26 Comments
founding

Time for my favorite quote from Fight Club:

Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances, we guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with us.

This is what the wealthy elites in media refuse to understand.

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I had not heard before that a primary motivation for the Biden open border policy was to ease inflation by keeping wages lower for low wage jobs. Imagine the cognitive dissonance created when the same people push for higher and higher minimum wages.

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Your guests provides some much needed perspective on the plight of the nation’s current working class. However, she doesn’t have a very firm grasp of market economics.

As such, she presents a number of myths. The key myth is that manufacturing has been in decline—that is just wrong. Manufacturing output has been growing steadily—USA is still a leading manufacturer. However, the relative number of jobs in the manufacturing sector has declined relative to all jobs.

Despite this relative decline many manufacturing jobs go unfulfilled. The challenge is that today’s manufacturing jobs tend to be higher skilled but well paying. The manufacturing jobs that have and are disappearing are low-wage, low skilled or no skilled jobs that were plentiful in the 50s and 60s but not so much now.

I do think she has a point about how uncontrolled immigration puts pressure on the remaining low-wage, low-skilled jobs as well as on housing and food costs. However, these issues are policy issues reflecting government intervention in the economy—e.g. restrictions on building new homes or green regulations have limited the supply of housing, driving down availability and driving up price.

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founding

Excellent discussion. Batya Ungar-Sargon is fascinating.

Dear Bari,

You are confusing Wisdom of the Crowd with Echo Chambers.

Wisdom of the Crowd exists when:

1. Multiple entities solve the same problem independently.

2. A method exists to collect these solutions.

3. There is a noise filter.

4. There is a method to select the best solution.

An Echo Chamber is multiple entities who parrot the same solution without anyone actually solving the problem.

Batya Ungar-Sargon is in the Wisdom of the Crowd category, she has obviously done valuable, detailed research on the state of a significant segment of the population. The Crowd needs to pay close attention to what she found.

Thank you.

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I wasn't blindsided when Trump won in 2016. He was the better candidate. We are in the mess we are in today because the Democrats want to destroy America. My so called friends , who are Dems, were actually crying when Hilary lost. How immature. My so called friends thought Trump was going to start WWIII. They should feel guilty as to what is going on today, These so called friends are Jewish and most of them are from Pittsburgh, where Bari is from.

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This is why I love Bari! She brings on people with thought out ideas and the ability do articulate them with facts. You can still debate, but I always have something new to chew on. What I appreciate about this discussion is that I can, and will, send it to my friends, because it is not partisan, or overly inflammatory. But Batya Ungar-Sargon is very passionate!

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Sometimes the best way to get somewhere is not straightforward. We say we need more unity and less divide. But I’d argue that we don’t need to all agree to the same policies. We need more balance of power. Today that requires hearing the voices of the non-elite side of the divide, and that’s what both Bari and Batya offer in this discussion.

When GDP was growing exponentially and profit margins were high, Republicans protected the wealthy and Democrats balanced power by pressuring the wealthy to give back, either voluntarily or through taxes. Balanced policy slowly swung the pendulum back and forth, keeping the energy in the middle, growing the middle class faster than either the really wealthy or very poor.

When GDP growth slowed and profit margins thinned, Democrats began helping the wealthy increase profits with outsourcing. This has completely thrown the policy pendulum off balance. The rich have grown exponentially more rich, the poor exponentially more poor, the middle class are disappearing.

If there’s a benefit to a two party system, it is when each side balances for the other. Neither party is providing that, as evidenced by the wisdom of the crowds: the minority, 40% of eligible voters, are registered with Democrats or Republicans, the majority, 60%, are either registered independent, 30%, or not registered at all, 30%.

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If the left where to wake up and make the changes necessary to bring back the "working" class, wouldn't that make every one, except those with TDS, Trumpians?

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I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but the term "working class" is misleading. Most Americans of all income brackets work. The country is not divided into dirty-faced industrial wage-slaves and idle plutocrats wearing top hats and spats.

When people on the political left talk about the "working class," it seems typically to be a nostalgic nod to early 20th century Marxism, which was itself a 19th century nostalgic movement.

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Few additional things I would have liked to hear Batya's perspective on:

(1) democrats have been big on $15 minimum wage, then even higher. how does that resonate with the people she interviewed?

(2) why are illegals able to work for such little money? may see like an obvious question. why is their cost of living so much lower than the american working class' cost of living?

(3) Trump knew/knows how to stump but wasn't one of his big accomplishments in his presidential term a huge tax cut? How does the working class feel about that?

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I really appreciated this episode and Batya identified a lot of points that resonated for me such as the reminder that cleaning toilets is not a job that many of us view as a job without dignity. As a lifelong Dem who lives in a very red county I hear a lot of what Batya says from my neighbors. They casually mention that they cannot buy as many groceries because of “Bidenomics”. They mention extra fees that they pay as grass cutters to have trees processed. They tell me about putting off doctor’s visits and vet appointments. I was devastated the morning after Trump’s election in 2015. Eight years later I don’t like either of the 2 options in November. I have never sat out a presidential election and I don’t intend to start now but I feel I have 2 differently bad choices.

Her book is not available as an audiobook. I hope that changes soon? I have requested that my local library carry it. I did the same for Abigail Shrier’s “Bad Therapy” and they promptly ordered it. As a side note: Florida libraries are excellent in my experience. My local branch carries books from all sides and they proudly display them together.

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Oh Bari your drive for status and power are obviously warring with a kind heart... I fear it will be sad to watch you shift to a condescending, cold elitist monster as you most assuredly will find amazing success and climb the status ladder in the next decade... I'm actually seeing some hope for Nellie and therefore for the little one but your need for a crown of laurels will be your undoing... At least your hearts undoing.

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I liked the analysis of the motivations for an open border, but can't help but think that she missed the kahuna of reasons. This flood intentionally creates a permanent change in the demographic, expecting a majority of these poor new immigrants to vote Democratic. There will ultimately have to be a mass amnesty, as there is no way that the 90%+ that won't really qualify for asylum will be sent back - it's almost 9 years to the first immigration hearing for the folks currently entering.

Whatever the motivation, this has been a completely irresponsible and completely evil act that leads to the abuse of this "slave class" (her words), and enriches the cartels, destabilizes Mexico and Central America, and steals the American dream from poor Americans.

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Creative destruction may be a natural, market-driven dynamic. But government policy has interfered to the benefit of the powerful (wealthy) instead protecting those who aren’t (working poor).

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What motivates immigrants who come to America by paying cartels? Do they think amnesty means America will protect them from the cartels?

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“Wisdom of the crowds” - there are multiple ways to think about this. Barri fears it because she thinks of it as everyone checking the boxes the media tells them are cool, not thinking for themselves. Batya trusts it because she thinks of it as the many individuals who don’t relate to media propaganda so they have to think for themselves. (Reminds me of the “silent majority”)

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