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Working harder, feeling poorer
January 15, 2006 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Working harder, feeling poorer? You're not alone. A summary report on the performance of the US economy in the past four years.
posted by wilful (80 comments total)

 
Tree of liberty, blood of patriots, et cetera et cetera et cetera....
posted by longsleeves at 7:44 PM on January 15, 2006


err.., not real blood, just democratic throwing out of the bums on their asses.
posted by longsleeves at 7:51 PM on January 15, 2006


What's with all the shiny new $30K pickups and SUVs that infest this town of $15584 per capita income that I live in? I mean seriously, over half of the houses in this town have a late-model vehicle in the driveway. If people are able to buy these things it can't be all that bad. My own business is online retail, appealing to disposable spending, and it's better than ever.
posted by hodyoaten at 7:59 PM on January 15, 2006


Bad news always benefits the people who run the show. The more threatened you perceive your livelihood, the harder you work. Combine this with an MTV Cribs-driven purchase-at-all-costs lifestyle, and no surprise no one gives a shit about the other guy. We're too busy filling our homes with HDTVs and paying off the gas-guzzling SUV.
posted by Rothko at 8:01 PM on January 15, 2006


No.
Actuually, after several slow years thing are booming right now.
Great fucking economy!

If you don't like anecdotal proof FOR it, then don't use anecdotal proof AGAINST it.
posted by HTuttle at 8:02 PM on January 15, 2006


Could someone be so kind as to explain this one for me:

The level of debt as a percent of after-tax income is the highest ever measured in our history. Mortgage and consumer debt is now 115% of after-tax income, twice the level of 30 years ago.
posted by furtive at 8:08 PM on January 15, 2006


Could someone be so kind as to explain this one for me:

The level of debt as a percent of after-tax income is the highest ever measured in our history. Mortgage and consumer debt is now 115% of after-tax income, twice the level of 30 years ago.


Say you earn $50 000 a eyar. And you have a mortgage and credit card debts that total $57 500. 115%

My wife and I owe more on our house than our combined annual salary, so we're over 100% in debt. that's fine, we only bought it a few years ago, it's where you'd expect us to be. It's having that as the average across the economy that's a big worry.
posted by wilful at 8:12 PM on January 15, 2006


hodyoaten: What's with all the shiny new $30K pickups and SUVs that infest this town of $15584 per capita income that I live in? ... If people are able to buy these things it can't be all that bad.

The article bemoans a high level of consumer debt. You've noticed a lot of expensive new toys in your not-so-prosperous town.

If only we could find some connection!
posted by Western Infidels at 8:17 PM on January 15, 2006


If you don't like anecdotal proof FOR it, then don't use anecdotal proof AGAINST it.

Can I just clarify who that's aimed at? The Economic Policy Institute certainly don't use any anecdotes. All hard data. They're 'non-partisan', but since they look at data for low and middle income earners, they're naturally more concerned about wages and personal debts etc than they are with stock movements and currency fluctutions. Real world economics is their thing, it seems.
posted by wilful at 8:18 PM on January 15, 2006


Thanks wilful. Also, I think HTuttle was talking to hodyoaten.
posted by furtive at 8:19 PM on January 15, 2006


Time for a Living Wage?
posted by caddis at 8:24 PM on January 15, 2006


Isn't this just another way of saying that productivity is up? which is always reported as a good thing.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:31 PM on January 15, 2006


That's one of the facts reported in the article. Read the rest.
posted by knave at 8:36 PM on January 15, 2006


"Isn't this just another way of saying that productivity is up? which is always reported as a good thing"

Sure, unless you're the worker whose productivity is up every year and yet you haven't had a raise in four years because all the profits are going into bonuses for management.

Or were you being sarcastic?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:37 PM on January 15, 2006


Speaking for me personally over the past few years it's been like this: Secure in a job for seven years, then all of a sudden the 'higher ups' start doing deeply stupid things that are so depressing they cause (roughly) around 40% of the work force to seek relief through anti-depressant meds. I decide to jump ship and find myself floundering in the worst economy since the great depression. I end up in one shitty job after another, unemployment benefits denied, appealed, won, appealed by employer, lost, out of finances, out of resources, next to eviction then at the last moment I'm in what seems to be a decent job. Three to four months after I get in I take a look around to realize I'm seeing the highest quit and walkoff rate I've ever experienced in a job before. Now I'm considering a walk, but hopefully not before I've saved up three months wages (nearly there).
Great economy? Bullshit. Everything I've looked at, everything I see, everyone I talk to says it's everyone for themselves and expectations of worse to come.
Business, employers won't save you, neither will the citizen's safety net the government, at this point it's everyone for themselves and good luck in finding a safe haven in all this sociopathic nonsense known as contemporary american employment. There is no hope, there is no hope, we're all doomed. Best to save up enough money to journey to distant shores to start a new life. I hear there's this great place called 'The Colonies' out there somewhere to the west past the shores of England. Anyone hear of it? God save us all from the incompetent nonsense of His Majesty: King George.
posted by mk1gti at 8:41 PM on January 15, 2006


The productivity/profits ratio is somewhat cyclical. Coming out of recession and relatively high unemployment, supply of available workers favors businesses and low wages (i.e. labor is a "buyer's market). As competition for labor increases, businesses will have to pay higher wages to hire or retain workers.

The big problem - and it's more cultural than political - is our levels of personal debt. Why are people buying so much crap they can't afford? Big houses, expensive cars (with rims) plasma TVs, etc etc etc. It's too damn easy to borrow money these days and most folks don't understand the concept of paying interest.

In high school I had to take a chemistry class. I only had to learn chemistry for the purpose of passing that stupid class. Why don't students have to take a basic fincance class? This is knowledge that benefits you whether you're rich or poor and no matter what sector you work in.
posted by b_thinky at 8:45 PM on January 15, 2006


The economy is excellent right now. Incredible, actually, if you consider the rise in the price of oil. Corporate tax payments are at an all-time high. The deficit is down. Debt is about what it was in the early-mid 1990's. So, although I thought they weren't a good idea at the time, the Bush tax cuts did only good for the US economy.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:45 PM on January 15, 2006


(source: Wall Street Journal over the last two weeks or so).
posted by ParisParamus at 8:46 PM on January 15, 2006


then all of a sudden the 'higher ups' start doing deeply stupid things that are so depressing they cause (roughly) around 40% of the work force to seek relief through anti-depressant meds.

That sounds great for the economy! I just need to invest in pharmaceuticals...
posted by j-urb at 8:48 PM on January 15, 2006


The economy is excellent right now. Incredible, actually, if you consider the rise in the price of oil. Corporate tax payments are at an all-time high. The deficit is down. Debt is about what it was in the early-mid 1990's. So, although I thought they weren't a good idea at the time, the Bush tax cuts did only good for the US economy.

You have precisely 100% missed the point of that report.
posted by wilful at 8:51 PM on January 15, 2006


I started suspecting it yesterday, and now it's confirmed. ParisParamus is some sort of comedian troll. He doesn't believe what he's saying; he's performing an act that satirizes the thinking of the Right.

It's very comforting, in a way.
posted by interrobang at 8:55 PM on January 15, 2006


Oh, and when rebutting an article that lays out facts and cold hard statistics, could you try just a little bit harder than:
(source: Wall Street Journal over the last two weeks or so).
posted by wilful at 8:57 PM on January 15, 2006


Let us pick a random little bit of the recent wall street journal:

Interest Grows: Federal spending to cover net interest on the public debt surged 33% to $58 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2006 from $43 billion a year earlier, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That means $1 of every $11 in federal spending in the September-to-December quarter went to interest "Costs were driven up by higher rates of inflation (which affect the amount paid on inflation-indexed securities), higher short-term interest rates, and growing debt," CBO said in a monthly budget report. The U.S. budget deficit, it says, was about $119 billion in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, close to the $118 billion shortfall the year before.
posted by dopeypanda at 9:03 PM on January 15, 2006


dopey, except that, since the economy grew at 3-4%, 119 is less than 118, as a percentage. Not a great improvement, but not an increase.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:08 PM on January 15, 2006


"You have precisely 100% missed the point of that report."

Completely true. Except that I was responding to the comments, not the article.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:11 PM on January 15, 2006


That sounds great for the economy!

The Irish economy. Which is where they make a lot of that stuff.
posted by fshgrl at 9:15 PM on January 15, 2006


Completely true. Except that I was responding to the comments, not the article.

See?
posted by interrobang at 9:29 PM on January 15, 2006




(source: Wall Street Journal over the last two weeks or so my big fat ass).
posted by ParisParamus
posted by papakwanz at 9:33 PM on January 15, 2006


I suggest that everyone begins (as I have) to read every comment by ParisParamus in Groucho Marx's voice.

Imaginine him with his arms behind his oversized suit, looking devilishly upwards, cigar clenched out of the left side of his teeth, and raising and lowering his eyebrows suggestively afterwards.

He makes a lot more sense if you approach him this way. Try it, it works!
posted by interrobang at 9:38 PM on January 15, 2006


This debate has been going on for some time. If you use average instead of median income, you get a completely different picture. Also, now that aprox 75% of American households are invested in the market in some way or another, we are earning our income from investing and not just working. Corporate profits are up, which means higher stock prices and/or higher divedends.
posted by b_thinky at 9:40 PM on January 15, 2006


But lets not make this thread, like so many others, all about PP, eh?
posted by wilful at 9:41 PM on January 15, 2006


"average instead of median"

Modal or mean?
posted by wilful at 9:54 PM on January 15, 2006


> He makes a lot more sense if you approach him this way. Try it, it works!

interro! is right, it works.
posted by NewBornHippy at 10:00 PM on January 15, 2006


b_thinky: If you use average instead of median income, you get a completely different picture.

Why on earth would you do that? People use the median because they want to get a flavor for the distribution of income (though a single point statistic, unadjusted for changes in demographics or life cycle positions, seems pretty useless anyway). The average tells you how much stuff there is to go around, but nothing of who has it. The median at least gives you some information about income distribution: half the people have less, half the people have more.

Yes, income is shifting from wage to capital gains, partly as a result in changes in the tax code. Wage statistics alone don't tell you whether people are overall better or worse off. But look at the poverty rates: if I'm reading this report correctly, more than 1 in every 8 Americans lives in poverty, including 1 in every 6 children. Personal debt levels can be explained to some extent in non-alarmist terms (barriers to credit are falling, home ownership rates are rising, etc.), but combine high debt burdens with tight job markets (and no health care for the jobless!), and you have a lot of people who are a minor setback away from a major disaster.

The FPP link is pretty weak, though. It gives no indication of what "income" actually includes (is that after tax? after transfer? does it include paper gains on marketable assets? housing appreciation? imputed income of other sorts?). It also doesn't attempt to explain much. Personal savings might be down because baby boomers are retiring and starting to decumulate wealth. It may just be a demographic shift (I don't really know, myself). I imagine the information is available out there, but the FPP doesn't give us much to go on.

Still, anyone who says things are just rosy for everyone isn't doing their research [Crap: I was going to link to stuff at the BEA website, but I'm having trouble connecting to it at the moment.].
posted by dilettanti at 10:08 PM on January 15, 2006


Still, anyone who says things are just rosy for everyone isn't doing their research

I don't know of anyone who says things are just rosy for everyone. This economy is great for businesses and people who are average and above. It sucks for those near or below the poverty line. Then again, I'm not sure that any economy can be "strong" for these folks. No matter how strong any economy is, if you work for $8 an hour, you have little/no room to slip up.

Regarding poverty: where is this line drawn? Is a 1.5% increase in poverty per 5 years considered significant? How long does it take to count (i.e. if poverty is XX in 2005, could it actually be from 2004)? How many on poverty have a non-impoverished person supporting them (for instance, a 30 year old unemployed person living with his parents)?
posted by b_thinky at 10:32 PM on January 15, 2006


Acording to Wallstreet Journal style statistics, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron's class of 2003 likely had the highest average income of any highschool in the country.

Of course that's just because LeBron James went to school there.
posted by I Foody at 10:33 PM on January 15, 2006


dilettanti & others, this 2001 chart will provide some baseline information

(Reposted from this thread)


posted by Gyan at 10:35 PM on January 15, 2006


Definitions here:

Definitions of terms in the above image
posted by Gyan at 10:38 PM on January 15, 2006


I think this is true. I am 30 and I can count on one hand the number of high school or college friends who have actually bought a house or who have a non-temp/ contract job. I make above that median income figure and I would only qualify for a mortgage that is one-sixth the median cost of a house in my county. One sixth!! There is literally not one house in a 500 mile radius that I could afford to buy.
posted by fshgrl at 10:53 PM on January 15, 2006


Oh don't worry, fshgrl, that's just the American dream -- it's not like it's a requirement or anything. :)
posted by namespan at 11:35 PM on January 15, 2006


"Isn't this just another way of saying that productivity is up? which is always reported as a good thing"

Sure, unless you're the worker whose productivity is up every year and yet you haven't had a raise in four years because all the profits are going into bonuses for management.

Or were you being sarcastic?


Definite sarcasm. It just always kind of bugged me whenever increases in producivity were trumpeted without any discussion of what that actually means for people.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:55 PM on January 15, 2006


Also an interesting Slate article. "The It-Sucks-To-Be-Me Generation:" Twentysomethings who can't stop whining about how the economy is screwing them.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:11 AM on January 16, 2006


If you use average instead of median income, you get a completely different picture.

Bill Gates and the population of Africa say "Hi!"
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:24 AM on January 16, 2006


Interrobang's right!
posted by EarBucket at 4:56 AM on January 16, 2006


Isn't this just another way of saying that productivity is up? which is always reported as a good thing

I've always had a problem with the so-called productivity boom. From my perspective in the job market, productivity gains in the past several years seem to be more the result of layoffs (and the resulting pressure on the surviving workers to do the work of multiple workers) rather than any sort of real gain in positive productivity. Whether that's a good thing depends on your point of view, I suppose.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:35 AM on January 16, 2006


What's hurting the middle class
posted by kensanway at 5:43 AM on January 16, 2006


Hang in there mk1gti. You should investigate Australia. Even if it doesn't work out, at least you will have done something a little different.
posted by Meridian at 5:59 AM on January 16, 2006


Why don't students have to take a basic fincance class? This is knowledge that benefits you whether you're rich or poor and no matter what sector you work in.

This is an excellent idea. Basic personal finance management should be on the curriculum. It's just as important as nutrition and sex ed. We just can't assume that kids are learning about it at home.
posted by orange swan at 6:29 AM on January 16, 2006


If you use average instead of median income, you get a completely different picture.
like this:

The US population is represented along the length of the football field, arranged in order of income.

Median US family income (the family at the 50 yard line) is ~$40,000 (a stack of $100 bills 1.6 inches high.)

--The family on the 95 yard line earns about $100,000 per year, a stack of $100 bills about 4 inches high.

--At the 99 yard line the income is about $300,000, a stack of $100 bills about a foot high.

--The curve reaches $1 million (a 40 inch high stack of $100 bills) one foot from the goal line.

--From there it keeps going up...it goes up 50 km (~30 miles) on this scale!

Via:the L-Curve
posted by bashos_frog at 6:36 AM on January 16, 2006


Americans used to enjoy a fabulous wage premium just for being Americans. That premium is now in an unstoppable decline, because every day it becomes easier for Asians to compete with American labor.

The decline in wages has two components: nominal, and real. Nominal wage decline will only stop when the difference between American and Asian wages is equal to the inherent American advantage in productivity, if there is any such advantage.

Real wage decline will slow only when the costs of being an American -- goods, services, taxes -- drop to reflect the lower total wages available. The linked phenomena of easy credit and home equity inflation have played an important role in increasing disposable cash despite pressure on wages. This cycle is probably already ending. The actual cost cutting, though, I'm not optimistic about. High costs of government are central here -- it's very hard for merchants to cut costs when government continually increases the burdens it imposes upon enterprise.
posted by MattD at 7:02 AM on January 16, 2006


It's only right that we should all sacrifice a little more each year if CEO salaries are to continue to rise at 15 to 30 percent each year. [cough] The captains of industry deserve the rewards of all that hard work. [cough] So tighten that belt and stop whining. You're lucky to have a job! [cough]
I seem to be contracting a cold or something. Too bad I had to give up health insurance at my job.
posted by nofundy at 7:47 AM on January 16, 2006


The linked phenomena of easy credit and home equity inflation have played an important role in increasing disposable cash despite pressure on wages.

It certainly is too easy to get credit. I walked into the bank, told them I wanted an unsecured loan of $20k to use in some extremely risky stock market speculation. I had the money in ten minutes. I am not particularly wealthy, either; just a little above the median, I guess. It's free money for everyone! Help yourself, while interest rates are still low. What could possibly go wrong?

There was a pretty chart I saw last week saying that without "mortage equity withdrawal" over the past few years, the US GDP would have grown at close to zero, instead of 3.5%. Almost all the economic growth of the United States, and therefore of much of the world, is based on middle class consumers going ever deeper into debt. When the housing market finally turns down (if not this year, then next), there's going to be trouble.

Enjoy these last years of the Age of Petroleum, people; it's going to be quite a show.
posted by sfenders at 8:13 AM on January 16, 2006


I would love to hear what the critics would be yelling about if Americans actually did curb their spending and get their debt under control. I'm not sure the economy could handle it.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:20 AM on January 16, 2006


The most salient point about this "booming" economy: nonsensical protestations notwithstanding, it is leaving the great majority of the country behind. Most people (the overwhelming majority) have stagnated or lost economic ground in the last 4-5 years.

Currently, those people maintain their consumption via debt.

Consumption by the broad masses of people (meaning lower-upper class and below) is the THE basis of the American economy. In a booming economy in which these people are left out (as they are now), you are guaranteed something: the boom is 100% illusion. We either start getting money to the middle class, or this boom collapses in something resembling a Great Depression.
posted by teece at 8:34 AM on January 16, 2006


High costs of government are central here

No they are not. Government taxes are absolutely not a burden right now, and you won't find any honest metric to support that. The problem that the government has right now is exactly the opposite: it is massive debt, because it is collecting too little in taxes.

Your thinking is what will drive the US economy off a cliff (when the US government either collapses. There is no other option at current spending and taxation levels, and there's no realistic way to cut spending. Do the math). I really urge you to try and abandon old, blatantly selfish right-wing dogma that makes you feel better about a policy of perpetual tax cuts. Because if you and your fellow Americans don't, the USA as a great nation will be a thing of the past.
posted by teece at 8:42 AM on January 16, 2006


damn it, that said "when the US government either collapses or defaults" when I hit post.
posted by teece at 8:44 AM on January 16, 2006


Other than my mortgage (which is almost paid off) I have no debt. Not even a credit card. So I have that going for me. But my salary is falling behind, year over year. Two years ago I received a 1.5% raise. Last year it was 0%. Meanwhile, my health care costs went up as a result of increased premiums and a move from a co-pay model to a catastrophic illness model. Energy costs have gone up, which I not only pay directly (gas, oil, natural gas) but indirectly as a result of others charging me for their increased energy costs. If this economy is booming, it's not helping me any.
posted by tommasz at 8:48 AM on January 16, 2006


You know, all the people who squeal about people with no money buying fun stuff clearly weren't forced to read The Road to Wigan Pier in school. In the book, a report on conditions in the mining towns of northern England, Orwell discusses the budgets of average families, including how much they spend on what food. He contrasts this with an "ideal healthy diet" some newspaper suggested; of course, the miners and family are spending way more money on less healthful food. You know why? Because when your life sucks, you want the tiny luxuries you can have. That's just human. And frankly, assuming that people deserve no luxury for being poor is absurd; everyone needs a fucking break sometimes. And oddly enough, with more pay, people would probably buy less crap, up to a point, merely for having less to escape from. The most frugal families I know are always middle class: they have enough to keep from misery and the incentives to save. That doesn't make them better people.

Another quick note: Remember, the official poverty line is artificially low. It is calculated based on a basket of goods and services that emphasizes the cost of food. Of course, the cost of food has stayed reasonably low as housing, healthcare, &c. skyrocket. But no government wants to change it to be accurate, as then it would have a massive "increase in poverty" on its hands. And frankly, that is where I biggesst squeeze to Americans: too rich to be officially poor, too poor to really have any security or future plans.
posted by dame at 9:12 AM on January 16, 2006


kensanway, great article.
posted by hackly_fracture at 9:27 AM on January 16, 2006


Also an interesting Slate article. "The It-Sucks-To-Be-Me Generation:" Twentysomethings who can't stop whining about how the economy is screwing them.

Great article, and some welcome perspective. I also really enjoyed the little ad hominem at the end.
posted by letitrain at 10:03 AM on January 16, 2006


That Slate article is hilarious. It starts with the premise that we are now in a "recessionary/post-bubble economy". It ends with a reference to Google, the iconic symbol of the fact that the bubble ain't over yet. In fact, according to the conventional optimistic case, we're supposed to be in well into the post-recession recovery. These are supposed to be the good times. The bust has yet to come.

There is also a bit of the same lack of big-picutre thinking that the article (perhaps justifiably) accuses others of having. These problems with debt, deficits, imbalances have been building up since the 1980's. Assuming that the next 20 years will be just like the previous 20 shows no more wisdom than assuming that next year will be just like last year.
posted by sfenders at 10:43 AM on January 16, 2006


The economy is excellent right now. Incredible, actually, if you consider the rise in the price of oil. Corporate tax payments are at an all-time high. The deficit is down. Debt is about what it was in the early-mid 1990's. So, although I thought they weren't a good idea at the time, the Bush tax cuts did only good for the US economy.

Fuck you too, mathowie.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2006


dame, I thought I was the only person who read Wigan Pier. Nice comment, interesting thread.

Off to re-read Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
posted by bardic at 12:14 PM on January 16, 2006


When you look at dollar-denominated econometrics, don't forget:

Euro - Bush Inaugeration: 1.069
Pound - Bush Inaugeration: 0.683

Euro - Now: 0.824 - Dollar is down 22.9%
Pound - Now: 0.565 - Dollar is down 17.2%

Any expert who asks you to ignore this is willfully ignorant, or promoting an agenda.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:22 PM on January 16, 2006


“What's hurting the middle class -”
posted by kensanway

Great article. Gospel.

Housing, health insurance and taxes are indeed busting my nut. My wife and I maybe go see a movie once a month - maybe. That’s about it for luxury entertainment. I suppose gym membership (but I get mine free). But we don’t spend a dime on “luxuries” really and we’re just barely getting ahead. I’ve got friends who are just treading water or sliding back because they have 3 kids and they work as much overtime as they can get and live like monks.
But yeah, that’s anecdotal. I suppose if I had a lot more money in investments I’d be ahead. But I don’t have those kinds of guts.


“I really urge you to try and abandon old, blatantly selfish right-wing dogma that makes you feel better about a policy of perpetual tax cuts.”

To be fair that dogma was coupled with reductions in spending. Oddly vacant these days.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:23 PM on January 16, 2006


Any expert who asks you to ignore this is willfully ignorant, or promoting an agenda.

A weaker dollar makes federal debt worth much, much less, and can be a calculated political move.

If our leaders could be counted on to have any fucking brains, of course.
posted by Rothko at 1:03 PM on January 16, 2006


I suggest that everyone begins (as I have) to read every comment by ParisParamus in Groucho Marx's voice. --interrobang

It's genius, I tell you...sheer genius.

Consumption by the broad masses of people (meaning lower-upper class and below) is the THE basis of the American economy. In a booming economy in which these people are left out (as they are now), you are guaranteed something: the boom is 100% illusion. We either start getting money to the middle class, or this boom collapses in something resembling a Great Depression. -- teece

Oh...I think it's going to make the Depression look like a cake-walk. Me, I think it's going to be a lot more dystopian than that.
posted by dejah420 at 1:09 PM on January 16, 2006


Why don't we look at how China and India are "getting money to the middle class" -- by removing regulations, reducing taxes, and doing everything possible to create a culture which rewards ambition and self-sufficiency.

Education policy is telling. Indian and Chinese schools reward only single-minded discipline and devotion to success in the core academic subjects, and demand that parents play a key role in achieving it. The gross contrast to the American system couldn't be more clear, where vice (lazy parents, stupid kids) becomes virtue (schools deserving of subsidy), and virtue (schools with lots of AP programs and well-behaved kids) becomes vice (symbols of "inequality").
posted by MattD at 4:52 PM on January 16, 2006


Why don't we look at how China and India are "getting money to the middle class"

India's education system is funded by the central government, rather than being dependant on local income. This removes the massive funding inequity which results when public schools are funded by local property taxes and what not.

Of course it's a lot easier to blame lazy parents and stupid kids than it is to recognize that American schools really are wildly inequal, and children born into poor districts are unlikely to receive a high-quality education.
posted by I Love Tacos at 5:28 PM on January 16, 2006


MattD: the only thing "gross" in your comment is the racism, classism and ignorance you've displayed. If I had a gun that made people poor and black, I'd shoot you first.
posted by I Love Tacos at 5:35 PM on January 16, 2006


China's tax rates. Please note they are higher than America's. This is included for anybody who might've thought that MattD had even a single correct sentence in his diatribe.

Monthly Income Tax on Lower Amount Rate on Excess
Exceeding RMB Not Exceeding RMB RMB %
0 500 0 5
500 2,000 25 10
2,000 5,000 175 15
5,000 20,000 625 20
20,000 40,000 3.625 25
40,000 60,000 8.625 30
60,000 80,000 14.625 35
80,000 100,000 21.625 40
100,000 - 29.625 45
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:03 PM on January 16, 2006


I Love Tacos : "his is included for anybody who might've thought that MattD had even a single correct sentence in his diatribe."

His point on Indian attitudes toward education is accurate.
posted by Gyan at 6:17 PM on January 16, 2006


I Love Tacos -- who's the racist and classist: I, who denounced the coddling of the lazy and stupid in educrat ideology, or you, who immediately saw that as indication to rise to the defense of the "poor and the black?" There's no one who is worse oppressed by the current educational regime than poor families (of any color) with drive, ambition and discipline. Your love of the false god of egalitarianism condemns them to rot with their neighbors.

And what I said (and I probably could have said it more clearly) was that India and China are moving in the right direction, not that they were all the way there yet. China obviously has a long way to go on individual freedom, the very least of which are incentive-oriented marginal individual tax rates.
posted by MattD at 7:39 PM on January 16, 2006


Hmm... China and India. It seems to me they have at least one other thing that America lacks, something that might contribute a little more to their recent economic expansion than does whatever innovations they've come up with in education: several hundred million people who are desperately willing to work for less than a tenth of what Americans get paid. No doubt there's more to it, but it does seem rather odd to leave that out of the analysis.
posted by sfenders at 8:48 PM on January 16, 2006


MattD wrote: who's the racist and classist:

If I had to bet, I'd put my money on you, but I'll admit there's a finite chance that you're just an optimstic fool.

You said that students in underperforming schools are stupid and they have lazy parents. This is a typical belief of the holier-than-thou middle-class "it's their own fault" racist.

sfenders wrote:No doubt there's more to it, but it does seem rather odd to leave that out of the analysis.

Not really. MattD is an intellectually dishonest hack. Why is it surprising that he'd leave out factors like the benefits of globalization that will disappear as soon as the cost of living in India and China rise to Western standards?
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:59 PM on January 16, 2006


Oh, and MattD, read my posts before you go all Rush Limbaugh on me. I know that's a lot to ask from you, but you should try it sometime.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:02 PM on January 16, 2006


P.P.S. If you're thinking of writing another high and mighty reply, I'd appreciate if you could cite some sources that state that all the students in underperforming schools are stupid, and that all their parents are lazy.

Thanks in advance!
Tacos
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:09 PM on January 16, 2006


Good job ruining an interesting topic, tacoboy.
posted by letitrain at 11:03 AM on January 17, 2006


Good job ruining an interesting topic, tacoboy.

You must've missed the part where MattD said that America sucks because Americans in bad schools are all stupid and have lazy parents.

Maybe where you come from, that sort of racist bullshit is acceptable. Where I come from, it is not.
posted by I Love Tacos at 7:56 AM on January 18, 2006


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