Saturday, May 21, 2005

Further musings on Class

I left off stating that the rich have a complete different worldview. I think the following shows this.
Ramesh Ponnuru on Tax Cuts on National Review Online: When surveys show that a fifth of the American public thinks it's in the top one percent of the income distribution, and another fifth thinks it's going to be there soon, conservatives generally applaud the public's confidence and optimism.

There are 2 findings there. One is an expectation that a person will do better than they currently are and I agree that can be applauded (though one may be worried about unrealistic expectations).

The second finding is the one that Ponnuru ignores and, to me, the more significant one. We have 20% of the country thinking they are in the top 1%. There is no other word for this than ignorance. This is not optimism. They don't believe something may be true about the future. They believe sometime that is demonstratively false is true currently. Why should this be applauded in any way, shape, or form? Simply put, if you can make people not understand the differences in class, then they will see one group's interests as their own even if it is completely opposite of their own. People think they are rich or nearly so when the truth is that they have no concept of what it is like to be rich.

The inequality of Capitalism largely exists on ignorance. Perfect knowledge automatically leads to transactions that are equitable. I think this is true in a free market as well as politics. People don't support policy like an estate tax because a lot of them believe it will affect them or will hurt the people it does affect. Of course, the problem with repealing the estate tax is it will affect those people in another way they do not know about (elimination of the stepped up cost basis).

My point is the rich seem to have a trait in common. They think they will always "win". And as I said before, a lot of them see themselves as better. So, to them, it is a good thing that the masses are ignorant. It just reinforces that belief because they are not ignorant. They are rich because they are not ignorant. They are not ignorant because they are better. They are better because they are rich.

I am not anti-rich though it may sound like it. I am anti-exploitation. And that is what I see.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Issues of Class

Pandagon: Class and marriage: "I cannot tell you how many times I had the jaw-dropping realization that friends of mine don't get that I have no safety net, nothing to cushion me that allows me to examine a creative career full-time. "
Maggie would love to have a summer internship with a human rights group, but she needs paid work and when she graduates, with more than $100,000 of debt, she will need a law firm job, not one with a nonprofit. So when Isaac one day teased her as being a sellout, she reminded him that it was a lot easier to live your ideals when you did not need to make money to pay for them.
I was born into a working/middle class family (hard to tell the line exactly). I have eaten government cheese. We were never on welfare. As we got older, it definitely got better. We lived closer to the edge when I was young than I probably even realize today. Even relatively recently, when by almost any measure we would be considered middle class, things were scary on occasion. My dad nearly died my senior year in high school. I was thisclose to not going to college at all. I would have went and got a job and that was that. There wouldn't have been a choice.

I went to college with a diverse group of people. There was the rich subset. And the richer subset. I obviously was in neither. And they had a couple different outlook on life than I could possible imagine. They had a lot of ideas about the way things were which I considered silly then and think is a sign of mental retardation now. Most had no clue what it meant to be limited by financial constraints. Many thought there were plainly better than other people. I will note not all. One of my best friends was extremely wealthy but you never knew it. So I won't say that class is deterministic but it is nearly so.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

When I used to go out, I would know everyone that I saw

You've got a nerve to be asking a favor
You've got a nerve to be calling my number
I know we've been through this before
Can't you hear me, I'm calling out your name?
Can't you see me, I'm pounding on your door?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


There has been a debate recently in the blogsphere about Universal Health Care. Now, normally besides all the ideological bullshit you get a bunch of numbers proving this or that. However, there was an interesting twist in this debate. It got sidetracked into the concept of rights and whether Health Care is a right.

Well, as anybody who knows my thoughts on the subject, I think single payer would be a great idea but doubt it would happen anytime soon. My argument is almost always made based on economic grounds. But what about rights? Is it one? I think the short answer is yes.

McQ's issue seems to be that his right is being infringed because they are taking his money. Now, he comes from a fundamentally different perspective on the subject than me.

My view of government is that it is a system where there is a sacrifice of individual benefit for a common benefit. Or at the very least a disregard towards personal benefit. Capitalism is an example of this tradeoff. We don't care about each individual outcome as much as we care about the aggregate outcome. We, as a society, accept the possibility of impoverishment in exchange for greater growth overall and better potential for everyone. Now, we do use some of our wealth to mute some of the effect on the bottom but the fact is we do not take away Bill Gate's fortune to equalize everybody.

In this context, I view "Rights" as merely benefits of the system that pass a cost-benefit analysis (Yes, I know how cold and mathematical) . Does the proposed right cause a net positive or a net negative?

Now, some rights are considered innate. In my analysis, I would argue that these rights have such a large net positive benefit that without them, we remove ourselves from the sphere of civilization and humanity. In that sense, they are innate to being human.

But those rights are few and far between. What is innate about a right to own a gun? I would argue that it is not innate at all. It is a right that we as a society think is positive. But if society changed in such a way that it became a net negative, the right would be curtailed or eliminated entirely. This is what we see happening in urban areas. Urban areas are fundamentally different from rural areas and, as a result, limitations have been placed on gun ownership.

In the same context, I would argue that a single payer system is a right because it represents a net positive benefit to society. A large part of this is based on economic grounds. Namely, our system is inefficient because of its structure. I won't rehash the arguments made elsewhere at great length. Needless to say, anybody arguing that our system saves us money has a large hill to climb. But further, I would argue that a single payer system has additional benefits in terms of alleviating the uncertainity of the bad health lotto. People are more productive when there is less chaos around.

I think that is enough for now. I am sure I will elaborate more later.


Worked like a fiend today. I mean I needed to make up ground but it was almost silly how much I got done. Too bad I can't do it on command. Maybe it was the weather. It was so nice today. 85 and sunny. The only problem is I got home fairly late and bleh Im tired. I just don't feel like doing anything at all.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Just felt like posting this

I don't wanna hurt you
I don't wanna make you sway
Like I know I've done before
I will not do it anymore
I've always been a dreamer
I've had my head among
the clouds
Now that I'm coming down
Won't you be my solid ground?

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I been feeling older and older lately. I am also definitely looking older. It saddens me. And no, not because I am not young per se. I been feeling bad about getting older for quite some time. Mainly because I feel unaccomplished and inexperienced for my age. There is so much I haven't done. And the time is slipping away to do a lot of the things I should be doing. I wasn't too badly behind the curve at 22 but I basically stopped in my tracks since then. My life is a mess and I know it. But if I started to change it today (and was actually successful), what would I be by the time I am done? 35? 40? A 40 year old somewhere at the stage of a 25 yr old. That is depressing.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Oh and women, for the love of God, don't say you will accept "Any" on your personal profiles when we both know you don't.


Well that was an interesting debate in the fpf today about TFing someone. Some of the views were quite strong... "creepy" and "schmuckish" jump to mind. I get creepy. I dont get schmuckish. eh, People get too worked up over $5 it seems. I mean I wonder who sponsored me but meh I don't obsess about it.

D'oh! I accidentily winked at someone on In a perfect world, I would have intentionally. She is cute and sounds real cool but.. yeah not a perfect world. Sorry girlie, I didn't mean to waste your time.

Oh well, a quick email that I been neglecting and then I must go to bed.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I hate how things never seem to go simply for me. I opened a new bank account (it had higher interest) and transferred money over (same bank). Well the money was taken out of one account. BUT it isn't in the other one! And of course I am feeling stressed about it. dammit.

Monday, May 02, 2005


I cut my hair tonight. I really need to just shave it. It gets more depressing everytime.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


"Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you."

Considering I am surrounded by the back of a loveseat, a computer, and a table full of papers, this fortune doesn't look so hot. Or I have a really pathetic definition of happiness.


I need to get out of this cycle at work. It is going to kill me. I so need some motivation. I don't know where I am going to get some though. My life isnt going to provide any.