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(The New York Times)   The American Dream is not dead; it's just on life support   (nytimes.com) divider line
    More: PSA, Household income in the United States, incomes of people, past decade, market income increase, inequality of income, immediate concern, slow rate of productivity growth, significant increases  
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764 clicks; posted to Politics » on 18 May 2020 at 11:30 AM (12 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-05-18 9:55:35 AM  
That's a lot of words and he still doesn't catch on that after four decades of zero real growth in wages, people are farking fed up.
 
2020-05-18 10:26:34 AM  
It's just a flesh wound.
 
2020-05-18 10:44:42 AM  
Oh please give me a break

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 10:58:06 AM  
Not it's not dead. It's pining for the fjords


/Lovely plumage
.
 
2020-05-18 11:02:59 AM  
TFA: Now, suppose that in order to increase the incomes of people at the bottom by a factor of two, you had no choice but to increase the incomes of the top 20 percent by a factor of 2.5. Would you still wave the wand? If so, you may be less concerned about inequality than you think.

TFAuthor misses the point that the driver of inequality is not income, it's net worth.

https://www.credit-suisse.com/media/a​s​sets/corporate/docs/about-us/research/​publications/global-wealth-report-2019​-en.pdf

Fark user imageView Full Size


A magic wand that propels an Amazon Wage Cager from $20K to $40K per year, while multiplying Jeff Bezos' salary from its current $81,840 to $204,600/y would do a great deal to spark consumption.

The extra consumption from an army of bottom-quintile consumers flush with cash would probably improve Amazon's business, but I doubt it would drive AMZN's stonk price up by 250%, effectively turning Bezos' 15% stake in the company (valued at $150B at a market cap of $1.2T) into a $385B stake in a $3T enterprise.

OK, so let's dispense with the extreme case and include his total compensation: On page 60 of the 2020 Proxy Statement (available at https://ir.aboutamazon.com/annual-rep​o​rts-proxies-and-shareholder-letters/de​fault.aspx), you can see his total compensation includes another $1.6M in taxable benefit for having a bodyguard and security services. Some of the other executives have gotten stock/option grants ranging between $6M and $60M.

Let's wave the magic wand again: we can't really multiply the stonk price by 2.5 (nor their percenstage stakes in the company by a factor of 2.5, because there are only so many shares to go around), but we could, in order to exacerbate the inequality, compensate them in cash up front - fine, the execs keep their shares/equity grants and get a bonus in cash of 150% of what their options were worth at the time we waved the wand: a few execs get $9-90M bonuses.

Fark user imageView Full Size


That's enough money to buy a respectable business jet or a small yacht. It's still not enough money to alter society beyond renting a Senator or two. Some HNW individuals become UHNW (Ultra High Net Worth), and some UHNWs move up a rank on the pyramid. Maybe someone runs for office; society is still fundamentally unchanged. That's wealth, but it's not the sort of wealth that buys power.

Fark user imageView Full Size


This is where the society-altering wealth is. https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/​, and the bulk of that money was never earned as taxable income. The bulk of that money is sitting in stonks (which can't be sold without moving the price and is not taxed until sold), real estate (which is illiquid and not taxed until sold), or in tax-sheltered vehicles such as trusts and holding corporations (wherein its growth, too, is never income).

So yeah, go on and double the wages of the bottom quintile as well as increase the income of the top 1% -- and even the top 0.000025% by a factor of 2.5. Doing so would indeed reduce inequality because the growth in the net worth of the uppermost strata of society has absolutely nothing to do with as pedestrian a concept as income in the first place.
 
2020-05-18 11:05:15 AM  
"And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun."

"God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls before Swine" 1965,  Kurt Vonnegut Jr
 
2020-05-18 11:32:25 AM  
"They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it..."
 
2020-05-18 11:33:11 AM  
But what about the Samoan Dream?

media1.s-nbcnews.comView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:34:35 AM  
He dead.

grantland.comView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:35:13 AM  
There never was an American dream. It was always a lie.
 
2020-05-18 11:35:26 AM  
No it's dead.

It's been dead for 40 years.  Right around the time that trickle down economics because the governing philosophy of our economy.
 
2020-05-18 11:35:27 AM  
How can something that never existed die?
 
2020-05-18 11:35:46 AM  
became that is
 
2020-05-18 11:36:04 AM  

SpecialSnowFlake: "They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it..."


That man was prophetic, and hilarious.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:36:05 AM  
"Mr. Strain is an economist at the American Enterprise Institute."

Stopped reading there.
 
2020-05-18 11:36:53 AM  
Which American Dream?

According to Democrats: Being able to work hard, buy your own home, and provide a better life for your children than you had.

According to Republicans: Where anybody can get lucky and get rich.
 
2020-05-18 11:37:10 AM  
Paywall.
 
2020-05-18 11:37:10 AM  
A lot of you people sound poor. Stop spending all your dough on frivolous things like avocado toast and refrigerators.
 
2020-05-18 11:37:30 AM  

wademh: Which American Dream?

According to Democrats: Being able to work hard, buy your own home, and provide a better life for your children than you had.

According to Republicans: Where anybody can get lucky and get rich.


born rich.
 
2020-05-18 11:37:32 AM  
Something something ventilator shortage.
 
2020-05-18 11:38:28 AM  

DarkSoulNoHope: SpecialSnowFlake: "They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it..."

That man was prophetic, and hilarious.

[Fark user image 850x478]


He used to be insightful and funny. Then he became a bitter old man humorlessly ranting at clouds. Sad.
 
2020-05-18 11:38:46 AM  

WhackingDay: "Mr. Strain is an economist at the American Enterprise Institute."

Stopped reading there.


Koch brothers paid. Just like Vice Media, Bill Maher and MIchael Moore, The New York Times is not our friend.
 
2020-05-18 11:38:53 AM  
newschannel10.comView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:39:12 AM  
Welcome to Gilead. You'll be hanging by the neck from a lamp post before dusk.
 
2020-05-18 11:39:33 AM  
The closest thing to the American Dream was what Boomers had.

Boomers had (and still have) a better life than their grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They had actual leverage as a job-seeker, actual living wages, actual retirement options and actual home-buying power.

Then in the '80's, the government straight-up just decided to stop paying people what they're worth. 2020 dollars are worth much less than 1980 dollars, but we're being paid the same amount.

Getting living wages now will take organized action must more massive and firm in its application than people probably realize. Republicans want poor people to die, and Democrats are cowards at best and duplicitous liars at worst when it comes to actually trying to enact big life-changing shiat like living wages.

So unless the law-making bodies stop being made up almost entirely of old white men (and some old white women) who want nothing but the power to make themselves richer through self-serving laws, then it's up to the people to firmly convey that it's long past time to get our act together.
 
2020-05-18 11:41:49 AM  

bluejeansonfire: The closest thing to the American Dream was what

[white, male] Boomers had.

FTFY
 
2020-05-18 11:42:46 AM  
No, it's dead.  The body may be currently twitching on the ground, but those are just death spasms.

And sometime in the next few years, it will become a zombie and then the real nightmare begins.

COVID-19 is bad, but the collapse of the environment will end us all.
 
2020-05-18 11:44:35 AM  

Glitchwerks: No, it's dead.  The body may be currently twitching on the ground, but those are just death spasms.

And sometime in the next few years, it will become a zombie and then the real nightmare begins.

COVID-19 is bad, but the collapse of the environment will end us all.


The environment is just a democrat hoax. It's imaginary. Just like North Dakota.
 
2020-05-18 11:46:10 AM  
FTA: "Those include the relatively slow rate of productivity growth the U.S. has experienced for many years, challenges in imparting education and skills to all Americans, the long-term decline in male employment and reduced economic dynamism, to name a few. "

Every single thing he brings up as problems are rooted in extreme income inequality. One person with all the money and capital is a lot less "dynamic" and productive than many people with some capital would be. If more people were economically stable and had more opportunity for education, there would be more people being able to take risks and perhaps start that new business or new job.

But I guess AEI really doesn't want to admit that because this "job creator" myth must be propagated to serve the billionaires.
 
2020-05-18 11:46:13 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:46:47 AM  
The american dream is alive and well.. the children of wealthy people get to be wealthy without ever having to work a day in their lives.

Thats the dream isnt it?
 
2020-05-18 11:47:09 AM  
Do they purposely have someone from the American Enterprise Institute write about the American Dream and inequality just for the hiliarity that will ensue? Photo of the author:

media-exp1.licdn.comView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:47:30 AM  

DarkSoulNoHope: SpecialSnowFlake: "They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it..."

That man was prophetic, and hilarious.

[Fark user image 850x478]


From the mouth of someone who lived the American Dream to the fullest
 
2020-05-18 11:47:33 AM  
i.redd.itView Full Size

/obligatory
 
2020-05-18 11:49:26 AM  
the american dream is genocide, slavery. shame on the NYT for publishing this trash. good-for-nothing moderate liberal rag
 
2020-05-18 11:53:41 AM  
Counterpoint:

media1.tenor.comView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:56:34 AM  
i.imgur.comView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 11:57:02 AM  

bluejeansonfire: The closest thing to the American Dream was what Boomers had.

Boomers had (and still have) a better life than their grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They had actual leverage as a job-seeker, actual living wages, actual retirement options and actual home-buying power.

Then in the '80's, the government straight-up just decided to stop paying people what they're worth. 2020 dollars are worth much less than 1980 dollars, but we're being paid the same amount.

Getting living wages now will take organized action must more massive and firm in its application than people probably realize. Republicans want poor people to die, and Democrats are cowards at best and duplicitous liars at worst when it comes to actually trying to enact big life-changing shiat like living wages.

So unless the law-making bodies stop being made up almost entirely of old white men (and some old white women) who want nothing but the power to make themselves richer through self-serving laws, then it's up to the people to firmly convey that it's long past time to get our act together.


In the 80's is when Academia started to work with Government to start erecting barriers to most careers to enrich itself.  Before the 80's you could pretty much be anything you wanted without the debt of education provided you had references and passed the state exams.  That pretty much removed anyone from these professions that wouldn't cow tow to ivory tower academics.  Which means that overall, the quality of people working in these professions has declined as academic standards have declined.  We have seen this in the reduced passing rates of almost all professions across the board.. so much so that some states are thinking about upping their requirements from Bachelors degrees to Masters degrees.

Then you have the standardization of corporate management which is geared toward maximizing shareholder value at the expense of everything else (quality, quantity, sustainability, etc.) This was spurred on by the reduced capital gains tax rates that were implemented during the Reagan administration in 1981 where rates were reduced and have been reduced in the face off every possible recession since then.

Add to the above all the rigid regulation that has been encumbered on employers and regulatory compliance will always be more important than raising wages...

So the government, in cooperation with industry and academia, has conspired (willingly or unwillingly) to stack the deck more and more against the workers year after year.  It scoops any possible worker gains off the top and its in their best interest to keep them depressed.

Add to the above both parties abandoning unions and conspiring to ship as many jobs overseas and its been a figurative holocaust imposed on the American Workers... and workers in response have become increasingly lazy.. because they know that hard work will get them no where.

And the above showed the flaws in our democracy.. when all candidates are pretty much bought and paid for by corporations and special interest groups before they even get on the ballot or any consideration at all.. its spurs a spiral of decline for the have-nots.. who are only appealed to during election years and are forgotten between.
 
2020-05-18 12:00:18 PM  
The American Dream for the 1% is a permanent serf class. We're making great progress toward that.
 
2020-05-18 12:00:26 PM  

bluejeansonfire: The closest thing to the American Dream was what Boomers had.

Boomers had (and still have) a better life than their grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They had actual leverage as a job-seeker, actual living wages, actual retirement options and actual home-buying power.

Then in the '80's, the government straight-up just decided to stop paying people what they're worth. 2020 dollars are worth much less than 1980 dollars, but we're being paid the same amount.

Getting living wages now will take organized action must more massive and firm in its application than people probably realize. Republicans want poor people to die, and Democrats are cowards at best and duplicitous liars at worst when it comes to actually trying to enact big life-changing shiat like living wages.

So unless the law-making bodies stop being made up almost entirely of old white men (and some old white women) who want nothing but the power to make themselves richer through self-serving laws, then it's up to the people to firmly convey that it's long past time to get our act together.


You're funny because you still don't understand history. The rust belt was Boomers losing what their parents had. The factories that closed down, the steel mills, manufacturing, the auto industry moving production over seas: That was the 70s and continued into the 80s. Again and again autoworkers were being laid off or furloughed for 6 months a year. But in your mind it was all beer and skittles. If you would afford a home in Pittsburgh it's because some laid-off workers had to sell it for half of what they paid for it because there were no jobs and nobody moving into Pittsburgh, or other mill towns.

Oh there was a new economy that sprung up, but it left many people behind. The thing is, that happens again and again. Turns out it's only ever a short term thing where there's good paying jobs that one can walk into with little special skills. For a brief time in the late 80s, a biology degree or a chemistry degree could get you a really good paying career in the biotech/pharma zone with just a BS. That's gone up and down, it's very cyclical.

For a brief time around the 90s you could get a high paying job without a degree if you had modest computer skills. Of course many of those who got in early moved up but those following had to have a degree, and then even those with degrees found jobs being outsourced to India.  Boom and bust.

Thing is, you have to find the boom. It's a moving target. And if you get there late, you'll find it's crowded and the pay drops and clever people have found ways to get the work done without having to pay people so much.
 
2020-05-18 12:00:51 PM  
img.ifunny.coView Full Size
 
2020-05-18 12:00:58 PM  

Catlenfell: The American Dream for the 1% is a permanent serf class. We're making great progress toward that.


Capitalism is just a gateway to feudalism.
 
2020-05-18 12:04:01 PM  

Twilight Farkle: TFA: Now, suppose that in order to increase the incomes of people at the bottom by a factor of two, you had no choice but to increase the incomes of the top 20 percent by a factor of 2.5. Would you still wave the wand? If so, you may be less concerned about inequality than you think.

TFAuthor misses the point that the driver of inequality is not income, it's net worth.

https://www.credit-suisse.com/media/as​sets/corporate/docs/about-us/research/​publications/global-wealth-report-2019​-en.pdf

[Fark user image 610x487]

A magic wand that propels an Amazon Wage Cager from $20K to $40K per year, while multiplying Jeff Bezos' salary from its current $81,840 to $204,600/y would do a great deal to spark consumption.

The extra consumption from an army of bottom-quintile consumers flush with cash would probably improve Amazon's business, but I doubt it would drive AMZN's stonk price up by 250%, effectively turning Bezos' 15% stake in the company (valued at $150B at a market cap of $1.2T) into a $385B stake in a $3T enterprise.

OK, so let's dispense with the extreme case and include his total compensation: On page 60 of the 2020 Proxy Statement (available at https://ir.aboutamazon.com/annual-repo​rts-proxies-and-shareholder-letters/de​fault.aspx), you can see his total compensation includes another $1.6M in taxable benefit for having a bodyguard and security services. Some of the other executives have gotten stock/option grants ranging between $6M and $60M.

Let's wave the magic wand again: we can't really multiply the stonk price by 2.5 (nor their percenstage stakes in the company by a factor of 2.5, because there are only so many shares to go around), but we could, in order to exacerbate the inequality, compensate them in cash up front - fine, the execs keep their shares/equity grants and get a bonus in cash of 150% of what their options were worth at the time we waved the wand: a few execs get $9-90M bonuses.

[Fark user image 425x390]

That's enough money to buy a ...


Great argument. However, I disagree on the difficulty of bumping the market cap of, say, Amazon, by 2.5x. The stock price is future looking. It looks at how much money a company can make. A company like Amazon can argue that the market for their goods and services just went up by 2x because everyone's income just doubled and they're going to spend that. Indeed, everyone's disposable income, which is often used to buy things on Amazon, more than doubled. If, in your hypothetical example, a person currently earning $20K/year may have just $1K/year of disposable income (so I'm not including rent, utilities, food, and basic clothing and hygiene needs). Bumping that person's income to $40K/year doesn't double that person's disposable income. It went from $1K/year to, more or less, $21K/year, assuming the person lives in the same place and needs the same basic needs as before.

That $21K/year is a HUGE increase that companies like Amazon and others salivate over. It's there for the taking. They just have to provide goods and services that these people, now flush with money, want to get.
 
2020-05-18 12:05:24 PM  
The American dream isn't dead because you can not kill a lie, and that's what the American Dream has always been. It's the carrot dangled in front of the American labor force from a stick, forever out of reach, but close enough to keep us doing the work that keeps the wealthy fat, rich, and happy.

Their fortunes are built from out blood, sweat, and tears, and the anecdotal success stories are just that - stories. They're carefully crafted narratives perpetuated to keep people believing that if they work hard enough, one day they too might be lifted out of the grind.

It's the same con as a lot of religions, really, except in theory you don't have to die first for the American Dream like you do for heaven.

\Even when the success.stories are true, they're so statistically insignificant they might as well be
\\Even before cutting through the narrative bullshirt.
 
2020-05-18 12:10:29 PM  
"It's pining for the fjords!"
 
2020-05-18 12:15:23 PM  

hissatsu: Do they purposely have someone from the American Enterprise Institute write about the American Dream and inequality just for the hiliarity that will ensue? Photo of the author:

[media-exp1.licdn.com image 800x534]


Looks like you showed the wrong end of the photo.
 
2020-05-18 12:18:21 PM  
The American dream died in the late 1800s/early 1900s when women and children began working and wages were cut in half.  Wages have never recovered.

Before, a family could have one bread winner.  The other would maintain the household and raise the children.  With wages being depressed, now both parents must work and strangers must raise the children.

The only reason why the American Dream persisted is because of the massive post-war spending (and America being the only non-devastated manufacturing power left) which propped it up for a few decades.
 
2020-05-18 12:20:54 PM  

Candy Colored Clown: There never was an American dream. It was always a lie.


No. The American Dream was and remains about what we can become, what we strive for, what we want to achieve, not so much where we are today. It is the goal that makes the dream, not the present.

If we have a goal to dream for, the dream isn't dead. It may be battered and brusied, but it's not dead.
 
2020-05-18 12:28:55 PM  

Kirablue42: Candy Colored Clown: There never was an American dream. It was always a lie.

No. The American Dream was and remains about what we can become, what we strive for, what we want to achieve, not so much where we are today. It is the goal that makes the dream, not the present.

If we have a goal to dream for, the dream isn't dead. It may be battered and brusied, but it's not dead.


Then yeah, for a lot of people it's farking dead. For every story of someone studious and hard-working being able to pull themselves out of an urban hellhole there are thousands more rotting away as we speak. They never had a chance.
 
2020-05-18 12:33:01 PM  
The American dream should die.

It was ill-defined, and that was ok, but then when it got defined, it got defined as something material, and consumer-based. It was based on ownership of homes and cars, and things... not based on ability to provide for  our families, not based on healthy communities, not based on neighborly behaviors. It was not a dream of freedom, nor was it a dream of security, it was not a dream of a functional society, but a glorification and virtue-making of individual consumerism.

That dream should die.

We can dream better... we can dream of being a nation that accomplishes great things, we can dream of being a nation that isn't just a force, but a force for good, we can dream of being a nation where everyone feels safe, regardless of their race, gender, or other attributes. We can dream of being a place where not just businesses can succeed, but people can too. We can dream of being a place where everyone has access to healthcare, and we can dream of being a place where nobody goes bankrupt because of an unexpected diagnosis or accident requiring medical care. Not only can we dream those things, we can actually be them. If we focus our collective efforts and energies on being the kind of people we want to be, not only can we achieve those goals, but the other goals will fall in place along the way.
 
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