Economics

Everyone Wants To Be Monkey in the Middle

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middle

Americans love to be middle class. In fact, 53 percent of us consider ourselves part of the middle class, including pretty much all of the rich people, and quite a few of the poor.

For example, four-in-ten Americans with incomes below $20,000 say they are middle class, as do a third of those with incomes above $150,000. And about the same percentages of blacks (50%), Hispanics (54%) and whites (53%) self-identify as middle class, even though members of minority groups who say they are middle class have far less income and wealth than do whites who say they are middle class.

An additional 19 percent call themselves upper middle class, with another 19 percent calling themselves lower middle class. That leaves a big 8 percent of people who are willing to boldly go without the word middle. No wonder promising "no tax increases for the middle class" is such an effective strategy.

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  1. Alright smart guy, what is middle class then?

  2. Well technically if you aren’t the richest person in the world or the poorest, you’re somewhere in the middle.

  3. Where does Thurston Howell III fit in this range?

  4. I’ll go one step further: I’m no class.

  5. Class is a function of power and status in society, which often enough correlates with wealth. Most Americans aren’t particularly oppressed, so think themselves middles class.

    The upper class perceive themselves as running things. They get/give bailouts/subsidies.

    The lower class are split between the oppression of the prisons and voluntary enserfment to whoever is giving them credit/money/meals.

  6. Lamar isn’t fully integrated into the power/status system of society.

  7. Alright smart guy, what is middle class then?

    Believe me, if we had a class system, you’d know.

  8. Lamar’s like a school on Sunday.

    A school on Sunday?

  9. I’ll go one step further: I’m no class.

    Man, you’re like school during the summer.

  10. Isaac,
    True. However, societies with classes tend to have a barbell distribution. A population at the a top, a big population at the bottom and pretty much no one in the middle.

    Another problem, of course, is ignoring where people live. Making $100K in NYC is middle class; the same salary in rural Indiana, is upper middle class.

    I would classify upper class as having made “fuck you” money. You (and your spouse) work not to maintain your lifestyle, but because you want to. If you have to work, you’re not upper class. 2% sounds about right for that.

  11. Lame little minds turned to mush by too many cartoons during the early childhood years think alike.

  12. Lamar’s like recess.

    Recess?

  13. Rudy’s unintentional wisdom touched many of us, joe.

  14. 50-something couple with adult children and grandchildren. Late bloomers with current gross income of $180k, but no appreciable savings. Will be working will past the 66 1/2 that it takes to get full social security retirement benefits (knowing full well they aren’t going to be there anyway).

    So rich or not rich?

  15. you may be below joe’s poverty line.

    i kid

  16. It is too bad that we no longer distinguish between “middle class,” which is a sort of state of mind or maybe a set of values, and “middle income,” which you can describe mathematically. To my mind, anybody who works using his or her brain, like running a business, or even just shuffling papers for a business or government agency, or is some kind of professional, including a professional house painter or gardener, is middle class. You can be middle class but have a low income because your business went sour, and of course you can be working class (unskilled labor) but have a middle income because your union is squeezing the tax payers or some other reason.

  17. Annual income is a poor way to measure wealth. I can envision retirees living off of corpus with minimal income considering themselves in the middle. What is more interesting is those of us, and I include myself, that don’t “feel” rich, but by most measures, are.

  18. Alright smart guy, what is middle class then?

    Believe me, if we had a class system, you’d know.

    We do have a class system. The fact that people don’t know is a testament to how benign it is for most of the people who live within it (these days/for now) but it’s still there.

  19. A person’s sense of the class they belong to is not entirely dependent on their current income. I only make around $15K a year, but I came from a middle class background and can reasonably expect to make twice that in a couple years. I regard myself as middle class.

  20. Alright smart guy, what is middle class then?

    Screw that, I want to know what “working class” is. I want a definition. I’ve asked a dozen times on H&R and other forums, never gotten an answer. I think I know who Democrats are talking about when they talk “working class”, but I can’t get a definition. Most of the “working class” people I know make more than I do, have better benefits, more protected jobs and longer vacations. But I still suspect that when Obama/Clinton/Kerry/Biden say “working class” they don’t have a picture of me in their head.

  21. Income is not the entire story. Net worth is a better factor to consider. Also, as mentioned above, where you live. I’m sure there are other factors to consider.

  22. I’ll agree with Mitch. Class is something unrelated to income. Donald Trump may be rich, but he’s not upper class.

  23. I was just going to post what I think middle class is, and I got into income range and assets, and just those two variables screwed things up enough make it difficult, and I didn’t even consider pensions, legacies, and family wealth. This exercise could easily turn into a faux Jeff Foxworthy routine. If you live in a home with a crash test rating…..

  24. I don’t care about working class, I want to know what the hell a “working family” is. All this government relief for working families. So… does that exclude dysfunctional ones?

  25. A person’s sense of the class they belong to is not entirely dependent on their current income. I only make around $15K a year, but I came from a middle class background and can reasonably expect to make twice that in a couple years. I regard myself as middle class.

    No offense, you can regard your self as middle class all you want, but on 15K a year, unless you’re a dependant living with your parents, you’re not middle class.

  26. legacies, and family wealth.

    And now government wealth in the form of bailouts. For instance, normal market functioning would be dictating that a number of overpaid managers and execs would be moving on to “pursue other opportunities and spend more time with family”. But because they now have billions of dollars in wealth being provided to their companyes from… “working class” folks such as myself, we have to add that into the equation, too.

  27. My income is in the top 5%, and my net worth is well into the bottom 50%. Am I rich? The IRS thinks so.

  28. You’re nigger rich?

  29. An ex-girlfriend of mine once said I had “no class”.

  30. As others have pointed out, the problem is comparing a measurable quantity, such as income or wealth, with an unmeasurable value – “class”.

    Personally, my wife and I clear $200K a year, and have a net worth north of $3M. My wife also comes from money and we’ll eventually inherit $10-$20M. But, I’m certainly not upper class. I’m a lot closer to a redneck than to what anyone would consider upper class.

  31. The left defines middle class as an economic category, the right as a cultural category.

    Ditto “working class.” Hence, when we were supposed to believe that Joe Wurzelbacher could afford to buy a plumbing company that would clear him a quarter mil in profits, the Republicans still cast him as a working-class everyman.

  32. “Never use money to measure wealth.” Robert Duvall’s folksy wisdom is touching.

  33. Hence, you see conservative with enormous amounts of money who, say, drive around in red pickup trucks and say things like “Wah, nah, when the flies start a-buzzin’ ’round the possum,” so they can convince themselves and others that they’re “jes folks.”

  34. joe,

    I pictured Jose with a top hat and monocle while reading your post. Well played, sir.

  35. Nate, wanna buy some blow?

  36. Just joking. But if you have some…

  37. Naga,

    Actually, I was thinking of Fred Thompson.

  38. I pictured Jose with a top hat and monocle while reading your post.

    But that’s the way you picture everyone. Because you’re the wildcard. Now talk like Foghorn Leghorn!

  39. Nice boy, but he’s about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.

  40. Remember the Frost’s? The poster family for expanding the SCHIP program?

    Textbook example of “upper-middle class”.
    And they were already on welfare!

    Joe the Plumber probably paid his kid’s doctor bills with crappy insurance.

  41. The left defines middle class as an economic category, the right as a cultural category.

    And neither would be correct.

  42. Anyone ever see the neat interactive tool on class in America on the NYT website? It was up a couple of years ago, but I can’t seem to find it now.

    It was a sort of matrix that included income, education and occupation, but I’m not sure if net worth factored in. IIRC, it was based on surveys about what Americans perceived class strata to be, and the % of people in each category. Kind of an interesting toy.

    The matrix didn’t factor in the essential “to NASCAR or not to NASCAR” question, which, as we all know, is what really determines the class system in America. (I kid, of course.)

  43. Frosts not Frost’s. I originally intended to use the possessive but changed my composition on the fly.

    Their “income” was under 45k, qualifying them for “free health care” for their kids.Yet their wedding announcement was in the NYTs, kids attended private school at 20k each a year, owned 3 high end late model vehicles 500k + house, commercial investment rental property etc. Upper middle class on a “poverty” income.

  44. No sooner than I hit submit, of course, I found the link. If you’re interested, here it is.

  45. Alright smart guy, what is middle class then?

    Based on a normal distribution, the middle 68% (within one-standard deviation +/- from the mean).

    Given that, if only 53% identify themselves as middle class, then fewer people willing to self-describe themselves as middle class than actually are middle class.

    Of course a ONE standard deviation difference is only large enough to notice if you are focused on it…it won’t be so obvious to draw attention to itself, so this may be too narrow a definition of the middle.

    Of course, if you add the upper/lower qualifiers indicated in Ron’s post, then you get 92% identifying as middle class, that seems to stretch the middle to TWO standard deviations (about) from the mean.

    In disabilities, TWO standard deviations from the mean is the agreed upon demarcation of “not normal” for many functions, so a TWO standard deviations difference from the mean difference is a common-sense cut-off for middle class.

    It is a difference big enough that it would be obvious even if you weren’t looking for it.

  46. start a-buzzin’ ’round the possum,” so they can convince themselves and others that they’re “jes folks.”

    Dude, if I could make the six figures a couple of my blue-collar, workin’ class associates make, I’d gladly ape the ‘jes folks’ personae, where do I sign up?

  47. Based on a normal distribution, the middle 68% (within one-standard deviation +/- from the mean).

    Given that, if only 53% identify themselves as middle class, then fewer people willing to self-describe themselves as middle class than actually are middle class.

    Neu, the middle class is shrinking, or haven’t you heard?

  48. Hrm, I have upper class interests, middle class income, and a lower class lifestyle. Is there a cosmotarian class?

  49. Echoing Neu Mejican, I think that what is really broken here is the boundaries placed on the results by Pew.

    Upper-middle class is middle class. Lower-middle class is middle class. People who respond with those answers believe they are middle class. Lumping them in upper and lower classes is simply wrong.

    Besides, if upper-middle class were part of upper class, it would be called lower-upper class, now wouldn’t it.

  50. You guys have yapped for all this time and no one has bothered to define terms. you disappoint me.

    “middle class” is about as anachronistic and historically funged term as “third world”.

    The traditional notions of “class systems” that exist in the western world are based on the *source* of wealth, not the sum of it. Marx’s ideas about classes are an extension and bastardization of the basic idea. The upper/middle/lower class distinctions were roughly based on

    a) title, and hereditary possession of an estate that usually provided some degree of independent income aside from any work or contribution made to that estate

    b) private ownership of some interest in a money making enterprise – be it self employment through being a merchant trader, or ownership of a large private enterprise.

    c) dependence on employment by a third party who pays you a wage, but provides you no ownership interest in the capital that provides that wage

    So you can have a poor upper class (declining estates and diminished aristocratic title to resources), wealthy wage earners, and a range of middle class interests ranging from smallholders to the dutch east india company. Each would retain their class definition regardless of the net worth of any party.

    The idea of defining ‘classes’ by the size of wallet has been generally unsuccessful in america. our notions of social mobility are too fluid. the new yorker had an essay on ‘the death of the middle class’ back in the early 90s. 93-94 i think. The author pointed out that most Americans are just jobholders of one sort or another, and that we would be better off by characterizing the “corporate classes”, the “professional classes”, the “small business owners”, “the government class”, and the “paycheck population”. Maybe that wasnt what the article proposed, but i recall gathering that conclusion after reading it. Any discussion of class in america needs to be more precise, in general, or else it just turns into a lot of blather about where the “middle” is, and why it’s so great so many people get to be near it… it lacks any insight into what that really means about the composition of our societey, and where the points of friction are, and why. It turns everything into where we reset the bell curve. Bor….ing.

    end long pedantic post

  51. sorry, a footnote –

    What i meant about “third world” above was that the expression emerged to refer to parts of the globe where neither capitalist nor socialist systems had ever taken complete root and where there was some concern about which way they would tip. That faded into a vaguer, “underdeveloped” countries…. where the standard of development remained relative to that of the fast-growing “developed” world. It ceased to have a well defined “second” component, really, so the term “third” became an arbitrary signifier of what rich countries thought about the rest of the world. That was what i meant about the similarity to “middle” class funging.

  52. The title of this article is “monkey in the middle,” but I’m more reminded of the song, “Leader of the Pack.”
    Most folks make the logical assumption that, to stand a chance at being “leader of the pack,” which all humans, male and female, have a primal urge to be, one must first join the steenking, flea-ridden pack.
    Go figure.

  53. “Hrm, I have upper class interests, middle class income, and a lower class lifestyle. Is there a cosmotarian class?”
    How do you define “lower class lifestyle”?

  54. How do you define “lower class lifestyle”?

    Drinking PBR w/o the shot of irony chaser?

  55. SIV | November 25, 2008, 9:02pm | #

    How do you define “lower class lifestyle”?

    Drinking PBR w/o the shot of irony chaser?

    Thats called “cheap”, having nothing to do with class.

    If your PBR was paid for by your trust fund, then it might be different

  56. I have upper-class interests, middle-class income, and lower-class vices. Jack Daniels if you please!

  57. Err, yeah, what SIV said. Drink cheap booze and live in poor conditions and hang around in shady bars (but with optimism instead of resignation!)

  58. I’m beginning to suspect that chemical dependency is the lower class trait that unites us all! Except for those weirdo Mormon libertarians. No idea what you guys are smoking and definitely do not want a hit of it… but welcome to the big libertarian tent.

  59. Embarrassing and almost certainly unhealthy vices of which I am possessed:
    heavy drinking
    country music
    politics

  60. economist: hooray! Personally going on 100+ days without going to bed sober. Cheers to not letting personal vices interfere with professional obligations, the ultimate libertarian lifestyle 🙂

  61. economist | November 25, 2008, 9:25pm | #

    Embarrassing and almost certainly unhealthy vices of which I am possessed:

    You forgot your pretensions about calling yourself “economist”.

  62. Also there is a clear correlation between #1 and #3 on your list, given the current climate 😉

  63. Crap, and I almost forgot my perverse enjoyment of getting exceedingly angry at least once a day about something. Of course, that’s sort of implied under “politics”.

  64. Bingo,
    Yes, but I started drinking before paying serious attention to politics.

  65. economist:

    Politics and alcohol is a vicious circle, to be certain. One might consider politics to be the gateway drug to alcoholism.

    Counting on a liquid bailout for libertarians in the Obama administration.

    Also GILMORE scores ad-hominem points for attacking user handles. Would you like to attack mine too Mr. ALLCAPS?

  66. we all need to differentiate.

    im sorry if you find the trumpeting, clarion call of my handle to be too noisy and imperative for your sensitive … mind? not sure how that works. I just did it by accident years ago and stuck with it out of habit.

    be careful. REAL AMERICAN might return. he’s a dick.

  67. Bingo,
    I think ’twas all in jest.

  68. WHAT DID YOU CALL ME!?

  69. Y’all a bunch of fuckin liberaltarians than caused this whole shit anyway

  70. Still waiting for a definition of “working class”. Gilmore? Anyone? Beuller?

  71. (#1 commentor at lonewackjobs site)

    e.g.


    We will see under the muslim obama 100 million new monkeys here all freedoms and justice and ideals of freedom will disappear into some monkey world, if you do not take up arms against evil you will be eaten by that evil. feel fear and panic your world is about to disappear into the third world monkey hell.

    and start to call this place the FORMER USA.
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.24.08 – 8:03 pm | #

    New report has hope the worsening economy world system of mass money may have a total collapse soon, this means the USA With all the world may start thinking like people of nation states and not one world dick’s, the really evil thing is we may see a world war that will murder 5 billion people, so this thing on the actors may just be totally pointless, and who cares what some 65 year old rich guy like Harrison Ford think about Illegals, and face facts Ford would sell his mother.

    If we as a people can just buy time this evil of mass attacks from Mexico city and the one world pigs may just disappear thanks to God.

    By the way the Chinese are about to have a civil war.
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.24.08 – 12:46 am | #

    You do understand all this shit don’t you? if not its about doing you up the ass.
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.19.08 – 10:09 pm | #

    Well that is who Obama is a foreign black guy that is well owned by others who hate our freedoms and who paid him lots of money to be a good boy.

    Obama our enemy now owns your butt and who hates like a real black KKK Guy.

    buy guns or become a prison bitch inside the hell of the third world monkey nation.
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.18.08 – 10:27 pm | #

    I love petty bourgeois he understands what is happening but its already happened petty bourgeois and its going to be all Americans who are not black or brown or yellow or some monkey mix race who will become the political and race criminals in the same way jews became the enemy of hitler. poor people you have no ideals of what is going to happen to all of you, and about “In Good company”, he or she hates any ideals of freedom and is a fool but most people are fools.

    to all, buy guns evil is in the home of freedom and it wants you dead,dead,dead.
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.18.08 – 10:38 pm | #

    Means nothing when Obama is done with the usa it will be a third world country with no human or civil rights and with a income of $1000 dollars a year, that is, for all working people; but the people will be from third world counties and will be working X Americans inside some nightmare state.

    Think Reballion against our FOREIGN Muslims/black/Jewish/White/Hispanic/
    drug dealers from china and Mexico city AND THAT GUY NEXT DOOR, Didn’t want to forget that guy! and the pigs inside the government and any masters i forgot, ISN’T THIS FUN.

    Let us all hope for the coming soon! like that is going to happen, but who knows maybe?
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.21.08 – 5:01 pm | #

    people stop with the BS The USA Is over don’t get mad start a new nation and this time do it right the system is in the hands of our enemies so why get mad when you see this BS Just wait and do the job of making a new place and take back our lost Lands, with blood. each time you see a cop hate him or her each time you see a government monkey hate that monkey and make plans to make a free nation inside this evil and dead one. but above all other thing keep your eyes opened for the right move to freedom and the American non monkey way.

    stop the colonization buy guns. by the way never be taken alive.
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.23.08 – 5:51 pm | #

    Anonymous do you think that the power pigs of one world third world evil care about the little guy?
    if so you are a fool.

    “why Anonymous”, why not your own name don’t you feel free to say as you want inside the so called land of freedom and mass murder of human and civil rights in front of us all in the name of love and money and lots of monkeys people coming here?

    after all we have a racists monkey as president and on top of that soon a monkey mexican as president of upper mexico in the next 8 years with one billion monkeys coming here we will become that great monkey country and have a hell of alot of fun becoming a hell on earth.

    Buy Guns make a new nation under Laws and not monkeys in the trees.
    Fred Dawes | Homepage | 11.24.08 – 8:26 pm | #

  72. Paul | November 25, 2008, 10:05pm | #

    Still waiting for a definition of “working class”.

    paycheck dependent on manual labor or industrial production work – as in, legs and arms, skilled or unskiled labor dependent.

    That work?

    Sorry, “This Old House”. I still love you.

  73. include agricultural in above legs and arms def

  74. Sorry, I can’t afford Jack Daniel’s.

    I can afford a 2001 Elantra. But that’s about it.

    I’ve got friends with half my income and a million times my savings, thanks to their daddies. That makes them much more middle class than me according to many of these definitions. Yet when I hear “affordable dinner” I think “dollar menu at McDonald’s” while they think “$30 for a medallion of chicken.”

    How about these definitions:
    Upper Class: You don’t need to work.
    Middle Class: You need to work, but have skills to do a reasonable number of jobs.
    Lower Class: You need to work, but your skills are possessed by most immigrants and citizens of third world countries.

  75. Frankly, the whole, ‘blue collar’, ‘white collar’ / working class vs. professional class distinctions are pretty muddy themselves. Re-defining them is probably a waste of time. Back office employees, or call center workers, or support tech or dozens of other job profiles have changed the definition of what our country’s ‘low wage’ employees may look like. My point was that the terms we use need to be aligned to the current condition of the marketplace, yet we continue to use hackneyed terms to try and characterize what our wage/income/social-status profile really looks like, and often its useless and counterproductive debate over breaks in pay scale. there’s got to be a better way to define the issues and perpetuating these older distinctions isnt particularly useful in my opinion… which may be mistaken, but I havent heard any more sensible deliniations from anyone since the whole “wall st vs main st” concept become the new meme du jour

  76. Ammonium | November 25, 2008, 10:26pm | #

    How about these definitions:
    Upper Class: You don’t need to work.
    Middle Class: You need to work, but have skills to do a reasonable number of jobs.
    Lower Class: You need to work, but your skills are possessed by most immigrants and citizens of third world countries.

    See post above – November 25, 2008, 8:33pm | #

    basically, the same idea

  77. note –

    with the exception that “third world” is exactly the kind of @#)(*#($ nonsense distinction that i specifically tried to point out as such…

  78. I think the important distinction for “middle class” is ownership of ones own earnings potential. ownership of an entity – be it a piece of land or a business interest or a patent, or copyright, whatever – that earns income.

    by that definition, the middle class is basically non existent or at least rapidly declining as a percentage of the GDP.

    Liberals freak out about the decline of small business ownership, but quickly enact policy that draws all incentives away from private interest towards corporate and government interest. The giant paradoxes of liberal (“progressive”) business-management implications has never yet been fully explicated, but Reason tends to do the best job of the few publications that look into this issue.

  79. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE GREEDY CORPORATIONS AND THEIR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT AND CHINESE FREE-TRADE CAPITALIST JACKASS ALLIES ARE DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY’S FREE ENTERPRISE DEMOCRACY BY REPLACING IT WITH “FREE TRADE” AND “FREE MARKETS”. THEY ARE ALL WAGING WAR ON THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS! RUN, BEFORE THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CORPORATE FAT CAT FREE TRADE GOONS EAT YOUR BRAINS!

  80. “ownership of an entity – be it a piece of land or a business interest or a patent, or copyright, whatever – that earns income.”
    Given that the net value of my savings and investments is (slightly) greater than my personal debt, I guess that means I am “slightly” middle class by this definition.

  81. economist

    no, if all those assets or future support is dependent on a third party that finances your wage income, then no, you’re just a check earner like everyone who isnt an LLC or 1190(?) (need TWC to remind me the tax form for a one man business).

    Lou Dobbs (on furlough from the rest home) | November 25, 2008, 10:59pm | #

    well done. semi funny

  82. you’re not really an economist, are you…. this should be clearer to your than me. I’m only an analyst

  83. paycheck dependent on manual labor or industrial production work – as in, legs and arms, skilled or unskiled labor dependent.

    That work?

    So if we take your definition at face value, then it’s true, there are tons of “working class” people who make more than I do. Cool. And again (assuming your definition holds) when politicians pander to “working class” they’re definitely not picturing me.

  84. Paul | November 25, 2008, 11:17pm | #

    “”paycheck dependent on manual labor or industrial production work – as in, legs and arms, skilled or unskiled labor dependent.

    That work?””

    So if we take your definition at face value, then it’s true, there are tons of “working class” people who make more than I do. Cool. And again (assuming your definition holds) when politicians pander to “working class” they’re definitely not picturing me.

    yes. I work on “wall st.”, and earn less than many union electricians. its a qualitative distinction.

    the distinction is possibly important as we have elected a government that has a lot of backers who’d love to see a redirection of federal resources to fucking people who work in the ‘wrong’ lines of business.

    Disclosure:
    i happen to work in economic research for an investment bank that has not received one nickel from any government. I do have skin in the game, as they say.

  85. Even though the Lou Dobbs thing is a parody, I could see most so-called “paleotarians” nodding their heads along in agreement.

  86. Lou Dobbs parodies make REAL AMERICAN clones seem like total pussies.

    FYI – vikram pandit is now on charlie rose, for any research types out there.

    interesting question – “why could we have not predicted the decline in housing markets”

    Case Shiller index shows how screwed up things have been since 2001. Defending 7 years of overinvestment in this area is a tough job

  87. WHAT DO YOU MEAN A “PARODY”!? I’M SERIOUS AS A GODDAMN HEART ATTACK! AAARRRRRRGGHHH!

  88. No one’s going to comment on the thread title being a Suzanne Vega song reference? (“Fat Man and Dancing Girl” from 99.9 F — “Monkey in the middle / Keeps doing that trick / It’s making me nervous / Get rid of it quick.”)

  89. I CHALLENGE LOU DOBBS TO A WHACKJOB SHOWDOWN!

  90. I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE! I WILL FIGHT YOU TO THE DEATH LIKE I FOUGHT AT THE BORDER TO HOLD OFF THE HORDES OF INVADING ILLEGALS!

  91. “why could we have not predicted the decline in housing markets”

    Predicting the decline was easy. Timing it was hard and largely a matter of “luck”.

  92. scariest moment so far =

    “is the US government becoming the world’s [real] bank”?

    ..pandit’s face froze

  93. Case Shiller showed housing prices over 200% of expected value in 2006

    timing that shit isnt hard. Placing the BOTTOM is hard.

  94. @Gilmore 11:15
    Given that you’re the one who thought all the fuss about AIGhad nothing to do with its bailout by taxpayers, I wouldn’t be criticizing the analysis of other posters fro the next few hours or so.

  95. I will now carry out my lifelong dream: taking out China, Mexico, and Teh COrporashunz in one fell swoop!

  96. I make a fairly decent income doing technical work that involves me occasionally getting my hands dirty. I have a degree in Politicl Science and 3/4 of a Masters Degree I never finished that I am in no way using. Most of my coworkers have at most a 2 year degree.

    My grandmother thinks this is terrible and that I should “have a job where I wear a suit and tie”. The fact that there are plenty of people wearing suits and ties slaving away in corporate cubicle hell who make half what I do doesn’t matter to her. It’s about appearance. Plumbers and auto mechanics do better than most teachers and librarians but they don’t get the same respect. Class is more about the kind of work you do than how much you make doing it. And, of course, whether you actually need to work at all.

  97. will | November 26, 2008, 12:03am | #

    ugh

    go back and read.

  98. Sit up straight!!

  99. hands Pepe a tissue so he can sniffle into it.

  100. GILMORE wins on definitions. And I get to realize that I am working class! Wait, now that we all have 401ks, does that put us in the middle class? Retirement funds have created the Marxist ideal: the workers own the factors of production.

    Can I echo that note on plumbers making more than librarians? I make a hobby of reading library job postings. My old favorite was one that asked for a master’s degree and 3-5 years of management experience for $35,000/year. But yesterday: The preferred candidate will have two master’s degrees, speak a foreign language, have reference and teaching experience, be able to design web pages, work some nights and weekends, and start at $41,000. And librarians don’t often get that respect Pepe awards them.

  101. Zubon,

    City planners everywhere are now googling library science programs.

  102. “City planners everywhere are now googling library science programs.”
    My heart bleeds for the poor city planners. It truly does. I feel you pain, joe.

  103. Libertarian expresses lack of sympathy.

    News at 11.

  104. GILMORE @ November 25, 2008, 8:33pm makes the point I would have made if I could have been bothered to.

    I would add, however, that in an actual class system you are born into and remain in your class all your life. And your children and their children will remain in that class for as long as you want to trace it. There are only minor opportunities (marriage being one) to move from one class to another.

  105. Middle class ends up being something that, like just about anything Obama* said during the campaign, can mean just about anything you want it too.

    *Possibly unfair. It’s just that BO displays an ownership of that particular political talent that I haven’t seen since I lived in Canada during the early Trudeau years.

  106. This one’s easy:

    Lower class:
    Your name on your shirt (Would you like fries with that?)
    Your home has a name (Windmere Estates)

    Upper Class:
    Your name on your shirt (Dr. Somebody or Rodriguez 13)
    Your home has a name (Windmere Estate)

    Middle class (everyone else):
    Someone else’s name on your shirt. (Rodriguez 13 or DKNY)
    Your house has someone else’s name on the deed, usually a failed bank

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