The "fuck you" attitude can be summarized as people won't go the extra mile to help other people. It is the non-sympathy, non-action I get from everyday people (including the police) when something injustice or misfortune happens to other people or the common interest. It is also the non-forgiving attitude when someone makes a dumb mistake. It is selfish and at the same time not wrong. It reflects somewhat in the Shit Town podcast that I listened to lately.
I won't go into the details, but personally, I have worked with the local police recently on two separate incidents, and they were surprisingly bad. It was different from my previous experiences when I first moved to the US ten years ago. That "fuck you" attitude is what I experienced and have to deal with every day when I was in Vietnam, my home country. I'm not shocked, or that annoyed to have to deal with it every once in a while, but I feel it wasn't that way when I moved. I feel I get less and less of the extra miles the more I stay in here. I can't help but feel that people are getting stiffer and stiffer somehow.
For the context, I am and have been living in the midwest. What's surprising is that I'm not even depressed, and life is getting easier for me professionally, personally, and financially. Something just doesn't feel right. Or maybe I was just romanticizing my early days in the US for me. Or maybe I'm about to have another mid-life crisis.
The article mentions few of the possible core reasons: a large decline in face to face time which is being replaced by the likes of facebook, a culture that emphasizes individuality far too strongly, brutal competition that's deeply seeping into the culture and strong inequality - whose turn to isolate us.
>> What's surprising is that I'm not even depressed,
Sure. But that's just your current luck. Statistically we're seeing an increase in depression, anxiety, etc.
The sad thing, it's like world war I, we're seeing all those trends(and others) and we know where they are heading, but there doesn't seem anything we can do about it, on the societal level.
But I'd add decline in church attendance to the list of reasons - churches used to be a natural "third space" for people to meet, socialize and have shared experiences leading to some potential societal bonding.
Nowadays nominees for societal "third space" beyond residence and work office are local sports, shopping malls or Starbucks, which, contrary to television portrayals of them, don't quite provide social experiences.
You actually have to go out of your way to have an offline shared collaborative experience with a group of local people, either by volunteering or joining some one-off clubs like reading groups or moms meetups.
Ok, meetups are in my experience still a niche / nerdy occurrence but it is getting more and more main stream.
I "work" in a nice office, by playing with equations and gadgets, and talking to people. Meanwhile I see people doing actual physical work, and even emotionally hard work such as teachers, police, etc. And it is virtually assured by our society that they will be less affluent than me, despite working a lot harder.
From his/her point of view, of course being born to educated parents is luck, if not what else is it? We don't have any choice or any influence on the matter of who we are born to, and we cannot change it with our effort or lack of it.
The fact that from their parents' point of view it's not luck, because they worked for it, strikes me as irrelevant in this context. It can be relevant in a societal context but the post you reply to was talking about the success of an individual and how it can come just by luck, without that individual working especially hard for it.
I mean, if I was born on Steve Job's birthday, with Steve Job's genes, to Steve Job's parents, presumably I would be Steve Jobs. From that perspective, it's pure luck I'm not a billionaire. And, similarly, pure luck that I'm not literally Hitler.
Everyone should experience losing to a worse player who won by starting with more chips and therefore had more hands and more opportunities to recover from error.
Then they should experience a fixed buy in, no rebuy tournament where each player starts with equal opportunity.
Economic evening can quickly become a poison.
Please reference the British aristocracy whose wealth is generally attributable to an ancestor being friends with William the Conqueror, as famously said by the Duke of Westminster (Richest man in Britain, recently dies and passed his estate to his son tax free)
"The Duke of Westminster was acutely aware that his own vast wealth was entirely due to luck. When once asked for the secret of financial success, he replied it was to have an ancestor who had been a close friend of William the Conqueror. It may have been that his inability to know how to make amends for this fluke lay behind his discontent."
You might be right, but we need to honor people for taking care of the next generation by working hard, being clever, and making good decisions.
And aristocracy aside, people who were "privileged" are generally children of people who make good decisions, take care of their kids, and typically love them. To act like that is all just the roll of the dice is to diminish the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be a good parent and a productive member of society.
What happens when the old men who plant trees are greeted with nihilism and apathy?
I had to be exposed to people who knew these things, and who were willing to teach me despite my upbringing. The fact that I'm where I am with growing savings, a small but growing music business, and confidence in my gender identity and sexuality is pure luck.
This all depended on my parents, despite their failings, seeing that computers were going to be a big deal. No matter how bad things got, I always had a computer and an internet connection. If not for meeting the right people at the right times (all online), I'd have ended up in a loveless marriage, an ongoing slide toward abject poverty, and confusion about who I am like everyone else around here.
Now I know luck is mostly about preparation, but no one teaches you preparation around here. We're all about learned helplessness in these parts.
Other people have to do this and other similar things. When they have kids and raise them successfully, is that luck? Or is it payoff for that effort carried into the next generation?
Some people are just lucky. Some are just privileged. But it's reductionist and just not good advice to say the whole world is random and decisions don't matter. Things, at a minimum, are a lot more complicated than that. And I think people and communities who do support their offspring deserve more credit than that. They're not just a gust of wind in the right direction one day.
People aren't saying decisions don't matter. They're saying trying to equalize opportunity does matter by mitigating the effects of luck. People are also saying we're best able to mitigate bad luck when we work as a larger society.
Family businesses are generally know for planning more for the future than non-family businesses.
But they don't do it because they think it's good for society to build something sustainable for the future. They do it for their kids, which sounds nice first, but is a rather selfish reason.
Yes they go one step further, they don't just want to enrich themselves in person, but also other people who happen to be their kids, but in the end it's just individualism on a higher abstraction level.
Behaviour that is really honourable doesn't just benefit you and your family, it benefits as much non-related people as possible.
I mean, on another level this this the same as with white men only hiring other white men. Sure they grow big companies, are successful and help other people, but people who aren't white or aren't men won't get as much out of it.
(I'm not trying to say that hard work has nothing to do with anything, quite the opposite, but that "luck", as the word is commonly used, also plays a huge part in any ones life)
Or how better a society would be without tons of well paid white collar jobs (advertisers for one).
Nobody shovels horse feces or lights lamps anymore.
Also, these problems (not enough ditch diggers) are solved by just paying people more for that kind of work. Culturally we think that managers up the chain deserve to get paid more and more, but if there's a shortage of people scrubbing toilets, maybe the person with clean fingernails merely cutting paychecks doesn't necessarily warrant a higher market rate.
1) Detailed specs by the manufacturer (that have to be valid or get large fines -- e.g. regarding speaker frequency response, or drug side effects, or cosmetics effectiveness, etc.).
2) Reviews by the media
3) Reviews by laymen
4) Word of mouth
Some people might think that if the value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of labour spent on it, the more idle and unskilful the labourer, the more valuable would his commodity be, because more time would be required in its production. The labour, however, that forms the substance of value, is homogeneous human labour, expenditure of one uniform labour power. The total labour power of society, which is embodied in the sum total of the values of all commodities produced by that society, counts here as one homogeneous mass of human labour power, composed though it be of innumerable individual units. Each of these units is the same as any other, so far as it has the character of the average labour power of society, and takes effect as such; that is, so far as it requires for producing a commodity, no more time than is needed on an average, no more than is socially necessary. The labour time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time. The introduction of power-looms into England probably reduced by one-half the labour required to weave a given quantity of yarn into cloth. The hand-loom weavers, as a matter of fact, continued to require the same time as before; but for all that, the product of one hour of their labour represented after the change only half an hour’s social labour, and consequently fell to one-half its former value.
However it's worth noting that Marxian economics does not propose that people are paid according to the value they produce, but rather the amount required for the worker to reproduce his labour-power commodity (this is what he actually sells), so the question of payment at least from the Marxian perspective becomes moot.
In my view, what needs to happen is, get rid of the promise that if you work hard, you'll get ahead. Instead, adopt a more realistic ethic in which success depends on a combination of wealth, education, and effort, with those factors listed in descending order of value. Also note that wealth is accompanied by political power.
I grew up in another country and went to end of junior + high school in a US school in the inner city where nobody studied in my class except for me. 65% of the class never graduated. My parents, although very educated in our home country never paid for school and worked very bad jobs initially here such as postal service worker and person who poses census questions.
Although I never did particularly well in school in my home country, I did extremely well in the US because everyone else wasn't doing anything. I was ranked 10th in a graduating class of 900 students and did well on the SATs except for the English section. However, I got into many fights to protect my image in school or things would have gotten worse for me there. This resulted in not being able to get into decent colleges since for whatever reason that is reflected on your "record".
Finally, this apathetic behavior of my classmates and friends transformed me a little and i did poorly first couple of years of college. However, impending struggles with job market made me get back to studying. I took more loans to pay for my undergrad + masters and graduated with a decent GPA + research. Then got a job in software and now almost finished paying off loans.
Let me describe what high school life is like in inner city public high schools:
People growing up in inner cities are treated like animals in the cafeteria and elsewhere. There are police officers with guns. There are literal metal bars on the windows and only plastic utensils are allowed in cafeteria. Fights happen where everyone jumps on the tables and cheers on. There are metal chains on doors for students not to escape midway during school day. There are metal detectors at the entrance in case students bring guns. You can go to the bathroom during class only 5 times in 6 months. You are taught how to add fractions in grade 10 math class. Guidance counselors never help you and always try to do the least amount of work possible. I had to talk to the principal to make them let me take a math test to test out of elementary school math. Had to switch math classes to get a math teacher to let me go to a math olympiad.
The experience for me closely matched what American movies would show prisons are like. The students themselves think "nerds" are incredibly uncool and the coolest people are rappers + sports stars. I think median amount of time people spent doing homework there is about 0 seconds. Almost everyone constantly talks during class and you can barely hear the teacher.
After escaping this circus, I'm expected to feel sympathy for some of the people who were my classmates.
So while I still think I got lucky in terms of intelligence, the solution to this problem is to change the culture. For example, in my old country, there is literally no commonly used word for "nerds" and people who get good grades are considered cool.
Additionally, going to college for vast majority of students especially those who come from high schools like mine is a waste of time. There should be trade schools. There should be a major high school reform. People who act like prisoners should be put in some sort of boarding school so they stop poisoning the well for others. People who participate in a fight by the virtue of being attacked by others shouldn't get detentions. It should be explained to their parents that this behavior is completely not OK. Media should stop idolizing singers + sports players. In fact, MTV programming should be completely remade into a subtle pro-education propaganda channel. Cancer like Jerry Springer et al should be canceled.
It is totally possible to graduate from these high schools and do well.
The problem is not money, but culture. Privilege has _nothing_ to do with it since tons of people in much much poorer countries with schools that have a lot fewer funds do a lot better.
I feel like most people don't understand what American education/school culture is really like in inner cities and what students are really like who go there. Here are a couple of movies that somewhat match my experience:
The Class (2008) - French film but similar (milder) situation.
Kids (1995) - Very accurate but little to do with education.
My history was also the opposite, and I do not like getting bunched in with privileged.
I've had a job since I could push a lawn mower up and down the street at the age of 12 or 13. In HS, I worked overnights in a grocery store during the summers. My family only had 1 car, so during the school year I had to get up at 5am and take my mom to work so I could go to work right after school. Then I would pick her up on my break and go back to work. I didn't have a computer at my house until I was a freshman in college, and it just happened to be during that time when they gave everyone credit cards (I guess that was lucky?).
The point is that people get to where they are in life all sorts of ways. Some win the lottery, some work their ass off, but most get there through some combination of both.
Being born one or two standard deviations away from median on the intelligence scale is a whole lot of luck and privilege.
> The problem is not money, but culture. Privilege has _nothing_ to do with it since tons of people in much much poorer countries with schools that have a lot fewer funds do a lot better.
My dad was born in a village in Bangladesh, but raised my brother and I in an upper middle class household in the US. He's the first to admit that he got lucky. Had he been born as someone of average intelligence, or not had parents who made education a priority, or he hadn't had extremely fortuitous timing in his career, he'd still be in Bangladesh. I'm pretty successful myself and I'd count myself doubly lucky. Had I been born in a village in Bangladesh, I'd have failed out of the rigid unforgiving school system. (I skated by in US K-12 based purely on test-taking ability.) Hell I'd probably be doing manual labor there instead of being a white collar professional in the US.
I really dislike the language of privilege in this context. I'm not sure what point it serves other to diminish someone else. Some people are smart. That's as much a part of them as their skin color or sexual identity. Should they feel apologetic about that?
Also, as a counterpoint, I know brilliant people who wasted that talent on drugs and other things.
It appears that a physician who put himself through school because his family was without means to help is lucky because he had the brains and drive to make good grades. After getting his MD he chooses to focus on finding a cure for cancer and discovers protocols that inhibit cancer cell growth. When asked what drives him he says he lost his sister to cancer when he was a child and since that day he has wanted to be a doctor? So was he lucky to have had a sister w cancer?
Sometimes privilege and luck are not mutually exclusive. He certainly was privileged to find his calling at a young age and I would guess there was a fair amount of luck in there as well (getting into the school that nurtured his passion etc) but you cannot discount the power of personal drive either.
There is also this fact that a lot of people who grew up in better circumstances (including myself and most of my friends) just never get to meet, interact with and understand people who grew up in tough cultures like you did.
That's not to have a rural/urban competition, but to say that poverty is not localized and the culture of poverty has many expressions. It has been plugged a lot lately, but urban people who want to be multicultural, intelligent, and informed should really read books like Hillbilly Elegy.
But since the real estate interests took over the city counsel that has all collapsed. The SRO housing has been converted to expensive boutique hotels, and a greater "I've got mine jack" attitude has taken hold. There are few blue collar folks who can afford to live in town any more.
Every action people take is driven by such a complex web of incentives these days, that risk-aversion is often seen as the pragmatic option.
Having said that, I will say that I am often pleasantly surprised by how thoughtful and considerate people can be to each other in general. But I do think that risk-averse "fuck you" treatment is on the rise, especially when dealing with people at work being asked to make difficult decisions. Risk aversion is corporate policy.
The incentives and disincentives to care for your neighbour or not, or to care for your group, decreased, and it will keep decreasing if this trend continues.
That necessarily implies some degree of American individualism in the person looking for help. Without that the helpee sooner or later will run out of luck (and/or "other people's money") no matter what you do.
Unfortunately, those small towns are intellectually understimulating, so you either have to be selective or invent some kind of city I haven't come across yet. The closest I've seen to a friendly large city is actually Hanoi. Maybe the secret sauce is just homogeneity, and small towns are partially just nicer because they're usually more homogenous.
However, if you are weird or alternative enough? Perhaps you aren't keen on religion? Or something similar? Yeah, these places can get pretty lonely and some of those folks don't extend their kindness to you... unless someone will see them.
However, I do think the concern is a bit overstated; especially in northern towns, the primary cultural identity shared by the inhabitants would most accurately be described as "outdoorsman" rather than any religious or ethnic affiliation. There's more to it than that, but overall it was pretty accessible as long as you were willing to adapt.
The Midwest is messed up. Almost every major city is having budget problems, increasing unemployment and crime, higher taxes. Industry is leaving or has already left, and the rich people (who proportionally pay most of the taxes) are following. The Midwest used to be known for manufacturing and heavy industry and these are the two segments of the economy hit hardest by globalization.
Illinois is the best example of this. It's the only state with a shrinking population, and the average income of people leaving is almost $25,000 more than those moving in. People that can afford to leave easily are jumping ship. The south side collapsed with the steel industry thirty years ago and sent the state into a slow decline. Only the north end of Chicago is even worth visiting these days. The rest of the city and state is functionally bankrupt.
If you don't want to move as far there's a couple cities diversified enough to avoid the decline. Madison WI is the best example I can think of. Otherwise do yourself a favor and visit some reputable cities in the sun belt.
On an individual level this might make sense, but if everyone does this, it just amplifies existing problems. In the city you're leaving, inequality would just grow worse, there would be a brain drain, and family support structures would weaken. In the city you're going to, housing costs would go up, and pockets of area would be insulated from the wider reality of economic decline. This would cause areas of the country that strongly vote one way, and the rest of the country would vote the other.
Instead of encouraging people to just move, why not encourage people to stay and help those who are experiencing a declining quality of life? It would accomplish more than just leaving to "reputable," aka "rich" cities.
So i'd say, its reasonable to go abroad, to abandon home and make something of life, when you have a chance to do it. And later, if you still feel close to your home, you can return and create something that makes sense for you, with confidence and resources. The root causes, why areas went bad, may have died and there might be space and hunger to grow something new. That is at least my colorful narrative.
I work with many people from so considered poorer countries. They all miss their homes. But actually no one ever said, they want to go back and build something. :)
I think there is no obligation to stay at one place and make it work.
Of course, it depends on ones nature. I have friends who miss and pine for their home country and do end up going back. Others like myself enjoy our new lives and identities in the US and stay.
In a way, I think, this is precisely what the discussion in this thread is about.
For some highly restrictive definition of "everyone". I think this statement kind of exemplifies the problem.
What is sad was the town I'm living in is a college town, and I can't imagine it being uninviting before I moved here. I used to live in a smaller college town, and while it was really really small, I didn't feel that way.
I keep hearing Ayn Rand mentioned these days. Reading those long tedious books can give you fodder for some interesting thought experiments, but beyond that I find the ideas not just damaging, but childishly simplistic. When I hear that some bigshot tech mogul is a follower of Rand I feel that they are about to make excuses for their appalling behavior by making appeal to some kind of authority. I associate Rand with white supremacists and debunked myths
That's how I view free market economics. The benefits of having strong market institutions (e.g. low taxes, private property rights, contract freedom) in fostering economic development and reducing poverty  is one of the most empirically validated theories in economics, and yet we have a bevy of social scientists continually advocating for policies, like forced income redistribution in the form of ever expanding welfare programs , that undermine it.
>I keep hearing Ayn Rand mentioned these days.
I keep hearing Ayn Rand mentioned in personal attacks against me these days.
>I associate Rand with white supremacists and debunked myths
That's not a constructive comment. Yes you disagree with advocates of the free market. Expressing how vehemently you disagree with them isn't going to help anyone understand each other better.
Fountainhead and especially Atlas Shrugged are engaging works of science fiction. I recommend everyone read at least one. And then keep in mind this quote :
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."
Objectivism shares many things in common with small subset of Right leaning Libertarian Philosophy Anarcho-Capitalism, but not all Libertarians are AnCaps despite what they (anCaps) claim
The most institutionalized mother replacement is God, the infallible mother of mother's. A pet theory if mine is that religion served as society's safety net in this manner and was incredibly important when only a minority of people had access to knowledge as opposed to the majority today. Knowledge opens the doors to self actualization through various means. Without it you are limited to blue collar repetitive jobs, non-creative work. Without this self actualization path, it's very easy to fall into a spiral of drugs, alcohol, hookers, etc...
Online Games are the modern day less dangerous replacement for these shallow meaning makers. It's usage as a stabilizer for the poor is especially apparent in the Asian countries.
Note that money in the end will always be spent on meaning regardless of rich or poor. . The poor don't save because they can't see what to do with it. The immediate meaning makers of drugs and alcohol are much more achievable. I save and go to Costco because I know moneys power to transform into different degrees of freedom and creative pursuits. Others desire a family. Some desire an empire, a middle finger to God. (Pop culture is the main stabilizing force for the middle class)
The type of "easy come, easy go" behavior is way more prevalent among poor than rich. I remember reading an article (impossible to dig out with generic keywords I can come up with) describing a study in savings pattern where they distributed small amounts of extra cash to poor households. Some of the money went to cover bills, so deleveraging previous debts, but even at those households that ended up with a surplus of cash the savings never materialized into anything meaningful and long-term. Several reasons for that:
1) Accumulated previous debts for things like cars, medical debts, furniture rentals. Some with ballooning interests, some with predatory late fees that have their own ballooning interests.
2) Accumulated ongoing liabilities for things such as parental support.
3) Because of the way collection agencies or government can always freeze the current assets and garnish the paycheck, general distrust of US banking system and preference for hard, cold cash.
4) General feeling of lack of control over one's finances, and surprisingly rational decision to blow the extra cash immediately because #yolo, and one never knows when a relative, an ex, a random bill collector or The Man will take that money anyway with nothing to show for it.
I used to be a lot more careful with my money before a few years ago, when I experienced being too poor to feed myself and routinely went for several days without even a small snack, just looking at pictures of food for hours on end.
Ever since that time I've found that as soon as I have surplus cash I have a strong desire to spend it on expensive food or eating out etc. and I often do. Even the cheapest meal from the local takeaway feels like a huge thing for me now and fills me with a joy I struggle to communicate.
* the feeling of lack of control over finances is lead by the higher level of crimes in poorer neighborhoods. So, if you constantly live under the fear of being mugged, or your car or house risks being broken into... these are things that could drive any person crazy.
* unable to afford or live a healthy lifestyle (healthy foods, exercise etc.) the poor also suffer from worse health problems, which exacerbates their problems.
If you've ever been mugged or had your car broken into, you will understand the feeling of helpless rage and loss of control... I just can't imagine living in a neighborhood where such things are commonplace.
I think the old (paraphrased) quote is relavent here: A rich man saves up for a £300 pair of new shoes that will last him a decade, while a poor man buys a £5 pair of boots every month because they wear down quickly.
Honestly, being able to fix some things is one of the most important traits to have if you want to save money. Learn some motor maintenance skills (well, with DRM'ed cars now that may be a bit harder), basic shoe repairs, computer repair, woodwork, etc.
I think we've lost our way with technology somewhat (and i'm a young millenial!). I see my dad and how he helped build some of the rooms in our house, did basic diagnostics for our car when it acted up, made our home's wooden stair railing from scratch. And he worked as a manager for a small basic factory. I can't see anybody my age being able to even just sand some rough edges down from freshly-cut wood, or being able to jack-up a car. It's depressing what advanced technology and increased societal specialisation has done to us younger generations...
I think part of the problem is a combination of a bias against impugning others effort because "you don't know their struggle" and just enough counter examples (where hard work doesn't pay off) to feed confirmation bias.
The question that I have is this: is the growing narrative about the United States not being a meritocracy a self-fulfilling prophecy. If so, does not thriving because you believe that narrative a personal choice?
Who cares if a society it's a meritocracy or not? The point, it seems to me, is, is it a meritocracy that work for most of the people? Because what is the point of a society that doesn't work for most of the people?
I know that if I train hard every day I could improve my 100m sprinter time. I also know that never mind what I do, not in a million years I could beat Usain Bolt.
If we live in societies where the life of the average guy improve at the same time that the pie grows there is not a problem.
If we live in a society where, even when the pie grow my life is worst, and when I complain, you point to Usain Bolt and say "see? it can be done!"; well, I don't think that it's going to work for long.
It seems to me that feeling explain a lot of the "populist" movements around the world.
Maybe this is just a bad analogy, but if you're objectively worse than Usain Bolt then in a meritocracy you should justifiably be worse off. That's a bad expectation anyway, at a population level 0% of people are Usain Bolt. This ultimately leads to a question I've been thinking about a lot; should we as a society be okay with a hard working naturally gifted person being higher paid than an equally hard working non-gifted person.
Yes, and particularly on the personal level. You'll never be employed if you don't look for a job.
John Stuart Mill, Chapters on Socialism
That said, with regard to health wellbeing we need a few things:
-Reduce costs (cost per person is astronomical compared to other developed countries)
-Provide Basic Universal healthcare for all citizens (elevate the health of the average person to a sustainable level)
-Allow insurance for people who want to insure against grey swan health issues. Ensure this remains "affordable".
You know there are 7 big health care providers in my state building spectacular facilities as fast as they can, and they don't have to compete with each other? There's no competition. Every pleb goes dutifully to the assigned provider his employer sends him to.
You think it's an accident there's weak consumer protections in the U.S. of A? You think it's just dumb luck that health care has no market forces to control costs? We're all about rapacious crony capitalism here!
The US healthcare system is probably the most privatized in the developed world. The systems in other developed countries (e.g. any European country) give more weight to the government, and have been shown by all sorts of metric to work much better. How can you still say "don't sign us up for more government"?
The Brits were just debating how much nurses should get paid. When government runs your organization, math and economics become subservient to politics.
> The US healthcare system is probably the most privatized in the developed world.
It has privatized profits, but the whole system is heavily regulated. Prices for things are certainly not set on open markets.
You say this, yet Americans pay twice as much for care that is of considerably lower quality than other civilized countries. Do you think it's a coincidence that in one of the most privatized for-profit healthcare industries in the civilized world, we pay more? Sure, other systems have issues and are not perfect, but that doesn't excuse America's substandard healthcare system.
How much does it cost for a skin cancer screening in Topeka? It depends? Well, that's a routine procedure that isn't really offered in the open market. It should just have published (and even advertised!) prices so normal consumers can shop around for quality screenings at fair prices.
I'm very critical of the American healthcare system, if that wasn't clear. But its failings are certainly not being too market based or too unregulated.
Don't expect market forces to come to the rescue. It doesn't work that way.
Some things are very expensive but also predictable. Like giving birth. Or reparative plastic surgery. Or non-emergency heart surgery. People would shop around for those things as appropriate.
"Fervor" is what it takes to believe in utopian solutions that go exactly in the opposite direction to the success stories, and with no evidence whatsoever that they work in the real world.
Any study or metric, huh? Sounds like you prefer lies, damn lies, and statistics.
For instance, the US is hands-down the best in the world for intensive care after premature births. But you wouldn't know that if you just looked at infant mortality rates as compared to other countries because they use a different standard for what constitutes a "live birth". We actually place some value on life and work really hard to rescue the preemies, but that skews our numbers because lots of them still die.
When you make blanket statements, try bolstering them with some truth or else you sound like an ideologue.
Drill down a little. Make sure you shake those assumptions you've been fed and make the ideas resilient to attacks.
I think part of combating our bubble-filled culture is to speak up even when it's not popular.
But I just made a 360° slam dunk of an argument that pops your best/good-works bubble: 7 providers, no competition, no market forces, wildly expensive care - all demonstrably because of bad laws and cronyism in government.
Will you un-360° slam dunk my argument now, please?
Here's how I was able to get there in a split second. Perhaps, JUST PERHAPS, you can analyze yourself for similar flaws: "He tossed out Ayn Rand, probably never read her. Ugh, what a bore he must be at parties! So he's a progressive thinker. His weaknesses are a bias towards government, a lack of critical thinking, and a victim mentality. Can't do anything about the victimhood, he needs a shrink for that. Okay, attack his center by opposing his faith in government with the epic fail that is the rigged U.S. health care system."
I know nothing about you and did no research, so the chances any of those assumptions were right are close to nil. That kind of wretched thinking about someone I don't know is not only unproductive, but psychologically harmful to me. (Which is why I try to avoid it.) But as you can see, it's easy for me to let my brat out of his cage.
I think your problem is you assume you're right and you're indignant when someone challenges your beliefs to the point of being emotional about it. You don't feel the need to present an opposing argument with any detail, which is a shame since you probably have wisdom to share. (EDIT: oops, my brat is still off his leash...)
Stopped reading at that point.
You can't win the debate if you don't attend.
The list goes on.
This is why we have health insurance, and regulations exist to protect citizens against predatory practices. Some of these regulations are misguided, and others are a result of lobbying by special interests. Most of them are OK.
I suggested nothing of the sort. I said our current regulation regime is harmful, however good the intentions were when it was passed.
> This would be a disaster of epic proportions because, realistically, not everyone can afford their own healthcare costs.
I also never said the impoverished should be left to die in the streets. The government clearly needs to help people afford things. But the current regulatory approach is both too heavy and too complex.
> ...regulations exist to protect citizens against predatory practices.
And they're clearly not working, no matter the intention when they were passed.
> Most of them are OK.
Like the ones that let pharma companies keep generic drugs off the market? Or the ones that heavily regulate drug releases but could not prevent the opioid epidemic?
There should be regulations. There should be welfare. They should both be simple (anything else is not fair, especially for the consumer) and they should use markets to figure out what the price of things should be (anything else is still not fair and is subject to special interests).
We always talk about the USA vs. Europe, but I don't know if there are other examples that we can borrow.
When you talk about market directed healthcare, do you have any example in mind?
State health care is "free" (that is, everybody pays 6.5% of their income as health insurance) and of very poor quality. You have to bribe everyone - doctors, nurses, cleaning people - in order to get any treatment.
Private health care is somewhat more expensive; you can either pay as needed (which is what I usually do) or you can buy private insurance. The lowest private insurance I know of is $3 / month; the highest I have heard of is about $300 / month. The latter includes emergency surgery in a foreign country (Germany or Switzerland, their doctors are considered better).
Almost anytime I see someone argue "you might think it's because of X, but it's really because of Y," the person speaking is selling a particular ideology. That ideology magnifies Y and minimizes X.
It would be perfectly fine to say "you might be aware of X, but you should also be aware of Y." But pieces like this don't do that. They seek to tell you you are wrong if you think X. It doesn't sit will with people who have personally experienced X.
In 2014, "Vulnerable Populations" made up 80% of the poor in the USA. That essentially means children and the elderly.
On top of that, it's like another 7% of people that are in poverty that are fully employed!
There are facts, but it does them no service to overstate what the evidence actually says.
But the types of statistics here are fundamentally different. If you look at the huffington post numbers as how many people will vote for a candidate, then even their prediction is pretty close to correct. A few million votes make the difference between 50% and 99%, but a few million votes is a reasonably tight accuracy range for "how many". Similarly I would expect something like the 80% number to be pretty close to correct, at least based on the definitions chosen.
The probability of dying in a car crash is way less than 1% and still some people are unlucky enough to die in this way every day. It's a matter of sample size. In the same way, the vast majority of the time a candidate with a very slim chance won't make it to presidency, but it happened that Trump did.
I think people discussing complex phenomena (like poverty) tend to overstate the power of their evidence; they overstate its ability to support the conclusions they want to draw from it.
This was illustrated in dramatic fashion when many/most of the most educated, "enlightened" people in the US had a reality check that their model was off last November. If there hadn't been an actual vote, people would probably still be insisting that Hillary Clinton would have won, had there been an actual vote on Nov 8.
And that was the simple question of "how many people will show up to a polling station and mark a box for HC vs DT"! And the evidence consisted of pollsters who were asking hundreds or thousands of people that precise question every day! That should have been much easier to model and predict than poverty! It didn't even get into the causes of why people think or vote in certain ways.
And yet still we have people looking at complex systems and problems like poverty and saying "it's not because of X, it's because of Y" with a feeling of certainty. And thinking that they are justified in their certainty because they claim this is what the "facts" say.
I think, first of all, that grandparent hasn't even accurately summarized their own link, which says "Children and eldery make up slightly more than half of the market poor." Their statement that "essentially" 80% of the poor are children and elderly has already caused a significant amount of the underlying data to be "lost in translation".
I think, second of all, that bucketing elderly, children, the disabled, etc into "vulnerable populations" and saying they comprise 80% of the poor doesn't really support the author's thesis at all.
No one blames a child for being poor. It is not a child's responsibility to support themselves. So saying children are poor doesn't really speak to whether poverty is a personal choice. Children are the responsibility of their parents, so it is the parents choices that would be relevant here.
Elderly people, on the other hand, generally spend their lives realizing they will be old someday, and therefore poverty of an elderly person does not necessarily say anything about whether poverty is a personal choice. It could be a lack of effort put into saving during their working years.
I want to be clear that I'm not against safety nets, or in favor of doling out blame and judgement towards poor people.
What I am against is the (to me) crazy amount of overconfidence many people (on the left especially) have in the ability of their data to "prove" their political positions and arguments.
And I'm not even against people's right to hold convictions that the evidence doesn't fully justify. What I am especially against is when people use those convictions to pass blame and judgment on others. The clear subtext of this article is that we are all guilty, as a society, for making poor people poor.
Part of this statement seems to reflect a high degree of confidence in the idea that this is phenomenon "especially" afflicts the left, but there doesn't seem to have been a presentation of evidence which provides unambiguous support for the thesis.
> but there doesn't seem to have been a presentation of evidence which provides unambiguous support for the thesis.
I said "(to me)" as a disclaimer that I was offering my opinion/belief, and not a provable thesis.
Remember, n=1 in this scenario.
1. the specific circumstances of the outcome. Hillary Clinton didn't lose just barely, she lost by a lot. And she lost states like Wisconsin, which wasn't even supposed to be in play.
2. the fact that predictions like HuffPo's were far off from more credible pundits like 538.
3. the fact that HuffPo so aggressively mocked anyone who took a more measured view. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/whats-wrong-with-538_us_...
The only difference here is that there's no "poverty election day" where the entire population goes to register their poverty level. So we never actually get to see if the prediction was correct!
Combine that with the data from the correspondinc Apr 15th, and we should have something pretty close to a "poverty election day".
: cell phone and spotty network made it too hard to look up a good source - please feel free to add them if you can)
If California and Texas (for example) each decided it was more important to govern themselves than each other, it would be lower stakes and more productive to talk about issues like this.
People can't even mention certain topics because the word you use to describe the topic reveals which "side" you are on (e.g. the "Muslim ban").
And "sanctuary cities".
It's so reductionist to think that complex systems can be boiled down to simple, all-encompassing explanations. This has failed over and over, from nutrition to economics. And yet people of all political persuasions still want to argue that "the REAL problem is Y" and claim smug superiority over anyone who disagrees.
We are all obsessed with what policy makes us feel, rather than its impact. Example: Seattle minimum wage laws https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.meer/posts/101031868860665... let me quote here:
> This is the official study that was commissioned several years ago by the city of Seattle to study the impacts of raising the minimum wage, in a move that I applauded at the time as an honest and transparent attempt towards self-examination of a bold policy.
> The losses were so dramatic that this increase "reduced income paid to low-wage employees of single-location Seattle businesses by roughly $120 million on an annual basis." On average, low-wage workers lost $125 per month.
So the official government study found this to be an horrific law for the poor. So we'll accept this, roll it back and move on yeh? Of course not!
> This paper not only makes numerous valuable contributions to the economics literature, but should give serious pause to minimum wage advocates. Of course, that's not what's happening, to the extent that the mayor of Seattle commissioned another study, by an advocacy group at Berkeley whose previous work on the minimum wage is so consistently one-sided that you can set your watch by it, that unsurprisingly finds no effect. They deliberately timed its release for several days before this paper came out, and I find that whole affair abhorrent. Seattle politicians are so unwilling to accept reality that they'll undermine their own researchers and waste taxpayer dollars on what is barely a cut above propoganda (sic).
Now, here's a policy aimed directly at the poor, that we are researching well, and the findings are being thrown out because, well why if not because "my feelings". Maybe it is because the political climate won;t accept the decision, but how is that better than climate deniers on the right? It seems to me both sides of politics are deniers of inconvenient truths.
So I am done with articles that aim to explain, raise awareness, shine a light on etc. I want tangible, actionable policy with a measurement framework in place that we as a society both believe and accept. If society tries a UBI, and it proves bad for society for what ever pre-decided reason, we should ditch it. Policy -> measurement -> keep or drop -> repeat. That's what I want.
Sadly, that is a bridge way too far these days.
We need much better guidance for the young.
I'm an immigrant too, and I used to think I was in a bad situation. However, I think you don't understand how bad it could get for some American people. Being a poor immigrant won't give you a free pass when you talk about being in a shitty situation.
The other day, I talked to an white male American student worked with me in the same lab for an REU program. He was attending college in computer science, not a "fun choice" like you said. He had to deal with and provide food for a drunk dad, an ill mom, and a sister. The whole family depended on him and at the time had no social security. He complained to me about his sister's boyfriend stealing food from his fridge. Now, how the fuck do you blame him for being poor because of making poor choices? What choices could he make?
>Young people are consistently being told lies like "you can be anything you want"
They have been told that way since forever. Why should that all the sudden make a difference?
>They like, say, art, so they spend 4 years studying something they could learn in a library or on YouTube, only to find out that the market for painters is crowded and tiny.
You're ignorant in thinking that people can learn art by watching Youtube and go to the library. That's what all the people who did MOOC thought, and guess what happened to the MOOC hype? The reality is way more nuanced than that. People learn to draw by taking long lessons and looking for hours at real scenes, real people, real sculptures in the studio, not watching 10 minutes youtube video and looking at the 2D Instagram picture on the 25 inches screen. We're very far from that "learn shit from Youtube" pipe dream.
>We need much better guidance for the young.
We need it but we also need people to understand not to blame people for being poor. You were poor due to no fault of your own, so why do you think others are poor because of their fault? You were given your chance to success, so the best you can do is to think that way about other people.
But even with these success stories, I think, nobody should have been in the situation they were in to begin with. No 16 year old should have to pick up a second job so they can pay their parents rent. Nobody should have to deal with a drug addicted parent that has no clinical route to sobriety. Nobody should have to take on their parents massive debt because their single mother got breast cancer in her early 40's.
If you want to blame people who make bad choices, fine. But at least try and remember the people in their orbit who are solid people who could really use some help dealing with a situation they are in by absolutely no fault of their own.
I helped pay the bills as a teenager. It wasn't the worst thing in the world. It's not preferable, but it's not cancer.
> Nobody should have to take on their parents massive debt because their single mother got breast cancer in her early 40's.
Agreed on this, but at some point we're angry at nature, not society. I'm not sure at what point I'm supposed to be mad at society or individuals or whatever about natural disasters, disease, and death.
I respect what he's trying to do to support his family, but at some point, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others.
IMO, he can choose to support his family to the extent that he's doing (and many people would), but recognize that that's a choice.
That example is only used illustrate the difference with an immigrant who has no money but doesn't have to carry the emotional baggage. The immigrant in the same situation who chooses to support the family back home financially might very well be better off compared to the American one. That is because the cost of living in the home country was so low, so he can both support the family, be OK financially, feel good about it emotionally, and doesn't have to deal with the annoyance every day.
What really jumps out of the story is that even just if one out of four people in the situation makes good choices, he can uphold all three others plus the ill mom. Its remarkable how little it takes.
Additionally, those with even an associates degree can, on average, expect to make more than the typical high school graduate. An Associates will net you about $400M over your lifetime, a Bachelors about $1MM, and a doctoral or professional degree will be about $2MM more. Now of course these are averages, and there are certainly overlaps where a high school graduate will out earn someone with a professional degree, but that is not the common case and should be considered an outlier.
Taken even a step beyond that, if you fall into one of the top 10 occupations for a bachelor's degree, even in the worst case scenario, on average you will still make $400M more than your typical high school graduate.
To be clear, the opportunity costs of unearned and non-debt payments generally would be in north of 150k range. Assume 30k/year income 4x years is 120k, plus the 37k debt, plus non-debt spending.
" An Associates will net you about $400M over your lifetime, a Bachelors about $1MM,"
And the same monetary investment in a fund earning 7% interest will be worth more than three times that over the same time frame.
It is not a good financial investment, on average. Some degrees have positive ROI. Many - most - do not.
Do people no longer work while in college?
And that's without factoring in the non-debt costs. Realistically, the gap is much greater.
What I've said is that the return from a degree program is less than half of a moderate investment return in the stock market. It's a very simple point I'm making here.
You don't need to get confused with inflation - it applies similarly to both scenarios and drops out of the equation.
Turning $150k into $3m over 45 years could be described as "average market performance." Turning $150k into $1m over 45 years using a degree could be accurately described as "a below average performing investment."
Doesn't this mean that it's actually NOT the result of poor choices, or at least the type of choices people generally accuse people of like being lazy or spending beyond their means? This seems more like a societal problem.
I suppose it's true that it's the result of someone's choices but it seems unfair to pin it on the people who don't know better. Then again, I studied CS because it was practical and work at a great company but I always find myself wanting to do something else.
Maybe the problem is that everyone keeps listening to the people who say follow your passion when the reality is that not everyone's passion will lead to something that can pay the bills. Frankly, it should totally be okay to not be in love with your job and do it because you need to.
Blaming population of young students for economy is worst then red herring.
My home country doesn't have that option, the salaries are 1/20th of what the US has to offer.
We should make that epxerience part of any curiculum on public schools.
Here is my answer on Quora with more details:
I copy this answer here:
I born in Uzbekistan in relatively poor family. At age of 18 (2002 year), I started work in internet cafe (~5 computers) as a network administrator (although, I was blatantly ignorant at that moment) for salary … 10 USD per month. I didn’t studied at school and dropped of university since education system in Uzbekistan is just literally fake.
Since then, I lived and worked in Moscow, Stockholm and currently in Amsterdam and receive good salary as a software developer (pretty close to upper bound according to GlassDoor). Although, I still don’t have any degree!
So I think I’m qualified to answer this question.
Short answer: From my long and close experience living among poor people I can say that most people stay in poverty all their live because they are lazy. And in most cases, it’s their fault that they stay in poverty (especially for those who live in english speaking rich western countries like US).
You may wonder how poor people can be lazy if they do hard manual job 10 hours per day. I think laziness have several different dimensions.
In general, I consider laziness as unwillingness to do some actions which could be beneficial for you in long term but require sacrifices in short term.
What does it mean for poor hard working people in practice?
It means that although they are willing to do hard job for 10 hours per day, they are unwilling to invest their free time to learn skills which can give them higher income in distant future.
They consider it’s easier and more realistic to do hard work right now because they almost instantly benefited from their job even if it’s hard labor job than studying something which don’t bring them instant profit and require commitment over very long period of time.
It may sound counter-intuitive but it’s fairly logical. If you wash dishes, you guaranteed to get almost instant profit (by end of the day, or week, or month). If you are reading some theory in a book, you don’t get instant profit at all. For them, it seem a big sacrifice to do something and get nothing in relatively short term.
Also, they have little time aside from their main job. For them, it looks quite irrational to read some technical books instead of drinking beer and watching football.
So poor people are quite lazy for learning new skills and prefer to do any hard job with instant profit instead.
All my life, I heard from poor people that I read completely useless stuff and waste my time. Learning mathematics and algorithms for them is completely nuts, useless stuff. I very often heard popular jokes like (this joke was popular in my post-soviet school in Uzbekistan): Why anyone need an integral? Integral is needed only when you need to get some stuff dropped into public toilet (they refer to stick having form of integral symbol).
So they drank a beer for years while I studied “useless garbage”. Now, they are still in Uzbekistan struggling to feed their new families and I’m in Amsterdam, able to travel around the world.
To me, it’s very unlikely to image highly curious person who are hungry to lean new stuff and still staying in poverty for years.
Those who are not lazy to learn get out of poverty soon or later. Just like me :)
Taking this into account, I can agree that it's possible to get out of poverty, but I don't think one can say being poor is poor people's fault.
Google 'genius died in poverty'. You don't have to imagine it. It happens.
It is, in the sense, that your personality determines it. But you can't determine your personality. If you are born curious and independent, you'll probably find your way. You cannot chose your genes. This thing about immediate gratification is a lot about genes and environment. If you are born in an environment where only instant gratification is valued, and if you don't get the right genes, there is no chance, you can change your life by yourself.
There are urchins who choose not to work and do just fine. It's fairly straightforward to scam Social Security Disability for main income and then collect EBT, food stamps, and get some housing in the projects.
It's not a great life, but it's a living, and there's plenty more help to pay for phone and utilities. If one is wicked, then they can sprinkle in some identity theft or plain old theft to pay for luxuries like a car or the newest iphone!
Work does suck, I can sympathize with wanting to avoid it. And if you're constantly told you'll never make anything of yourself and that you're a perpetual victim from childhood, well that'll beat you down too. I just don't buy the assumption that every impoverished soul is noble.
Thus my sarcasm. Escape poverty by making money. It's a miracle!
By the way, your 98% figure is incorrect. The study says that 2% of all Americans who did these three things are in poverty. The vast majority of those people were never in poverty to begin with, so didn't escape it.
70% of Americans who are born poor will die poor. I can't find solid number for how many non-poor Americans will become poor, but given that the poverty rate is about 15%, and 70% of that 15% was born into poverty, we can straightforwardly estimate that about 6% of non-poor Americans become poor.
In other words, the chances of any random poor American escaping poverty are about 30%, while the chances of any random non-poor American avoiding poverty are about 94%.
With 94% of non-poor Americans avoiding poverty, saying that 98% of Americans who do X, Y, and Z escape or avoid poverty is not terribly compelling.
I'm sure that obtaining and maintaining full-time employment really helps people escape from poverty. My point is just that this is not really useful to say, because it's fairly obvious, and because the difficult part is having jobs for poor people to work. Saying that we should help poor people escape poverty by ensuring they can work full-time jobs is like saying we should help put people on the moon by giving them altitude. Yes, it's true, but not really helpful advice.
So much social policy already revolves around jobs that I just don't see why you act like this is some revolutionary idea. The question is not whether we should help poor people work. The question is how.
>The question is not whether we should help poor people work.
You keep repeatedly and intentionally dodging the fact that all three things I listed are symbiotic of one another. Single motherhood is one of the largest contributors to poverty, and it tends to be cyclical/generational as single mothers tend to have children who have children out of wedlock, are more likely to drop out of high school, and as a result have a harder time maintaining employment. And no, I'm not picking on the mothers here, because it takes two people to make a single mother.
>The question is how.
We can stop by not subsidizing poverty producing behaviors while continuing to subsidize or change policy to further subsidize behaviors that don't increase poverty. Increase funding for birth control, decrease funding/subsidies/tax breaks for having children, change middle and high school curriculum to include sociology/life skills for avoiding poverty producing behavior. Determine the efficacy of stricter divorce laws and potentially apply reasonable measures to encourage people to stay married.
Do you have a source for that? As I mentioned, the number I found was 30%.
>For example, one study finds that in a sixteen-year period (1975 to 1991 in the U.S.) only 5% of those in the lower fifth of the income level were still at that level, while 95% transitioned to a higher income category.
Ultimately, I read your point here as poor people can't find work. My immediate counter-argument is that there are tons of high paying jobs in the trades that don't require an advanced degree. So getting a living wage is possible even for poor people.
I know there's a pivot point right here in this counter-argument that we will probably disagree on and that I'd like to explore. You might say, "it takes knowledge and connections and money to get those kinds of jobs". To which I will respond, "there are charities and government retraining and corporate sponsorships for journeymen all begging for solid people to apply themselves and land great jobs". To which you might respond, "these people are shut out, institutional barriers".
So, here's the pivot point I see, and we can go two ways here. This may be too crude and you can refine this, but I frame your "poor people can't find work" argument in a belief system that says there exist class hierarchies in the U.S. that are structured to keep poor people poor and generally keep people from rising. And, also too crude, but I frame my "but there are jobs, and they're well-paying" argument under a world view wherein people don't rise because of a culture of victimhood where they will settle into an impoverished state and accept welfare to get by.
I can't deny the fact that uninformed people won't have the innate ability to identify opportunities, and by-and-large there isn't any cultural crossover between classes any more to help spread the knowledge of opportunities more widely. (See Coming Apart by Charles Murray for a deep study on this.)
But it also cannot be denied that unprotected sex leads to babies, and that condoms are free for the taking, and the pill is basically free if you're poor. Noone can claim ignorance to the fact that sex often leads to babies and babies cost money. So, there must be some culture issue with the lower class as @Consultant32452 was alluding to where poverty is allowed to become multi-generational.
Please don't break off here and zero in on one thing that bugs you about a response. Right now I'd ask you to go back and address @Consultant32452's point that I think was, at its root, a criticism of culture:
> You keep repeatedly and intentionally dodging the fact that all three things I listed are symbiotic of one another. Single motherhood is one of the largest contributors to poverty, and it tends to be cyclical/generational as single mothers tend to have children who have children out of wedlock, are more likely to drop out of high school, and as a result have a harder time maintaining employment. And no, I'm not picking on the mothers here, because it takes two people to make a single mother.
I think @Consultant32452 addressed your open ended "The question is how" directly from his world view. His response might not be sufficient or relevant to you (I don't know, you didn't respond.) Would you please do the same with @Consultant32452's point about single motherhood, and from your world view? I want to understand where your head is at on that.
There are scam artists that stitch the rich tapestry of welfare programs together to make a living. You might choose to look the other way, out of compassion, whereas I choose to look straight at it and call it theft, out of compassion. I am being compassionate (tough love). You are being compassionate (empathy). Both of our voices are important in this discussion.
I actually don't believe you have to sacrifice your belief system to acknowledge there are fraudsters in the system who are a drain on society. Everything I have read about SSD says the fraudulent claims are anywhere between 1% and 25% of the total. I'm willing to accept that as few as 1% of claims are fraudulent, but even 1% would be 106000 out of 10.6 million (2011 numbers), and that's still a ton of fraud just in that one benefit.
I was being sarcastic because I was replying to a person who said that avoiding poverty was simple, all you have to do is get a job.
I don't see what any of your comment has to do with this.
The discussion of who is at fault for poverty is pointless. We should never tolerate poverty regardless of how it came to be.
The discussion has to be: Can we afford to have poverty?
We need people to be productive members of society. This can be achieved by making good choices easier to make. Making it easier to get back on your feet when you get down...
Health care, mental health, social security are ways to help people become productive members of society.
You can't afford not to help people! You can't afford to tolerate poverty!
> Let politicians, (...) and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children. Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year). There are surely influences other than these principles at play, but following them guides a young adult away from poverty and toward the middle class. 
It's not saying anyone can get rich. It's not saying poor people are lazy. It's saying these 3 things will have a major, measurable impact on your future and your children's.
That said, I don't think you're wrong.
Genuinely looking for thoughts on this.
What kind of society have we made for ourselves in the USA where such a thing is true?
Maybe that also helps explain why the US birth rate is below the replacement rate.
It is worse in other countries like Italy though, where one woman has on average about 1.4 children, leading to about a 30% population reduction every generation. Some countries are looking out of desperation to pay people to have kids. Or, of course, increase immigration.
Further, as economic trends change, marriage is becoming less feasible, with women seeing less and less value in a long-term relationship with a man (and vice versa).
"The study, published this month in the journal American Sociological Review, found that in areas with the greatest income inequality, young men and women were more likely to have their first child before marriage. ... The researchers give this explanation: Men without well-paying jobs are not seen as marriage material."
Most modern schools are essentially prisons:
And they remain mental prisons even at the PhD and postdoc level:
"In this riveting book about the world of professional work, Jeff Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to subordinate their own vision and maintain strict "ideological discipline." The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional's lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations and even democracy."
Why should parents voluntarily send their children to prisons? Why should anyone want to live their lives in a prison if they have alternatives? As NYS Teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto put it:
"I’ll bring this down to earth. Try to see that an intricately subordinated industrial/commercial system has only limited use for hundreds of millions of self-reliant, resourceful readers and critical thinkers. In an egalitarian, entrepreneurially based economy of confederated families like the one the Amish have or the Mondragon folk in the Basque region of Spain, any number of self-reliant people can be accommodated usefully, but not in a concentrated command-type economy like our own. Where on earth would they fit? In a great fanfare of moral fervor some years back, the Ford Motor Company opened the world’s most productive auto engine plant in Chihuahua, Mexico. It insisted on hiring employees with 50 percent more school training than the Mexican norm of six years, but as time passed Ford removed its requirements and began to hire school dropouts, training them quite well in four to twelve weeks. The hype that education is essential to robot-like work was quietly abandoned. Our economy has no adequate outlet of expression for its artists, dancers, poets, painters, farmers, filmmakers, wildcat business people, handcraft workers, whiskey makers, intellectuals, or a thousand other useful human enterprises—no outlet except corporate work or fringe slots on the periphery of things. Unless you do “creative” work the company way, you run afoul of a host of laws and regulations put on the books to control the dangerous products of imagination which can never be safely tolerated by a centralized command system.
Before you can reach a point of effectiveness in defending your own children or your principles against the assault of blind social machinery, you have to stop conspiring against yourself by attempting to negotiate with a set of abstract principles and rules which, by its nature, cannot respond. Under all its disguises, that is what institutional schooling is, an abstraction which has escaped its handlers. Nobody can reform it. First you have to realize that human values are the stuff of madness to a system; in systems-logic the schools we have are already the schools the system needs; the only way they could be much improved is to have kids eat, sleep, live, and die there."
Many jobs are likely going away with increasing AI, robotics and other automation, voluntary social networks, 3D printing, and so on.
"Half of these experts (48%) envision a future in which robots and digital agents have displaced significant numbers of both blue- and white-collar workers—with many expressing concern that this will lead to vast increases in income inequality, masses of people who are effectively unemployable, and breakdowns in the social order."
While the USSR had to guard its borders to keep people from escaping, the USA has to guard its medicine cabinets.
"Alexander's hypothesis was that drugs do not cause addiction, and that the apparent addiction to opiate drugs commonly observed in laboratory rats exposed to them is attributable to their living conditions, and not to any addictive property of the drug itself."
So, without necessarily disagreeing with you about the minimum needed for most people to not fall quickly into poverty right now, where do we go from here?
Here are about fifty options to consider of all sorts (both good and bad) I collected about a decade ago (basic income being one of them, but there are many others):
It's getting exhausting.
From the Amazon blurb: "Comparing the United States with other market democracies and one state with another, this book offers irrefutable evidence that unequal societies create poor health, more social conflict, and more violence. Richard Wilkinson, a pioneering social scientist, addresses the growing feeling — so common in the United States — that modern societies, despite their material success, are social failures. The Impact of Inequality explains why inequality has such devastating effects on the quality and length of our lives. Wilkinson shows that inequality leads to stress, stress creates sickness on the individual and mass level, and overall society suffers widespread unhappiness and high levels of violence, depression, and mistrust across the social spectrum. The evidence he presents is incontrovertible: social and political equality are essential to improve life for everyone. Wilkinson argues that even small reductions in inequality can make an important difference—for, as this book explains, social relations are always built on material foundations."
See also: "Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal" by Moshe Adler.
From that blurb: "At a time when growing numbers of people are deeply anxious about the workings of our economy—and when our very future as a society is up for grabs—economist Moshe Adler offers a lively and accessible debunking of two elements that make economics the science” of the rich: the definition of what is efficient and the theory of how wages are determined"
The only evolutionary justification I can see is that some people who have accumulated assets of some sort (or wannabees of that sort) expect themselves or their children to be sexually advantaged by making everyone else suffer, as a form of amplified Social Darwinism. See for example:
"The Mythology of Wealth"
"The Wrath of the Millionaire Wannabe's"
So, in that sense, perhaps it is meant to be exhausting? As financier Jay Gould is claimed to have said in 1886:
"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."
Today, he might say: "I can always hire half of the working class to misinform the other half through social media, schooling, and the press."
Even if such an advantage was even true in the past (ignoring that egalitarian hunter/gatherer tribes had numerous ways of dealing with that issue), in a world of nukes, designer plagues, and autonomous drones (which could get unleashed as society breaks down), such an approach to try to increase relative personal fecundity seems like a very a risky proposition.
Some ideas from the past include reverse dominance by teasing, shunning, and ridicule, encouraging play, and permissive/trusting child rearing.