A practical application of socialist ideas (Read 1168 times)


Fat butt on couch

    That's the sales pitch - and of course it does happen sometimes. But mostly the kids of rich parents end up rich, the kids of poor parents end up poor. No doubt people have tried to measure this kind of thing - I wouldn't be at all surprised if social mobility is has actually become worse in the last 30 or 40 years, rather than better.

     

    MTA: Comparison with places like Haiti is really missing the point. The obvious places to compare the US with are the other first world rich countries - not tiny,  poor third world countries. If the best we can say about the US is "it's better than Haiti" then surely it does have a serious problem?

     

    My father-in-law came to this country with nothing, having been lucky enough to have escaped near-execution by Communist forces at one point in his life.  Through nothing but hard work he made quite a good life for his family.  He thought enough of the opportunities he found here that he volunteered to go and fight for it in Vietnam if the gov't would give him citizenship for doing so (they would not, though they now consider doing so for people who came here illegally; sort of messed up).

     

    You've made it pretty obvious in a few threads now that you don't really know this country very well, but you get off on ripping on us.  Feel free to steer clear.  As for "rich countries", it appears you're all going insolvent over there much more quickly than us.  That's rich in the way of my neighbor living high off the hog with $10,000 in credit card debt he'll never pay off and no retirement savings.

    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

     

      Is it?  Where was the USA 10 years ago?

       

      I can't really answer that.  Sorry.  I don't know.

      But, I don't think that has changed much.

       

      In my line of thinking....

      Poorest 10% earn maybe 10k / year

       - $7.50 x 25 hours x 52 weeks (part time minimum wage)

      Richest 10% earn therefore about 160k / year. (16:1)

       

      To me, that seems about right (could be much different ???)

      My question would be what should change?

      -increase the 10k / year to 20k / year? (decreasing the ratio to 8:1)

      -decreasing the 160k / year to 80k / year? (further decreasing the ratio to 4:1)

       

      I don't understand how, why, or what could be changed to make it "better".

      Poverty is bad.

      Demand & Supply create and maintain jobs.

      2014 Goals:

      #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

      #2: 365 Hours training

       


      Fat butt on couch

         

         

        I don't understand how, why, or what could be changed to make it "better".

        Poverty is bad.

        Demand & Supply create and maintain jobs.

         

        If everyone were the same, no one would have the capital to start businesses.  It's a red herring to assume 1:1 is best.  IMHO the ratio is useless and it's absolute income numbers that matter.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

          My father-in-law came to this country with nothing, having been lucky enough to have escaped near-execution by Communist forces at one point in his life.  Through nothing but hard work he made quite a good life for his family.  He thought enough of the opportunities he found here that he volunteered to go and fight for it in Vietnam if the gov't would give him citizenship for doing so (they would not, though they now consider doing so for people who came here illegally; sort of messed up).

           

          You've made it pretty obvious in a few threads now that you don't really know this country very well, but you get off on ripping on us.  Feel free to steer clear.  As for "rich countries", it appears you're all going insolvent over there much more quickly than us.  That's rich in the way of my neighbor living high off the hog with $10,000 in credit card debt he'll never pay off and no retirement savings.

           

          You realize that your post doesn't address any of his points, right? It basically just says what he says-- you give an anecdote that social mobility is possible in America. I think that your conclusion that pr100 was "ripping us" is off base. Here's a simple analysis of social mobility in the U.S.

           

          Those of us who think that the U.S. could do better are not necessarily unpatriotic or unappreciative of our culture. We don't necessarily want to become more like Europe in every respect. It is possible to recognize that we are doing worse in terms of social mobility, but also want to avoid preserve many things that we really like about life in the U.S. We just want to clearly separate fact from fiction in order to work clearly on our problems.

            That's the sales pitch - and of course it does happen sometimes. But mostly the kids of rich parents end up rich, the kids of poor parents end up poor. No doubt people have tried to measure this kind of thing - I wouldn't be at all surprised if social mobility is has actually become worse in the last 30 or 40 years, rather than better.

             

            MTA: Comparison with places like Haiti is really missing the point. The obvious places to compare the US with are the other first world rich countries - not tiny,  poor third world countries. If the best we can say about the US is "it's better than Haiti" then surely it does have a serious problem?

             

            I know Spaniel commented on this already as well, but...

             

            My dad immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in the early 1950s (post WWII) and a young teenage boy.  The family had nothing.  Literally, nothing.  Soon after immigrating, my dad quit school to work because there was a language barrier as well as the family need to feed the family of 9 (mom / dad / 7 kids).  As I understand it, they were sponsored by a family and worked for the family for 2 years.  After the 2 years, the family would co-sign a small business loan for them (family farm) to give them the opportunity to prosper.  They did OK.  I grew up in the same home where my immigrant grandparents moved to following their co-signed loan from their sponsor family in 1954.

             

            Fast forward to the early 1990s.... I immigrated to the USA from Canada and capitalized on the seeds that were sown by my immigrant parents and grandparents.  The opportunities exist.  My parents ensured that I had an education and foundation while they struggled monthly to maintain control.  Don't discount the opportunities that we all have.

             

            (FWIW, my grandpa never had the opportunity to see those seeds grow. He wasn't able to harvest the plants that he sowed.  In fact, when the family made the decision in 1951 to leave the Netherlands, he knew that the opportunity was not for him.  It was for his children and his grandchildren).


            There are other great nations besides the USA.  However, I personally know that the USA (and Canada for that matter) are places where opportunities exist.  We're not talking about going from the poorest 10% to the richest 10%.  We're talking about opportunities to better yourself.  And, I'm quite confident that there are many people just like me.  I'm not unique.   

             

            Cheers,
            Brian

            2014 Goals:

            #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

            #2: 365 Hours training

             

              My father-in-law came to this country with nothing, having been lucky enough to have escaped near-execution by Communist forces at one point in his life.  Through nothing but hard work he made quite a good life for his family.  He thought enough of the opportunities he found here that he volunteered to go and fight for it in Vietnam if the gov't would give him citizenship for doing so (they would not, though they now consider doing so for people who came here illegally; sort of messed up).

               

              You've made it pretty obvious in a few threads now that you don't really know this country very well, but you get off on ripping on us.  Feel free to steer clear.  As for "rich countries", it appears you're all going insolvent over there much more quickly than us.  That's rich in the way of my neighbor living high off the hog with $10,000 in credit card debt he'll never pay off and no retirement savings.

               

              I'm not trying to "rip" on anyone. But I'm interested in how people perceive these things. I don't think there are right or wrong answers to essentially political questions. What you like depends on your prejudices. I don't mean prejudice in a pejorative sense - we all have them - and can't help but base our opinions on them. I realise that people have different prejudices from me and I'm not suggesting that my prejudices are better than theirs (or vice versa).

               

              But we can look at the facts about things like distribution of wealth and social mobility and so forth and question whether we think those facts are a desirable state of affairs. It is the case that the distribution of wealth in the US is very uneven compared with most of the rest of the world. Is this a good thing? That's up to each of us to answer for ourselves. But it's a worry when people are not even aware that this is so.

               

              Social mobility is usually seen to be a good thing - but more so by those at the bottom of the pile than the top (rich people mostly care  about exactly the opposite when it comes to themselves and their families - i.e. not going down the pile). 

               

              It's certainly true that there are lots of things about the US that I don't know - but conversely I think that there are lots of things about the rest of the world that many Americans don't know. One way to form opinions about these things is to compare and contrast across countries - and you can't do that if you don't know anything about how things go elsewhere. The UK, where I live, is somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, so to speak - it has many US-style characteristics compared with much of mainland Europe... and many people here in the UK get the feeling that where the US leads our political leaders like to follow, but sometimes when you look at Europe (and the Scandinavian counties) in particular you sometime wonder whether that's the right way to go.

               

              Many "rich countries" are in debt (including the US) and this has long been the case. Most of western europe is no more "insolvent" than the US is - although Greece and one or two others are in a pretty bad way. But comparing places like Germany, France and the UK  with Greece is no more valid than comparing the US with Haiti is. Much of the current economic trouble came from lending money to people who had no realistic prospect of ever repaying it, and this became a trend everywhere in the western world - including the US - look at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

                I know Spaniel commented on this already as well, but...

                 

                My dad immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in the early 1950s (post WWII) and a young teenage boy.  The family had nothing.  Literally, nothing.  Soon after immigrating, my dad quit school to work because there was a language barrier as well as the family need to feed the family of 9 (mom / dad / 7 kids).  As I understand it, they were sponsored by a family and worked for the family for 2 years.  After the 2 years, the family would co-sign a small business loan for them (family farm) to give them the opportunity to prosper.  They did OK.  I grew up in the same home where my immigrant grandparents moved to following their co-signed loan from their sponsor family in 1954.

                 

                Fast forward to the early 1990s.... I immigrated to the USA from Canada and capitalized on the seeds that were sown by my immigrant parents and grandparents.  The opportunities exist.  My parents ensured that I had an education and foundation while they struggled monthly to maintain control.  Don't discount the opportunities that we all have.

                 

                (FWIW, my grandpa never had the opportunity to see those seeds grow. He wasn't able to harvest the plants that he sowed.  In fact, when the family made the decision in 1951 to leave the Netherlands, he knew that the opportunity was not for him.  It was for his children and his grandchildren).


                There are other great nations besides the USA.  However, I personally know that the USA (and Canada for that matter) are places where opportunities exist.  We're not talking about going from the poorest 10% to the richest 10%.  We're talking about opportunities to better yourself.  And, I'm quite confident that there are many people just like me.  I'm not unique.   

                 

                Cheers,
                Brian

                 

                These anecdotes are inspiring, really. We all want our countries to continue to be places where this is possible--that's why we are having this discussion. But pr100 made two claims, the first of which is that social mobility is in decline in the last 30-40 years. Anecdotes taken from 30-40 years ago do nothing to refute this claim. Indeed, they reinforce it.

                 

                Secondly, while personal anecdotes are hard to argue against because you look like you are personally insulting someone by saying, "your family's experience is not true," [which, by the way, no one is saying], anecdotes about people who were able to shift social status are not evidence at all that social mobility is not in decline or proof that it is in the place that it should be. That argument can't be made through anecdote.

                 

                No one is "discounting" opportunities here. Everyone is absolutely FOR opportunity. I would argue that people who recognize the decline in opportunity and attend to those facts are the ones who care most thoroughly about opportunity. Can we appreciate the opportunity that we have while hoping to maintain it and/or extend it?


                Dave

                  No one is "discounting" opportunities here. Everyone is absolutely FOR opportunity. I would argue that people who recognize the decline in opportunity and attend to those facts are the ones who care most thoroughly about opportunity. Can we appreciate the opportunity that we have while hoping to maintain it and/or extend it?

                   

                  The real rub starts when it comes to discussing the policies that are proposed to narrow the wealth disparity.

                   

                  I think it is an indisputable fact that the wealthy in the US earn and have assets that are a very high multiple of the poor in the US.  On the other hand, in absolute terms the poor in the US have more income than the poor in many other countries and a higher standard of living to other poorer nations.

                   

                  Those on the right will argue that policies which redistribute wealth in an attempt to narrow the wealth disparity would REDUCE the opportunity for economic mobility. 

                  I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.

                  dgb2n@yahoo.com

                    The real rub starts when it comes to discussing the policies that are proposed to narrow the wealth disparity.

                     

                    I think it is an indisputable fact that the wealthy in the US earn and have assets that are a very high multiple of the poor in the US.  On the other hand, in absolute terms the poor in the US have more income than the poor in many other countries and a higher standard of living to other poorer nations.

                     

                    Those on the right will argue that policies which redistribute wealth in an attempt to narrow the wealth disparity would REDUCE the opportunity for economic mobility. 

                     

                    A couple of quick points: 

                     

                    1) I agree that the real disagreement is in policy discussion (though on this page of the discussion, there is a question of FACT.)

                    2) I thought the issue at hand was social mobility, not wealth disparity. These are two different [perhaps related] issues.


                    MoBramExam

                       I thought the issue at hand was social mobility, not wealth disparity. These are two different [perhaps related] issues.

                       

                      It would be interesting to see if there would be any changes in the actions and tactics of the political class if there were to be substantial improvement in social mobility with wealth disparity remaining constant.  


                      Fast is better than long

                        It would be interesting to see if there would be any changes in the actions and tactics of the political class if there were to be substantial improvement in social mobility with wealth disparity remaining constant.  

                         

                        I would be happy with this scenario asumming

                        Social Mobility comes with increased opportunity. I don't think anyone is owed wealth, but as long as they have opportunity (education, food & shelter) I very much like this idea.

                         

                        Some people just don't want a shot at the brass ring, but for all that do, I wish there was a way to make sure nothing more stood in their way that does in the way of an aristocrat. *I know it's a pipe dream, but it is a target/goal*

                         

                        I have always considered myself self-made. My family was not wealthy, my father was a blue-class worker who rose to low/middle management. We had no extras, but we did have shelter, I knew I'd eat three meals a day, and we went to public shool for about $17/yr.

                         

                        I worked hard in high school. I left with 5 yrs. of math, science and english (as electives, not a 5 yr student). My parents couldn't afford to send me to college, so I worked a couple years to save up and got a track scholarship.

                         

                        Many of the people that hear that are kind of impressed, but what they really missed was:

                        I had shelter, food and secondary education. I also had very little fer of being robbed or shot at during my daily routine. This is one of those things that did not stand in my way, but does stand in the way of people who came from more meagher beginnings than I did.

                        2014 Goals: 2500 miles / sub 2 800m / 4:30 mile / sub 16:30 5K


                        Give a man a fire and he'll be warm the rest of the night;
                        Set a man afire and he'll be warm the rest of his life.

                        What in the Jehu?

                          Thinking about the points raised on social mobility and people who came here with nothing:  

                           

                          Many people come here with nothing *but* an education (e.g., my parents).  Armed with an education, it is easy to move from stock boy at Van Huessen/medical resident (i.e., my father-in-law) to MD with a practice.  

                           

                          Why?  Because America was and remains a great place to be for educated people.  For this reason, I love this country and feel very patriotic and can say that this is one of the best countries in the world. I do not feel like an arrogant meathead in saying so, either.

                           

                          The big problem for me -- the problem I dream of seeing solved when I dream of a better America for my daughter and her generation -- is the problem of access to education.  The cost of college education is way out of control.  

                           

                          People cannot move up from their parents' level because they cannot afford a good education.  I am basically at where my parents were. I had to turn down expensive options because we were neither wealthy, nor did we qualify for scholarships. But the idea of college (and grad school) was never a question. Those roads were never closed to me.  I cannot say the same for all of my compatriots.   

                           

                          And another thing: I just saved 15% on my sneakers by switching to BadDawg!

                          "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                          DoppleBock


                            This is a true statement - Plus everyones definition of the brass ring is different.

                             

                            I am blessed with all of my needs met and enough of my wants met that @ 10 years ago I decided that I care more about:  Time with family, were I live (Small town USA) and time to recreate than working toward executive ranks.  I have said no to Utah, New Jersey, Pittsburg and Sante Fe Springs (LA).

                             

                             

                            Some people just don't want a shot at the brass ring,

                            http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

                            2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

                             


                            Fat butt on couch

                              Thinking about the points raised on social mobility and people who came here with nothing:  

                               

                              Many people come here with nothing *but* an education (e.g., my parents).  Armed with an education, it is easy to move from stock boy at Van Huessen/medical resident (i.e., my father-in-law) to MD with a practice.  

                               

                              Why?  Because America was and remains a great place to be for educated people.  For this reason, I love this country and feel very patriotic and can say that this is one of the best countries in the world. I do not feel like an arrogant meathead in saying so, either.

                               

                              The big problem for me -- the problem I dream of seeing solved when I dream of a better America for my daughter and her generation -- is the problem of access to education.  The cost of college education is way out of control.  

                               

                              People cannot move up from their parents' level because they cannot afford a good education.  I am basically at where my parents were. I had to turn down expensive options because we were neither wealthy, nor did we qualify for scholarships. But the idea of college (and grad school) was never a question. Those roads were never closed to me.  I cannot say the same for all of my compatriots.   

                               

                              I would agree with you except the part where you say the problem is college.  The way it is now, of course the very rich have easy access to college education but, IMHO, the very poor often do as well.  I can tell you when I was researching hard to find graduate school support programs I was astounded at what was out there for you if you were African-American, female, low income, or some combination of thereof.  I ended up with a list of ~300, of which a white male was eligible for 3.  

                               

                              These programs appear to be under-utilized because by the age people are applying for college/grad school they a) already lack sufficient education, even though public education is available, or b) are not pursuing those options.


                              In other words, there are socioeconomic barriers at play that simply throwing money at will not remedy.  It's a lot more complex and I've got no answer for it.

                               

                              I don't think taxpayers need to be footing the bill to send people to Harvard or similar...that's not required to be successful.  That's a "nice to have".  I would have loved to go to Ivy league too but like you Nader I did not qualify for need-based scholarships, but I basically needed a full ride to even be able to go to college, so getting accepted was a useless hurdle to clear.

                               

                              Education is only one part of the puzzle in climbing above where the previous generation was.  In my career, while I am aware of examples where a high-priced education punched someone's ticket, I've seen good people/networking skills and performance take people a further a lot more consistently than just the name on their diploma...and I'm not sold that a more expensive education is necessarily a better one.  Life experience tells me it's more complicated than that.

                               

                              If I think through the high level leaders in my company, sure a couple of them are Ivy League trained.  However, a large share of them went to state schools....even for their MBA in some cases...but what got them where they are at is that they made good impressions on the right people at key junctures in their careers.

                              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                               

                              DoppleBock


                                I got a pretty good education at a State School - Currently costing $14,300 per year for Tuition, room, board and books.  My parents were generous and paid for 1/2 of my School if I got a certain grade point.  If I do the same it would cost me @ $75,000 to help 2 kids through school (5 years x $15,000 x 50% x 2) and cost each of them $37,500.

                                 

                                I do not feel this is not doable - But also makes me feel like I should start savings a little more toward it or work harder with my girls on their sports game Smile

                                 

                                 is the problem of access to education.  The cost of college education is way out of control.  

                                 

                                http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

                                2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35