John Purser - If you find something America truly excels at you've probably found something to be ashamed of.
Muhammad Rasheed - In general, people who succeed in life have to fail many times, and work very hard to overcome many obstacles before they finally make it. America has the most opportunities for people who possess that level of determination and patient perseverance to rise from poor to affluent. That's what makes it the greatest country in the world. If you truly want it and are absolutely willing to do what it takes to win it, the American Dream can indeed be yours.
John Purser - Muhammad, according to the statistics for the last couple of decades you're talking about Western Europe, maybe Australia. DEFINITELY not the USA unless you go back to the '50s.
Patrick Jb Flynn - America is the country where big biz fucks you in the ass and overcharges for the lube.
Neelam Abbas Khan - This is really sad.
Rip Spindragon - If I don't agree that this is the greatest country, then I shouldn't read the link?
Muhammad Rasheed - @John Purser... The statistics for what exactly? The percentage of people who try versus those who don't? Explain.
James Robert Smith - I have never thought that the USA is the greatest nation. We mainly suck.
John Purser - Yeah, the whole "people who try" thing was never anything but a fairy tale told to excuse the treatment of the working class as virtual slaves. The statistics I had in mind were from a study on class mobility. Essentially trying to answer the question "What are the odds you're going to wind up in the same income class or worse than your parents?" The odds were MUCH higher in the USA. We're stuck at best. And this was BEFORE the multiple crashes of the last decade that I think probably exacerbated the situation. In Europe and Britain (I don't remember Canada) how well you did was more closely related to education than birth class.
Jordan Haythornthwaite - Guess I'm not reading this...
Muhammad Rasheed - John Purser wrote: "Yeah, the whole "people who try" thing was never anything but a fairy tale told to excuse the treatment of the working class as virtual slaves."
That's not true. The very phrase "American Dream" was coined to describe poor immigrants or their kids who worked hard and became leaders of industry. I have close family members, friends, mentors and even FB friends who rose from poor to affluence by educating themselves, and working hard with brute determination. That's all it takes.
John Purser wrote: "The statistics I had in mind were from a study on class mobility. Essentially trying to answer the question "What are the odds you're going to wind up in the same income class or worse than your parents?" The odds were MUCH higher in the USA. We're stuck at best."
That 100% has to do with the individual in question and what their goals are. If your goal is to be in the income class of your parents, and you never try to educate yourself beyond what they taught you about success in life, and that is the formula that you use, then of course you'll repeat their lifestyle. Or if you aspire to something greater, but settle once you reach their level because you've given in to peer pressure or whatever.
John Purser wrote: "And this was BEFORE the multiple crashes of the last decade that I think probably exacerbated the situation. In Europe and Britain (I don't remember Canada) how well you did was more closely related to education than birth class."
How well you do is ALWAYS related to education combined with working hard. In order to rise up the socio-economic ladder, step one is to learn and master valuable skills that someone else is willing to pay top dollar for. That's true for everyone no matter what class you are born into. The obstacles and walls you'll have to overcome are greater and more varied the lower on the rung you find yourself, but that means you must increase in the corresponding amount of persistence, determination, and patient perseverance.
John Purser - The fact that you have anecdotal evidence that advancement is possible in no way counters the fact that you're more likely to get ahead via hard work in some other developed country. And, how well you do is in fact not strongly coupled to effort and/or education in America. It is linked to those qualities LESS than in any other developed nation.
John Purser - Think about it Muhammad, if hard work and education defined success in America George W. Bush would have been begging on street corners instead of running the country.
Muhammad Rasheed - That's not true, John. But the 1% want you to believe it to be true because they hate competition. The media will show the flash-in-the-pan lottery winner before they will ever show someone make it through the tried and true education + hardwork formula, because the people who profit the most off of the lottery system WANT you to believe what you believe. These are the people who are responsible for the whole "The American Dream is a hoax!" nonsense.
Muhammad Rasheed - John Purser wrote: "Think about it Muhammad, if hard work and education defined success in America George W. Bush would have been begging on street corners instead of running the country."
You've strayed off point. We're talking about rising from the lower poor classes and up to affluence, and what it takes to do so. What the legacy wealth kids of the rich do with their lives has nothing to do with this.
John Purser - Ummmmm Muhammad, you've got it precisely backwards. The harder we run chasing the non-existent cheese the better the 1% do.
Muhammad Rasheed - Explain. Give me a typical scenario in how that works.
John Purser - You've got nothing but fairy tales and anecdotal evidence. Here's my hand:
"At least five large studies in recent years have found the United States to be less mobile than comparable nations. A project led by Markus Jantti, an economist at a Swedish university, found that 42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults. That shows a level of persistent disadvantage much higher than in Denmark (25 percent) and Britain (30 percent) — a country famous for its class constraints. "
John Purser - Seriously Muhammad? You don't understand that the rich are rich because they capture the value created by those who aren't rich? You really need someone to walk you through that?
Muhammad Rasheed - I don't need anyone to walk me through anything since myself, some of my peers and family members are actually living the principles that I'm talking about and actively encourage each other in them. If you are already from a well to do rich family, or have never tried to better your situation using that formula described, and believe in the doom & gloom "you might as well don't try because the rich have rigged everything against the poor" message, then you will never understand. For that person, it seems like magic, or cheating in some way, when a hardworking and determined poor person makes it up the ladder. They will never understand that the activating components for that "magic" are belief, and the will to succeed.
John Purser - If it makes you feel better Muhammad, 30+ years ago I was repeating the EXACT same fairy tale you are today. I was a true believer. I voted for Reagan twice. HOWEVER, about halfway through his second term I noticed that what Reagan and the conservatives said never came true. What those wacky liberals said in fact DID come true. In the REAL WORLD reality has a liberal bias.
John Purser - So you believe that Americans just don't want to "better themselves" unlike the entire rest of the developed world. Ya think it's something in the water?
Muhammad Rasheed - What in the world does Reagan's "trickle-down economics" philosophy have to do with what I'm talking about, John? Are we having the same conversation?
Muhammad Rasheed - John Purser wrote: "So you believe that Americans just don't want to "better themselves" unlike the entire rest of the developed world. Ya think it's something in the water?"
It's purely on the individual level. In order to pull it off, you have to step out of your comfort zone, even alienate friends & family to do it sometimes, and it takes a greater effort than MOST people possess to get to that place mentally.
Muhammad Rasheed - You need to be strongly self-motivated, and if that area is weak, then partner with someone that completely has your back and believes you can do it. I was personally blessed with having both.
John Purser - So, you don't understand capitalism, you don't understand our history, and you don't understand statistics and YOU are the model of someone who got ahead through EDUCATION and hard work? Must have been one heck of a lot of hard work since you skipped on the education so thoroughly.
Muhammad Rasheed - STEP ONE: Learn a valued skill that others are willing to pay top dollar for. Depending on what kind of life you are dealing with, it may be necessary to undergo completely new personal habits, and great discomfort to pull this off. It will be EASY to surrender, like it is at the beginning of a new workout routine. Don't give up, and God will be with you.
STEP TWO: Once achieved, work really, Really, REALLY hard to apply those skills. Don't give up. Ever. Until you make the money you are looking for.
STEP THREE: Save.
STEP FOUR: Use your savings to purchase income-producing assets.
STEP FIVE: Repeat steps 1-4.
Muhammad Rasheed - lol The education part is involved with STEP ONE. Learn what you need to learn in order to make your goals happen. If an in depth study of Ronald Reagan and his philosophy leaves you feeling like giving up and never trying because The Man will never let you succeed, then immediately stop reading that nonsense "history" because it is a treacherous nonessential to the life you claim you want.
John Purser - Okay, on step one that "valued skill" is now running the fryer at MacDonalds.
How hard would you have to work at MacDonalds in order to get the money just rolling in?
MacDonalds says you should sell your christmas presents to get by. How much do you "save" living like that?
Income producing assets like the 401Ks they said were going to let us all retire rich? You know, the ones that have created a gigantic retirement crisis because they're worth nothing now? Or like the homes you had to buy in order to get ahead. You know, the ones the bank owns now because the market crashed.
Repeating those steps just drives you into a hole.
Muhammad Rasheed - ^ This post here represents the poor person who has not educated himself on what he needs to do in order to achieve an affluent lifestyle. This is what STEP ZERO sounds like. Not trying to be funny or offensive, but this is true.
John Purser - So if you blame the poor for being poor then "everyone" who is blameless gets ahead? NOW do you see why I call it a fairy tale?
Muhammad Rasheed - IN what universe, John, would operating a McDonald's fryer be considered a valuable skill?
Muhammad Rasheed - Define "blaming the poor" so we are clear on what is meant, please.
John Purser - In America. You see we outsourced our technical jobs, we're killing off the unions so there go the good jobs, and the Bush whitehouse tried to reclassify working at MacDonalds as "manufacturing". When there are 6 people looking for every available job exactly what "valuable skill" will allow you to get the next minimum wage job and how do you get ahead working for poverty wages?
John Purser - By the way Muhammad, did you read the article Ted posted? Want to tell those 22,000 homeless kids how they're supposed to "learn a valuable skill"? Kids from the middle class are graduating from college with and average of around 30,000 of debt now so you tell me how a kid without even a bed to sleep in is going to compete with them.
Muhammad Rasheed - Let me back up a bit then:
STEP ZERO-a: Do an Internet search (I recommend 'Google') and find a list of the top highest paying jobs.
STEP ZERO-b: Pick the one that appeals the most to you.
STEP ZERO-c: Determine what specific skills, classes, etc. are needed in order to do that job you picked.
STEP ZERO-d: (go to STEP ONE above)
Muhammad Rasheed - John Purser wrote: "In America."
lol No. No where in America is a fryer job considered "valuable." You're talking crazy, and are now just busting my chops.
John Purser wrote: "You see we outsourced our technical jobs..."
Then it's time to go somewhere else.
John Purser wrote: "...we're killing off the unions so there go the good jobs..."
Go where the good jobs are.
John Purser wrote: "...and the Bush whitehouse tried to reclassify working at MacDonalds as "manufacturing"."
What does that have to do with you?
John Purser wrote: "When there are 6 people looking for every available job exactly what "valuable skill" will allow you to get the next minimum wage job and how do you get ahead working for poverty wages?"
(see: STEP ZERO-a)
Muhammad Rasheed - John Purser wrote: "Income producing assets like the 401Ks they said were going to let us all retire rich? You know, the ones that have created a gigantic retirement crisis because they're worth nothing now? Or like the homes you had to buy in order to get ahead. You know, the ones the bank owns now because the market crashed."
Yes, real estate that is rented out, dividend-paying stocks, monetized intellectual property. Do another Internet search (this is all what educating yourself on what you need to succeed involves) for a list of top income-producing assets and work to acquire them. As many as you can.
Muhammad Rasheed - John Purser wrote: "By the way Muhammad, did you read the article Ted posted? Want to tell those 22,000 homeless kids how they're supposed to "learn a valuable skill"?"
That's exactly the message they NEED to hear.
John Purser wrote: "Kids from the middle class are graduating from college with and average of around 30,000 of debt now so you tell me how a kid without even a bed to sleep in is going to compete with them."
With the usual method: Hard work and determination.
Muhammad Rasheed - STEP TWO-a: Live beneath your means.
John Purser - Seen the numbers on food stamps lately? Seen the numbers on personal debt? For a lot of Americans "our means" doesn't even FEED US but you say the solution is to spend LESS.
Muhammad Rasheed - You should live beneath your means under normal circumstances so that you can save, but it is vital to the above formula needed to become affluent. If you don't build up a savings, how are you going to purchase your income-producing assets?
Living beneath your means is defined as living inside of the limits of your gross income. So if you make $100, live off of $80 and save the rest, for example. If your full expenses total $160, then you have to make major changes to get all your expenses down to $80... or figure out how to make more. Get your total income up to $220.
John Purser - Muhammad, poverty IS the "normal circumstance" for a growing percentage of the population. It's not that you have a bad plan, it's that you have a plan that never was based in reality for most of the nation when it was conceived of in the '50s. And some people CAN still get ahead that way today. But it's an ever diminishing number. And by accepting the "they're poor because they choose to be" lie you condemn the rest to crushing poverty the 1% chose FOR them.
Muhammad Rasheed - John Purser wrote: "Muhammad, poverty IS the 'normal circumstance' for a growing percentage of the population."
It doesn't have to be.
John Purser wrote: "It's not that you have a bad plan, it's that you have a plan that never was based in reality for most of the nation when it was conceived of in the '50s."
John education/hardwork has been the plan to go from poor to rich for millennia. Doing it through American manufacturing jobs was just the trendy way everyone did it in the 1950s.
John Purser wrote: "And some people CAN still get ahead that way today."
Everyone can if they want it. It's ALL about attitude and if you want it or not. If you don't want it you'll have an endless number of excuses why it can't happen. You see, there's a tried-and-true formula for failure, too.
John Purser wrote: "But it's an ever diminishing number."
Of those who try? That number has always been small. Humans like being in their comfort zones, even when they're unpleasant.
John Purser wrote: "And by accepting the "they're poor because they choose to be" lie you condemn the rest to crushing poverty the 1% chose FOR them."
You still haven't explained what that means exactly. It would seem to reason that the opposite of that concept would be "they're poor because they have no choice." Is that what you are really saying? That they were born poor, will always be poor, will die poor, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THEY WILL EVER DO WILL CHANGE THAT. Is that what your message is? Tell me. If this is truly what you believe, then tell me what message that they do need to hear to give them some form of hope. Personally when I heard the message of "You are not stuck. Education and hard work can enable you to live your dreams" it liberated me from a pessimistic, doom & gloom attitude about life, and I saw that I had been wrong. I think the rest of the poor need to hear that message, too.
What would you deliver to them instead, O John Purser? Throw down your rod. What would YOU say that would help them? 'Cause frankly your current message depresses the shit out of ME.