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Comment Re:That can't be right (Score 1) 501

Actually, there is sharp growth from 1950 to 1970, after which point it becomes more-flattened. 33% of income spent on food in 1950, 15% in 1980, 13% in 2000. That's cutting it by more than half in 30 years, and then by barely 1/7th in 20 years.

The slower growth occurred when things stopped getting cheaper more-rapidly: growth was rapid in abundance and slow in scarcity.

Comment Re:Average income down, fewer people working (Score 1) 501

TFA is talking about a month-to-month report.

And the OP said:

These are not the hallmarks of a thriving economy. The US economy is in a sickly state, with too many part time jobs with no benefits. We need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. The fact that the numbers look like an improvement is a bit like a doctor telling a patient wife that he's not sick any more. He's dead. The US needs to get healthy before it dies.

Are you telling me the OP's argument here is, "Oh my! The economy was healthy in October, but it is actually sicker in November! This is a crisis of immense magnitude! One month of severe illness is killing the US!" Was this OP's argument made in isolation of any trend leading up to the month of October, 2016?

Are you arguing that the above quote is about October 2016 to November 2016, with no prior context, rather than about the long-running state of the economy?

Comment Re:I appreciate using the correct Unemployment met (Score 1) 501

Even looking at take-home pay would blow that argument out of the water. The fact that we can buy more and better things than we could years or decades ago is an increase in real income.

Nobody wants to admit income is actually hard to measure, and that wage income doesn't tell you about buying power because the entire point of technical progress is to make the same things with less labor, and thus to employ the same wage-compensated hours to make more things and more-complex things. It sounds easy when I describe it in terms of wooden chairs versus chairs with cushions, but what happens when we get to talking about cars with fluid couplings versus cars with torsen differentials?

One day, we will have the same cars with self-driving modules in them. Look at Tesla: the self-driving hardware is already in the cars; you pay $2,000 for a software update. Building a car with a self-driving module versus building it without isn't flatly the cost of the module; it's also the cost of labor to make two different assemblies, and logistics to determine how many to supply of each. Those labor and logistics costs are so high in some cases that many cars with a heated seat option actually ship all seats heated, and simply don't install a heating port or connector on the seat itself--that way it gets built the same, and they simply skip a step. How do you gauge how much buying power you've gained now that a car with heated seats or a self-driving software program costs trivially-more than one without, when those things come with all cars and you only pay for the permission to use them?

Comment Re:Average income down, fewer people working (Score 1) 501

Arguing about long-term economic trends like incomes going up or down requires a long-term context. A context of one-month is like trying to describe climate change in terms of August to September.

GP even argued about inflation. How much inflation do you suppose happened--or was even measured--between October and November? For that matter, with holiday sales, wouldn't inflation over a few weeks be negative, if you picked the right weeks?

It's unreasonable to assume an economics discussion about the general state of the US economy is a short-term discussion. Unemployment rate falling segways into larger discussions quite-readily. If the discussion were meant to be in a one-month total context, then OP and GP are just morons; while I don't doubt they're terrible economists, I tend to doubt people are truly that stupid--usually those kinds of absolute retards have some sort of pathological mental illness and exhibit defense mechanisms that look an awful lot like, but are distinct from, schizophrenia.

Comment Re:MODS, GET A GRIP!!! (Score 1) 501

Person A: "Obama fucked everything up."

Person B: "Actually, looking at these numbers... he made things better."

Person C: "Person B is a moron and wrong. He used incorrect numbers."

Person D: "Oh, Person B is wrong. Obama fucked everything up, like Person A said."

You are Person C. You made the type of calculated argument that I would have intentionally developed if I wanted to mislead the reader into dismissing an argument without directly stating anything factually-incorrect. I responded the same way as any other reader: I interpreted your simple "you're wrong because your numbers are wrong" to incorporate "thus your conclusion is wrong"--the way every English language speaker who hasn't redone the analysis themselves would interpret it, because assuming you're not implying my conclusions are incorrect would be ludicrous.

My post is insightful and informative, because it shows that, in fact, Obama improved the economy--albeit a clerical error demonstrates that improvement to a lesser degree than actual. You argued that "every number is wrong or irrelevant" and that I should be modded down, without implying that the conclusions are correct. You either fully-understand that you're trying to convince others that Obama actually made shit worse, or you have zero ability to communicate clearly with other people and are probably considered some kind of weird-ass social failure--and likely don't even understand how awkward people find you.

Comment Re:Had been enjoying your perspective... (Score 1) 501

you omit the fact that others, including post-secondary education and health care costs, have risen sharply relative to inflation.

You mean the part where people are spending more money to buy more and better healthcare? Yes, when you spend $6 to buy 8 gallons of beer instead of $4 to buy 3 gallons of beer, you generally do end up spending more.

Your summary of my argument was partially incorrect; I never said purchasing power has gone down.

You said that Americans aren't earning more money, and that they're producing more. The problem is the United States $47,000 median income in 2005 has become a $52,000 median income in 2015; and Americans are spending similar money on more-complex, more-advanced, more-useful things, as well as on just plain more. That's roughly-equivalent to the movement of the GDP-per-Capita.

You asked who's pocketing all this extra money, as if suggesting purchasing power has not gone up.

What people are able to do with the money they earn is irrelevant to the discussion, and only distracts from it.

What people are able to do with the money is practically a description of what money is.

Income comes from your labor-hours. Hours of labor go into producing a good--or many goods. If you and ten people making $10/hr all work to produce two toasters per hour, then we must sell each toaster for $50 to generate enough revenue to pay your base wages. Each of you works 2,000 hours each year, equivalent to 400 toasters. (In practice, we have to also pay payroll taxes, benefits, and operational overhead; and you take home less than your full wage earnings thanks to taxes.)

If I make $20/hr, I can essentially work 1 hour and induce you to work 2.

Productivity increases mean you and five other people making $10/hr work to produce two toasters per hour, and we only have to sell them for $25 each to pay your base wages. Each of you still works 2,000 hours each year, but that equates to 800 toasters. When that magnitude of productivity increase occurs sufficient to average across all the goods and services you buy, you find your same $20,000/year purchasing what $40,000 used to (deflation).

Inflation, of course, just raises prices sufficiently that you make $50,000 instead, toasters cost $60, and you get to complain about toasters being more expensive and talk about how they used to only cost $50.

In other words: the median income doesn't matter; what matters is what that income can purchase. That is the only thing that matters. That's what determines your standard of living--do you live like a West african bush tribe or like a European elite? Well, it depends on if your piles and piles of dollars buys a half a loaf of bread or a frigging jumbo yacht.

They're not earning $75,000

They're earning $52,000, as an average. I'm earning $75,000 and putting $18,000 into long-term savings, leaving $56,000--slightly more than the median. That puts me approximately in the same class, in terms of what I've been working with for finances.

They're begging for jobs that would earn them even half that, but those jobs are disappearing

We've been adding more jobs than labor force since 2010.

January, 2010: 129.802 million employed, 236.858 million labor-age population, 153.484 million labor force. 84.6% employed labor force, 54.80% employed labor age population.

January, 2011: 130.882 million employed, 238.727 million labor-age population, 153.263 million labor force. 85.4% employed labor force, 54.82% employed labor age population.

January, 2012: 133.265 million employed, 242.309 million labor-age population, 154.351 million labor force. 86.3% employed labor force, 55.00% employed labor age population.

January, 2013: 135.266 million employed, 244.757 million labor-age population, 155.666 million labor force. 86.9% employed labor force, 55.27% employed labor age population.

January, 2014: 137.574 million employed, 246.876 million labor-age population, 155.285 million labor force. 88.6% employed labor force, 55.73% employed labor age population.


January, 2015: 140.623 million employed, 249.642 million labor-age population, 157.025 million labor force. 89.6% employed labor force, 56.33% employed labor age population.


January, 2016: 143.314 million employed, 252.528 million labor-age population, 158.335 million labor force. 90.5% employed labor force, 56.75% employed labor age population.

From January 2010 (peak unemployment) to January 2016, we've gone from 84.6% employed labor force to 90.5%. We've moved from 54.80% of all labor-aged Americans (from age 16 up) having jobs to 56.75%.

In the six years since the peak of the recession, we've added 15.670 million to the labor-aged population; we've added 4.851 million to the labor force itself; and we've added 13.512 million jobs. The job add rate has been 86.23% of the labor force growth, while the labor force participation rate has ranged between 64.8% and 62.7%.

That means we added 8.661 million more jobs than labor force between 2010 and 2016.

For reference, when you're adding more jobs than workers, it means jobs aren't disappearing.

They don't want handouts. They just want a good day's salary for a hard day's labor.

False. They want security. They want their lives to be comfortable and safe. A regular job that doesn't destroy them with abusive workplace practices and unsustainably-low salary is a vehicle for that.

People have short memories. They forget the late-1800s protests and demands across the United States to reduce working hours from 10-16 hours per day, 6 days per week. They forget people working 80-100 hours every week, demanding 12 hour days from 6am to 6pm, 6 days per week, with 2 hours for meals (the 60-hour work week). They forget people then marching with the demand of 8-8-8, the mantra of 8 hours work, 8 hours leisure, 8 hours sleep, five days per week. They forget the arguments battered around in weeks or days or hours prior to now about being worked too much, being called off-hours, and so forth, while they waste their employer's time arguing about it on Slashdot.

I've even argued for 28-32 hour work weeks, as a potential opportunity from implementing my Universal Social Security. 3.5-day work weeks would be excellent.

People don't want a good hard day's labor; they want lives. The fact is society is built on productivity, which means you can't build it on hand-outs; if you could magic everything into existence, it would be ethically-wrong to make people work at all. Labor is an incidental need for a functional society--something people like Karl Marx have tried to fantasize away, but that's not happening any time soon, regardless of what people scream about automation on their off days.

There are many reasons for why that's unobtainable, though one of them is that consumers like you and me have demanded with our dollars that prices for goods and services get cheaper, which have driven many of these production jobs overseas to cheaper labor markers.

That's not a bad thing, in the long run. If we paid workers more than $18/hr to make men and boys's cotton trousers in America, then we would net-lose American jobs in total; if we paid them less, we would net-gain those jobs. America's labor force would eventually adjust (in about 5 years) to erase either the loss or the gain; meanwhile, at $21/hr (General Motors factory line worker wage) we'd face $50/pair for pants (reference: $14.97), while at $8.25/hr minimum wage we could get the price down to $25/pair--as you observed, the cheaper labor yields the cheaper price.

Notice that the $21/hr workers will be able to buy a pair of pants with 2.4 hours of labor, if they don't have to pay any form of taxes; while the $8.25/hr workers will be able to buy that same pair with 3.03 hours of labor. Fewer, more-wealthy laborers at $21/hr; more, poorer laborers at $8.25/hr. With trade importing MBCT from China, we're looking at the $8.25/hr laborer expending 1.81 hours of labor for a pair of pants.

Try not to fail economics when arguing economics.

No "hot tubs and hookers", as you put it. I don't actually recall complaining in my post that I'm spending all my money and wishing I had more.

You made the argument that, somehow, we're not getting any richer, even though we're getting more-productive. I pointed out that that's categorically bullshit: every American at every level* has experienced a steady, continuous increase in purchasing power year after year, thanks to both trade and technical progress. By arguing that this hasn't happening, you're ignoring every increase in purchasing power--every improvement in your standard of living and your ability to buy more and better things--and complaining that we don't have more. That is, taken out to its logical conclusion, a trend that eventually ends in being richer than Warren Buffet and still complaining that all this extra productivity has left you poor with nothing to show for all this supposed growth and some other (ridiculously-rich) guy (who owns three or four vacation moons) rich.

*(Conceptual-Americans, anyway. I'm sure some poor people became middle-class, and some middle-classers had bad luck and became poor; the point is that a certain distribution of standards of living exists, and that the Americans in these relative standards of living are experiencing higher standards of living and thus greater wealth than those classes experienced years and decades ago. Someone will eventually try to prove me wrong by reasoning that a homeless dude must have gotten a job somewhere, and that a respectable working man must have lost his job and become homeless, and so "every American" can't possibly be better off; you don't spend 10 years on Slashdot and Reddit without that happening a thousand times.)

This is the same kind of bullshit my parents argue about how everything was cheaper and more-affordable in the 1960s--when their parents made $4,700/year and spent $2,100/year on food. How spending nearly half their income on food was "more-affordable" is beyond me, but I suspect it has something to do with "candy bars were a nickel instead of $1.86". People are ludicrous.

I was enjoying your perspective and your argument, up to the insult at the end. Too bad you had to discredit yourself with it.

You discredited yourself by being wrong. You continue to discredit yourself by demonstrating an inability to think for yourself, arguing that I must be wrong because some well-respected agency said something different--not that you understand any of it, but somebody else said it, so you can't see how I could validly disagree.

Do you even understand where those numbers come from? Here's one for you: why don't businesses count expenses as income, and how does that affect GDP?

Comment Re:MODS, GET A GRIP!!! (Score 1) 501

"All of parent's figures reflect the very bad last year of Bush Jr's term." The numbers I erroneously cited from 2008 were 30% better than the 2009 numbers. The 2009 numbers are worse. Unemployment is higher in 2009 at the start of Obama's term than it was in 2008--a lot higher.

You're attacking my analysis and conclusions--which favor Obama--and correcting my analysis and conclusions only favors Obama more-strongly. It would appear every point I made was correct, although the numbers backing those points were off to some degree.

Comment Re:That can't be right (Score 1) 501

Which is false in practice. The high abundance societies all and I do mean all have negative population growth once you exclude first and second generation immigrants (who have higher fertility).

Societies experiencing famine and economic recessions grow their population more-slowly than their population grows before and after those recessions.

Societies experiencing economic booms grow their population rapidly.

Take a look at the era surrounding the great depression here. Now take a look at 1950-1980. What happened after 1970? What happened between 1950 and 1980?

Why does population seem to always surge when food and jobs are plentiful, and then stop growing so damned much when further growth starts to make food and jobs scarce? Why does that happen?

Incorrectly described. If his theory had been correct, we would have seen massive die-offs in the 19th and 20th Century.

Why? What became scarce in the 19th and 20th century such that there was no way to provide for the people we had? Are you telling me that, some time in the 19th century, we had 2 billion people and only enough food to feed 1.5 billion people? If so, how did population not die off?

If population grows until it hits a wall, restricting its growth, then the point at which it stops is the point at which it's stable. Something must become inaccessible for population to constrict--even wars and disease only cut the population back temporarily.

Comment Re:I appreciate using the correct Unemployment met (Score 1) 501

I dispute those numbers.

There has been a very real growth in nominal median household income, while people claim that real household income is flat even as far back as pre-1970.

Meanwhile, we see in the long term reductions in the percent of that income spent on food and clothing, as well as a 31% increase in spending on shelter while the median size of shelter increases by 56% and the household size (persons) decreased by 15%. That means spending 84% as much on shelter (and 71% per area per person, but that's irrelevant except to say that we're not cramming lots of people into cramped little spaces).

Even since 2005, the food expenditure was 13% and it's now under 12% (personally, it's 3.9% for me, and I eat out a lot--frequently spending $15 for one meal, but not nearly on every meal). Across the past decades, people have been enabled to put more money into savings, buy more and better healthcare, and spend much of their money on entertainment and other discretionary spending.

That doesn't even get into what accounts for "equivalent goods and services" these days.

Dual-core desktops hit the market in 2005. That's quite a shock compared to 66MHz 486DX or 200MHz Pentium Pro chips that cost $200. Never mind the constantly-falling price of RAM, hard disk, and SSD. PCs, costing thousands of dollars in the early 90s, were $350 commodity items in the mid-2000s.

Cell phones of 1983 cost $4,000 for the phone and $55/month for the service, plus 42 cents per minute voice. Two hours per week would net you $250/month service. That's a $9,000 phone and $550/month service today. Somewhere along the line, we got consumer cell phones with $100/month service; then we had $250 flip phones, $40/month service, and text and video messaging; and now we have heterogeneous hex-core smartphones with 2GB RAM for $350, backed by $60/month service with high-speed data (although I pay $35/month to Ting instead).

An ISDN 128K line in 1998 cost $35/month and required a $250 modem. Today I get 200Mbps Comcast service over an $80 modem--it's $54,687 worth of ISDN lines all tied together for $83. Do you remember DSL talking about their wicked-fast "three megs" in 2005? I have 70 of those.

Even cars only standardized transistor radio and air conditioning in the 1950s. Now we have antilock brakes, traction control, EFI, complex suspension systems, air bags, vehicle dynamics that prevent rolling and skidding, sensors and cameras to assist in lane control and parking, and all other manner of highly-complex systems with many moving parts. Somehow, we don't pay a bigger chunk of our income for these things: cars cost about the same proportion of our income, but come loaded. This will remain true when we all have self-driving vehicles.

Your argument is essentially that somebody else has told you that we're producing more, we're not earning more, and our buying power is not increasing. My argument is that the percentage of the median income being spent on goods like food, clothing, and shelter square-footage has gone down; people have spent more on luxury, leisure, savings, and medical care; and that the common goods and services we consume have rolled in more stuff we couldn't have afforded years and decades ago, essentially taking the same portion of our money and giving us more stuff in exchange.

Reality suggests buying power has increased. A lot. People like me--at $75,000 income--are pocketing all the extra money. I bought a house and paid off the mortgage in 3 years. I'm getting ready to buy a car, but I have a couple debts I want to clear out first (adding payments on top of other payments is stupid). I bought myself a $7,000 piano for the house. I put $18,000 into my 401(k) and $3,385 into my HSA this year (which puts me at $57,000 when you exclude my 401(k), compared to the $52,000 median income of the US). I'm 31.

I'm living like a friggin' king here, dude, and I've been diverting a lot of my money to debt elimination and to my 401(k). My 401(k) is largely there to act as a loan source, rather than a retirement fund. What I've accomplished in five years is ludicrous. I'm going to buy a $25,000 car, add cameras and Nest smoke detectors to my house, and put in hardwood floor and new insulation--and pay it all off in the next 2-3 years, while dumping the maximum into my 401(k). I take home around $50,000 after taxes, counting my HSA as money I get to keep because I can spend it on healthcare. You're whining because you spend all your money and wish you had more--a state you'll be in forever, even when you're buying twice as much crap and complaining that you're still not the slightest bit richer while surrounding yourself with hot tubs and hookers.

Comment Re:MODS, GET A GRIP!!! (Score 1) 501

And then I went and redid the numbers, and found that the correct numbers don't show that Obama did not-bad-to-slightly-good; instead, it turns out Obama's first year was much worse than Bush's last year, and so Obama actually dropped U-6 by about 4.1% instead of raising it by 0.1%, and dropped adjusted unemployment by 0.18% instead of by 0.02%.

You seem to be arguing that I used the wrong data point, thus trying to conclude Obama did much worse; except that using the correct data point shows that Obama did actually phenomenally-better. Are you, perhaps, engaging in deception to further a political viewpoint by inducing the reader to incorrect conclusions in opposition of bare facts?

Comment Re:That can't be right (Score 1) 501

Insurance just tends to hide this by spreading the cost over everyone else.

Insurance shares risk. It's an important function which gives a detailed advantage to those who do not have a high enough income to cover their own risk; and to those whose income is high enough, it frees up that income for other uses. This is a stabilizing effect providing an advantage to all involved.

In a market model, many insurers compete on premium price for many customers. To obtain access to these many customers, medical care providers compete on service price, negotiating lower margins.

For example: my office visit to my PCP for a routine physical cost $130 for 1 hour of time; however, my insurance covered it for me. My insurance paid $32, including $2.18 for blood work--that's $2.18 for two nurses to take blood, package the vials, and ship them to an external lab for analysis, as well as the lab work itself and all involved materials. I actually found the cost breakdown ludicrous, because I can't imagine how anyone--including my doctor--is getting paid above half of minimum wage at those rates.

Generic Modafinil costs $1,079 for 60 pills. My insurer doesn't cover it. For me to buy Modafinil, I have to pay out of pocket. My insurer has negotiated the rate down: for 90 pills, I have to pay $247, or $82.33 per 30-day supply, $164.66 for 60 pills. That's more-reasonable. For newer drugs like Suvorexant or Atomoxetine, the cost to get the drug to market is about $3.1 billion in the United States, so Suvorexant is $300 per 30-day (the manufacturer is giving an out-of-pocket coupon that knocks it down to $90), and Atomoxetine has been $550 per 30-day (but will be generic this year). Jumping through FDA hoops of three years of continuous study on rats, clinical trials, and three years of follow-up study on real patients ostensibly costs $318 million; but only 1 in 10 drugs at best actually makes it to market, and your profits have to cover those costs on top of synthesis costs--and early synthesis methods can be expensive and slow, although we usually find a quick and cheap way to make drugs 5-10 years later.

If I compare the costs of a procedure in India and US the amount to be paid in India at market rates at a private hospital is less than the copay in the US with silver insurance.

SunPharma modafinil costs like $40 for 60 pills in the Indian market, compared to $80 in the U.S. generic market. It's a little pricey in the U.S., but not the 100x pricey people like to talk about.

Actual medical service is often cheap elsewhere. This I don't understand. Frequently, people point to over-regulation, bogus malpractice pseudoscience suits, and other extreme costs in the United States; I haven't been able to sort signal from noise enough to get any good data on why it's expensive to provide healthcare in the U.S. All I do know is it generally is expensive, and nobody seems to be profiting shitloads for all our excessive healthcare pricing. The insurance deductions seem to be a political dance, even, with uninsured patients being offered enormous discounts in many cases--such as with doctors's offices charging $300, charging insurers a negotiated $30, and charging uninsured patients $10; but also with million-dollar surgeries turning into an $80,000 bill by some magic.

What is needed is competition.

Competition is precisely what we have.

Sometimes I think we're getting fed the bill for catastrophic care: if a patient shows up having overdosed on heroin or suffering a heart attack from bad diet, the hospital must care for them or else everyone involved faces manslaughter charges, malpractice suits, ethics board inquires, license revocations, and so forth. Someone needs to pay for all that care given to poor people who, in some other countries, would just die on the streets for lack of life-sustaining money. You've alluded to this as well with a call for "death-panels".

That would give some credence to arguments about NEPs, wellness care, and the great cost savings of socialized healthcare systems in their ability to reduce expensive medical interventions and thus eliminate diffused costs. Unfortunately, as I've said above, I see a lot of things, but I also can't separate the signal from the noise.

You seem to have decided the issue is simple and solvable, without considering that maybe it won't be solved so simply, or maybe that solution would essentially amount to telling people they just can't have healthcare because 95% of them can't afford it. It seems to me that denying healthcare to anyone who makes less than $250,000 would quickly eliminate all problems of the healthcare system--although it'd create other societal problems. That is, in essence, the proposal you've given.

Comment Re:That can't be right (Score 1) 501

My brain is inserted backwards; that's an off-by-one error.

2009 was 7.8% at 65.7%. Today is 4.6% at 62.7%, or 4.82% adjusted to the same labor force.

Obama's 14.2% Jan 1 2009 became 9.3% U-6, adjusting to 10.1%. So Ritz is even more wrong I guess: by any measure, Unemployment numbers are much better than when Obama took office in 2009. Economic advantage seems to have increased by only 3%, though.

Comment Re:Average income down, fewer people working (Score 1) 501

So how is that $9,000 cell phone, with the $550/month service?

You know, in 1983, cell phones became commercially available. They cost $4,000, with $50/month service plus 42 cents per minute of voice. 2 hours per week means about $250/month service cost--in 2015 dollars, that's $9,000 for a phone with $550/month service. Obviously, you couldn't possibly afford something as exotic and complex as a smart phone, much less service including not only voice but large amounts of high-speed data transfer. Inflation isn't negative; a smart phone with an HD screen, quad processor, and 2GB of RAM would cost over a quarter million dollars today, and the service... Government-grade stuff, billions of dollars per year for a line.

Why I remember in 1998 when we paid $250 for a 128K ISDN data modem, and $35/month for that line. Could you imagine what a high-speed, 200Mbit/s line would cost today? It'd be ludicrous. You'd be looking at $54,687.50/month, and probably a $390,000 modem. No doubt the average American could never afford that.

That's not even getting into cars with things like traction control, power locks, or air bags. That stuff would have to be ludicrously-expensive; nobody can afford that.

Oh, wait, no. It turns out food dropped from 40% of the average family's income in 1900 to 33% in 1950, 15% in 1990, and under 12% in 2015--despite the average family eating out more than twice as frequently, paying others to cook and serve their food (food plus servants!). Clothing dropped from 12% of income to 4% in the past 25 years. Houses got bigger--living space has generally trended downward per thousand square foot of space, but has faced recent minor upward trends thanks to some market disruptions.

We spend more on entertainment, we buy more and better medical care, and we buy higher-quality goods with more complex parts and lots of stuff that we couldn't have dreamed of in 1995. Yes our damned buying power has gone up.

How is it that Americans buy so much more today than they did in 2000 or 1990 if their buying power hasn't increased? Do you imagine that inflation--raising the number of dollars by 2% per year--doesn't oppose technical progress and its deflationary effect? Do you suppose that 1.5% deflation coupled to a 3.5% per-capita increase in the number of dollars would come out to 2% inflation capable of buying 1.52% more stuff? That's an increase in buying power, dude.

Go back to Erols Internet or Juno. Pay $40 for the phone line and $15 for the service. For that $55, I can get 80Mbit/s connection today, because my buying power per fucking US Dollar has nearly doubled in the past 15 years.

This isn't the mud-huts-and-loincloths world of the 1990s.

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