We are all strapping young bucks now

A little surprised to see National Review doubling down on this:

If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America.

[….]

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets.

A few things. I grew up in hardscrabble upstate New York (albeit in a small, less downscale village), and the “whelping” part is just bullshit. I wish that just for one minute, these right-wing idiots would consider what it’s like to trying to raise kids on one insufficient income or two barely sufficient incomes. If they did, they’d realize that most working class parents, in these downscale communities that deserve to die, are heroes in a way that some talentless douche at a money-losing rag will never be.

Also too: many American industrial jobs did in fact disappear because of globalization. Bringing in workers from other countries — via H1Bs or guest or worker programs or illegal immigration — does depress wages. I favor free trade and comprehensive immigration reform, but there are people who are hurt economically by these policies. It’s ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?






220 replies
  1. 1
    Seebach says:

    Growing up around conservative christian white trash I hates me some white trash. But even I was knocked back on my heels by this.

    Trump is killing the right and I love it.

  2. 2
    Germy says:

    His choice of “whelp” is especially despicable. He’s calling them dogs. Animals.

    His words offer a peek into his grimy little worldview.

  3. 3
    terraformer says:

    Second Seebach’s comment. Grew up poor Southern, family rose up from the trailer parks. First in my family to go to college and got a PhD in engineering (yet I’m liberal!). But I suppose I should have just been smothered in my sleep, according these douchenozzles.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    A) how many of them will actually ever read it?

    B) punching down isn’t just for hippies. Now that the working class white vote remembers it can vote without restriction it will take that and run to the next demagogue who can promise them their privilege back in society again. You know, where queers could be beaten with impunity and nigras knew their place.

  5. 5
    Cermet says:

    When you post

    Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?

    are your seriously this naive? They vote thug for very basic reasons – their white “betters” make sure that they are able to think that blacks are below them. That is the real anger these poor whites now have – they know, beyond a doubt, that they are now below inner city blacks. That is why they are furious.

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?

    Precisely. Republican brilliance continues to be convincing large swathes of the population to vote for them contrary to their own best interests. I don’t understand how they manage to do this year after year.

  7. 7
    Doug! says:

    @Seebach:

    I grew up around plenty of poor white people. Not many were Christian conservatives and I wouldn’t call any of them trash.

  8. 8
    geg6 says:

    Working class voters aren’t reading NR or Kevin Williamson’s disgusting screed against them. So they have no idea how much contempt in which their betters hold them.

    They are more interested in having all of their bigotries affirmed than they are in what has actually happened to them due to their betters. Trump does it better than their betters do, but the only difference is tone.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    My fondest hope is that Trumpism shatters the plutocrat-racist-religious nutbag alliance that has been the three-legged stool that the Republican Party sits on since Nixon. I’m not confident that will happen, but the possibility exists.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @geg6: exactly, they’re listening to Rush and Sean and whatever local goons tell them Obama wants to hand the country over to fiendish Muslim Reverend Wright and the Black Panthers Ayers and Alinsky. And I’m sure there’s some Messican Muslims thrown in for good measure

  11. 11
    cokane says:

    what, indeed, are they doing in that party? it’s really the central frustration of american politics for the past half century.

    unfortunately they are to blame. williamson’s mistake is seeing trump as the lone grifter, when the whole party and movement has been a grift for so long

  12. 12
    Laertes says:

    Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?

    This has always been the arrangement. The plantation-owning class lords over everyone, but they carefully measure out an ounce more respect to the white poor, and that one ounce keeps the white poor on side. You can put up with anything from above so long as you’re convinced that there’s someone firmly beneath you.

  13. 13
    Bostonian says:

    Sounds like a milquetoast who buys ink by the barrel having a hissy fit about his rubes voting for the other schmuck instead of his anointed schmuck.

    Nothing to see here; republicans insulting the intelligence of poor whites is not news. They think the poor are dogs who will love them no matter how much they’re whipped.

    The only new thing this cycle is Drumpf harvesting their crop of hatred.

  14. 14
    David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch says:

    Serious question:

    considering Sanders’s opposition to trade deals, why isn’t he calling for repeal of NAFTA & China Trade like Trump?

  15. 15
    Redshift says:

    OT: Betty’s drawings of the candidates are much better that the ones 538 uses. That is all.

  16. 16
    Thunderbird says:

    You can put up with anything from above so long as you’re convinced that there’s someone firmly beneath you.

    Exactly. As long as there’s someone to punch down upon, they’ll put up with a lot.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    JCJ says:

    I believe this is in the lexicon. Davis X Machina posted this years ago when I first started reading balloon juice:

    “The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of who will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.”

    That explains it better than anything else.

  19. 19
    Cermet says:

    In my previous post, what I mean by “that they know that they are now below inner city blacks” what does this really mean? Besides the fact that this really isn’t true but what they think is true is what matters – they see that school opportunity is given to inner city blacks – Federal money and many States offer money too. Many large cities have AP courses for their inner city schools. But what about rural areas that take up most of the US areas that are not close to large/huge cities (excluding rich suburban counties with undeveloped sections)? Many don’t and can’t offer AP courses due to terrible economic issues and their kids suffer academically both in absolute terms and in their ability to get into good and Ivy League Universities. They see this not a a minor slight but a major affront. Inner city blacks have opportunities these white rural poor just don’t have access too and they are hopping mad; this is both fairly new development (the large availability of AP courses in public schools on a wide bases in richer school districts) and one they, more than any other class of people have missed; in a manner, these rural areas are no different than the black rural areas of the South that the white poor had always been able to look down on as having inferior schools – now, they know they, white rural poor, are in the same boat and they realize their place in society: the same as dirt poor rural blacks.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    @geg6: Well, I do think that they know how much contempt the Republican hiearchy has for them–its just that Trump is the first person to (in their minds) give it voice. Democrats and leftists have been trying to point it out to them for decades but they have refused to listen over the siren song of white or christian respectability. Because they were aware, just by looking down the road,that poverty and neglect and drug addiction could become worse if they ended up identified with the queers or the minorities, just as they were aware (if they were male) that their problems would only be worse if they let themselves be defined as pussies/women.

  21. 21
    Jager says:

    The entire story reads like something written in Georgian England about the “criminal classes”. Is there anywhere to “transport” them to?

  22. 22
    Redshift says:

    Perhaps my favorite thing about the Trump situation is finding out how many conservative “intellectuals” really thought that the base called themselves conservatives were gung ho for small government and tax cuts for the rich, and dog whistle and the “Southern Strategy” just helped draw them in and give them the opportunity to discover these great truths.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that they’d convinced themselves their careers weren’t part of a big con, but I am. And their shock has been delicious.

  23. 23
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Doug!: I *also* grew up in a small town, surrounded by plenty of white trash and Christian conservatives. Whose experience trumps (haha) here? But I understand you’re the FPer and a PhD so you obviously can put us who really despise our small town upbringings in place (also doesn’t help when you are trans and queer).

  24. 24
    Thoroughly Pizzled says:

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch: Similarly, why hasn’t he discussed adding a public option to the ACA? Or expanding Medicaid? His campaign always feels too improvised.

  25. 25
    nominus says:

    So my wife and I had a child 8 years ago, and right at about the 2-3 year old toddler age, nearly everyone at church would start a conversation that would go about the same:

    “So when are you going to have another one?”

    “Well, we’re not really thinking about that right now. Raising this one is a challenge. On top of the huge lifestyle change, it’s been a financial struggle, and we don’t think we’re financially qualified to have another child.”

    “Oh, you know, no one thinks they can afford it, but God always finds a way. Sometimes you should just trust him.”

    And these are the same people who go on and on about “personal responsibility” and they read this same bullshit from NRO and other places, and …..

    Somehow, because I’m white and attend church regularly, they think I’m OK to breed as much as I’m able, and if there isn’t enough money to raise all those kids, “God will show us the way” or they’ll be happy to help with some donations, but for everyone “else” out there, well, it’s more irresponsible “whelping” bullshit.

    To those people, I cannot say “FUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU” with enough white-hot rage and contempt. I’m rooting more for the French/Russian style revolution where all those overbreeding mongrels drag them from their suburban gated palaces and throw them under guillotines.

  26. 26
    MattF says:

    @Betty Cracker: Also, the warmongers. They’re pretty offended nowadays. Pining for the Golden Age, when Leo Strauss set the standard for what to do with the lesser classes.

  27. 27
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    I favor free trade

    Dean Baker has a sad.:

    The basic story here is a very simple one. There are merits to reducing trade barriers, but traditional trade deals will have winners and losers. If this is hard to understand, imagine that we had a free trade deal in physicians’ services so that a flood of foreign doctors cut the pay of doctors by 50 percent (@$125,000 a year on average). This would make most of us winners, since we will pay less for health care, but doctors would be big losers. Most traditional trade deals have this character. So people, including economist people, may reasonably oppose them if they think the losers will be hurt so much that it offsets the gains from the deal. (Yes, we can do redistribution, but that is a children’s story. We don’t.)

    There is no “free trade” anywhere that has a functioning government, and probably not any place run by warlords or cartels. Powerful interests determine how people and goods move around…

    :-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (Who supports expanded trade, but we need to look at all the details.)

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    Just went to vote in Illinois. Voting question:

    I got to choose the presidential candidate, but I also got to select delegates – up to 5. There were 5 Hillary delegates, 6 Sanders delegates and 1 Martin O’Malley delegate on the ballot.

    Let’s say I vote for Hillary as President and choose 5 Sanders delegates. Can I mix and match like that and still have my vote for Hillary as President and the votes for the Sanders delegates all count? Or do you have to choose delegates for the candidate you voted for as President? Does anybody here know?

    I guess I’ve never noticed or thought about this before because I’ve never been so conflicted about who to vote for.

  29. 29
    Doug! says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I think these things vary by region. I don’t think upstate NY has that much in common with Kentucky or West Texas.

  30. 30
    beltane says:

    I live among these people. They tend to not be regular voters let alone regular Republican voters. I also hate to break it to everyone, but the white people living in garbage strewn trailers are not really any more racist than their neighbors down the road living in tidy ranch houses with well-manicured lawns, an American eagle plaque above their garages, and a membership at the local golf course. Less articulate, certainly, but no more racist.

    Trump did very well in suburban Boston just as he will do very well in affluent Nassau county. Where is all the hate for relatively posh right-wingers, the ones who call the shots but know how to behave in public?

  31. 31
    PhoenixRising says:

    @nominus: Also too: know a women’s healthcare provider in your community who is running ads, out of her own pocket, telling poor white rural residents that they can get an IUD paid for by KYNECT?

    All over Kentucky, clinics run out of Skyla and Mirena early in the month. Those ought to be very popular baby names for girls born to 19 year old community college students who were going to be the one to get out.

    This guy Kevin should get one. I’ll insert it for him.

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    “It used to be majority rules, but now just one or two people get to decide for everyone,” said Jan Brice, a 62-year-old who works at a retirement community in rural Georgia. “We should be respectful of everybody, but look at what’s happening with the Oscars, with the [minority-representation rules for] government contractors—it’s reverse discrimination. People shouldn’t be hired because of that when they’re not qualified.”
    Trump’s supporters have told me that minorities commit crimes with impunity, that illegal immigrants get benefits at higher rates than Americans, that gays and Muslims are afforded special status by the government. They lament that Confederate symbols, and the people whose heritage they represent, are sidelined while diversity is celebrated. They don’t understand why Democrats can campaign on overt appeals to the interests of blacks and women and Latinos, but Republicans are deemed offensive if they offer to represent the interests of whites and men. They hear, incessantly, on talk radio and the Internet, that they are under attack by the emboldened legions of minorities who, in the age of Obama, seek white domination and reparations and race war.

  33. 33
    nominus says:

    …and another thing, this is supposedly the party of family values. One of the reasons we decided to stay in a shitty job market in a city that is unfriendly to poor people is that my wife’s family is here. We consciously made the decision to stay in a more difficult area BECAUSE of family. Grabbing a U-Haul and moving anywhere else in the country would have been financially easier, but we stayed because we wanted to stay close to family.

    We didn’t take any assistance money from the government or from family, but I will still be happy to tell the NRO crew that they can burn in hell forever.

  34. 34
    beltane says:

    @Doug!: Poor white people in the Northeast tend to be a lot less religious than in other parts of the country. They cling to their guns but aren’t all too attached to their God.

  35. 35
    Pogonip says:

    If getting a job means renting a U-Haul, then rent a U-Haul. All you have to lose is your wingnut welfare.

    I’d like to see either of these assholes doing real work. I bet neither would last out the first shift.

  36. 36
    Keith G says:

    Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?

    Well I guess they could turn to a party whose likely next leader says

    We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,

    Or maybe not.

    Yeah, coal mining is dying and needs to go away, but there is a way to be evangelical about it without being tone death to many groups who are empathetic to the increasing disposability of the laboring class. Fucking Hillary sure can be a stooopid brainiac…..or worse.

  37. 37
    beltane says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: For decades, these people have been told explicitly by RW media, and implicitly by mainstream media, that there are tons of very generous welfare programs only available to non-white people. Since much of the popular culture has been saturated with this concept, it’s no surprise that there are people who really believe it. It’s not just the Republican party’s chickens that have come home to roost, but the nation’s media establishment’s as well.

  38. 38

    @beltane: I have lived in upstate NY, Eastern ME and now western Mass, and I have known a fair number of white blue collar Democrats. They were mostly not all that socially liberal but were very much economically to the left. They were Democrats because of labor issues so far as I could tell. Yes I do agree that the northeast is not particularly religious. I was shocked when I was asked what church I go to, within the first month I had moved to MD in the DC area. This was at the end of gym class and it was a nice old black lady. My jaw was literally on the floor. That was not the last time I got that question, either.

  39. 39
    Joel says:

    @Germy: I thought saying that they deserve to die was worse, but YMMV.

  40. 40
    Marc says:

    I’m seeing an awful lot of stereotyping in this thread. Look down the lists of comments and you have a partial answer to DougJ’s question (in the sense that people aren’t usually attracted to movements that treat them with comtempt.) Claiming that the entire white working class is (string of negative traits) is lazy, here or in NRO.

    And, relevant to the NRO article, these folks are happy in the Republican party because they’re in the process of completing their takeover of it, and they know it. Williamson will be on the outside howling at the moon.

  41. 41
    NobodySpecial says:

    As others have noted, kicking down is something all conservatives are real good at, lots of practice. As the quote goes, ‘The Hun is either at your throat or at your feet.’

  42. 42
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Remember that Kentucky voter who knew she was going to lose the health insurance that was keeping her afloat, but voted for Bevin anyway because “she’s just a die-hard Republican”? Well, the NRO’s assault on poor whites is revealing a similar bit of Stockholm Syndrome, as this comment avers:

    I really hate to say it, but only government jobs can fill this gap… say rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. The problem is that the Dems will want these to be union jobs, which we can ill afford and which would deliver too much control to an already oppressive governmental bureaucracy. Maybe we can have programs like back in the Depression in which those who are unemployed can work for more than minimum wage but less than union wages.

    He sees the solution…but still can’t help but hate unions that would drastically improve the plight of these working-class people.

  43. 43
    C.V. Danes says:

    Well, I grew up in eastern Kentucky and live in upstate New York, and this joker can take a whelping flying f’k off a bridge.

  44. 44
    RSA says:

    The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die.

    This line is chilling. Seriously. Communities are made up of people, and though the death of a community is only metaphorical, not directly implying the death of people, the connection is so close that it’s hard to ignore.

    No one would be surprised to read such a line in a propaganda pamphlet put out by a totalitarian government.

  45. 45

    @Marc: The problem is that since Reagan on, the policy choices on macroeconomic issues have favored capital over labor. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama made minor course corrections to that trend but we are still going in that general economic direction.

  46. 46
    Ex Libris says:

    These NR types really think anyone who is downtrodden has either 1) trodden himself down; or 2) been trodden down by “welfare dependency.” These seem to be the only options. The possibility that the gross inequalities baked into our particular brand of capitalism are in the least bit unfair to people because of where and to whom they were born is not something these white gentlemen born to prosperous college-educated parents in the suburbs can fathom. I used to think conservatives just weren’t empathetic enough. I now think they are also stupid, or, more likely, willfully ignorant.

  47. 47
    C.V. Danes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    This was at the end of gym class and it was a nice old black lady. My jaw was literally on the floor. That was not the last time I got that question, either.

    I went back to eastern Kentucky a few years ago for my son’s high school graduation, and the principle started the ceremony off with a prayer. Something you would almost never see in the northeast.

  48. 48
    MattF says:

    Don’t forget that the spirit of William Buckley presides over at NR. Buckley was smart enough to keep his opinions of the proles to himself– but can there be any doubt that he despised them?

  49. 49
    Belafon says:

    I grew up in West Texas as well, and while I spent a good portion of my childhood in a poor part of town, and we didn’t have a lot, I didn’t see welfare doing anything to families that money didn’t do. The one true bully I knew came from an upper middle class family. The classmates I could count on were from the poorer families.

    I think capitalism is the best economic system, and I think trade is an important part of how the world works. But, and this is where the author fails, any system must take into account that humans are not part of the economic system, and should be counted as another component. Any system must first make sure they are receiving the minimum necessary to live without the worries of food, housing, and healthcare.

  50. 50
    bluehill says:

    There is a revolution starting and it’s mostly within the repub party. It’s interesting to watch the people who stoked the racial embers into the fire the repub primary has become try to put it out. The disdain NRO apparently has for the base of its own party is not surprising and shows that there were in on the con too.

  51. 51
    Keith G says:

    @Yutsano:

    Now that the working class white vote remembers it can vote without restriction it will take that and run to the next demagogue who can promise them their privilege back in society again

    I am betting that you are ass-backwards wrong about most of us.

    But thanks for the effort.

    There are ijiots, and misguided, and just plain ol’ assholes in all societal groupings. Setting them aside, I believe that many of the other folks have just been waiting for someone who appears to be willing to energetically give a shit about them. Now, it is easy to take a step back and see Trump as disingenuous.

    Of course, I see Hillary as often disingenuous, and I voted for her.

    Pick yer poison.

  52. 52

    Its easy to blame immigrants, even on Balloon Juice bashing H1-Bs is a regular pass time of FPers and many commenters. But no immigrant documented or not, forced corporations with big bucks to move their manufacturing bases overseas. Neither was it an immigrant, who elevated owners (i.e. stock holders) interests over that of consumers and employees.
    Also, was it an immigrant who said that the scariest words in the English language were, “I am from the Federal Government”.

    H1-Bs and the undocumented pay taxes, even payroll taxes which they will not use unless they manage to somehow get green cards. They also spend money in the local economy where they are employed. So go ahead hate on people with temporary visas or no visas at all. Even if you manage to get everyone of them to go back it will not solve what’s ailing the labor market.

  53. 53
    Punchy says:

    you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are

    This writing….it’s…..absolutely horrific. So his first 2 examples are places (Beijing, DC), then his third is an ethnicity. That’s not how you’re supposed to write. Who the fuck pens this, re-reads it, and says “damn, that looks just fine”?

  54. 54
    April says:

    These “Reagan Democrats” will never come back to the Dems because we are too committed to diversity. Sometimes I wonder if the Bernie Democrats, if they absorb Bernie’s schtick that anyone who has taken $2700 from any donor is corrupt, might not also leae the Democrats. Even with the bro phenom, I just cannot see Bernie Dems making common cause with Reagan Dems, Bernies millennial followers will not turn their back on diversity. Would we have three parties, populist left, populist/nativist right and then the only group left would be establishment groups who could form a money party of the middle. Who has the most votes then?

  55. 55
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @nominus: Several years ago my wife was at one of the Market Baskets in town with our very yellow-haired toddler, and someone informed her that it was “nice to see a blond baby around here once in a while, if you know what I mean.”

    Yeah, I think she knew. For most of these folks, whether you need to make more babies or fewer depends on who you are.

  56. 56
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    The comments on that one are a delight.

  57. 57
    Mike E says:

    Coalitions of convenience is a fancy way to describe The Grift that is the GOP, and this is The Reckoning coming to fruition… dunno if it finally happens this cycle

  58. 58
    Chris says:

    Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?

    Well, this isn’t exactly the default script. This is coming out at the height of Donald Trump’s campaign, which rightly or wrongly (I haven’t actually seen the demographics) is perceived to be cruising to victory based on Trump’s ability to motivate the white working class Republican vote. This is essentially the National Review’s temper tantrum at the fucking plebes who have the audacity not to vote the way they’re told to. And, as LGM put it, there is no better illustration of why the Republican Party deserves everything Donald Trump is putting it through.

    Having said that, it’s not exactly out of character for the National Review either; the paper was founded in the 1950s as a podium for the fucking snobs who basically agreed with the John Birchers on everything, but were too good to be seen out in public with such rabble. Which is still what it is today. It’s just not usually this explicit when looking down on white people who aren’t Democrats.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    I think many people don’t give a fuck one way or the other. We have huge “flea market” that has huge hispanic, African American and white attendance and green is the important color.

  60. 60
    C.V. Danes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    H1-Bs and the undocumented pay taxes, even payroll taxes which they will not use unless they manage to somehow get green cards.

    The problem is not the people, but the program, which is misused by companies to depress professional wages. I have many co-workers who are H1B’s, and they’re good people. But they’re being taken advantage of, and the taxes they pay are lower than a person in that job would pay who was being paid a fair wage.

  61. 61
    Mike in NC says:

    We’re shocked, SHOCKED, that National Review despises anybody unable to afford to attend a $50K fundraiser for the likes of Mitt Rmoney.

    Also too, Lil Marco Rubio was elected by the Tea Party and I’m reading that they are determined to take him down today for not being pure enough.

  62. 62
    MomSense says:

    “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said. “And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    Remember how this quote was trashed back in 2008? Well it seems like he described this situation accurately.

  63. 63
    glasnost says:

    I think the NR post is personally loathesome, and I don’t associate myself with the contempt in it. I’ll mention, though, that’s there’s a more dispassionate way to look at this. What Kevin doesn’t mention is that these rural communities he hates are absolutely fundamental to the survival of any meaningfully conservative party. They are the rotten boroughs that allow the Republican party to hold the house and state legislatures.

    When K. wants these communities to “die”, he wants the irrevocable destruction of the conservative party. And from a rational governance perspective, it would be better if the people in them left. They literally have more votes and more political influence per person than a person who lives in a major city of equivalent wealth. Their very existence interacts with the design of the US political system in a profoundly anti-democratic (system, not party) way.

    They are also a net economic loss. Yes, I believe in that net economic losses are also human beings, and we have to provide for them, but providing for them in rural areas, not cities, is the least efficient means possible. If they were gone, there’d be money for an actual criminal justice system, a basic income, all kinds of progressive stuff.

    Last but not least, the momentum of the market is for these places to dissapear. The returns to clustering aren’t going anywhere, they’re not even driven by global markets. They’re just a function of the knowledge economy. Big places get bigger, small places without unique attributes just die from a production standpoint.

    For the reasons above, we should help and respect the people as much as we can, but not stand in the way of emptying the places. For all the wrong reasons, K. has a point.

  64. 64

    @C.V. Danes: I was making a different point, that they pay into social security and medicare which they are not eligible to use unless they can somehow get a GC first and become citizens eventually. I know more than a couple who have gone back to India after a stint here for a few years. I know at least one who has started his own company and is doing quite well for himself.

    Immigrants are not moochers to use a term beloved by Romney, they give more to the overall economy than they get back.

    ETA: If they are stealing jobs, then hate on the people who hire them.

  65. 65
    Chris says:

    @Doug!:

    I grew up around plenty of poor white people. Not many were Christian conservatives and I wouldn’t call any of them trash.

    I’ve said this before: the two friends I have who came from what would be stereotypically called “white trash” or “redneck” backgrounds are utterly unlike any Republican stereotype. Neither is devoutly Christian (one not Christian at all), neither is politically right wing, both of them are very, very low on the kind of racial and cultural anxieties I see in my other Republican friends, and both are quite open-minded and willing to learn from the world around them (one of them came to college leaning Republican, then changed her mind as time went by).

    Now, is my sample slanted? Of course! They’re both people I met in college, people who got out of the “redneck” background and never came back. But I found it very instructive nevertheless to compare them with all the white Heartlanders from middle and upper class backgrounds that I met in the same context – by and large, these people left college with all the same ingrained prejudices and ideas they’d brought with them four years earlier, having studiously endeavored (with some help from support networks like the College Republicans or the local fundiegelical frat) to learn nothing at all from their exposure to the larger world.

  66. 66
    raven says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: What’s your stance on Bhangra dance?

  67. 67

    @raven: I lubs it! I have participated in one when I was in school. How about you?

  68. 68
    raven says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’d never heard of it until yesterday but what I’ve seen is awesome!

  69. 69
    Hoodie says:

    Williamson would have been a Stalinist in another life. Anyway, as to why working class whites vote Republican, it’s tribal and tribal affinity often is the default when you’ve got nothing else to look forward to. For working class whites of a certain age, there have been better days, and Trump’s offer of fresh scapegoat and an illusory promise to bring back the good old days is more seductive than the stale ideological gibberish offered by the likes of Williamson.

  70. 70
    MomSense says:

    The problem is that the minimum wage is too damned low! If the warehouse job at Walmart paid $16.50 -$18.00 an hour then more skilled workers who do hospital billing, etc would be making $25 and everyone’s wages would rise because employers would be more interested in retention and investing more in training, etc.

    This isn’t complicated. We don’t need to bash the H1Bs who are only brought in because companies are trying to get more for less out of all of us.

  71. 71
    Denali says:

    @C.V.Danes,

    Don’t discount the role of religion in the North. The Supreme Court recently affirmed the right of the Town of Greece, New York to open its meetings with prayer.

  72. 72
    Kay says:

    @David 🍁Canadian Anchor Baby🍁 Koch:

    considering Sanders’s opposition to trade deals, why isn’t he calling for repeal of NAFTA & China Trade like Trump?

    Just a reminder. Clinton opposes NAFTA and the TPP too. I have my doubts but that is what she”s running on. She also ran on opposition to NAFTA in 2008. In fact, both Obama and Clinton said they were opposed to NAFTA in the Ohio primary in 2008.

    Democrats who have questions about these trade deals are not inventing that they were led to believe there would be some re-examination of US trade policy. Democratic candidates told them that repeatedly, including Obama and Clinton. I feel like history is being rewritten here. You really shouldn’t be shocked that these Democratic voters are upset about trade. They were specifically and repeatedly promised that Democrats would move away from the course we’re on and have been on for 25 years with trade. That hasn’t happened.

  73. 73
    Chris says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    My fondest hope is that Trumpism shatters the plutocrat-racist-religious nutbag alliance that has been the three-legged stool that the Republican Party sits on since Nixon. I’m not confident that will happen, but the possibility exists.

    My only thing with this is that ultimately, one of the shattered legs has to go somewhere. It’s not like the 1912 and 1968 explosions resulted in a three-party system – ultimately, the Progressives all became Democrats and the Dixiecrats became Republicans, and changed their new party massively along the way.

    So, even if the GOP does irreparably split between the populist/racist wing and the elite/vulture-capitalist wing, who ends up migrating to our party? The people who thought Calvin Candie was the hero of “Django Unchained,” or the people who thought Weyland-Yutani were the heroes of “Alien?” I really wish neither of them did it, but I don’t see either of them fading into obscurity, or accepting the reduced role that a three-party United States would offer them.

  74. 74
    Shell says:

    Took this from a previous thread:

    Imagine what October is going to look like.
    Imagine what the Day after the Election is going to look like.
    And pray for the country.

    Gives new meaning to the phrase “Dystopian hells cape.”

  75. 75
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MomSense: I never blame the H1Bs or illegal immigrants for trying to make a better life for their families. I blame the people who game the system and hire them.

  76. 76
    Paul in KY says:

    @trollhattan: Single issue voters: Guns, anti-choice, etc.

  77. 77
    Barbara says:

    Among all the other odious and noxious things he says in that article, I think Williamson has misread who is voting for Trump. The people he is describing, those whose lives are beset by the kind of desperation and chaos that is hard to hide, are least likely to be voting for anyone, and when they do vote, they actually tend to vote Democratic not least because they know how their neighbors feel about them. Trump supporters seem to be likelier to have a lower educational level (although this probably varies a lot) and are much more likely to be male, and obviously likely to be white. This leads me to believe that they fall within the sweet spot of those people who could have fallen into whatever trap Williamson identifies but who didn’t, who are more worried than average that their children might turn out this way, and who might see themselves as being one trade deal or one affirmative action program or one less well-paid immigrant away from losing what they have managed to attain. They are still protecting something. Call it the privilege that comes from being a white male in a world that they grew up believing belonged to white males or what have you, it is represented by a house or a boat or a modest annual vacation, and they want the sand in the hourglass to stop running out on them. On the other side, speaking for myself, progressives and liberals tend to be sympathetic on the issue of trade, more evenhanded regarding immigration (“it depends”) and not at all sympathetic on the issue of disdain for equal employment opportunity. Trump appears to be in sync on all three and it might have finally dawned on them that the “trade thing” is at least as important as the “race and immigrant thing.” And thus, they raise their arms in salute to the guy who scratches all of their itches.

  78. 78
    Doug! says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I think that we probably need H1Bs in order to maintain high tech and some other industries stateside. But I think it does depress wages for workers in those industries. Yes, those industries might not continue to exist without H1Bs. It’s a complicated issue.

  79. 79
    Technocrat says:

    @MomSense:

    I’ve seen someone refer to themselves as a ‘Bitter Clinger” as recently as a week ago. That quote is still being trashed. It’s also still accurate.

  80. 80
    Doug! says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    If they are stealing jobs, then hate on the people who hire them.

    Bingo. Hating immigrants for “taking jobs” is crazy. It’s letting the Galtians hire half the working class to fight with the other half of the working class.

  81. 81
    Kay says:

    IMO, part of the reason college-educated Republicans have contempt for poor and working class Republicans is because poor and working class Republicans receive government assistance- they get Medicaid and food stamps and (often) subsidized housing. It’s 65% GOP where I live and you should hear the “professional class” talk about the lower classes- it’s all bitching that they’re on food stamps.

  82. 82
    Chris says:

    @Ex Libris:

    I used to think conservatives just weren’t empathetic enough. I now think they are also stupid, or, more likely, willfully ignorant.

    I think they’re just assholes.

  83. 83
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Punchy: Do yourself & the rest of us a favor–click over to synecdoche–pronounced sin-NECK-doe-kee, not SIGH-neck-doosh–& read for comprehension.

    Glad I could clear that up 4U! :D

  84. 84
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    I’m not at all surprised at this, Doug. Kevin Williamson has also written that women who have abortions should be put to death…

  85. 85
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    WTF am I in moderation for??? FYWP!!

  86. 86
    Applejinx says:

    Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?

    Dying.

    This is an opportunity and it’s NOT for ‘letting them die off’, either. The rules in which they believe are lies. They need to learn better, and just maybe this sort of talk is part of that harsh lesson.

    Anybody in any party who talks about people this way or acts accordingly doesn’t deserve to be in government.

  87. 87
    Paul in KY says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Of course we hate those fuckers doing that (hiring H1B people for sole reason to depress good wages). The hate doesn’t seem to stop it, though.

  88. 88

    So how many states will Trump win today? I think he definitely takes Florida.

  89. 89
    🌷 Martin says:

    @MomSense:

    This isn’t complicated. We don’t need to bash the H1Bs who are only brought in because companies are trying to get more for less out of all of us.

    About 2-3 years ago, I got a call from my governors office. A company was looking to move into my region and indicated they would need to hire 25,000 engineers in the first 3 years and approximately 5,000 engineers per year from then out – with some indication of which kind of engineering they were looking for (industrial, etc). They wanted to know whether the region could support that kind of hiring and I said ‘no, this region only produces about 2,000 of the type they are looking for and to my knowledge there is no region in the US that produces more – we have enough students interested in earning these degrees that we could fill that pipeline but there isn’t enough state support to admit that many students’. They would need to recruit nationally to meet their hiring needs.

    I later learned that the company set up that division in Germany. Now, it’s not cheaper in Germany – not by a mile. This was not a matter of squeezing dollars out of workers, it was a matter of finding enough workers. I work for a public university talking to my governors office who was looking to land a major employer, and while they had the means to support the training needed to land that company, they didn’t do it. Let’s not completely fool ourselves about the H1-B visas. Broadly speaking, and then in specific disciplines, the US does not produce enough degrees of the type that many companies need, and the higher education system in this country is calcified and unable to pivot to address demand in that way. Consider that nearly 80% of the engineering PhDs are now granted to foreign nationals. If you need an Electrical Engineering PhD, it’s really, really goddamn hard to find one that doesn’t require a visa.

  90. 90

    @nominus: It’s AMAZING to me how you can say “I can not afford a second child” to people and it literally is like the words just never even came out of your mouth. My son is in a private school right now; it’s expensive, but we can afford it. I’ve directly challenged both sets of in-laws to find a way we pay for day care on top of tuition (because we sure as hell can’t afford for either of us to stop working) and it’s like I’m not speaking at all. Insanely frustrating.

  91. 91
    Sloane Ranger says:

    I read a book some time ago about how black contributions to winning the Civil War were airbrushed out of history. It had a chapter about a left wing Populist movement comprising both poor blacks and whites that was briefly able to capture the Governorships and legislatures of some Southern States during the late 19th century.

    The author argued that the elites had become too greedy, forcing poor whites to make common cause with poor blacks but the elites moved swiftly to address the worse excesses, upped the racism to 11 and the poor whites rushed back into the embrace of the Dixiecrats.

    If this analysis is right, economic issues CAN overcome racism, even in the South, but only in the most extreme circumstances.

    As a foreigner it seems to me that the elites have again finally pushed poor whites too far. Judging from what I read on the web, a significant number of poor white Southerners would have held their noses and voted Bernie Saunders if Trump hadn’t come along and offered both populism AND racism.

    What do you as Americans think?

  92. 92
    beltane says:

    @Paul in KY: The leadership of both parties would get the vapors if too much hate was directed at job creators.

  93. 93
    TheBuyjaysus says:

    I spent part of yesterday wading into the comment sections for this article and some of the responses to it.

    Trump fanatics and libertarian leaners ripping each other apart is pretty enjoyable. Each side telling the other they wouldn’t exist without their side. Libertarians scolding the unproductive to move and get used to globalization. The Trump supporters( directed to the article from Breitbart) letting the know-it-all elitists that they’re done carrying the piss bucket and it’s time to burn down the establishment.

    My problem is just entering their world causes my blood pressure to elevate.

  94. 94
    Kay says:

    I also think the piece ignores how they actually survive. They have to know people. They’d be much worse off if they moved. They share cars and rides and housing (often multi-generational) because they can’t afford to live without several adults pooling resources. They get free babysitting from relatives or friends. Without the free babysitting alone in this county it would be impossible for a lot of them to work. There’s a poverty writer who talks about the “5 adult household” income. That’s a real thing. It’s like ONE Social Security income plus ONE temp job plus ONE student loan – the combinations are endless :)

    He hasn’t really thought this through. They’d really be in trouble making 15 dollars an hour where they don’t know a soul. Just the car problems alone would sink them. They would have to go back home.

  95. 95

    @Paul in KY: Misuse of the H1-B program is just one manifestation of the problem of privileging capital over labor. Unless that mindset changes, its like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, where the people working for wages are concerned. I include almost everyone working for a wage in this group. Current macroeconomic policies favor the interest of rentiers over that of people working for a wage.

  96. 96
    Germy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    So how many states will Trump win today? I think he definitely takes Florida.

    There certainly seems to be more enthusiasm for him down there than for Marco.

    What does the future hold for Marco if he can’t take his own state?

  97. 97
    Anoniminous says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    Racism over-rides everything in the South. Poor whites simply will NOT ally with blacks in enough numbers to make a difference. Have to have a white populist like Huey Long appeal to whites and then capture black votes en passant.

  98. 98
    retiredeng says:

    @Thoroughly Pizzled: Trump is the proverbial dog that finally caught the car. I think he’s amazed himself that it’s happening. The problem of course is that he’s on a uuge ego trip and can’t stop now. Take a look at how awful he looks now. He’s always been unfit physically but he’s getting worse by the day.

  99. 99
    Marc says:

    @TheBuyjaysus: I have to admit that reading conservative media, or listening to talk radio, is becoming a guilty pleasure. Seeing them tell the truth about their opponent, without realizing that the truth about their favored guy is the same, is beautiful. I tuned into Glen Beck(!), complaining about the conspiracy theories around Donald Trump, without any hint of self awareness. It is comedy gold, even though the underlying matter is dead serious.

  100. 100

    @Germy: He can be a brand ambassador for Poland Springs.

  101. 101
    Betty Cracker says:

    @glasnost: So everyone should migrate to a major media market and allow the howling wilderness to reclaim small towns? Interesting theory. But maybe we need to rethink work altogether. Truth is, very soon, there isn’t going to be enough to go around. I hope someone smarter than I am is working on a solution to that problem.

  102. 102
    Kay says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Jared Bernstein, who worked for Joe Biden, says the problem is our policy is based on seeing people as consumers rather than workers. They over-value the “cheap consumer products” side because that’s what the people who set the policy value- that’s the benefit to them and they don’t suffer any downside from the “worker” side. Yet, I would say, they don’t suffer any downside yet.

  103. 103
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    Trade is awesome, and a positive in diplomacy.

    The problem is that too many would-be rentiers and rakers in London, Houston, New York and Dubai have forgotten the maxim that “pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered”, and grew all too complacent over the past 30 years with the connivance of an easily distractable white underclass; this is a demographic so obtuse that every time an effect of wealth inequality would become apparent, they could be diverted by a simple shout of “hey look – that n****r is getting something”.

    Our trade problem is probably mostly rooted in an excessive focus on share value increase as opposed to dividends. Share value increases tend to be impounded while dividends create velocity.

  104. 104
    gene108 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    H1-Bs and the undocumented pay taxes, even payroll taxes which they will not use unless they manage to somehow get green cards. They also spend money in the local economy where they are employed. So go ahead hate on people with temporary visas or no visas at all.

    Immigration is also why the U.S. population has been expanding, unlike Japan for example, so we aren’t running into a problem of too few new workers to support benefits for an aging population;

    Immigration has also helped to revive some major cities, as native born populations moved to the suburbs.

    If you’re not willing to give the country back to the Native Americans and go back to your country of origin, please quit bitching about the next wave of immigrants to come to the U.S.A.

  105. 105
    Anoniminous says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    And the fact there are 4 billion people on the planet who would be ecstatic to get $15,000 a year. Overall the US wage rates are being driven down because jobs are competing against the wage rates in Cambodia, Viet Nam, and etc.

  106. 106
    bluehill says:

    @Kay: Same kind of challenges for the working poor in urban areas although public transportation is generally better. The irony is that white working poor people in rural areas have a lot in common with their non-white counterparts in just about everything except skin color.

  107. 107
    beltane says:

    @Kay: This is in contrast with a country like Germany which has been zealous in protecting its manufacturing base and attendant jobs, even at the cost of impoverishment other European countries.

  108. 108
    Anoniminous says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    There are people working on it but the solutions being offered, e.g., guaranteed income, are DOA politically.

  109. 109
    Peale says:

    @Sloane Ranger: I don’t think so. I just don’t think Bernie would have been seen as offering enough redistribution for their current needs. The big issues – college education and healthcare reform – well, those are debates Democrats are having. And while they technically affect everyone, only 25-30% of kids go to college. Its kind of like saying “it sucks to be you, but at least your children will have it better.” In the past that has worked, but I don’t think appeals to the future generations are going to work this time. People are mad about things that are happening now.

    If this set was riled up about saving the old healthcare system, I don’t think offering another completely new system is going to bring them over. This is not the crowd you sell the glories of the European experience to.

    The third big item – breaking up the banks. I guess, maybe. But these are things that Liberal Democrats want to do and the debate is really happening within the Democratic party on just how anti-bank, it is willing to be.

  110. 110
    TheBuyjaysus says:

    @Marc:

    I truly believe that the GOP is heading for such a clusterfck in Cleveland this July.

    Blue team just needs to sit back and watch Red team destroy itself!

  111. 111
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: I read a piece by Bernstein recently in which he made that argument, and he’s exactly right. I wish the entire Democratic Party would adopt that view and act accordingly.

  112. 112
    Fair Economist says:

    @MomSense:

    Remember how this quote was trashed back in 2008? Well it seems like he described this situation accurately.

    Of course it was accurate. That’s precisely why it received such venom. The ammosexuals and the holy rollers know, in their hearts, that they cling to their lethal phallic symbols and fantasies of eternal reward for following silly rules to soothe their deep feelings of inadequacy. The Powers That Be know these things are the “opiates of the people” they use to exploit them, the exploitation being the real cause of their feelings of inadequacy (being betas and getting beat up on.) Obama’s accurate and concise analysis threatens the whole scam, and all the participants needed to go nuclear on it to help keep it going.

  113. 113
    Peale says:

    @Kay: I do wonder how much of that blind spot has to do with the idea that we defeated the Soviet Union through our lush consumer lives. Sure, all the Russians had at least pretend jobs, but they didn’t have Beatles records and Levis. Ergo – if you don’t want your impoverished countrymen to overthrow you, make sure Levis are cheap and available everywhere.

  114. 114
    gene108 says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Of course we hate those fuckers doing that (hiring H1B people for sole reason to depress good wages). The hate doesn’t seem to stop it, though.

    I’d love to see the wage differential between people on H1-b’s versus Americans. I have a feeling it is no where as stark as people think it is.

    People do not travel half way around the world to sit passively and not try to get ahead. I bet they are pushing just as hard or harder for raises, etc. as the typical American.

  115. 115

    @Kay: Botsplainer nails it

    Our trade problem is probably mostly rooted in an excessive focus on share value increase as opposed to dividends.

    The other two rentier favoring macro policies are:

    1. The excessive focus of monetary policy on interest rates and not job creation.
    2. The excessive focus of fiscal policy on deficit reduction and not infrastructure spending and job creation.
    3. Making consolidation easy by weakening anti-trust laws. That’s why Comcast can screw you and charge monopoly rates for horrid service.

    Rentiers have made out pretty well since the Reagan era, whereas income for everyone else has stagnated. Working class, white collar, educated, uneducated we are all in the same leaky boat, while Romney and the like are in their luxury yacht.

    ETA: That we did OK as consumers in the beginning of the globalization era, seems more like a happy accident to me. After all your TV and iphone may be cheaper than without globalization but is not enough to make up for the rising cost of education and medical expenses.

  116. 116
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Betty Cracker: Interesting piece in this week’s Economist about the current nature of work and migration patterns, and successful cities. The rich get richer, geographically speaking, and that doesn’t look likely to change.

    What’s depressing is that one of their key examples is Durham, NC, which is in an area that exists largely because of concerted governmental action, which NC is now actively pissing away.

  117. 117
    beltane says:

    @Betty Cracker: Here is something for you and Kay that just appeared in The Guardian: US millennials feel more working class than any previous generation.

  118. 118
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Doug!:

    AS someone who grew up in rural WNY, and escaped, the people there that I know (as a rule) are as bigoted and backwards as many of those in the book-bangin’ South. I have refused to return there for 9 years because of them.

  119. 119
    Barbara says:

    @Sloane Ranger: People with lower wages tend to vote Democratic. It has been a while since I have seen statistics, which obviously can change, but in my view, expressed above, the voters who are most likely to be susceptible to racial appeals are not the poorest, who often go to school with and work alongside African Americans, depending on the state and locality.

  120. 120
    danielx says:

    Finally, what on earth are working-class voters (of any skin color) doing in a party whose flagship publication talks about them like this?

    I generally love Doug’s posts, but my reaction to this question is another question – all together now, let me hear it –

    What is the Southern Strategy?

    From der wiki:

    In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to a strategy by Republican Party candidates of gaining political support in the Southern United States by appealing to racism against African Americans.

    Not news. Kevin Williamson’s problem with “…these dysfunctional, downscale communities…” have finally noticed that the Republican Party hasn’t delivered them a goddamn thing in return for their votes. Oh yes, lip service to the culture war stuff, about which the donor class of the Republican Party could give two toots on a flute. Williamson’s major concern is that those people just won’t do as they’re told any more. As long as they reliably voted for the Republican establishment’s selection, they were small town America, “Real Americans”, as Snowbilly Snooki refers to them. Now that they are following the banner of He, Trump, these “dysfunctional, downscale communities” are a liability to the likes of those who follow the National Review, and “deserve to die”.

  121. 121
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Cermet:

    what about rural areas that take up most of the US areas that are not close to large/huge cities

    Well, more people live in cities and suburbs. Acreage does not equal votes, mostly.

    But there is plenty of money sent to poor rural America, always has been and always will be, not least because the Senate overweights low-population states (and the House, and the US remains more politically configured as a Jeffersonian gentleman-farmer polity. If states pocket the money that should be going to people living in rural poverty — which certainly happens in TN and KY — then the people living there need to vote and raise their voices.

    (Charles Barkley of all people talked very straightforwardly back in ’08 about how cultural differences too often override economic similarities.)

  122. 122
    beltane says:

    @Barbara: That’s correct. I have also noticed far more interracial marriages/long-term relationships involving working class and poor white than with more affluent whites of any political persuasion.

  123. 123
    Linnaeus says:

    @beltane:

    I also hate to break it to everyone, but the white people living in garbage strewn trailers are not really any more racist than their neighbors down the road living in tidy ranch houses with well-manicured lawns, an American eagle plaque above their garages, and a membership at the local golf course.

    Thank you.

  124. 124
    Gindy51 says:

    @Cermet: Yep, as long as the poor and middle class white folks knew they had someone to stand on top of and shit on, they were cool. Now that they know THEY are the ones being shit on they are pissed as hell.

  125. 125
    Applejinx says:

    @Chris:

    I’ve said this before: the two friends I have who came from what would be stereotypically called “white trash” or “redneck” backgrounds are utterly unlike any Republican stereotype. Neither is devoutly Christian (one not Christian at all), neither is politically right wing, both of them are very, very low on the kind of racial and cultural anxieties I see in my other Republican friends, and both are quite open-minded and willing to learn from the world around them (one of them came to college leaning Republican, then changed her mind as time went by).

    Now, is my sample slanted? Of course! They’re both people I met in college, people who got out of the “redneck” background and never came back.

    And THIS is why I am all for the most extreme, unmarketable version of Bernie’s desire to give all Americans free college. Hell, give them free college with free room and board. I would sell my house, find a loving home for my one remaining cat and I would be on that like white on rice.

    We learn socialization and attitudes toward ‘others’ by mingling with them. We explore ideas by arguing them. Thinking is a contact sport. Right now, education demands so much wealth that the only people who go are basically clinging to their prejudices and support networks and just getting what they hope is a ticket to money and a fancy job. My brother’s an educated computer professional and in the liberal arts he’s a damn grade schooler. He learned how to brain, not how to feel, in school.

    When people are able to engage with higher education in a more open, general way, they learn humanity as well as ‘humanities’. You can look at stuff like ‘Great Books’ programs as stultified Western dogma and go ‘how is Plato gonna help you find a good high paying job’, until you look at what kind of people you get when college becomes just for Our Kind Of People and a signifier of class-based social lockdown.

    I wish I’d been less crippled when I dropped out of college. I have not equalled the education I could have had, by turning autodidact I too learned to brain rather than think. It’s just another handicap to add to the list. I am white trash, and if I could go back and try again I would do it.

    Not even to ‘get a good job’. I think I’d be doing much the same things I already am. I would go back to college because when I do manage to interact with people, a broad range of people with their own lives and thoughts and opinions, I am broadened by the contact and it cheers me to understand the world’s bigger than I thought it was.

    Hell, that’s why I’m HERE. I don’t want to replace my synthesis of ‘truth and reality’ with yours, but I damned well want to hear yours and especially if it makes no sense to me I want to know how you arrived at it.

    College can be really great at providing that to a populace.

  126. 126
    Kay says:

    @beltane:

    That is actually true here, too.

  127. 127
    Barbara says:

    @glasnost: Over the long haul, this is going to happen because it more or less has to when anyone who can does leave and no one new comes in. Even retirees now prefer relocating to hubs, even if they are smaller towns or cities. But rural communities that are within less than three or four hours driving distance can thrive based on commercial interaction with the larger population center (often not without tension, however). My husband grew up in a very rural place, and although there is no doubt it is much poorer than where we live, there is a lot of two way diffusion — construction workers coming in for projects during the week and going home on the weekend, people looking for a weekend getaway in a slower community, farmers coming up for the farmers’ markets, etc.

    This is also why the closure of military bases is such a contested subject.

  128. 128
    Denali says:

    Some people, admittedly a minority, think that it would be a good thing if the people left the the dying towns in the Adirondacks. They value wilderness more than improving the lives of people. Where these people go, and whether they can make it in urban areas, is really not very important to them.

  129. 129
    Fair Economist says:

    @beltane: From the article:

    only about a third of adults aged 18-35 think they are part of the US middle class. Meanwhile 56.5% of this age group describe themselves as working class.

    The interesting thing about this is – it’s correct. Only about 30% of the population is able to accumulate substantial savings over their lifetime, which is a pretty reasonable description of “middle class”. Everybody else lives hand-to-mouth; they simply can’t help their kids go to college, take a sabbatical when burnt out, or travel after retirement. The Millennials know the truth.

  130. 130
    Linnaeus says:

    @Kay:

    Good point. Social ties and networks matter and they do a lot to make a hard situation at least survivable.

    I’d put a sawbuck down that any “resettlement” program would be wholly inadequate for the needs of the would-be resettled: “Here’s some money for a U-Haul and gas. Good luck!”

  131. 131
    Linda says:

    To answer your last question first, few people read the “flagship” of conservatism any more. Even my tea party brother quotes The Federalist all the time. This article in NRO was overdue, and the logical conclusion to conservative ideology, where there are no unfair losers in the free market system, only losers. They turned on a larger and larger number of the populace, until the last group of disgruntled losers finally had the nerve to vote in some way that NRO disapproves of.

  132. 132
    normal liberal says:

    @WaterGirl:
    Too late, and I hope someone further up answered this, but the delegates are what’s important.

    ETA – Also in Illinois, about an hour NW of you. (You’re in C-U, no?) I voted yesterday, surrounded by eager same-day register and vote yoots who I’m sure were there for Bernie.

  133. 133
    Kay says:

    @Linnaeus:

    Social ties and networks matter and they do a lot to make a hard situation at least survivable.

    God, that’s literally the only thing they have. He insists they give that up and navigate entirely different terrain, without knowing a soul, like that will help anything. They actually (IMO) need the opposite. They need reliable, steady work with somewhat predictable living conditions over time. The last thing they need is more risk.

  134. 134
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @beltane: I’m surprised that the analyst quoted in the article found the downward economic trend for millennials surprising. Where has he been these past 10-15-20 years? It’s evident to me that my sons and the majority of their cohort are far less well-off at this stage in their lives than my peers and I were, and with very uncertain prospects.

  135. 135
    beltane says:

    @Fair Economist: Most Democratic politicians, even ones like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, target their appeals to the middle class because most Baby Boomers really bought into the notion that this is a middle class country. As much as the Republicans suck, the Democrats are really going to have to change their emphasis on middle class concerns at some point in the near future, and focus on promoting a decent life for the much larger working class.

  136. 136
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    My gripe on the “capital impound” represented by the excessive focus on share value is readily addressable by tax policy. I’d actually discourage stock flipping by making gains recognizable in the here and now while granting 15% relief to dividends realized on shares held for three years or more that are used to either purchase shares in a different entity or are just plain spent.

    The capital gains game has been extremely problematic, and it also favors buyback and merger/market consolidation.

  137. 137
    Kay says:

    @Linnaeus:

    He actually doesn’t mean all of them. I’m familiar with this particular line of argument from conservatives. I bet he wants “the strivers”, “the cream”, to get out. He could give a shit about the rest of them. Losers can rot for all he cares. They do this “triage” thing all the time. They apply it to everything. When they start using the word “grit” look out, you’re about to start talking triage.

  138. 138
    Paul in KY says:

    @beltane: Same as it ever was…

  139. 139
    Paul in KY says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Certainly agree 100% on that!

  140. 140
    Calouste says:

    @Fair Economist:

    they simply can’t help their kids go to college, take a sabbatical when burnt out, or travel after retirement

    Of course, that is an American problem. My parents are very working class Europeans, and they managed to do all three, if you substitute my dad’s early retirement for a sabbatical.

  141. 141
    beltane says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: Even most of my Gen X friends are less well off than their parents and grandparents. The problem is that most opinion-makers in this country come from hermetically sealed bubbles of prosperity, completely unaware of the teeming masses outside.

    The US is like an airplane. Those lucky enough to be travelling first or business class have no clue about the condition’s that exist behind the curtain separating them from coach.

  142. 142
    Kay says:

    @beltane:

    As much as the Republicans suck, the Democrats are really going to have to change their emphasis on middle class concerns at some point in the near future, and focus on promoting a decent life for the much larger working class.

    I agree. 70% of working people are NOT college graduates. That’s our countries workforce, whether we want to admit it or not. That’s where the focus should be.

  143. 143
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:

    @Linnaeus:

    If you need help, ask a poor person.

    Also, if you have an older white relative of significant means, don’t expect them to say “you know what, I have more than I can use, and would like to start sharing it now that I can make life better for you and my grandchildren and see the results.” They just don’t do it, and I’ve tried to convince many to do it while preparing estate documents. I can count the number who thought that a good idea on less than one hand.

    Or worse, they could be like my formerly sensible father in law who is now giving money to Trump.

  144. 144
    Paul in KY says:

    @Anoniminous: I’m reading about Sen/Gov Long right now. Damn, he was a busy little beaver. Murdered in early 40s & book must be 800 pages. If he’d lived to 80, would have to be 7 volumes.

  145. 145
    Paul in KY says:

    @Betty Cracker: Sounds like you’re zero-summing there, Betty.

  146. 146
    Woodrowfan says:

    is this the same NR that loved them some Sarah Palin?? Isn’t she and her family just the types they’re bitching about here??

  147. 147
    Chris says:

    @Applejinx:

    Absolutely all of this. I don’t think college is the only place to learn all these things, but it’s a huge part of the value of college.

    Is “free college including room and board” conceivable? No, not at the moment. Should still be there as an end goal, in the same way that the ACA, while a giant step forward, still needs to be improved on.

  148. 148
    Calouste says:

    @beltane: I think the notion that America was a middle class country (for whites) was correct from a number of decades from the 1950 onwards. It certainly was compared to the rest of what is now the developed world, because it wasn’t bombed to bits in WWI and WWII, so it had a massive export market, and still had a lot of natural resources waiting the be discovered. What we have been seeing in the last few decades might just be regression to the mean, to the standard condition for an industrialized society that has to compete with other industrialized societies on the same level, although hurried along by Republican policies.

  149. 149
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    If you need an Electrical Engineering PhD, it’s really, really goddamn hard to find one that doesn’t require a visa.

    I don’t doubt your story, and it’s interesting – thanks for sharing it.

    But it doesn’t match my experience in a non-industry STEM lab. We have recent PhDs beating down our doors trying to get post-docs here with the hope of getting hired permanently.

    There were about 18,000 STEM PhDs granted in 2013 out of 53,000 total PhDs. Germany has about 25,000 total PhDs per year.

    There is a lot of talent out there, but too many companies want someone who will just take over when someone with 20 years of experience retires. Lots of adjuncts and struggling assistant professors would love to have better options, too.

    Sure, foreign students are a big fraction of the talent now (~ 4000/25000 in Germany, also too). But foreigners have been superstars here for a long time (Andy Grove, etc., etc.). I don’t see why imported PhDs are acceptable but foreign students (who would generally love to stay for at least a few years if they had the chance) aren’t.

    I get your point that more money is needed. No doubt. But unless we push back against this truthy talking point that “there aren’t enough good people” and actually address the issues then good people aren’t going to go into the field. Actual experience in trying to find a good job is worth much more than some talking point to a congressional panel.

    And what happened to actually recruiting nationally for talent? Getting workers in Germany is OK, but not from a school 1500 miles away?

    I don’t know the solution, but I don’t think just throwing up our hands and saying “we don’t have enough STEM people therefore we have to admit more foreign PhDs” is the answer. It’s been tried a long time and the situation for new STEM graduates hasn’t improved that much (that I can see).

    BLS:

    In 2010 and 2011, the unemployment rate for electrical engineers held at 3.4 percent, but it spiked to 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Although recruiters in the government and government contractor sector had concerns about hiring electrical engineers, these concerns did not surface in our interviews with private sector recruiters, suggesting that the hiring challenge in the government sector is probably due to the U.S. citizenship requirement.

    Because the unemployment rate for STEM Ph.D.’s is generally low, a more useful indicator of job market strength is the number of STEM Ph.D.’s who accept potentially permanent positions, compared with those who accept postdocs. A considerable number of physics Ph.D.’s are unemployed, accepting postdocs and other temporary positions (69 percent in 2010, as opposed to 51 percent before the dot-com bust), indicating that the demand for physics Ph.D.’s is not high. (See figure 2.)

    Security requirements are certainly a constraint – but that’s a small portion of the market. The way to solve that is to make it more appealing for US students to get an advanced STEM degree. And that means better pay, better working conditions, and less arbitrary weeding-out in grad school.

    Having more foreign PhDs won’t increase the number of US STEM PhDs (at least not until they can get citizenship, and it still doesn’t address the problem)…

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  150. 150
    beltane says:

    @Chris: Obama’s goal of making community college free for all was one that should be pursued wholeheartedly by the Democratic party.

  151. 151
    Paul in KY says:

    @Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: Well, unfortunately (but very fortunately for them), those days of major mob violence against the rentiers is not going to happen.

    Question, is a country more civilized or less when people who prey on the less fortunate have nothing to fear?

  152. 152
    Southern Goth says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    What exactly were these hypothetical 25,000 engineers doing before this company came along?

  153. 153
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @🌷 Martin: I had a long reply that keeps getting silently eated by FYWP…

    Thanks for your story. According to the BLS the general picture for STEM PhDs indicates that a strong case can be made that there’s a glut rather than a shortage.

    The way to solve the US STEM shortage/mismatch is to make it more appealing for US students to get those degrees. Hiring more H1Bs doesn’t address the problem.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  154. 154
    Chris says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    is this the same NR that loved them some Sarah Palin?? Isn’t she and her family just the types they’re bitching about here??

    I think this is a yoooooooge part of why Republican attempts to bring voters away from Trump is failing so miserably. How on earth can you serve up a Ronald Reagan, a Dan Quayle, a George W. Bush, and a Sarah Palin as the embodiment of everything good about America, and then suddenly tell them that when Trump does it, it’s bad? Republican voters are quite correctly concluding that it’s the establishment that’s changing its tune, not them.

  155. 155
    Paul in KY says:

    @Peale: The only thing that can be done is to get the people who give out raises to give them out, rather than sitting on their big pile of loot. You do that through manipulation of the tax code.

  156. 156
    Kay says:

    @Chris:

    One of the things that going away to college does is give people a safe place to be stupid and grow up a little. I noticed it when my daughter went away to college. A lot of the people she knew from high school would get into trouble of one kind or another- police or debt or eviction – they immediately had adult responsibility and problems straight from high school. I was here and of course I know them so I would see it myself or hear about it.

    She and I talked about it and she was so funny, because she recognizes it- she says she was “carefully introduced into the adult world, over 4 years, and everyone was so nice and pulling for me!” :)

  157. 157
    Paul in KY says:

    @Peale: That may be a reason for some of the political elite, but for those who pay out wages, seeing them go down (via competition with Mexico, Vietnam, China, etc.) is good (for them).

  158. 158
    beltane says:

    @Calouste: In the rest of the developed world, the working class has more of a secure identity. They constitute voting blocs whose needs and concerns are directly addressed by various political parties. Here, everyone is assumed to be either middle class or part of a desperately poor underclass. Something very important is missing from the picture here.

  159. 159
    Chris says:

    @Calouste:

    Most of the countries that were bombed to bits in WW2 rebuilt quickly into “middle class societies” not unlike the U.S, too. The postwar period is still referred to as “the thirty glorious years” in French textbooks.

    Krugman’s big argument in “Conscience of a Liberal” was that the middle class society of the mid-20th century wasn’t the result of impersonal market trends, but was created by deliberate government action and policy choices. I sti;l agree.

  160. 160
    Paul in KY says:

    @gene108: Once they get here, yeah. I think the starting salaries are lower & they may have to funnel some of it back to the countrymen who lined them up the job.

  161. 161
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @beltane: I like your airplane analogy. It fits. I just hope that serious correctives are put in place before the thing crashes and burns.

  162. 162
    Paul in KY says:

    @beltane: One of the problems is that most people in the ‘working class’, self identify themselves as ‘middle class’.

  163. 163
    Chris says:

    @Kay:

    Absolutely. In my case the trouble manifested in GPA rather than the kind of trouble the cops would get called for, but I think many, perhaps most who go to college have that – the initial “holy shit, I can do whatever I want!” eventually counteracted by “okay. Time to grow up.”

  164. 164
    beltane says:

    @Paul in KY: Millennials and to a lesser degree Gen Xers are NOT identifying as middle class anymore unless they actually are middle class. Times are changing but our media and political establishment are not.

  165. 165
    Paul in KY says:

    @Southern Goth: That is a shitton of engineers.

  166. 166
    Paul in KY says:

    @beltane: Good that they are more realistic about their situation. Should help us.

  167. 167
    Kay says:

    @Chris:

    The younger working class here break my heart, because it is so fucking hard for them. Everyone else is amazed that more of them don’t succeed and I’m amazed that any at all do.

    OMG, it’s just an endless series of hurdles. I get exhausted listening to them, and it’s so fragile! It’s like 50 interlocking pieces- IF I get this then I can do THAT.

  168. 168
    MomSense says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    And in the old mill towns in the NE you have a lot of Catholic voters who are anti-reproductive choice. They can be labor/economic liberals but still swing Republican because of gay rights, abortion, and guns. Depends which issue pulls stronger at that particular time.

  169. 169
    C.V. Danes says:

    @srv:

    Not happy enough with losing Kodak, sounds like the liberals want to close down Indian Point like the FitzPatrick nuke.

    ‘They’ want to close down Indian Point because the plant is over 40 years old and is demonstrably unsafe.

  170. 170

    @MomSense: Actually I was good friends with a pro-life Catholic woman who was a Democrat. She hated Bush II with a white hot passion.

  171. 171
    danielx says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Got that right, unfortunately. I read someplace (I know, I know, but I can’t recall where) that China produces graduates more engineering graduates every year than the US produces total college graduates. But if they only produce half that number of engineers annually, it’s still a lot more than the US produces.

  172. 172
    MomSense says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Right now I am watching my STEM nerd child become completely bored and drift away from his math and science classes. I’ve been supplementing with extracurricular programs and camps but damn they get expensive and there is always a terrific strain trying to arrange the pick ups and drop offs with our ever increasing work hours.

    They keep cutting funding for the school behavioral team so teachers are busy just managing too many students. Then they cut gifted and talented in favor of kids logging in to internet based math and science homework. Nope. Kids do not want to do that. Every night my son is sent home with worksheets. He does them fast, and is so bored he has started saying he doesn’t like math anymore. WTF. It’s not math he hates, it’s boring, uninspired, outmoded homework. I do feel for the teachers but we have to do something to turn this around.

  173. 173
    Applejinx says:

    @Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class:

    My gripe on the “capital impound” represented by the excessive focus on share value is readily addressable by tax policy. I’d actually discourage stock flipping by making gains recognizable in the here and now while granting 15% relief to dividends realized on shares held for three years or more that are used to either purchase shares in a different entity or are just plain spent.

    The capital gains game has been extremely problematic, and it also favors buyback and merger/market consolidation.

    I’d really like to hear more about this, because I understand just enough to think it sounds like a problem I care a lot about and an answer that I totally don’t see. In particular ‘market consolidation’ rings big alarm bells for me, but I don’t understand how your remedy works, or whether it would seem ‘reasonable’ or ‘ambitious’ to policymakers.

    So you want shares to be held for years and not microseconds, clearly: does the behavior start acting more like investing in companies doing things, or does it still act like ‘investing in money to make more money’ but on a longer scale?

  174. 174
    Kay says:

    This is the piece about multi-earner households and low income:

    Going from a one-earner family to a two-earner family will reduce your risk of poverty. But so will going from a two-earner family to a three-earner family. So will going from a three-earner family to a four-earner family. And so on. Rule One doesn’t say “have two earners.” It says maximize your number of earners

    They’re already doing this, basically, which is why they can’t move at the drop of a hat.

  175. 175

    @MomSense: Actually I was good friends with a pro-life Catholic woman who was a Democrat. She hated Bush II with a white hot passion. She was pretty serious about the pro-life thing as a devout Catholic.

  176. 176

    @MomSense: What grade is he in? I can give you some suggestions of books with challenging math problems.

  177. 177
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Paul in KY: Sure, but the US produces ~ 18k STEM PhDs a year out of ~ 53k total PhDs, while Germany produces ~ 25k total PhDs a year. (And ~ 4k of those are foreign).

    Moving to Germany to get more qualified people seems a little backwards, if the constraint really is a lack of recent STEM PhDs…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  178. 178
    daveNYC says:

    @C.V. Danes: What, you don’t want tritium in your water? More neutrons for a better taste!

  179. 179
    Linnaeus says:

    @MomSense:

    It seems we are commoditizing education. Better*, cheaper, faster.

    *No, not really.

  180. 180
    Southern Goth says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Apparently unemployed engineers, sitting around on German welfare.

  181. 181
    Linnaeus says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    Moving to Germany to get more qualified people seems a little backwards, if the constraint really is a lack of recent STEM PhDs…

    We might have to look at what Ph.D.s they’re getting. I’ve sometimes thought that “STEM” is too broad of a classification when we talk about jobs; when we say “STEM”, we really mean “sTEm”.

    Anecdote and all, but I recall my time when I still worked in the sciences about 20 years ago, and I found that I, as a BS holder, was competing against people with advanced degrees for entry-level research jobs in my field (molecular biology). I’m not sure if that was a function of oversupply or just simply that my employer was appealing enough that people were willing to start at jobs for which they were overqualified. It was a fairly common worry among the graduate students that I worked with that the job market in biology was tightening. Not sure how accurate that was, but you heard it a lot in my neck of the woods then.

  182. 182
    glasnost says:

    @barbara @bettycracker Per you Barbara, it is happening naturally, but there is a problem in that government infrastructure seems to put a floor on the process. Maybe, anyway. Maybe not.

    Look, I really want to see another way. I wish there was a way to break the association of these places with support for racial plundering and/or economic plundering. But it seems to be baked into the cake of their structure. The hand that feeds makes the feeding so obvious that all you can do is bite, or something.

    I don’t see away for progressives to keep and maintain lasting power, or hand it off back to a noncrazy centrist or soft right party, without further natural erosion of these areas.

    Betty, you’ve put your finger on the catch 22. Yep, their problem will be our problem in time. Not too long, either. It’s only going to spread, limited only by social willingness among rich people to employ people literally for fun. Both the redistribution and socialism that would mitigate this problem is being choked off by these communities. These communities have to decline so they will stop making it impossible to help them, not to mention everyone else.

    I guess another solution would be for affluent liberals to move to these communities in large numbers and use interpersonal socialization to change the nature of these communities. But … um… yeah, I don’t see it happening.

  183. 183
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Linnaeus: The BLS report I linked to above addresses some of the issues. There are definitely some shortages in some particular areas, but there’s few signs that it’s a general one.

    Lots of EEs that I know started grad school in the early ’80s with promises of writing their own tickets. People with masters degrees getting $50k/yr to start in Colorado. My first job as a EE post-doc in the late ’80s was for $36k a year and I was happy to get it… The industry changed a lot in those years (big corporate labs at GE, IBM, AT&T shrank dramatically or closed up, etc., etc.).

    It’s a huge time investment to get a Ph.D. It’s much, much more risky now than it was in, say, the 1960s. There are fewer decent academic jobs, far fewer industry research positions, etc. It’s no wonder why US students look at the prospects of spending 5-10 years post-bachelors getting the degree, then 2+ years as a starving post-doc, etc., and saying it’s not worth it. They’ll go into real estate instead… :-/

    Bottom line: the way to know if there’s a shortage in a field is to look at wages – especially starting wages. If they’re not going up, there’s no shortage.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  184. 184
    Linnaeus says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    Oh, I missed that link. Thanks.

  185. 185
    Paul in KY says:

    @MomSense: You need to tell him (and I’m sure you already have) that HE is responsible for his schooling. You did yours. He goes thru these grades once & that’s it. If he wants a better life, he has to excel (in stuff he’s already good at) and the results will last with him if he lives to be 90.

    Why can’t he come up with some more interesting math stuff to play around with? Surely there’s some good stuff on internet.

  186. 186
    Paul in KY says:

    @Kay: Boy, whoda thunk that…

  187. 187
    Barbara says:

    @glasnost: I do agree regarding the disproportionate power of these places, although I would say that the shift in the balance of power does not have to be that large in order for the dynamic to change significantly. What rural locations have in their favor, in addition to the gerrymandering and constitutional undergirding, is that urban dwellers like the idea of rural places, and so are not nearly as rabid as they could be about having to subsidize people living there, not in the same way that rural taxpayers are often obsessed about having to subsidize others, ironic as it might be.

  188. 188
    Paul in KY says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I’d like to know what the company was.

  189. 189
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Betty Cracker: “But maybe we need to rethink work altogether. Truth is, very soon, there isn’t going to be enough to go around.”

    There is always enough work, but paid work is a different thing. Maybe we should expand the pay for work that is not currently paid. Things that we now call volunteer work or internship are examples.

  190. 190
    Paul in KY says:

    @Southern Goth: I hear they have some nice welfare. Very classy & organized.

  191. 191
    Paul in KY says:

    @glasnost: I don’t think there’s enough ‘affluent liberals’. One side seems to be trying to stamp us out :-)

  192. 192
    Southern Goth says:

    @Paul in KY:

    What I was getting at was that they were going to end up poaching workers from other companies where they were already employed and readily trained.

    Sure they’re probably taking some new grads, but they’re not opening a new plant or whatever it was with 25k fresh young faces.

  193. 193
    Paul in KY says:

    @Southern Goth: Thank you for explaining your point. Understand now. I was thinking that maybe the company overstated their need, cause they didn’t really want to come over here, but for whatever reason, had to make an ‘effort’.

  194. 194
    MomSense says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    He’s in 6th grade and is a good student. He does do some Khan Academy problems which are ok. I think the big problem is that he is an extrovert and really thrives on interaction with humans.

  195. 195

    @MomSense: I have no suggestions, then. I was thinking of Hall and Knight but that would be for someone who has had Algebra I and II.

  196. 196
    Paul in KY says:

    @MomSense: Beyond the crappy homework, doesn’t he get the interaction during day at school?

  197. 197
    PJ says:

    @Doug!: Can you explain how those industries could not exist without H1-Bs when, as in the Disney case, citizens who previously did those jobs are being laid off and forced to train the immigrant workers who are brought in to do their jobs at a much lower wage? If training is required, surely the business can afford it for citizens as much as for immigrants.

  198. 198
    PJ says:

    @Peale: It wasn’t because Levi’s and Beatles records were cheap that people in the Eastern Bloc wanted them (in fact, in relative terms, if they were able to get those goods, they were expensive for them.) It was because they represented, and were, a kind of freedom. Price didn’t enter into it.

    The availability of cheap consumer goods is the argument that “free” trade advocates have been making at least since the 70s in order to paper over the dismantling of the industry making those goods in the US. With the availability of credit cards to pretty much everyone and their dog starting in the 80s, people could buy those cheap consumer goods even though their wages were stagnating or declining, but there is a limit to the amount of crap most people can buy, and when they have lost their houses or the jobs that would buy more crap, they are more amenable to asking questions about the deal they were sold.

  199. 199
    Daulnay says:

    @gene108:
    People in the U.S. on H1-B visas have no leverage to lobby for higher salaries. They can’t switch to another job, only go back to their home country.

  200. 200
    MomSense says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    He’s been doing algebra for three years now. I’ll look for Hall and Knight and see if he is interested.

    @Paul in KY:

    He loves his English, Spanish, Social Studies and art classes because they do a lot of creative projects. He is getting all As and is a good student, but I’m worried that he is losing his math drive.

  201. 201

    @Daulnay: You can switch jobs if you are on an H1-B, it is difficult but not impossible.

  202. 202
  203. 203
    Brachiator says:

    @Linda:

    @aimai:

    This article in NRO was overdue, and the logical conclusion to conservative ideology, where there are no unfair losers in the free market system, only losers.

    Yes. Great observation. And I think it was poster aimai (so I wanted to give fair credit) who noted that Charles “Bell Curve” Murray appears to be scrambling from under his rock to suggest that these white people are not up to snuff genetically, and are doomed to be pushed aside by superior white people, who only breed with other superior people.

    The upshot is that these losers are not made this way by circumstances, but are just born that way.

  204. 204
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Brachiator: Murray has actually been on this for a while: he wrote a book a few years back about the cultural degeneration of lower-class white America, which he blamed on our generous and cushy social safety net leaching their lives of meaning, because there’s nothing like a government guarantee that your children won’t starve to death to sap your manhood. It got eloquently savaged by, of all people, David Frum. Who had been saying things much like what Murray was saying all the way back in the Nineties.

  205. 205
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Kay:

    I think there’s a corollary to your contention: Americans are no longer regarded as as workers, *or citizens*, rather than consumers. No wonder it’s so easy to get people to trash government – they see “government” as a force completely outside themselves and beyond their control – like the weather.

  206. 206
    MomSense says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Thank you! Librarian has requested the book (Elementary Algebra) for me and she suggested a video series that she says is really good. She ordered that as well and I’m hoping he likes it.

  207. 207
    Dollared says:

    @gene108: the H-1Bs come in at a pay rate that is 30-40% of the incumbent workers in software.

    The really sad part is the hiring company only saves about 30%. The Brahmins (india) and the Party members (China) who run the recruiting and importing agencies get 35-50% of the income of the workers.

    Shame on our government for facilitating this lose-lose-lose proposition.

  208. 208
    Dollared says:

    Hilary could fix these things, and make herself a shoo-in.

    1. She could put a moratorium on trade agreements until 1) international labor and environmental standards and enforcement was in place and 2) trade adjustment programs were defined and fully funded
    2. She could start a Rural Revitalization initiative, and put ethanol subsidies and farm subsidies and trade adjustment and rural Internet connectivity and infrastructure development into a giant pool and start talking about how Democrats help flyover country survive and thrive.
    3. She could clearly express how labor strength is good for America, and back it with legislative proposals.

    But she does none of this. She is so wedded to her urban elites and upper middle class base that she just does not want to be seen as an advocate for the working class.

  209. 209
    Dollared says:

    @Doug!: Bull. Allow me to introduce you to hundreds of un and underemployed tech employees in Seattle and San Francisco. What do they have in common? They are over age 45.

    It is simply not true that we have a dramatic shortage of anything except corporate willingness to pay employees the prevailing wage, or to retool them when the corporation requires new skills.

  210. 210
    sm*t cl*de says:

    the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children

    That’s why Kevin Williamson is doing his best to improve access to contraception, family-planning centres, and abortion.

  211. 211

    @MomSense: You are welcome! Those problems can be tricksy! I hope he likes it.

  212. 212
    Barry says:

    @PhoenixRising: “This guy Kevin should get one [an IUD]. I’ll insert it for him.”

    Sterilize it first – make sure that it’s red hot before inserting.

    And please film it :)

  213. 213
    nutella says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    I was talking to a fairly recent electrical engineering bachelor’s degree grad and expressed surprise that she had gone into software development rather than EE after graduating. She said that many/most of her classmates went into other fields with their EE degrees.

  214. 214
    Dollared says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: This. Well stated and supported.

  215. 215
    🌷 Martin says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    Thanks for your story. According to the BLS the general picture for STEM PhDs indicates that a strong case can be made that there’s a glut rather than a shortage.

    Don’t confuse engineering with STEM more broadly. Physics has historically been dominated by federal funding, which is nearly nonexistant now (physics degree here). There’s just not a lot of pure research in the sciences taking place out there, but there’s still a lot of cutting edge engineering taking place inside US companies. They are seeing very different labor markets. Computer Science is arguably doing even better than engineering right now. I just had a newly minted Mechanical Engineering PhD (fuel cell specialization) in my office with 4 job offers all over $100K. Foreign student who will need a visa (I’ve known since he was 17). Not uncommon from our students. Not many students we hear giving up finding something in their field.

    If they were trying to get him cheap, they failed.

    We may be a bit atypical in that we have a pretty engineering industry here in CA (L.A. is the number one manufacturing region in the country). You’re not going to find these jobs in Nebraska.

  216. 216
    Original Lee says:

    @Dollared: Very true. My company is deliberately changing the culture and the work environment to be uncomfortable for older workers in the hopes that we’ll take our un-hip old asses out the door and make room for the young eager workers who don’t (generally) have enough experience to know when they’re being exploited.

  217. 217
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @🌷 Martin: Top graduates from the top schools will (almost) always be in demand. But there are lots and lots of people who aren’t in the 1% ;-)

    I think this story is more typical. But anecdotes aren’t data, as we know.

    The NSF has lots data on recent science and engineering doctorates, but it’s not terribly fine-grained. “Engineering” PhDs who report having a job in Industry have a median salary of $100k (table 49) in 2014. (Presumably that is the median starting salary.)

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of an engineering Ph.D. But I just don’t see a big shortage of them. Yeah, the superstar at MIT or Stanford or UCSB in the right field can still do very well and many companies really want to hire superstars. As you indicate, there’s lots and lots of American PhD talent out there that can’t get into the kind of position that they hoped and expected that they spent 5-10 years working toward. Life is unfair, sure, but it’s not the kind of situation that is good for continued progress.

    Thanks. It’s a shame that threads turn over so quickly here – I’m sure we could all spend several days pounding on this topic. :-)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  218. 218
    grumpy realist says:

    @MattF: Notwithstanding his snipes about being happier to be ruled by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book rather than the Harvard faculty. Yes, Buckley was quite an ass.

  219. 219
    Paul in KY says:

    @MomSense: He sounds like a great kid. Best of luck keeping him motivated.

  220. 220
    Bill Arnold says:

    @srv:
    Liberals are not a monolith on nuclear power. Indian Point has some issues due to age and Entergy, but it produces energy cleanly (limited CO2 emissions) and that’s an overriding concern for me: Warmest February On Record

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