Politics

Blue&White
Posts: 2393
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 am

Re: Politics

Postby Blue&White » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:30 pm

I still would say nearly everyone I know is doing better financially then their parents and far better than their grandparents.

I seriously question the validity of that statement. I'm not calling you a liar - you may think this is true - but I seriously quesiton that statement. Every single statistic says that is not true and I can't believe you live in the one enclave in the US that bucks the trend. When I was a kid my parents both worked, but they were home at normal hours and were able to afford everything. Mortgage, bills, cars, education, etc. They were able to pay cash for my sister and I to go to college and that was pretty common place back then. Now, it's just about unheard of.

Wages have been overwhelmingly static since the 1980s. The country's wealth has grown incredibly but the receipients of that wealth have all been stacked in a very small number of people. There was a story out a week or so ago that showed two trends since the last tax cut: corporate profits and real wages. Corporate profits are soaring and real wages fell between 0.04% and 1.8% (I've seen different numbers and that is the range). Even with this ecomic growth we've had since those cuts it is not trickling down to ordinary people. We are all earning the same or less.

None of that is an accident. None of that just happened. And, to your point about you not wanting the government to pick winners and losers - that is exactly what they have been doing since the 1980s. All these things that are done in the name of ordinary people only serve the interest of the rich. Tort reform, regulation reform, tax reform - all of it stacks the deck. All of it has been picking winners and losers.

If you want to complain about that, then be consistent. Don't just cry when the big bad socialists only want to give the money to people like you.
Alex Cora sucks. Mickey Callaway sucks. Baseball sucks. Everything and everyone just sucks. Is it football season yet?

Blue&White
Posts: 2393
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 am

Re: Politics

Postby Blue&White » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:35 pm

Oh, one other thing on your Obamacare comment - the US has about the worst health care system of all the industrialized nationas. That is true by pretty much any objective measure you care to use.

Cost of healthcare? Last.

Life expectancy? 31st. And, check out who all is in front of us. I realize a lot goes into life expectancy but a lot of those countries don't have any better diets or lifestyles than we do. We can't outlive the Irish? C'mon.

Pick any measure you like and then tell go look up how we compare to everyone else. And then come back and tell me how awful single payer would be.
Alex Cora sucks. Mickey Callaway sucks. Baseball sucks. Everything and everyone just sucks. Is it football season yet?

Nat@PSU
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:56 pm

Re: Politics

Postby Nat@PSU » Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:49 pm

sameoldlama wrote:
Nat@PSU wrote:You keep referencing identity politics. The current doofus in Chief is spouting nothing BUT identity politics. Spare me.



So I saw this on my phone and wanted to wait until I was near a laptop to reply.

My initial instinct was to offer a piece by piece response, but I figured that would be seen as an obnoxious/condescending response and to be frank, I don't' believe you and I are all that far apart. I most definitely see the value and use of a merit based societal standard. I think the main distinction between between where you and I are is that you see the current setup as inherently fair, or maybe even pragmatically, as fair as it can be while I believe that the opportunity created for a person is still largely dictated by the makeup of their identity.

I don't want to make assumptions about where you're coming from so I'll simply offer my perspective: I am willing to acknowledge that my position in life as a caucasian male from a middle class family where the parents valued education is largely responsible for the direction of my personal and professional life. I've worked hard for everything that I have but I'm not confident that if I started from a position far back from where I began that I'd have come as far. I think there are huge portions of this country who, due to a number of reasons (primarily socioeconomic status and race) begin the race already trailing by a considerable margin. It does nothing to diminish me to acknowledge the advantage I've received.

With regards to the Secure Fence Act paragraph, I honestly believe you're mischaracterizing my general view on border security. I don't want open borders, and frankly, I don't hear that viewpoint espoused often. And the founding concept of "Sanctuary Cities" (that a population who wasn't afraid to be deported if they called the authorities to address acts of domestic violence, theft, etc would ultimately be safer for the entire population than one that lived in the shadows) doesn't seem outlandish to me. Has this concept been administered perfectly? Of course not.

Also, was I as aware of the foreign policy standards of politicians in my late teens and twenties as I am in my mid 30's? Of course not. Do I believe that each of the people you've mentioned have been blameless in policy decision making? Of course not. Do I think there is a distinction between the policies, both intent and outcomes, between this administration and its predecessors? I most certainly do. I believe most of these things are more nuanced than our current political climate would allow, but when I look at this current administration I see malice and corruption in ways I've never seen before.

At any rate, we're only a week and a half away from Penn State football so we don't have to continue to spend our energy discussing this stuff exclusively.
- Nat

Let's Go State!!

sameoldlama
Posts: 624
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:43 am

Re: Politics

Postby sameoldlama » Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:35 am

B&W
My primary social groups come from my PSU buddies (meaning I've known them since college), friends since childhood, work and basically the gym. And far and away they are all living more comfortably than their parents - they take more vacations, they have bigger houses, they replace their autos more frequently and they can afford things for their kids (sports camps, material items) me and my childhood friends could never have dreamed of.
Some of this may be the result of people having less children - most people I know have three or less with probably most having two with some having one or none. I would say I knew of almost no families with no children and one was rare when I grew up. So that is likely a factor. Most of the people I knew went further educationally than their parents (and for sure their grandparents) many of whom were likely to have go into military service after high school. And some got help from their parents in terms of educational expenses, a first car, down payment on a house so they didn't start in a hole.

I can tell you my grandfather lied his age at 16 to enter military service and fight in WWI. My Dad was one of six kids and he went to Korea after graduating. I went to Penn State and got a science degree. By their 20s they were both married with kids working manual labor jobs with all the bills and responsibilities that come with a family. In my 20s I was single and starting to work towards getting the full company match on a 401k. And I my story my be slightly different than my friends or people on this board but I would bet it has a lot of commonalties. Basically my generation had the opportunity to be more successful than previous ones and most of us have taken advantage of the opportunity - not everyone - but most the ones who didn't had reason - that wasn't the evil 1% - such as a costly divorce, substance abuse, lack of fiscal discipline or they were just plain lazy.

But going back to my fair ref - are there opportunities to level the playing field in our economy? Oh hell yeah. Do rich people basically bribe politicians to make the playing field tilted in their favor? yeah - since money was invented. Do some people flat out cheat even in a tilted game - yes. Should we seek to address those issues. Of course. But there is a difference between equalizing opportunity and equalizing outcomes.

Nat
Similar to you I am in significant part where I am at because of the sacrifices made by my parents and the values they instilled in me. They provided me the opportunity to be successful. For the majority of his life my Dad worked a job which required him to be in a 3:30AM and he usually worked 9-10 hours a day. He picked up odd delivery jobs on his off days (you may be too young to remember wholesale houses but back in the day your Mom & Pop grocery stores / delis got their goods from these places - my Dad had a truck and would go load and deliver their orders - when I turned about 10 I was on the back of that truck with my brother helping. And God Bless my Dad - he was a good guy but he was no Tempe when it came to fixing things - he rigged up the truck to do deliveries in bad weather and we looked like we were in the Grapes of Wrath caravan - I can't tell you how much we got mocked.). My Mom was a nanny and cleaned other people's houses. We never went on a vacation in my childhood. We rarely had a new anything and you only replaced a car, furniture or an appliance when one died - not because there was a cool new one out

But my parents did stay together. I lived in a safe neighborhood. I was held accountable for my grades. When I was physically able or old enough I started working for my spending money - I was taught a work ethic. They paid for half my college.

And that is why I detest the term "white privilege" - my parents sacrificed a lot so I would have opportunities they didn't. Implying my success has to do with my skin color denigrates all they did so I could go to college and had the values to succeed as an adult. So I likely take that term and social narrative personally.

And I've said this before but one of my greatest issues with identity politics is it denies the sovereignty of the self - you are defined by a characteristic rather than by your actions. I still believe the primary determinant in your life's success is you - "birth lottery" certainly plays a significant part - but I've (and I am sure everyone here) have seen siblings grow up in the same house and end up with significantly differing outcomes. Granted you can't do much about where you start - but by and large you are the one who determines if where you finish is better than where you start. if I stop believing that - I'm done.
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall

Blue&White
Posts: 2393
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 am

Re: Politics

Postby Blue&White » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:34 pm

But there is a difference between equalizing opportunity and equalizing outcomes.

Completely agree. And all I've argued for is the former. I'm completely against the latter. But, I don't see how what Warrer proposed or even what Sanders has proposed flies in the face of that. Their ultimate goals may be to equalize outcomes but their proposals come far from doing that. Like I said, reasonable people can disagree with the proposed solutions, but I don't think you can reasonably disagree with the identified issue (meaning that it's an issue that exists - you can decide you just don't care).

As for your circle of people, you probably don't know much about their personal finances but living the way you describe comes at a cost and the overall numbers say most people have tons of debt and zero savings. Life is about choices and if the people you know choose to live like that (and I have no idea that they do as I obviously don't know them) good on them. But, not planning for the future is not nearly the same as being better off than your parents. When I was a kid both my parents worked becuase my mom wanted her own career, but she probably could have stayed home. My parents saved a ton of money and their retirement is very comfortable. My wife works because we need to in order to stay even. And, it gets harder every year. My cost of health insurance goes up every year. The price of gas, clothes, etc. goes up a little every single year. But, I've not gotten a raise since 2013. I make less in real wages every single year due to rising costs of everything around me. And, I am not alone. Most people I know in professional jobs are the same way, regardless of how their employer is doing .It is what it is. I'm actually starting to look for a new job because of it, but it will take some time. My situation is typical, though. The overwhelming majority of this country is not better off than their parents. Not by any objective measure.
Alex Cora sucks. Mickey Callaway sucks. Baseball sucks. Everything and everyone just sucks. Is it football season yet?

sameoldlama
Posts: 624
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:43 am

Re: Politics

Postby sameoldlama » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:06 pm

You've entertained the idea of a universal basic income - you don't get much more egalitarian than that.

I also find it a bit inconsistent that you argue that I don't know my friend's "true economic situation" but then make the argument that most professionals you know have a similar situation to your own in which their standard of living has gone down. While wages may have stagnated has your net worth dropped (my guess is your investments and likely appreciation of equity and home value would make that answer "no").

I would agree people are more comfortable living with debt than a generation ago (my parents never even owned a credit card - if they couldn't buy it with cash they didn't buy it).

I work in manufacturing plant with a mix on non-skilled, skilled, professional and management personnel - about 250 people at this location. Five people I know (and I don't everyone) have gone to Arruba, multiple people have taken two week vacation abroad and to Disney - that would have been unheard of 25 years ago. On average our standard of living is undoubtedly higher - we have nicer stuff, we take better vacations and boy do we eat out and drink up more.

Things ain't perfect in the US of A but they are pretty damn good. I work with a good number of people who have emigrated here from Latin America, India, Africa and I can tell you they are higher on the US than anyone I know. Certainly made me appreciate what we have.
Wendall : That's very linear Sheriff
Ed Tom : Age will flatten a man Wendall

Blue&White
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Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 am

Re: Politics

Postby Blue&White » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:09 pm

I never claimed were were not materialistic and that cosumerism didn't run rampant in this country. I said we were not better off than previous generations. The definition of "better off" is not, at least in my opinion, an attitude of "live for today and screw tomorrow".

All thoser vacations and meals out and McMansions and new cars and whatevera ll come at a cost. And, the overwhelming evidence is that most Americans are deferring that cost. We are a nation in serious, serious debt. Credit card debt, student loan debt, house debt, whatever. Meanwhile, the savings numbers in this country are horrific. Most people couldn't come up with $3,000 cash in an emergency. And, forget saving for retirement. The retirement savings numbers are depressing as hell. I am just shy of my 50th birthday, I have about $500,000 put away for retirement, and I am constantly panicked that it's not nearly enough. I can't see me stopping work before I'm in my late 60s at this rate. And, I have 10X more than most people in my age bracket.

The standard of living you refer to is an illusion. We can't afford it. If you think vacations and houses is the definition of "better off", then we fundamentally disagree on what that term means. I consider "better off" being able to actually afford a lifestyle where you can raise a family, send kids to college, and pay your bills without having to work until you die or worry that an illness will bankrupt you. Or where your kids can come out of college and start their life and not have $100,000 of loans and not make enough money coming out to ever be able to afford a house or a new car. Or even health insurance. We are not better off by any objective metric. I can't believe it's even an argument, but whatever.

Btw, I saw Trump said this morning that he can't be impeached because it would kill the stock market and everyone would be poor. Ignoring the arrogance of thinking the stock market lives or dies with him, the idea that "everyone" woudl be impacted by the stock market is hilarious. At its peak, 20% of the country is involved in the stock market. I'm pretty sure the fortunes and finances of the overwhelming number of Americans would be completely neutral on Trump getting impeached. His big GDP growth? That is also lost on at least 80% of the country. At least that. As real wages continue to fall thanks to inflation.

You want to pretend everything is peachy and people just want free stuff, that's fine. You can do that. But, it's just not based on facts. And, as for universal income, I believe some countries in Europe have tried it and the results have been promising on their overall economy. But, at minimum I'm a fan of everyone who does work makes enough to support themselves. People complain about things like minimum wage but say not a single thing about the fact that places that pay $7.50/hour or whatever the rate is are basically subsidized by the government now. Without food stamps and other subsidies, people could not afford to take those jobs.

That's ok. You can disagree and look it through the prism of you only.
Alex Cora sucks. Mickey Callaway sucks. Baseball sucks. Everything and everyone just sucks. Is it football season yet?

Blue&White
Posts: 2393
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 am

Re: Politics

Postby Blue&White » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:57 pm

Ok, I'll say it - for the first time I think it's possible he doesn't make it through the whole 4 years.

I think admitting to the payments may end up being campaign finance law violations. And, his CFO being granted immunity can't be good for him. I honestly thought all this was going to just be a lot of noise and ultimately be a lot of nothing. Now, for the first time, I wonder if someone has the goods on him. I think he's probably crooked - I'd bet tax fraud and what not - so it could be.

I guess we'll find out.
Alex Cora sucks. Mickey Callaway sucks. Baseball sucks. Everything and everyone just sucks. Is it football season yet?

Blue&White
Posts: 2393
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:01 am

Re: Politics

Postby Blue&White » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:31 pm

John McCain lost his battle with cancer. Passed away earlier today.
Alex Cora sucks. Mickey Callaway sucks. Baseball sucks. Everything and everyone just sucks. Is it football season yet?

Crowbar
Posts: 580
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:54 pm

Re: Politics

Postby Crowbar » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:51 pm

RIP, Sir. Job well done. Thank you for your service. A true hero and patriot.

Wished we had more like him in DC.
41-33.