September 22, 2012

Breaking News: "Some parents help their adult children financially, while others do not."

The New York Times covers a hot new development:
From Parents, a Living Inheritance 
Some parents help their adult children financially, while others do not. 

Really?
… In certain respects, it’s bewildering that this is our current state of affairs. How can it be that the more tuition costs rise, the fewer opportunities there seem to be for educated people in their 20s and 30s to move seamlessly into jobs that offer health insurance and pay enough to cover their living expenses? … 
When I suggested to Mr. O’Brien that all of this parental assistance might strike people as so much coddling, he responded swiftly with a barnyard epithet. Things are different now, he noted. When he went to work for Bell Labs in 1969, his $16,000 salary was enough to afford a $32,000 family-size home in New Jersey. Today, that home would cost $500,000. 
These parents don’t deliver the usual platitudes about the next generation doing better than the last. They’re merely trying to guard against downward mobility, which is a natural instinct. 
But many young adults don’t have families that can cushion their entry into adulthood. … 
Alexandra Kimball, a 34-year-old Canadian writer, has seen this predicament from two starkly different sides. Her essay in the online magazine Hazlitt about trying to make it as a young journalist has been ricocheting around the Web for the last month, and reading it forever changed the way I will look at every résumé I see. 
… A surprise inheritance allowed her to retire her debt and pursue her chosen field. In an instant, everything changed. 

Reviewing a recent adaptation of Jane Eyre (which has a happy ending when Jane receives a surprise inheritance, allowing her to marry Mr. Rochester on equal terms),, I noted that this kind of thing comes up in contemporary movies and novels a lot less than it does in either 19th Century novels or in real life. If you read Dear Abby-type advice columns, however, you'll see that most of the letters are from people in family squabbles, either over weddings or over resource divvying issues.

But, our fictional and inspirational lives instead seem to be still dominated by a dream of rugged individualism that is increasingly out of date in a crowded, expensive country.

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surely part of the problem is that the country is wealthier so there are a lot more parents of adult children who are actually in a position to help their kids.

So that help will tend to bid up the price of college and the price of buying a house in a nice neighborhood.

SFG said...

It's conservatives who keep flogging this rugged invidividualism scheisse. The rich just sequester their earnings or send it overseas to chase low wages.

ErisGuy said...

As I recall, _Jane Eyre_ ends with Mr. Rochester blind and mutilated living in the ruins of his burned-down mansion. I think if I wished that end on someone, they would not deem it "happy."

Anonymous said...

Coming out of law school 8 years ago, I made $125K at a big firm in Philly. Great money for a 24-year old rookie lawyer, but home prices in OK neighborhoods not particularly close to work started at $400K. I moved to NC, took a mild pay cut and bought a house for half the money that was 15 minutes from the office. Point being, not everywhere is that crowded and expensive, and the relationship between earning potential and cost of living is not uniform throughout the country.

Anonymous said...

This is getting into the realm of some pretty serious anthropological differences between the Occidental and the Oriental approaches to child-rearing, and, beyond that, really between their underlying philosophies as to the very purpose of the family in the first place.

It's obviously of interest [fascination even] to HBD-ers, but if you're going to broach the subject, then you better be prepared for the Scots-Irish crowd to show up and start screaming "Anti-Presbyterianism!!!" at the top of their lungs.

PS: Early Emmanuel Todd [Explanation of Ideology: Family Structure & Social System, 1983] set the standard here.

Georgia Resident said...

Although not perfectly comparable, there is an increasing similarity, in terms of the prerequisites for social and economic advancement (at least among whites), between the US today and 18th-19th century England. At that time, if you wished to have even a middle-class existence in England, you had to have connections and family support. The American colonies were different, because it was possible to become economically independent through one's own hard work and ingenuity (thanks in large part to high wages and low land prices), but this has largely disappeared today. Hence, the modern obsession with "networking". A lot of the reason why college students take internships is to cultivate connections that they can use later to land a middle-class career.

Cail Corishev said...

When I was growing up in the 80s, a constant concern was how older people would survive on their pittance of Social Security. We were constantly told that SS wasn't nearly enough to live on, so old folks who didn't have some sort of nest egg would end up living with their kids or in a crappy nursing home. Scads of old people were about to starve if we didn't do something.

Things sure have changed. Thanks to SS/Medicare/Medicaid and inflated real estate and stock market prices over the past couple decades, we now have 80-year-old widows living alone in nice homes and having busy social lives. Good for them, but it's turned the usual dynamic upside down. The elderly used to depend on their kids, usually living with or near them and tacitly trading wisdom and childcare assistance for room and board.

Now that's not necessary for most, so people keep their nice separate houses and private lives; but as a result, the family doesn't have as much to throw away on status symbols like college degrees. And the 70-year-old widow with some mutual funds, her husband's military pension, and various government checks, may very well be financially more secure than her 45-year-old son with a wife and three kids.

Anonymous said...

The lawyer makes a point....

The only people who make money in the US are...Lawyers.

125 K for a rookie lawyer is insane considering my PHD friends in Engineering (smartest people I know, hardest working as well, and people who contribute most to the well-being of society) were getting offers for 70-90K.

Not one of my friends from high school asian or white became an engineer or a doctor (useful things to society.) Every single one became...a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Mock the libertarians if you wish, but they have always emphasized that whatever government subsidizes goes up in price. Big Ed doesn't see the immediate impact of their price gouging, a student up to his neck in debt will not appear exhausted from after school work, or hungry from forgoing meals, his sufferings are not immediate but deferred, instead he will postpone home ownership, delay marriage and have fewer children, but luckily for the administrators that will be happening after the kids have left campus. The student is partially to blame, but then again college financial aid departments aren't exactly stressing that future burdens will be very heavy and when have they ever discourage a kid from being a fine arts major because the market seems bleak for graduates in that field. Lefty college admins certainly have great respect for the "whatever the market will bear" doctrine - especially when it comes to middle class white kids.

I won't retread the sad fact that NAMs have basically taken over all the part time and seasonal work that high school and college kids used to do. White parents are to blame also, and on this point I have to agree with Katie Roiphe, why does every kid need to go to DisneyWorld? Give the kids a little deprivation - they should have some hardship stories to pass down - "we only ate generic cereal", "I was 18 before I ever flew on an airplane", "I bought my sneakers at the supermarket", etc.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Suffered Its Worst Airpower Loss Since Vietnam Last Week and No One Really Noticed

...the devastating damage done to VMA-211, the name of the Marine Corps attack squadron that was most affected last week... is "arguably the worst day in [U.S. Marine Corps] aviation history since the Tet Offensive of 1968." Or you could go back even further. "The last time VMA-211 was combat ineffective was in December 1941, when the squadron was wiped out during the 13-day defense of Wake Island against the Japanese...

Franklin Winthrop IV said...

"Reviewing a recent adaptation of Jane Eyre (which has a happy ending when Jane receives a surprise inheritance, allowing her to marry Mr. Rochester on equal terms)..."

Dreadful Steve, perfectly dreadful! I was just in the process of reading this very novel over tea times in my summer cottage in the Hamptons, and now you've gone and sullied the whole enterprise. A pox upon thee!

Soren said...

This area can be one where the good-natured helpfulness of whites can backfire. I've known many a child of upper-middle class means who failed to move through the path of graduating college and getting a career. Many were incredibly wasteful with money, and wouldn't last a second on their own.

In my case, I came from lower-middle class means. My father had come from a long line of farmers, and made it clear that I would have to put myself through college, and would be expected to make it on my own.

It was definitely harder, having to work weekends and summers in college while the other students I knew partied it up.

But it definitely created a drive to do work hard and do well, so that I wouldn't be stuck working so damn hard at shit jobs for the rest of my life.

I don't think I had anywhere near as much fun in my young adult years as most of the people I knew, but virtually none of them have gone anywhere near as far in terms of their careers or salary by middle age as I have, either.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my previous rant: Has any great scientist, inventor or engineer (or poet, or philosopher) attributed his inspiration to DisneyWorld as opposed to say Jules Verne, H.G. Wells or even Gene Roddenberry? Take the kids to a local amusement park and save the airfare and hotel expenses for the future. Canned fun is grossly overrated.

Anonymous said...

Point being, not everywhere is that crowded and expensive, and the relationship between earning potential and cost of living is not uniform throughout the country.

The main problem is that entry-level jobs basically don't exist anymore.

Anonymous said...

Inspiration can be found for free at the library or a $50.00 gift certificate to amazon. An interesting list of where great minds get their inspiration at a low cost/no cost.

http://dvice.com/archives/2012/05/10-current-tech.php

anony-mouse said...

Why would anyone want to live in an expensive NJ?

If this guy went to work at Bell Labs 43 years ago shouldn't he be retired by now? Why doesn't he sell his expensive NJ home, move somewhere nicer, warmer and less expensive?

Some of that money could be used to provide a start for his kid, too. ND?

This is one of the puzzling things about Americans. People complain about the cost of living in place A, but would never think of moving to place B that they must know is less expensive. Just as they shell out huge sums for their kids private colleges in other states, when they could pay for less expensive public colleges nearby.

JerseyGuy said...

Steve,
Here is an interesting article from the NYT above the rise of "micro-apartments":

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/realestate/living-large-in-tiny-spaces.html?_r=1#comments

I'm so glad I moved back to the suburbs recently because we know where this will lead: A micro apartment will now rent for what a studio used to, a studio will rent for what a 1 bedroom used to, etc.

You'll notice that one important item missing from these new, hip micro-apartments: families. Speaking with an older woman recently, she told me that her asset manager daughter and her husband decided to raise their family in Manhattan. However, this upper middle class couple could only afford to have one daughter and they don't plan on having anymore children. I graduated from high school in the Northern NJ suburbs in 2002. In my graduating class of a little over 300 students, there were very few "only childs", no more than 10-15 in my class. In fact, there were vastly more students who came from families of three or more children than familes with only one child. The suburbs were still affordable in the Northeast in the 80s and 90s when we grew up. Now, everyone is my age bracket moved to cities after college and it has had a huge impact on fertility rates, especially for the upper middle class. Dysgenic fertility anyone?

Anonymous said...

...and now for the weather: It's either going to rain tomorrow or it's not.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off-topic, but I think this is some interesting commentary on contemporary relations between parents and children:

http://redroom.com/member/matthew-biberman/blog/the-saturn-myth-explained-or-sht-my-dad-says-vs-big-sid%E2%80%99s-vincati

What is missing from our public conversation is any recognition of the logical antithetical myth to Oedipus. I call it the Saturn myth. Saturn, as you may recall, is warned that he will be defeated by one of his children. In order to prevent this prophecy from coming true, Saturn attempts to eat all his children. In the Oedipus myth, the son internalizes the father in order to enter adulthood; in the Saturn myth, the father colonizes the son in attempt to stall the march of time and cling to power. In an Oedipal transaction, the father gives way to the son; in Saturnine engagement the son remains subservient to the father.

...

consider the fate of two books, both repped by the same agent (the wonderful Byrd Leavell), mine—Big Sid’s Vincati, and the other Justin Halpern’s Shit My Dad Says. Mine sunk while Justin’s Shit floated to the top of the Times Nonfiction list. It seems like an odd comparison but consider: mine tells the story of how my father ended up broke and living in the son's house. Justin’s tells the story of how he, the young son, ended up having to move back home because he was a failure. We don’t like hearing about how fathers fail. But we love hearing about sons failing, especially when the father fixes everything. In mine, father and son work together to create something neither could do on their own— a one of kind motorcycle, a real achievement and celebrated as such by the motorcycling community. The hook of Justin’s book is that the son ends up simply transcribing as tweets Shit his Dad says. Nothing is created by the son. The son simply serves as a conduit for the amusing wisdom of the father ("He is awesome. I just write down shit that he says" is the ad copy). Piles of money follow. Shit my Dad Says is the perfect illustration of the Saturn Myth—the father endures and saves the son from failure... And it reflects the zeitgeist. Oedipus is out. Saturn rules.

Carol said...

I guess the point of that story was to make Romney look stupid for suggesting intra-family loans. But at the end the family whose mutual savings plan is financing educations of the extended family members looks awfully smart.

Overall, maybe it's a *good thing* if families hang together rather than break away to pursue individual fulfillment? Or maybe by pulling together they end up helping themselves reach such fulfillment?

It seems like modern mores are tailored to the whims of the rebellious artiste rather than ordinary people.

Anonymous said...

"But, our fictional and inspirational lives instead seem to be still dominated by a dream of rugged individualism that is increasingly out of date in a crowded, expensive country."

No, by hugged individyalism.

Rugged individualism means your freedom has to be tempered by necessity of survival. You're free but also responsible for your freedom. This is why the men in RED RIVER are so tough and disciplined and work together well. They are free individuals with lots of responsibility.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rANln-PpwxA

Now, we have hugged individualism without any responsibility. Why? Safety nets and ideology of victimhood. So, if you do bad drugs, get pregnant early, skip out on your kids, gamble your money away, or end up with debt by overspending--as a result of IRRESPONSIBLE freedom--, you are a victim and government should bail you out--like it bailed out Wall Street.

Pat Buchanan's father was a rugged individualist. He worked hard, took responsibility for his own actions, raised 9 kids, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hardworking, cooperative, and responsible rugged individualists.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxGGdlQrrA8

http://youtu.be/f6uU_8Fe2E4

Rugs had a sense of honor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui1Mnvdj24I

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/09/21/onshoring-gains-momentum/

Anonymous said...

Natural selection is alive and well. Those who see the role of their own life as subservient to the interest of their DNA accrue an advantage over those who don't, over each successive generation. Adapt or die off.

Perhaps one of the more helpful things a parent can do is to inoculate their children against Ayn Rand by providing some counterpoints up front before they get sucked in.

peterike said...

How can it be that the more tuition costs rise, the fewer opportunities there seem to be for educated people in their 20s and 30s to move seamlessly into jobs that offer health insurance and pay enough to cover their living expenses?

Oh how can it be, poor befuddled Times writer! Perhaps the social, cultural and economic thought pimped out by the NY Times itself lo these many decades has a wee bit to answer for in this case .

sunbeam said...

I wish Sid Meier would make a game called "Dynasty."

Instead of building civilizations you make family dynasties and accumulate wealth and power. You can do it politically, religously, legally, economically, whatever.

You can put in all these childhood investment theories, and see what stands the test of time.

Tertius Lydgate said...

" Anonymous said...
Coming out of law school 8 years ago"

The law education bubble has since popped, leaving many the class of 2009 and beyond not only indebted but jobless for the forceable future.

As my millennial compatriots hit adulthood, there is a definite positive relationship emerging between the size of one's trust fund and a choice of a creative career. This also emerges in the choice to attend private law school or medical school vs. the public option.

I don't think I know of anyone my age or similar with a home-mortgage yet. I am self-sufficient in the sense that I cover my own costs, but I cannot dream of affording the downpayment on a condo let alone a house for many years (too bad it is not 2006).

I suppose I could move to North Dakota, or Baltimore. For now, every month my income is sucked away by rent for an overpriced studio.

Ed said...

I'll be blunt. There was an enormous amount of economic growth in the U.S., and actually the world, between the end of World War II, and depending on how you count things and who is doing the counting and what point they are trying to make, some date between 1973 and 2008.

As a result, for several decades after World War II it was remarkably easy by historical standards for people entering the labor force to get not only a job, but a job that paid them enough to buy a house, get married, etc. It should be needless to mention that housing prices and tuition expenses were lower than now. They didn't need support from their parents. The younger generations tended to be wealthier than their parents.

The attitude of "rugged individualism" Steve talks about dates from this period, and entirely from this period. It hasn't completely gone away because people who came of age in these years are still alive and still holding power and in the business of forming opinions. But the attitude that children should go off early, at least post college (if not "work their way through college"!) and set up on their own dates entirely from a handful of decades where it was possible to do just that. As Steve implies, that is the historical norm.

At the same time, starting with the 1930s the federal government moved to end a serious problem of old age poverty with a variety of programs that successfully effectively gave the elderly a minimum income and standard of living. It also tried this approach for the rest of the poor, but largely failed.

Needless to say most Americans are in a situation where the older generations are wealthier than their children or grandchildren. Because life expectancies for the elderly have been pushed up, and life expectancies for the poorer in the younger generations are starting to fall, the situation is getting close to the point where the elderly will be outliving their children.

Anyway this is a longwinded way of saving that the "rugged individualism" attitude comes from a period that was a historical anomaly, has in any case ended now.

MQ said...

Hey Anon, why don't you share your crackpot anti-semitic theories about how Jews ruined your life with the rest of us, instead of just heavy-handedly hinting at them. I'd be interested to hear whatever elaborate fantasy you've come up with to make the case that inheritances are a uniquely Jewish phenomenon.

pat said...

A lot of the recent US economic downturn is not a mistake, it is a correction.

The housing market is a good example. A couple years ago I noticed that my house had appreciated more in the previous year than I had earned working full time. My modest but comfortable house was worth just under a million dollars. Every year its value increased by six figures.

It wasn't just me. In fact my house was the only one in the immediate neighborhood worth under a million. We were all getting "magic money" from God knows where. We certainly didn't earn it.

So I wasn't surprised when all that ended. Everybody's house lost maybe half its value. Housing values corrected.

La Griffe du Lion has a model for world prosperity. If you take Lynn's IQ data and GDP for all nations he finds almost a perfect correlation between wealth and that proportion of the population that score above 106 on the verbal IQ scales.

There are however a couple outliers. This model was developed a few years ago now and the biggest exception were the East Asian nations - China, Japan, and Korea. Based on the intelligence of their populations they should be richer.

Well those countries are now richer. In retrospect China and Korea can be seen to have been depressed from their "natural" position. What we see as the emergence of China - which Donald Trump would have us believe has been by some kind of cheating - is really just their fixing enough of their society so that they can assume their natural place in the world economy.

BTW if cheating made a country rich wouldn't Nigeria be the richest nation?

Another outlier to La Griffe's theory is South Africa. They are very rich for a country with such a stupid population. That's why I have been predicting that they will be re-colonized. Their wealth is a fortuitous product of recent history. It is not natural.

Albertosaurus

Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

My Father, a man who went from a farm boy with a 9th grade education to president of a major company, helped both myself and my brother out.

The 'aid' was not in the form of helping paying rent, car payments, etc (we took care of the normal life expenses quite well). It was along the lines of an angel investor, helping us with various entrepreneurial endeavors. The results over the past 15 years have been positive.

I just want to point out that the debate of aid vs rugged individualism, the type of 'aid' must be part of the discussion.

Anonymous said...

It's smart to live with your parents in your 20's if you can. You can start to save some money, even of you parents don't have much to give you.

My dad in the 60's lived away from his family and rented a room from a family. He probably would have just lived with his family had he lived near them.

Many people should not waste money on college either.

I wished I had used my college money to buy a condo.

dearieme said...

I once commented on an American blog that since the USA has been rich for a long time, lots of its citizens must receive large inheritances. How come, I enquired, I virtually never see that mentioned?

Taboo subject?

Anonymous said...

Anti-communist hysteria.

Anonymous said...

"Surely part of the problem is that the country is wealthier"

there was a gawker article recently where the author was making a case for abolishing all private schools. apparently in the comments he extended it to family itself.

David said...

> This is getting into the realm of some pretty serious [discussion about] underlying philosophies as to the very purpose of the family in the first place.

> if you're going to broach the subject, then you better be prepared for [etc.] <

Also be prepared for comments from different ages (but skewing older) about how the commenter by God pulled himself up from nothing and now has a million in sales.

The equivalent of the "you're racist, I know several high-IQ blacks" fallacy.

The "serious discussion" will probably be foreclosed by these and others.

William Boot said...

"Crowded and Expensive Country"

Not so much. Maybe 200 square miles of the country are crowded by any reasonable definition. A much bigger swath of it is expensive, not because of crowds but because of construction restrictions and other artificial price boosters.

Unfortunately, everyone who writes for a living lives in one of those areas and they all make the mistake of thinking there's no other way.

In most of the country, the manager of a fast food restaurant can afford a perfectly nice house in a perfectly nice neighborhood.

Crowded country??? You do realize that -- building to the very comfortable density of suburban East Plano -- you could fit the entire population of the world into the state of Texas.

Veracitor said...

Right, as Anonymous lawyer who moved to NC sort of alludes to, things seem even more unfair when you have followed your muse to NYC, where you feel constant frustration and disappointment that you can't seem to land a gig as a highly-paid progressive political columnist who also appears on Sunday TV shows or score a highly-paid sinecure at a progressive non-profit, helping the downtrodden by discussing their bad luck over lattes and mandel cuts with Congressional staffers. How can you do well by doing good when no one will hire you because you don't have the right connections?

So you practice your journalism skills by whining on the Internet, and pray for a large inheritance.

On the other hand, there really is a problem affecting the whole country and I will explain it in my next comment.

Anonymous said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/30/us-food-meat-laboratory-feature-idUSTRE70T1WZ20110130

What we need to end the hogocaust.

Anonymous said...

One of the more bizarre spectacles of the last four years has been the way the Democratic Media have simply ignored the worst economy for generations.

A side benefit of a President Romney is that a discussion of how dire things are will once again be allowed, will in fact be mandatory.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/107218/not-dead-just-dying

Thomson is such a gasbag. I wanna kick his ass.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a blog is a good place to find people complaining about how their rugged individualism is being stifled by somebody else's rugged individualism

Svigor said...

But, our fictional and inspirational lives instead seem to be still dominated by a dream of rugged individualism that is increasingly out of date in a crowded, expensive country.

In many ways, individualists are suckers. It's in TPTB's interests to encourage them.

Svigor said...

It's conservatives who keep flogging this rugged invidividualism scheisse. The rich just sequester their earnings or send it overseas to chase low wages.

No, Hollywood plays this stuff up to the max. One man against the world is their bread and butter for big-budget action films.

Anonymous said...

"When he went to work for Bell Labs in 1969, his $16,000 salary was enough to afford a $32,000 family-size home in New Jersey. Today, that home would cost $500,000."

The friggin' moron doesn't factor in inflation. Average salaries now are, what? $200,000 a year?

Veracitor said...

One of America's big problems is the cronyism/nepotism feedback loop. When cronyism/nepotism becomes an important path to success, the smart people put their children on that path, and they in turn expand cronyism/nepotism for their intimates, and pretty soon you're either part of the crony system or you're sweeping floors.

Look at France, for example: all ambitious young people wish to become bureaucrats or leaders of semi-nationalized corporations subsisting on tax subventions and regulatory monopolies, leaving second-raters do whatever actual work gets done.

Of course we always suffered from cronyism and nepotism to some extent-- I'm not forgetting Tammany Hall or Crédit Mobilier-- but Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and Nixon's Affirmative Action and EPA, and Carter's Education and Energy Departments-- plus abolishing the Federal Civil Service exams-- really goosed cronyism/nepotism three ways.

First, the government grew rapidly, and the more government there is, the more value in looting it.

Second, we discovered that equal opportunity would not product equal outcomes by race,* yet politics would not let us recognize that fact. Instead we developed an elaborate system of subsidies and mandates (e.g., community-development grants to non-profit organizations, low-credit-score loan quotas for banks) to produce the appearance of equal outcomes by simply granting sinecures to favored groups and their officially-recognized "helpers." Abolishing civil service exams (so they couldn't reveal racial differences in ability) empowered bureaucrats to hire their friends and relatives, since no other applicant could show he was more qualified.

Third, we greatly expanded "regulation" of everything-- your kids can't put up a treehouse in your backyard without a permit now-- so big companies form oligopolies that corrupt Federal agencies to smother competitors in red tape.

Naturally, government officials always diverted a generous portion of public spending to their families and friends. However, when government spending went to roads and battleships and postal clerks, the rakeoff was modest-- since the roads and so-forth were tangible results that voters could measure and diversions from them could only support so many moochers.

The new (post 1963) government spending went to "soft" projects to yield results like "reducing poverty" which no one could measure, and which curiously could be entirely diverted to friends and relatives without anyone noticing. At the same time, the regulatory state gave government officials much greater discretionary power over private-sector activities-- no need to pass a law through Congress when you can just move a comma in one line of a 10,000 page regulation, or "forebear" enforcement for a friend's business but not for a stranger's-- enabling bureaucrats and politicians to practice corruption on a much larger scale.

When the chief ways to earn a good living or even get rich were in productive business, ambitious people went into business, where they mostly had to please their customers in a competitive market in order to achieve success. Now that the chief ways to earn a good living are by cronyism, ambitious people go into schemes to collect government "grants" like Solyndra or Acorn (or every "non-profit" in NYC), or straight into government. In both places, success is achieved by backscratching, not by useful economic production.

*We now know--though it was not clear back then-- that equal opportunity fails to produce equal outcomes because of the genetic component to average differences in mental ability by race.

helene edwards said...

The parental help that is not spoken of was a sort of running theme in The New Republic in the late '80's. They had a regular column titled "Getting & Spending," written by that Dow 36,000 guy. One piece had the declaration, "how did they (the neighbors) afford that new Acura?"

Anonymous said...

There is no more individualism in America. The people who come from the right families succeed, all the more so because the social structure that held together the masses has collapsed (50%+ of children living in single family homes) - the just desserts of feminism, gay rights, collapse of Protestantism (this country will be as secular as Europe in a generation - parts of it already are).

The right families assure their survival by nudging their children to assortively mate, and then passing on nice inheritances. The Jews have always done this, and now bright gentiles realize this is the way to go too.

smead jolley said...

Surely part of the problem is that the country is wealthier so there are a lot more parents of adult children who are actually in a position to help their kids.

I used to know a flower-seller near the Berkeley campus who gossiped with the students. According to him, some of the asian parents would purchase a house or condo for their freshman kids, then sell when they graduated. This was '01-'04.

Ed said...

Georgia Resident makes a really good point. We are basically back in the 18th century (and on the wrong side of the Atlantic) in terms of how to start and advance a career. I remember reading 18th century novels when I was much younger and thinking that I would never survive in that sort of society. Oh well.

Also, another commentator raised the interesting thought that if you want to help your kids out, its probably better now to buy them a place to live than to send them to college. I'm not sure if this is the case yet, but the rising cost of going to college combined with dropping earnings for college grads have been pointing in that direction, let alone the obvious government attempts to re-inflate the housing bubbel.

Whiskey said...

Conservatives are pretty much absent in Hollywood, publishing, the media. I can assure you Oprah does not go out and flog books by conservatives SFG.

Indeed the "individualism" in romantic movies, novels, etc. is all aimed at women. They are the protagonists, meet-funny and eventually "conquer" the rich and hunky guy, in various ways: Fifty Shades of Bondage, Maid in Manhattan, Enchanted, While You Were Sleeping, any movie starring Jennifer Aniston, Eat Pray Love, Twilight, Bridget Jones, etc.

The individualism says that the target audience of women is special, each one possessed of magical feminine qualities that will allow them to magically snare that Alpha male. As flattery and fantasy it does very well.

The female audience is not interested in reality, its too depressing. Here they are, the end-point as they see of it human civilization, they were promised Alpha males, and all they get is the guy at the bar who works in an office just like they do. They feel cheated, promised one thing and given another of far lesser value. So they are spectacularly uninterested in families in a realistic way.

At the same time, the female audience particularly in fantasy is VERY interested in semi-royal and aristocratic families, where money is substituted for power and sex (often together). Examples being the Tru-Blood/Sookie Stackhouse novels and TV series, Vampire Diaries, Twilight, Buffy, etc. Dan Brown really hit it, with his "royal families" and the ultimate in aristocracy, blood relatives of Jesus Christ. Women LOVE LOVE LOVE aristocracy, and the effect of radical autonomy in matters sexual and romantic has been to feed that hunger and destroy the middle-class longings and networks that used to push families upward.

This is a concern for anyone planning to live in the future.

DaveinHackensack said...

The problem is two-fold: we have policies that promote low wages and policies that promote high costs of living, particularly in housing, health care, and education.

Take housing, for example. If you got rid of government-subsidized, low-downpayment mortgages, banks would go back to requiring 20% down payments. If they did, housing prices would correct accordingly, because not too many home buyers have $80k cash to put down on a $400k house. All government policies ostensibly designed to make housing more affordable (cheap credit, low downpayments), actually have had the opposite effect in aggregate. The same dynamic applies with education costs.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Why would anyone want to live in an expensive NJ?"

Because it's a nice place to live, as are most expensive parts of the country.

DaveinHackensack said...

The NY Times writers must not have watched The Last Days of Disco, Whit Stillman's 1998 movie that was set in early-'80s NYC. The female characters in that movie talk about receiving "allowances" from their parents that subsidize their rents -- and, of course, rents in early '80s Manhattan (much of which was pretty sketchy back then) were a lot lower than today.

jody said...

forbes 400 for 2012 was just released.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/

i'm starting to think it's missing people. gabe newell is not on there, but is worth more than the people at the bottom of the list. maybe the missing people don't meet whatever criteria forbes uses to evaluate and rank.

Anonymous said...

The friggin' moron doesn't factor in inflation. Average salaries now are, what? $200,000 a year?

Assuming you're not being sarcastic, the median household income today is around $50k. $200k gets you into the top 5%.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon, why don't you share your crackpot anti-semitic theories about how Jews ruined your life with the rest of us, instead of just heavy-handedly hinting at them. I'd be interested to hear whatever elaborate fantasy you've come up with to make the case that inheritances are a uniquely Jewish phenomenon.

I went to graduate school up north [above the Mason-Dixon line], and, when I had the free time to think about these sorts of things, I very often wondered why they had so much organized crime up there, yet why, for all intents and purposes, organized crime was [more or less] completely unknown down South.

[I also spent a lot of time wondering why the churches were so beautiful up north, yet so empty, whereas the churches were so ugly down South, yet were bursting at the seams...]

Anyway, fast forward a few years, with your correspondent now vastly better immersed in both HBD Theory and real-life experiences, and I gotta tell you: The more I see of it, the more the Oriental extended family strikes me as little more than a glorified in-group criminal organization praying on the stupidity and naivetee of the out-group [and that seems to hold true not only throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, but also out across the entire Indian subcontinent and well into the Pacific Rim].

Point being that this quaint old Occidental fantasy - of a world in which, if you play by the Marquis-of-Queensbury rules, if you keep your nose to the grindstone, and if you keep a stiff upper lip, then you too can experience your own personal Horatio Alger story - is an idea which must strike the Oriental mind as residing somewhere between laughably ridiculous and simply insane.

One of the more bizarre spectacles of the last four years has been the way the Democratic Media have simply ignored the worst economy for generations.

Given that they all belong to the same partially-inbred extended family as the Counterfeiter-In-Chief, i.e. the dude who decides how to dole out all the Fiat Electrons, you gotta consider the possibility that they simply are not experiencing the same "economy" as is being experienced by all of us poor gullible saps out here in flyover country.

Even as cynical as we have all become, I just can't shake this feeling that we still aren't nearly cynical enough to have a good intuition for what's really transpiring behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

"Why would anyone want to live in an expensive NJ?"

I guess you don't share Robert E. Lee's attachment to place - he fought for the Confederacy because Virginia was his COUNTRY. Heck, why not move to Singapore - you might make a friend and learn a bit of the language before you die.

I could never move south to follow a low cost of living, it is not the culture that bothers me, I just can't picture living in a heat sink like Texas. Heat waves are the # 1 killer among natural disasters.

Saudi Tugboats said...

OT Steve:

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, they've fallen for the "crops going to waste" meme.

http://www.volokh.com/2012/09/21/the-bitter-harvest-of-immigration-restrictions/

Anonymous said...

"If this guy went to work at Bell Labs 43 years ago shouldn't he be retired by now?"

Why should the intellectually gifted ever retire if they enjoy their work? They should be taking on apprentices.

Anonymous said...

Morals have changed since Jane Eyre, but there are still taboos.

Now a woman wouldn't be ashamed to admit to having sex with the local rapscallion, (she'd probably have a hard time not admitting it), but it's the height of indiscretion to ask a woman how much her rent is.

It has to do with the new set of female ideals. The core issue is the same though - when you your actual *virtue* doesn't match the idea you have of yourself, cognitive dissonance ensues and thus taboo and social awkwardness.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to hear whatever elaborate fantasy you've come up with to make the case that inheritances are a uniquely Jewish phenomenon.

I wouldn't go that far, but this touches on something that's long puzzled me. Back around 1990, my Jewish girlfriend was complaining about how her parents had lost all their money in a failed business venture. "A Jewish girl is supposed to have a dowry!" she said -- with real bitterness.

I've never heard this anywhere else, but I suppose it must be true, or at least a recognized tradition. Clearly, no twenty-something WASP would have said that, even 20 years ago. I won't speak for Italians, etc.

Cennbeorc

Power Child said...

[Alert: spoilers follow...]

The movie "Waitress" that came out a few years ago (with Andy Griffith's superb supporting performance in what was either his last role or something close to that) contained a quasi-deux ex machina ending where the protagonist receives a surprise inheritance from Griffith's Wise Old Man character. The inheritance allows the protagonist to leave her crappy job and her crappy boyfriend and go have her baby on her own. (Uh...hurray, I guess?)

That's the only recent movie I can think of that has that happen in it.

But if you include genetic inheritances, then "Star Trek" sort of counts, since the younger Kirk receives his father's starship-captaining abilities. Hmm...what else would count...probably a bunch of movies, I just can't think of them right now.

David said...

Sort of OT --
Here is a funny YouTube parody of community college commercials. The school in this parody is...Harvard.

http://tinyurl.com/cgys4fp

Anonymous said...

That kind of individualism has been lost. Today, we have narcisso-individualism of hedonistic excess and loony magnitude. Athletes routinely dis coaches, act like lunatics, commit crime, and etc. and expect to get away with it. And girls are acting like boys, drinking like louts and hooking up to act like whores.
But they are forgiven--especially if black--since they are godlike superstars who win games for the school, town, or city or whatever.
Compare that to the reality in HOOSIERS.

In the 90s, I was talking to a high school football coach who decided to retire early. He said kids no longer believe in giving their best, don't have any respect for authority, think they are kings and can do anything, and etc.

This kind of radical individualism is relatively new. Among intellectuals, there is the nuttiness of Ayn Rand's radical capitalist superhero individualism. Among liberals, you got the Vagina power bitches who think freedom means free pills for every vagina. Among rockers and rappers and punkers, there is the anarchic individualism of the jerk variety. Athletes of the Negro mold showboat and act like everyone should be kissing their ass.

And remember James Dean in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE? A good movie, but what the hell was the kid yammering about? He had no cause, no point, no reason at all, but he just had to a pouty-faced jerk all his life.
Spoiled rotten. He should have been spanked by John Wayne.

IHTG said...

sunbeam: Google "Paradox Interactive".

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to live in an expensive NJ?


If this guy went to work at Bell Labs 43 years ago shouldn't he be retired by now? Why doesn't he sell his expensive NJ home, move somewhere nicer, warmer and less expensive?


That's the American solution to everything. The trouble is, eventually you run out of places to move to. That attitude is not too dissimilar to Mexican moving to the US.

Truth said...

"They are very rich for a country with such a stupid population. That's why I have been predicting that they will be re-colonized."

Yeah, we remember; the Egyptians are readying their army for the long march across the African continent as we speak.

Grant said...

" Anonymous DaveinHackensack said...

"Why would anyone want to live in an expensive NJ?"

Because it's a nice place to live, as are most expensive parts of the country."

I don't know about that. Parts are nice, alot isn't. I've lived in a number of places in the US and central Jersey was probably near the bottom of my 'live out my days there if I inherited a gazillion bucks' list from places I'd lived.

Ted said...

Whiskey, my man- We really gotta find you a woman.

Anonymous said...

Surely part of the problem is that the country is wealthier so there are a lot more parents of adult children who are actually in a position to help their kids.


So that help will tend to bid up the price of college and the price of buying a house in a nice neighborhood.


No. The problem is that college, which used to the ticket of the best and brightest into good paying jobs, is now roughly analogous to a high-school diploma. You HAVE to go to college.

By contrast, I know a retired guy who made a good living in the New York Stock Exchange. He got his job (basically running around delivering slips of paper) by walking in off the street to 11 Broadway back in the 1960's and asking if they needed a warm body. He was a high school graduate. (I'm sure his being Jewish didn't hurt any)

Anonymous said...

It's conservatives who keep flogging this rugged invidividualism scheisse.


No, it's libertarians.

Steve Sailer said...

Southern New Jersey features the consensus World's Greatest Golf Course.

Anonymous said...

Lately, I hear US a lot. US president, US military, US economy.

What happened to American president and American military and American economy? Is it politically incorrect because North America includes Canada and Mexico?
And there is Central America and South America. In that sense, I suppose everyone from Canada to Chile is an American.

So, is the thinking.... "why should only the people of United States be called Americans?"

Anonymous said...

"This is one of the puzzling things about Americans. People complain about the cost of living in place A, but would never think of moving to place B that they must know is less expensive."

That's not true. People move all over the place in America. Why do you think places like Atlanta, Arizona, TX and years ago California became populated.

I know many people that I grew up with who moved out of state.

Beefy Levinson said...

Millennials' parents constantly told them that they had to go to college if they didn't want to flip burgers for the rest of their lives. Those same parents now complain that the kids are too lazy or too proud to flip burgers.

Here in California, it's more because fast food managers like the kitchens to have a common language.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Southern New Jersey features the consensus World's Greatest Golf Course."

That's surprising, because Southern New Jersey is mostly pretty flat.

Anonymous said...

"This is one of the puzzling things about Americans. People complain about the cost of living in place A, but would never think of moving to place B that they must know is less expensive."

There are no jobs where the cost of living is cheaper.

Sure houses are cheaper in rural areas. But what are the jobs out there? Working at the gas station? Fruit picking? The houses are cheaper but incomes are lower as well. So it's not really cheaper.

Anonymous said...

The friggin' moron doesn't factor in inflation. Average salaries now are, what? $200,000 a year?

Bells Labs employees don't make $200,000 a year. More like half of that.

Anonymous said...

When he went to work for Bell Labs in 1969, his $16,000 salary was enough to afford a $32,000 family-size home in New Jersey. Today, that home would cost $500,000.

The equivalent entry-level job would be anywhere from mid $30K to $50K.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, there was a time when SF and LA were affordable to regular middle class families. There was also a time when the people there would vote Republican. Immigration drives up housing prices, drive out Americans, and creates more Democrats.

Hapalong Cassidy said...

While I agree that personal responsibilty is important, I don't believe that those who are where they are because of their poor decisions should be discarded so much like yesterday's trash. What is to become of them? Do we let them starve? Because after all, food stamps are one of these "entitlements" that are bankrupting our country. Society should provide a safety net, because frankly, it's the Christian thing to do. And one can be provided at less cost than to bail out Wall Street or fight a war in the Middle East.

Aaron B. said...

"Sure houses are cheaper in rural areas. But what are the jobs out there? Working at the gas station? Fruit picking? The houses are cheaper but incomes are lower as well. So it's not really cheaper."

No, it really is. For one thing, regulations like the minimum wage, plus taxes and quasi-government expenses like health care aren't any lower in rural areas than anywhere else, so we can only get by on so little. Yet housing costs are a lot lower. So cost of living really is lower, as a proportion to salaries.

That's a secret us rural folks would just as soon keep to ourselves, though. After all, if too many city folks move here for the low prices, they'll push our cost of living up, and their reason for moving here won't exist anymore.

Olave d'Estienne said...

What happened to American president and American military and American economy? Is it politically incorrect because North America includes Canada and Mexico?
... So, is the thinking.... "why should only the people of United States be called Americans?"


It's a thin semantic veil over an attempt to abolish Americans as a people.
To delete our nationhood through superior pedantry. It's very difficult to turn "United States" into a demonym. I've called myself "United Statesian" from time to time as a lark. (I've also called myself a "gringoy".)

Mexico has a right to determine its immigration policy. Canada has a right to determine its immigration policy. The USA has the right to find jobs for people equal in number to the population of Ontario. People from Mexico are Mexicans; people from Canada are Canadians; people from the United States are ...?

A pretty effective question mark, isn't it?

I remember a very nice but PC Briton trying to describe my nationality. "People from the States." That will be abolished soon too, most likely. Australia has states; Mexico has states. I hope to heaven this will be resolved in a bloodless end to the compact and the States will go their own ways. I already have a demonym for the people of my region, upper half New England and the Atlantic Provinces: Acerican. It refers to the genus of the ubiquitous maple trees; by rhyme, it alludes to our (North) American heritage; it also hints at our dry wit. And it doesn't have to be shared with Inuits and Chileans.

Honestly it reminds me of the day all the (Marxist) English teachers in the country decided to forget what a disjunct is so they could abolish the most common usage of the term "hopefully", leaving all other disjuncts (frankly, unfortunately, simply) untouched. Or how the standard usage of "to discover" was abolished in order to insult Columbus; apparently now the term only means "to be the first person to locate something", yet you don't hear English-department Marxists correcting someone when they say "I have discovered a new cafe up the street!"

Recall that Newspeak didn't abolish the word "free", just the standard sense of it. You could still say "This dog is free of fleas."

So what do Marxist have against hope, discovery, and America? To ask the question is to answer it.

Average Joe said...

I guess the New York Times is surprised that parents want to financially help their adult children when they could be donating that money to Obama's reelection campaign.

Anonymous said...

"The friggin' moron doesn't factor in inflation. Average salaries now are, what? $200,000 a year?"

Assuming you're not being sarcastic, the median household income today is around $50k. $200k gets you into the top 5%.

I was indeed being sarcastic. Mostly just for the heck of it, but partly to mock out-of-touch, privileged liberals. If I have to spell it out.

Get Off My Lawn! said...

No, it really is. For one thing, regulations like the minimum wage, plus taxes and quasi-government expenses like health care aren't any lower in rural areas than anywhere else, so we can only get by on so little. Yet housing costs are a lot lower. So cost of living really is lower, as a proportion to salaries.

I can't speak for the entire country, but in the Northeast housing costs are certainly lower in rural areas. The problem is that salaries are lower as well, and - even worse - many jobs either don't exist at all or exist in very small numbers outside the big cities. This is especially true for mid- and upper-level white collar jobs, which are heavily concentrated in urban areas.

Olave d'Estienne said...

What is to become of them? Do we let them starve? Because after all, food stamps are one of these "entitlements" that are bankrupting our country. Society should provide a safety net, because frankly, it's the Christian thing to do. - Hapalong Cassidy

I don't actually which one "society" is:
voluntary civic life
or
mandatory political life. ?

I think the Christian thing is charity. Food Stamps are paid for mostly by personal income taxes, backed by Federal guns and prisons.

Let's imagine an arrangement, analogous to the one I offered here and hopefully garnering more serious replies:
Would the iSteve safety net advocates support a candidate who was against all cuts to Food Stamps and WIC, but wanted to abolish Section 8 and transfer Medicaid to the States even if it meant cuts, and who agreed entirely with Tom Tancredo's immigration policy, were he running against an open-borders Democrat with more generous welfare policies?

I ask because I think Food Stamps and WIC are treated as a flagship welfare program because they seem so much more innocuous (and probably are so much more innocuous) than agribusiness subsidies, saving corporations that are too big to fail (and too big to have any incentive to succeed), foreign aid, etc.

If actual hunger is what you're worried about, you shouldn't fight an end to thousands of pages of oligopoly-protecting regs, the cartelization of industrial labor by Federal labor law, mass immigration, affirmative action, etc. Is that right?

Anonymous said...

I once commented on an American blog that since the USA has been rich for a long time, lots of its citizens must receive large inheritances. How come, I enquired, I virtually never see that mentioned?

Taboo subject?


I think statistically US families, as a whole, have about the lowest savings rate in the developed world. Why save, when you can borrow? Get a credit card, blow it all, impress the girls, die broke. (There's probably a case to be made that one reason for all the American marital, family, and fertility troubles is due to women not being able to reliably judge men's earning capacity and provider potential, given easy credit... but I'm also sure there are a lot of women who can, really well.) The system encourages splurging and indebtedness. Of course, there are plenty with large inheritances, in particular if you include houses, land, and small businesses. Not particularly taboo, but nobody really boasts about being a trust-baby.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the puzzling things about Americans. People complain about the cost of living in place A, but would never think of moving to place B that they must know is less expensive.

Weird comment, what's your background? There is a story in the ancient Chinese military text, The Art of War. An emperor has an aggressive neighbour that keeps making minor demands. He asks his advisors for advice. Most say to acceed, it's no big deal. He does. His neighbour asks for more. He agrees. They keep asking for more, most of his ministers say to acceed, he agrees. Eventually they ask for women, he given them some royal princesses, saying "who can begrudge his neighbour a few women?". A few of his advisers dissent. Then his neighbour asks for land. He executes all his advisors who say to acceed and conducts a surprise attack on his neighbour, who is taken completely by surprise and defeated. Sometimes you have a home and you fight for it. It seems to be the way of the human animal.

Anonymous said...

NJ has been on isteve a lot lately! This state has some of the nicest places to live in the country if you have money, especially if you factor in convenience and high-quality education. (Which help make up for what we lack in natural beauty.) There's a reason Updike called it Connecticut South in his novel Terrorist. But the Times using an ex-Bell Labs employee is kind of ridiculous, since that was like the Apple of its day. (It's Alcatel-Lucent now; I live 5 minutes from it.) I don't understand why the Times doesn't just admit the reason for all this is the devaluation of the Bachelors degree?

Allison said...

In fact, ten years ago, the cs phds from cal, MIT, and Stanford were being offered 200k straight out of school by Microsoft, At&t labs, and Google, so yes, that 500k house was proportionately the same. Now, tax law might be the big change, with amt etc. But still, those numbers are close.

ogunsiron said...

Anonymous said...
...
there was a gawker article recently where the author was making a case for abolishing all private schools. apparently in the comments he extended it to family itself.
====
I'm of course not the first one to come up with this idea, but it occured to me another set of reasons why the Left pretty much has to advocate the abolishment of the family in general.

Most of us have probably heard about how the family was bad because it was an authoritarian social structure that fostered conformity and that was the sourse of all kinds of neuroses caused by sexual tension, etc ..

I think that the left has another reason to hate the family :
As long as families exist,there will be privileged relationships between members of the community.

Parents routinely spend years treating as extremely important people who didn't have to do anything to earn all that attention.

I'm sure that most of us have relatives whose political views are infuriating and yet we tolerate them at family reunions and they can even come to our houses. It's not that family members can do no wrong, like in some cultures. A family member can be disowned and cast out. But before being disowned, the family member enjoyed some preferential status, for free, while our personal friends had to work at gaining the status of important people in our lives.

This has to be a big problem for the truly serious egalitarianists.

Is there a ling to that Gawker article ? That site is on a roll these days. First that pro-pedo article a few weeks ago and now some radical anti-family stuff ?

Anonymous said...

"They are very rich for a country with such a stupid population. That's why I have been predicting that they will be re-colonized."

For the record, South Africa has for centuries enjoyed the benefits of a highly talented, hard working European population, and which, albeit as a minority, drove the country's relatively high standard of living.

A lot of these whites (especially but not only Jews) have now emigrated, or been co-ercively replaced by "the people", some of whom, it must be said, are actually smarter than was feared.

But whether or not South Africa will survive as a recognizably industrialized and modern country is now debatable. The challenges are truly formidable.

It never had to be like this. A different end to apartheid could and should have been negotiated, one that did not result in an exodus of talent.

Anon.

Anonymous said...

Nobody was ever being offered 200K to work for Microsoft or Bell Labs. 100K max. 200K straight out of school is pretty rare even for physicians or MBAs.



Aaron B. said...

"I can't speak for the entire country, but in the Northeast housing costs are certainly lower in rural areas. The problem is that salaries are lower as well, and - even worse - many jobs either don't exist at all or exist in very small numbers outside the big cities."

Yes, if you're talking about specific jobs, some are pretty rare in rural areas. We don't have many openings for museum curators (we have museums, but mostly staffed by volunteers), professional football players, or high-rise window washers. If you have chosen one of those careers, you'll have to work in the big city.

But we do need just as many barbers, plumbers, and tree trimmers per capita as the cities -- maybe more in the case of tree trimmers. Also teachers, nurses, and car mechanics. The average teacher salary in my rural Illinois county is 75% of that in Cook County (Chicago), but you can rent a house or apartment for less than half what you'd pay in Cook County.

If you have a minimum wage job, that pays the same anywhere, but here you might be able to afford an apartment on it, since a nice apartment or even a small house can be had for $500/month. And if you work in the information economy, doing something you can do from anywhere such as computer programming or writing books, you can charge just as much as your peers who insist on living where the action is, while paying far less for things.

So I'd submit that, while there are a handful of careers that do require a big city zip code, there are far more that can be done more profitably in a small town.

Maya said...

"While I agree that personal responsibilty is important, I don't believe that those who are where they are because of their poor decisions should be discarded so much like yesterday's trash. What is to become of them? Do we let them starve? Because after all, food stamps are one of these "entitlements" that are bankrupting our country. Society should provide a safety net, because frankly, it's the Christian thing to do."

Well, I'm not religious, but I agree that we can't just let dumbasses starve. I'd be happy with strictly imposing birth control, as a condition of feeding them. Don't cull these animals- that's cruel. But we must halt their breeding.

Lugash said...

Early inheritances are probably being driven by fewer children and later death.

If you've only got one or two kids, it's possible to help support them, rather than a half dozen.

When people kicked the bucket earlier, their kids were still middle aged. Now the kids are retired, or close to it when they inherit.

Maya said...

"There's probably a case to be made that one reason for all the American marital, family, and fertility troubles is due to women not being able to reliably judge men's earning capacity and provider potential, given easy credit... but I'm also sure there are a lot of women who can, really well."

I've read that a lot of marriages fall apart because women can't control their credit card sliding arm.

Anonymous said...

In fact, ten years ago, the cs phds from cal, MIT, and Stanford were being offered 200k straight out of school by Microsoft, At&t labs, and Google, so yes, that 500k house was proportionately the same.

Well now there's a surefire solution to all of our problems: Just arrange for every Average Joe Sixpack on the street to have both an IQ of 140+ and a sufficiently stable personality to make it through 6+ years of post-graduate drudgery at one of the most elite universities in the history of the known universe, and, la-voila, happy days are here again!!!

[Of course, the population of the USA would have to collapse, from 300 Million, down to about, oh, maybe 300, which would then consist of roughly 297 or 298 guys fighting over the remaining 2 or 3 gals, but, hey, who's counting?]

Anonymous said...



The U.S. Suffered Its Worst Airpower Loss Since Vietnam Last Week and No One Really Noticed


Citizen, beware! We all saw the Hollywood movie, it ends rapidly with the one-evil-bad-guy-leader dead and all the denizens gazing upward into the future, fondly smiling at their benevolent liberators, who only have freedom, welfare democracy, women's rights, a Chinese big-box store on every corner, and free credit cards for all in mind. As for me, I'm glad no wars are on!

Anonymous said...

Parts are nice, alot isn't. I've lived in a number of places in the US and central Jersey was probably near the bottom of my 'live out my days there if I inherited a gazillion bucks' list from places I'd lived.


New Jersey has everything good and bad about America in one small state. North Jersey across the Hudson from MY is an upscale suburb of Manhattan. North-West Jersey is Old America. Central Jersey is a slice of Rust Belt America, complete with heavy industry and crime-ridden cities. South Jersey is agricultural.

Politically, it may be the single most corrupt state in the union. That's papered over to an extent because it's also quite wealthy.

Aaron B. said...

"Society should provide a safety net, because frankly, it's the Christian thing to do."

Fortunately, "society" does, in the form of individuals, families, churches, private charities, and local government organizations. No one but the most hard core libertarian would argue against that. The problem is when people say "society" and really mean "government at the highest level."

Anonymous said...

You may as well help out your kids since most of your wealth be used to pay for the nursing home expense eventually.

Kylie said...

"'Sure houses are cheaper in rural areas. But what are the jobs out there? Working at the gas station? Fruit picking? The houses are cheaper but incomes are lower as well. So it's not really cheaper.'

No, it really is. For one thing, regulations like the minimum wage, plus taxes and quasi-government expenses like health care aren't any lower in rural areas than anywhere else, so we can only get by on so little. Yet housing costs are a lot lower. So cost of living really is lower, as a proportion to salaries.

That's a secret us rural folks would just as soon keep to ourselves, though. After all, if too many city folks move here for the low prices, they'll push our cost of living up, and their reason for moving here won't exist anymore."


Aaron, you're making me nervous. If too many city folks move here, they'll be clamoring for urban amenities like electricity and indoor plumbing.

Those unwilling to embrace the rural ethos of Oliver Wendell Douglas had best stick to city living.

Marc B said...

I notice a lot of my peers have no problem taking handouts from their family. They blow money on all sorts of extravagant clothes, vacations, recreational equipment and automobiles. They feel no shame having parents or grandparents pick up the tab for sending their kids to private schools with an average tuition over $10-20,000 per year or giving them the down payment for a house they are unwilling to sacrifice enough to save for.

I am shocked to see how easily upper middle class people view their parents as a cash cow, and don't feel the slightest bit emasculated taking handouts from them.

unix said...

"A lot of these whites (especially but not only Jews) have now emigrated, or been co-ercively replaced by "the people", some of whom, it must be said, are actually smarter than was feared."

I don't know how much stupid was feared, but pictures of Joannesburg are looking much like devasted U.S. cities, like Detroit, or Gary, or Baltimore. We are talking about a country that was first world enough to be a leader in scientific research. What I remember it for was the first heart transplant, and that they were, I believe, a nuclear power. The "talented" took that with them, when they left.

Anonymous said...

We have mugged individualism. If you work hard as an individual, you get mugged by thugs and tax collectors.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked to see how easily upper middle class people view their parents as a cash cow, and don't feel the slightest bit emasculated taking handouts from them.

I guess it would help if they took the money and felt emasculated?

Svigor said...

That kind of individualism has been lost.

Another perversion: good individualism perverted into narcissistic hedonism.

Svigor said...

While I agree that personal responsibilty is important, I don't believe that those who are where they are because of their poor decisions should be discarded so much like yesterday's trash. What is to become of them? Do we let them starve? Because after all, food stamps are one of these "entitlements" that are bankrupting our country. Society should provide a safety net, because frankly, it's the Christian thing to do. And one can be provided at less cost than to bail out Wall Street or fight a war in the Middle East.

I think welfare's a fine idea. I just think it should be run more like a prison camp. A nice, painted-gray cinder-block palace right next to the actual prison. One road leads back to the city, the other, to the prison.

Welfare should have a warden. It should be a prison with an open door.

Well, I'm not religious, but I agree that we can't just let dumbasses starve. I'd be happy with strictly imposing birth control, as a condition of feeding them. Don't cull these animals- that's cruel. But we must halt their breeding.

Prisons are segregated by sex.

Aaron, you're making me nervous. If too many city folks move here, they'll be clamoring for urban amenities like electricity and indoor plumbing.

Those unwilling to embrace the rural ethos of Oliver Wendell Douglas had best stick to city living.


I'd think they'd be more worried about the sporadic (but frequent!) lynchin's.

Kylie said...

"'Those unwilling to embrace the rural ethos of Oliver Wendell Douglas had best stick to city living.'

I'd think they'd be more worried about the sporadic (but frequent!) lynchin's."


Right. Urbanites tend to believe our biggest crop is the strange fruit hanging from our trees.

ATBOTL said...

"Hey Anon, why don't you share your crackpot anti-semitic theories about how Jews ruined your life with the rest of us, instead of just heavy-handedly hinting at them. I'd be interested to hear whatever elaborate fantasy you've come up with to make the case that inheritances are a uniquely Jewish phenomenon."

Probably because whenever someone does more than hint, you throw a tantrum.

Anyone who grew up in a heavily Jewish area could tell you that Jews definitely give more money to their children and other younger relatives than white Protestants do. No doubt Jewish history has something to do with this. To anyone other than you, this would be a non controversial observation.

We have no equivalent of Bar Mitzvah gifts in Protestant culture. My parents never gave me a cent that wasn't at least in theory payment for work.

"Rugged individualism," ie telling your own family to eat cake is a Northern European thing. It's related to why we have a hard time standing up for ourselves as a group when under attack by a group of highly cohesive aliens.

Keep up the tantrums BTW, it emphasizes the strong psychological differences between us and you.