Meghan McCain on Occupy Wall Street & The End of The American Dream

Writing at The Daily Beast, the daughter of the 2008 GOP presidential candidate tours the Occupy Wall Street REI-ville in Manhattan and writes about the end of opportunity in these United States:

The anger from Occupy Wall Street is coming from this simple fact: America no longer seems to be a place where you can work your way up, from rags to riches, from lower class to middle class to upper class. If people aren’t given a fair shot, how can they work to achieve their dreams?

To her credit, Meghan McCain is not laying claim to any sort of fellowship with the Tom Joads of Zuccotti Park:

I’m the daughter of one of the most long-standing senators in politics and I have been given every opportunity that anyone could possibly dream of. I was given those opportunities as a result of the hard work from both sides of my family. What struck me more than anything is that for the first time possibly in history, people aren’t being given the same opportunities that my parents and grandparents had.

Whole piece here.

Is McCain right that the U.S. has shelved upward mobility? In a word, no. Here's a summary of a report on economic mobility from the Pew Center's "Economic Mobility Project."

We examine trends in U.S. intragenerational income mobility over the past two decades. Specifically, we focus on how the economic positions of 25- to 44-year-olds change over a decade relative to one another, as well as in absolute terms (whether they are doing better or worse at the end of the decade than they were at the start). In addition, we compare intragenerational mobility rates over two periods, 1984 to 1994 and 1994 to 2004.

We find that mobility rates have not changed very much between these two time periods. This finding is somewhat surprising given the changes in the economy in the 1980s and 1990s, such as the ongoing shift from manufacturing to service-sector jobs, rising immigrant populations, and extended periods of growth.

Emphasis added. This study uses data that predates the current recession but that sort of time lag is typical of such studies, which sift through the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID), a database of households and individuals who are tracked over time. However bad the current economy has been for the past few years, there is no reason to think that we have entered a brave new world in which the basic trends of the past many decades will stop cold in their tracks. From the summary again:

We find that 60.4 percent of all 25- to 44-year-olds moved up or down income quintiles relative to their peers between 1984 and 1994, and 60.5 percent did so between 1994 and 2004. Absolute mobility rates have also been fairly stable over time. Between 1984 and 1994, 61.1 percent of individuals experienced income changes that moved them across their 1984 income quintile boundaries; between 1994 and 2004, absolute income mobility was 62.6 percent.

You might complain that those rates of relative and absolute mobility are not good enough, but you can't argue that they are smaller than they used to be.

And however daunting a persistent 9 percent unemployment rate is, other Pew research should provide longer-range comfort to both McCain and the folks she talked with in New York. Here's a chart that ought to make everybody feel pretty damn good about where they are vis a vis their parents:

"Adults who were children in 1968," write the Pew researchers, "tend to have more income than did their parents' generation at the same age." Stunningly, a full 43 percent of youngish adults whose parents were in the top 20 percent of income are doing better than mom and pop were at the same age.

Pew groups people into the four categories below and then plots the odds based on your parents' income that an individual from a given category will move up or down an income quintile. If your parents' income was in the lowest 20 percent (bottom quintile), you've got a 58 percent chance of being "upwardly mobile," or earning a higher income than they did and bumping up a quintile or two.

The researchers stress that "one-third of Americans are downwardly mobile" (emphasis in original), but that's not necessarly a bad thing. For instance, it's highly likely that Meghan McCain will not do quite as well as her parents and grandparents did, but even she seems OK with this, given her predecessors' dedication to work. As it happens, it's precisely people in her situation - the kids of very rich people - who are most likely to experience a drop in income and income quintile compared to their parents' situation (they have a 57 percent chance of going down).

That sort of decline is no cause for alarm. Indeed, it's the price they must pay for the rest of us to be mobile.

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  • Paul||

    The anger from Occupy Wall Street is coming from this simple fact: America no longer seems to be a place where you can work your way up, from rags to riches, from lower class to middle class to upper class

    Ms. McCain seems to be laboring under the misapprehension that the OWSers want to work their way up from rags to riches. No, the OWSers are essentially asking for a massive cradle-to-grave welfare state, free school, free healthcare, student debt forgiveness, higher tax rates, guaranteed unemployment benefits, a robust and all-encompassing regulatory state... the list goes on.

    Those things have nothing to do with the so-called American Dream. Even if you do agree that the American Dream is dead...

  • Meghan McCain||

    But I can't understand the difference! Understanding is hard!

  • WTF||

    Sorry - I got distracted by your tits.

  • RoboCain||

    Seriously.

    That t-shirt is making my pants upwardly mobile, if you know what I mean.

  • Joe||

    I know of a way she could become richer than her parents...

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. They're pretty goddamn rich.

  • Boner McGee||

    I would like to see the upward mobility of her shirt. Get it? That way her breasts would be exposed.

  • Understanding Libertarianism||

    That t-shirt is making my pants upwardly mobile, if you know what I mean.

    I do!

  • ||

    who gives a shit what MM thinks. If her name was Meghan Jones, no one would. To hear some silver spoon kid babble about working one's way up is almost as nauseating as the next Obama speech promises to be.

  • Skip||

    For all the hell the Bush haters put his daughters through, they grew up to be pretty normal and non-attention whorish.

  • ||

    I think Meghan has shown that her observations are not the most...reliable.

    It's like Kim Kardashian doing a political column.

  • ||

    ^^This^^ I don't get how her parents are so thin and she is a fat girl waiting to happen.

  • Coeus||

    She quit waiting. But if that's a newer picture, she's hopped back on that stairclimber. Looks pretty damn good in that pic.

  • ||

    She has a nice face, great skin, and her tits are astounding. If she could keep her weight down, she would be downright hot.

  • Rich Boy||

    Fat chicks always have nice skin and bit tits.

  • ||

    No they don't.

  • goneGalt||

    I second the motion.

  • Paul||

    It's like Kim Kardashian doing a political column.

    I'd so read that column if it came with pictures.

  • ||

    It's not like these protestors even remotely represent the actual poor in this country.

  • Paul||

    Not with $5,500 laptops, no they don't.

  • ||

    They need those to exercise their free speech rights on Facebook.

  • Tony||

    If actual poor people showed up to protest it would be even easier to ignore them.

  • Elder Scrolls Enthusiast AuH20||

    How the fuck is the media ignoring this? Occupy Wall Street just made the cover of both The Economist and The Week, and has had numerous articles and op-eds, both for and against, penned about it.

    Also, most of those op-eds have been favorable, especially the ones from the big city dailies.

    God, Tony, the fact that you breath is a testament to the technological ingenuity of the respirator industry.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I was listening to the radio station during lunch - and there was NPR, breathlessly reporting various OWS stories - especially the Oakland tent city being torn down.

  • ||

    It's a sockpuppet. Why do you waste your metaphorical breath talking to it?

  • Mainer||

    ^^^THIS^^^

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Indeed.

    The massive double standard of the media in their treatment of the OWS crowd vs the tea partiers is obvious to behold.

  • ||

    If actual poor people showed up to protest it would be even easier to ignore them
    -----------------------
    if they did show, how would you differentiate them from teh unwashed? The poor have cell phones, too; the poor wear name-brand clothing, too; the poor are more likely to be fat than not, too. And, like this motley bunch, the poor are also the result of the choices they made.

  • Zeb||

    Actual poor people have to do stuff. You know, so they can feed their families and shit.

  • Rob||

    Ten loser hipsters are crapping on a park sidewalk and its been discussed on every media outlet for weeks. Give it a rest, Tony.

  • ||

    It's not like these protestors even remotely represent the actual poor in this country.
    ----------------------
    the actual poor in this country don't even represent actual poor people. Not unless by "poor", you mean folks with cell phones, name-brand clothes, flat screens at home, a greater likelihood of being overweight than under, and often driving.

  • ||

    That's another matter entirely. I'm just saying that these aren't people who need help in any real sense. They just want it. Mommy and Daddy are cutting them off, so they seek other people to sponge off of.

  • ||

    then they should be treated accordingly and dismissed as having all the gravity of a gnat buzzing around a horse's ass.

  • ||

    No argument from me. I'm surprised at the amount of coverage it gets here, to be honest (not elsewhere--most of the media is inanely inane).

  • ||

    The "American Dream" is dead in that the old rules no longer apply. The old paradigm was that if you applied yourself, worked hard, made wise decisions, and were careful with your money you would have financial security, home ownership, a secure retirement, etc. People who didn't do those things would come up short.

    Now the people and corporations who made stupid decisions, wasted money, etc. are being bailed out at the expense of everyone else. Why should the average SOB act responsibly when success requires political connections more than anything else?

  • kinnath||

    Dumb fuck

  • Coeus||

    If only some people had forseen these problems in the 70's. Maybe they could have created a name for their group and pushed their solutions to the American populace. Something about greater government intervention in the market resulting in negative outcomes, due to the inevitable conglomeration of money and power. But what would we call this group?

  • Beloved Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Objectivists.

  • Coeus||

    Shit, you're right. There was more than one.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Narco-traffickers?

    I'm stumped.

  • Barack||

    We call them either "losers we can ignore" or "evil wealthy oligarchs who secretly control everything" depending on our mood.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Now the people and corporations who made stupid decisions, wasted money, etc. are being bailed out at the expense of everyone else.

    And....who bailed them out? Come on, you're so close to rational thought. Just one little push and you're there.

  • ||

    Pablo, the American Dream is alive and well and being lived by immigrants who don't go around making excuses. Here is just one example:
    http://www2.tbo.com/news/natio.....ar-274418/
    And check out the various stories on this Latino American Dream site:
    http://latino.foxnews.com/lati.....-baseball/

  • ||

    Good point, one will still go far with hard work and careful decisions. I guess my point is that that is no longer the only path to success. Easier to hire lobbyists and bribe politicians for government grants, benefits, bailouts, etc.

  • ||

    I guess that depends on your income level. lol

  • ||

    I think that McCain is simply giving the protesters a pass on their actual motives. This is prudent as it avoids her getting drawn into criticism of her motives.

    Also, since the protesters have not, AFAIK, articulated a single coherent platform it's really difficult to criticize them. The cynic in me believes that they like it that way.

    Having said all that, I agree that redistributionist, Stalinist and class war rhetoric is the predominant voice in their message.

  • Joe M||

    In addition, we compare intragenerational mobility rates over two periods, 1984 to 1994 and 1994 to 2004.

    Let's wait until we get the numbers for 2004 to 2014, which is when the shit really hit the fan.

  • yonemoto||

    agreed. Borrowing money to inflate an economic bubble eventually hits the fan, because you're essentially stealing from the future.

  • yonemoto||

    I only have one friend who is making more income than their parents, and he works on wall street. Either all of my friends are failures, or there's something wrong with this study.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Both are possible.

  • Time Machine||

    Ummmmm... earning potential increases with age?

  • ||

    Your comparison is part of the entire misconception. The question isn't "are you making more than your parents" the question is "are you making more than your parents made when they were your age."?

    Instead of understanding where there parents were at that age, the average OWSer looks where their parents are after a lifetime of working and say "I don't have the opportunity they had" because they don't make as much as their parents make right now and are spoiled pieces of excrement.

  • yonemoto||

    still don't believe it. At my age, my dad was a public defender in honolulu (and moonlit as a lieutenant JG in the naval reserves). He made more inflation-adjusted money than I do, and I have a PhD in chemistry (from an institute that was ranked #1 in USNWE). And I'm not even in a postdoc job (postdocs make less than BA-level techs, which is what I do).

    Many of my friends are unemployed, so anything > 0. When I was working as a postdoc, I was surprised to find out that my tenured professor made only $70k.

  • yonemoto||

    I guess my point is this: would you be able to look someone who just entered the workforce in 1930 and say, "you're just a spoiled twit, go get a job"? To be sure, many of the OWSers *are* spoiled twits, but that's not to say that the generation looking for jobs after two bubble collapses isn't fucked by their situation.

    I'm not kidding about the whole postdoc thing. In theory, someone with my credentials SHOULD be able to find a job, and probably would have about 4-6 years ago. Hell, I probably would have a faculty position. I scrambled my ass for a job. Sent applications all over the fucking place, industry, academia, everything, and got the one I'm at over craigslist.

    I can pay the bills - and i work my ass off for it - to make sure I'm not gonna get fired, I pull 80 hour weeks and am clocked for only 40 of them, and I'm grateful for just the ability to draw a paycheck, but I still feel like I should be allowed to bitch at the people who just don't understand how bad it is.

  • Gus Fring||

    Phd in Chemistry? Perhaps I may be of some assistance....

  • ||

    My brother and I both make more than my dad did when he was employed. It took me around 15 years or so of working to get to that level, and my brother probably closer to 20 years.

    Oddly, since he retired, there are years when he has made more (including both a nice old-school pension and investment income) than he did while employed.

  • ||

    And that includes what Dean Senior was making at our age. We're both in our peak earning years now, for what that's worth. I couldn't begin to track it when the three of us were on our way up, but I think I have out-earned Dean Senior most of my career.

    Of course, Brother Dean and I both are licensed professionals with Ivy League graduate degrees, which helps (and which is undoubtedly why Dean Senior flogged us mercilessly through school). Until very recently, I was quite confident that I was the lowest earning member of my law school class. I'm probably still in the bottom quintile.

  • ||

    The in-house trade-off.

  • Paul||

    I'm probably still in the bottom quintile.

    And we respect you because it probably means you didn't sell out. Or at least that's what I want to believe.

  • ||

    I'm too politically/socially inept, more like it.

  • Rich Boy||

    You know, if you spent more time working, and less on Hit & Run...

    I swear to god, I think John is a homeless man typing away at the public library 12 hours a day.

  • ||

    He actually works for the government.

  • ||

    what some fail to factor in what was Senior paying for things at a similar age. For instance, my dad bought a 1970 Mustang, fresh off the lot, for 3K. You can't get a used Beetle for that today. Our house was bought for a fraction of what it would sell for today. I wonder how many of these comparisons are relative. It did not take long to out-earn my dad in salary terms, but there was a difference in what our relative paychecks could buy.

  • ||

    Of course, you have to adjust everything to real dollars. And we can buy things that weren't available in the past.

  • Beloved Rev. Blue Moon ||

    3,000 in 1970 is 16,650 2010 dollars.

    The MSRP on a new Mustang in 2010 was 20,000. Granted, that's a bit more expensive, but you get, you know, Anti-Lock Brakes, Air Conditioning, (likely) a CD player and USB plug-in, airbags, etc.

    So, yeah, your point is wrong.

  • ||

    And if you paid an extra $2000 and got one of the 500 Boss 429s made that year, it would now be worth $269,000

    http://sanfranciscosportscars......tang-boss/

  • Hank||

    I like that the link shortened to "tang boss", which should be the car's nickname.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Ivy League graduate degrees

    Which one?

  • ||

    Harvard and UPenn.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm going to the Harvard-Cornell hockey game in 2 weeks. I'm gonna be the obnoxious guy for the away team.

  • Sku||

    "I'm probably still in the bottom quintile."

    You're an ivy league educated lawyer who makes less than $14,000 a year? That was a good investment in your degree.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Bottom quintile of his law school class.

  • ||

    It took me about 12 years after 23 years of school to get to what my dad was making after 43 years of working. I would say that is pretty good.

    That said, I am sure a lot of these OWS won't make what their parents made. There are a couple of factors why. Some of it in fairness is the ridiculous expense of college. But a lot of it is the choices they made. I am sorry, you can't expect to make as much as your engineer or business exec parents with an art history degree.

  • free2booze||

    It's not just the worthless degrees, it's where these kids are choosing to attend college to earn their worthless degrees. I'm sure there are a few exceptions, but from the tuition prices I've seen, in most states a person can attend four years at a state university for about $20K. Anything more than that means a person decided to attend a private university, or attend college out of state.

    When my parents were my age, they had a decent standard of living, which they were able to maximize by making good choices. They paid cash for almost everything they owned. For the things that they financed, which was limited to the house and mortgage, they doubled up on the payments, so that they could pay them off as fast as possible, and actually "own" them. They also didn't live for instant gratification, and feel like they had to own every brand new gadget, or go out to eat three or four nights a week.

    Two words that the current generation needs to learn: savings and frugal.

  • ||

    All good points. I have a nephew who is 24 and is about to do much better than his parents. But, he went to a community college on full scholarship, then transferred to a state four year college and is getting his masters at the same place in a very marketable profession (physical therapy). When he gets his masters and license in a year or so, he will have the ability to get a job virtually anywhere he wants and have no student debt to show for it.

    How many of these kids had good grades and test scores and could have gone to community college or a state college for free or a fraction of what they paid for private school but didn't because they thought community college was beneath them?

  • romulus augustus||

    But how could Mumsie and Popsie face their friends with a kid or two going to Cuyahoga Community College instead of any Ivy?

  • ||

    and the frat scene at CCC is pretty lame.

  • free2booze||

    Exactly. Unfortunately for them, those same kids probably had parents who taught them that college was about "finding them selves" and "having fun". I'm not saying that you can't have fun along the way, but college is about busting your ass, and developing a set of skills that can be applied to a profession (as opposed to a job).

    It's not only the cost of the schools these morons choose to attend, but that they finance the whole thing too. Here's a novel idea, kids can work during the summers, and put that money towards the cost of tuition. Or what about a part time job? If you want to get really crazy, maybe they take a semester off to work in field related to their major, and earn some money while gaining some practical experience. I also have heard about this thing called the GI Bill.

  • T||

    I also have heard about this thing called the GI Bill.

    The upfront investment on that is more than those kids are willing to do. Plus the odds of getting shot are way higher now than when I joined.

  • ||

    But still pretty low. Unless you volunteer for the infantry, you are pretty safe.

  • ||

    You're not quite grasping the size of the overextension John. Had a friend from MI arrive in Iraq at the height of the surge. Next day he was walking point.

  • ||

    I have been there. And done a lot of things I had no business doing. But in fairness some of that was due to me being a bit nuts and wanting to do such things. But the bottomline is your chance of actually being injured there or Afghanistan is pretty small.

  • Lurker Jack||

    They can also attend a school like University of Cincinnati that has dozens of degree programs that require co-op employment on alternating quarters after freshman year. Yeah, I'm a homer.

  • This Dave||

    Fair enough about summer jobs, but at the $10/hr most of them will find, how much of a dent do you really think that puts in tuition costs?
    The dirtiest secret not talked about by he OWS crowd's supporters in academia and Center For American Progress-ville is that college is seriously overpriced, and needs a major re-acquaintance with market forces.

  • ||

    Woah Nellie! My firstborn is at an instate school, and on scholarship, but room and board aren't covered. Her first year fees for room and board? Almost $10,000!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    In grad school I paid about 30% of my undergrad room and board for my crappy apartment and food. Yes, it was not as high quality, but thousands of dollars cheaper.

  • ||

    It's UVA, so I doubt she could find anything decent in Charlottesville. And she is NROTC, so she has to start PT (or whatever the navy calls it) at oh-dark thirty.

  • T||

    My shitty apartment off campus was way cheaper than on campus housing. Yeah, when my car broke down I had to take the bus to campus. The horror, the horror.

  • ||

    Some scholarships cover room and board. And he worked a lot during school.

  • Overt||

    $10,000 is not bad for rent and food. I mean, it isn't great, but I spend about that on my kids' food and (their portion of the) rent each year. I'll consider myself lucky if that's all I have to pay when they finally leave the nest. . 18 years to go.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I figured it out recently and I lived on about $9500 a year in grad school. That's all my expenses (rent, food, gas, insurance,etc).

  • Rich Boy||

    It took me about 12 years after 23 years of school to get to what my dad was making after 43 years of working. I would say that is pretty good.

    Yeah, but you spend all your time browsing the internet.

  • Dello||

    My father and step-mother make more in retirement, via pensions and SS, then they did when they were working.

  • ||

    My dad makes more in retirement than he did working, thanks to 2 separate old-school pensions and some excellent investments over the last 25 years. At 81 he figures he now has more money than he could possibly spend in his remaining lifetime, even taking into account the possibility that my mother, who has Alzheimer's, may eventually need 10+ years of 24/7 nursing care. He's confident enough of this to give each of his 5 kids an annual Christmas gift of $5000, which he's done for the past five years.

    That said, I'd guess that 3 of my 4 siblings make more than he did at their age, and none of them have 5 kids to support. I make less, but I also chose to be out of the full-time workforce for large parts of my kids' childhoods.

  • Almanian||

    Yeah, I kicked the shit out of my parents starting at about age 30. Before that - not so much. Now? Not even close...

  • Paul||

    I think it's more complicated than that. I believe I may be making more than my father did when he was my age, but my expenses are considerably higher (for various reasons) and thus my living standard is noticably lower than that of my parents.

    My dad supported a family of four in a good house on one income. We had two cars in the garage, had money for vacations and in my later years we had a swimming pool, in-ground.

    That lifestyle today seems faraway for me.

  • free2booze||

    How many TV's did your dad own? Outside of utilities such as gas, electric and water, he probably didn't have anything equivalent to a cell phone bill, data package, or internet.

    Our parents were able to afford things like vacations, because they put a priority on these things, and sacrificed in other areas so that they could provide them. It's all about value. If you total up what you pay each month for your cell phone, internet, Starbucks and dining out, I would bet that the combined total would be enough to take a really nice vacation once a year.

    It's not that people don't earn enough money, compared to our parents, it's that we choose to spend our money differently than they did.

  • GW||

    Your dad also wasn't taxed to the same extent you are today, either. I think that's a big factor in these comparisons. back in the 50s and 60s, most households were supported just fine on a single income. Now, dad has to make bank for mom to stay home with kids.

  • free2booze||

    I grew up during the 80's and 90's. If anything, my parents paid more in taxes than I do, not less.

    Dad doesn't have to make more for mom to stay home with the kids. He has to make more for mom to stay home with the kids, and afford all of the extras that we perceive as necessities. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to give up my HD cable package, or my high speed internet. But if my wife and I decided that we should cut back to one income so she could raise the kids, it's completely doable.

  • Sku||

    Most people would just have to cut eating out. How often did our parents go to a sit-down restaurant? Three times a YEAR?

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Inflation also plays a major role in this. I can't remember the author's name, but he was on C-Span 2 once, and his book was about inflation and taxes have screwed the later generations. Families of seven could get by on one paycheck. Now a family of 3 needs two paychecks. Fucking Federal Reserve Notes.

  • ||

    You're right. Check out this article and study:
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion.....etter-off/

  • This Dave||

    I agree with Paul, and feel like something is missing here. It seems like it was normal 40 years ago for a guy in his mid/late 20's to have a stay-at-home wife, a house, 2 cars, and a kid or two without being considered insanely over-stretched. Either that is a myth in the popular consciousness, or something has changed dramatically...and it's not explained away by cell phone and cable tv bills. I do ok, though not great, and am getting to the point where I can't imagine ever having anything close to that life. Just getting by with a very reasonable car and modest living arrangement takes so much of what I earn; vacations, houses, second cars, and kids might as well be yachts.
    In no way do I think this means that daddy government needs to hand me money from thin air, but I definitely seems a lot harder to get by than it did for the previous post-war generations.

  • Lord Humungus||

    My only brother making more than my old man... is a physician. But due to the circumstances, this is understandable.

  • Amakudari||

    I made more than both my parents combined at my age when I graduated college. I've always made more than my mom makes now.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I would agree with her if only I didn't know so many people who have worked their way up from rags to riches. So I'm forced to say she doesn't have the slightest clue what she's talking about.

    But she does have a nice rack, I'll give her that.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    And by the way, to the extent it actually is harder to make something out of yourself starting with nothing, it largely is the fault of government regulation and taxation. Small businesses are incredibly put-upon by federal, state and local regulation and taxation. Small business owners barely have time left to actually run and grow their business, and barely can make a decent profit, with the amount of time and resources it takes to make sure you're complying with all the various legal requirements on a day-to-day basis.

  • Ska||

    I really thought the addendum was going to get into detail about her fantastic tits. I am disappoint.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    If I had pics, I'd share. They do seem to be pretty marvelous.

  • ||

    At long last, we can expect some truly nuanced, insightful analysis.

  • ||

    Caption:

    "Quit ogling my daughter's tits, you perverts! I learned some things from the North Vietnamese I'd be happy to show you."

  • ||

    You really have to sympathize with McCain. It would be really hard having a daughter with force of nature tits and a room temperature IQ. That is really a father's worst nightmare.

  • Abdul||

    I always thought it was funny that this McCain daughter got all the media attention, and not the one adopted from Bangladesh. After all, the latter seems to have a compelling backstory built in.

    Then I googled up a picture of the other daughter. Let's just say that she has a great personality. The kind of personality that could stop a clock.

  • ||

    The media loves cute white girls. Look at it this way, if the one from Bangladesh disappeared on a vacation to Aruba, how much media coverage would it get even with her father being who he is? Probably less than the last top shelf white girl who disappeared down there.

  • Rob||

    The adopted kid might have a great backstory, but this daughter has a fantastic "front story".

  • This Dave||

    Given John McCain's past reputation, I'd say his daughter is karma well earned.
    He probably worries about cocky suitors who are after a hot wife with a lot of her parents' money....oh wait*.

    *The previous statement was not meant to imply that McCain doesn't love his wife. Just that she was a model whose daddy owned all the beer in the Southwest.

  • Almanian||

    So, Meghan McCain's a moron - check - and "people can't make it to the top through hard work any more" is bullshit - check.

    "Facts R hard, lol, giggle!"

  • ||

    people aren’t being given the same opportunities

    Revealing.

  • Dello||

    Indeed.

  • poetry||

    I wish.

  • Xenocles||

    In the future, I recommend against titling posts "Meghan McCain on..." It's a surefire way to kill interest.

  • Dello||

    Well, if it's "Meghan McCain on...a donkey!", then I'll tune in...

  • Apatheist||

    I'm all for Meghan McCain titling posts. But I guess they could use a more titilating title. Tit.

  • MiNGe||

    BOOOOBS!!!11!!!

  • Elder Scrolls Enthusiast AuH20||

    Can't we just talk about how the drum circle is tearing this movement apart? Because that shit is hilarious.

    Link for those who missed it:

    http://nplusonemag.com/monday-.....ws-message

    Also, despite the update, a few renegade drummers are still going at it.

  • ||

    God bless those renegade drummers.
    Fight the Power, you hemp-addled brothers!

    I also like the "disruptor" woman.

  • ||

    Shit, just the concept of drum circles is comedy gold, but the whole story is such a self-parody that it pretty much defies comment.

  • ||

    Assuming we get our act together, this decade may be the funniest in retrospect in quite some time.

  • ||

    ♪ Shiny, shiny pants and bleach-blond hair
    A double kick drum by the river in the summer
    She fell in love with the drummer
    Another and another
    She fell in love♪

  • ||

    At least she didn't go for a musician or something.

  • ||

    oddly, musicians tend to get capitalism. They just have to pretend otherwise to retain their artiste bona fides. See, you get that "e" on the end if you adopt certain causes; you are an artist if talk the talk; the ones cashing checks are just musicians.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    If you make a living on your work, you tend to value the financial aspects of it. Money is primarily disdained by those who don't have it, and are trying to convince themselves they don't want it.

  • ||

    Exactly. the point of the profession is to entertain people and get paid for it. If money is so damned unimportant, then play alone.

  • Sku||

    Or those who have so very much of it they don't know what to do with it, and feel a bit guilty about the fact.

  • Zeb||

    Or the people who have it, but feel guilty about it.

  • ||

    I have taken a giant step backward, earnings-wise, but I traded money for time and control over my life (and how tolerant of idiocy I have to be).

  • Mainer||

    waaaait a minute...you've got to share a little bit on how you lowered your exposure to idiots....

    What paycut would be worth an idiot free job...10% 20%... ?

  • Kristen||

    Typical campaign-style, shallow, fear- and malaise-mongering bullshit from Tits McCain.

  • ||

    She as children of tremendous wealth probably looks at it and thinks that no one can ever be as rich as their parents.

    many of the people I notice who think something is unfair forget about time. I remember when I first got out of college I though I would stroll in and buy a house just like my parents forgeting they had three houses before that built equity.

    To many think that well my parents are millionaires and I make a ptance with my masters degree. Forgetting their parents had a 30 year head start on savings.

    I agree that to become as wealthy as the McCains is very hard and requires a little luck but always has.

    But working an honest days work and giving some short term sacrifices it is realitivly easy to boost yourself past your current predicament.

  • sarcasmic||

    I mean, like, she's so, like, totally, you know, a twit, and stuff.
    You know?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Yeah, but she's a twit with a swell set of yabhos.

    To quote Robert Frost: "And that has made all the difference."

  • CatoTheElder||

    Rich parents likely made a difference, too. The big tits aren't necessarily naturals.

  • Ashlyn||

    That's an off-the-shoulder neckline, and I don't see a bra strap playing peek-a-boo. Real ones don't stay up like that on their own.

    That said, they are fantastic. Even when she's on the plumper side, M. McCain is gorgeous. I just wish she'd stop providing evidence for the commonly held notion that blondes with E cups should be seen and not heard.

  • Jennifer||

    I know I've recently seen studies claiming western Europe now has higher social mobility rates than America, but I don't feel like looking them up.

    Anecdotally, though: I am not going to discuss my household's actual income situation, but I WILL say that my partner's salary alone put us in a certain earning percentile that's a couple points higher than my father was at the same age. I also make money from freelance gigs and investments; thus my current income is much greater than my mother's at my age, because she was a stay-at-home mom.

    And, of course, my parents had two kids, whereas my partner and I are childless by choice. So: we have a higher household income than did my parents at my age, AND we have vastly lower expenses thanks to the no-kids thing. Also, I personally am more frugal than my parents were: they bought new cars, I buy used. They bought all their possessions retail; I buy the bulk of my possessions secondhand.

    So compare my household now to my parents' household when they were my age: we have more income, more frugal habits, and vastly less expenditures. Compared to my parents, I must be filthy-stinking rich, no?

    No. I have better technology, to be sure -- my music and movie collection are infinitely greater than anything my parents could have afforded at my age, they had nothing like the free, instantaneous worldwide communication I get from the internet, and I'm pretty sure my food and household appliances are better and cheaper than what they bought -- but in real, inflation adjusted dollars, my college education was a hell of a lot more expensive than my dad's. For health insurance, I pay more and get less. We rent rather than own our dwelling.

    Some of this, no doubt, is due to where I live; I refuse to buy a house in Connecticut because property taxes here are downright confiscatory. But a lot of it is due to the college bubble and the housing bubble and the health-insurance bubble and myriad other things government interference makes vastly more expensive than they'd otherwise be.

  • ||

    ^^This^^ The areas where the older generation has totally fucked the younger generation, housing costs and education costs, are both areas where the government caused the problem. We jacked up the housing rates so the older generation could get rich off of their equity at the expense of the young. The parents get all this equity and the kids get stuck spending 50% of their disposable income on housing. In return for granting a certain group of the older generation a life of paid leisure as college professors and administrators, the younger generation graduates with crushing non-dischargable debt. And after we have fucked them on housing and education and raised taxes such that you need two incomes to survive, we wonder why no one has kids in their 20s anymore.

  • Zeb||

    Plenty of people have kids in their 20s. Just not "the right kind of people" (iow, there are still plenty of people who don't figure out birth control for whatever reason).

  • Overt||

    I agree with some of what you say, but this: "For health insurance, I pay more and get less. " is utter nonsense.

    Even 20 years ago, Cancer was more or less a death sentence. Today, there are very few cancers that, caught in time, cannot be defeated.

    You may have to pay more out of pocket for your healthcare and health insurance, but part of the reason is that you are getting WAY, WAY better care.

  • Jennifer||

    I haven't had cancer or anything else that was a death sentence in 1971; I have, however, had small but excruciatingly painful kidney stones, which were treated the same way as in 1971, and 1871 -- "take powerful painkillers and drink like a fish until the stone flushes out" -- and I was charged 21st-century prices for this 19th-century medical technology.

  • ||

    I refuse to buy a house in Connecticut because property taxes here are downright confiscatory.

    It's nitpicky, I know, but just because you don't "pay" them doesn't mean you don't pay them.

  • ||

    I was thinking the same thing, the only way to avoid taxes in an area is to not be in that area.

  • Jennifer||

    Our landlord charges us below-market rent. But, yeah -- I calculated once that about half what we pay him goes straight to the city. Still, though, if the city held a revaluation and doubled everyone's tax bills (which is NOT an impossible hypothetical in CT; I wrote a news article once about a guy a couple towns over whose annual property tax bill on the modest 1950s Cape Cod house he inherited from his parents almost doubled in one year, from $8,000 to $15,500), I as a renter could pick up stakes and move far more easily than can a mortgage-holder. And apartments are (I think) taxed at a lower rate, too.

    So, while I pay money into the city property tax coffers, the city has nowhere near the blackmail leverage over me that it does over a mortgageholder. If the city tries demanding I pay them $800 per month in addition to what I pay my landlord, I can leave without worrying about my single largest asset the city is holding hostage: "Gee, nice house you got here. Be a shame if you weren't allowed to keep it anymore..."

  • Matrix||

    holy shitballs! Who could afford anything if the property tax bill alone is 15,500? That's almost $1300/month, which is more than rent is in this area for most homes.

    Are the streets paved in gold there that they need to charge that much in property taxes for a single family dwelling?

  • Elder Scrolls Enthusiast AuH20||

    As a former resident of CT, the governments of Connecticut are some of the most money grabbing pieces of shit ever. The only real advantage that state has is the school system of certain places, mostly Fairfield County (the county Greenwich is located in) but I think the area around Waterbury has a pretty good school system as well, as do some of the 'burbs of Hartford. And hell, as I recall, despite it being a shithole, Bridgeport spends an unholy amount on its school system (as does New Haven, which, when you get a couple of blocks away from Yale campus, devolves into a town that is probably worse than Bridgeport. A joke only CT people will get: Connecticut calculus: New Haven-Yale=Bridgeport).

    Seriously, though, CT nikels and dimes you on every goddamn thing, especially gas. Holy fuck is gas expensive there, especially for a state that has almost no urban center with public transit.

    Seriously, it's a gorgeous state, and has some really nice towns, but one of the greediest governments in this country. Oh, and also... decently corrupt, given that the last governor or two has wound up in jail. Can't remember his name, but there was a big property scandal involving him a few years back.

  • Jennifer||

    holy shitballs! Who could afford anything if the property tax bill alone is 15,500? That's almost $1300/month, which is more than rent is in this area for most homes.

    Are the streets paved in gold there that they need to charge that much in property taxes for a single family dwelling?

    The standard excuse is that property taxes are basically the only revenue source for municipalities in the state. But it's mostly corruption, and greed, and "why should we keep costs down when we're not the ones stuck paying for them?"

    That town I mentioned, where the guy saw his property tax bill double after the revaluation -- even before the reval, taxes in that town went up roughly double the rate of inflation for the past X years. And taxes have continued doubling in that town at roughly twice the rate of inflation since the start of the recession. And if the legislature doesn't implement some SERIOUS hardcore property tax reform, I would not be at all surprised to see Connecticut have a Prop. 13-style revolt in the next decade. I hope to be the hell out of here long before that. I'd've left Connecticut years ago, if not for my partner's job being here.

    The hell of it is, where geography and climate are concerned, Connecticut/southern New England is my absolute favorite part of the country, and I like the overall social-liberalness here too (I'm not gay but I'd still rather live in a state with gay marriage than a state without it), and I'm willing to pay some premium for living here ... but the premium is just too damned high. A friend of mine moved to North Carolina some years back -- he and his wife bought their property there near the height of the bubble, so they paid far more than it would cost now, but their mortgage and property taxes combined, on a nice house and some farmland, is less that what a Connecticut suburbanite would pay in taxes alone for just that house, on a postage-stamp-sized lot.

    Yeah, I'm none too fond of the climate down there, but with what I'd save on property taxes and gasoline taxes and "highest electricity rates in the nation," I could pay for a HELL of a lot of air conditioning and still come out ahead.

  • Britt||

    If you move into the mountains, like say Asheville NC, you'll get cooler temperatures then you would down on the flats. Also pretty socially liberal. NC is a nice state. Not as nice as VA, but one of my top five favorite.

  • Amakudari||

    so they paid far more than it would cost now

    Actually, NC house prices weren't built up as high, so it wasn't that big a fall. No more than not buying the house and keeping one in Connecticut anyway.

    Also, what people with the money in NC do is get a home near Charlotte or the Research Triangle, then get condos in the mountains and beach. It will run you about half or a third the cost of a house in places like SF, where I lived for a while.

  • ||

    If Meghan falls on hard times, I'm pretty sure Larry Flynt would be willing to help her out with a little freelance modeling work.

  • ||

    Nick,

    I would like to know how these numbers would look if you pull out investment bankers, politicians, and lawyers. There should be data that only includes people who actually produce goods and create something, not those that live off stacking paper on top of paper and/or gov't regulation.

  • ||

    That is an interesting question. And a good one. Consider this for a moment. What if we are getting so efficient at producing things that we can produce enough consumer goods for everyone with only employing 20% of the population. What do we do with the other 80%? And how do we distribute the incredible wealth produced by the 20%?

  • ||

    I'm fairly certain that a system of civil justice is a requisite of a healthy and prosperous economic system, and that only a primitive economy could exist without investment banking. So, perhaps all the non-lawyers and non-bankers would have a greater share of the pie without the lawyers and bankers making their cut, but the pie itself would be significantly smaller, and the standard of living significantly worse for all.

  • sarcasmic||

    In the not too distant past 80% of the population was employed in the production of the food supply, and in general women didn't work.
    Now it's something like 2%, and most women work.

    Then again when 80% of the population worked on farms we didn't have cell phones, flat screen color televisions, computers, internet, microwave ovens, fuel injection, traction control, power windows, contact lenses, post it notes, frozen food that doesn't taste like crap...

    Come to think about it, I'd say the average poor person today is incredibly wealthy compared to the average rich person when 80% of the population worked on farms.

  • ||

    That is kind of my point. It used to be most people had to farm just so we could eat. Then we stopped having to do that and people started working on manufacturing cool things like cars and phones and such. Well now we can get more of that kind of stuff than we could ever want with only a fraction of the population working to produce it.

    Now what do we do with the rest of the population? Sure, some can provide services. But what happens when we actually hit the point that we can live really well without very many people having to work to make enough wealth to do that?

  • sarcasmic||

    The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
    --Thomas Sowell

    What you're talking about is a utopia where there is enough of everything to satisfy everyone. But it will never exist.
    At best what will happen is prices will go down and people won't have to work all that much to get the coin to purchase what they want or need.
    We're there now. We live in a country where poor people are fat. That is because food is cheap.
    A cellular phone and internet access are considered basic needs. Those things didn't exist thirty years ago.

  • ||

    That assumes we can keep inventing neater and neater toys to keep people motivated and occupied. Maybe we can. But maybe we can't.

  • sarcasmic||

    Of course we can. Human desires are endless, as is the capacity to fulfill them.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    I think that John is trying to point us in a direction that I sometimes think about / worry about:

    We as libertarians regularly complain about parasites on the system: bureaucrats, diversity consultants, sensitivity trainers, "X Studies" professors, etc.

    But if in previous productivity explosions the "system" produced employment to soak up workers displaced by technological advancement and economic development...maybe that's what the "system" is also doing now.

    In the future, maybe each productive person will have their own life coach, sensitivity trainer, social worker, and bureaucratic concierge. Maybe that's just how we'll deal with compounded productivity growth on the long scale.

    That would suck, from a libertarian perspective. But if there are world-historical forces at play here, it may not come down to our political preferences or any currently sane view of justice or proportion.

  • ||

    That is exactly what I am worried about.

  • Elder Scrolls Enthusiast AuH20||

    That may honestly be our future. I mean, look at all the professions which didn't exist but do now because of wealthy people: personal trainer, masseuse, life coach, personal chef, personal assistant, etc.

    Honestly, couldn't you see the U.S. developing an almost "servant" class like the Brits used to have to look after rich people? Oh, sure, with advances in robotics, some of that could be outsourced, but I could see the US developing a rather large class of people whose jobs revolve around serving others, as opposed to producing physical goods.

  • Fitzroy||

    Traditional economics would suggest that people just work fewer hours, and that certainly has happen as we get richer. If people only work for money, the system balances itself and employment stays the same. However, people in highly productive jobs often enjoy their jobs, leading to people in those jobs working more than they "have to", crowding out less productive workers. This is not a problem for the economy, but it is a problem for the less productive unable to get a job.

    There are several factors that will counter this trend, but sooner or later robotics will get so cheap and productive no human can compete.

    I don't know how to solve the problem, but I do suspect politicians will do the wrong thing and hurt the economy as a result.

  • #||

    if we ever got to the point where we not longer want much more stuff, then we would increase our amonth of leisure timr either by shorter work weeks or earlier retirement.

  • yonemoto||

    or we could just inflate the currency, screw people out of their earnings, and make them run rat-races wasting their time in 40-hour-workweek jobs being unproductive and doing stupid shit like playing angry birds.

    Of course, when peak oil hits, it's not going to be pretty.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Marx had an answer for that

  • ||

    And how do we distribute the incredible wealth produced by the 20%?

    Wait, I know this one. "From each according . . ." Dang it. Hang on, it will come to me. . . .

  • ||

    What do you do when you have a small percentage of people who produce unbelievable amounts of wealth and a large section of the country that produces very small amounts of wealth.

    Yeah, I know the easy answer is to say fuck the large number of people. But you can't do that. It would create huge social disruptions and you would run the risk of the big majority rising up and destroying your tiny productive class. It is not as easy of a problem as you think.

  • EcoNut||

    Simple: large corporate farming is killing America.

  • sarcasmic||

    That large section that produces little wealth can have access to the goods and services provided by the wealth producers at a lower cost, so they don't need to produce that much.
    Wealth production is twofold. You need producers and you need consumers. Producers get rich because they get a piece of every trade. Society gets rich as an equivalent amount of wealth is dispersed throughout. Everyone benefits. Every millionaire represents a million dollars worth of wealth added to the pie. Everyone gets a bigger slice.

    The problem is envy, which eventually becomes institutionalized.

    Then freedom is lost, wealth is plundered, incentives are taken away, everything turns to shit, and everyone starts over.
    If they start off free, then the cycle begins again as free people create wealth. That wealth is unequally distributed which fosters envy, wash rinse repeat.

  • Jennifer||

    I think John's question is a legitimate ones, even if (historically speaking) people in the past have answered it badly.

  • ||

    Her dad wasn't a child in 1968...he was a POW. PEW would have to go back further than 1984 before those number mean anything. Why didn't they?

  • ||

    That's why I love porn stars. They aren't whining in their timeline, they rarely if ever get into politics, they are go-getters, and actually know the real reason people follow them.

    I thought about following Meghan but ultimately I'd unfollow just as I did with Kim Kardashian.

  • Warty||

    That picture is really disappointing.

  • Envy||

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm 23 and make more than both my parents combined. That sounds sort of like upward mobility.

  • ||

    She can't see the forest for the trees. Opportunities aren't passive, they're active. We aren't given them, we take them. My parents don't have a name that anyone would recognize, but they taught me this, and I'm teaching it to my children.

  • Spartacus||

    What struck me more than anything is that for the first time possibly in history, people aren’t being given the same opportunities that my parents and grandparents had.

    The use of the passive voice here is interesting. Do people expect that opportunities will be given to them? Maybe that's part of the problem.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Do people expect that opportunities will be given to them?"

    What they expect is to be able to get by with using that as a slogan/excuse for agitiating to get their paws on other people's property. That's what it's really all about.

    And they can count on the liberal MSM to play that up for them ad nauseam - as they have already started doing.

  • Spartacus||

    Oops, 12 minutes too late.

  • ||

    I attended my 30th high school reunion a few weeks back. This was a school in a tiny town with a blue collar and migrant economy. I went to school with quite a few poor people.

    While I'm sure some never moved up, those that came to the reunion did. The poorest of the bunch started out pumping gas at a run down station, now he owns that station. The grocery store clerk now manages a chain of grocery stores. They weren't rich, but they took control of their own lives without whining about their situation to the government.

  • ¢||

    I'm 23 and make more than both my parents combined. That sounds sort of like upward mobility.

    I'm about as old as your parents probably are, and there's about a 100% chance I make more-than-both-your-parents-combined less than either of my parents did.

    And I'm not a retarded giant-tittied heiress who can't do math.

    Shit happens. Also.

  • yogi||

    Last year I rummaged through the paperwork my mom and dad kept during their lives, after my mom died. My dad died several years earlier.

    This just one observation, not a statistical measurement. Overall, I think my wife and I have a slightly higher standard of living than my parents did.

    Then:

    My parents were single income, my dad's only.

    My dad was an electronics technician.

    My parents purchased a 3-bedroom home in the 'burbs in 1964 for about twice my dad's salary (14k).

    Now:

    My wife and I are both income earners.

    My wife and I are both engineers. (I know, that sounds awful.)

    My wife and I have decided not to purchase a home yet. But if we did, we could get also get a 3-bedroom home, just like my parents bought, for about twice our salaries.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "if people aren't given a fair shot"

    Given? How is that given, you stupid twat? Orally? In pill form? IV drip?

    We are sooooo fuck'd.

  • mustard||

    Hey! I'M a stupid twat, so watch those insults, you fucking capitalist pig!

  • ||

    I call BS on this article. Here is why: http://www.washingtonpost.com/....._blog.html Reason Mag, please explain why you cherry picked that mobility study that compared the 80's to the 90's but didn't show a comparison to going back to WWII or compare the US to other industrialized countries. Was it because it was inconvenient to admit that America has become economically stratified?

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