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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 386 -- Rape In Oslo. | WILLisms.com | Quotational Therapy: Part 115 -- George Washington »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 387 -- The Simple Bare Necessities Of Life.

Luxury Items No Longer-

Measuring incomes and household wealth and GDP per capita and so on is nice, but here's a great anecdotal reminder that things are getting better all the time:


In addition, 5% now call a flat screen television a "necessity," while 3% call an iPod a "necessity."

While America's wealth has exploded upward over the past few decades, the middle class has benefited not just in numbers, but in quality of life metrics. People have larger homes, with fancier kitchens and bathrooms, than before. More Americans go further away to ever more exotic locations for vacations than in past decades. More Americans are attending and graduating from college than ever before. More Americans can afford to eat out regularly, rather than just on special occasions. We have more variety of better quality food, including items that would have been considered extravagant luxuries years ago, at the grocery store. Americans have more and better home electronics and appliances and tools than before, for relatively less. We have more and better of just about everything, for less.

Sure, some things were better and simpler in the "good old days," but as much as "Republicans want to go home to the United States of the 1950s while Democrats want to work there," few Americans would actually give up their new kitchens and plasmas and SUVs and high speed internet, now widely accessible to a middle class that is wealthier than ever before, to live in an America with-- perhaps-- less "inequality" or less "globalization" or whatever else is supposed to be so uniquely frightening to today.

To the extent that Republicans want to go back to the fifties, it's that we wish people had more integrity, honesty, and better manners. Some of us long for a time when pop culture was not so crass, when prayers over the loudspeakers at high school football games were not offensive or controversial, and when you could leave your door unlocked and let your kids run around freely the with the other neighborhood kids.

To the extent that Democrats want to go back to the fifties, it's that they wish more of us had steady, life-long factory jobs. They wish we could revive a time and place where America was more insulated from creative destruction and more protected from the economic pressures of the developing world. They wish we had a 1950s-era tax structure, where, after taxes, the top earners don't take home much more than the average earners.

I'll take progress and growth and advancement with some inequality, over equality of outcomes, any day of the week.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: A Rape Epidemic In Norway.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 December 2006 01:36 PM