Gods, Ponzi Schemes & Paupers

Gods, Ponzi Schemes & Paupers

For those making $60,000 or more, the recovery is complete. That's one takeaway from data gathered by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, which, as the project's website explains, "combines anonymized data from leading private companies to provide a real-time picture of indicators such as employment rates, consumer spending, and job postings across counties, industries, and income groups." As of midway through December, employment for the highest income cohort was actually
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5 thoughts on “Gods, Ponzi Schemes & Paupers

  1. Sorry, I would have left a comment sooner but not for being so deep into Deaths of Despair. I was at the chapter sub-header “One Escalator Becomes Two Escalators, One of Which Stopped.”

    Regardless of the class, be it the status-rich S-, or the menial E- or C-, much less the Sun City rich A-Class, it won’t be safe to cruise around at night unless one is tooling about in a leafy suburb of Charles Murray’s Coming Apart. Barring resolute, legislative (and fiscal!) action to pivot hard toward addressing some serious problems, it will hardly safe at night for any of us to be out, leafy suburbs or not.

    Some of us thought we’d grow old and die before the husk of a broken America would befall us. We are not so fortunate. It is now ours to have to deal with. Decades in the making. None are so ignorant to say they didn’t see this coming.

    Rich time to take some profits. The next air pocket in the markets seems like it’ll be a great buying opportunity.

  2. Let me put this in terms that my affluent readers can understand. When you go to trade in your mid-sized luxury sedan in five years, you may discover that an E-Class is going to cost you nearly as much as an S-Class would have run you previously. And it won’t be because of “regular” old “inflation.” It’ll be because you’re getting priced down the Mercedes line as a result of the dynamics described above. Before you know it, you’ll face the “terrifying” prospect of being a C-Class driver.

    Actually, I’d like to understand that a lot more. How is it that Jeff Bezos sucking up all the money makes it harder for me to afford what my wife mistakenly call a ‘middle class lifestyle’ (family sized apartment in the center of a big city, a nice car, a second home in the countryside etc)?

  3. You are not wrong, H. Those people at the bottom aren’t moving up these days, if they are moving at all. My cleaning lady has been out of work for six months, has five in her household including an infirmed brother who needs home care. She has health issues, only bare Medicaid and a meager bit of gig income. She faces eviction monthly. This is not right.

    I don’t really sense inflation day to day, much the same as one doesn’t see a child change on a day-to-day basis. I do remember when my wife and I were just married and moving into our first apartment we went to the grocery and bought everything we needed to stock up and start out life for $75. That was good because my wife was only making $400/month and I was making $200 as a grad assistant. Fast forward 15 years, we both worked full time and we built our “dream house” during the early 80s recession. When we moved in we had $5k in the bank, a $75k mortgage, maybe $50k in house equity and the start bare start of our retirement funding. We could afford life then but we really needed to both work. Fast forward again to a few years ago. My late wife was then in a care facility slowly dying from Azlhemer’s at a cost per year of twice the best salary she ever earned in 30 years as a college instructor. Something had sure changed.

    I saw someone ask in a blog comment how rich do you have to be to be rich? By some measures I can count myself in that group. I live the way I want and can’t spend all my income. Some say rich means you can buy anything you want, when you want. I can’t really do that though I did write a check for the house I live in and the car I drive. This house cost more roughly three times what our dream house cost in the early 80s. A while back I asked my private banker how much I would need in my relationship with the bank to get any regular attention. He said 10 mil would be an OK start but realistically to get serious attention I would probably need $50 mil. So if you want your banker to think you are rich something like 40 or 50 million would be rich enough for the local yokels but you still probably get much respect form the actual big boys. Funny thing is back when my wife and I were making $600-700 a month we could afford to live quite comfortably, go out, eat steak when we cared to, and even buy nice furniture, some of which I still have. So inflation and “rich” are relative terms to a great extent. I will say our first car was the original Cougar and it cost us about $2500 new. My current car is a luxury SUV, best car I’ve ever owned, and it cost 25 times as much as that first one. That really does feel like inflation. On the other hand my current computer is at least 100 times more powerful than my first one and cost about half as much so…

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