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(Spiegel)   Economist Joseph Stiglitz:"The American dream has become a myth"   (spiegel.de) divider line 71
    More: Sad, Joseph Stiglitz, American Dream, social inequality, income inequality metrics, SPIEGEL, American families, economists, rhetoric of science  
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10202 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Oct 2012 at 11:59 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-10-02 09:07:55 PM
18 votes:
Has become? Joseph the country was founded by rich, white, slave holding aristocrats who restricted suffrage to their class. It was always a myth. The economic elite have always given up just enough change to keep them from being hauled to an execution site in a cart.
2012-10-03 12:57:20 AM
10 votes:
There are so many problems here..

1st)unlike people that willfully ignore facts, pretty much everyone can agree on the fact(supported by facts), that economic mobility has been on the decline since Reaganomics put our nation permanently in debt.

2nd)all this "American Dream", "American Exceptionalism" crap is just that, crap. Crap fed to the public by and large by people who were born rich and work out of boredom or to have a purpose to their lives, not to provide for basic necessities like shelter food and medical care. It's an attempt to make you think that, by golly, hard work will get you that suburban home, and some peace and security, when..

3rd)pretty much everyone who has actually been employed for more than a decade will tell you that hard, diligent, quality work, good performance, punctuality, all of the things they try and sell you as important don't actually mean anything. They will always, always, always promote their buddy. Period.

4th)if you weren't born into the economic elite, you will never, ever be a part of it. No amount of hard work will do it. As the new port barfly said, it's luck. Lightning strikes more people in the head each year, than who crawl up a class by their good work ethic. There are singular examples to the contrary, and they are all those 1 in 200million chances. They might have all been really hard workers, but it was blind dumb luck that chose to strike them with unfathomable success.

5th)post ww2 nostalgia needs to farking die. It's been half a century since we had nearly 100% employment. It was caused by the fact that we were about the only industrial nation whose manufacturing wasn't destroyed in a world spanning war. We will never, ever, ever, EVER see as prosperous a time again.

I'm not sure where I was going with this, other than to sink home te point that this invented in the 50s "American Dream" crap has always only really applied to the people who already were mostly there from the start.
2012-10-03 12:38:17 AM
9 votes:
A big problem is "financial innovation."

Financial innovation means two things:
1) Creating and selling virtual products - stocks, bonds, derivatives of those products. These aren't actual goods or services. These are logical constructs.
"A financial product is about as conceptual as you can get," says Wilson Ervin, a senior adviser at Credit Suisse. "You just need paper and ink."

2) Figuring out ways to have people take on more debt. Figuring out more subtle ways of doing it. "the poor little subprime borrowers will not last long." -- Fabrice Tourre, financial executive, in a personal email.

Paul Volcker said that the only beneficial financial innovation of the past 30 years was the ATM. An unfortunate admission because the ATM is not a financial innovation, but a technological one.

It's a Farmville economy, where people spend actual cash for virtual products like tractors in the game. But the face value of these virtual products is gargantuan. In 2008, the derivatives market itself, all virtual products, was about 4 times as large as the entire world economy. It's only grown.

Booms and busts are loved by Wall Street, but all they do is suck money from outsiders and send it to insiders.

Debt is a big problem. Taking the hamburger today and promising to pay for it Tuesday is a siren song. The central banks print money to prevent bad debt from imploding. The problem with printing money though is that it's trying to get something for nothing. There's no free lunch in physics and there's no free lunch in economics. Printing money is a TINSTAAFL violation.

BUT - the game has been sold to the public like a casino sells its gambling. People have fun playing, they think they can win, and on occasion someone does win big drawing ooh's and ahh's. But for the most part, people are just bled of money. It's the house, the financial sector, that wins. And the politicians they support write the rules in their favor. Ultimate the politicians are responsible for it.

The casino-ization of the society, financial innovation and the virtual products market, and the generation of bad debt which then generates money-printing by central banks all serve to extract money from the public and direct it to the highly connected inside players. Crony capitalism at its finest. Profits are kept by the private entities and the public is forced to pay for losses.
2012-10-03 12:59:41 AM
8 votes:
I don't know why people have such a hard time understanding the basic principles that led to an American middle class.

We had a war in which a large number of young men were trained for military action and shipped abroad. When the war ended, our government spent a lot of money providing these men with subsidized college educations and housing, and a resulting baby boom ensued as families settled down.

At the same time, the United States was the only major power not ravaged in some way by WWII. There was no rebuilding to do. US production was able to shift from making planes and ammunition to making consumer products aimed at families, creating jobs and economic growth.

The middle class was further sustained by the Korean War, which allowed a second wave of soldiers to come home to subsidized education and housing. And the children of those who served in WWII or Korea were also able to take advantage of college educations, giving the middle class another generation in which to thrive.

What do we have to sustain a middle class in 2012? Fewer than 1% of Americans serve in the military, and the majority of Americans who graduate from high school go on to achieve some college education during their lifetime (though only about 2/3 ever finish). This means that individuals with a college education are becoming undervalued (due to excess supply) and degrees are overexpensive (since they're no longer directly subsidized for most Americans).

The same is true of manufacturing jobs, which were a staple of the middle class for those who didn't pursue higher education. When manufacturing was inexpensive in the US following the wars (due to machinery already being purchased and businesses benefiting from the war economy), the cost of labor was not a primary concern. But as labor costs increased due to bad union contracts and government intervention, the system became volatile and jobs were shipped overseas. The middle class could never indefinitely benefit from this system; jobs were bound to vanish eventually once the benefits of the war economy came to a close.

The question today should not be, "what do we do about the shrinking middle class?" but rather, "why don't we tax everyone appropriately so we can once again provide government job training and subsidies for housing and college to young people so they can rise up to a new middle class status once they're established?"

I know it seems counter-intuitive to give people money to do things they ought to be able to do themselves. But then, young people only have the money to do these things if someone else gives it to them -- so why not let it come from the government, for the betterment of all, than merely from privileged parents or predatory financial institutions?
2012-10-03 01:07:08 AM
7 votes:
You know what the real biatch of this is?

For years the American Dream has been pushed as an ideal. People would go into debt to find that slice of happiness that they've always been promised, the sense of final dramatic victory over the world in the form of financial security and 'independence.' But it's always been a way to create a slave class that can't move, can't do what they want, and have social pressures causing them to conform.

Americans know shiat about freedom. Freedom is scary: you're totally responsible for yourself, you can't shift the blame, and you have to make hard choices. Freedom isn't something you chant as a thought-terminating cliche, it's the power to do what you want. But it takes a lot of fortitude and honesty to do that. And to be honest, freedom isn't as freeing as it sounds. It takes work, and it's certainly not a house designed to create a tax base held hostage by a shifting economy that is controlled by the 1%.

The totality of American life today is essentially extortion via a greatly exaggerated form of responsibility. How much freedom does one have when forced to beg for bare subsistence while those with much taunt you and curse you for the results of their actions? But Americans like delusion, and we love the idea of freedom being some shiny pillar that we know absolutely farking nothing about. We love the chant, and that's where it really ends. We are the first to point out how much American life sucks yet do nothing about it. We've been beaten down. We're essentially the lambs born right onto a griddle. And we brag about it like it's something to be proud of, like working ourselves to death is somehow a noble thing.

The latest economic downturn should reveal one thing to Americans at large: that we're not free. We're far from it. And it's a systemic problem that we really need to dig deep down about. This isn't a problem that overthrowing a government or playing right-wing commando with a bunch of cheap guns can resolve. This is how we deal with the dead-end philosophy that America has come to accept as 'freedom.' How do we react to the reality of freedom when we use responsibility as a form of slut shaming? Our country is broken, and it's not just in an economic sense. The foundations of American thought are, at their heart, really rotten and needlessly vile and competitive. Exactly why is simple subsistence a moral failing again? And what kind of awful people thinks that way?

All I can say right now is that when you really have time to examine American life as an outsider--as an unemployed person who is detached from that Dream--a lot of things become very clear very quickly. And I don't see many Americans going back to the Dream once the economy sorts itself out. It's hard to measure consumer confidence when you're one write-up away from being excluded from a Dream that, at its heart, is Yet Another Marketing Tool, and just as hollow.
2012-10-03 12:16:06 AM
7 votes:

Ennuipoet: Has become? Joseph the country was founded by rich, white, slave holding aristocrats who restricted suffrage to their class. It was always a myth. The economic elite have always given up just enough change to keep them from being hauled to an execution site in a cart.


WANT

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2012-10-02 10:09:04 PM
6 votes:

Ennuipoet: Has become? Joseph the country was founded by rich, white, slave holding aristocrats who restricted suffrage to their class. It was always a myth. The economic elite have always given up just enough change to keep them from being hauled to an execution site in a cart.


Bingo. We had a brief period in the years between WWII and Vietnam where both the economy and social freedom was increasing for pretty much everyone. Other than that, the American Dream has always been only partially true for only a part of the population.
2012-10-02 09:36:15 PM
6 votes:

NewportBarGuy: Bullsh*t! With luck, determination, and some intelligence you have the best chance to make something of yourself in this country than anywhere else.

3 years ago I was making just a few bucks more than minimum wage. Now I have an awesome job, got promoted 3 times and have more money than I ever had in my life and the future looks nothing but bright. I did all this and all I have is a sh*tty associates degree. Working on a Bachelor's (still) but I'll get that eventually.

The American Dream is still alive and well. Just scale it back a bit. I can't emphasize luck enough, though. Luck plays a HUGE part in life. Call it fate or whatever, but that sh*t is real. It's that combined with showing up and giving everything you've got.

I respect Joe, but he's wrong. This is still an amazing country filled with amazing people capable of awesome things. Yes, the economy is tough right now. We all know that. We've been through it before. We'll come out the other side and we'll move on as we always have.


Good for you. But "the best chance to make something of yourself in this country than anywhere else"? The evidence doesn't support that.

I assume that we're gauging that on one's ability to be upwardly mobile. Income elasticity in the US now falls near the bottom of industrialized nations. If you want to gauge someone's ability to succeed, the best predictor in the US is actually parental income. If you're truly interested in being the land of opportunity, you'll take your collective heads out of your asses.

upload.wikimedia.org
2012-10-03 12:49:28 AM
5 votes:
2012-10-02 10:27:07 PM
5 votes:

NewportBarGuy: Bullsh*t! With luck, determination, and some intelligence you have the best chance to make something of yourself in this country than anywhere else.

3 years ago I was making just a few bucks more than minimum wage. Now I have an awesome job, got promoted 3 times and have more money than I ever had in my life and the future looks nothing but bright. I did all this and all I have is a sh*tty associates degree. Working on a Bachelor's (still) but I'll get that eventually.

The American Dream is still alive and well. Just scale it back a bit. I can't emphasize luck enough, though. Luck plays a HUGE part in life. Call it fate or whatever, but that sh*t is real. It's that combined with showing up and giving everything you've got.

I respect Joe, but he's wrong. This is still an amazing country filled with amazing people capable of awesome things. Yes, the economy is tough right now. We all know that. We've been through it before. We'll come out the other side and we'll move on as we always have.


Statistics say you are wrong. You have a greater chance of moving up in the wealth ladder in the other developed democracies than you do in the United States. You can keep chanting "USA#1" all you want, but simply screaming it louder and louder does not make it true. We pride ourselves on having greater economic/social mobility than places like Europe, but it's not true anymore.
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-10-02 08:37:39 PM
5 votes:
Well, that's kind of obvious.
2012-10-02 10:47:55 PM
4 votes:
Well, I don't know about that. The American Dream is still alive, but it's getting really difficult to achieve it if you're not already born three quarters of the way there.
2012-10-02 10:03:38 PM
4 votes:
1.bp.blogspot.com
2012-10-03 12:59:32 AM
3 votes:
Also a huge issue - the abiilty of loan originators / lenders to avoid taking on any repayment risk.

The game is fantastic. They generate loans, then sell them, taking a healthy fee. This is why they created loans which they didn't care about having repaid, en masse. The concept is called "securitization."

At first, it seems a bizarre thing, "Why would lenders make loans they don't care about having repaid?" Once you understand it, the lightbulb goes on.

The problem is that the taxpayer winds up paying the debt via the massive bailouts. More "privatize profits, socialize losses."
2012-10-03 12:56:18 AM
3 votes:

Ennuipoet: Joseph the country was founded by rich, white, slave holding aristocrats who restricted suffrage to their class.


Heck, the revolution was partly because of the rich. Wealthy land speculators were pushing into the western frontier. When the natives retaliated violently, the land owners demanded that the Crown protect their newly settled areas. This became very expensive, forcing the Crown to raise taxes to pay for it. This pissed off the wealthy colonists who had to shoulder much of the tax burden. Some were angry enough to plot an insurrection.

Loyalty to the Crown mostly boiled down to money. Merchants who profited from the colonies being part of the kingdom tended to be loyalists. Landowners who would profit from independence tended to support revolution. And each side got very nasty about loyalty oaths, sometimes resorting to assault, arson or murder to acquire an oath.

It was not one of the finer moments in our country's history.
2012-10-03 12:44:32 AM
3 votes:
The best thing we can do to spur fiscal mobility is nationalized health care. Hard to start a new venture is you are scared crapless to leave your current employers coverage.

/went 8 years no coverage starting business - damn lucky had excellent health.
2012-10-03 12:41:05 AM
3 votes:

SouthParkCon: Because capitalism is the root of all evil....


Don't conflate capitalism, which is a very effective system at providing incentives and allocating resources, and crony capitalism, which is what we have today.
2012-10-03 12:12:36 AM
3 votes:
Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. - Denis Diderot
2012-10-02 11:48:06 PM
3 votes:
The "American Dream" has been to own a house with a nice yard, have a "regular" family with a couple of kids, and a car or two. That dream was pretty much killed when Regan took office, but the decline started in the 60s. In order to afford a house with ONE kid, two adults need to be working full time jobs. Middle class incomes have pretty much stayed flat and the only reason they haven't tanked is because women started taking more jobs. Inflation has taken out most of the gains of wage increases.

Since the economy has transformed into more service driven from a construction/manufacturing driven economy, the only thing keeping it afloat are people who spend money, aka the middle class. With less money being available to spend, the economy shrinks, jobs are lost, and a downward spiral develops. The so called "job creators" aren't going to increase their production unless there is demand to support it. Those who support it don't have any money to buy. The cycle continues. And it sucks.
2012-10-02 09:09:22 PM
3 votes:
Yeah... I'm pretty sure it always was
2012-10-03 02:11:48 AM
2 votes:

Crazy Lee: Any education system in this country that isn't pressing the cause of autodidacticism (particularly in middle/HS) is a fraud. My grandparents spent serious school time practicing to perfect an ornate orthography (the appearance of their correspondence is `art' the content? shopping lists...). Currently? Hitting some marks on this or that standardized test. Being `fed' and regurgitating and forgetting isn't any more of a hedge against stupidity and early obsolescence, than was exquisite penmanship. How did the man put it? `luck is the residue of design' and, being stamped to particular `design' specs, instead of doing the drilling and machining oneself, isn't at all conducive to encouraging luck to ride along on one's shoulder.

I was that weird little shiat that broke out in a cold sweat when Gregory Peck (as Captain Ahab) gave `the speech', i.e., "...the little lower layer.." I knew exactly what was meant. To paraphrase Blake `you never know enough, until you know more than enough' (and that ain't gonna happen). Still, after all this time, piling it on and in - not too particular as to subject, either; just never know when (not if) a selective memory dump of the wetware will come in handy (hasn't failed to, yet).

/fark dreaming, hit the `books' (yeah, off lawn, now) and never stop
//not meant to address the systemic inadequacy of the current parade as it passes - just this farker's never having given a shiat about marching along in it (whether living in a car or working for Ashton-Tate)


Well, we want to replicate the achievements of China and India, and so our educational system says FU to creativity and more to rote memorization. GOOD JOB ON THE STANDARDIZED TEST! Now answer a lateral thinking question/ whoops
2012-10-03 01:43:34 AM
2 votes:

fatassbastard: There's a house on the way to my friend's parents' place where we have our jam space. Big, brand new place on 5 acres. Guy's a Mexican immigrant who eventually started his own landscaping company, and now has this place to raise his family in.

How is that not the farking American Dream?


Yes but how many of his fellow immigrants' backs did he have to break with little or no concern for their actual well-being to achieve that level of success? Several recent studies have shown that in our capitalist system, the people who exhibit the strongest psychopathic tendencies are the ones who are rewarded with success. It is that "I've got mine, screw everybody else" attitude that is necessary for real success in the free-market system. I don't know about you, but I don't like, and will fight against to my last breath, a business culture that rewards those who care the least about whose throat they have to slit open to get ahead. I realize that this is the world we live in, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it or compromise my principals just to "keep up with the Joneses." If this so-called "American Dream" requires me to not give a shiat about my fellow citizen, then I don't want it because it is inherently flawed. If you can sleep well at night knowing that you had to step on others just to climb the ladder, well partner I'd say you're the one with the character flaw, not me.
2012-10-03 01:32:42 AM
2 votes:

NewportBarGuy: We have thought it out. We know the way forward. What we need is for people to stop giving a sh*t which side proposes or passes something to help all of us by helping the economy.


It's not about legislation, indeed it's not even really about government. It's how we expect businesses to fit in to society. In the 50s the CEO of GM said that what's good for American is good for GM and vice versa. What he meant was, what's good for the economy is good for business, there was no separating the two. Also there was a sense of businesses being a part of society at large, not separate from it and without any consequences for society at large. It's a way of thinking found in other places, it's just that it's largely disappeared in the US. Which isn't to say it can't come back.
2012-10-03 01:29:19 AM
2 votes:
Also, future generations will look back on American-style "free market capitalism" as a failed economic experiment. Experience has shown us that it simply does not work, because it is structurally incapable of mitigating the factor of human greed while it rewards those with genuine psychopathic tendencies - particularly the lack of empathy - with success that comes at the expense of others.
2012-10-03 01:23:44 AM
2 votes:

NewportBarGuy: Bullsh*t! With luck, determination, and some intelligence you have the best chance to make something of yourself in this country than anywhere else.

3 years ago I was making just a few bucks more than minimum wage. Now I have an awesome job, got promoted 3 times and have more money than I ever had in my life and the future looks nothing but bright. I did all this and all I have is a sh*tty associates degree. Working on a Bachelor's (still) but I'll get that eventually.

The American Dream is still alive and well. Just scale it back a bit. I can't emphasize luck enough, though. Luck plays a HUGE part in life. Call it fate or whatever, but that sh*t is real. It's that combined with showing up and giving everything you've got.

I respect Joe, but he's wrong. This is still an amazing country filled with amazing people capable of awesome things. Yes, the economy is tough right now. We all know that. We've been through it before. We'll come out the other side and we'll move on as we always have.


As much as I like you, I can't help but think you've got some blinders on. Possibly because you've not experienced the same corporate abuse (and sheer bad luck) some of us have; obviously I speculate since I don't know you, but there are plenty of companies which don't give a rat's ass how hard you work and that you showed up every day. My first real job was the only one I've actually enjoyed outside of military stuff (and obviously not all of that). I busted my ass for that company/store, and was rewarded with lies about my chances for promotion, lies about worker's comp when I hurt my back on the job, and lies and deception about later employment stability. Also they hired a moron with a snazzy resume over promoting either myself or my co-worker, both of us having far more experience, knowledge, and especially tact and intelligence. All apparently because he showed up to interview on 9/11 and that impressed someone. (I'm not being bitter when I say that, this guy was absurdly inept long term despite being hired as a manager).

Some companies are run by good people who care about their workers. Most aren't. 'Opportunity' is not available for everyone, no matter what stories we're told around the camp fire. There is a small percentage of jobs out there that pay better than a living wage, with benefits. Not everyone can do those jobs, not everyone wants them, but there are most likely still more people who can and would than there are actual openings.

Opportunity is out there, but you can't always beat out the other guy for the opening, and that leaves you with... less.

As it is, as it always has been, just we have forgotten that over the last 50-70 years.
2012-10-03 01:02:07 AM
2 votes:

neongoats: I'm not sure where I was going with this, other than to sink home te point that this invented in the 50s "American Dream" crap has always only really applied to the people who already were mostly there from the start.


What helped immensely was several decades of rapid manufacturing growth fueled by the fact that most of the world was rebuilding from and repopulating after WWII. We had a very easy market to access.

It's not as easy these days, and having our best and brightest focused on how to dismantle companies and send them overseas for the past few decades has really twisted the knife in our side.
2012-10-03 12:58:32 AM
2 votes:

Forbidden Doughnut: Fano: Gordon Sinclair offers a rebuttal

That speech is from 1973....


FTA:"The belief in the American dream is reinforced by anecdotes, by dramatic examples of individuals who have made it from the bottom to the top -- but what matters most are an individual's life chances. The belief in the American dream is not supported by the data."

This definition of the American Dream seems to come from Horatio Alger, circa 1900
2012-10-03 12:49:09 AM
2 votes:
img388.imageshack.us

Was this tag on vacation today or what?
2012-10-03 12:36:10 AM
2 votes:
It's not a myth. It's just been outsourced to India and China.
2012-10-03 12:14:28 AM
2 votes:
The American Dream would be a whole lot more accessible if Uncle Ben Shalom hadn't made it a priority to save his buddys' asses in the mortage business. The Fed works overtime to prop up prices. 

itmakessenseblog.com
2012-10-03 12:10:08 AM
2 votes:
My dream is to be balls deep in an Asian chick while a white girl licks my nuts and a Latina girl shoves her butthole in my face for me to lick. It will happen one day. It's not a goddamn myth, OK?
2012-10-03 12:03:19 AM
2 votes:

Richard Freckle: No Carlin reference yet, I am disappoint.

go back to sleep


Sorry I'm late.

"It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it."
2012-10-02 11:59:39 PM
2 votes:

SpaceyCat: The "American Dream" has been to own a house with a nice yard, have a "regular" family with a couple of kids, and a car or two. That dream was pretty much killed when Regan took office, but the decline started in the 60s. In order to afford a house with ONE kid, two adults need to be working full time jobs. Middle class incomes have pretty much stayed flat and the only reason they haven't tanked is because women started taking more jobs. Inflation has taken out most of the gains of wage increases.

Since the economy has transformed into more service driven from a construction/manufacturing driven economy, the only thing keeping it afloat are people who spend money, aka the middle class. With less money being available to spend, the economy shrinks, jobs are lost, and a downward spiral develops. The so called "job creators" aren't going to increase their production unless there is demand to support it. Those who support it don't have any money to buy. The cycle continues. And it sucks.



I knew I liked you :)

I'll absolutely agree with that. Wages are declining, hours worked (per job so they can avoid overtime/benefits) etc. etc... Yes, we have severe economic problems. We need to figure out how we get back jobs that pay people with a high school education $50-75K like union manufacturing used to. I have no idea how we do that. I wish I did. Trade schools? Copy the German education/technical training model? Something like that. I wish we'd have that discussion on the local level. We have a GREAT VOTECH school here in Newport. Produces some great boat builders, cooks, and beauty workers. They make good cash, the gifted ones.

We have serious issues and I'm not glossing over that. I do want to face them and find a solution. I just refuse to believe that it is over. It's not. We can still attain our hopes and dreams. I have begun living mine. The only thing I want is for more people to experience the joy I've had in getting there. heh... Sure, there was a whole LOT of suck. Tons. But, it worked out. I got lucky, very lucky.

The economic numbers and forecasts are not good. I am disheartened and angry at that. We need strong consumers with good paychecks to make our whole thing work. Every single QTR where those wages and take-home goes down... We're circling deeper down.

I just know one thing for certain... I do NOT trust this bullsh*t "20% across the board tax cut, but we'll limit deductions" thing to solve ANY of our economic problems. We're plugging along anemically, but with positive growth (minus inflation).

The service economy... Ha! These assholes sold that to us as an excuse for offshoring. "We'll keep the really cool jobs here! Trust us! All is well!"

Yes, we have serious issues. I just hope we can face them together and find a solution instead of another 2 years of screaming at each other like petulant children.

Hope you are well!
2012-10-02 11:22:47 PM
2 votes:

Lando Lincoln: Well, I don't know about that. The American Dream is still alive, but it's getting really difficult to achieve it if you're not already born three quarters of the way there.


It's at a fraction of it's potential of 50 years ago. You can still do it, but it's barely possible. You have to either be born into a position of near wealth, basically privileged middle class, or get it by sheer luck, either by hitting the exact right idea at the right time or knowing the right people at the right time. Straight up ability used to get you somewhere on your own, but that isn't true anymore.
2012-10-02 10:08:03 PM
2 votes:

Ennuipoet: Has become? Joseph the country was founded by rich, white, slave holding aristocrats who restricted suffrage to their class. It was always a myth. The economic elite have always given up just enough change to keep them from being hauled to an execution site in a cart.


No the dream wasn't to be that guy. The dream was the nice house, with a hot wife, 2 kids and a dog playing in the back yard, two shiny cars in the driveway, and the mortgage payed off before the kids were in college... And for maybe two generations it was possible... not likely, but possible.
2012-10-02 09:12:15 PM
2 votes:
Bullsh*t! With luck, determination, and some intelligence you have the best chance to make something of yourself in this country than anywhere else.

3 years ago I was making just a few bucks more than minimum wage. Now I have an awesome job, got promoted 3 times and have more money than I ever had in my life and the future looks nothing but bright. I did all this and all I have is a sh*tty associates degree. Working on a Bachelor's (still) but I'll get that eventually.

The American Dream is still alive and well. Just scale it back a bit. I can't emphasize luck enough, though. Luck plays a HUGE part in life. Call it fate or whatever, but that sh*t is real. It's that combined with showing up and giving everything you've got.

I respect Joe, but he's wrong. This is still an amazing country filled with amazing people capable of awesome things. Yes, the economy is tough right now. We all know that. We've been through it before. We'll come out the other side and we'll move on as we always have.
2012-10-02 09:09:00 PM
2 votes:
hmmm. i seem to remember hst talking about this for the past forty years before his death...
2012-10-03 09:21:11 PM
1 votes:

intelligent comment below: So what happens if your wife develops cancer, her insurance drops her... then what?


Then my ensuing lawsuit against the insurance company will pay for both her cancer treatment and a new Ferrari or two for me.

I just pointed out how volatile your situation actually is and how the odds are stacked against everyone, including you. Yet you still claimed to have "made it" when you have no idea what jobs will be steady in 5-10 years just like a tech person working in the 1990's thought their good life would last forever

What some random dumbass with a Netware certification thought in the 1990s doesn't seem relevant to my own future, or that of my family.
2012-10-03 04:19:05 PM
1 votes:

Lagaidh: I know I'm an atypical anecdote... but it does happen here and there. And I'm not talking about rags to riches... just rags to comfy middle class.


tallen702: Now, before the accusations of me being the exception to the rule. I live near DC, my wife and I make what would be considered very, very modest incomes for the DC Metro area



Neither of you are living the American dream. Both of you are one missing paycheck away from a homeless shelter. That's the point Stiglitz is making. Your jobs are not steady income, your expenses on things like health care are through the roof, and if something happened you would be in deep trouble. Not to mention you going to college in the first place to get to where you are now is unobtainable for a large percentage of the population.
2012-10-03 09:53:28 AM
1 votes:
4 step plan to fix america

1. tax on all currency exports of 10-15% (5x number designated in step 3)
2. sunset all current taxes, income, sales, payroll etc
3. tax all property at a rate of 2-3% annually, including intellectual property protected by the US government, and the value of all "investment vehicles" like stocks, bonds, bank accounts, etc. This rate would be set to be revenue neutral with the current tax system.
4. pass constitutional amendment that no government entity on any level may use non-tax sources to fund itself
4.a. put all fines, fees, and seizure auction revenue into a segregated account and distribute it equally to all citizens

What this will accomplish:

It is a fundamentally more fair way to pay for government. Those who use more of the government's primary function to protect property rights are the ones who pay the most. There would be no loopholes as someone always has to own property. Corporations and wealthy individuals couldn't get out of it because they would be taxed based on what they owned, not on what they made.

The current level of corruption in the federal government where corporations can buy favorable tax provisions would cease. And with step 4 it would prevent corruption on the local and state level where law enforcement is currently being used as a revenue tool. And finally it would take power away from politicians and special interests so they couldn't use taxes to control behavior, which is inimical to a free society.

The one issue I see is with food production where the value of the crops is significantly less than the value of the land. And one potential solution I see is that the tax is deferred as long as a farm is being operated by an immediate family member of the owner. If the land is sold, to a developer for example, the tax bill comes due.
2012-10-03 09:21:42 AM
1 votes:

sethen320: Coelacanth: Sometimes I think the only reason I was born in this country was to punish me for something awful I did in a previous life.
Leave.


I'd love to. Just as soon as I can find enough work to save enough money to try to get another job in another country.........Hang on a minute. I'm having trouble finding a job here.
2012-10-03 07:45:04 AM
1 votes:

NewportBarGuy: Bullsh*t! With luck, determination, and some intelligence you have the best chance to make something of yourself in this country than anywhere else.

3 years ago I was making just a few bucks more than minimum wage. Now I have an awesome job, got promoted 3 times and have more money than I ever had in my life and the future looks nothing but bright. I did all this and all I have is a sh*tty associates degree. Working on a Bachelor's (still) but I'll get that eventually.

The American Dream is still alive and well. Just scale it back a bit. I can't emphasize luck enough, though. Luck plays a HUGE part in life. Call it fate or whatever, but that sh*t is real. It's that combined with showing up and giving everything you've got.

I respect Joe, but he's wrong. This is still an amazing country filled with amazing people capable of awesome things. Yes, the economy is tough right now. We all know that. We've been through it before. We'll come out the other side and we'll move on as we always have.


No, we won't. We never had 16 trillion in debt. We never had 50% of American workers paying no taxes. We never had entire generations of kids who are liberal and think working is not fair. We are screwed.

Obama gets another term, we will be at 22 trillion in debt by the end of that one. That is some serious interest payments alone.
2012-10-03 04:42:29 AM
1 votes:
I'd love to see the economy you people are talking about where money confers no advantage. Of course it's going to be more difficult when you start with less. There are more people with less, here, because the way we redistribute wealth has somehow gotten completely twisted, and you don't accumulate riskable capital until you're well into middle class already.
2012-10-03 04:26:50 AM
1 votes:

Poo_Fight: I know, RIGHT!?



So now the question is, what other user name did you think you were posting with?
2012-10-03 03:41:12 AM
1 votes:
money movement will be the killer. As more wealth concentrates in fewer hands there is less money movement. Less money moving means economies flatten out if not stagnate. Sooner or later something has to give if the money stagnates.. usually its the heads of the elite rich that get that money moving again.
2012-10-03 03:25:52 AM
1 votes:

NewportBarGuy: 3 years ago I was making just a few bucks more than minimum wage. Now I have an awesome job, got promoted 3 times and have more money than I ever had in my life and the future looks nothing but bright.


Me too.

Then I was laid off. Dwindling savings. Probably going to lose my home and everything I've worked hard for, if I can't fix this.

Keep your head up, but not all the way up in the clouds.
2012-10-03 02:49:22 AM
1 votes:

intelligent comment below: Poo_Fight: Whatever, I'm going to throw another vote his way in the blind hope that doing MORE of what HASN'T WORKED will miraculously correct everything just because of his skin color.


What hasn't worked? Go into details.


notsureifyou'reserious

Cash for clunkers
Devaluing the dollar
21% real inflation
Obamacare
I can go on all night
2012-10-03 02:21:46 AM
1 votes:
What? The magic negro was supposed to fix all this. Right? Right?!
2012-10-03 02:21:14 AM
1 votes:
"His first personal experience with the issue came when, as a young boy, he asked why his nanny wasn't caring for her own children."

The same reason your car mechanic isn't working on his own car, and your doctor isn't operating on himself. They have jobs.
2012-10-03 02:10:33 AM
1 votes:

Fano: It's hard to update equipment.


But it can be done. Alcoa, the aluminum company, spent lots of money updating their equipment, as often as possible. Not only that, they sold aluminum processing equipment to their own competitors. So Alcoa had no problem competing with anyone else because they made sure they had the latest and greatest stuff and have engineers who do nothing but work on that stuff.
2012-10-03 02:06:36 AM
1 votes:
Any education system in this country that isn't pressing the cause of autodidacticism (particularly in middle/HS) is a fraud. My grandparents spent serious school time practicing to perfect an ornate orthography (the appearance of their correspondence is `art' the content? shopping lists...). Currently? Hitting some marks on this or that standardized test. Being `fed' and regurgitating and forgetting isn't any more of a hedge against stupidity and early obsolescence, than was exquisite penmanship. How did the man put it? `luck is the residue of design' and, being stamped to particular `design' specs, instead of doing the drilling and machining oneself, isn't at all conducive to encouraging luck to ride along on one's shoulder.

I was that weird little shiat that broke out in a cold sweat when Gregory Peck (as Captain Ahab) gave `the speech', i.e., "...the little lower layer.." I knew exactly what was meant. To paraphrase Blake `you never know enough, until you know more than enough' (and that ain't gonna happen). Still, after all this time, piling it on and in - not too particular as to subject, either; just never know when (not if) a selective memory dump of the wetware will come in handy (hasn't failed to, yet).

/fark dreaming, hit the `books' (yeah, off lawn, now) and never stop
//not meant to address the systemic inadequacy of the current parade as it passes - just this farker's never having given a shiat about marching along in it (whether living in a car or working for Ashton-Tate)
2012-10-03 01:44:15 AM
1 votes:

NewportBarGuy: It's the main reason we get so many immigrants. Not for the welfare, because they believe they can make it here.



Percentage wise, European countries take in far more immigrants than America.
2012-10-03 01:39:16 AM
1 votes:
As sort of another angle on this, the "American Dream" of living in a nice suburb of a popular metro area with two cars, couple kids, time and money for leisure activities, plus saving for college and retirement is out of reach for vast majority without significant inheritance. If you don't inherit money, to get to the point where you can afford a $500k (or more like $1M in better metros) suburban house while also living comfortably is really tough -- you need to be pulling in a couple hundred thousand a year in household income and that often is only achieved after getting into serious student debt.

You can do the math, but the vast majority of people living the American Dream either got there 30 years ago, or they actually can't afford it (house poor), or inherited significant money to get there.

Certainly there are many alternative lifestyles which are arguably as good or better (living rural, living frugally without cars, etc.) but the point is that the idea of a "middle class" really doesn't exist in the US as an achievable "self made" path for most.
2012-10-03 01:29:54 AM
1 votes:
Poor people are poor because Bill Gates created Windows. Makes perfect sense to me!
2012-10-03 01:26:27 AM
1 votes:

WhyteRaven74: neongoats: It's been half a century since we had nearly 100% employment.

We've never had that. Indeed the closest we ever got was just before the end of WW2, for about six months. After that unemployment was anywhere between 4 and 7%. And the late 90s saw unemployment that was better than most of the 50s.

We will never, ever, ever, EVER see as prosperous a time again.

Your causes are false, and that statement is utter horseshiat, we could see it again, we just have to change how think about things.


Are you retarded? We were supplying most of the world with most of everything, including ourselves. We weren't a manufacturing powerhouse because of freedom and the American dream, we were a manufacturing, innovatin, fornicatin king because at the time we had basically unlimited markets for our crap, and we were actually the good guys on the world stage. Cars, heavy equipment, military equipment and arms, even farking textiles and toys. That era is over. Get over it. Take your boomer loving ass out of here and get a useful job :p
2012-10-03 01:17:19 AM
1 votes:
Every empire eventually collapses. Every system eventually fails. So enjoy the debauchery of the decline.
2012-10-03 01:15:36 AM
1 votes:

fusillade762: [d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net image 500x342]

/got nuthin'


Pretty much why I came to this thread.

But yeah, the dream is a fantasy taught to the proles to keep them in line.

Anyway, thanks, Fusillade762
2012-10-03 01:12:45 AM
1 votes:

WhyteRaven74: we just have to change how think about things.


No.

No.

Nope.

I mean... I honestly don't know, my friend. You have a bill that provides businesses with a tax credit for hiring new workers... shot down by Senate GOP Filibuster. I'm sorry... "threatened" filibuster. They are all too pussy to do the actual filibuster, or allow it and have to suffer through that horror and miss their silk sheets for a night.

We have thought it out. We know the way forward. What we need is for people to stop giving a sh*t which side proposes or passes something to help all of us by helping the economy.

This partisan bickery will be the end of us much more surely than unregulated financial instruments.
2012-10-03 12:55:08 AM
1 votes:

NewportBarGuy: You can still make it here. I


It would help if our wages weren't facing 30 years of what amounts to stagnation. Which the other countries aren't facing.
2012-10-03 12:40:26 AM
1 votes:
I'd be better off moving to South America. I could become the dictator of a banana republic.
2012-10-03 12:35:35 AM
1 votes:

Man On Pink Corner: It must drive people like Stiglitz apeshiat when someone actually does make something of themselves in this country.


A million immigrants are too busy working hard and getting ahead to read the article.
2012-10-03 12:24:42 AM
1 votes:
img194.imageshack.us
2012-10-03 12:20:39 AM
1 votes:

Man On Pink Corner: It must drive people like Stiglitz apeshiat when someone actually does make something of themselves in this country.


Yes. Truly, he preemptively spins, in anticipation of his grave, every time any lone person in the United States moves up the ladder. His broad views on class mobility in a nation of 300 million are absolutely threatened by the tiny percentage of people who do move up. Between that and the little jig he dances every time a modest fortune is wiped out or someone contracts a serious illness while uninsured, the man is literally a blur.

Well spotted!
2012-10-03 12:14:23 AM
1 votes:

sno man: Ennuipoet: Has become? Joseph the country was founded by rich, white, slave holding aristocrats who restricted suffrage to their class. It was always a myth. The economic elite have always given up just enough change to keep them from being hauled to an execution site in a cart.

No the dream wasn't to be that guy. The dream was the nice house, with a hot wife, 2 kids and a dog playing in the back yard, two shiny cars in the driveway, and the mortgage payed off before the kids were in college... And for maybe two generations it was possible... not likely, but possible.


There is great disagreement about what "The American Dream" is.
Some favor the land where anybody can get rich.
Some favor the land where everyone who works for it can own their own home.
These two are not all that compatible.
2012-10-03 12:11:35 AM
1 votes:
peasantswithpitchforks.com

R.I.P. Americone Dream
2012-10-03 12:03:49 AM
1 votes:
For a lot of us, the American Dream is the American Nightmare!

We didn't land on Plymouth Rock! PLYMOUTH ROCK LANDED ON US!
2012-10-02 11:53:24 PM
1 votes:

NewportBarGuy: unyon: Income elasticity in the US now falls near the bottom of industrialized nations.

Combine the population of the countries that "beat" us on that chart. Still not buying it. You can still make it here. It's the main reason we get so many immigrants. Not for the welfare, because they believe they can make it here.

omnibus_necanda_sunt: 4/10

Not even trolling.

WorldCitizen: Statistics say you are wrong. You have a greater chance of moving up in the wealth ladder in the other developed democracies than you do in the United States. You can keep chanting "USA#1" all you want, but simply screaming it louder and louder does not make it true. We pride ourselves on having greater economic/social mobility than places like Europe, but it's not true anymore.

Yeah, well... They can have their economic austerity. I'll stand by my post.


Even if it has been proven untrue multiple times? Is it because it's the feeling in your gut, and damn it, your gut must be right? And we're not just talking about Europe. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea...
2012-10-02 11:46:32 PM
1 votes:
And Obama refused to let this guy anywhere near his economic team. Sigh.
2012-10-02 10:10:28 PM
1 votes:
That's nothing. Eight years ago, I was a janitor at a Burger King. Then I unclogged a toilet, only to find that the blockage was a wad of Google stock certificates. Now I own a double-rotor Sikorsky full of albino tiger cubs.
2012-10-02 09:44:19 PM
1 votes:
Could a guy name Horatio Alger make it in this day and age?  I doubt it, but if he changed his name to Richard Steel?  By golly I believe the world could be his quivering, accepting, and moist oyster.
2012-10-02 09:42:14 PM
1 votes:
d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net

/got nuthin'
 
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