Posts Tagged ‘Joe Biden’

Except for the part about giving a no-strings $1,000 per month to anyone amorphously defined “low-income” or “middle-income,” I mostly agreed with the sobering look at the Millenial Generation I read on Sunday. (Christmas Grinch or not, for a lot of reasons a $1,000 handout is a bad idea. For one, who’s going to pay for it? Don’t count on noblesse oblige.)

Just the same, I urge you to read the dire financial deconstruction in the cleverly conceptualized Highline story by Michael Hobbes, “Millenials Are Screwed,” subtitled, “Why millenials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.”

Their “touchstone experience” is “uncertainty” Hobbes explains. He runs through factors like salary stagnation, job and housing insecurity, and other cratered economic sectors to project that his will be “the first generation in modern history to be poorer than our parents.”

As it is, one in five currently live in poverty. And they have at least 300 percent more debt than their parents — more about that after. Plan for retirement? Buy a home? Not even.

And as for all that free money, here’s the other problem. The definition of “middle-income” or “middle class” is increasingly in the eye of the bean-holder. Uncle Joe Biden once ridiculously asserted, for example, that an annual salary of $379,000 was middle class.

Putting Biden’s neuron misfire into perspective, per the latest U.S. Census data, “In 2016, the median household income for all counties ranged between $22,045 and $134,609, with a median county-level value of $47,589.” A more learned economist than Uncle Joe says based on that data,“middle class ought to be defined as households making 50 percent higher and lower than the median.”

File:Soirée WikiCheese le 23 janvier 2015 - 57.jpgThat, of course, is not to dismiss with a straight face folks insisting through a mouthful of ripe ‘cru’ Beaujolais and Brie de Meaux that $300,000 to $400,000 annually is middle class.

Which brings me to something equally troubling, which is that millennials who are lawyers are smack in the throes of the same structural disadvantages Hobbes describes. Millenials earning a J.D. degree the past ten years have assured themselves of only one thing — astronomical student debt.

On average, borrowers in the law school class of 2014 took on $111,899 in debt according to US News & World Report. And the average indebtedness of 2016 law school graduates who incurred law school debt is worse still — in one word — appalling. Also see Stat Of The Week: Law School Graduate Debt Soars.”

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/37/Bury_your_head_in_the_sand.jpg/160px-Bury_your_head_in_the_sand.jpgMeantime, head-in-the-sand mandatory bar associations like the one in Nevada keep coming up with new ways to tighten the economic screws on their members, especially hard-pressed millenials. Last week the Nevada Bar sent a blast email survey asking members to weigh in on mandatory malpractice insurance. Also see “Join the Discussion: Whether Malpractice Insurance Should be Mandatory in Nevada.”

The survey was laughably replete with leading questions and agenda-driven outcome-bias. Knowing how these things work, the survey’s real purpose was to offer the tone-deaf governing board a fig leaf of cover for what they’re going to do anyway — no matter objections of the lawyer hoi polloi.

Happy then, the carriers with captive customers. Also for carriers — hallowed be the Nevada Bar since this insurance can easily run a few thousand dollars per year. But unhappy those who like Blanche Dubois will look to the kindness of carriers to resist the temptation to increase the cost of insurance across the board.

For Nevada’s millenial lawyers, it’s just one more structural disadvantage like all the ones faced by millenials generally. And as for the rest of us, time for a reassessment. Millenials aren’t entitled. And they aren’t slackers — they’re just screwed.


Photo Credit: Soiree Wikicheese, by Lionel Allorge at Wikimedia Commons under GNU Free Documentation License ;Bury your head in the sand, by Sander van der Wel at Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


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So why all the celebration? Unlike Joe Biden’s unscripted congratulatory “B.F.D.” excitedly stage whispered about the Affordable Care Act — what’s up with all the hoopla being made over tradition-hide-bound Augusta National Golf Club — the storied sexist home of golf’s Masters Tournament and of antediluvian private discrimination?
photoSure, they finally broke their ancient male-only membership tradition and added its first woman members but it’s way late for plaudits. It’s not a B.F.D. to praise a jackass for moving if you had to first use a 2 X 4 across its ass.

So why are the sports and news media pundits along with all those previously mealy-mouthed, noodle-spined tour professionals suddenly making this such a big deal?

Augusta ought to be embarrassed. That elitist, snobbish 80-year old place has been so far behind the times it thinks it’s still part of the “Dirty 30’s” when it was founded. Indeed, the place is so backward it wasn’t until 1990 when the golf club finally allowed a Black to join — something only the PGA would dare classify an “Achievement.”

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A couple of years ago, Augusta Chairman Billy Payne even had the moralizing stones to weigh in on role models while condemning Tiger Woods over sex scandals.

In 2002, when Augusta’s discrimination against women membership became a national controversy, it’s then-Chairman, the aptly named ‘couldn’t give a hoot’ Hootie Johnson, turned back criticism from NOW’s Martha Burk, saying, “we all have a moral and legal right to organize our clubs the way we wish.”

Hootie, though, now sings a different tune. After having once said Augusta wouldn’t admit women even “if I drop dead this second,” he’s now bragging on himself about how he was the one who personally nominated one of the club’s first two female members, Darla Moore. Recalling the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, “Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late.”

Still, such tardy prudence is hardly cause for celebration. As the NY Times rightly opined, “Excuse our lack of enthusiasm for a decision to do the right thing a few generations too late.”

photoAnd besides, why does it even matter that Augusta has supposedly crossed the Rubicon of race and gender? The latest token gender members, the well-heeled and well-connected A-list Republican Condoleezza Rice and billionairess Darla Moore are part of the  rarefied elites.

Augusta will always remain an arrogant bastion of classism. The naked unwashed epitomized by Joe Six-Pack , Two-Buck Chuck, Jane Schmoe and their Hispanic cousin, Juan Pérez, need not apply — nor will their likes be forming a low-rent, cut-off jeans foursome there anytime soon.


Photo Credits: “Joe Biden, Caricature,” by DonkeyHotey at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution; “The Three Mules,” by Jo Naylor at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution; “Golf Porn,” by Mike D. Merrill at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution.

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