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    American Affairs Journal11/20/1938 min
    5 reads4 comments
    American Affairs Journal
    5 reads
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    • jackdille1 year ago

      I really enjoyed this read as it all felt rather enlightening although I agree with comments on some of its reductionist logic and mono-causal blaming. Having moved from SF to NYC as a tech worker though it really resonated.

      The key takeaways for me:

      • I'm still bad at grasping the vast difference between millions and billions
      • Social classes are not a new concept but it seems like a blind spot in America. Embracing the reality will help us move forward.
      • College is way too expensive
      • Money rules everything around me


      The real class war is between the 0.1 percent and (at most) the 10 percent—or, more precisely, between elites primarily dependent on capital gains and those primarily dependent on profes­sional labor.

      "The 9.9 percent is the new American aristocracy,” as one Atlantic headline put it.

      Since 1979, the real annual earnings growth of the top 1 percent has more than tripled that of earners at 10 percent, while growth for the 0.1 percent is, in turn, more than twice that of the 1 percent.

      The Valley has never been particularly fertile for the salaried professionals and “engineers” hired by these companies, who even now generally make less than their counterparts on Wall Street or in Big Law. Kindergarten playroom office spaces and other exag­gerated perks often serve to distract employees from this harsh reali­ty.

      A study by the Brookings Institution showed that the median income rose by 26 percent in San Francisco from 2008 to 2016, but rents more than doubled during the same period. Because of rising real estate costs, households earning in the top 25 percent nationally are actually classified as “low income” in San Francisco. The household “low income” threshold in the Golden Gate City is now approximately $117,000.

      Between 1973 and 2013, tui­tion costs rose faster than even the 1 percent’s income growth—and more than twice the rate of the top 5 or 10 percent’s income growth.21

    • SEnkey
      Top reader this weekReading streakScout
      2 years ago

      A lot of work went into the article and I agree with the gut message: politics is for elites and doesn't represent the middle or lower class - whatever the elites may want to claim. However, the author seems to fall into a few traps.

      One, the author assumes that the .1 percent and top ten percent are a stable group, but we know they aren't. They rise a fall (normally not dropping below those tiers), the least stable of any financial group is the top .1 percent.

      Two the author does a great job pointing out how incompetent this group is, but then also believes they have way more control than what they do. Ie, if the political parties are a mess, is it really the billionaires fault? I agree that the billionaires are uninspiring and that the parties are a mess, but we may be seeing correlation not causation. Three, the author seems to lack imagination when thinking of why people act the way they do. Republican donors just aren't aware that the Dem. Party is a better reputation credentialing machine? Young professionals only care about policies thus supporting Bernie/AOC? I'm really suspicious of mono causal explanations. Is it possible some Republican billionaires really believe in the policies they are supporting? Or that young voters are turned off by republican politicians or what they see as establishment figures (Joe Connely)?

      It's worth the read. I'm just not convinced.

    • jeff
      Reading streakScout
      2 years ago

      Incredibly informative but even more importantly hilariously brutal in its description of the ruling class.

    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      2 years ago

      This is fascinating. The first third was challenging - I can only take so many numbers and statistics. But the remainder was much easier reading.

      These are wild times to be alive. More than just reflecting my opinions, this article reflects my values. We have our work cut out for us.