Author John Scalzi was on a roll this morning (currently 7:14 AM, 26 Sept. 2014) with a tweet he found from some guy sending out an “ultimatum” to women to “make a choice” between feminism and, well, men like him. So Scalzi launched into a truly magnificent set of scorchers, which I’m posting here for the delectation of people everywhere.
Also: I would like to thank that guy for setting the ultimatum. It makes finding a boyfriend so much easier when the undesirable ones wear a placard identifying themselves.
Been playing with this concept for a while.
I love this. So much.
this should be posted everywhere
It’s because of the rain, not in spite of it.
Yes yes yes
The conservative gospel of success rests on an unexamined paradox. The right’s last standard-bearer articulated it well—albeit inadvertently—in the last election.
At that infamous fundraiser in Palm…
Yes, let’s talk economic fact. Again, economist here. I do know what I’m talking about. I get that you’re a republican so your understanding of these concepts is very limited, but those of us with an education do have a clue. I’m going to take some time and actually break down the data and the terms for you here because there’s some things that you very obviously don’t have the education and knowledge to understand. We’re also going to look at some of your data.
First and foremost though, you may want to invest in some English Language and literacy courses. It’s fairly obvious that I used data to explain an antidote not the other way around. The discussion here is focused on trend, and I did rather clearly state that. You’re either intentionally trying to turn that in the hopes that you can sound witty, or you legitimately don’t understand. In that case, your Fearless Leaders, the founding parental units at the LPG, would suggest some courses in the English Language. I’d like to link you to some free resources on Adult English Language and Literacy courses here.
You don’t seem to understand the term Economic Mobility. Let’s start there so you can glean some knowledge that will make your data make a lot more sense. There are two elements to Economic Mobility. Absolute Mobility and Relative Mobility. (I am going to touch on your graphs that relate to this in just a moment because there are some problems here.)
Absolute mobility describes a person’s ability to make more inflation adjusted dollars than their parents during their entire lifetime. In this area, the US is doing quite well. Most people will earn more during their lifetimes.
Relative mobility describes a person’s ability to move up the ladder in terms of their rank within the income distribution of the country. Now, in these terms, America isn’t doing so well. And it’s been doing poorly for a very long time.
Think of it like one of those moving walkways at the airport. Let’s say that there are three people on it. One person stands, one walks, and one runs. Now, all three of them are moving forward. This is their absolute mobility. We’re all moving forward. That’s nice. But it’s not the whole picture. Now let’s zoom out a bit. Let’s look at their relative mobility. They’re all ranked. The person in third, the walker, is going to stay there. The person in second will stay there. And the person in first will stay there. Effectively there is no mobility.
Now let’s look at the entire picture. Because there’s some gaps developing. The person in 3rd is becoming progressively farther and farther behind the other two. And the person in first is getting much, much farther ahead than the other two. This is what is happening in the United States. In economic terms, this is a recipe for disaster. Inequality is actually quite bad for economic growth, and it does come to a head. It slows growth (it’s actually the biggest factor in slowed economic growth) and eventually can cause a nasty collapse. That’s probably where your misunderstanding is partially coming in. Economic Mobility in the US has not been healthy for many, many decades. Conservative thought in the 80’s effectively squashed it. In fact, the Reagan Era has reduced the GDP by what would amount to many trillions less today that it would be had Reagan not happened. That, however, is another discussion for another day. (Although this most certainly plays into it.)
In fact, the Treasury source that you linked (Which you claimed is recent data that supported the idea that income mobility is still healthy - let me be clear: it hasn’t been for many decades in the US. You really must learn to read your sources because no where does it say that.) notes the following:
"U.S. Census data, for example, show that the share of household income of the top 20 percent of households increased from 44.1 percent in 1980 to 50.4 percent by 2005, with the share of the bottom 20 percent decreasing from 4.2 percent to 3.4 percent.1 Similarly, Piketty and Saez (1998, 2007) find that the share of income of the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 31.7 percent in 1960 to 44.3 percent in 2005, while the share of the top 1 percent increased from 8.4 percent to 17.4 percent."
We’ll talk more about that later. I’m assuming it’s going to be difficult for you to accept that analogy if you can even understand it. After all, your graphs seem not to tell that tale. And conservatives and facts, well that’s basically like oil and water.
So, let’s look at your graphs. First, there’s no citation. That’s a problem. Is that the only reason why I know they’re bullshit? Nope. It’s also because they are wrong. Critical thinking skills are important. I don’t even need my degree in economics to know that that’s wrong and I’m really quite disappointed that you didn’t either. (Then again, you had some struggles understanding to start with.)
So they claim that roughly 30% of all people in the bottom income bracket will reach the top 20%. That’s quite the displacement considering that households the bottom 20% earned somewhere around $20,000 (these are inflation-adjusted dollars by the way) around the start of the “study,” and somewhere close to $92,000 towards the end. (Source for the income information - US Census Bureau) Does that really sound realistic to you that 40% of these people would be in that bracket? Moreover, does it sound realistic to you that at least that many, if not more, of those in the top bracket would be so far displaced? If this study is being true to the graph, it would exclude data points where members of the household had died. There’s no rate of attrition so to speak. Do you really think there’s such a rate of downward displacement? (Hint hint: the correct answer is that there is not. The graphs are just bullshit.)
And that brings me to your next point, this graph seems to claim that in 1991, the average income for the top 20% was $54,431. Well, that’s not true. You saw the source I linked before? It was $91,407. Ok, so either the graph is lying at this point, or the person making it is a total dipshit and didn’t convert anything into inflation adjusted dollars. $53,431 dollars in 1991 (I’m using the 2011 dollar as a standard in all of this by the way. I’m sure you didn’t understand that because it’s obvious you’ve never studied economics) is actually worth $89,894 in inflation adjusted dollars. Ok, maybe they are bad at math or wrote down the wrong number but didn’t convert the dollars to a standardized value. In the former case, the comparison still doesn’t work because it’s not apples to apples. Anyone who had ever taken a statistics class or was involved in any science of any kind would know to do that. Are you going to trust information from someone doing this?
Let’s examine the possibility that they used real numbers but didn’t adjust for inflation because they’re dipshits. It also claims that the wealthiest 20% earned, in inflation adjusted dollars $209,373 in 1975. That means that, according to your fictitious data, the top 20% effectively lost $119,479 (57%) in income per year during that time period. Does that sound realistic to you? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not. Using the data from the US Census Bureau, you’ll find that the average income for the top 20% was actually $79,322 in adjusted dollars ($18,972 in 1975 dollars) when the study began, and $91,407 when it ended (55,346.71 in 1991 dollars). This is actually an increase of 13.2%. Their math just doesn’t work with reality.
Let’s look at it further. It claims that income for the bottom 20% went as follows:
1975 - $1,263
1991 - $29,008
Ok, so let’s look at the real data from the census bureau:
1975 - $19,426 ($4,658 in 1975 dollars)
1991 - $20,227 ($12,277 in 1991 dollars)
An increase of 4.2%.
That’s nothing comparing to the wealthy people’s increase of 13.2%. Now you see where that moving sidewalk comparison is coming into play. I would hope that you can logically see where this might be a problem. Moreover, obviously, the graph is wrong. I can go at this all day but I think you get the point: the graphs are bullshit. That’s what you get for going with a source that’s not peer reviewed and/or off of some bullshit conservative page.
Now, you might say that they came from a study that followed a certain group, and I have a few things to say about that possibility:
- Their sample group obviously doesn’t correlate to the population very well. How can we trust a sample with such poor correlation.
- Why even have the study? We have complete data on every single data point. There’s no need for something with a margin of error because we have the complete data set. Why then would it need to be collected? The answer is that it wouldn’t. No such study could get peer reviewed because there’s better data available. Moreover, no researcher would use that data unless the real data didn’t fit well into their narrative and they were being paid to come up with bullshit.
My guess is that it’s just bullshit that some fuckwad pulled out of their ass. I doubt a researcher came up with it. Even conservative “researchers” have a little more integrity than that…well usually.
So, moving on to your NPR link that you allege states that “economic mobility is just as healthy as it was 20 years ago.” Well, as I’ve stated, economic mobility wasn’t healthy 20 years ago. It’s not healthy today. We’re simply reaching the boiling point. After decades of poor policy (conservative policy), we are on the brink.
In fact, here’s a few quotes from that article:
"The study also contained some other disturbing findings. It said economic mobility in the United States remains behind that of other wealthy countries. An American born at the bottom has about an 8 percent chance of rising to the top, it found; the odds are twice that in Denmark. 'The political rhetoric has gone down a path of saying, 'Oh, maybe it's getting harder to move up in the income distribution,' ' Hendren says. 'But the sad fact is that it's always been very hard in the United States relative to other countries, and it hasn't gotten any better, it hasn't gotten any worse.'”
More interestingly, the study mentioned in the article did note the correlation between progressive policies and economic mobility, and a negative one for those of conservative areas. Another quote from the NPR article:
“But the study also says economic mobility varies a lot from place to place in the United States. Rates of advancement in the Seattle, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco metro areas compared favorably with European countries. But many parts of the Southeast and the Rust Belt look more like the developing world.”
Again, read your source. If it’s beyond your reading level, then those resources I linked before can help you with that.
The study you eluded to, which was contained within that NPR link can be found here. Now that site is for an organization called the “Equality of Opportunity Project,” (Hint: they’re progressives.) In their FAQ, they note that while they do focus only on Domestic Data, the US performs very poorly compared to other developed countries.
I’m going to go off on a tangent for a moment. The first paragraph on that page reads as follows:
“Areas with greater mobility tend to have five characteristics: less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families. (2) Contrary to popular perception, economic mobility has not changed significantly over time; however, it is consistently lower in the U.S. than in most developed countries.”
Sounds like a pretty good case for progressive policy. (Like the quotes I made from your other sources, progressive areas do much better.)
So, we’ve established a few things: first, we’ve established that you’re wrong. Second, we’ve established that your sources either didn’t tell the narrative you claimed, or, in the case of your graphics, were just bullshit. And lastly, we have established that Economic Mobility is not only a term that you didn’t understand, but something that’s really quite pathetic in the United States.
Now, if you still don’t believe me that Economic Mobility in the United States is poor due to these factors, there are a few things that I want you to see/read (Remember to use those English Language and Literacy courses. They’re free):
The first is a video from the Pew Center that will explain it in more simple terms for you. That video is here.
The second is 41 pages. Its explains quite clearly that there is very poor relative mobility in the United States and that the tremendous inequality that we see today is a result of the combined effects of growing relative inequality and the divergent trajectory of incomes. You can read about that here.
So the next question is why is inequality a problem? Well, it slows economic growth. And that’s bad for everyone long term. It’s just as bad for the top 5% as it is for the bottom. In fact for every 10th percentile decrease in inequality, economic growth spurts are lengthened by 50%. Income equality is the single most important factor in economic growth (and I don’t think I have to explain why growth is a good thing.) Sustained, long term growth is only achieved through economic equality. The long stints of growth from 1945 in both the US and Britain are directly related to the relative income equality in the countries. The times of greatest and most sustainable growth in the United States have been times of strong, progressive policies with low inequality. (Source: Equality and Efficiency) Actually, if you’re interested in looking it up, you’ll find that rightward shifts in republican ideology, and the consequential conservative shift in American politics is correlated exactly to economic downturn whereas leftward shifts in the republican party (and majority democratic control - the Democratic party hasn’t really moved right or left in economic terms, maybe a little to the right over time) are correlated to times of economic growth and prosperity.)
So, how do we reduce the income gap and grow the economy? Well, I’ll leave you to two simple ways (I don’t ever devote more than 20 minutes to educating a degenerate and you’re almost at that limit.)
1) Progressive Tax Brackets. They work. We know, as it it is an established fact, that there is actually an optimal tax rate for the top 1%. Every economic model on earth is going to show a very similar rate. Optimal tax rates are all about getting the most bang for the buck. The government is the most effective player in the market and its policies should be designed to hold the entire system up and make it grow. It can’t do that without optimal income and investment, for which you need an optimal tax rate for growth. The economy functions partially off of a system of incentive. Tax rates should be as high as they can be without reducing incentive to spend. For the top 1% (and other high earners, although the drop is most significant there), the relative value of the dollar drops. There’s actually a point at which additional dollars do not matter. Consequentially, the tax rate at which incentives drop because it results in a net loss for the group is quite high. This rate is somewhere between 72 and 80 percent. That’s a fact. Period. End of discussion. (I could get into intelligent deduction strategies but that’s an entire page in itself.) It’s as much of a fact of life as gravity.
(I did go ahead and copy past that last bit as I’d written it in response to another conservative idiot. I find myself having to explain the same thing to republicans all the fucking time and it’s annoying as hell.)
2) And what should we do with the money from those progressive taxes? The answer is social capital. Education, safety nets, etc. We know that these programs not only close that gap, but grow and protect the economy.
Plain and simple: the answer is the antithesis to conservative thought. Moreover, the problem in the Unites States is conservative Ideology. The solution lies in the programs of the only areas in the US that keep the country afloat and the only areas where the US actually functions: the progressive bubbles of America. The hope for the United States lies firmly to the left.
I want her to go say hi to him and I want her to film it happening.
So I decided to check out ok Cupid, to see if it really is as bad as people say. This is literally the first interaction I had.