woe is the millennial, bringer of slack and turpitude
March 9, 2016 6:09 AM   Subscribe

the 30-year economic betrayal dragging down Generation Y’s income, its time for the 2016 monthly millennial news roundup, money spent in waste according to the politbureau, millennials, the new pointdexters snitchin' away to get ahead, investors scurry to understand them, shallow and lazy says the critics, swimming against the economic tides says some, suck it up and bootstrap says some others, and someone else says its the polar opposite. thankfully, Dave Mustaine says it like it is.
posted by xcasex (152 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Meanwhile, GenX remains completely ignored.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:13 AM on March 9, 2016 [59 favorites]


I think the chickens are going to come home to roost when the old people need to sell their houses and nobody's able to buy them.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:16 AM on March 9, 2016 [96 favorites]


money spent in waste

I appreciate that tut-tutting over vaping is unlikely to be welcome, but, Christ, at least waste your money on drugs that get you high

I probably squandered $200,000 on tobacco in my life. At least. The smart thing to do in life is to learn from someone else's mistakes.....
posted by thelonius at 6:18 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


TYFT. Always interested in the topics of my horrible generation.

Taking into account the new medical advances with CRISPR and 3-D organ printing, I have a new definition for millennials

Millennials: the generation that will live forever with no jobs, ambition, or money.
posted by permiechickie at 6:20 AM on March 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also, when we pass Generation Z, is that the end of history? Or is it like Excel where we loop back around, Generation A1, the aquatic fascists?
posted by permiechickie at 6:22 AM on March 9, 2016 [27 favorites]


Meanwhile, GenX remains completely ignored.

A bunch of Gen X friends and I were discussing the Grauniad article and the consensus was that this being New Big New News now is further proof no one pays attention to Gen X. Because this downward trend began in the 90s. Not a single person my age that I know has ever had any expectation that we'll ever be as prosperous as our parents. I saw the writing on that wall in 1998.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:23 AM on March 9, 2016 [97 favorites]


Dave Mustaine quoting Sting lyrics is the end of history....
posted by thelonius at 6:24 AM on March 9, 2016 [16 favorites]


I also kind of get the vacation shaming. The thing is, it's not your peers that are taking the vacations - it's the old guys. Since their vacations make your lives more difficult and you don't have any expectation of ever getting to the point of having the time off or the money to go yourself, it's very easy to get angry over it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:25 AM on March 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


I saw the writing on that wall in 1998

Same here, otoh i did have the possibility to "gainfully" eject from my IT career, bought an old farm estate in the north and am now getting into carpentry. but most people "my age" don't have that possibility, its not uncommon that if they own a house, its mom, pops, the inlaws who also underwrite the loan application. and it used to be, that a house ran 2-4x your income, now it's .... abysmal.

I also kind of get the vacation shaming
exactly. and when you mention their backlog, they get a pass, but if there's a new hire and they work up a backlog, hell rains down..
posted by xcasex at 6:30 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


You can double or triple your enjoyment of articles about millennials by reading "millennials" as "snake people" in your head.

Or you can use a chrome extension to do the same thing:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/millennials-to-snake-peop/jhkibealmjkbkafogihpeidfcgnigmlf?hl=en-US
posted by billjings at 6:31 AM on March 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


Hey, baby boomer here...just wanted to let you know I'll still be working into my seventies. Graduate degree and I making less than I did 15 years ago...cheers
posted by judson at 6:32 AM on March 9, 2016 [36 favorites]


I'm well aware that not all Boomers are the wealthy rentiers who destroyed the economy, but on the other hand, you did have the opportunity to murder them fifty years ago and didn't, so I have to hold you at least partially responsible.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:35 AM on March 9, 2016 [122 favorites]


Gen-X was is outlier, Gen-Y is just an expected regression to the mean. Gen-Y is a bigger population so it will be closer to the mean, while Gen-X's smaller numbers gave is a stronger probability of being above or below average. Gen-X benefitted from being the first generation to benefit from the removal of lead from the environment and the post Cold War, pre-9-11 era of things not being totally fucked. We also got a first mover advantage in the housing market allowing us to get in before the market inflated in the early 2000s. And of course because Gen-X was smaller than the boomers we get to take advantage of their advancement and retirements.

It isn't all bad for Gen-Y though. You just need to take the long term view. The medical communty's fight against aging is progressing at a rate where yours will be the first to be able to take full advantage of it. Older folks might get another decade of improved health, but you are going to be likely getting several decades of middle age.
posted by humanfont at 6:37 AM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


it used to be, that a house ran 2-4x your income, now it's .... abysmal.

That's one of the huge things. Even if you're not saddled with debt and a low paying job, buying a house is becoming a less and less feasible proposition unless you want to stretch yourself thin by leveraging all of your available credit. The classic inroads to long term financial stability have been torn to shreds.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:38 AM on March 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


> I think the chickens are going to come home to roost when the old people need to sell their houses and nobody's able to buy them.

Canada's economy at this point is basically people selling their houses to each other, so yeah.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:39 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


humanfont: It isn't all bad for Gen-Y though. You just need to take the long term view. The medical communty's fight against aging is progressing at a rate where yours will be the first to be able to take full advantage of it. Older folks might get another decade of improved health, but you are going to be likely getting several decades of middle age.

Only the rich will be able to afford that.
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:40 AM on March 9, 2016 [28 favorites]


>Dave Mustaine quoting Sting lyrics is the end of history....

A particularly embarrassing and terrible lyric, too, I always thought--really condescending and undeservedly self-congratulatory: We Love Our Children, but those other guys might not so we had to spend the rent money on doomsday devices; too bad everybody ain't got Morals like us. That song makes my teeth hurt.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:41 AM on March 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm 31 and living with my sisters family so that I can pay off credit cards with insane interest rates accrued during unemployment. It feels like my shoe laces have been tied together by my parents generation, and then they have the stones to tell us we lack ambition. I haven't had health insurance for three years. I'm going to stop myself before I get too worked up. At least my Niece and Nephew are really cute.
posted by pwally at 6:47 AM on March 9, 2016 [32 favorites]


> A bunch of Gen X friends and I were discussing the Grauniad article and the consensus was that this being New Big New News now is further proof no one pays attention to Gen X. Because this downward trend began in the 90s. Not a single person my age that I know has ever had any expectation that we'll ever be as prosperous as our parents. I saw the writing on that wall in 1998.

My girlfriend at the time gave me a copy of Generation X in 1992 (which I pretended to like because she was my girlfriend); one of the chapter titles is "Our Parents Had More," which now that I'm 42 still seems awfully whiny...but on the other hand he certainly wasn't wrong.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:47 AM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


and another thing i've found interesting is this attitude primarily from boomer gen parents concerning jobs, "you gotta have a job" and "getting a job is just a matter of getting a foot in the door" ... it's so severely lacking in understanding the social dynamics and geography of jobhunting and not to mention that the landscape includes overzealous recruiters and stonewalling hr-depts these days.
it's not something at least the boomers in my vicinity have ever had to experience, hell when the local industrial plant in my hometown shut down they cozied the boomer gen into new jobs and the genx'ers got the short straws. i dunno if thats more telling of how that generation works or not.

(not to mention the boomer father in laws reaction when he saw my technical resume and said out loud "well damn you're educated and hardworking" to which i just replied, "those are just the technical jobs from so and so onward" you can probably imagine where the discussion went from there)
posted by xcasex at 6:48 AM on March 9, 2016 [15 favorites]


We also got a first mover advantage in the housing market allowing us to get in before the market inflated in the early 2000s. And of course because Gen-X was smaller than the boomers we get to take advantage of their advancement and retirements.

That is, we would have been able to take advantage of those things if the economy hadn't fucked us twice:

* In the late 1990's by the dot-com bubble bursting, and
* In 2008.

And those of us in urban places also got locally fucked when (take your pick) 9/11 or Katrina or Sandy or Irene or some other disaster also brought down the house of cards.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:48 AM on March 9, 2016 [26 favorites]


the housing situation is also further compounded due to all regulations these days concerning the when/what/how visavis construction of said houses.
posted by xcasex at 6:51 AM on March 9, 2016


I think the chickens are going to come home to roost when the old people need to sell their houses and nobody's able to buy them.

Nope. They will have eaten all the chickens by then. They will just take out a second mortgage and eventually default when they die leaving the homes to the banks. And then the people who can't afford the homes will be forced to bail out the banks. They have got this figured out.
posted by srboisvert at 6:55 AM on March 9, 2016 [48 favorites]


...and our new $5K heat pump, which we had to install in the place we do own, seems to be made largely of plastic :( So much plastic. They're going to cover the condo building in plastic (siding). How will it hold up in 50 years?
posted by amtho at 6:57 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


it used to be, that a house ran 2-4x your income, now it's .... abysmal.

Mortgage rates were (almost) never under 10% in the 80s tho . . .

https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MORTG

The PITI on a $360,000 loan at 3.5% is $2000 ($1800 with tax deduction), while that same PITI can only carry a $240,000 loan with a 7.5% rate.

all regulations these days concerning the when/what/how visavis construction of said houses.

aka NIMBYism
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 7:00 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=3JXd

blue is YOY growth in prime working-age population (25-34)
dotted red line is real annual GDP growth
green is YOY growth of youth age 15-24

Takeaways:

1950-2000 we saw the economy growing 5% or better outside of the brief-ish recessions.
Big demographic surge of the blue line 1970-2000 supported a lot of that.
The 1960s baby boomer arrival into young-adultism was really really big.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 7:11 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't begrudge the Boomers who were born at the right time and in the right places to take full advantage of historical and economic trends that are unlikely to be repeated for the foreseeable future, because that's life. What I do object to is those of them who a) fail to acknowledge or angrily deny their own good fortune, b) put down members of subsequent generations as "lazy" because they can't pay for university tuition with a summer job or find a decent job after they graduate, and/or c) pull up the ladder after them by voting to ensure that they pay as little as possible in taxes. *cough*my uncle in-law*cough
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:12 AM on March 9, 2016 [116 favorites]


> Hey, baby boomer here...just wanted to let you know I'll still be working into my seventies. Graduate degree and I making less than I did 15 years ago...cheers

Same here, and can we please lay off the tiresome and divisive "boomer" crap? This is about rich lizard-people of every generation wrecking everyone else's lives, and if you let them con you into setting one generation against another, we all lose (except the lizard-people).
posted by languagehat at 7:15 AM on March 9, 2016 [61 favorites]


They didn't ignore Gen X, they just recycle the same tired shit from their 1990s columns. CTRL-F, CTRL-C, CTRL-V, bam, done.

It is worth pointing out that the gains of the Boomers were never universally experienced by everyone, and for many, like my parents, did not last long enough to keep them out of poverty in old age. Because by then the safety-net shredding had begun in earnest. If you started out in poverty and didn't have a lot of financial literacy, you could still end up broke when the economy went south. Plus healthcare costs. Toward the end of her career, my mom, who had 30 years of hard-won expertise in her field, kept getting passed over for promotion because she didn't have a degree, something no one needed in the 60s when she began. And which would not have improved her work performance in any way. Not to mention that she had consistently been paid less than her male colleagues her whole career.
posted by emjaybee at 7:21 AM on March 9, 2016 [29 favorites]


and another thing i've found interesting is this attitude primarily from boomer gen parents concerning jobs, "you gotta have a job" and "getting a job is just a matter of getting a foot in the door" ... it's so severely lacking in understanding the social dynamics and geography of jobhunting and not to mention that the landscape includes overzealous recruiters and stonewalling hr-depts these days.

My mother is fond of telling the stories of how her father showed up at a particular bus garage every morning for months, asking the foreman if he would hire him that day until he got a "yes"--and the story of her grandfather who marched right into the foreman's office, threw his hat on his desk, demanded a job, and "by gumption he was not going to take no for an answer"--impressing the foreman with his resolve he was hired on the spot. She seems to think kids today are foolish for not employing these strategies, seemingly unaware that they wouldn't be possible, could get you blacklisted, or even escorted off premises.
posted by sourwookie at 7:23 AM on March 9, 2016 [68 favorites]


the housing situation is also further compounded due to all regulations these days concerning the when/what/how visavis construction of said houses.

Yeah, sorry, but no.

Zoning and safety regulations in the construction industry are generally a good thing. Their removal would for the most part only serve to benefit the rich developer fuckos who are part of the root cause of all this shit.
posted by dersins at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2016 [32 favorites]


Simple lesson:

so many younger folks (ie, much younger than I am) rejected unions. Now they are paying for it with crap incomes as economy picks up again.
posted by Postroad at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2016 [14 favorites]


"listen to me , I got lots of gumption and moxie and what for, you won't find a better working Joe than me, you'll see, all I'm asking for is a chance!"

HIRING KIOSK AT TARGET BEEPS *WOULD YOU TELL A SUPERIOR IF A CO-WORKER WAS COMPLAINING Y/N*
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on March 9, 2016 [152 favorites]


I went to an intergenerational ethics session yesterday.

It was pretty annoying because the focus was very much "How to get your millenials to do more work" with little understanding that extra effort/productivity goes to the company and to the the usually rich owners and shareholders in exchange for... well, nothing.
Companies don't work for their employees but they still expect the other half of the 1950's style social contract upheld. The company bemoans the lack of loyalty and engagement but then cuts salaries and lobbies for reduced worker rights and protections.

There was one statistic that came up that the (boomer aged) presenter gave that 43% of millennials would quite their jobs if their employers demanded they delete their Facebook profile. He paused at this and pointed it out to all, in frank incomprehension of their bizarre priorities. Not really reflecting on the notion that a) millennial don't really use Facebook and b) an employer who feels entitled enough to make that kind of demand probably has a pretty shitty understanding of boundaries.
I'd start shopping around if my employer thought they could tell me to delete my Facebook profile and I don't even have a Facebook profile.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:29 AM on March 9, 2016 [103 favorites]


I don't understand why this generation is so entitled were letting them occasionally go home for christ's sake.
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 AM on March 9, 2016 [20 favorites]


We could not possibly ignore GenX with all the whining about GenX being ignored.
posted by beerperson at 7:33 AM on March 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


so many younger folks (ie, much younger than I am) rejected unions. Now they are paying for it with crap incomes as economy picks up again.

Thanks for illustrating the exact kind of bullshit justifications and rewriting of history to make young people out to be the real villains under discussion.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:34 AM on March 9, 2016 [36 favorites]


I'm 31, the unions where long gone by the time I was at working age, you're thinking of the 80s.
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 AM on March 9, 2016 [67 favorites]


We could not possibly ignore GenX with all the whining about GenX being ignored.

I'm happy to be ignored. People only pay attention to generations in order to talk shit about them anyway.
posted by dersins at 7:36 AM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


sourwookie: My mother is fond of telling the stories of how her father showed up at a particular bus garage every morning for months, asking the foreman if he would hire him that day until he got a "yes"--and the story of her grandfather who marched right into the foreman's office, threw his hat on his desk, demanded a job, and "by gumption he was not going to take no for an answer"--impressing the foreman with his resolve he was hired on the spot. She seems to think kids today are foolish for not employing these strategies, seemingly unaware that they wouldn't be possible, could get you blacklisted, or even escorted off premises.

Not only would that probably get you arrested, but the job he demanded probably barely pays enough to live on these days, not enough to raise kids or get ahead or anything.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:40 AM on March 9, 2016 [30 favorites]


Gen X here: Silenced all my life
posted by infini at 7:41 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


To be fair, I don't think Gen X is ignored so much as conveniently forgotten about. You could replace "Gen Y" and "millenials" in all of these article with "Gen X" and you'd think you'd entered a time warp back to 1996, when copious articles were written trying to figure out the enigma that was Gen X. All the same stuff was said, all the same excuses were given, and now we're acting all shocked when the next generation also experiences the same problems--problems that were not fixed back in the 90s or early aughts because hey ho those Gen Xers, such slackers, so lacking in ambition, moving back in with their parents, it's all their fault and could not possibly be the fault of the people who rolled up the carpet after themselves. The carpet is still rolled up, the situation Gen Y is in now is not a mystery or unexpected. What's happening to them is a feature, not a bug. Gen X were the beta-testers.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:46 AM on March 9, 2016 [53 favorites]


Agree about the lizard people being the problem along with financialization of everything. If finance makes insane bets, they get propped up by the too-big-to-fail policies of government that is in their back pocket. Heads they win, tails you lose.

So many other ways to make money (such as adding actual value) have become untenable and unprofitable that many who didn't start out as lizard people are joining their ranks because it's one of the only paths forward to survival and has become a self perpetuating cycle. Thus people selling houses to each other at ever increasing prices, and silicon valley types taking as much money as they can possibly get to try to squirrel it away ahead of the collapse they know is coming soon.

I see a-holes from every generation on a daily basis and I see people struggling to get by, too. Infighting about stereotypes is just where they want to keep us as a distraction from making useful changes to the guaranteed exploitation plan they have in place.
posted by clickingmongrel at 7:47 AM on March 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


"Meanwhile, GenX remains completely ignored."

I'm not sure that's something to complain about.

" this downward trend began in the 90s. Not a single person my age that I know has ever had any expectation that we'll ever be as prosperous as our parents. I saw the writing on that wall in 1998."

So, diversity in the house!, in my Gen X cohort (Miami, all either young immigrants (came here as toddlers) or first-gen Americans) we've all got it better than our parents. Even the first gen's whose parents came here as young people (and so lived as Americans for 50 years or more), we've still got it better.
posted by oddman at 7:50 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


so many younger folks (ie, much younger than I am) rejected unions. Now they are paying for it with crap incomes as economy picks up again.

When were people rejecting unions? I have a union gig, and it does not seem to me that deunionization is substantially the result of people rejecting unions - it's the result of the loss of unionized jobs, lack of enforcement of labor law and the fact that labor law hasn't kept up with changing working conditions, plus scheming/unionbusting by elites.

Sure, you encounter Gen X and Gen Y people who are all "unions are so stupid and corrupt and lazy and surly and I would never join one amirite", but those are people who really wouldn't have been in union occupations anyway - the rich kind of tech people, engineers, business types, the people who have ideological/self-interest reasons to be against unions, because they make money (or, at university or early-career, anticipate making money) by screwing over poor people.
posted by Frowner at 7:55 AM on March 9, 2016 [18 favorites]


I think the chickens are going to come home to roost when the old people need to sell their houses and nobody's able to buy them.

Nope. They will have eaten all the chickens by then. They will just take out a second mortgage and eventually default when they die leaving the homes to the banks. And then the people who can't afford the homes will be forced to bail out the banks. They have got this figured out.


And this is where we learn to live like the Euros, where very few are landed home owners from either inheritance or mega-wealth and the rest rent... Except that going forward we'll be renting from the foreign real-estate speculators that will be propping up the economy just to squeeze out the last dollar from us in another manner.

Suppressed real wages principally at the lower end justified by lower cost of goods and an availability of predatory credit targeted towards all consumers but signed off on by the boomer generation has been the policy since deregulation under Reagan. In order to further accomplish this, skilled jobs were moved overseas, increasing the labor pool and decreasing the cost of goods by underpaying foreign workers and avoiding environmental regulations, which also destabilized unions and pitted American workers against eachother. Skilled workers (those with experience) were able to keep their jobs and the young were flooded from industrial jobs into service jobs - destabilizing another sector of the economy. The problem is, its the pre-existing laborers that were skilled, and there was no room for new workers to come into those fields. Until the technological revolution, that didn't matter, but boomer moguls used this as justification to further ship jobs overseas, and to automate remaining factories without increasing base pay. Look the fact that the poverty line for 2 people in the US is still below $16K (as of 2014, pick the first table) is ludicrous. The line should be much much higher, and we should be accounting for people who have to work less than 32 hours at Wal-Mart and be subsidized by all the government programs in order to cover the cost of their subsistence. At every level corporations have made sure that they can justify underpaying incoming labor, suppress raises by tying them to growth in a saturated market, suppressing inflation in name only, and otherwise looting every last dollar from as many people as possible. And there has been a great divide between those who make the policy and those who don't since the late 80s.

If you made it on the boat during Reagan's administration, you were probably afforded enough hush money that you've complacently accepted the outcome of the policies, and if you were of the generation reaching adulthood a little later - well... fuck you, they got theirs.

Sure, there are plenty of Boomers who didn't do this... and I don't doubt that a large portion of those boomers that didn't are exactly the type to be on Metafilter. But seriously not recognizing that the policies eroded from 1960-2000 basically have obliterated the American forever is sticking your head in the sand. Moreover, not acknowledging that the voting block, and the principle policy writers for all of these changes which have gutted the future of the American economy were the Boomers.

Now, I'll take my licks when we accuse Gen-X of ruining children's cartoons for children and instead making sure that they are marketable to adults, but when it comes to the economy and who has simultaneously profited the most and scuttled it - that's on the Boomers.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:59 AM on March 9, 2016 [32 favorites]


The Whelk: I'm 31, the unions where long gone by the time I was at working age, you're thinking of the 80s.

I'm 43, the unions never existed by the time I was at working age in IT.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:05 AM on March 9, 2016 [19 favorites]


I'm 55, and didn't even know anyone who belonged in a union.
posted by storybored at 8:08 AM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'll take my licks when we accuse Gen-X of ruining children's cartoons for children and instead making sure that they are marketable to adults

Licks of respect, I hope. That is one of the best things we did.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:08 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


The other day I asked one of my friends my age who has two young kids what he thinks they're going to do for a living and god damn did he ever look depressed.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:08 AM on March 9, 2016 [15 favorites]


The time for Basic Income has arrived.
posted by storybored at 8:09 AM on March 9, 2016 [49 favorites]


The Whelk: I'm 31, the unions where long gone by the time I was at working age, you're thinking of the 80s.

wenestvedt: I'm 43, the unions never existed by the time I was at working age in IT.


I'm 46, and the only union I ever belonged to in my life was for theater - the career that everyone told me was too unstable (and which I ultimately had to give up becuase yeah, they're right). As for the clerical work that's been paying my bills for 24 years now? Nuthin'.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:17 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


The time for Basic Income has arrived.

For most boomers, it already has. It's called social security, and it won't be bankrupt until they're long dead.

Or did you think that the OG's of "fuck you, I got mine" were going to vote to extend those benefits to everyone else?
posted by Mayor West at 8:17 AM on March 9, 2016 [15 favorites]


The best lie the right ever developed was that things where due to personal initiative (say, activism by consumption rather than legislation, ask the Quakers how well thier anti slavery business pets went ) rather than large scale society wide problems
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 AM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


The other day I asked one of my friends my age who has two young kids what he thinks they're going to do for a living and god damn did he ever look depressed.

As far as I can tell the sure bet to financial security in this century is owning a funny looking cat.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 AM on March 9, 2016 [64 favorites]


We asked a bunch of biotechnologists to make funny looking cats for everyone, but the test cats made them immensely wealthy and they immediately lost interest.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:25 AM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


For most boomers, it already has. It's called social security, and it won't be bankrupt until they're long dead.

Social security cannot go bankrupt.
posted by beerperson at 8:25 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


The time for Basic Income has arrived.

This isn't directed at you, storybored, but I can't for the life of me figure out why people in the US talk about basic income as if it were even remotely plausible. Like, our current political system is perfectly content to cut food & medicine benefits for babies. When people say, "the time has come for Basic Income," it seems to me like they're saying, "The time has come for this movie to have a Deus ex machina ending" because we're about to fall into the volcano. Just because a situation is horrible doesn't mean that anyone is coming to save us. For most of history in most of the world, shit has been real, real, real, REAL bad. There have been kings draped in velvet and gold while peasants starved and died of preventable disease. What the hell is going to make THIS historical situation any different? "It's just gotta happen! It's just gotta!" is the only answer I seem to see from BI advocates, or some vague references to "the people" rising up violently without BI. In the latter case, the rich are quite content to allow that to happen because they will be safe in their walled fortresses, protected by drones, while the rest of us live in fear of feuding low-level warlords.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:27 AM on March 9, 2016 [28 favorites]


The Card Cheat: The other day I asked one of my friends my age who has two young kids what he thinks they're going to do for a living and god damn did he ever look depressed.

Don't remind me: I have four kids, and I feel very guilty about bringing them into this world. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 8:28 AM on March 9, 2016


The Whelk: I'm 31, the unions where long gone by the time I was at working age, you're thinking of the 80s.
wenestvedt: I'm 43, the unions never existed by the time I was at working age in IT.


I'm 49 and the only time I worked in a union shop it was as non-union summer casual labour so the union guys could get summer holidays and the union guys fucked us over pretty hard. So while unions are a net social positive they also contained the selfishness that helped sow the seeds of their own destruction. "I got mine" was not just a while collar or management illness.
posted by srboisvert at 8:36 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


What the hell is going to make THIS historical situation any different? "It's just gotta happen! It's just gotta!" is the only answer I seem to see from BI advocates, or some vague references to "the people" rising up violently without BI. In the latter case, the rich are quite content to allow that to happen because they will be safe in their walled fortresses, protected by drones, while the rest of us live in fear of feuding low-level warlords.

Not to bring the hope or anything - which totally goes against my personal grain anyway - but I do think that the one argument against the drones/walled cities bit is technology. You need a pretty large and complex infrastructure to develop ever fancier technology and ever nicer things, and it's helpful to be able to draw from a relatively large pool of intelligent people plus have a certain amount of safety and predictability in the supply chain. Obviously (see the other current post) you can do quite a lot of this via slave labor in terms of resource extraction, and obviously rich people would do all of it by slave labor if they could, but I'm not sure that's possible. Just think about medical research, for example - it's not just one solitary genius inventing something, even if one solitary genius does crystallize a lot of previous research into something that can be put into clinical trials.

I'm more of an Oryx&Crake-style pleeblands-HealthWyzer-compound person myself - not quite so bad and at least some kicks to be had for ordinary people.

But honestly, I try to focus on death - none of this will bother me then. If I don't, I get too wrought up over how unfair it is and what a waste of human potential it is, especially if I think about probably-impending life extension medical technologies for elites. Their kids will live for a hundred and fifty years working on "fun problems" in comfortable places; ours will die of preventable diseases in some kind of climate change hellhole.
posted by Frowner at 8:46 AM on March 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


> Dave Mustaine quoting Sting lyrics is the end of history....

Dave Mustaine has always seemed like a guy who could use a hug.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:51 AM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


it's helpful to be able to draw from a relatively large pool of intelligent people

Sure, until Watson and DeepMind join forces.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:54 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I came in at the tail end of the baby boom, and I'm always kind of dismayed at the easy generalizations that not only get trotted out in the general press, but right here on the blue. Yes, a lot of people in my cohort voted for the union-busting Reagan, but so did members of the so-called "greatest generation", i.e. the ones who should have been aware of the dangers of runaway capitalism from having lived through the Great Depression. I'm sure that the oligarchs love it when it gets turned into a youngs vs. olds argument. Now I'm faced with an economic reality that my having to work until I'm seventy or older is the optimistic scenario, because it assumes that I'll still have one.

tl;dr--there's plenty of blame to go around, and I'd tell you all to get off my lawn if I had one.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:55 AM on March 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


Because of all the focus on self-sufficiency as an alternative to the risk of economic instability, I think that we millennials are most similar to the generation born between 1900 and 1920. Notable parallels include the series of financial crises and proxy wars against an ominous enemy. There is a ubiquitous sense of angst against stopgap measures and stagnation. No one can deny the notion that we would be better off in the event of the big one, if only because it is impossibly difficult to logically assert that the facsimile society is somehow better than real growth in the real world: with ups and downs; or war and peace.

The Trump campaign is starting to look a lot like the Business Plot, we just need a modern Smedley Butler to blow the whistle. The prohibition on Marijuana is starting to sound just as nonsensical as was the prohibition on Alcohol, and local grey markets pervade. All of the good music is mixed-race and underground, and bath salts have the same availability as patent medicine. New mediums of communication create a generational divide that is unmistakeable and unbreakable.

It sure looks like we might need a stock market crash and a world war to change the state of things.
Maybe then they will call us the greatest generation in 50 or 60 years.
posted by MisplaceDisgrace at 9:07 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


We have become downwardly mobile.
posted by caddis at 9:09 AM on March 9, 2016


One thing about having to work until you're 70 - ageism is coming from the other direction to make sure you can't, or at least can't keep your career.

I always use the prospect of having to greet at Walmart when I'm old to motivate myself when I feel like letting my career stagnate.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:11 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


I think that we millennials are most similar to the generation born between 1900 and 1920

I knew if I waited long enough my fashion sense would come back around
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on March 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


so many younger folks (ie, much younger than I am) rejected unions

Where I live, most recently unions were being gutted by legislation destroying their best tools for gaining leverage in negotiations. It wasn't done by "millenials" and it didn't really affect them directly for the most part. Yet. The people responsible were in their 50s. Anyways, you can't call it rejecting unions when all you can get is a temp placement through an agency. When you're not a "real" employee you aren't entitled to union benefits or any number of other things people used to take for granted.
posted by Hoopo at 9:18 AM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


The other day I asked one of my friends my age who has two young kids what he thinks they're going to do for a living and god damn did he ever look depressed.

Or afford college, what with the whole run the economy like a business/cut spending on higher education/put it all on student loans crap. I have no idea how my two girls are going to afford tuition, with the rates that it is increasing. Just work a summer job! I put myself through college with no debt! You just need to be more thrifty! Why can't you afford your own apartment, I was married and saving for retirement at your age RAAAARGH

Dave Mustaine has always seemed like a guy who could use a hug smack upside the head.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:21 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


I keep telling myself that this is better than hauling out the guillotines and then letting the revolution eat its own. But that starts sounding hollower and hollower.

Instead we get a resurgence of fascism. Why oh why did the discredited ideology of the 20th century have to be left instead of right?
posted by Hactar at 9:24 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I always use the prospect of having to greet at Walmart when I am old...

Ha! Walmart greeters will be solid state before the end of this decade. Think artisanal shoe shining.
posted by y2karl at 9:24 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, that Guardian article is fascinating. It's nice to see some real data to quantify the effects on each cohort. I'm tempted to sign up for the LIS database and do more playing around.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:27 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


... and if you let them con you into setting one generation against another, we all lose

Boomer capability was not evenly distributed. How did Boomer women fare? Or Boomer POCs? or Boomer-era Europeans? Africans? No, no - it's not about the 'Boomers'; it's about the fuck-you-got-miners, and they've been with us for a long, long time, in every generation: waning in some periods, waxing in others, but with us nonetheless. A straight, white, socially-adjusted, male worker in the 60's-70's was tripping over opportunity: 50% of the population was harshly discouraged from seeking work, and another 10% prevented from rising above a certain level. Most of your serious economic competitors (Europe) were rebuilding and reassessing. Your entire economy was ginned up to wartime levels and productivity was through the roof. Culturally there was a sense of limitless potential for the future.

But no, our problem is just laziness and entitlement.
posted by eclectist at 9:28 AM on March 9, 2016 [37 favorites]


This is about rich lizard-people of every generation wrecking everyone else's lives, and if you let them con you into setting one generation against another, we all lose (except the lizard-people).

This bears repeating. The whole "Gen-Foo" concept was invented by marketers in the UK to try to capitalize on the "mods." It's about market segmentation to sell stuff: products or ideas.

Even though it hasn't been true in the US for 40 years, people still talk as if capitalism naturally produces a broad and politicallypowerful "middle class." It's just that the US was/is so vastly rich that it's taken 40 years to notice that the economy has been quietly and steadily liquidating that middle class.

But there is a subtle point to the politics of this which is that there is a glass wall between those people for whom "society" looks out for and those for whom "society" is almost completely indifferent to. The idea that you could live in a society with people for whose lives you are completely indifferent and detached from is a profoundly radical idea. You don't see that wall until you fall onto the wrong side of it. But if you are on the right side, don't ever forget that people on the wrong side of that wall know exactly where they are and what it means.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:32 AM on March 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


So, comparatively speaking, the lizard-people, the top 1%ers, are pretty much doing the same regardless of which generation or cohort they belong to?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:51 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yep. The lizard-people look after their own.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:53 AM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


In the latter case, the rich are quite content to allow that to happen because they will be safe in their walled fortresses, protected by drones, while the rest of us live in fear of feuding low-level warlords.

The problem with this dystopian projection is that it is not based upon a continuation of current trends. People in the West aren't being controlled, by and large, by Judge Dredd style fascistic enforcement (no matter how horrific US policing is, it's the exception, rather than the rule). Rather, we're being controlled by bribery, fear, apathy and propaganda. The future you are projecting requires subtle and effective strategies to be replaced by unsubtle strategies which have been bad for productivity and long-term stability when applied in modern conditions.

The workforces and marketplaces that consumer capitalism requires cannot exist in the world you describe. The historic response of capitalism, in times of crisis, has been to make concessions to the workers, in order to preserve stability. It's not unreasonable to think that something like that will happen again once the crisis point is reached. Simply because bribing us is better for business than shooting us.

It's possible that we might switch models into some sort of feudal militarism, but I struggle to see how it is in the interests of the wealthy to do so. Therefore I think it's unlikely.

This doesn't mean that we have a uptopian future to look forward to, but it does suggest to me that particular dystopia you imagine is rather more fantastical than not.
posted by howfar at 9:59 AM on March 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


almart greeters will be solid state before the end of this decade. Think artisanal shoe shining.

....I now am envisioning "Shinr" to be the next sharing-economy app flavor of the month.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:02 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who cares whose fault it is? It's everyone's fault. What are you doing about it?
posted by amtho at 10:08 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


overeducated_alligator: There have been kings draped in velvet and gold while peasants starved and died of preventable disease.

Disease wasn't so preventable when antibiotics, sanitations, vaccines, and the germ model of disease didn't even exist.

Although, there is something to be said for the groundbreaking bloodletting techniques that worked to balance the humours and dispel miasmas. Fuck yeah barbers!
posted by dr_dank at 10:14 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who cares whose fault it is? It's everyone's fault. What are you doing about it?

Being the only person in my family with a full-time job for the past 5 years. Voting. Hoping like hell neither of us gets sick.

Planning to retire in the desert with a bottle of pills when the time comes.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:19 AM on March 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


Article in the Guardian UK today on the importance of Trump's economic messages in creating his popularity, seems rather relevant here (and something I've been trying to explain to people for weeks, ahem). Yes he's a boorish bigot. But what people are responding to is his consistent economic messages.
posted by emmet at 10:27 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


What are you doing about it ?

Taking a nap.
posted by y2karl at 10:29 AM on March 9, 2016


Sleep! That's where I'm a thrall!
posted by y2karl at 10:30 AM on March 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


Postroad: "Simple lesson: so many younger folks (ie, much younger than I am) rejected unions. Now they are paying for it with crap incomes as economy picks up again."

The Whelk: "I'm 31, the unions where long gone by the time I was at working age, you're thinking of the 80s."

wenestvedt: "I'm 43, the unions never existed by the time I was at working age in IT."

Everyone complaining (directly or indirectly) about Postroad's comment - Postroad is in his mid-to-late 80s, when he says people much younger than him, he's talking largely about the boomers and possibly even some of their parents.
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:31 AM on March 9, 2016 [30 favorites]


Yes, a lot of people in my cohort voted for the union-busting Reagan, but so did members of the so-called "greatest generation"

Meh, I'm happy to blame anyone of any generation who voted for him. Voting for Reagan was probably the single most destructive and evil thing most of his voters did in their lifetimes. Anyone who voted for Reagan has permanently forfeited the right to complain about anything the economy does to them, because it's a direct consequence of what they eagerly cooperated in doing to others, from the worst of motives. Everyone knows that the supervillain shoots the traitor in the head when he doesn't need him anymore.

But even morally contemptible old people still need to be able to afford their meds. My anti-1% (really, it's anti-0.01%) approach isn't affected by the fact that a fair number of the 99% are suffering the predictable consequences of their own actions. Supervillains are a much bigger problem than the greedy racist morons they used and dumped--although I may have to reconsider that position if we end up with another President Supervillain from the 80s as a result of their support.
posted by praemunire at 10:33 AM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm 30. I'm in a union. And I will never leave this job . It is wierd, compared to my friends and family because suddenly my life is stable. I can't be fired at will, I make decent money(especially compared to people who have similar jobs), regular hours and I have chances for overtime if desired. I get vacation and sick days. I have decent medical insurance.

Many of my friends have roommates, abs some live with their parents. It is just not affordable to live on your own right now.

I know the governor is actively trying to ban unions because it costs to much money. In realiity I just make enough to live, and save a little money. Which is expected of me.

I don't get nice clothes or drop money on whatever I want, but I can pay my bills. A house is not in the cards due to my spouce's disability. My student loans are huge, and I'll pay them religiouslyb until my time is up.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:33 AM on March 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


Who cares whose fault it is? It's everyone's fault.

No, no it's not. This is one of those things that I come more to grips with as I get older: history only teaches us lessons if we learn. There are actors, political movers, that are still alive who are far, far more 'to blame' than others. Let's not let them off the hook; let's not let them slink into obscurity while multiple generations pay for their hubris; let's put a finger in their chests, drive them against the wall, get in their fuckin' faces and say 'You did this. You. And you, and your crazy, flawed ideals, are to blame for the outcome.' I'm all for moving forward rather than obsessing about the past, but there is value in accountability.

What are you doing about it?

The only proper answer for this, right now, is vote.
posted by eclectist at 10:34 AM on March 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


his consistent economic messages.

In which his punitive tariffs will probably kick off a trade war, and lead to more companies leaving the country for more advantageous tax regimens. LET'S DO IT
posted by Existential Dread at 10:34 AM on March 9, 2016


The turmoil and dislocation we're seeing now is happening all over the world.

There was a headline last week about China laying off one million workers in the iron and steel industries.

The comment above about this being like the early 1900s has a ring of truth to it. The common thread is the massive introduction of new disruptive technologies. In the early part of the 20th century, it was the power grid, aviation, telephony. These days its the Internet of everything.

Every time there is a technological revolution, there is an economic revolution that goes with it. Usually an unpleasant one, e.g. the depression in the late 19th century after the Railroad boom; the Great Depression in the 1920s.
posted by storybored at 10:41 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's possible that we might switch models into some sort of feudal militarism, but I struggle to see how it is in the interests of the wealthy to do so.

You're not paying attention; that's exactly what's happening now and the rich are definitely getting richer directly from it. It underlies the message of Trumpism even more than racism or nationalism (see above - his followers are our most willing serfs, wishing to replace the Chinese almost-slave-labor making our goodies). The Children of Billionaires like Trump, the Koches and the Waltons (an ironic family name) are today's Dukes and Lords.

I'm kinda proud that as a mid-to-late Boomer, I was a leader in the trend of being poorer than my parents. But I'm most proud of my commitment (since the early Reagan years) never to contribute to any future generation coming into this sad, sick society.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:42 AM on March 9, 2016


It's possible that we might switch models into some sort of feudal militarism, but I struggle to see how it is in the interests of the wealthy to do so. Therefore I think it's unlikely.

You may see their interests differently than they do:
The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use "social issues" as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats. [source]
See also Kalecki's "Political Aspects of Full Employment," etc.
posted by enn at 10:48 AM on March 9, 2016 [22 favorites]


Any time I try to imagine what the lizard people are thinking and what their motivation is I'm reminded of Chinatown:

Jake Gittes: How much are you worth?
Noah Cross: I have no idea. How much do you want?
Jake Gittes: I just wanna know what you're worth. More than 10 million?
Noah Cross: Oh my, yes!
Jake Gittes: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can't already afford?
Noah Cross: The future, Mr. Gittes! The future.

posted by The Card Cheat at 10:54 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


I can't for the life of me figure out why people in the US talk about basic income as if it were even remotely plausible. Like, our current political system is perfectly content to cut food & medicine benefits for babies.

I think it's plausible for a simple reason: people vote selfishly and the constituency for Basic Income is vastly larger than the constituency for babies (especially if you exclude the babies themselves, who tend not to vote). Steve Randy Waldman has an excellent examination of this issue at length. But basically the argument is that redistributive and welfare-state policies that serve a broad swath of the voting public are politically resilient while policies targeted narrowly at the worst-off are perpetual targets and often fragile. Thus Medicare and Social Security and unemployment insurance still exist despite organized and well-funded efforts to the contrary, while Clintonian Democrats seek political advantage from sacrificing welfare programs directed at the very poor and Medicaid.
posted by enn at 10:57 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


You're not paying attention; that's exactly what's happening now and the rich are definitely getting richer directly from it. It underlies the message of Trumpism even more than racism or nationalism (see above - his followers are our most willing serfs, wishing to replace the Chinese almost-slave-labor making our goodies).

Can you illustrate how it's happening? What are the structural features of feudalism that you see manifest in our society?

Talk of "Trumpism", at this point in time, as evidence of anything, seems odd. Trump will probably win the Republican nomination, but with the lowest party support of any GOP nominee in recent years. He probably won't win the presidency. At this point it's very unclear whether his success is a result of anything but a wide range of contingent local factors. If he wins we will need to discuss the wider implications, but I don't see how his possible victory illustrates your argument at this time.

The Children of Billionaires like Trump, the Koches and the Waltons (an ironic family name) are today's Dukes and Lords.

Just as their families were the Dukes and Lords of 50 and 100 years ago. What do you think has changed? Why do you think capitalism is devolving to feudalism? The evaporation of the American illusion of eternal prosperity is not the same as the thing you're arguing is happening. It would be helpful if you could set out, in specific terms, what changes you are observing that you view as feudalistic, rather than capitalistic.
posted by howfar at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2016


the focus on self-sufficiency as an alternative to the risk of economic instability


It certainly is alluring to think that with a handful of resources and some know-how, you can insulate yourself from the perils of an uncontrollable society. I think this goes a long way toward explaining how the survivalist mentality has dovetailed with the new home economics to give rise to the prepper-Pinterest cultural moment.

It is a tad amusing, however, that the idea of being more self sufficient is being so thoroughly commodified. I wonder how many decades it'll take before Americans lose the idea that they can buy their way to a solution for systemic, societal afflictions.
posted by sobell at 11:13 AM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


So, comparatively speaking, the lizard-people, the top 1%ers

I would say the lizard people start with the top 10%, or about $150,000 per household. Yes, metafilter, the lizard-people are you.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:17 AM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Brands as the new heraldry. Corporate rule. Bleed out of the commons.

Some feudal serfs had it better than the poor today, at least in terms of quality, if not quantity. I'd give up my smart phone for clean air and water.

I'm doing quite well in comparison to my peers, but I have no illusions of how precarious it is.
posted by Strange_Robinson at 11:18 AM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you want to know how the elite really think look at their reaction to the mildest, most milquetoast criticism. Anything less than fawning worship is seen as trying to kidnap their children and put them in chains.
posted by The Whelk at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2016 [14 favorites]


It is a tad amusing, however, that the idea of being more self sufficient is being so thoroughly commodified. I wonder how many decades it'll take before Americans lose the idea that they can buy their way to a solution for systemic, societal afflictions.

The thing is we have never, NEVER had a point ever in society where no single person can be singularly self-sufficient little alone being self-sufficient and maximizing human potential. You go past the first approximation of self-sufficiency and it becomes wildly obvious that anyone who thinks they can be self-sufficient is deluding themselves. There are so many ways nature will happily fuck you for no other purpose than to prove a self-sufficient person wrong.
posted by Talez at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


>I would say the lizard people start with the top 10%, or about $150,000 per household. Yes, metafilter, the lizard-people are you.

Hahahahaha oh good one. My household makes less than 1/3 of that and we're doing better than most of our millennial-cusp peers.
posted by zug at 11:36 AM on March 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Chinese almost-slave-labor making our goodies

That's a little bit of an ugly generalization. China's not some massive horde of compliant slave labor. There's 300 million people that have entered the middle class. There's also thousands of labor protests and "mass incidents" across the country ever year. And just like in the US, there's a lot of concern and anxiety over corruption and the wealth gap.
posted by FJT at 11:41 AM on March 9, 2016


Metafilter: the lizard people are you.

But wait, now I'm confused between lizard people and snake people. Which one do we hate again?

/hisses and slithers away
posted by Existential Dread at 11:48 AM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


the lizard-people are you

Yeah, no.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:58 AM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


One thing about having to work until you're 70 - ageism is coming from the other direction to make sure you can't, or at least can't keep your career.


another thing about having to work until you're 70 - you might not be healthy enough to do it and that's a big problem
posted by pyramid termite at 11:59 AM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


also, people making 150k are still working for someone*, that's the pay for a highly skilled servant, but still a servant, either of a university or law firm or agency or management. That person doesn't own anything important and there's a huge gap between that and say, the couple tens of million plus a year people - I:E the people who own things.

(*OKay maybe some sucessful small business owners but thats an outlier)
posted by The Whelk at 12:02 PM on March 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Snake people are Ted Cruz and ilk.

If not vampire nematode people.
posted by y2karl at 12:06 PM on March 9, 2016


Ha, my husband works for a top university here in Canada in management and we wish he made $150K. That would be sweet.
posted by Kitteh at 12:10 PM on March 9, 2016


I would say the lizard people start with the top 10%, or about $150,000 per household. Yes, metafilter, the lizard-people are you.

LOL maybe in another 10 years, adjusted for inflation. Probably not though, since apparently wages are not ever going to even faux-rise again.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:10 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've been called part of the 1% because I hold down an IT job
posted by thelonius at 12:12 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've been called part of the 1% because I hold down an IT job

Well that's what you get for still using Ask Jeeves
posted by lpcxa0 at 12:15 PM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


also, people making 150k are still working for someone*, that's the pay for a highly skilled servant

the funny thing about "highly skilled," is that, if you are, you are a lot like a race horse or a greyhound. You have a skill, highly developed, but you are completely dependent on that skill. What do you do if no one wants to pay you for your skill, or doesn't want to pay you a highly for your skill? Computer programmers should look at what happened to highly skilled machinists since the 60s. Is the reason why university post-docs and adjuncts are paid half as much as tenured professors because they have half as much skill? Note that $150K per household puts you in the top 10% over the entire US. 90% of households make less than that.

But either way, you are arguing that some people really deserve to make $150K. As if it were a moral question, rather than determined by supply, demand, and most importantly politics. Many lizard-people on metafilter think, of course, those union auto workers were paid too much in the 70s, whereas on Hacker News you can see the same computer programmers complain that the big silicon valley corporations are conspiring to lower their quite high wages. In the 60s, I'm sure machinists and auto workers thought that it was only natural that textile workers should get axed...

At some point you have to argue that, all things considered, most people should be paid about the same. If you believe the distribuition of income should fit a "bell curve" that's essentially what you believe: that all incomes are a random walk away from some starting point.

But the real deal is that most people who are paid a lot are paid because they are managers. They are paid more than most because their job is to make sure everyone else is in line.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:18 PM on March 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Naw I don't think I meant to say that, not particularly, salaries are largely random and class based I think. I said highly skilled cause I was thinking of some of the hard science managers I know but they're like what, .0005% of the population?
posted by The Whelk at 12:22 PM on March 9, 2016


Yes, metafilter, the lizard-people are you.

While we don't have any data on income for Metafilter, I'd be amazed if the majority of members, or even a sizable minority, were making this amount of money. While Metafilter clearly tends wealthier than the population, I think it's easy to make bad inferences about income based on articulacy, intelligence and education.
posted by howfar at 12:22 PM on March 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Is the reason why university post-docs and adjuncts are paid half as much as tenured professors because they have half as much skill?

Now I'm just a graduate student in the social sciences, but I'm pretty sure that the $98,974 median salary that professors earn in the US is a little more than double the typical adjunct's salary, figuring in the $2,700 per course that adjuncts make on average.
posted by clockzero at 12:23 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a boomer. When I was 1st working, I was always considered "too young" and "too inexperienced" to be hired. Now, I'm "too old." Youth is considered a requirement for technical competence, never mind that I'm far more technically astute than most young people in my world, including work. Work and employers can suck, and that's true across the board.

An awful lot of Millennials are responding by getting behind Bernie Sanders. Most encouraging thing I've seen in ages. Pay attention to those Congressional Reps; they're screwing all of us who aren't 1%ers.

Welcome to adulting. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes not so much. Looking forward to seeing what you make of this world.
posted by theora55 at 12:27 PM on March 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


> $150,000 per household. Yes, metafilter, the lizard-people are you.

Not to pile on, but.
posted by lucidium at 12:30 PM on March 9, 2016


> Yes, metafilter, the lizard-people are you.

While we don't have any data on income for Metafilter, I'd be amazed if the majority of members, or even a sizable minority, were making this amount of money.


Of course not; ennui.bz is just stirring up shit, a popular pastime on MetaFilter. So much more rewarding (and easier) than going after the lizard-people.
posted by languagehat at 12:40 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


At some point you have to argue that, all things considered, most people should be paid about the same. If you believe the distribuition of income should fit a "bell curve" that's essentially what you believe: that all incomes are a random walk away from some starting point.

But the real deal is that most people who are paid a lot are paid because they are managers. They are paid more than most because their job is to make sure everyone else is in line.


I can't see how this is in line with reality. A bell curve might make sense if all jobs had exactly the same demands, hours, skills, and geographic distribution. But non-managers who are paid a lot are paid because they have skills that are in demand. Those skills are in demand because there is a market need for the product they produce, and significant profit to be made from that product. Many of these skills require significant upfront investment to acquire, and even more are subject to gatekeeping that limits the number of people with those skills (physicians, with gatekeeping in terms of med schools spots and those that can hack the demands), or limits the jobs to those with the right networks (lawyers and the prestigious schools, white people versus everyone else), or what have you. Yes, your skills may lose their value, but rather than throw people on the ash heap we should prioritize helping people transition to new skills and positions of higher value.

I think it's of minimal use framing the debate as the 90% versus the top 10% of wage earners, when it's the top 1% of assets holders (y'know, wealth v. income and all that) that are setting the policy and framing the debate.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:55 PM on March 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Looking forward to what you make of this world.

When you stop looking at your phone, that is...
posted by y2karl at 1:27 PM on March 9, 2016


namewithoutwords: Everyone complaining (directly or indirectly) about Postroad's comment - Postroad is in his mid-to-late 80s, when he says people much younger than him, he's talking largely about the boomers and possibly even some of their parents.

Oh, believe me, I wasn't complaining. I just think it's amazing that my predecessors in this decidedly white-collar field -- whose time in the sun came after Postroad's but before mine -- all felt that they didn't need a union. Now that IT work is relatively commodified, it's too late.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:29 PM on March 9, 2016


Interesting remarks on mortality there from Mustaine. I've been pondering it a lot recently (now in my 40s, I've accepted that the party won't last forever and my youth is over). The bottom line is, whether you're Bowie, Scott Weiland, Dave Mustaine or a local bar band frontman, you're going to be mostly forgotten in very short order after you die. Tell me the 10 most famous musicians and actors in the year 1880. What I'm getting at is, the chances of one's art being as "immortal" as Shakespeare or da Vinci are extremely slim.

I accept that my creative work will never even be famous enough in the first place to be forgotten. The best thing you can do is accept that inevitability and enjoy life while it's happening. And I'm having a blast. I'll go when I have to, but for now I'm kicking and screaming while my legs and lungs still work. :)
posted by ktoad at 1:41 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would say the lizard people start with the top 10%, or about $150,000 per household. Yes, metafilter, the lizard-people are you.

That kinda money don't buy real power or influence. Hell, even a lot of the top 1% probably can't buy real power or influence. The Lizard People are the top 0.01%.
posted by fimbulvetr at 1:47 PM on March 9, 2016


eclectist, I disagree:

This is one of those things that I come more to grips with as I get older: history only teaches us lessons if we learn. There are actors, political movers, that are still alive who are far, far more 'to blame' than others. Let's not let them off the hook; let's not let them slink into obscurity while multiple generations pay for their hubris; let's put a finger in their chests, drive them against the wall, get in their fuckin' faces and say 'You did this. You. And you, and your crazy, flawed ideals, are to blame for the outcome.' I'm all for moving forward rather than obsessing about the past, but there is value in accountability.

What are you doing about it?

The only proper answer for this, right now, is vote.


Of course there are people who are more responsible, more greedy, more privileged, as there always have been. That's always been true. What's different now is that we, all of us, have a little more knowledge than before -- and we can act on it. What we can do is just a little bit of talking, persuading, and considering how to talk and persuade so that people will actually listen. What we can do is pay attention to -- and encourage others to pay attention to -- details that "the public" ignored in the past: voting districts, framing of rhetoric, avenues for discourse.

What we can do is not give up on other people just because they are difficult to communicate with -- difficult is not the same as impossible. What we can do is stop assuming that the way to make things better is to just vote for the right leader, or defeat "the other side" -- what we can do is figure out how to do very very difficult things.

What we can do is stop talking about the present like it's evidence that people being in conflict and pain is inevitable. What we can do is _more_ than voting hoping for the best. What we can do is actually put a fraction of the effort into our communities that others have put in, who have sacrificed their time and safety and career advancement and couch time and reading list to make individual tiny differences that added up to so many of us being educated and emotionally more intelligent than some of our grandparents.


What we can do is find something different to do this election so it doesn't become yet another part of the cycle of history, because we know enough, and we can disseminate information cleverly enough, and we understand genuine kindness enough, to actually make a difference.
posted by amtho at 1:57 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


the funny thing about "highly skilled," is that, if you are, you are a lot like a race horse or a greyhound. You have a skill, highly developed, but you are completely dependent on that skill. What do you do if no one wants to pay you for your skill, or doesn't want to pay you a highly for your skill?

Netflix is often held up as a total disruptor in HR practices and hiring, and one of the things that makes my blood run cold about them goes back to this anecdote:
One Netflix manager requested a PIP for a quality assurance engineer named Maria, who had been hired to help develop our streaming service. The technology was new, and it was evolving very quickly. Maria’s job was to find bugs. She was fast, intuitive, and hardworking. But in time we figured out how to automate the QA tests. Maria didn’t like automation and wasn’t particularly good at it. Her new boss (brought in to create a world-class automation tools team) told me he wanted to start a PIP with her.

I replied, “Why bother? We know how this will play out. You’ll write up objectives and deliverables for her to achieve, which she can’t, because she lacks the skills. Every Wednesday you’ll take time away from your real work to discuss (and document) her shortcomings. You won’t sleep on Tuesday nights, because you’ll know it will be an awful meeting, and the same will be true for her. After a few weeks there will be tears. This will go on for three months. The entire team will know. And at the end you’ll fire her. None of this will make any sense to her, because for five years she’s been consistently rewarded for being great at her job—a job that basically doesn’t exist anymore. Tell me again how Netflix benefits?

“Instead, let’s just tell the truth: Technology has changed, the company has changed, and Maria’s skills no longer apply. This won’t be a surprise to her: She’s been in the trenches, watching the work around her shift. Give her a great severance package—which, when she signs the documents, will dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the chance of a lawsuit.” In my experience, people can handle anything as long as they’re told the truth—and this proved to be the case with Maria.
Note that what happens here is that the HR head (who was, herself, later removed from her role) decided for the manager that "fast, intuitive and hardworking" were of less benefit to the company than a specific skill at a specific time.

The HR maven at Netflix literally could not conceive of the idea that perhaps people who are fast, intuitive and hardworking could learn to excel at more than one skill. And she's putting this "Thinking people, pah! What you need are skill sets with respiratory systems attached!" idea out there like it's a good thing.

Referring to workers purely by what skills they can bring is a great way to make sure you never, ever think of them as people who can adapt or expand in new situations. It encourages a disposable-person mentality.
posted by sobell at 2:06 PM on March 9, 2016 [25 favorites]


I'm make between 1/3 and 1/2 of 150,000 combined household income. I've reached median pay for my position across the country. I'm not sure what to do. The nextstep is getting a PHD, but honestly the job prospects won't make up for the years of lost income and stability.


My friends are experiencing a kind of poverty unknown to the middle class before now. a Transient, inconsistent jobs that don't require skill but do require people. The work force is over saturated and expendable. Nothing can be stable so people are making safety cushions by increasing the number of working adults (and families) in a household decreasing child birth rates.

In addition people are juggling more than one job.

These problems aren't new, because there had been a working class and immigrant population for a long time in this country. They are new to people who concider themselves middle class.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:37 PM on March 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Perhaps, amtho, and I hope so. But there is still a seething part of me that wants to force Grover Norquist to live in a very small town in Brownback's Kansas - and tell him to get a job, feed his family, send his kids to school, have a life. See what life in 'his world' is like.
posted by eclectist at 2:53 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


ask the Quakers how well thier anti slavery business pets went

Not too badly, really; considering that all of these examples employed thousands of people and lasted for over 100 years each.
posted by scruss at 3:02 PM on March 9, 2016


Eclecticist, I'd watch that reality show
posted by rhizome at 3:04 PM on March 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


That's fair, eclectist, and I'm honestly too upset most of the time to think clearly about this stuff. It's not like *I'm* doing any of the things I listed (except pondering). Yet. But I think it's time for both of us to apply our minds to other options.
posted by amtho at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2016


The Lizard People are the top 0.01%.

I tried to estimate this with google. I asked google "how many people in the united states routinely travel by private jet". If the answer was in there on the results page I could not find it. corporate jet investor . com says there are 12 000 private jets in the country. The guys in the BePowers club share a resource like this. How many? Let's say 10 for a first guess. That means 120 000 people in the United States travel by private jet. 120 000 / three hundred million is more like .04 percent. But if every two and a half of them control a private jet that would be .01 percent.

How would you estimate this number?
posted by bukvich at 3:49 PM on March 9, 2016


Just pulling it out of my ass, I'd speculate that 0.01% might overlap nicely with the old-money community. That's like 30,000 people.
posted by rhizome at 3:52 PM on March 9, 2016


(who was, herself, later removed from her role)

Ugh, that article.
The best way she could explain the separation is like a romantic breakup: "Have you ever broken up with somebody?" asked McCord. "Would you tell a complete stranger what happened on that day?"
and
So I called her up. I'm like, what part of this is a surprise? … And she goes, yeah, but, you know, I've worked really hard; this is really unfair. I'm like, and you're crying? She's like, yeah. I'm like, will you dry your tears and hold your head up and go be from Netflix? You're the—why do you think you're the last one here—'cause you're the best. You're incredibly good at what you do. We just don't need you to do it anymore.
and
"We did it in a way where I had a lot of dignity, the company knew all about it, it wasn’t a big freak-out, I didn’t disappear in the night," she explained. "We did it like the grown-ups that we are and that’s part of the culture."
Did it like grown-ups? Hold your head up and go be from Netflix? Fuck you, it's as if you've never heard of dependents, financial responsibilities, needing to pay the rent and care for a sick child and feed yourself. That's why people get upset, not because you're "breaking up with them." Urgh. Hope you get a chance to learn what it's like to be a human someday, HR drone.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:10 PM on March 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


Yeah, sorry, but no. Zoning and safety regulations in the construction industry are generally a good thing. Their removal would for the most part only serve to benefit the rich developer fuckos who are part of the root cause of all this shit.

So this is really misinformed. There's a big difference between building codes and zoning codes. The first one saves people from fires, the second one keeps the 'wrong' kind of people out of your town and creates useless parking.

Also, the idea that the real estate development industry is uniformly evil is as naive as it gets. Are you going to save 100% of the build price of your first home and then manage the contractors to build it?

generational privilege

This is really what it's about (besides badly written retread pieces). The boons of the boomers were because socialism was outside the walls and a recently returned military-trained populace was inside them. The politicos decided to keep them happy.

This generation doesn't have that kind of leverage.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:36 PM on March 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I can't for the life of me figure out why people in the US talk about basic income as if it were even remotely plausible.

-Bernie Sanders on Basic Income[*]
-Millennials have a higher opinion of socialism than of capitalism
-Millennials Outnumber Baby Boomers and Are Far More Diverse[*]
-The Liberal Millennial Revolution[*]
Because Generation Y is the largest generation in American history, it's a big deal if it remains one of the most liberal generations ever. But there's a huge, inescapable problem with the viability of Millennial politics today: Young people just don't vote... If you want a revolution, you have to vote for it. Not just every four years. Not just for cool candidates. Not just for political outsiders unsullied by the soot of experience. If young people want a liberal revolution, they have to vote again and again and again, in local elections, midterm elections, and presidential contests.
-Guaranteed income's moment in the sun[*]
Imagine this headline: “House of Representatives approves proposal for guaranteed annual income by wide margin.” The passage of that kind of social welfare measure sounds wholly implausible today, but, in fact, the House did pass such a bill in April of 1970 by a vote of 243 to 155. The measure, The New York Times reported, “establishes for the first time the principle that the Government should guarantee every family a minimum annual income.”

The story did not ultimately have a happy ending for advocates of guaranteed annual income (“GAI”) — the bill died in the Senate. But the fact that it received serious support and consideration in mainstream political circles is a testament to how radically the bounds of political debate have shifted since that time, and raises several crucial questions:

What allowed for GAI to be considered seriously by both Republicans and Democrats in the late-1960s and early 1970s? Why would the chances for a GAI proposal be so bleak today? And why are the answers to those questions critical to the outcome of virtually every other domestic public policy issue that exists today? ... Remapping Debate found that GAI proposals were given room to breathe in a social and political environment that took seriously the values of citizenship and mutual obligation, and that accepted the fact that social problems could be — indeed, should be — solved by governments.
also btw :P
-It's Time to Take the Economy Away From the Central Bankers
-Guaranteed Basic Income as the Perfection Of Neofeudal Serfdom
-Goldman Sachs: Death Of Capitalism Averted, Time For Working Schlubs to Partaay!

Article in the Guardian UK today on the importance of Trump's economic messages in creating his popularity, seems rather relevant here (and something I've been trying to explain to people for weeks, ahem). Yes he's a boorish bigot. But what people are responding to is his consistent economic messages.

Reviving the Working Class Without Building Walls - "On the wrong side of globalization, workers supporting Donald Trump have embraced his proposals. But there are better ways to make things better... The government could set itself up as an employer of last resort."[*]
posted by kliuless at 5:49 PM on March 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


I always know in a thread like this Empress can be counted on to defend us Xers!
posted by persona au gratin at 12:24 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


There was one statistic that came up that the (boomer aged) presenter gave that 43% of millennials would quite their jobs if their employers demanded they delete their Facebook profile. He paused at this and pointed it out to all, in frank incomprehension of their bizarre priorities. Not really reflecting on the notion that a) millennial don't really use Facebook and b) an employer who feels entitled enough to make that kind of demand probably has a pretty shitty understanding of boundaries.
I'd start shopping around if my employer thought they could tell me to delete my Facebook profile and I don't even have a Facebook profile.


Another millenial.

I couldn't care less about my Facebook profile - I mainly use it for ranting and pestering people who post things I find a bit silly - but for me the issue about boundaries is spot on. If I apply for a normal IT job that has no legitimate reason to meddle in that aspect of my personal life (and there are some legitimate reasons; for instance, some employees of defence contractors probably shouldn't be using LinkedIn, and it might be better for active-duty military not to be on Facebook at all) and I'm expected to delete my Facebook account, or heaven forbid provide my password to my employer, I'm likely to respond with a middle finger. Reasonable requests from an employer are fine, but some things that companies get away with are really ridiculous. Want me to work $excessive hours? Fine, and you'll pay me accordingly. Complain that my shirt isn't the right shade of white? Go fuck yourself.

I think half the reason I'm barely-employed is that so often employers see a job they're offering as God's gift or something, and expect me to be appropriately grateful. But it's a fiction I just can't play along with.

The other thing makes me look quite askew at the whole blame-millenials attitude is that I'm a millenial who would kill to be more productive, but health issues get in the way. There isn't any laziness here, just problems I haven't been able to solve yet. And I think that a lot of other millenials think similarly - they'd kill to get decent work, but the economy has changed under their feet, and they're left with the same feeling as me: "well, this is a bit shit but I have no idea what to do about it."
posted by iffthen at 1:03 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Bit of a story here about how this generation thing and Metafilter came into my work today.

Currently my job consists of moving a small factory from a paper sales, production and inventory system to a digital one. In production we have three main areas and it's being rolled out in three phases.

Part of it involves taking a stock software system and working with the developers to make customizations for our particular situation. A few unforseen issues have come up, a couple of which have taken longer then the initial schedule to work out. We are about two weeks behind, which considering everything in my mind and my direct managers mind because we know the ins and out of it all is reasonable.

Yesterday CEO comes in, a CEO who has consistently put off regular update meetings as 'not necessary', demands answers, doesn't really listen to answers, says this isn't working, takes the project plan and literally X's out the last phase in one whole department. Why? Because 'those people aren't capable of learning it. CEO then proceeds to talk about 'this generation..lazy, ungrateful, unprofessional, uneducated(what?) and blah blah blah'. It was like this thread came to life. I actually sat there and thought of this thread as I was also trying to figure out how the leap was made in their head from reasons that software configuration has taken longer to this, a department phase that I haven't even touched yet and a rant about people and generations. This is a solution? It was wonderland bizzaro world.

It got better though. CEO says all this, I'm all 'wha? wtf is going on here' in my head and CEO says 'Jalli, you're on the front line, you work with these people, you see it, you agree right?" I'm just staring at the X and trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with this now because the system won't work properly if it's only partially implemented and I need to explain that somehow and they demanded again that I agree about 'those people'.

"No I don't agree." And in my head I said a lot of other things because wow, not only weird, but completely and utterly insulting.

CEO gets super perturbed at my not agreeing. Their disgust at my lack of understanding what they know is apparent with face and body language and says, I'm not joking "Well this is why I am a CEO, I know these things about people and no CEO anywhere would put up with not having something done when it's said it's going to be done."

I just back off because with whatever the heck this about it's not getting sorted now. Logical discussion has left the building and taken an overseas vacation. Maybe they read something on Facebook about Millenials last night or something because honestly it made no sense whatsoever. Even less sense due to the fact that the people in that department would fall into multiple generations, including theirs. Heck the leads are the same age!

The X is still there and here I am up at 4am because my brain won't stop trying to figure out what the hell I'm going to do at work today to sort this all out. This isn't the first time they've expressed their contempt and frustration about 'those people'. It's something that employees are well aware of and just deal with and work around because sometime your boss just stinks and you suck it up. Never heard this generational expression of it before though.

Just astounding.

I really need to get out of that place...
posted by Jalliah at 2:42 AM on March 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm 42, Gen X, but I have a younger brother who is 30.

I was unemployed and underemployed between 2006-2011. I had plenty of conversations with my boomer parents who made lots of bootstrap comments about how to get a job. My stepdad is a (now retired) heart surgeon and my mother hasn't worked since my brother was born. They truly have no idea how difficult it is to apply for jobs, where you're firing resumes off into the abyss of online application forms, and maybe a human set of eyes might review your resume, if it's one of the first few in the inbox.

However, my brother graduated from college with a construction management degree right in the middle of the economic collapse. It took him 3 years of hard searching to get a job, while my parents supported him. That really clued them into the challenges facing younger generations today.

But still, when my brother mentioned some employees his age who had joined the company and subsequently left because the company expected 50-60 hour weeks (no overtime, salaried), my parents made the comment of, "They just didn't want to work."

I truly don't understand why they think it's ok for employers to overwork people. I know they are both hard-ass chest-thumping about hard work, but I can't wrap my brain around why they think it's ok for the company to take advantage of their own son.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:34 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Whenever I come across something Y-related, I can't but think of Zygmunt Bauman, the author of the concept of 'liquid modernity'. Although it really resonates also with X. Here's a quote from his book "Liquid Times" (p. 14):

The messages addressed from the sites of political power to the resourceful and the hapless alike present 'more flexibility' as the sole cure for an already unbearable insecurity - and so paint the prospect of yet more uncertainty, yet more privatization of troubles, yet more loneliness and impotence, and indeed more uncertainty still. They preclude the possibility of existential security which rests on collective foundations and so offer no inducement to solidary actions; instead, they encourage their listeners to focus on their individual survival in the style of 'everyone for himself, and the devil take the hindmost' - in an incurably fragmented and atomized, and so increasingly uncertain and unpredictable world.
posted by sapagan at 7:07 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


That kinda money [$150 k per year] don't buy real power or influence. Hell, even a lot of the top 1% probably can't buy real power or influence. The Lizard People are the top 0.01%.

$150k per year can bring you a pretty nice life, and if you believe that you owe this nice life to the current way of things, you are going to defend the status quo and vote against change. You may also buy into the myth that everyone could have done as well as you if they'd only applied themselves. (and that you yourself still could climb higher)

So for every one of the Lizard People in your 0.01%, there's maybe hundreds of minions at/above $150k who have got their back.

Closer to the theme of the OP - singling out Gen X or Gen Y is victim-blaming. Don't hate the player, hate the game. Transport Gen Y back to the 1950s - they'd do just as well as the boomers did.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:58 AM on March 10, 2016


Remember that 150,000 is household income. Which can be two people working at 75,000 or two people working at 30,000 and 120,000 or one person making the whole amount. Add dependants and daycare costs, you would be making it, but life wouldnt be all that much better or stable.

So 150 k doesn't bring power. I mean it can get you the conmfortable things, nice house in a "good" neighborhood, car per working person, items of status (clothing ect). It doesn't give you political power, and it doesn't make your rich.

The wealth gap is so wide, they many of us could make double of what we make now and it wouldn't really improve the quality of our lives. It just takes us out of wading water in the deep end to standing on the shallow side. Still wet still struggling and it is so easy to fall.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:39 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


> $150k per year can bring you a pretty nice life, and if you believe that you owe this nice life to the current way of things, you are going to defend the status quo and vote against change. You may also buy into the myth that everyone could have done as well as you if they'd only applied themselves. (and that you yourself still could climb higher)

Weasel phrases highlighted. "If you live in New York, you may live on the Upper East Side, and if you have a nice apartment there you may well hate and fear the lower classes and minorities!" "If you are on MetaFilter, you very likely have a computer, so you are probably better off than most people, and you probably support Republicans!" What a fun game! This is total horseshit; you are simply enabling the lizard-people by confusing the issue in this fashion. Please stop it.
posted by languagehat at 12:51 PM on March 10, 2016


There was a story in the past few years about how much it actually costs to buy influence in DC (much less state/local). It was under $10K. It may have been related to some political science work in gaming out influence techniques a couple of years ago.

So, I'd say $150K certainly wouldn't be enough to buy you an empty shopping list, but if you feel strongly about something that salary can get you heard.
posted by rhizome at 1:03 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


languagehat: Weasel phrases highlighted. This is total horseshit; you are simply enabling the lizard-people by confusing the issue in this fashion.

How? if I wasn't clear, I'm just suggesting that $150k is more than enough to create complacency and fear of change, and if this collective fear is expressed in the voting booth, that's power. The power to maintain the status quo.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:19 PM on March 11, 2016


Collective fear has nothing to do with income or property. You are using hypotheticals to try and confuse the issue by pretending it's not about the very rich using the fear of the little people. Which it is.
posted by languagehat at 8:13 AM on March 12, 2016


I'm NOT pretending it's not about the very rich. Nor am I painting hypotheticals.

SOMEBODY's voting against the change you want... who are they and why are they opposing change? You have to understand them to win them over. What's your plan?

Rhetoric, pitchforks and torches won't do it, and you don't yet have the raw material for a genuine revolution.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:12 AM on March 12, 2016


I guess we basically agree, except for your bizarre insistence on framing it in terms of people making $150k per year, which makes no sense to me and others, but I don't really care, I guess.
posted by languagehat at 11:31 AM on March 12, 2016


I also suspect we actually are on the same side of the issue. I commented initially because I thought someone was trying to exonerate the $150+k households of any responsibility or blame for the current situation.

Adjusting for inflation, Mrs C and I did get close to that range in our salad days. It's nicer than being strapped or poor, if anyone is curious about it. I can imagine how hard it would be to voluntarily put that at risk by voting for an economic shakeup.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:50 PM on March 12, 2016


I probably squandered $200,000 on tobacco in my life. At least. The smart thing to do in life is to learn from someone else's mistakes.....

*aims for $300,000*
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:44 PM on March 13, 2016




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