tv’s? Would you feel better if they were living in shacks in rags? This is the 21st century. Poor looks different than it did in 1918.

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      • do you mean things like cell phones and tv’s?

        And second cars, DVD players, x-boxes and $200 shoes. Larger and larger houses with more and more discretionary appliances; dishwashers and AC.

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        • Dishwashers? Really pino? Know anyone who’s rented a house or apt lately that doens’t have a diswasher already installed?

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          • Moe, your Southern, land-blessed prejudices *& privileges are hanging out there all to see. 😆

            When I first rented the bottom half of brownstone in Brooklyn – for $2000 / month – it didn’t have a dishwasher because they’re not common in NYC. I did, however, install one when I later bought the building from my landlord.

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            • The exception – anywhere, not just big cities – kitchens in old buildings probably don’t have dishwashers unless it was renovated.

              Land-blessed? Maybe for a little while longer, but if we have our way, we’ll have every inch of it built out or paved soon enough. My Florida, where everyone has their own strip mall . . .

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  2. It also ignores – contradicts, actually – the fact that for most of the “poor” it is nothing but envy because that’s a truth that the Left won’t acknowledge.

    The supposed poor in the US are in the top 1% of the wealthy of the world and have a standard of living and consumerism pretty much unmatched across the globe.

    The problem is the lower orders want to have EVERYTHING that the upper echelons have, at least when it comes to stuff and luxuries. Hellfire! They’ve spent years trying to classify luxury after luxury as necessities so that they could claim that they had the right to them.

    Of course, none of this makes a bit of difference as envy is at least as likely to cause instability and as actual need and far more insurrections and unrest have been caused by those who have all that they need but less than they want than by those who are in actual need.

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    • You use the term “the lower orders”. Pretty much says it all jonolan and soils everything else you claim here. And like pino, I expect you’d feel our poor in this, the wealthiest nation on earth, would be more deserving if htey couldn’t manage shoes for their kids? That way they could prove they need our help.

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  3. I don’t think most Americans are that envious, but I do think this emphasizes too much how well the wealthy are doing. I think we need to think more about why those at the low end are not keeping up and what to do about that. Please don’t interpret that last statement as basically suggesting shiftlessness is to blame either.

    My only somewhat studied opinion is that the issue are education (the lack of enough quality and quantity), change in family structure, low-skill work going overseas, and other reasons that the opportunities we have don’t to be productive don’t fit so well the common laborer.

    If you look at the last 3 recessions (’91, ’01, and ’07) the most striking thing is that recoveries have gotten much slower than before especially for jobs. I think each down cycle pushes business to squeeze out workers they don’t need anymore, especially common laborers and replace them with overseas labor or machines.

    Failing re-skilling workers, a large number of folks on income support may be inevitable.

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    • My only somewhat studied opinion is that the issue are education (the lack of enough quality and quantity), change in family structure, low-skill work going overseas, and other reasons that the opportunities we have don’t to be productive don’t fit so well the common laborer.

      Education is part of it; the other being that we are seeing a divide pivoting on intelligence. More and more, smart people are grouping together and marrying other smart people; less intelligent folks doing the same.

      Smart people trend to have smart kids.

      The other is a definite change in family structure. As more and more welfare programs incentive single parent families, we tend to get more single parent families. If you have two adults, one making $30k and the other making $20k, that comes to a family making $50k; comfortably in the middle class. Now, divorce them or prevent them from getting married and you have TWO poor[er] households.

      Last, the types of jobs. I’m willing to admit that many commodity jobs are going over seas, but they are offset by high skilled jobs coming here. And this goes back to issue #1; the less intelligent aren’t getting the grades in high school that get them into college much less graduating. And if, they are not going after high margin majors; engineering, computer science, physics etc.

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  4. I think Pino’s point 1 is also quite true. To so degree we’re guessing about what’s really happening.

    Aside from statistics though, a simple test is think of middle level brands like Sears or JC Penny. Most of them are barely keeping their head above water as low end seller like Walmart or luxury retailer displace them. That does seem to offer anecdotal gut level evidence that the middle is being hollowed out.

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  5. Good point Pino.

    Then I think I wonder:

    1. Why are the smarter people paring up more now as opposed to the recent past?
    2. Does that mean the resulting greater disparity of incomes and wealth is a concern of public policy?
    3. If the answer to 2 is yes, what might those policies be?

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    • 1. We are becoming a society that rewards intelligence more than family position. You no longer need to be a Rockefeller to be wealthy; you can just be smart.

      It used to be that the best schools were attended by “the usual suspects”. Now we’re getting the best of the best into those schools. Even poverty isn’t stopping the good kids from getting in.

      And people are waiting longer to marry. So before, I might marry early and not let the results of high intelligence manifest. Now I wait and not select a spouse until I’m in the law firm, the medical practice or the high dollar industry and find myself surrounded by people like me.

      Last, as the intelligent become wealthy and the wealthy reduce the number of children they have, the opposite is in play for the less wealthy; more and more children….

      2. I don’t know. I do know that no matter how much money you give a marginal student to attend college, they are going to perform like a marginal student – complete with dropout rates, and GPAs.

      I’m afraid of government involvement in this space. Here in NC it led to government programs that sterilized people that were felt to be “undesirable”.

      3. The solutions are frightening.

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    • 1. Or put another way, as women have achieved virtual equality with men in the work place, I am now free to choose my wife in the same way that women used to choose husbands, say 30-40 years ago; on earning potential.

      If I can choose a woman that wants to work versus a woman that wants to stay home, I’m more and more choosing the woman that can earn. In fact, of my high earning friends and family, I can count, among my closest, at least 6 men that have wives who make more than they do – me included.

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      • If I can choose a woman that wants to work versus a woman that wants to stay home, I’m more and more choosing the woman that can earn. (Pino)

        I cant help myself………..I guess you will be using the extra money to get something you might not have had to pay for had you been the one earning the bigger paycheque.

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        • I guess you will be using the extra money to get something you might not have had to pay for had you been the one earning the bigger paycheque.

          Well, yes. That’s what happens when women join the work force; they earn more money and then, well, people spend it.

          I’m confused. I assume you are in favor of more and more women engaging in active careers, but yet it seems as if you disapprove of having the money that comes with it?

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  6. Lefties are always looking for the magic bullet . The real world don’t work like that . Education, education, education . We now have the best educated under employed young people in American history . We need demand and we do not have it . The other failed magic bullet is infrastructure . Remember the Stimulus ? It largely failed to create lasting demand . So we need more, right ?

    We have spent, spent, and spent . Believe it or not there is a limit to how much debt a country can run up .

    If Democrats would only call a truce with all American business and not just with the ones they favor, the economy would revive and they would look like economic geniuses .

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  7. My question as far as the changing families issue goes: Didn’t there use to be a time when American families could in fact live comfortably on just one income? Sure, a family with two incomes will have more money–but I get the impression that single income families used to be able to own homes, etc. and that this has changed in recent American history.

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    • Didn’t there use to be a time when American families could in fact live comfortably on just one income?

      Sure. And we lived in smaller houses, took fewer vacations more local to our home. We had fewer discretionary things as well.

      Sure, a family with two incomes will have more money–but I get the impression that single income families used to be able to own homes, etc. and that this has changed in recent American history.

      I’m echoing my comments to Titfortat above. But how else would you arrange society?

      I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you are concerned with the fact that “women earn but 77% of what men earn” and yet you have a degree of contempt for families have two incomes.

      While a fascinating topic, this is getting away from the larger point. Which is, when our society changed from wealth following position to the new construct of wealth following merit, we should not be surprised when smart people generate and acquire wealth, smart people are most often the best at merit behavior. And as smart people combine to both have the wealth and posses the ability to acquire more of it, that smart people attract other smart people.

      Combine this with the fact that intelligence is HIGHLY heritable, and you begin to see a trend where more and more intelligent people have more and more intelligent kids. And to make matters worse, the more affluent the family, the fewer kids they have. So the whole trend is that affluence is following intelligence, and those smart wealthier people are having smarter and fewer kids. The opposite is occurring with the less intelligent. Their kids are not becoming more and more intelligent yet they are having more of them.

      So we have fewer intelligent people competing against more less intelligent people. Those intelligent kids are going to find more success in life and the concentration of wealth will continue.

      Many people, obviously, don’t like this turn of events.

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      • How else would I arrange society? Well, the visual up there shows the degree of wealth inequality Americans would prefer to see in their society vs. the reality. So I’m thinking it would be a positive thing to bring the country closer to what people would like to see. Whether or not that wealth inequality is caused by intelligence or some other factor is not necessarily the issue, so much as whether that degree of inequality is acceptable. Obviously conservatives would disagree with me on this. I don’t have a grand plan for this–bringing wages back up to a higher value would be nice, but I don’t see that happening in our globalist corporate world anytime soon. The above point about less intelligent people having more children does make me wonder if greater availability of.contraceptives might be in order as well.

        I also should note that I don’t have contempt for two income families. I’m just reflecting on the fact that the two incomes didn’t use to be necessary. I’m not sure about the size of houses etc–most two income families I know actually live in small houses from the 1950s, 1920s and so on, but I’m sure that differs depending on which region of the country you’re in.

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        • So I’m thinking it would be a positive thing to bring the country closer to what people would like to see.

          So, right now, we reward merit. If you are talented, you make lots of money. If you’re not, you don’t.

          I would imagine that the left would approve of a society that rewards intelligence and not, say, warrior status.

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          • I agree about wanting to see merit rewarded, but I don’t agree that it is. I see Americans working way harder than any other people I’ve seen, and they don’t really get rewarded that well for all that productivity they put in. I wish we did reward merit.

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  8. A few more points to follow up on these thoughtful comments:
    1. Income has been falling or stagnant for 30 years now. That’s a societal trend that can only be addressed by policy from governments. Working really really hard no longer does it. That’s nearly TWO GENERATIONS of Americans with less opportunity for making a good living.
    2. Upward mobility in the US (children doing better htan their parents did) is also declining to a worrying degree. We have fallen behind Europe, Australia, CAndada etc by this measure.
    3. Someone (pino? jonolan?) points out that American youth are more educated than at any time in our history. That may be true in terms of grade levels acheived but still we fall behind on actual levels of knowledge.
    4. Antoher factor is productivity – that’s one area where we absolutely outperform the rest of the world. But as good as that is (and I think it is a good thing in the long run) it is an important reason for the structural change in employment. There are now fewer jobs. And that is llikely to get worse.

    All that being said, neither my post nor the video are about WHTy the gap is growing at such an alarming rate but about the fact that it is.

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    • 1. Compensation has not.

      2. Careful that you don’t confuse the ability to earn more than your parents with the ability to move between quintiles over all.

      3. There is no accounting for facepage, idol and The View.

      4. We are pricing out humans as methods of productivity.

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  9. A few points based upon others’ replies:

    Merit is still rewarded, possibly more than ever before. People who don’t believe that just don’t understand what is worthy of merit, in a financial sense, in the modern world.

    Wages and such are an inherently flawed metric for real success and societal mobility. Consider the buying power of people instead and what material goods they have as compared to others and to the parents instead or in tandem with wages.

    And finally, we’re fucked. We deprecated skilled work in favor of “education” without considering that there can never be enough jobs of that sort for anywhere near close to everyone.

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