Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Horatio Alger Homo-Fantasies De-Bunked

Somehow, in the madness known as the Protestant Work Ethic, the lie of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps has become national gospel. While my own grandfather did that, he did it by not worrying too much about ethics or laws; otherwise, it wouldn’t have happened. Yet, he believed that he had done it, that anyone could do it, if they had the “gumption and burning desire,” and that he’d done it fair and square.

It’s the Horatio Alger story, sure. Nobody really reads those books (because they’re uniformly bad), but everybody claims the stories are true. No, they aren’t. They’re the obliquely pederast-oriented fantasies of one man’s writings. Somehow, in our confused sexual tempests, we confused stories of benevolent older men rescuing handsome adolescents from dire poverty... Hmm...

Bootstraps Don't Beat Trust Funds
Ethan Heitner
April 27, 2006
Whether you find it confirmation of the blindingly obvious or yet another example of how atheist, immoral science is attacking the ideals and stories that America cherishes, Reuters today gives you the heads-up:

America may still think of itself as the land of opportunity, but the chances of living a rags-to-riches life are a lot lower than elsewhere in the world, according to a new study published on Wednesday.

The likelihood that a child born into a poor family will make it into the top five percent is just one percent, according to "Understanding Mobility in America ", a study by economist Tom Hertz from American University.

By contrast, a child born rich had a 22 percent chance of being rich as an adult, he said.

"In other words, the chances of getting rich are about 20 times higher if you are born rich than if you are born in a low-income family," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank sponsoring the work.

Meanwhile, over at the notorious commie-pinko mouthpiece, The Financial Times, their chief economic commentator Martin Wolf has this to say about America's "New Gilded Age" based on another new study, from Northwestern University :

Between 1997 and 2001, the top 10 per cent of US earners received 49 per cent of the growth in aggregate real wages and salaries, while the top 1 per cent received an astonishing 24 per cent. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 per cent received less than 13 per cent. Why is this happening? And should non-egalitarians care?

. . .

[A] bigger question: do these changes in the US distribution of incomes matter? I would suggest that they should do so even to non-egalitarians, for three reasons.

First, income mobility does not offset the rising inequality. As the two Northwestern university authors note, “not only are half the penthouse dwellers still there a decade later, but the differential opulence of the penthouse keeps increasing relative to the basement”. The chances of leaving the basement are low. Moreover, intergenerational opportunity is also adversely affected.

Boy, I wish politicians were concerned about this. I wish they were thinking of creative ways to address the structural injustice of our economic system. Something that addresses the Reuters report, which shows race continues to be a huge determining factor in this system, citing race as "a powerful force to explain why the poor stay poor."

You know, something like repealing the estate tax on the richest fraction of a percent of Americans?

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