Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Is Right That the 'Working Class' Is Shrinking. He's Wrong To Suggest That's a Bad Thing.

By nearly every measure, Americans are getting richer and richer. This should be cause for celebration, not concern.

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In a tweet this morning, Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who is running for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, shows that his grasp of economics is about as strong as his grasp of "breaking news." He writes,

Breaking News:

For the last 40 years the American working class has been disappearing and the rich have been getting richer.

What exactly do you figure Bernie is talking about? Working class is sometimes used to denote blue-collar workers, especially factory workers. If we're going that route, it's undeniable that factory jobs have indeed massively declined, but not just over the past 40 years. In fact, industrial jobs as a percentage of the total workforce peaked not in 1979 but in 1943!

Over the past couple of decades—at least since the 1990s, especially as President Bill Clinton was putting finishing touches on the North American Free Trade Agreement that critics wrongly feared would crater the U.S economy—we've spent a lot of time fretting over the end of factory jobs. In 2016, one of Donald Trump's main speaking points was that he was going to keep the factory jobs that remained and then bring back old ones that he mistakenly thought had gone overseas (between 2000 and 2010, according to one representative study, about 85 percent of factory job losses were due to automation, not free trade and off-shoring of jobs). The nostalgia with which factory jobs are treated is one sign that they've been gone for a very long time. Just as with Native Americans, we don't really embrace and romanticize objects of fear and ire until they are truly dispatched. Very few people loved factory jobs when they were a big part of the American economy—instead, you got movies like Modern Times, which portrayed working on an assembly line as torture and degradation. Same with farm work, which was something everyone wanted to escape when everyone had to do it.

FiveClassIncomeUrbanInstituteBut maybe Bernie is talking about the "middle class" when he breaks the decades-old news that the rich are getting richer. Here, too, he seems off. As Reason's Ronald Bailey has pointed out, between 1979 and 2014, the income distribution in America has gotten markedly better, with more people clustered in its upper reaches. Citing work done by Stephen Rose, an economist at the liberal Urban Institute, Bailey writes:

Rose divvied Americans into five income groups; the poor at $0 to 29,999; the lower middle class, from $30,000 to $49,999; the middle class, from $50,000 to $99,999; the upper middle class, from $100,000 to $349,999; and the rich, $350,000 and up. He then examined how each group had fared between 1979 and 2014.

The percentage of American families with incomes over $356,000 grew from 0.1 percent in 1979 to 1.8 percent in 2014. Meanwhile during that period the percent of Americans in the middle-middle class, the lower middle class and the poor fell from 38.8 to 32 percent, 23.9 to 17.1 percent and 23.4 to 19.8 percent respectively.

And as you can see in the chart above, folks in the "upper middle class" jumped from about 30 percent in 1979 to 52 percent in 2014. Yes, the rich do get richer, but when you start looking at individuals rather than statistical averages, an even-more heartening picture emerges for those of us who care about income mobility (I certainly do). Here's economist and Econtalk podcast host Russ Roberts sussing out the important data:

One study finds that when you compare the income of parents working in the early 1960s to their children's income from the early 2000s, "84% earned more than their parents, corrected for inflation. But 93% of the children in the poorest households, the bottom 20% surpassed their parents. Only 70% of those raised in the top quintile exceeded their parent's income." A different study also found that kids in lower-income groups were far more likely to outstrip their parents' income than those born to wealthy parents: "70% of children born in 1980 into the bottom decile exceed their parents' income in 2014. For those born in the top 10%, only 33% exceed their parents' income."

Another study Roberts writes up

looks at people who were 35–40 in 1987 and then looks at how they were doing 20 years later, when they are 55–60. The median income of the people in the top 20% in 1987 ended up 5% lower twenty years later. The people in the middle 20% ended up with median income that was 27% higher. And if you started in the bottom 20%, your income doubled. If you were in the top 1% in 1987, 20 years later, median income was 29% lower.

Like Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders is a populist whose rhetoric is intended to rile up people who feel like they are being taken to the cleaners by various elites (Trump zeroes in on cultural elites and institutions such as the academy and news media, Sanders focuses on economic elites). Each paints massively misleading pictures of contemporary life in America in an attempt to woo voters his way.

None of this is to say that things are perfect as is, or even tolerable. But on the one hand, you have someone like Donald Trump, whose positive contributions to economic growth—tax reform and deregulation, say—are offset by really stupid policies on trade, immigration, and deficit-spending. On the other hand, you have someone like Bernie Sanders, who may not be a classic socialist that wants the state to own the means of production but does want to grow the size, scope, and spending of government with regard to every aspect of the government. These are not good options and they should not be the only options available to American voters in 2020, or any other year for that matter.

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  1. In fact, industrial jobs as a percentage of the total workforce peaked not in 1979 but in 1943!

    I blame Hitler’s killer for that decline.

    1. I knew he didn’t do it himself!

      /Misek

  2. “Breaking News:
    For the last 40 years the American working class has been disappearing and the rich have been getting richer.”

    Reich wrote a column about this, oh, 15 years ago, and it’s been running in the Sunday Chron with slight weekly changes ever since:
    ‘The rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting rich!!!!!!!!’

    1. The poor are actually getting poorer. The middle class just split. The bottom quartile of the middle class got poor enough to leave the middle class and the upper quartile got rich enough to leave the middle class. In mindless fucktard world this is supreme progress and will certainly not lead to any negative outcomes and by the way we should invite people living on $3 a day to join our society and place no limitations on their ability to access welfare – per Reason.com 08.13.2019

      1. Couldnt be bothered to even look at the second chart in the story?

        1. I already addressed what a fucking garbage pile the set of quintiles is considering that it doesn’t comport in any way with the actual middle of the distribution of household income in this country. It was constructed deliberately with low resolution to confuse morons like you who don’t understand statistics.

          1. Cite evidence.

          2. Jeremy Renner
            August.14.2019 at 4:27 pm
            “I already addressed what a fucking garbage pile the set of quintiles is considering that it doesn’t comport in any way with the actual middle of the distribution of household income in this country.”

            The sock Jeremy already lied about that. You want more lies?

      2. Jeremy Renner
        August.14.2019 at 2:32 pm
        “The poor are actually getting poorer…”

        Is it required to be brain-damaged to be a lefty asshole, or do you become one as a result?
        Regardless, fucking lefty ignoramuses can be properly ignored. Fuck off and die.

        1. Awwwww did you get triggered like a little bitch again Sevo? You should say some curse words and then fail to make a point. The people seeing smaller paychecks every year will surely come around to your position!

          1. Wow. You certainly have a lot of anger. Perhaps if you had paid attention in Statistics class you would understand the data better. You’ve clearly decided that childish naughty words make you right, but this really isn’t the case, is it?

          2. Jeremy Renner
            August.14.2019 at 4:25 pm
            “Awwwww did you get triggered like a little bitch again Sevo?”
            Awwww, shitbag, no I didn’t get triggered. You made a fucking lefty ignoramus claim and offered no support for it at all.
            ———————
            “You should say some curse words and then fail to make a point.”
            You should try to make a point other than a fucking lefty ignoramus claim; Whose sock are you and why do you think a new handle will make you less of a fucking lefty ignoramus?
            ————————-
            “The people seeing smaller paychecks every year will surely come around to your position!”
            Oh! Oh! One more fucking lefty ignoramus claim minus evidence!
            Is it required that you be brain-damaged to become a fucking lefty ignoramus, or is it a result of doing so?
            Intelligent people want to know what made Jeremy such a fucking lefty ignoramus.

  3. “These are not good options and they should not be the only options available to American voters in 2020, or any other year for that matter.”

    ^ this.

    1. Welcome to every presidential election and damned near every other election since forever. Douche and Turd are your only choices.

      1. ahem, its Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich.

        1. Please, Please, PLEASE.

          Let every ballot have “None of the above”.

  4. Comrade Bernie never did a hard day of manual labor in his life.
    He was kicked out of a hippie commune for not doing his chores.
    He never had a small business to run or worked in the private sector.
    He didn’t start work until he was about 40 years old.
    He has lived off the taxpayers tit all his life.
    He honeymooned in that socialist paradise called the Soviet Union.
    He still thinks socialism is the panacea to all of America’s ills.
    He believes in medicare for all yet doesn’t say who is going to pay for it or how much its going to cost.
    He thinks unions are needed in almost every industry.
    He wants all American workers to have “a living wage” but can’t (or won’t) tell anyone how much that is.
    His wife is under investigation for embezzling funds for the college she worked for.
    Comrade Bernie is worth about $800,000, but is unwilling to give the majority of this money to government although he’s a believer in the myth of redistribution of wealth.
    Credibility isn’t exactly Comrade Bernie’s forte.

    1. Who is your preferred candidate (or candidates) for president?

        1. Artie (amateur dedicated troll account) thinks you aren’t qualified, nay, allowed to criticize his beloved comrade if you happen to choose someone he considers “bigoted”.

      1. Whoever promises to murder you and drag your corpse through the streets so everyone can piss on it, you useless piece of garbage.

        1. “Whoever promises to murder you and drag your corpse through the streets so everyone can piss on it, you useless piece of garbage.”

          Most of us won’t bother, since we don’t want to stand in lines.

  5. If a wealthy person makes money on his investments, how does that harm me? It’s not as if I’d get the money if he didn’t.

  6. Over the past couple of decades—at least since the 1990s, especially as President Bill Clinton was putting finishing touches on the North American Free Trade Agreement that critics wrongly feared would crater the U.S economy—we’ve spent a lot of time fretting over the end of factory jobs.

    NAFTA had been negotiated and all but finalized by the time Clinton was elected and he had no material role whatsoever in its “finishing touches” other than signing the paperwork.

    Also NAFTA didn’t “crater the economy” – it just made white collar professionals extraordinarily rich and cost millions of non-white collar workers their livelihoods and caused real wages to decline for the first time since the 1970s. It laid the course for the income and wealth stratification you now see which is making socialism more popular than capitalism a mere 30 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Congratulations fuckwits. You managed to pull off in 30 years of “free trade” what every premier of the Soviet Union tried to accomplish for 3/4 of a century.

    1. Jeremy Renner
      August.14.2019 at 2:39 pm
      “[…]
      Also NAFTA didn’t “crater the economy” – it just made white collar professionals extraordinarily rich and cost millions of non-white collar workers their livelihoods and caused real wages to decline for the first time since the 1970s.
      […]”

      Is it required to be brain-damaged to be a lefty asshole, or do you become one as a result?
      Regardless, fucking lefty ignoramuses can be properly ignored. Fuck off and die.

      1. I know you are but what am I!

        Keep up that charming, persuasive style though. It’s obviously working wonders. 60% favorability for socialism.

        1. Jeremy Renner
          August.14.2019 at 4:29 pm
          “Keep up that charming, persuasive style though. It’s obviously working wonders. 60% favorability for socialism.”

          Keep up the fucking lefty ignoramus claims in the hopes that 60% are stupid enough to promote your shit.
          Hihn sock? Any other guesses?

    2. So we need more government intervention into the economy to stop socialism?

  7. Rose divvied Americans into five income groups; the poor at $0 to 29,999; the lower middle class, from $30,000 to $49,999; the middle class, from $50,000 to $99,999; the upper middle class, from $100,000 to $349,999; and the rich, $350,000 and up.

    Median household income in this country is about $56,000 and was about 52,000 in 2014 when this study was conducted. The bracketing used is nonsensical. And still demonstrates that the poor got worse off and the wealthy got better off while the true middle stagnated. Hooray for supranational corporatism!

    1. But every group earning less than 100k got smaller, and every group over 100k got larger, if what you say is true then the sub-100k group should have, at best, stayed the same. If the middle class did indeed split as you claim, then the vast majority of it when to a higher income bracket, and took most of the poor along with them

    2. “And still demonstrates that the poor got worse off and the wealthy got better off while the true middle stagnated.”

      Really?

      If people were moving down the economic ladder than you’d see the lower percentages increasing, not decreasing. Math is math.

      Sorry to break it to you, but the facts prove your narrative to be completely wrong. It may make for a good emotional argument for emotional people who ignore facts that contradict what they feel, but it is factually incorrect.

      1. I blame the use of bar charts instead of pie charts. Bar charts are too difficult for some.

        1. Bar charts are actually super easy. That’s why assholes who want to misrepresent a dataset will often use them to help guide morons into the conclusion they want. When you’re too stupid to comprehend the statistics and data used to construct the chart it’s easy to get pulled in by your confirmation bias.

          1. Throwing up walls of text, making claims you can’t back up with evidence, and, with supreme arrogance, calling everyone stupid is really helping win people over to your (woefully dishonest) arguments.

            Really though that’s not what your aim is. You know you’re full of shit, but you don’t like the facts, so you make a feeble attempt at sounding authoritative without citing anything to back it up, and try to disrupt the conversation by word vomiting all over the comments as much as possible with your obtuse nonsense. Are you a Bernie staffer or just a bernie bro who found Reason and decided to crusade against the “KKKochsuckers”?

          2. Jeremy Renner
            August.14.2019 at 4:35 pm
            “Bar charts are actually super easy….”
            But they remain a mystery to you.
            Fuck off.

      2. If people were moving down the economic ladder than you’d see the lower percentages increasing, not decreasing. Math is math.

        Splitting the quintiles along lines that do not correspond to the actual distribution of income can make it appear that way even though you have a smaller middle, because more people left the middle for the top than left the middle for the bottom. It doesn’t change the fact that people who began in the bottom became materially worse off, and this is confirmed in dozens of studies.

        1. You cannot choose where to split your quintiles; they are are by definition placed every 20% of the population.

          Incidentally, where are these “dozens of studies” you keep referring to? I’d like to read a cite or two – your poor understanding of population distributions does not give me faith that you both understand and can accurately cite any study you may have read.

    3. Jeremy Renner
      August.14.2019 at 2:41 pm
      “[…]
      Median household income in this country is about $56,000 and was about 52,000 in 2014 when this study was conducted. The bracketing used is nonsensical.
      […]”

      Is it required to be brain-damaged to be a lefty asshole, or do you become one as a result?
      Regardless, fucking lefty ignoramuses can be properly ignored. Fuck off and die.

      1. Is it required to compulsively copy and paste the same reply over and over again when you have no counterargument, or are you just a NPC with a bumper sticker?

        1. Jeremy Renner
          August.14.2019 at 4:36 pm
          “Is it required to compulsively copy and paste the same reply over and over again when you have no counterargument, or are you just a NPC with a bumper sticker?”

          Awfully sorry to paste your bullshit, and then make clear that you are a fucking lefty ignoramus.
          Well, no I’m not.

    4. It’s not so much that the bracketing is nonsensical. It’s that ‘inflation adjustments’ – esp over multi-decade timeframes – are generally a huge pile of manure and those doing the adjusting KNOW that they are a huge pile of manure.

      But yes – the bracketing intervals are also usually designed for the sole purpose of confirming a bias not testing an actual hypothesis. And the folks doing that know that too.

      I TA’d Statistics101 (a widely required course for many majors) for three semesters in college. I found that very few students couldn’t actually get the math. I found VERY few students who had the ethics/restraint/honesty to let the numbers tell the truth and to base their conclusion/narrative on whatever that might be rather than on what they wanted it to be. And I’m certain none of them became more ethical/restrained/honest later on in life.

      Reason writers perpetually suck at that cuz they are driven by their pre-existing narrative/conclusion so all their stats-based stuff is pure cherry-picking (best case).

      1. JFree
        August.14.2019 at 6:05 pm
        “It’s not so much that the bracketing is nonsensical. It’s that ‘inflation adjustments’ – esp over multi-decade timeframes – are generally a huge pile of manure and those doing the adjusting KNOW that they are a huge pile of manure….”
        No, fucktard, reading lefty ignoramuses claim they must be wrong, because or articles in the NTY is not the way to go.
        Fuck off.

      2. Link to one college course catalog in the U.S. that has such a course as “Statistics 101.” I’ve never heard of such a course ever being lower than the 200 level.

        1. FFS. These comments only accept one link – but try Harvard, Yale, Stanford. those were just the first three I tried. They are all 100 level for the introduction course.

          It was part of Math dept (not separate) in my school so was technically MathXYZ course but even so it was a 100 level then (and now) and was CALLED Stats101. 200 level was/is where real college-level math begins – not required math coursework for non-math majors or HS/AP type stuff.

    5. EVERYTHING IS SO TERRIBLE AND UNFAIR!!!!!!

      Haha

      1. You are making a believer out of me.

  8. Bernie is stupid. There is no “working class” in the USA.

    There are rich Americans (whatever that is defined as)
    There are middle class Americans (Whatever that is defined as)
    There are poor Americans (Whatever that is defined as)

    Rich and poor people work. Middle class people work.

    1. Everyone works?

      Do you expect anyone to believe that?

      1. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland
        August.14.2019 at 3:51 pm
        “Everyone works?
        Do you expect anyone to believe that?”

        Is it required to be brain-damaged to be a lefty asshole, or do you become one as a result?
        Regardless, fucking lefty ignoramuses can be properly ignored. Fuck off and die.

      2. Do you expect anyone to believe you’re not a piece of human trash who should blow his fucking pea sized brain out with a .45?

  9. You know what else is shrinking? The working class of neurons in Bernie’s brain.

    1. This implies that the neurons were ever working in the first place.

  10. Look at Bernie throwing up the white power fist.

    1. Is that bandaid from his last antifa battle?

      1. Is Bernie copacetic with the baby Bader-Meinhof cowards? He seems like he would be too old and white to actually attend any of their pogroms.

        Bernie at least owns his own crazy. He puts his name and his face to his nonsense, whereas antifa conceal their identities, attack from behind, and attack en masse.

  11. http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/

    Distribution may have changed but wages are still stagnating.

    The most fascinating statistic in the link is the huge disparity between productivity growth and wage growth. Productivity and wages are supposed to equal out with wages equaling productivity minus the expected return on investment.

    That is not happening.

    From 1973 to 2013, hourly compensation of a typical (production/nonsupervisory) worker rose just 9 percent while productivity increased 74 percent. This breakdown of pay growth has been especially evident in the last decade, affecting both college- and non-college-educated workers as well as blue- and white-collar workers. This means that workers have been producing far more than they receive in their paychecks and benefit packages from their employers.

    That is not a healthy labor market nor a healthy economy. Employers have too much leverage. It shouldn’t be working like this.

    1. “Distribution may have changed but wages are still stagnating.”

      Now try costs of goods and improvement in those goods. And the rise in benes.
      You’re good at simplistic bullshit.

      1. The cost of healthcare, housing, and education have all risen much faster than inflation or wages.

        There is more to life than pot, porn, and IPhones.

        1. The cost of healthcare, housing, and education have all risen much faster than inflation or wages.

          And not by any trivial amount either. We’re talking 4 digits in some cases. It would take one remarkably stupid motherfucker to bring that up and think it proves the point of this article. Then again this is the guy who copied and pasted the same grade school insult half a dozen times expecting it to suitably stand in for an actual argument. It’s hard to imagine why peple aren’t just gobbling up this political and economic philosophy. Who are you gonna believe, citizens, a think tank owned by a multi-billionaire petro-chemical trust fund baby or your lying pay stub?

          1. The answer isn’t socialism. But it isn’t to lie and pretend reality is something other than it is either.

            1. John
              August.14.2019 at 5:38 pm
              “The answer isn’t socialism. But it isn’t to lie and pretend reality is something other than it is either.”

              No it isn’t, nor is some lame hints that the ‘middle class suffering’:
              “Donald Boudreaux and Mark Perry: The Myth of a Stagnant Middle Class ”
              […]
              “First, the CPI overestimates inflation by underestimating the value of improvements in product quality and variety.
              […]
              Second, this wage figure ignores the rise over the past few decades in the portion of worker pay taken as (nontaxable) fringe benefits. This is no small matter—health benefits, pensions, paid leave and the rest now amount to an average of almost 31% of total compensation for all civilian workers according to the BLS.
              Third and most important, the average hourly wage is held down by the great increase of women and immigrants into the workforce over the past three decades. Precisely because the U.S. economy was flexible and strong, it created millions of jobs for the influx of many often lesser-skilled workers who sought employment during these years….”
              Third and most important, the average hourly wage is held down by the great increase of women and immigrants into the workforce over the past three decades. Precisely because the U.S. economy was flexible and strong, it created millions of jobs for the influx of many often lesser-skilled workers who sought employment during these years.

              There’s more recent studies, but this is the most detailed I found in a couple of minute search.
              No, ‘the middle class’ is neither starving, nor treading water. As per the Reich continuing lie, they are getting rich as a bit lower pace than the reich (forgive me).

        2. You’ve selected three specific items, out of thousands. And one of those only shows significant increases in dense urban areas, while a second is optional.

          Food, transportation, communications, access to information, entertainment, and non-college education have all become dramatically cheaper. At the same time, the quality has gone through the roof.
          Even for health care costs, the quality of care given is above anything people living 50 years ago could dream of. Don’t believe me? Check the survival rates for heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, smallpox, or a host of other diseases.

          1. re healthcare and housing.

            The best measure of healthcare ‘quality of care’ is not how long you survive some particular disease – but how long you survive PERIOD. Break that down into all its different categories. For children – regardless of parental income – life expectancy rose dramatically until 1970 then a bit more slowly and now kind of level. That’s a pure ‘quality of technology/access’ thang with vaccines and interventions and such. For adults – regardless of income – life expectancy didn’t really change much until antibiotics then skyrocketed through the 1950’s and early 60’s. Since then (ie since Medicare) – virtually all changes in life expectancy among adults have accrued to elderly higher income who have gained 5-10 years in their late 70’s and 80’s. Elderly non-high income are still dying in their mid/late 70’s. For those of working age – lower income are less likely to have access and pay more for it than they used to (and in fact pay more for it than higher income do cuz they don’t get the same subsidies from employers).

            So whatever ‘quality of care/access’ you are asserting is NOT in fact distributed across income categories. So there is ZERO basis for your assertion that said ‘quality’ is offsetting the fact of massively higher cost.

            Housing has much the same problem – with additional deceit/lies from all inflation adjustments. Except that the division there is between renters (much worse off now than ever in US history) v homeowners but that too has an obvious income correlation.

            so as usual you people are left with – ooh TV’s are better now.

            1. or TLDR – Marie Antoinette made the same quality argument re bread prices for the peasants way back when — Qu’ils mangent de la brioche

              1. No, it was entirely too stupid to read:
                “So whatever ‘quality of care/access’ you are asserting is NOT in fact distributed across income categories. So there is ZERO basis for your assertion that said ‘quality’ is offsetting the fact of massively higher cost.”
                Bullshit; you’ve only shown that, like Reich. the poor are getting richer slower than the rich are. But as a fucking lefty ignoramus, that is not a surprise.

                “Housing has much the same problem – with additional deceit/lies from all inflation adjustments. Except that the division there is between renters (much worse off now than ever in US history) v homeowners but that too has an obvious income correlation.”
                Cite missing and I’m sure any cite will be as full of shit as JFree is.

    2. Don’t be an employee, be an employer.

      1. Not everyone can be an employee.

        1. No shit, fired lots of them

      2. Be handsome
        Be attractive
        Don’t be unattractive

        Is anybody here over the age of 15?

        1. Jeremy Renner
          August.14.2019 at 4:51 pm
          “Is anybody here over the age of 15?”

          Most all of us, except for you and the other fucking lefty ignoramuses.
          Ask mommy for cookies, you pathetic piece of shit.

    3. And this is how by splicing the quintiles just right you can get a trend of huge upward mobility despite people in the bottom quintile of actual income distribution earning less in real dollars. The poor are getting poorer. The rich are getting richer. The nearly-rich are getting rich, and the true center has been flat for 45 years.

      1. Jeremy Renner
        August.14.2019 at 4:41 pm
        “And this is how by splicing the quintiles just right you can get a trend of huge upward mobility despite people in the bottom quintile of actual income distribution earning less in real dollars.”

        And our newest lefty ignoramus expects us to take on faith his lefty bullshit; see the WSJ cite above, lefty ignoramus.

        1. BTW, “quintiles” are specific statistical cohorts. It takes a certain level of “Jeremy” stupidity to assume they are arbitrary choices.
          But don’t worry; Jeremy is probably not yet finished proving how stupid he is.

  12. Socialists gotta be socialists. It’s just Bernie.

  13. Americans might be getting richer, but America is getting poorer.

    Have to look at both sides of the ledger. We barrow to fuel our prosperity.

    1. IT
      August.14.2019 at 5:42 pm
      “Americans might be getting richer, but America is getting poorer.”

      Stupid shits are getting stupider; take a look at IT’s post.

  14. To me, “working class” means “people _can_ work (meaning: not the poor who lack marketable skills and/or job opportunities) and _need_ to work (meaning: not the people rich enough to do nothing)”. In other words, “middle class”. But, if you want to interpret “working class” as “industrial worker” so that you can throw up a chart that helps your argument, I guess I can’t stop you.

    However, if you look at the census numbers for average income levels of each of the five quintiles of income, you’ll see that the gap is widening since the early 80’s. Also, if you plot the proportion of population at each income level as a histogram, you’ll see that (again, since the early 80’s or earlier) the bell-curve is _widening_. Whereas there used to be a robust middle-class with a relatively small number of poor and rich, the bell-curve is getting squished. If the trend continues (with area in the center moving to the sides), you’ll end up with a depression in the middle, and humps to the side… basically indicating that middle-class is not a stable point; econonomic/social forces will cause them to move to one of the two humps… and moving _between_ the humps (a poor person being able to work hard and become rich or a rich person becoming poor through _lack_ of work) will become more and more rare.

    Not sure what your point was with the “Share of Income between 1979-2014”, since it didn’t say that it accounted for inflation, but it kinda doesn’t matter. This “Everybody’s richer than they were 50 years ago” or “Everybody has a color TV now” argument is completely hollow. It’s the _gap_ in wealth that makes someone happy or despondent. Take, for example, the richest guy in the world in the 1600’s. By your argument, he should have been permanently bummed out. He didn’t have a TV, a car, a cell phone… couldn’t fly across the Atlantic for a week’s wages.

    But you _know_ he was pretty stoked, because he could have whatever was available _for his time_. Study after study has shown this, that we look to the how well off our _contemporaries_ are to help us determine our satisfaction with our lives. One explanation offered for this is that contemporary wealth comparison (as opposed to comparing how we’re doing compared to our parents or younger self) is because present wealth (compared to present peers) determines how well we do when competing for things which are of fixed supply (two big ones being: real-estate and breeding opportunities). In a scenario of wide income/wealth inequality, you might be 2x as good looking as Jeff Bezos or 2x as understanding and charming, but, when he’s got $150B and you’ve got $500K, you’ve got _zero_ chance of getting the supermodel or the Malibu beach house. So, that’s one theory as to _why_ the studies are showing that it’s all about the width of the chasm one sees between themselves and the “haves”.

    1. It’s the _gap_ in wealth that makes someone happy or despondent.

      No it’s not. That assumption that ‘poverty’ is all ‘relative’ is as much a data/ideological bias as the notion of ‘ooh not even King Midas had a TV so everyone is rich now’.

      A better measure of happiness/despondency/satisfaction relative to income/wealth is not that first measure relative to any absolute measure of the second. It is how much does one have to work/acquire (separate from that goal) to achieve the goals that makes one happy.

      Say the ‘goal’ for a certain % of the population is – I want to work just enough to support my family and then stop working so I can spend time with my family. If you had to work 40 hours/week back when and now have to work 60 hours/week to do the same now, then you’re worse off now. Tougher to define those measures and then track them over time – but it’s doable. Even more difficult is separating out people with different goals into different categories (say above goal vs ‘I want to be the richest in my neighborhood) and tracking those over time – with possibly the introduction of new categories over time – but again it is doable

      Neither of those are done because most people are too lazy (and don’t care much anyway) to do that. And those who do tend to do that sort of study also tend to be ideological and dishonest.

      1. “Say the ‘goal’ for a certain % of the population is – I want to work just enough to support my family and then stop working so I can spend time with my family. If you had to work 40 hours/week back when and now have to work 60 hours/week to do the same now, then you’re worse off now. Tougher to define those measures and then track them over time – but it’s doable. Even more difficult is separating out people with different goals into different categories (say above goal vs ‘I want to be the richest in my neighborhood) and tracking those over time – with possibly the introduction of new categories over time – but again it is doable”
        And yet for your claims otherwise, you haven’t done so.

    2. First, learning the rules of punctuation would make your lefty screed more readable, and perhaps make people think you were bright enough to be read, but let’s take your bullshit apart anyhow:

      Joe Emenaker
      August.14.2019 at 6:09 pm
      “To me, “working class” means “people _can_ work (meaning: not the poor who lack marketable skills and/or job opportunities) and _need_ to work (meaning: not the people rich enough to do nothing)”. In other words, “middle class”.”
      Please translate that into English, if you are so capable.
      ——————–
      “But, if you want to interpret “working class” as “industrial worker” so that you can throw up a chart that helps your argument, I guess I can’t stop you.”
      Yeah, metrics are so scary to lefty dimbulbs.
      ——————
      “However, if you look at the census numbers for average income levels of each of the five quintiles of income, you’ll see that the gap is widening since the early 80’s. Also, if you plot the proportion of population at each income level as a histogram, you’ll see that (again, since the early 80’s or earlier) the bell-curve is _widening_. Whereas there used to be a robust middle-class with a relatively small number of poor and rich, the bell-curve is getting squished. If the trend continues (with area in the center moving to the sides), you’ll end up with a depression in the middle, and humps to the side… basically indicating that middle-class is not a stable point; econonomic/social forces will cause them to move to one of the two humps… and moving _between_ the humps (a poor person being able to work hard and become rich or a rich person becoming poor through _lack_ of work) will become more and more rare.”
      Uh, you started with the assumption that a widening income gap is *BAD* and then progressed to a bunch of lefty hypotheticals. Fail.

      “…It’s the _gap_ in wealth that makes someone happy or despondent. Take, for example, the richest guy in the world in the 1600’s. By your argument, he should have been permanently bummed out. He didn’t have a TV, a car, a cell phone… couldn’t fly across the Atlantic for a week’s wages.”
      No, your lame concern with a “gap” is lefty bullshit. Your happiness is not my concern; fuck off, slaver

      The rest of that pile of bullshit is really not worth a comment; ‘victim whining’
      Fuck off JE

  15. Good discussion with many worthwhile contributions. I agreed with a remarkably cool and level headed set of comments from John, too, something that rarely happens.

    1. “I agreed with a remarkably cool and level headed set of comments from John, too, something that rarely happens.”

      I’m sure you did. He’s wrong; see the cite (I know such a thing is beyond your dimwit ken, but give it a try)

      1. I prefer the wrong John to the foul mouthed hot head John you prefer.

  16. “The percentage of American families with incomes over $356,000”

    Anyone analyzing wealth by income is completely full of shit.

  17. Not all of us Nick….Not all of us.

  18. In all fairness, the lack of upward mobility in prog states comes straight from bigger Government. So, ya don’t think extremely high SALT, climate laws, gas taxes, solar mandates, illegal this, banning that, mandating extremely expensive maintenance replacement items have anything to do with CA’s expensive housing? There is plenty of upward mobility, just not in Prog run states and big cities (looking at Dallas). Of course when the progs move to the upwardly mobile states, they destroy all of the upward mobility and continue to push for more mandates, regulations, bans, taxes and climate laws that make growing the economy and inflation spike.

    1. growing the economy for the middle impossible

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  20. Wow, talk about a bogus study.

    I won’t go through the whole thing, but, as an example, it states that households earning below $30,000 comprised only 19.8% of households in 2014 but when you look at IRS data (see link below) you see that 44.8% of tax forms filed had an income of below $30,000 in 2014 (very, very few file as “married filing separately”). And that doesn’t even count the millions more earning under $30,000 (mostly retirees) who don’t even have to file a return.

    https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-individual-statistical-tables-by-size-of-adjusted-gross-income – click on “2014”.

  21. Bernie is looking back to his good old days when the rich got the gulag.

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