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October 02, 2007

Econ Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Randall Parker wonders why more and more people are feeling like have-nots these days.

* Left-leaning Dean Baker thinks that the Clinton / Rubin team deserve as much blame for our ballooning trade deficits as GWBush does. UPDATE: On the other hand ...

* What to make of Radiohead asking listeners to pay what they please?

* More likably geeky laughs from Yoram Bauman, the world's only standup economist.



posted by Michael at October 2, 2007


"Randall Parker wonders why more and more people are feeling like have-nots these days."

One thought I have goes like this:
When my parents got married and started a family back in 1971 in New Jersey, they would have been happy to raise their children in, say, 90% of the School Districts in the state. Today, a regular Middle-Class family with the same decision would probably be happy with about 60%.

I don't know how many of those districts my parents could have afforded back in '71, but I bet it was a large percentage of that 90%. Today, the Average Middle-Class family needs to mortgage their lives away to afford a smaller percentage of the newer 60% number. (I hope all of that makes sense.)

The "normal" middle class town has become much harder to get. And I think that it has become harder for Steve Sailer-esque type reasons.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on October 2, 2007 4:54 PM

The classic "American Dream" of your own house, a good job, and a family is still quite achieveable - but only in the suburbs. Once upon a time you could do it anywhere in America.

Now in urban places it's completely impossible, and it's going to stay that way, for a very simple reason:

Someone with kids (one income, four people, career sacrifices made for child-raising) is competing for resources with career-focused single people.

Me? I make a good middle-class salary - and am swimming in money, because it's all for me, me me! I work with guys with families. They're less likely to be promoted because they don't put in the time I do, still have less spare time, and less money.

So long as a large chunk of the middle class chooses to delay or avoid marriage, they will create economic problems.

Posted by: secret asian man on October 2, 2007 9:43 PM

Ian -- It's interesting the way some subjects seem completely off-limits so far as the "public conversation" goes, isn't it? The influence of the Israel Lobby, or black crime rates, for instance. Until recently, any attempt to talk about immigration policy was shouted down -- amazing that the topic has semi-surfaced these days. I often marvel at this. Who (or what process) has put these topics off limits? And why should the rest of us complacently acquiesce in these judgments?

Secret Asian Man -- Didn't the American Dream (so far as it meant house, etc) always have to do with towns and suburbs? But you're certainly right that middle-class families have a much harder time than they used to so far as city life goes. But does that really have to do so much with urban singles? I thought the more important factors were lousy schools, bad air, tight quarters, worries about crime ... Another way of looking at it is that singles are better able to cope with the challenges of contempo urban living than most families are, no?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 3, 2007 10:08 AM

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