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  • Two Nations.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on November 8th, 2015 (All posts by )

    two nations

    We have now become two nations, divisible, without liberty and justice for all.

    As usual, I read another good Belmont Club post.

    I get discouraged about the future when I see the stupidity of the youngest generation in college. The left is worried that Republicans hold most state offices. Why has this happened ?

    That dominance — and what it means to the policy and political calculations and prospects for both parties at the national level — is the single most overlooked and underappreciated story line of President Obama’s time in office. Since 2009, Republicans have made massive and unprecedented gains at the state level, gains that played a central role in, among other things, handing control of the U.S. House back to the GOP in the 2010 election.

    It’s just inexplicable. Why would the country that elected Barack Obama twice choose Republicans for those offices closest to their own lives ?

    While the story at the national level suggests a Republican Party that is growing increasingly white, old and out of step with the country on social issues, the narrative at the local level is very different. Republicans are prospering at the state level in ways that suggest that the party’s messaging is far from broken.

    There are other, more pragmatic effects of the GOP dominance in governor’s races and state legislatures, too. Aside from giving the party a major leg up in the decennial redrawing of congressional lines, which has led to a Republican House majority not only today but likely through at least 2020, the GOP’s dominance gives the party fertile ground to incubate policy that makes its way to the national level and to cultivate the future stars of the national party from the ground up.

    Hmmm. What, while this is developing, is going on at the college level? “Safe Spaces have become a big issue at elite colleges.

    Students are demanding that Yale University fire two administrators who failed to speak out against offensive Halloween costumes. This is just one of the grievances of activist students—many of them people of color—who claim Yale is not a safe space for them.

    On Thursday, the students surrounded Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway—a black man—in an outdoor space and chided him for failing to take action against a fraternity that had allegedly prevented black women from attending its party.

    Shades of “Black Lives Matter” and at Yale, home of the privileged of all races. Now, at the university of Missouri, black football players threaten to boycott the team !

    Time to cancel the season at Missouri. They’ve already lost five games.

    There is also a movement to create “dormitories for millennials.

    “Pure House” is one such business that tries to attract people who want to be a part of a certain type of community—although the apartment rentals often come with expensive, unconventional lease agreements. The community rental company requires that anyone seeking to live in any of its nine fully-furnished residential apartments located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn fill out an application that asks questions such as, “What are your passions?” and “Why do you think you’ll thrive in a communal living space?” The application process is meant to select individuals who are socially similar and have like-minded worldviews. Residents pay $1,600-$4,000 per month after signing a 30-day membership agreement, which includes communal activities and amenities such as work out classes, maid services, and bicycles.

    Communitarian living. Just like Hillary advocates. What about children ? Does anyone think these people will have children ? They are children.

    What else describes these people ?

    polarization

    This shows what has been happening to the US over 20 years. Democrats and Republicans no longer agree on much although there was once less difference. What does this mean ? An excellent comment to that story:

    Regarding that graphic from Pew Research, here is the set of 10 questions and the methodology they use to determine that “ideological consistency” and “ideological divide”:

    http://www.people-press.org/2014/06/12/appendix-a-the-ideological-consistency-scale/

    Among all the polling they do, Pew has been tracking the answers given to the same 10 questions since 1994. The wording of the 10 questions has had to remain exactly the same in order for the tracking of responses to represent something.

    Note question #10 (Q50u): The two statements are posed to represent the conservative and liberal viewpoints, and poll respondents are asked to choose which most closely reflects their own POV:

    “Homosexuality should be discouraged by society.”
    “Homosexuality should be accepted by society.”

    This was the wording of Question 10 as chosen in 1994. Pew was still asking the question with this wording in 2014, because they had to stick to the wording from twenty years previous.

    But does that 1994 wording capture ANY semblance of what the debates were on the issue(s) of homosexuality in 2014?

    Ditto question #6 (Q25g) on immigration: No mention of or distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.

    What the 1994 wording reveals is that the language of politics in 1994 is very differrent from the language of politics in 2014. And on certain issues, such as homosexuality, the terms of debate have changed so completely that the 1994 language is almost completely irrelevant and obsolete. It feels like someone asking if they believe suicide should be criminalized.

    Or, perhaps more aptly, imagine asking this as Q50u in 1994:

    “Business owners should be free to decline to provide services for a same-sex wedding if they have a religious or conscientious objection.”

    “Business owners should face stiff penalties such as fines for discrimination if they decline to provide services for a same-sex wedding.”

    Respondents in 1994: “What are you talking about?”

    Another development. Middle aged whites, especially high school educated males are dying off.

    Census demographers expect the growth rate for non-Hispanic whites to resume rising — slowly — when the economy improves. The number for whites should peak in 2024, when the oldest baby boomers, who are overwhelmingly non-Hispanic whites, are well into their 70s and dying in larger numbers. So high school educated whites have been dying while the economy stagnates ? I winder why that could be so ?

    Ms. Case and Mr. Deaton found in health-survey data from the CDC that middle-aged whites have increasingly reported mental-health problems and difficulties dealing with daily life. One in three reported chronic pain between 2011 and 2013.

    Those increases in mental-health and musculoskeletal problems may “explain some of the recent otherwise puzzling decrease in labor-force participation in the United States, particularly among women,” the authors said. Participation in the labor force has fallen since 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Economic stress may play a role in substance abuse by middle-aged white people, according to the study.

    Economic stress ? You mean no jobs for burly white men ? Do you mean millions of uneducated illegal aliens to compete for low wage jobs ?

    One comment to that story:

    When a 55 year old truck driver, warehousemen, fill-in-the-blank, loses his job, his reemployment chances are slim these days. He may report musculoskeletal problems and claim social security. Those claims have sky rocketed recently as has the number of food stamp recipients.

    Losing your work, declining fortunes, a run down neighborhood in a declining town with children who can’t find good jobs-it’s all rather depressing. Some people will go too far with booze and/or drugs, which can be pretty hard on your health.

    I think that’s what’s going on here. By the way, inviting all the poor people in the world to move here and maybe compete for unskilled and semi-skilled labor, drives down wages. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans will defend the interests of these US citizens. I don’t need a “study” to tell me this-I understand the law of supply and demand.

    Plus, of course, health insurance is increasingly out of reach for the under 65 group.

    The biggest thing they tell us is that, as I suspected when I wrote about the CMS release, the whole bottom of the market is undergoing a fairly massive repricing. In most states, the cost of the cheapest Silver plan, relative to the cheapest one last year, rose even more than the benchmark rate. And in most states, the cost of the cheapest Bronze plan went up by more than the cost of the cheapest Silver plan. (The average increase was 13 percent, but it looks as if it’s unweighted, while the government used a weighted average.

    The premiums are high and the deductibles are out of reach for most people.

    Maybe the white people who are not increasing should move to red states. That may be what is happening. Maybe they are moving, or at least those who will survive.

     

    6 Responses to “Two Nations.”

    1. Grurray Says:

      My nephew (recent college grad) moved into a large loft space with separate rooms. It’s very odd. He’s got about ten roommates total. They all met online on some video game website. I think their common space is a kitchen and a living room area where they all play their games. It’s not like he’s a slacker either. He got a job right out of school in project management for a big tech company.

      Regarding middle-aged white people dying off, if you you haven’t read the study, here it is. The opioid addictions and overdoses are bad enough, but what really surprised me was the “Midlife Morbidity”. Many, many people out are now incapable of “ADLs” or basic activities of daily living – socializing, shopping, climbing stairs. It’s almost unbelievable how bad this is.

    2. Veryretired Says:

      I have long believed that the most pervasive and destructive problem in our society is a profound sense of loneliness and lack of connection to others.

      It has long been noted that the civil and civic groups that used to be plentiful have mostly disappeared, religious affiliation, and involvement, has declined among the major traditional churches, and meeting and dating, especially if it involves someone from the workplace, has become a minefield.

      I often wonder if the recurring “big new deals” that seem to surge through our society like storms every few months, and then disappear as if they never really meant anything to begin with, are really the symptoms of a deep unfilled longing in many people to be part of some important thing, but then they find there’s not really that much there in whatever the latest fad, or outrage, turns out to be.

      People always search in their lives to find something they can feel is a meaningful role in a meaningful “thing” bigger than themselves. It will be a fascinating thing to see where this search leads the current generations, whether younger or older.

      Maybe the reason I like to read so much, or love good movies so much, is that life itself is such a fascinating suspense story, and you can never guess which way the plot will twist next.

      After all, the good guys don’t always win in real life, and when they don’t, some truly terrible things can happen.

      This is not the time, then, if there ever was one, in which good people can do nothing. As the old saying goes, when that happens, evil triumphs

    3. Mike K Says:

      “Many, many people out are now incapable of “ADLs” or basic activities of daily living ”

      Beware of the confounding factor of Social Security Disability Insurance. It has become the endless unemployment insurance. SSDI has soared under Obama.

      Some is the economy and some is the illegal immigrant influx which has taken most low wage jobs,

      Will a Republican administration restore job growth ? I don’t know. There may be irreversible factors but simple things like the XL pipeline would restore some basic jobs for those who are in this demographic. We have enormous infrastructure needs which would provide a tsunami of jobs for the high school educated demo but it is more important to import Muslims and Mexicans.

      My pessimism is sometimes stimulated by my two adolescent 35 and 25 year old daughters. I love them and, as Baron Hilton said, “Money isn’t everything but it does help to keep the children close.”

      I am no Baron Hilton but the daughters do stay close. The other three are at least independent. Also near 50.

    4. Boca Condo King Says:

      I saw recently in the LA times that something around 1 out of 6 or 7 people in CA work in the underground economy. That means they work without Workers’ comp, Unemployment benefits, SS benefits…

      Part of this is due to illegal immigrants, but a large part is also legal workers working off the books or as 1099s. Working off the books or as a 1099 makes your labor cheaper by at least 20 to 30% to your employer. Here in Florida 1099 miss-classification is rampant as well, especially in blue collar construction trades as everyone tries to “cheat to compete”.

      Here is what I find really scary, a lot of the same blue collar white (and all colors) guys whose bodies are breaking down are starting to find that years and sometimes decades of under the table pay means that they are not eligible of SSDI or SS retirement benefits, or qualify for a very small monthly amount.

      Add them to the large number of illegal workers who have been working under another SS# or simply for cash, and we will have a huge issue in a few years of people retiring (because they simply cannot work) with no pension, no savings and no SS.

      I know that SS was supposed to be a supplement to retirement, but for many poorer unskilled workers it is the only source of post work income. Now that will disappear as well as the US keeps mainlining it’s favorite drug, cheap labor.

      With this in mind, the dying of white blue collar (and other) workers is really the only alternative.

    5. Mrs. Davis Says:

      This article by Joel Kotkin speaks to the problem of a divid3ed nation from an economic perspective, dividing the economy into two parts, tangible and intangible. Caliphornia is leading the nation as it usually does, for better or worse. The trends were apparent when we left over a decade ago.

      As to the loneliness and lack of connection to others, see the comments to this post

    6. Grurray Says:

      “Beware of the confounding factor of Social Security Disability Insurance. It has become the endless unemployment insurance. SSDI has soared under Obama.”

      Thanks for reminding me about disability. I didn’t make that connection. Maybe that explains the spike in ‘facial pain’.

      Incidentally, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund is so strained and so broke that it got a $150 billion bailout during the recent budget deal. Money from the retirement fund is going to be diverted to keep the program afloat until 2022, which only exacerbates the inevitable financial disaster.

      One example of how it’s turning into a de facto welfare program is awarding benefits for not being able to speak English. Also, if you’re on disability for two years you’re automatically eligible for Medicare, which provides a nice incentive to stay sick and poor.