Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, October 21, 2011

The End of the Horatio Alger “Only in America” Myth

I’ve been hearing and reading about this for years, but I never Googled it.  But now it’s official:  Some of those European socialist nanny states actually have more upward mobility than the United States.

Ouch!  One of the Right’s favorite talking points — down the drain.  Any time you talk about protecting the environment or ensuring safe working conditions, you get the same rightwing drivel:

“We can’t have all these bureaucratic regulations strangling the economy.  We’ll be just like those stagnant welfare states over there in Yerp, where everyone is the same, nobody has any incentive to work harder and improve themselves because they just lie around getting government handouts.”

Other personal favorites include:  “Equal opportunity, not equal outcome” and “If you work hard and play your cards right, YOU too can be part of that 1%.”

Rick Santorum, of all people, acknowledged this at the GOP debate in Las Vegas last Tuesday:

“Believe it or not, studies have been done that show that in Western Europe, people at the lower parts of the income scale actually have a better mobility going up the ladder now than in America.”

NOOO!!!  God Damn it, only in America can a shoeshine boy lift himself up by his bootstraps and build his own business empire!

The “American Dream” is most likely to come true in Denmark.  What?!?!?!?  Them lazy socialist welfare-guzzling layabouts???

In fact, Great Britain is now the only major economy in the world with less upward mobility than the United States.

Sorry, Oligarchs — back to the drawing board.  Looks like you’ll need some new slogans to feed your useful idiots.

Labels: , ,


Blogger jadedj said...

Right wing arrogance will never let them face the truth. Just today, I read a reichtard comment regarding the OWS movement. The comment was, "This is the greatest country on earth (that alone got my cockles up), you can be anything you want if you work for it, bums. If you don't like it here, why don't you leave?" Shades of the 60s, 50 years later.

October 21, 2011 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Jerry Critter said...

The "Useful Idiots" still believe the old slogans.

October 21, 2011 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

Whenever you rob Peter to give to Paul the Pauls will do much better, in the short run until people figure out that it is better to be Paul. The bills will come due some day, like soon.

I think that study also pointed out that there is much much less regulation there too.

October 21, 2011 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

You can't do everything you want. It is not that free anymore. My brother, a doctor, had a great idea for medical coverage that would make medicine cheaper for everyone, if they chose, but regulation would not let him do it.

October 21, 2011 at 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

Whenever you rob Peter to give to Paul the Pauls will do much better, in the short run until people figure out that it is better to be Paul. The bills will come due some day, like soon.

Are you really that stupid?

Since 1973, we've been robbing 99% of their pay and benefits, and transferring what has been stolen to the 1%. Now maybe you're not old enough to remember what this country used to be like, but I am, and I'll tell you right now that giving the proceeds of the many to the few has NOT created anything worth having. And, not co-incidentally, I remember the river down the road from my house back then, and you couldn't even sit by it, such was the pollution. The river is a nice place now.

But maybe you really are that stupid. Your inane, infantile talking point repetition certainly indicates that you don't have enough brain to wipe.

October 21, 2011 at 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've worked for several European firms - some of which you would recognize - Germans, French and Italians. To them America is like Costa Rica, greatest place to live only if you have a lot of money. Americans (in spite of all of our "suffocating" prices and taxes) came cheap to them because we have none of the legal benefits they have back at their homes. It's almost like we were the outsourced Indians or something


October 21, 2011 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

It's great that Sphinctorum acknowledged the item about other countries having better mobility up the ladder now than in America, but I am guessing the part that wasn't mentioned is that he very likely blamed the entirety of this on Obama.

October 21, 2011 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

jadedj: A news story like this is guaranteed to bring the "America Love it or Leave it" crowd out of the woodwork.

Jerry: The useful idiots will never change and they'll always be with us.

JR: Good response. I guess it's only "robbing Peter to pay Paul" when a wealthy person has to pay taxes.

Erik: Very good point. I'm guessing more and more countries are seeing the U.S. this way. We might have to start opening a bunch of call centers in the U.S., but first we'll all have to learn German, French, Japanese...

Snave: You're probably right. I didn't read the rest of Sphinctorum's speech, but I'm sure he was blaming it all on Obama.

October 22, 2011 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

The sun started setting on the Horatio Alger gambit in the 1970's. In his book, Bad Money, Kevin Phillips includes statistics showing ever-higher percentages of the very wealthy coming from wealthy families since that time. (I strongly recommend that book to everyone.)

The escalating cost of a college education and ever-increasing barriers to entry in various professions and specialties will harden class lines in future decades. The fact that for the past decade, and for at least a decade ahead, so many young people entering the marketplace for jobs can't find anything but low-paying, make-do positions for years, will add to the trend.

In my part of the country, older people tell how in the 1940's and 1950's, a young guy could go into mining, logging or manufacturing right out of high school, and within two or three years be earning enough to have a new car and get married. Within five or six years, he could buy a home and support a wife and child or two very decently. Now, a guy is lucky to be able to do that by his mid thirties, and only then if his wife works full time too.

Just some of the benefits of trickle down, free trade and automation.

("Oh no, it's all the fault of gummint regulation! Its' all the uncertainty!!)

Like hell it is.

October 22, 2011 at 11:31 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Jeannie wrote: "My brother, a doctor, had a great idea for medical coverage that would make medicine cheaper for everyone, if they chose, but regulation would not let him do it."

Hmmm, let me guess. If someone gets really sick or badly injured, instead of a paying out huge sums for his medical care, give him a gun with one bullet in it. End of suffering and uncertainty, and it sure keeps the cost of coverage down.

Like Alan Grayson said, "Don't get sick. But if you do get sick, die quickly."

October 22, 2011 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Good observations about how different it was in the 1950s. Of course the rightwing everybody-in-unison response is that the womenfolk never should have left the kitchen. When them womenfolk got jobs, they stole those jobs from the menfolk, and that there is the cause of our high unemployment rate.

I haven't read that book but I've heard about it; also American Theocracy by the same author.

October 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

JC- "Usefull Idiots". Funny how you can mix things up. You guys spout Marxism until it doesn't make you look good and transfer the metaphor to your hated enemies.

October 28, 2011 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

Tom- So far I only hear that from you guys.

October 28, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

SW - Its really very simple. Its the law of supply and demand. When you pour confiscated (unearned) $ into something - like education - the costs will go up. Competition makes costs go down.

October 28, 2011 at 5:08 PM  
Anonymous DirKT said...

Horatio Alger was himself a myth: a closeted gay man who subliminated his sexual urges into popular fiction and is today associated with something uniquely American and wholesome but in fact was run out of town for having sex with boys.

March 13, 2014 at 11:26 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home