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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Living the Bern

Last month I was on a swing through the US, and stopped for a couple days at my brother's house in Palm Springs.

He is on board with Bernie.

Perhaps a little background is in order here. Until a few years ago, my brother, now 57, did CAD work, converting specifications into plans and diagrams for a company that specialized in building refineries. The company decided to move its design operation from Southern California to Texas. If he had moved, my brother could have kept his job.

Instead, he decided to retire.

He sold his condo in Monrovia, and bought a house in Palm Springs.

Then he went on unemployment, got a "free" phone, state aid for his utility bills, food stamps, and a nearly complete cessation of any tax burdens, among other things.

As it happens, my brother is gay, and therefore has none of those things -- children -- that take such great whacks at the bank account. Combined with more than decent monetary discipline, along with making a killing on his condo, my brother has plenty of money. The challenge he faces, with his financial counselor's help, is to budget his expenses so that his withdrawals to cover them don't jeopardize the flow of free stuff.

So it should come as no surprise he hates Republicans with the kind of loathing that would leave Harry speechless with admiration.

Chief among his reasons is that Republicans voted to end the perpetual extension of unemployment benefits. Not only did that reduce his flow of "free" stuff, it significantly increased the complication of funding his lifestyle while not imperiling the rest of his "free" stuff.

(Since Antonin Scalia had just died, my brother also saved some venom for him -- after all Scalia made corporations into people, and companies to not buy contraceptives for their employees. My brother is equally at home with both concepts and facts.)

Interestingly, Palm Springs is the gayest city in America. And, at least based upon my admittedly somewhat superficial experience of the place, I think there is a reason for this. The gay demographic is decidedly tilted towards the mid-fifties and up. All of whom have plenty of disposable money, do not work, and get lots of "free" stuff.

There is secondary evidence to back this up. Palm Springs is a resort community with -- unusually for a resort community -- lots of year round residents healthy and young enough to work. There is no industry to speak of. No rush hour. No traffic jams. Lots of restaurants and gyms.

My brother and his fiancee, and very likely most of the rest of the people I saw while there, are driving down the work force participation rate, while increasing "inequality", all as part of Living the Bern.

When I mentioned that other's were working to provide his "free" stuff, his response was: "Tough. I paid taxes, now it's my turn." He is certainly very personally generous with others' money.

So I guess the rest of us are feeling the Living of the Bern, too.

9 comments:

Clovis e Adri said...

Filed under: Things I never heard about America.

I begin to think that, maybe, Latin Americans are doing you guys a big help by moving to US and actually doing some work, you know.

Barry Meislin said...

Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of slash and burn.

http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/03/12/california-top-export-is-the-middle-class/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304444604577340531861056966

File under: Mere coincidence, no doubt....

Barry Meislin said...

And Chicago's caught the wave as well:
http://reason.com/blog/2016/03/25/residents-abandoning-chicago-is-it-follo

Nor is the ultra-competitive deBlasio is right up there as well!

File under: It takes a Socialist....

Barry Meislin said...

Should be:

"Nor is the ultra-competitive deBlasio eager to be left behind..."

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I begin to think that, maybe, Latin Americans are doing you guys a big help by moving to US and actually doing some work, you know.

Not maybe, definitely.

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I supposed what surprised me most about my brother, and his SO, and seemingly a great many people in Palm Springs, is the proud, to the point of contemptuous, parasitism.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I begin to think that, maybe, Latin Americans are doing you guys a big help by moving to US and actually doing some work, you know."

Yeah, we'd starve. Here in San Diego, are houses would be filthy and our yards a disaster, but California, which produces much of the nation's specialty crops (lettuce, almonds, oranges, etc.) is absolutely and completely reliant on labor imported from Latin America. And, at this point, only that labor seems to be tough enough for the grueling labor of agriculture.

The good news is that certain roboticists are making good headway in automating those tasks so nobody will have to do those really awful jobs in another few decades. And they are really awful. I can do lettuce thinning with a hoe for about 15 minutes before my arms feel like they're ready to fall off. All day? All week? All year? OMG! Forget about it - not a chance.

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I am assuming this is how she did the copying."

I'd say it's extremely likely.

On one hand, I'm still a little annoyed that my daughter ignored the spirit of my parental edict. On the other hand, I'm pretty impressed that she neither defied the letter of the law nor the letter of my edict. Fortunately, I didn't do a whole lot of parental edicts.

Clovis wrote: "I am not quite preaching anarchy to the world system of IPs..."

I'm in complete agreement with your analysis.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,


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The good news is that certain roboticists are making good headway in automating those tasks so nobody will have to do those really awful jobs in another few decades.
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LOL :-)

I am not quite sure the people doing the awful job now will be so happy, since moving to the next grueling job (like building such machines?) isn't an option many can take...

Maybe by then your nation will be so wealthy that every place can be like Palm Springs. That's either a vision of hell or heaven, depending on the observer...

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

---
On the other hand, I'm pretty impressed that she neither defied the letter of the law nor the letter of my edict.
---

Isn't that what teenagers live and die for? To find the holes in the adult world and twitch it to their side...

Our only revenge is to hope they too have kids.