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The gap is increasing but the poor are overwhelmingly getting richer, not poorer.

I'm talking about in real terms, standard of living has gone up across the world for decades, even as the population has grown.




It's gone up in the developing world. It hasn't gone up in the US. Infrastructure that the common man relied on is crumbling or is just gone, ie Flint water, and the rich are just importing everything they need to themselves


> It hasn't gone up in the US.

It has gone up in the US.

The poor in the US are radically better off today than they were 40 or 50 years ago.

Medicaid only came into existence in 1965. Today, after decades of expansion, it covers the bottom ~22% of people in the US with free healthcare.

The Food Stamp Act came into existence in 1964. In 1990, 20 million people received food stamps. Today, after decades of expansion (including large expansions under the Bush Administration, an unpopular fact), it covers 40 million people. The SNAP program has gone from paying out $15 billion in 2001, to $63 billion in 2016.

The real per capita income transfer, for welfare policies, has nearly tripled since 1980. The US social safety net is almost infinitely better than it was in ~1967 near the peak of global US economic dominance post WW2. There was hardly any social safety net back then. And it's considerably better than it was in 1980 or 1990.

The cynics take this to mean the US economy is much worse off than in eg 1980 or 1990 (Rhetorically does that mean Denmark's economy is collapsing? Their welfare state is far larger than the US welfare state as share of the economy). That's not the case, the US welfare state has been expanded to include more people. That has helped push homelessness and poverty to near record lows currently.


Portions of the US are worse off. It's still easily the case that the standard of living has increased for most people.


Living standards, calorie consumption, GDP, literacy and life expectancy skyrocketed higher and faster for more people anywhere in history under the early years of the USSR and PRC but we tend to only talk about those metrics when they're convenient.


Does that math only include people who weren't deliberately starved to death or murdered? Seems difficult to reconcile those claims with history unless you're excluding pretty wide swaths of people.


If we're going to include that then you need to take into account the costs of the other side like the trail of tears, Tuskegee experiments, bananna republics backed by the CIA, the attack on greenwood Tulsa, Cuba having giant sanctions on them that destroyed their economy, etc.

I'm perfectly fine discussing the outcome of systems, or the individual aspect of systems, but you can't compare the net outcome of system A to the individual problems of system B

Edit: before anyone questions what my hisses might be they are as follows. I believe that capitalist US ended up better on a whole than communist USSR for the betterment of humanity. I also believe its inaccurate to different aspects of their systems and pretend one way was wholly better than the other


Does the average American born after 1990 have more house or a better retirement plan than their parents? There's luxuries like smartphones that have increased but the basics have been slipping out of more and more people's hands


> Does the average American born after 1990 have more house or a better retirement plan than their parents?

No, but their parents had longer to save. The average person born in 1990 has a higher average real wage than their parents did. Given the novelty of college debt, it’s difficult to say much more, but mean statistics point to a wealthier American population at all levels today than any time before. The issue is the rich have gotten richer faster, not that the poor are getting poorer.


> The average person born in 1990 has a higher average real wage than their parents did

Mean, yes, median, less so.

> but mean statistics point to a wealthier American population at all levels today than any time before.

“mean statistics” don't tell you anything about “at all levels”, and are misleading because of the increasing top-heaviness of the distribution.


> Mean, yes, median, less so

Median quite so [1]. Every class of American is getting richer, just not as fast as the ultra-rich.

[1] https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MEHOINUSA672N/


That's household income, not wages, and not comparing like age groups across time (because of population aging.) So it doesn't support the above claim about real wages for those born in 1990 vs. their parents being true when shifted from mean to median.

Even leaving aside that outside of abject, starvation-level poverty, relative deprivation is a bigger contributor to disutility than absolute deprivation, such that everyone getting richer in absolute terms but the already rich getting rich faster would actually be a bad thing even if true.


But considering the gap, it could be better. This is like the tax-cuts-- "Oh, you should be happy you're getting a few hundred dollars back!". Well yeah, but if the cuts had been made fairly across income brackets, I'd be getting thousands.




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