Entries from January 2012 ↓

7 Quick Takes Friday (1-13-2012)

1. This has been a hard week for the entire family. My wife’s 91 year-old grandmother has been in the hospital for a week as of today. She has been hovering on death’s door most of the time, but has surprisingly improved over the last day or so and may even be able to go home in the next day or two.

2. One of my favorite internet people is Merlin Mann. At the end of last month, he did a podcast about New Year’s resolutions. If you are they type to make them, this a good one to listen to. The take away: “Keep it small, keep it time-limited, keep it action-oriented.”

3. I’m not the kind to make New Year’s resolutions. I do need to make changes though. I’m working on keeping them small, time-limited, and action-oriented.

4. I finished playing Portal 2 this week. This is how video games should be. It has great characters, a great story that unfolds during the game, humor, and great game play. 5 Stars.

5. It is January 13 and we still have our Christmas decorations out. That is mostly because my wife has spent the majority of the time at the hospital the past week and I’ve been working and taking care of our daughter. Guess what we’ll be doing this weekend?

6. I did get some of the decorations taken off the tree earlier in the week. Bailey was enthusiastic about helping the entire time of taking the bulbs and glass icicles down. She frequently had to check, “Daddy, am I being a helper?” That was the high point of the week.

7. My predictions don’t work out too often if you look at my series of New Year’s posts, but I’m seeing another win for Tebow and the Broncos tomorrow when they face the New England Patriots in their second playoff game.

America hating conservatives, or not.

I was sent this in an email today:

Why do conservatives hate Americans?: Given the Right’s recent lurch toward Ayn Rand-style Objectivism, it seems that an intelligent journalist would put the following facts together:

1. 80% of Americans own only 7% of America’s wealth.

2. The new mainstream in conservatism maintains that the poor are only poor because of laziness and lack of initiative.

It’s not exactly a leap in logic to point out that mainstream conservatism now maintains that 80% of Americans are simply ungrateful, lazy bastards who need tough love to do better.

In that context, trying to get rid of Social Security and Medicare makes sense for them. But shouldn’t someone start asking, then, why conservatives have such contempt for the vast majority of Americans, and their work ethic? It’s not a hard question to ask. The politics of it may be controversial, but the logic isn’t.
(source)

The problem with the leap of logic is that both premises are flawed.

1. The statistic that 80% of Americans only control 7% of the wealth is based on studies that exclude much of the wealth of the “80%” including their cars and household items. Even more striking, these studies do not include “non-home wealth” (i.e. home equity) like a UCSC study did.

No wonder the figures looks so out of balance. They exclude the majority of wealth of the middle class, while including a majority of the wealth of the “rich”. The comparisons are apples and oranges, but that is what you do when you want to incite class warfare.

2. Conservatism does not claim that being poor only derives from laziness and lack of initiative. It does suggest that taking initiative and hard work are solutions to poverty, but that is not to say the inverse of those traits are the causes.

No, poverty in America is generally the result of poor personal choices such as dropping out of school, single parenthood, or drug/alcohol abuse. The best ways not to be poor are to avoid those decisions. Most of all get married; there are very few children in poverty who live with both biological parents and married men tend to have higher employment and higher income. Children from intact families are more likely to graduate high school, and less likely to have a teen pregnancy or abuse drugs or alcohol, and not continue a cycle of poverty.

Basically, our economic problems have more societal causes (the decrease of marriage and increase of out-of-wedlock birth) than they do economic causes.