Friday, January 28, 2011

YOU DIDN'T WANT THAT AMERICAN DREAM ANYWAY. Ack! Remember when Ann Althouse was pretending not to believe that America once had a middle class that included blue collar workers who were able to support their families on a single income? David Harsanyi (surely you remember him -- big libertarian!) goes her one better -- he sort of acknowledges that such a state of affairs existed, but insists it was horrible compared to the dynamic depression we're in now:
Really, was this country ever about being proud that your children ended up in the same plant you slaved in for 30 years? Even with a promise of a union pension and -- if you're lucky -- an "occasional" promotion, it sounds like a soul-crushing grind you'd want your offspring to escape, tout de suite.

Luckily, in the real world, history tells of a story filled with dynamic movements of people, class climbing, churning innovation, booms and busts, and widespread embrace of risk taking...
...ending in a collapse of the banking system due in large part to "churning innovation" in financial instruments. But that was just the wow finish -- for decades the middle class has self-evidently been squeezed until the entry fee, which had once just been a willingness to (to coin a phrase) work hard and play by the rules, became a college degree, a second income, a willingness to work round the clock and on holidays, and the normalization of the sort of financial manipulations in which, once upon a time, only brokers and con men engaged.

And that's for the lucky ones.

Go ahead, Dave -- go among the unemployed and marginally employed and ask them if they think a steady job is an intolerable oppression that they're fortunate to be rid of. Hell, ask the fully-employed people who're hanging onto solvency by their fingernails if they're enjoying your churningly innovative thrill-ride.

I've always assumed these people were raised in Skinner boxes, but I'm beginning to think they never got out of them.

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