Lion of the Blogosphere

Only the rich can afford to work

It’s interesting that my previous two posts were about young people with rich parents who work at unpaid internships, and Evgenia Peretz buying a $5.7 million townhouse even though she has a job of “contributing editor” at Vanity Fair which maybe doesn’t pay enough for her to afford even a $570,000 townhouse without the help of her inherited wealth.

This demonstrates a trend. In times past, someone like Evgenia wouldn’t bother having a job. Back then, work was something unpleasant that poor people had to do so they wouldn’t starve to death.

But times have changed. Poor people no longer have to work because they collect government handouts. Work is now a privilege to be enjoyed by the rich so that they can achieve self-actualization.

* * *

And don’t forget, only the rich can afford to learn about poverty:

Putney Student Travel, a private company, offers a five-week summer program of seminars at Yale and a trip to Cambodia to address poverty issues for $6,990.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 8, 2013 at 7:01 AM

Posted in Bobos

24 Responses

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  1. Does “poor people” include men? Because I somehow suspect it mostly encompasses women with children, which is what the government handouts are designed to do (thereby replacing fathers).

    Incidentally, is there a chart somewhere that shows what a poor person could expect to get from the government indefinitely as long as they remain poor, including TANF benefits, housing, etc. ?


    January 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    • I’m familiar with a 28-year old never-married mother of two sons. The sons are 2 and 5 years old and have different absentee fathers. The mother works 40 hours per week at $12 per hour at a fast food restaurant, and has been employed full-time since graduating high school. This woman receives government assistance that basically doubles her $24,000 annual gross wages, i.e. rent assistance, child care, medicare, EITC, school breakfasts & lunches. This single mother doesn’t need a husband; she’s married to the government.

      E. Rekshun

      January 9, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      • At least she is out working and not just sitting at home. As for the fathers of her children, why aren’t you condemning them for not supporting their offspring?


        January 22, 2013 at 10:30 PM

  2. Before the feminist movement, women were blocked from most prestigious jobs and careers. Now, women who once became society ladies take minimal jobs in fashion or philanthrophy to signal to their sisters they aren’t just housewives.

    joe smith

    January 8, 2013 at 6:16 PM

  3. It is not that only rich people can afford to work; it is that only rich people can work in underpaid jobs that are nevertheless glamorous.


    January 8, 2013 at 6:54 PM

  4. There might be something to this. I’ve posted before that the US’s economy doesn’t need its population. Maybe we’re better off without some people polluting the labor pool.


    January 8, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    • And the solution isn’t more education, eternal growth, government sinecures, or bull shit services.

      The solution is politically incorrect, so there will be no solution. The problem will get worse.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      January 9, 2013 at 7:12 AM

  5. “Poor people no longer have to work because they collect government handouts.”

    I think your conflating destitute and poor into one thing. Job or no job welfare only goes up to a maximum of 600$ a month where I live, no family or single parent household could live on that amount and furthermore who would even want to attempt to? that’s hardly a sweet ride in my opinion. government assistance programs also have work requirement guidelines, meaning you must find employment by a certain time frame, and as far as i am aware there is no exceptions for single mothers if they are school age then. they expect you to work while they are in school and there are daycare subsidies as well.

    most people who use welfare have minimum wage jobs and use government assistance to supplement they’re income not replace it entirely. That’s why we have the term “working poor.”


    January 8, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    • I don’t think you actually know any poor people, despite knowing the $600 metric.
      Here’s the way it works- you get xyz dollars in assistance if you earn abc dollars in income. So any IQ>~85 people find ways to black-market money. Now, “black market” sounds shady, but it needn’t be. Waitresses not declaring tips. Part time municipal maintenance guy doing oil changes out back for cash. Landscaping work. “little old lady” types hemming prom dresses. The “working poor” are *tremendously* entrepeneurial. I use the above examples because I use the above examples; ie these are people I pay cash for services, while being 99% sure they receive some form of gov’t benefit.


      January 9, 2013 at 2:20 AM

      • I’ve heard that some working poor are also known to turn a trick now & then. Not that I engage in the hiring of such services.

        E. Rekshun

        January 9, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    • I don’t know what the current welfare rules are, and obviously they vary from state-to-state. Nevertheless, some years ago (more than 10) the Atlanta newspaper did a fairly revealing breakdown of what was available to an unemployed single mother with two kids

      First, there was the AFDC, which as you say, doesn’t look like much. However, such a person would also pay effectively $0 rent for public housing. She and her kids got medical coverage through Medicaid. Food stamps would subsidize their food costs.The list went on to cover other items that we don’t normally think of as welfare (childcare in the project, for example).

      When all of these benefits were added up, it was pretty clear that for such a woman, a 40-hour-per-week minimum wage job would result in a reduction of her standard of living. Not to mention the fact that she would then have to deal with someone expecting something from her in the way of productive activity, however minor.

      ice hole

      January 9, 2013 at 6:11 AM

  6. The rich work in cool jobs that they don’t really need, the poor live from welfare instead of working and improving their lot, and the middle class has to work in boring/annoying jobs that are mostly irrelevant anyway. All useful work is done by a small amount of people. Welcome to the Age of Redundancy.


    January 8, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    • Right! Looking at the breakdown of employment by industry from the BLS, the fraction of the population which is employed, and considering that many who work for companies in a value creating sector are themselves value transferrers, my estimate is that only 10% of the population is actaually requird to produce every useful and even every beautiful thing. This is a bigger problem in the US than in other developed economies but not much bigger.

      Economists and ideologists like Ayn Rand and politicians generally have never creating anything except hot air and therefore take abstractions like “the economy”, “unemployment”, “human capital”, “skill set”, “economic growth”, “gdp”, “the service sector”, etc. seriously. Go make something or distribute something then give me your “theory”.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      January 9, 2013 at 7:09 AM

  7. ” Work is now a privilege to be enjoyed by the rich so that they can achieve self-actualization’

    Most people are really trapped in the system and they will never get out because if most did the system would collapse..

    Actress Rooney Mara who was in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a perfect example of rich people “working”. One side of her family owns the Giants and the other side the Steelers. She of course pretends she works by being an actress. I believe her sister is an actress too.

    Her wiki entry:

    Mara was born and raised in Bedford, New York, a town in Westchester County, north of New York City.[2] She is the daughter of Timothy Christopher Mara, the vice president of player evaluation for the New York Giants, and Kathleen McNulty (née Rooney), a part-time real estate agent.[3] She has two brothers, Daniel and Conor, and an older sister, Kate.[4]
    Mara has Irish roots on both sides of her family. Her “Rooney” ancestors originate in Newry, County Down.[5] Through her maternal grandmother, she is also of Italian descent.[6][7] Her paternal grandfather, Wellington Mara, the long-time co-owner of the Giants, was succeeded in that position by her uncle, John Mara. Her maternal grandfather, Timothy James “Tim” Rooney, has run Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York since 1972.[8][9] Mara is the great-granddaughter of both New York Giants founder Tim Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr.[10] Her great-uncle, Dan Rooney, is chairman of the Steelers, the United States Ambassador to Ireland, and the co-founder of The Ireland Funds charitable organization.
    After graduating from Fox Lane High School in 2003,[11] she went to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in South America for four months as part of the Traveling School, an open learning environment. She attended George Washington University for a year, and then transferred to New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she studied psychology, international social policy, and nonprofits,[12][4] graduating in 2010.[13]


    January 8, 2013 at 11:27 PM

  8. What does this mean?

    In a country where individuals live to work, life satisfaction will plummet.

    In the future, don’t worry about the hedonistic prole with “YOLO” on his mind. Worry about the upper-middle class kid who develops a nebulous yearning for a “career.”


    January 9, 2013 at 12:57 AM

  9. “government assistance programs also have work requirement guidelines”

    Some do, some don’t. Among the latter: Medicaid, Heating Fuel Assistance, Food Stamps, Public Housing.

    A person who has qualified for these programs can survive on $500 per month for decades.


    January 9, 2013 at 1:34 AM

  10. this post only makes sense if I am willing to accept “contributing editor” qua “work”, which I am unwilling to grant


    January 9, 2013 at 2:28 AM

  11. Putney Student Travel, a private company, offers a five-week summer program of seminars at Yale and a trip to Cambodia to address poverty issues for $6,990.

    Cambodia’s GDP per capita is ~$6,000.

    So for $6,990, instead of sending some worthless American SWPLs to visit Cambodia for a brief resume-building trip, you could employ at least three (probably more!) Cambodians to do something useful.


    January 9, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    • Sorry, GDP per capita is $2K not $6K.


      January 9, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      • Putney Student Travel is another example of how skilless people can still make a living in bull shit services.

        Nicolai Yezhov

        January 9, 2013 at 8:29 PM

  12. I know it’s very Martha Stewartish to say
    ‘Tis a “good thing”
    Rich Manhattanites
    Don’t actually have to
    LIVE close to The Poor


    January 9, 2013 at 12:05 PM

  13. Forward comrades!

    January 9, 2013 at 2:14 PM

  14. I’m super surprised that after reading all these comments (I lie, I only skimmed through them). No one has pointed out that 5.7million needs a couple more zeros in it.


    January 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

  15. […] Only the rich can afford to work. […]

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