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Old 12-11-2018, 03:20 PM   #4396
Tyrone Slothrop
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Re: Barcelona

I asked how Trump "rationally" advances the "losers'" interests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
You have to focus on their perception. These people have a mixed bag of goals. Some are xenophobes, some racists, some pining for a nation they think existed in the 50s. And some just want opportunity, they "want their jobs back" (South Park inflection).

It's their perception of what Trump would bring that matters, not what he actually provided.
Dude. You -- *you* -- just said they were rational in thinking Trump advances their interests. I asked how, and immediately you walk away from saying they're rational. If it's their perception, not what he actually does, then we are just talking about psychology, not about material conditions.

Quote:
I think a solid slice of Trump voters are indeed simply and solely economic voters. They think the President can bring those jobs back. And many others have, as Krugman notes in the excellent article you cited in another post, allowed anger about the economy to transform into anger at "others." This is a common psychological behavior. People need to personalize, to find a human target to blame. It allows for easier cathartic release.
Aaaannnd here's the same trick again. At the start of the paragraph, Trump voters are "solely economic," but by the end of the paragraph they are showing the common psychological behavior of scapegoating. Make. Up. Your. Mind.

Quote:
I think the demographics are tricky. I remain confident the majority of Trump voters are lumped around that median, which is not affluent.
Rather than arguing more about how you are wrong about who is affluent, fun as that is, the point you were making was about inequality, not affluence. If (*if*) Trump voters are lumped around the median, then they are not the people in the country who, in objective terms, have an acute concern with inequality.

Quote:
I also don't think they rate themselves versus those below (except in terms of crying about not receiving transfers). "Affluent" is my word, and perhaps I should not have chosen it. Perhaps the better descriptive is, "stuck in the middle," and a shrinking middle at that.
"Stuck" is a good word. Trump's voters, by and large, are in parts of the country whose economic prospects are not great. It's a word that gets at expectations rather than current state.

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It's not that "not everyone has done well." It's that roughly half the nation has not done well. Fifty two percent of people own stocks. Forty eight percent did not enjoy the run-up since 2008. That's a lot of folks who missed the party.
The people who have most missed the party DO NOT VOTE FOR TRUMP. Trump voters have done better than non-Trump voters. If you are trying to explain why Trump voters vote for Trump you need an explanation that also explains why other voters don't vote for Trump. Lots of folks have missed the party, but lots of those folks didn't vote for Trump.

Quote:
But putting that aside, you need to reckon with this consideration: That the seriously poor vote Democrat does not mean the better off Trump voter is doing well. I don't think he is. As I think I said to Adder before, the Trump voter, I suspect, is king of the slag heap, highest paid in a hollowing middle class.
OK

Quote:
That's a really excellent question. My reason for that conclusion comes from actually meeting with lots of poor Trump voters. I've run into lots of Trump voters in the past few years. Some were friends who ran funds, some were small businessmen, and some were middle class, or even quite poor. (I'd like to think I hit a broad group of them.) The poor ones were fascinating. They always had that same gripe, "the banks got a bailout, the rich get richer, and I got shit." That was the same thing I heard after the 2008 crisis.
That is a real gripe, one Obama was not sufficiently attuned to.

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Unfairness sticks in people's psyches.... I suspect Trump voters viewed Hillary as in the bag for the banks and corporations and so voted against her. Democratic voters are a bit less naive. They know the new boss is the old boss and I think decided, "Whoever's in charge isn;t going to do much for me, but I think I'll take the new boss who doesn't want to deport me, and will give me cheaper health care!"
I just find it hard to believe that many people voted for Trump because they thought he would be tougher on banks and corporations. Among other things, if that was what was driving them, they don't seem to have abandoned him since then as he has shown his true colors.

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Perhaps I hang with strange folks, but my quite affluent friends voted D last time around. The people I know who have a billion supported Trump, but they worked in fossil fuels. (And they donated to both sides, as those sorts do.)
My affluent friends vote D too. But it's very clear that income and voting R are directly correlated.

[quote] I think that's breaking down a bit. There's a good economic reason to vote D. They tend to preside over better markets. Rs give you the tax decrease, which is nice, but you always thing, "What'll this cost me later?" Or, "What long term gain am I wrecking for a few bucks now?"

Quote:
Again, it's not about the actual. It's about the perceived. We're trying to get into the mind of the voter.
OK. So let's just stop talking about "inequality," and talk about what is in the mind of voters.

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An R populist who desires to deport you has blown the cost/benefit for a minority voter so badly that no economic promise can justify voting for him.
True, but a dodge. If you can vote, you really don't need to worry about deportation.

Anyway, this question is moot, because we're now both clear that you are talking about psychology, not raw economic conditions. Voters in similar economic conditions vote differently because of their own ethnic perspective.

Quote:
I ... think there's a perverse deification of wealth at work here. No matter how hopeless their futures might be, a lot of R voters cling to the belief that they can hit it big. There's something laudable about that delusion. People should never give up and desire that their government alone make their lives better. But it's still quite perverse because, even though they know the guy down the ladder isn't harming them, and the guy up the ladder is actually the one blocking their ascension, they choose to step on the guy below. Shit rolls downhill, right?
For Trump voters, that's how they want it. A majority of the country voted for something else.

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I don't know how you concluded I didn't think that.
Because you said left-wing populism is a future threat, and you're not pretending the Democratic Party is populist. Because, uh, it isn't. It's a big tent, and some of the people in it are populists, but right now the populism in the US is right-wing. You don't seriously dispute that, do you?

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Really? Did you listen to Bernie? You're aware he rose by beating the crap out of Hillary's traditional party platform, not Trump, right? I mean... srsly?
And then she beat him.

There has been a left-center divide among Democrats for a long, long time, and the center usually holds.

Quote:
It doesn't explain all of it, but it does explain a lot of it. I remain absolutely convinced that if we had a sudden boom for some unknown reason, and the Trump voters suddenly found themselves accruing all sorts of gains, and saw a bright future for themselves, populism would vanish. Most men can be bought. They have little in terms of principle, and are most concerned with comfort.
If you're right handed and you flip a coin, the fact that you flipped it with your right hand doesn't explain that it comes up heads half the time. The majority of people who voted in 2016 lived in the same economy with the Trump voters and voted for something else.

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Apportion blame across all responsible parties to the percentage of liability they own. For instance, the 2008 crisis was 25% banks' fault, 25% borrowers' fault, 25% the fed's fault, and 25% the govt's fault (Bush used a housing bubble to replace the hole left after the tech bubble burst).
Yes. That is what I am saying.

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You don't pick one bad actor of many and attack that actor as though the whole thing was its fault. That's what I see when people "take sides."
Those people suck. I hate them too. They should be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

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They choose to fixate on one group and give others a pass by omission. This creates a false story about what happened.
I try to read books that don't do this.

BTW, am reading Lord Jim right now, and something about Conrad reminded me of you.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:40 PM   #4397
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
Taxes will not get you there (an Eisenhower era rate schedule would only dent entitlements). Itís a start, true, but also, most importantly, taxes do not create jobs. And they cause businesses and people to leave.
Dude! You said I don't have an answer to inequality. I do! If inequality is really important, maybe you have to surrender something else you care about to solve it. It is true that I don't have a Magical Unicorn that will solve the country's problems without making anyone unhappy.

If rich businesses and people leave, won't that help address inequality? (And where are they going to go? Free-market bastions like Singapore and Somalia?)

Quote:
Public schools are a good idea generally, true. More jobs, higher pay for good educators. Agreed.

Transit is a great idea for environmental reasons, but whatever # of jobs it creates it eliminates elsewhere.

Unionization is a good idea all around. Agreed. Creates jobs, and higher paying ones than non-union.

The safety net? Thatís a humane goal, and it has a multiplier, but not much of one.

National parks donít create many jobs.

Agreed on enforcing antitrust... and readjusting priorities away from merely benefit to consumers.

Iím leery on consumer protection. Too much of it can make it difficult to lend to consumers, which harms them. But things like payday lending should be more vigorously policed.

But still, we come to this issue... To truly tackle inequality, we need to create a whole lot of decent paying jobs for lower skilled workers and workers being rendered obsolete. I hear some of that in what you advocate, but I think youíd only dent that problem.

Henry Blodget offered a good idea: Redefine corporations as having a duty not only to shareholders and customers, but also to workers. Rather than run everything by MBA, focusing on efficiency and labor cost avoidance/reduction, once more start viewing workers as stakeholders, as armies of little purchasers each with unique little multiplier impacts.

I know, pie in the sky. But that thinking really does need to occur. Our current efficiency fixation, viewing labor as a lamentable cost, is a race to the bottom.
It's odd how quickly you went from saying that inequality is a problem to falling into the conservative trap of complaining that the government doesn't do things well. If you want to address inequality, make the rich pay for things that benefit other people. If you increase taxes on the rich and use that money to expand SSDI, or hire teachers, or build transit that everyone uses, you have addressed inequality.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:41 PM   #4398
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by Hank Chinaski View Post
National Parks benefit the poor?
They benefit Sebby's so-called losers, the middle-class people in the heartland who take a road trip instead of flying to Europe.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:42 PM   #4399
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by sebastian_dangerfield View Post
There are $585 billionaires in the US (Wikipedia). Let's say we confiscated $1 billion from each of them.

It's dent in the budget, like I admitted, but not a huge one: https://www.cbpp.org/research/federa...tax-dollars-go

A Green New Deal would be a fantastic policy. And you'll find no louder cheerleader for infrastructure than me, but as I think you've told me here, there is debate about the size of infrastructure multipliers. Nevertheless, I'd get behind that idea, for many reasons.
If you want to do something about inequality, you're going to have to stop moving the goalposts.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:43 PM   #4400
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by Adder View Post
In 2016, tax receipts were about 21% of GDP (from your link). My contention is that there is a set of possible tax policies that could increase that to 25% or more without meaningfully restricting growth (which would not require mid-20th century rates).

Why do you think that's untrue?
Rich people create talking points designed to thwart the government from raising taxes on them.

eta: Quinfecta!!!!!
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:27 PM   #4401
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by Greedy,Greedy,Greedy View Post
Agreed. National (and state) parks are huge for many people below the national medians. Of course they benefit everyone, just like social security does, but it means more when you have fewer options.

Both Clinton and Obama devoted considerable effort to adding the number of urban national parks as well, which is a very important effort that Republicans almost uniformly oppose.
What are urban national parks? I just looked at a map and I donít see any. Do you mean to include National Monuments? You canít pack up the kids and go to the Stonewall. Got be 21 to get in I bet.
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:30 PM   #4402
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop View Post
They benefit Sebby's so-called losers, the middle-class people in the heartland who take a road trip instead of flying to Europe.
Honest question to all, do any of us actually know poor people to the extent of knowing their spending habits? Any middle class? Not talking about the secretary you talk to 15 minutes, actual familiarity with their lives. Curious not being argumentative.
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:31 PM   #4403
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Re: We are all Slave now.

Two-fecta!!!!!
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:44 PM   #4404
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by Hank Chinaski View Post
Honest question to all, do any of us actually know poor people to the extent of knowing their spending habits? Any middle class? Not talking about the secretary you talk to 15 minutes, actual familiarity with their lives. Curious not being argumentative.
My family is full of the sort of heartland folk that make a decent living and support Trump and whom Sebby would argue are not affluent.
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Old 12-11-2018, 04:46 PM   #4405
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Re: Barcelona

Quote:
I asked how Trump "rationally" advances the "losers'" interests.
If you conclude, wrongly, that Trump will get you a job, you are acting rationally in voting for him. A person can make a rational decision based on incomplete or incorrect information. People do it all the time.

Quote:
Dude. You -- *you* -- just said they were rational in thinking Trump advances their interests. I asked how, and immediately you walk away from saying they're rational. If it's their perception, not what he actually does, then we are just talking about psychology, not about material conditions.
They did not know Trump would do what he has done prior to electing him.

Quote:
Aaaannnd here's the same trick again. At the start of the paragraph, Trump voters are "solely economic," but by the end of the paragraph they are showing the common psychological behavior of scapegoating. Make. Up. Your. Mind.
No. A "slice" of Trump voters are solely economic. After stating that, I wrote, "And many others have, as Krugman notes in the excellent article you cited in another post, allowed anger about the economy to transform into anger at "others." This is a common psychological behavior. People need to personalize, to find a human target to blame. It allows for easier cathartic release."

I do not think that all Trump voters who are purely voting on economics are also falling into scapegoating "others." Nor do I think all of those engaged in scapegoating are concerned with economic issues. I don't know the size of the overlap between these two groups.

But where they do overlap, I think you'll find a lot of what Krugman described: People who had economic gripes, and allowed those economic gripes to anger them to the point that they started scapegoating out of need to find someone to blame.

Quote:
Rather than arguing more about how you are wrong about who is affluent, fun as that is, the point you were making was about inequality, not affluence. If (*if*) Trump voters are lumped around the median, then they are not the people in the country who, in objective terms, have an acute concern with inequality.
No. The only have a problem with inequality as narrowly defined by you. As I noted earlier, if you're making $72k and you are stuck, and others are making many multiples of what you are, you are unequal. For whatever reason, they are getting what you are not.

Also, your measuring stick seems to be extreme deltas between incomes. You seem to suggest that a guy making $30k is unequal to one making $4mil, but a guy making $72k is not. As the differences in income expand, when you start looking at the .0001%, the difference between the dirt poor and the Trump voter in relation to the hedge fund manager becomes a rounding error.

Quote:
"Stuck" is a good word. Trump's voters, by and large, are in parts of the country whose economic prospects are not great. It's a word that gets at expectations rather than current state.
If you're stuck, you're stuck now. You're stuck in relation to the future, but you're stuck now, too. (To borrow from the structure of a favorite Mitch Hedberg joke).

Quote:
The people who have most missed the party DO NOT VOTE FOR TRUMP. Trump voters have done better than non-Trump voters. If you are trying to explain why Trump voters vote for Trump you need an explanation that also explains why other voters don't vote for Trump. Lots of folks have missed the party, but lots of those folks didn't vote for Trump.
As to minorities, well, they'd be crazy to vote for Trump. As to people concerned about ACA health care, they'd be crazy to vote for Trump. If you're getting something from the Democrats that Trump will not give you, or you have something he'll take away, you can't vote for him. Also, a huge number of people just vote as they're told, or their folks voted. I know tons of Ds and Rs who vote that way and haven't a clue as to why.

There are endless reasons to not vote for Trump if you're poor. Most notably, you're smart enough to have discerned he was full of shit about helping you out.

Quote:
That is a real gripe, one Obama was not sufficiently attuned to.
Obama did what he had to do by hooking up the banks. He'd have caused a worldwide depression if he took radical action against them.

The Holder Doctrine is a bit disturbing, because I think it provided cover for bad individuals in the banking system. But I get why they followed it.

This is a long way of saying Obama did about all he could there given the bad cards he was dealt. History will reward him for his even keeled, calm approach to the scariest shit we've ever seen.

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I just find it hard to believe that many people voted for Trump because they thought he would be tougher on banks and corporations. Among other things, if that was what was driving them, they don't seem to have abandoned him since then as he has shown his true colors.
Trump railed against a "system rigged for fat cats." His voters viewed him as a hand grenade aimed at "the swamp," which I don't think is just DC to them, but also includes the corporate world.

I'm not sure hey assumed he'd be tougher, but more than a few silly Trump voters said to me, with a straight face, "Trump's rich... He can't be bought." That comment might've been the most surreal of the bizarre justifications I'd heard.

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My affluent friends vote D too. But it's very clear that income and voting R are directly correlated.
Agreed. But I think it's shifting, and quite quickly.

Quote:
OK. So let's just stop talking about "inequality," and talk about what is in the mind of voters.
Fine. I'll call it anything you like.

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True, but a dodge. If you can vote, you really don't need to worry about deportation.
Touche. My bad there. Perhaps remove that and say "If you're concerned about relatives who may be deported."

Quote:
Anyway, this question is moot, because we're now both clear that you are talking about psychology, not raw economic conditions. Voters in similar economic conditions vote differently because of their own ethnic perspective.
Again, I see these things as inextricably intertwined. Or links in a relay.

Quote:
For Trump voters, that's how they want it. A majority of the country voted for something else.
True. I have no explanation for why Trump voters punch down except sheer stupidity and cheap, cruel catharsis.

Quote:
Because you said left-wing populism is a future threat, and you're not pretending the Democratic Party is populist. Because, uh, it isn't. It's a big tent, and some of the people in it are populists, but right now the populism in the US is right-wing. You don't seriously dispute that, do you?
No.

Quote:
And then she beat him.

There has been a left-center divide among Democrats for a long, long time, and the center usually holds.
If the center holds much longer, it will be because people in the middle will have become exhausted with extreme politics after Trump is done. But I don't see any reason for this. Newton's Third Law won't be satisfied by the mere Trump impeachment or loss in 2020. I see the Left gaining strength and demanding a return to more progressive D politics rather than Clintonian centrism.

Quote:
Yes. That is what I am saying.
Then we agree. But you understand that to do so often precludes one from taking a side. I can't side with the people who decry the banks exclusively for 2008. Nor can I side with the people who blame profligate borrowers, or the Fed, or the govt, exclusively. The only "side" I can be on is to attack all four of those entities, and that sentiment is not politically popular.

Quote:
I try to read books that don't do this.
I try, but it's hard, as editors always push the author to align with some potential audience, and audiences are siloing a lot these days.

My current preference is to read things that cause me to feel like I know very little. Giridharadas' work did that most recently. Turned a lot of my libertarian views on their ears. I know TM advises I should not read it now, but that's caused me to look forward to DiAngelo's book on racism more.

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BTW, am reading Lord Jim right now, and something about Conrad reminded me of you.
I think I went up the river some time ago and haven't yet returned... or know the way back. Whatever it is, there's no way to reply except to hope in some small way, there's flattery there.

You used one of my favorite Apocalypse Now references a few weeks back. I don't think I applauded, for which I am regretful. It just struck me recently, when I watched the movie with the family. ...Now if I could only get the child to read the source text.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:12 PM   #4406
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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What are urban national parks? I just looked at a map and I donít see any. Do you mean to include National Monuments? You canít pack up the kids and go to the Stonewall. Got be 21 to get in I bet.
https://www.nps.gov/state/ma/index.htm

We have a variety of National Parks, Recreation Areas, Historic Sites, etc. around here - so the Harbor Islands National Recreation Area in Boston proper was established under Clinton, for example, and we had a project that upgraded and improved the "ring" of parks, historic sites and recreation areas around the city under Obama.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:15 PM   #4407
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Honest question to all, do any of us actually know poor people to the extent of knowing their spending habits? Any middle class? Not talking about the secretary you talk to 15 minutes, actual familiarity with their lives. Curious not being argumentative.
You mean like relatives who live in trailers or third story walk-ups?
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:23 PM   #4408
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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You mean like relatives who live in trailers or third story walk-ups?
Dude I grew up in Macomb County. You won’t win “whose family has the poorest people.” I actually have cousins who raised their kids on ADC. But I don’t know what their lives actually are. I don’t know choices they make and what they pass on. From my kid’s basketball days I am good friends with 3 single parent families and I know pretty much what they do/don’t do. But I’m wondering more about the cred of people here going on about the financial lives and choices of poor folk. And w/o judging anyone’s shit, just curious.
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Old 12-11-2018, 05:55 PM   #4409
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by Hank Chinaski View Post
I have nothing against spending for parks, but to my definition people capable of driving across states to a National Park aren't really the poor. Surely having the parks gives an amazing opportunity to middle class people otherwise without options AND having them probably brings in more foreign tourist money than they cost. But I read the argument as helping people that aren't making it, make it.
I'm not sure why we have to limit the definition of "national parks" to those that only rich people drive across country to visit. There are like 60 national parks, many of them near people who do not make tons of money. Many people camp out in national parks who absolutely do not have much money at all.

Nevermind. This discussion in stupid.

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Old 12-11-2018, 05:57 PM   #4410
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Re: What to do about inequality?

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Originally Posted by Hank Chinaski View Post
Honest question to all, do any of us actually know poor people to the extent of knowing their spending habits? Any middle class? Not talking about the secretary you talk to 15 minutes, actual familiarity with their lives. Curious not being argumentative.
Absolutely. Family members on both sides and quite a few friends.

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