Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lefties Wistful For Days Gone By

I've got some lefty friends who have got themselves all bound up over "inequality" of income, and how different things are economically than say, the 1950's.  Here's a great response to that historically inaccurate--or at least hypocritical--approach.  Read the whole thing--but here's my favorite part:

Even if you grant the premise that government should redistribute wealth to equalize incomes, the 1950s are odd years for the left to champion. “Social injustice remained pervasive,” Krugman cautions. Um, yeah. That’s the point: There is more to equality than pay schedules and tax rates. There is, for example, the composition of the workforce. Harriet did not take a second mortgage to finance her craft moisturizer boutique while Ozzie went to his UAW office. Harriet stayed at home. So did millions of women in the 1950s, thereby restricting the supply of labor and raising Ozzie’s wages.

You cannot have the economy of the 1950s without the society of the 1950s. Ozzie and Harriet were married. They could pool resources in ways today’s single parents and twentysomethings cannot. They did not have to worry about an influx of day laborers from Latin America or a flood of cheap goods from China. They lived in a society a portion of which systematically oppressed a minority race. Their government focused almost the sum total of its resources on defense and Social Security. There was no Medicare or Medicaid or war on poverty. It was the age of the “organization man,” the “lonely crowd,” of alienation and monopoly and “conformity.” All of these factors​—​not just high levels of unionization and a punishing top marginal tax rate​—​went into making 1950s America a “middle-class society.” Is this a tradeoff Americans would be willing to make?


NavyAustin said...

Not to mention that two of the greatest industrial economies - Germany and Japan - were still smouldering and starving after WWII. Being the winner meant the USA was a net exporter for everything industrial.

Also, there was a huge pent-up demand after a decade of depression, a half-decade of war. The days of postwar affluence was fueled by people were buying their first cars, their first TVs - and all that crap that parents buy when you have kids. Oh, and a lot paid for with a new magical tool: credit cards.

The degree of relative wealth compared from then to now is astounding. People roundly decry suburban communities like Levittown as genric sprawl, but for the working-class families living 3 generations in a NYC apartment, those 4 walls and a patch of grass to mow was heaven on earth.

"The Hammer" said...

One thing the Left has always had in common, starting with Marat and Robespierre to Marx and Lenin to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; they are anti-democratic. They want to change how resources are allocated. Instead of individual consumers making everyday choices, and having earned the right to make those choices based on their own productivity, leftist want to change this system of practical everyday democracy to their vision of equality and justice.

You see, they don't like the choices we make. They know better. When you boil it down, they are anti-freedom, neurotic, control freaks. Theirs is more a psychological disorder than ideology concerned with good public policy.

Mudge said...

Why don't the lefties ever seem to decry the "massive inequality" of NBA players' salaries or Hollywood liberals movie salaries, or George Soros' or Michael Moore's wealth? What about the richest people in Congress of which a supermajority are Democrats? Barbra Streisand's wealth? The Clinton's wealth? Kennedy's? BECAUSE IT ISN'T REALLY ABOUT INEQUALITY OF WEALTH.

It's about inequality of Conservative wealth compared to urban poverty. It's not about the wealth of liberals in good standing so their wealth doesn't count as wealth for the purposes of this discussion and, like corporate donors from Nancy Pelosi's district who would have been encumbered by the "Affordable" Health Care Act, they get an instant waiver.

The left's sanctimony on this issue (as with so many issues) rings pretty hollow.

Dan said...

And what would today's entertainment media do if subjected to 1950's broadcast standards, where Ward and June Cleaver slept in separate beds?

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