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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 08:12 AM   #21
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Re: class in the united states

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I think it is not helpful to say anyone can make it big in this country.
True, not anyone who can make it big. It takes determination, hard work, knowledge, intelligence and wisdom. Still there is no guarantee that one will become successful even with these skills and determination. However, the chance of success will be greatly improved.

Quote:
Walmart, one of the richest companies in the world, prices healthcare coverage out of the reach of employees and faces the largest sex discrimination case in history. In Arkansas, 4000 of the 45,000 Walmart employees are on public assistance. In Tennessee, over 25% are on public assistance. Walmart doesn't sound much like the land of opportunity to me.
Walmart is losing ground to Target Stores because the rise in energy cost is hurting the buying power of the lower middle class for which Walmart is targeting. Target's price is slightly higher but offers faster checkout and wider isles. Anyway, my daughter (a teenager) is boycotting Walmart because of Walmart's treatment to their employees and the exploitation of cheap labor of third-world countries.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 08:13 AM   #22
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Re: class in the united states

The data doesn't support your statement that the "U.S. is less mobile than other rich countries." *Let's take France/Germany as an example: *Both have GDP's that are barely flat (vs. a U.S. growth rate of 3.5-4%), both have unemployment rates in the 10% range, and both have deficits that are now over 3% of GDP (the U.S. is expected to be below 3% of GDP for the year-based on higher than forecasted revenues). *I'll take our free wheeling capitalist system over the Euro welfare state model ANY DAY!!
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I agreed that the US is more upwardly mobile than 3rd world countries. But it is less mobile than other rich countries and we are going backward.

I think it is not helpful to say anyone can make it big in this country. Sure, Sam Walton, the poor boy from Arkansas made it big. I bet he would have made it big anywhere in Europe, and maybe much of the third world as well. How many are so driven? Very few in the world. Most people are ordinary. I worry about the ordinary, not the Sam Waltons.

Walmart, one of the richest companies in the world, prices healthcare coverage out of the reach of employees and faces the largest sex discrimination case in history. In Arkansas, 4000 of the 45,000 Walmart employee are on public assistance. In Tennesee, over 25% are on public assistance. Walmart doesn't sound much like the land of opportunity to me.

I volunteer with a group that helps struggling girls and young woman. Last weekend I spent some time with a young woman I have known for a few years. She is now 19 and pregnant. She is driven. Driven to do whatever she can to protect herself. She has lived on the street for the past three years. She steals.
She lies. She is not very likeable. Her boyfriend is worse. But once she was a sweet child of 16 who ran away from home because her stepfather abused her. There are too many young people in the United States with wasted lives.

To say this is the land of opportunity and if you try hard you can become successful no matter your backround isn't helpful.


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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 09:31 AM   #23
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Re: class in the united states

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I think it is not helpful to say anyone can make it big in this country.
I think it's the most important point. If there's no opportunity to move up then we have a big problem. The fact that most people don't isn't the problem. It's always been that way.

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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 10:07 AM   #24
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Re: class in the united states

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Originally Posted by markplus4
The data doesn't support your statement that the "U.S. is less mobile than other rich countries." *Let's take France/Germany as an example: *Both have GDP's that are barely flat (vs. a U.S. growth rate of 3.5-4%), both have unemployment rates in the 10% range, and both have deficits that are now over 3% of GDP (the U.S. is expected to be below 3% of GDP for the year-based on higher than forecasted revenues). *I'll take our free wheeling capitalist system over the Euro welfare state model ANY DAY!!
I fail to see how this data disputes the statement that social and economic mobility is decreasing in the US. These data you mention are macro economic stats and speak not one iota with regard to an individual's ability to move up a rung of the economic ladder.

Imagine if the US economy is booming and ALL of the profits go into the pockets of the already weathly, where's the opportunity for advancement? It doesn't exist in this hypothetical scenario and all the GDP growth in the world won't change that.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 10:35 AM   #25
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Re: class in the united states

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Originally Posted by th
You vehhy fuhhny lawrence. I keel you lassst...
"Remembah when I said I'd kill you last? I lied......stick araund!"

Well, just like past financial returns, you can make the stats show what you want, depending on what time period you pick. Opportunity for women and minorities is certainly better today than it was 40 years ago (segregation) 100 years ago (women's suffrage) or 150 years ago (slavery). But it seems that on the margin, opportunities are degrading. The CA junior colleges system is a great example. If you signed up for the honors program at a Junior college here and you maintained a B average you were guaranteed a spot in that school's feeder University, usually a prestigious UC school. It used to cost next to nothing, but every fiscal crisis in the state has led to the tuition being raised to the point that many can't afford even the Jr. College. portion. Sure, most still can, but a few more slip between the cracks every year. Boiled frog syndrome.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 12:39 PM   #26
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Re: class in the united states

This seems to be one of those polar issues. Some people appear to firmly believe that a large segment of people are born screwed no matter how hard they try. I dont get it.

I had nothing. I mean *nothing*. No college, hardly got out of high school, no vocational training, nothing. I was on my own with 2c in my pocket.

I could have decided I was a lost cause and not tried to learn something I could make money on. I could've gone on welfare and laid around complaining about my misfortunes; I worked 3 jobs instead. I could have knocked up one of the girls I went out with in high school or later; I wore a condom. I could have gotten involved with drugs as most of my friends were; I didnt. I could have worked some cheesy job instead of offering to work for free or at a ridiculous salary to get experience.

As much as it might upset some people, I just cant throw in the towel and say "Yeah, for 30-50% (or whatever) of the population, its out of their hands. They were screwed the day they were born".

So if its not helpful to say that, what IS helpful? Commisserate with the poor trodden upon? Pat them on the back and say that their lives turned out the way they did through no fault of their own? That destiny had it in for them and they had no hand whatsoever in how things ended up?
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 01:25 PM   #27
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Re: class in the united states

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Originally Posted by th
I could have worked some cheesy job instead of offering to work for free or at a ridiculous salary to get experience.
TH,

Was this your secret of success? What are some other factors attributed your success?

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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 01:46 PM   #28
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Re: class in the united states

Sorry TH, your success and drive are unusual. And the "nothing" you came from and I came from is different than the "nothing" inner city abused children with scary schools come from. We have argued about motivation and drive before with no resolution.

But I do agree that the real issue is what we do about it. One is to have a good, solid education system with financial aid to the needy. I remember when I got out of high school, you could attend vocational/technical school for free to learn a trade. Sounds like a good idea to me. Work study is good. Job programs are good.

Another thing we can do is increase minimum wage. And subsidize day care.

Don't wait until it is too late to take a child out of a screwed up home situation. I have met too many mentally ill and scary young people.

I have even thought of other more radical things. Like mandatory public service or military service after high school for a year or two; where you get fed, clothed, and maybe a small stipend. Young people sure would learn a lot.

And while we are helping people learn skills to be productive, we need to acknowledge a few never will be productive and move on. Once my firm hired a developmentally disabled woman on some subsidized program to pick up coffee cups, etc in our office. She came with a full time assistant to "help" her. What a waste. We ended it fast.










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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 01:54 PM   #29
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Re: class in the united states

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Originally Posted by Martha
I have even thought of other more radical things.* Like mandatory public service or military service after high school for a year or two; where you get fed, clothed, and maybe a small stipend.* Young people sure would learn a lot./quote]
I don't think the Army would touch these people with 10 foot pole. The Army is not a late stage head start. It is only for people of at least average intelligence and socialization.

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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 02:02 PM   #30
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Re: class in the united states

Martha - I dont consider any of this 'arguing', nor am I listening to your perspective with deaf ears. I'm also not going to play tit-for-tat on how 'bad' my life was compared to anyone elses. Trust me, I had a lot of very unpleasant things happen to me as a kid and as a teenager.

Putting more money and education and "doing more" for people who wont do for themselves is noble, but I dont think its going to be productive. Teaching people that they have to rely on themselves and a tug on their own bootstraps might.

Spanky...The secret was simple. I didnt do dumb things and did what it took to get to where I wanted to be.

The start in business wasnt easy. I asked people to help me learn computer skills. When I thought I knew something, I walked into a computer store and asked for a job; they said they couldnt afford me so I worked for them for free until I felt like I was contributing so much they couldnt deny paying me...and they surprised me by writing me a check a few days before I was ready to ask for money. When I wasnt working there I was putting in hours at a macdonalds and washing dishes for a deli to make money. Then I took a job where I was driving so far the gas cost was eating most of my salary, but it was obvious to me it would be a great learning experience. I interviewed with the same big company I wanted to work for about 20 times before I finally got a crappy offer from them. Took it and worked there for 5 years until I had learned enough and met enough people, then got in on a couple of startups via people I had met. I always took chances when offered, made the best of situations, etc. The pay usually sucked. The jobs werent a lot better. But if I could build a skill or learn some facet of the business, I did it. I networked, kept in touch with people, maintained contacts. I had shoeboxes full of peoples business cards with notes all over them. I called everyone now and then to find out what they were doing, ask them for jobs, ask them to come work for me or my company.

Even the job at my last company was all opportunity. A guy that had worked for me had wanted a transfer to the west coast. I didnt want to lose him, but I helped him get the job he wanted. When I came to CA he helped get me a fairly lousy job at the company I ended up staying with until I ER'ed. Within six months I worked my way into a first line managers job, two years later I had a hundred people working for me, and a year after that I was matrix reporting to three vice presidents. At every review I told my manager I didnt care about salary, I wanted bigger incentive based bonuses and bigger stock grants. You know how that turned out...my $100k salary was lunch money compared to the 250-350k a year in realized bonuses and 300-700k a year in stock options when they vested.

Sure, there were screwups and I made mistakes all the time. Didnt make them twice. Ate a lot of ramen noodles and drove some crappy cars. Lived in some bad neighborhoods.

I think the bottom line is the thing thats biggest with me: personal responsibility for yourself and your actions. I think most people know what the right thing to do is and when they should do it. They choose. Passive choices are still choices. Some people make things happen for themselves, some people let things happen to them.

Granted I'm not an idiot and I had that going for me. But I was "out of favor" with my family at the time, so no help there. I had no money. I had no well-to-do friends to help me out. I was painfully shy and quiet as a teenager (yep, believe it) and had to overcome that to excel at what I ended up doing.

I could just as easily have ended up poor white trash with 2 kids by the time I was 21, working a crappy menial job, divorced at 30 and blaming circumstances for how my life ended up. Really, really easily.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 02:32 PM   #31
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Re: class in the united states

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Originally Posted by th
Martha - I dont consider any of this 'arguing', nor am I listening to your perspective with deaf ears. I'm also not going to play tit-for-tat on how 'bad' my life was compared to anyone elses. Trust me, I had a lot of very unpleasant things happen to me as a kid and as a teenager.

Putting more money and education and "doing more" for people who wont do for themselves is noble, but I dont think its going to be productive. Teaching people that they have to rely on themselves and a tug on their own bootstraps might.
Hey, I am a lawyer, almost all discussions are arguing. Arguing isn't a bad thing.
So how do you teach people they have to rely on themselves? By telling them they are out of the house at 18, get a job, and if you want to go to school, pay for it yourself? I think we can do a better job of giving people the tools so they can rely on themselves.

Raising minimum wage helps those who help themselves. After all, they are working. Subsidizing daycare does the same. Financial success correlates with education. Financial aid helps those who help themselves by going to school and getting an education. Of course, if you flunk out, you don't get any more financial aid.

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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 02:49 PM   #32
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Re: class in the united states

Heh, heh, heh, heh!

This be a left handed INTJ post. Be Warned.
Since most/many of us are being shilled/paying the expenses of our mutual find managers - those with planners even more - why not - along the lines of Deep Throat:

Pay a management fee to those in the poverty biz - a fee off the wages of each person who falls into the clutches of the system - payable to the manager/caseworker as long as they can keep them working/progressing.

As long as my old man kept paying when I was little - the Met Life man always drove a Buick. I suspect some others were paying also - heh, heh, heh.

Greed is good. Follow the money. And per W. Edwards Deming - sometimes you need to change the red beads and white beds.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 03:01 PM   #33
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Re: class in the united states

More money for day care and head start. Once kids get much older than that it's too late. I have a friend who came from a horrible home life. Dad was gone, mom is an alcoholic, several step-dads of various abusive levels. She struggled through and got a decent job, married a decent guy and owns a decent home. Her sister stays out all night, has mulitple boyfriends, begs to move in with her sister and robs them, gets pregnant and aborts, fights in the streets, gets arrested etc. etc.

So how much is nature, how much is nurture? You can see the affect of their environment in both of them, but one chose to have a life, and one didn't. Would subsidies helped the bad sister? Why did the good sister not need them? I don't pretend to know.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 03:40 PM   #34
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Re: class in the united states

Ah hah then so counsel would have the jury believing that giving better tools to those that dont have them will solve the problem?

I see the 'give' word used too much. You give and people start waiting for the give. It'll come sooner or later they figure. It'll all work out for itself. Someone will help me. Someone will fix it. Its not my fault. It couldnt have been helped.

I figured out right about 14-15ish that if I didnt do it myself, I was at the mercy of a series of givers, many of whom wanted an ROI I couldnt afford to provide.

Excuse me if my argument was thin, I'm feeding rice cereal to a baby. Rather I'm transferring it to his face, where it then ends up on a napkin. Maybe later I'll just wipe some on the napkin directly and leave it at that...:P
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 03:55 PM   #35
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Re: class in the united states

The best part is when they blow rasberries at you when you're feeding them, espicially the stage 2 vegetable medly stuff. I should wear a painters smock. My grossed out reaction only encourages her.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 04:39 PM   #36
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Re: class in the united states

I think it was Nords that suggested I invest in a 15x15 tarp.

The good news is starting tomorrow we should have pretty nice weather through December. Plus a covered patio. And a hose.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 05:00 PM   #37
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Re: class in the united states

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But I do agree that the real issue is what we do about it.* One is to have a good, solid education system with financial aid to the needy.* I remember when I got out of high school, you could attend vocational/technical school for free to learn a trade.* Sounds like a good idea to me.* Work study is good.* Job programs are good.*

Another thing we can do is increase minimum wage.* And subsidize day care.*

Don't wait until it is too late to take a child out of a screwed up home situation.* I* have met too many mentally ill and scary young people.*

I have even thought of other more radical things.* Like mandatory public service or military service after high school for a year or two; where you get fed, clothed, and maybe a small stipend.* Young people sure would learn a lot.
"The Way We Never Were" and its followup propose a lot of the same programs. The author's point is that it's cheaper to provide free vo-tech training than it is to pay five years' welfare (or incarceration). But I think I'd much rather donate my $$ to the United Way than to the U.S. govt's latest "War on Poverty" program.

As for conscription, and speaking for the entire military, no way. We barely survived that the first time and we're never going back.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 05:04 PM   #38
 
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I had nothing. *I mean *nothing*. *No college, hardly got out of high school, no vocational training, nothing. *I was on my own with 2c in my pocket.
TH,

Glad to see that you worked your I.Q. up enough to thrive in the High Tech arena of America. With no College, you had to have worked to get your intelligence up to compete and beat your rivals.

Also your perseverance in insuring that you were born with the right genes to avoid any disabling diseases is also admirable. I mean 1 bad gene that led to M.S. or a Brain Tumor could have put you out on the street. But unlike those poor bastards that accepted their genetic code, you worked to ensure that yours were of the highest caliber.

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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 05:07 PM   #39
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Re: class in the united states

<DRIP>, <DRIP> - there is a puddle of sarcasm under that post CT!
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 07:21 PM   #40
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Re: class in the united states

Yeah, he's playing the one-note song of someone who is functionally disabled as proving that everyone has a reason to fail.

You do know, everyone does. Lots of them in fact. Most people dont have to work hard to find at least one. Which is good, a lot of people dont want to work that hard at finding why they didnt make it.

The fact is, 90-something percent of people have a reasonable intelligence level, a reasonably sound physical body, and the ability to learn. Almost everybody can work hard and make sacrifices if they want to.

Laurences example is a good one; why with the same circumstances does one sibling fail and one succeed?

You walk by thousands of smart, able bodied people who all had a chance to better themselves.

Theres only one reason why they didnt. And it isnt because someone didnt help them.
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