Alex G Frank: Why 2016 Was the Year of the Scam

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  1. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    It’s soooo hard these days. Yall have it so much worse than, oh, say me, who graduated in 89 in the middle of a recession, who borrowed a shitload of cash (at the time) to go to grad school instead of finding a job, only to graduate, get a job, and be unemployed and living with his mother 18 months later.

    Someone who scraped to buy a house, move up to a better one, only to have the housing bubble take all the gains away in 6 months. We sold that house for 20K more than we paid for it 10 years earlier.

    I have the feelz for your troubles.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
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      says:

      The weird thing is… you should have a “feelz” for this person’s troubles. You should be able to empathize pretty strongly with this person, seeing as how his situation so closely tracks your own. I’m sure you had your own range of “feelzings” about your own plight. To your credit, you persevered and seem to have positioned yourself rather well. And I’m sure at various points along the way, other folks responded to you with care and concern and support. Yet you mock this person. Why?Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy
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        I’m well known in various circles for being an insensitive self absorbed kind of guy. And I don’t whine about my problems to anyone…..at all. It’s not their problem. That being said, everyone / every generation has their own challenges. It’s life. I don’t need to hear about other folk’s problems. You work your probs, I’ll work mine.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
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          says:

          And yet here you are… listing your problems. Curious.

          Also, is this what “listening” looks like? Because I remember lots of tut-tutting about how liberals and urbanites and coastal dwellers need to listen to conservatives and rural Americans and the white working class. In response to that, many have wondered whether that will be reciprocated.

          It seems the answer is… no.Report

          • Avatar Gaelen in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            At least they aren’t smug about it, right?Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy
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            I listed my problems in the past as evidence that “everybody has to deal with stuff” and that your problems don’t make you special. Coastal dwellers are free to listen or not to flyover land. They fail to listen at their own political peril-at least until they can get rid of that pesky Electoral College.

            But I’m used to not being listened too since I don’t fit either side’s ideological groupings.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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        They don’t want my feelz, no, they want $15 an hour for flipping burgerz, gov’t forgiveness of their student loanz and rent subsidiez.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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          How many of “them” have you spoken with?Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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            Are you telling me I’m wrong? These seem to be what liberals are protesting for recently.Report

            • Avatar notme in reply to notme
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              Besides, I took my list from the OP, so if that isn’t right then why were they listed there?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                You didn’t answer the question. Surprise, surprise…Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                None, what the f does that have to do the the price of tea? Those were the complaints mentioned in the OP. Or did you not read it?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                Please quote the relevant sections of the OP.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                In retrospect, it is obvious that the scam as zeitgeist emerged out of real necessity: College loans are crippling, the job market is iffy and many of us are working part-time or freelancing (which feels, too often, like another scam). Rents are inordinately high, wages have flatlined, home ownership seems near-impossible, and even average life expectancy has, in an unprecedented turn, gone down in this country.

                Geez, it’s the first sentance that Saul quoted.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                says:

                Yea, so about that reading comprehension thing.

                Or deliberate misrepresentation of another’s viewpoint thing.

                Explain how that quote equates to “They don’t want my feelz, no, they want $15 an hour for flipping burgerz, gov’t forgiveness of their student loanz and rent subsidiez.”Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                Are you not aware of liberals complaints about low min wages, stifling student loans and high rents pushing renters out of cities? You need to become woke.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                says:

                So here is the funny thing…

                You attempted to summarize liberals’ wants. I asked if you spoke to any of these folks to understand them. You said you didn’t need to because they were outlined in the OP. I asked where in the OP. You pointed to a section that didn’t say what you said it said. I pointed this out. You now say you don’t need to read the OP because these liberal demands are obvious. But you offer no cites. And, further, you offer no reason why we should be discussing alleged liberal demands that you just showed are not the focus of the OP.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                We hear liberals whining about these things all the time, in print, on the net, on tv etc. Its clear what they want and why they want it. And omg I still disagee. What can I say, I’m a deplorable.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                “It’s clear what they want…”

                And yet you can’t point to any evidence that THIS particular person wants ANY of what you listed.

                Weird…Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                If that’s not what they want then just tell me. I guess the nyt and NPR are wrong.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                says:

                Two things are clear…

                You have no idea what this article said.

                And you don’t have any real conversations with real liberals.

                Neither one of those is a surprise.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Yes yes Kazzy you finally got me and know my secret. I guess none of the folks at the nyt, npr or here that whine about those things are real liberals. (what ever that is)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                Still not getting it. Approaching “Stupid or evil?” territory…Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
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                A quote from my (now awakened!) very liberal friend: “I thought they were confused about the issue and that if I could just explain myself clearly enough they’d agree with me.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
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                Not sure I follow. I’m not looking for NotMe to agree with “liberals” on the demands he cites. I’m looking for him to acknowledge that this article does not make those demands.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                Then by all means tell me 1) which demads it makes and 2) where can I find your “real liberals” who know such things.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                It makes zero demands.

                Liberals are everywhere… they’re just like us!Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                The article says those issues are concerns that are causing a problem, though it doesn’t make specific recommendations. However the whining about things like $15 and hour and student loan forgiveness have been around long enough in the news that even you should have heard of them.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                says:

                SO rather than engage with the OP, you want to attack random positions taken by liberals elsewhere?Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                What do you mean “random”positions? You act as if I made stuff like 15 an hour up out of my butt. I identified the issue the op brought up, low wages, and mocked their solution. Maybe I still need to find a real liberal.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to notme
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                says:

                Maybe you do need to find a real liberal. The ones you imagine are tiresome.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Mike Schilling
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                Sure, tell me real liberals don’t want a $15 an hour or higher min wage. Maybe you need to find a real liberal.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme
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                I like this calculus. It’s simple, tidy, contained: real liberals want a $15/hr national minimum wage; real conservatives don’t. Ergo, I am a real conservative.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Stillwater
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                Kazzy was the one that brought up the real liberal BS not I.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme
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                says:

                Fair enough. I can’t figure out what Kazzy’s arguing in this thread, either.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                When did I do that? Quote please.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
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                12/23/16 @ 11:09
                “Two things are clear…

                You have no idea what this article said.

                And you don’t have any real conversations with real liberals.

                Neither one of those is a surprise.”

                You don’t even recognize your own words, how pathectic.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
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                Excuse me. The near perfect structuring of the sentence in which you made the claim melted my brain a bit.

                Yes, I accused you of failing to engage in real life with actual liberal human beings, which you confirmed by pointing to NPR and the NYT as your sources. Neither of those are people.

                Why does talking to people who hold a certain ideology matter? It allows you to move beyond those ideologies as abstractions and to undestand the human side of those ideologies… why people follow them, how people arrive at them, and the vast diversity of thought even within a given ideology. Doing so avoids people making dipshit comments like your own… strawmanning, overgeneralizing, and mocking.

                Then again, trolls are gonna troll so…Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Me too.

                Actually, compared to the reckless maniacs that make up the current GOP, I *am* a real conservative.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                @stillwater

                No where in the OP did the writer propose solutions or make demands. He didn’t ask for student loan forgiveness or increased minimum wage. He cites student debt and unemployment and low wages as issues. But there are other potential solutions.

                So when the OP says, “Student debt is crushing!” and @notme replies with, “Stop whining for debt forgiveness,” he’s abandoned the actual topic of conversation. And defending that response by pointing to OTHER (unnamed) liberals making OTHER arguments is weaksauce.

                We can discuss what the writer actually said in the OP or we can discuss stereotyped abstractions of our opponents. I have little interest in the latter aside from pointing out the disingenuousness of doing the latter while insisting your doing the former. ESPECIALLY when notme isn’t even really discussing those topics but merely mocking positions absent from the OP.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                @stillwater

                https://ordinary-times.com/2016/12/22/alex-g-frank-why-2016-was-the-year-of-the-scam/#comment-1212797

                Does that read as a genuine response to the OP or my comment aimed and seeking/promoting understanding? Or like he’s trying to land a square on his Hippy Punching Bingo card? Man, if only he referred to them as “snowzflakez”, he’d have earned a two-fer!Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to notme
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          they want $15 an hour for flipping burgerz, gov’t forgiveness of their student loanz and rent subsidiez.

          Its funny, in that the core of Trump’s support comes from people who also want to be paid more than the market will bear for their manufacturing jobs.

          And wasn’t it the front edge Boomers who in fact HAD government funded free college, and rent subsidies in the form of rent control and government-backed mortgages?

          All this, in a time when the economy was roaring and good jobs could be had anywhere.

          Yet they sneer at the Millennials who see jobs of any kind vanishing.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            @chip-daniels

            The fact that there are a lot of working class right-wingers who are adamantly opposed to raising the minimum wage shows how much of WWC is fueled by a desire for status and social politics. The old jobs are not coming back and the left is simply trying to find ways to make it bearable/livable to survive on the new working class jobs.

            But the WWC right-wingers want someone to look down on and those are burger flippers and home health aides in their views.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
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              On this site, we’ve had lots of commenters/posters say they disagree with raising the minimum wage as that policy is currently proposed and it’s not because they want to someone to “look down on”. It’s because the policies, as proposed, likely hurt working people more than it helps them.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Stillwater
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                But, @stillwater, that’s not what these people are saying. Yes, conservative and libertarian people think raising the minimum wage will destroy the economy as they’ve believed since 1932. That’s fine.

                What Saul is talking about is the belief that “I was treated like shit and not paid well at this crappy job, so nobody else should be.” Or the FB posts showing an EMT working only making $9/hr, then the punchline of “why should burger flippers make more than him?”Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                @jesse-ewiak

                Yep.

                Of course the stupid thing about the EMT meme is that his or her wages will go up if the minimum wage raises.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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                “Man, the government should really do something about inflation!”Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Jaybird
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                yes it should. It’s way too low. 4% should be the effective ceiling, not 2%.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                the FB posts showing an EMT working only making $9/hr, then the punchline of “why should burger flippers make more than him?”

                This is the “Ivan’s Goat” scenario come to life.

                “Oh, Blue Fairy, that burger flipper makes as much as me!”
                “Dear child I have a solution to your problem.”
                “You will cut his wages!!?? YAY!”Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                Yes, conservative and libertarian people think raising the minimum wage will destroy the economy as they’ve believed since 1932. That’s fine.

                That’s actually not the claim at all, but hey, why worry about what people actually say when you can just construct straw men to knock down?

                The problem with the minimum wage isn’t that it destroys the economy. The problem is that it reduces the total demand for labor at that wage rate. So some people get a higher nominal wage and others get their hours cut or their jobs eliminated. This might especially concern us in an era when automation can replace lots of low-skilled labor. But again, why complicated the matter when we can treat it as a simple morality tale?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                The difference I’m getting at is that even tho some folks may reject a minimum wage increase because they want someone to look down on there’s another way to look at it which isn’t emotionally motivated, and maybe we ought to look at it that way more closely.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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                For the record, I would never eat at McDonald’s unless I was doing some sort of cross-country thing. Some of their breakfast sandwiches are okay, though.

                I prefer local, artisanal, restaurants. We’ve got a place near us called “Sugahs“. We usually get a starter board, and Maribou likes the croque madame. I prefer the Quebec.

                People who work at McDonald’s deserve a higher minimum wage if only because they have to deal with the people who would eat there.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                I don’t like to pick sides in domestic issues but, dude, Maribou has a vastly superior opinion on the Sugah sandwiches.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                @stillwater

                Obviously the working class can be split in view points. That being said, I don’t think the main driver of a higher minimum wage is upper-middle class liberals driven by guilt. The real drivers of a higher minimum wage in my view are the retail and service workers who are currently making low wages that they can’t survive on.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
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                The real drivers of a higher minimum wage in my view are the retail and service workers who are currently making low wages that they can’t survive on.

                Fair enough. But without wealthier compatriots advocating for them, folks who make lots more, they won’t be able to achieve their goal legislatively and would have to rely on unionization and the leverage of collective bargaining to achieve their goals of better pay.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
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                Isn’t that the sort of same smug we know better than you attitude that conservatives and libertarians accuse liberals of having? As far as I can tell the fight for a higher minimum wage is being organized and led by actual minimum wage earners rather than college educated progressives on a high salary. Many minimum wage earners, usually minorities, believe that a higher minimum wage will help them a lot.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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                Lee,

                Isn’t that the sort of same smug we know better than you attitude that conservatives and libertarians accuse liberals of having?

                I don’t think so, unless you think Burt, Trumwill and Michael Cain are smug. A national – or even statewide – minimum would negatively impact jobs in places with a lower cost of living, places where jobs are already scarce. So the question is whether, on balance, a state/nation-wide $15 minimum would achieve the goal of helping lower-income wage earners instead of hurting them, since it’s pretty clear that in lots of poorer areas it would be a net negative.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy
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        “You should be able to empathize pretty strongly with this person, seeing as how his situation so closely tracks your own. ”

        Familiarity breeds contempt.

        “I had your problems. I solved ’em. Why are you lying down and crying?”Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck
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          And we all did it with nothing but bootstraps!

          But now I’m confused… WWC problems = real, these = contemptible?Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kazzy
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            Don’t worry. Once we’re not talking about the election the economic problems of the white working class will be fake, too.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            Oh, I’m sure that he agrees that the problems are real for the people who are having them.

            His response is coming from the same place as “lol, #whitepeopleproblems”.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck
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              I wonder then how he’d have felt if he got the response he offers now (which I’m pretty certain he didn’t).Report

            • Avatar Damon in reply to DensityDuck
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              Actually I’ve said where the place is coming from. Everyone has problems. Stop bitching about them. I don’t need to hear them as I have my own problems. I’d say the same thing if some Conservative wrote bitching about something. It’s not the subject, it’s the complaining.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Yeah man, those refugees and rape victims and uninsured cancer patients, always whining. Don’t they know we all have our own problems and don’t want to hear about it?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Don Zeko
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                says:

                Exactly! Especially during this “special” time of year. I have no truck with it. Think you’ll catch me in a spirit of charity and generosity?!

                Bah Humbug!

                🙂Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Damon,
                When the refugees have nuclear weapons, their problems ARE your problems.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
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                says:

                I’m looking to buy if you got names/contacts 🙂Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Damon,
                shiiit, no! Why the fuck would I have contacts for Nuclear Weapons? Hell, If I did have contacts that had nuclear weapons, I don’t want to know myself, let alone tell you!

                Now, I know someone who helped create a laundry detergent that was made near Chernobyl… (and was quite conveniently radioactive), but that’s not a nuclear weapon!Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
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                says:

                Help me understand the difference between this piece and your initial comment.

                But first, a question: Did you even read the article? Did you read through to his final conclusion?

                Here it is in case you didn’t: “Scamming will only get worse in 2017, and it is probably time to bone up on your own plots and machinations to meet an administration that is incredibly prepared to fleece us for everything we’ve got. After all, there is but one cardinal rule in the art of the scam?—?which Joanne tweeted, and we all should have heeded, and that we’ll all need to get through the next four years and beyond: Scam today, before today scams you.”

                Seems like he is actually agreeing with you head on. Seems like he is saying, “Here’s the game, play it or get played.” Seems like he has a plan.

                But, hey, what do I or he know? We didn’t have YOUR problems so we should probably all shut up.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Damon
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      says:

      Is “I lived in a nice house but didn’t make a profit when I sold it” supposed to be a hardship story?Report

  2. Avatar notme
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    Waaah waaaah, wipes tears from face. Boo hoo hoo. Sniffle.Report

  3. Avatar Kim
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    Um. This wasn’t the year that someone decided to say that they were in a car crash in order to get a sex change operation on other people’s money.

    This also wasn’t the year of Solar Fucking Roadways.Report

  4. Avatar Joe Sal
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    So there is no realization of the scams of minimum wage and neo-liberalism trade that led to this.

    There is no scam in the bubbles that were created to get to this point?

    There is no scam to insure most automation was developed for centralized production?

    What is the likelyhood of needing a scamster to play a scamsters game?

    Is all this just not furthering the march into the scam of UBI?Report

  5. Avatar Gaelen
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    says:

    It’s pretty rich that the majority of the reaction to this piece seems to be: “economic hardship? not getting a fair deal? Suck it up buttercup.” But if this was a member of the WWC we would instead have to take their complaints seriously, not only formulate policies to help them, but make sure we don’t come off as smug while we are doing it.Report

  6. Avatar j r
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    says:

    I am happy to call this the year of the scam, so long as we acknowledge that vapid, cobbled together #content like this is part of the scam.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    When I worked at the restaurant, I made minimum wage (alongside many others who also did).

    There were two groups of minimum wage earners. They were divided by class.

    There were the kids who were doing this sort of thing to make money while they were in high school/college and you knew that, someday, they would not be making minimum wage.

    There were the kids/grownups who were doing this sort of thing to make rent and pay for groceries and you knew that, if you checked on them in 10 years, they’d still be doing this sort of thing.

    They had smoke breaks together but when the time came for after-work socializing, they pretty much stayed segregated.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Whenever stuff like “minimum wage” comes up, I go back to the whole argument we had in the Les Misérables thread.

    When discussing the minimum wage, we’re pretty much discussing unskilled labor, right?

    I mean, when we talk about the importance of raising the minimum wage, we’re not talking about the importance of making sure that the high school kid working on Friday nights and all day Saturday and the first half of Sunday is making $15/hr. I’m pretty sure that we’re not talking about the kid working his way through college.

    We’re talking about the people who may or may not have a high school diploma, who may or may not have gotten a GED after not getting a high school diploma, and the people who, even if they got a GED, probably wouldn’t use that as a launching pad to go to Compass Directional State College/University.

    Unskilled labor.

    So why isn’t unskilled labor worth more?
    Well, there’s a lot of it out there.

    On top of that, we keep increasing the amount of it out there with illegal immigration. At the same time that we are increasing the supply, the demand of it keeps going down due to, among other things, automation and, on top of that, we’re demanding that this thing that we’ve got a bit of a glut of oversupply on and a reduction in demand for have a higher price.

    It will fail. There are only but so many things that can address the price of unskilled labor but without addressing the fact that there’s more of a supply than there is a demand any solution we come up with will fail. The best we can hope for is a slow and orderly failure.Report

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