Comments on: The red-blue divide in personal finance A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: anon1000 Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:32:24 +0000 Ramsey unapologetically argues that the poor and the indebted are “weak-willed, self-indulgent, and stupid”. He claims that income inequality is a myth – even though the proof is in the proverbial pudding, backed by significant research. Should we not forget that it was that data, when made public, that spawned the Occupy movement? Here is first-hand evidence that corporations, CEOs and the 1% need to respond to the public. Though the Occupy movements failed to affect change (because of corruption so deep, and assumptions about the 99% so egregious) it made one message clear: people are watching. And, with the use of technology, their views, actions and thoughts go viral. It also made clear that instead of listening, the wealthy were more intent on arguing about their right to wealth instead of how we could bridge the ever-expanding gap.

I’m not suggesting that there be a lack of accountability. Individuals need to practice self-restraint and frugality in their individual lives. But, as long as big money preys on small money, with empty promises of a changing economic landscape that will make their debt manageable after a time, small money will continue to accumulate, and the economic inequality will continue to grow, creating an arcane class system we pity in other countries. Bruce Piasecki says in his book Doing More with Less, “The physical push for doing more with less is born from corporate discipline and personal choice, more than from any kind of government policy.” The public will learn from corporations, but the corporations need to respond to the public, not fight against it. Once there is some harmony there, policies will change.

Anyone who has ever read Doing More With Less would understand that economic inequality and the wealth distribution issue is systemic, and is not – as Ramsey suggests – the result of one’s personality traits. What Piasecki suggests, is Social Response Capitalism. He argues that the poor in fact, do so much with so little. The answer is not simply “self-control of our wallets.” It is about being competitively and creatively frugal, living with less, and redefining the economic infrastructure by responding to societal issues, opinion and financial constraints. Blaming individuals for this mess is ignorant. To solve the problems that prevent financial health you need a bigger view and to employ Piasecki’s “art of competitive frugality”.
Listen to it here: e-Wealth/dp/B00AETP4TY

By: KevyD Thu, 31 Oct 2013 14:59:40 +0000 QCIC, your point C: there are hedonic adjustments made to take into account the differences in utility gained from camera/phone/videogame-console/internet portal/supercomputer vs. walkman when estimating inflation. So comparing adjusted median incomes from different periods works fine.

I’d also take issue with the value of college education being better now than the 1990’s, or course that’s simply an opinion.

By: QCIC Thu, 31 Oct 2013 13:33:30 +0000 D) I forgot to point out the stupidity of “the deflated housing bubble hasn’t stop rents from climbing”. Ummm that is exactly what you would expect after a housing bubble. Why do you find it surprising? Either stupidity, or you don;’t really find it surprising but just love lining up rhetorical points regardless of merit.

By: QCIC Thu, 31 Oct 2013 13:25:37 +0000 “Adjusted for inflation, median household income in America fell by seven percent between 1999 and 2010. At the same time, the costs of child rearing, health care, education, and housing continued their decades-long climb. In 2012 alone, the average family’s medical bills went up by 7.2 percent. And the deflated housing bubble hasn’t stop rents from climbing…”

And here Olen betrays her commitment to liberal axioms just as silly as those Ramsey holds to.

A) You don’t get to talk about both inflation adjusted income and “rising costs”…particularly when the costs of goods whose costs are rising are not the same as they were in the past.
B) Regardless…college education, homes, medical care…all those things are vastly better than they were in 1990. Yes if you keep demanding better and better versions of stuff it will cost more.
C) Inflation adjusted median income is a TERRIBLE measure of people’s actual income. The inflation adjustments do an incredibly poor job of measuring increases in incomes because they are too tied to dollars and not tied enough to what a dollar amount is actually trade-able for. Inflation adjusted median income would have you believe that a 1990 portable walkman has roughly the same utility as today’s camera/phone/videogame-console/internet portal/supercomputer. Which is frankly absurd. Outside of consumer electronics the differences are not quite as stark, but most things people buy are vastly better than they were in 1990. IN many cases they are also cheaper, but then people just buy upscale versions, and the inflation adjustment treats that upscale version as though it is the same thing.

The truth is actual incomes are up HUGELY since 1990 by any sane measure, and claiming they are stagnant (which is practically part of the national catechism is absurd and insulting to anyone who remembers what 1990 was like).

Stop being slaves to measures that are easily calculated. They only tell you part of the story.

By: realist50 Thu, 31 Oct 2013 03:23:16 +0000 Very good article that you wrote for Money, Felix.

By: Kaleberg Thu, 31 Oct 2013 01:34:37 +0000 We could borrow from the Old Testament and declare a Jubilee. That resets all debts and property transfers. The Old Testament is full of this kind of stuff. There are also more frequent resets. Under Old Testament law, debt, slavery and property transfers could be enforced for more than seven years.