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Winship is not saying new.

Rather, he is trying to put a positive spin on something most analysts give a negative spin.

That is that it now takes two incomes to support a middle class family when the norm use to be for one income supporting a middle class family.

That is that it now takes two incomes to support a middle class family when the norm use to be for one income supporting a middle class family.

Short of forcing one parent in each family to not work, how can a society where the median family has two wage earners make it so that the median one earner family lands in the middle?

It really can't.

Government can't. Only a culture that encourages one parent to stay home (as ours used to) can make it happen.

One can imagine tax codes where it is just made pointless to have two earners. For example an 80% income tax with a $100 000 deduction for a stay-at-home spouse. So it's possible.

Desirable? That's a different matter all together.

Well here's what NOT to do: put men and women in head-to-head economic competition with each other and then threw them into the arena with the global poor for wages and the global professional/wealthy class for good neighborhoods.

Re: #3

Measures of income fail to take into account the increasing leverage that younger workers have taken on through larger mortgages and student loans. How many 30 year olds can comfortably afford to buy a house where they live? How many could do the same 30 years ago? And then there is this:

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.

While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation.

* * *

The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 or older was $170,494. That is 42 percent more than in 1984, when the Census Bureau first began measuring wealth broken down by age. The median net worth for the younger-age households was $3,662, down by 68 percent from a quarter-century ago, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center.

Read more:

Considering that recently home values have fallen leaving many in the 30 to 40 years old age range with negative net worth is this surprising?

But it is a long term trend going back 30 years or perhaps more. The housing crash does not come close to explaining it.

What is the import of this? When all the old people die we will be left with nothing because they take their wealth with them? People inherit their parents' money later now? People with money wait longer to start their own household? I am not sure how to interpret it.

Exactly. I don't deny that all these kinds of reports about changes in equality may be revealing some structural flaws, but the implied zero-sum class warfare of it all is really getting ridiculous. When they compare the bottom X to the top X I wanna say, But But the bottom X can become the top X. But now they're comparing the old to the young? There, I know the young will become the old...

Whatever be the cause, I don't think it's healthy for a society to have these wide chasms irrespective of whether this is old versus young or some other criterion.


In what world has maple syrup long served as a symbol of American authenticity? At least personally, I've always associated it with Canada, and I'm from the Northeast.

Canadian for me, too. When I was a boy, American Authenticity was the Hershey bars and stuffed olives sent to us at Christmas during the postwar austerity by American cousins My parents would shake a dry Martini and toast 'em; my siblings and I would scoff the chocolate and sing their praises. So I may be one of the few non-Americans not repelled by Hershey's chocolate.

I strongly disagree with that article on maple syrup. I much prefer the lighter stuff. My wife is Canadian and we've lived in both the US and Canada. Presently, we live in Texas. The light "grade A" maple syrup is extremely difficult to come by. One can get the dark grade B most places (albeit, with very limited options), but we rarely bother. It's just not the same. We miss the light stuff a lot. My wife says that the dark definitely has it's uses (eg. baking), but overall, light is the preferred variety (not only in her household, but, from her observations, among Canadians in general).

And, I think Ted M. is correct. I associate maple syrup with the country with the maple leaf on it's flag than I do with America. And I say that a member of a Northeast family that made it's own maple syrup.

#1: In big operations the tubing used to collect maple sap collects all sorts of bugs and organic material, so the darkness of grade B might not just be extra maple flavor. And yeah B can be delicious but it's also less consistent because of this.

#5 : Sen's and Dreze's most important points seem to be :

(i) Other south Asian countries have shown greater improvement in social indicators during 1990-2010.
(ii) Some states of India that have successfully **implemented** socialist policies better are doing in many respects
better than states that didn't implement (mind you, they were all existing policies/guidelines) them.

From just this much they want to magically conclude that more socialist policies are needed (and not weed out corruption from existing ones?) Note that (ii) only makes a case for weeding out corruption, not about bringing in more socialism : if other states didn't implement the socialist policies well, the fault is with capitalism or what?

And consider their long rant about starting with "A few years ago, a “Biscuit Manufacturers’ Association” (BMA) launched a massive campaign for the replacement of cooked school meals with branded biscuit packets." and on how they are still trying to get the government to accede to their demands - how in the world is this a case for socialist policies?

What could Prof. Cowen have been thinking of when he linked to such a downright mindless piece? Apart from that one of the authors has been given a nobel prize?

kerala -which has such good indicators has 86% privately funded much for the socialist model.kerala remains a tourism +remittance economy with high suicide rates amongst young men and women.
the kerala govt of the 60s and 70s probably did invest wisely in primary healthcare.all that is water under the kerala state is bankrupt

Communism and Kerala's prosperity wasn't cause and effect. Kerala became prosperous in spite of socialism not because of it.

OTOH if I were to pick between a biscuit and a cooked Indian school meal, I'd choose a biscuit any day. The horrid stuff they feed the kids is unimaginable if you haven't seen it.

Actually it is dangerous to have just those biscuits as lunch.

Did you know about IKSCON guys providing mid-day meals in government schools? Apparently the food is good but they make ask kids to say Hare Krishna or something. Some leftists also criticize ISKCON for not providing eggs or onion or garlic!!

I can believe that ISKCON meals are a class apart. But what percentage of schools do they reach? The biscuits might be nutritionally deficient (many are fortified though) but at least they don't give you typhoid.

The meals, as per their claims, seem to reach a few hundred thousand students. Their goal seems to be to reach 1.3 million by 2013. So yes, it is a small percentage, but not entirely negligible - with some better publicity etc. this can evolve to make an impact. Or, if other private organizations take such acts up similarly.

Filling stomach with biscuits create severe stomach trouble, so while they don't give you typhoid they are far from ideal.

" two-thirds of 40-year-old Americans are in households with larger incomes than their parents had at the same age": short of having access to the Internal Revenue's files, how could anyone know?

In fact, given Americans' longstanding propensity to serial polygamy, what exactly could anyone mean by "their parents"?

3. Why does the author say that many in the bottom 20% have "worked hard and played by the rules"? No doubt they have "played by the rules" of liberal academics and think tank fellows, which prize sexual and lifestyle freedom above all. But they haven't played by the y81 rules, which dictate that you stay in school, don't have children until you are married, stay married no matter what, and always spend 40 hours a week either working, or looking for work. Very few people in the bottom 20% have played by those rules, because the rulers of the cultural high ground don't like those rules.

I found it funny that you had to wait until the last page to even begin to breach the cultural gap issues. I see no mention at all of illegal immigrants, or their children. Nope, nothing to see here. Look at my construct!

Count me as a grade B maple syrup fan. A tip from my brother-in-law who does his own syrup in Vermont: Before you throw out the basically empty bottle, pour in a glass of milk, put on the cap and shake. Makes a delicious frothy drink!

You're grade A v. Grade B question is a very good one.

Forget about preferences for a minute.

Would you be inclined to buy a grade A product over a Grade B product.

Yes or No.

Now what if I told you my mythical products were identical?

One of my clients once had excess products. To dispose of them without depressing the branded product, he relabeled the excess products as brand B and sold it for less-- of course you know this as private labeling.

Now, go back to maple syrup for a second. Have you always purchased grade A and never sampled Grade B.

How much of the demand for Grade A reflects the failure to sample Grade B and the heuristic anchor effect of Grade A over Grade B.

I have branded this comment as a Grade A comment and you can either accept it or decline it and choose the other comments I have labeled Grade B.

Your not you're

We kept both grade A and B around when I was a kid. Years ago I decided I liked grade B better. It was my little maple syrup secret until now.

I only discovered it because I was a cheapskate--I didn't talk about sampling by those with contrarian personalities who enjoy discovery.

I would advise you to keep your Grade B preferences a secret, though, as they may relable it Grade A and then it will be sold for a higher price.

Did you miss where the article says that is already being planned?

Yes, and grade inflation to all Grade A will not permit you to price discriminate.
Did you read my comment.
I was talking about the effect of labeling something A, and how that, if if quality was superior to the other product, A would be preferred and would limit search of alternatives.

...if B quality was superior to the other product....

I can remember Grade C being sold in our Vermont co-op, before they realized the glorious benefits of grade inflation. The darker stuff really is better. And the liquid shown in the photo on the Atlantic website is honey, isn't it? Much stiffer than maple syrup.

I know the article wanted to link early America with maple syrup--but to not even mention Canada
Maple syrup - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Canada makes more than 80 percent of the world's maple syrup

3. "If being raised in the bottom fifth were not a disadvantage and socioeconomic outcomes were random, we would expect to see 20 percent of Americans who started in the bottom fifth remain there as adults, while 20 percent would end up in each of the other fifths. "

That struck me as incorrect. Clearly if you start out in the bottom quintile, you have much further to go to get to the top quintile, so I would not expect a simple reshuffling of the deck. Winship also slides from income mobility to educational mobility very suddenly. I feel like he's running a three-card monte game with shifts in argument and a lot of unverifiable "studies say". I was initially suspicious of his arguments, and rereading makes me more so.

3. "The cross-national evidence on absolute mobility is nonexistent. The evidence on educational and occupational mobility across countries is enormously complicated. Discerning trends in mobility within the United States is far from easy. ".

Despite this, Winship goes on to draw conclusions that are impossible to evaluate, since he offers no evidence beyond his simple assertions. Given that the Pew Center seems to be on a mission to stir up class resentment, I am surprised that National Review published this. See for example, Pew's press release about an age gap in wealth. News flash - older folks have much greater assets than younger folks. That's a shock - must be a plot.

Winship simply assumes that "being raised" in the bottom fifth is what does it. As others like y81 have noted, their behavior is clearly different with much higher rates of divorce, out of wedlock births, teenage pregnancy, higher crime (controlling for income) and unwillingness to persevere in menial work where they are "disrespected," (The latter is a common observation among social workers who study men who can't keep simple jobs).

Moreover, he doesn't separate out new immigrants who may have better lives than in their home countries even if they stay in the bottom fifth.

So if we leave these groups out, how big are the "deserving poor" that suffer from the ills Winship alludes to?

For the first group, their lack of mobility is a feature not a bug.

I grew up in Massachusets, and Vermont maple syrup was a staple at home for Sunday pancakes. I never associated it with Canada, though I don't have a strong sense of it being American like apple pie either; More new England style I guess. Somewhere in my teens I decided I liked grade B much better, mostly due to the richer, bolder taste. Also I think because we often had whole grained pancakes which meant that the lighter syrups got washed out. I feel quite vindicated by this article. Grade B is the best!

Massachusetts!! *face palm*

I agree with Grade B maple syrup but I've also been known to sip molasses straight out the bottle. invigorating!

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