{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "It’s odd that America is considered a rich country. The median individual income is only ~$32,000/yr. I understand that’s a lot more than most countries, but it’s a far cry from rich.", "post_id": "60877311ff83720020b70822", "reply_count": 179, "vote_count": 19, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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It’s odd that America is considered a rich country. The median individual income is only ~$32,000/yr. I understand that’s a lot more than most countries, but it’s a far cry from rich.

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No country is perfect, but when Americans piss on this country as some sort of a hellhole, I’m always wondering what their control group is. A few of the racially homogeneous Nordic countries with smaller populations than greater Chicago? The UK of Brexit? The France where workers damn near go on crippling strikes because the weather is bad?

That sort of “American capitalism is oppression!” language is especially rich coming from upper middle class consultants.

likesmarthelpfulfunny

All good points above.

Cap 1, Regarding college, I knew lots of people who went to school to party and follow friends instead of making the right decision. Even though there is a college push, there is still common sense of making the smart decision for oneself.

Google, I agree on your life expectancy point. One issue with the US is nutrition and health. Our government “health advisors” aren’t even healthy, at all. Also if you compare ingredients in the same products of America vs some other countries, America has lots of syrup, sugar, oils, and other garbage whereas the comparing country’s product from the same brand is drastically better in natural ingredients.

As a Northern European (multiple citizenship), I find America fascinating.

On the one hand, the lower end of the spectrum (including the cruelty of the healthcare system which causes so much debt) terrifies me. Indeed healthcare is probably the easiest way to show something is wrong with America (you spend more per person but get non-universal coverage and still get worse outcomes than Western Europe).

But the upper end of America leads the world. Google, Apple, Tesla etc would never have happened in Europe. We have some start ups but waaaaay fewer.

America seems to sort of be ok with the fact that so much of society is simply crushed by the system, so long as the dream of making it really big is still there. In Europe we don’t have that. We try, to varying degrees, to run a steadier ship and share things around.

My personal theory is that Americans have, in their creation story, proof that you can do anything if you just work hard and are brilliant. You can literally create your own country, then expand West until you hit the sea, and then even keep going! In Europe, our countries and peoples are old (especially the peoples, the countries have been reorganised a bit, but the towns and cities are mostly mega old). Nobody really remembers when the concept of ‘England’ or ‘France’ first existed. Englishness existed before there was an England. Norway is been a concept for more than a thousand years. The Dutch were a people long before they had a country. These nations were often more ‘discovered’ than created. So for us we are more stewards of what was already here, rather than people that can just start their own country if they need to. In some ways this is good. You look after things a bit more carefully knowing you would struggle to replace them, but it also means you can not even imagine the things Americans are trying to come up with.

Additionally, if we ever used to have people that felt like they could start their own country, they are probably the ones that moved to America! To be clear, we have innovation, but there is a certain recklessness to America’s progress that just allows them to move so much faster.

likesmarthelpful

Dang, this absolutely captures it. Sad many won’t bother to read this “long” text

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If Germany were a US state, it’d be the 45th richest state by GDP per capita. Japan would only be richer than Mississippi.

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Housing cost is not that low in some places of Europe ...

The wealth gap in the US is very stark. If you are upper middle class+ in America you have the best quality of life in the world. If you’re poor, you probably have one of the worst (relative to other rich countries).

likesmart

Bull, 40% of Americans will at some point in their life be in the top ten percent. They will be among the poor at some point too

To make things worse, America has one of the highest costs of living in the world.

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BCG1, that’s because politicians live in their own bubble of donations. They pander to the very wealthy because those people pad their paychecks

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I dont think you understand how poor is the rest of the world

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lol BCG POV

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It was up to $36k in 2019. But either way, that’s a ton of money by global standards.

Americans have a very elevated standard of living and travel very selectively, so we’re anchored to a 90+ percentile income lifestyle.

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I was in Colombia right before the pandemic! Only in Medellin for a day but walked through some of the slums in Bogota.

And in most countries, rural areas are even poorer. Wouldn’t recommend checking that out in Colombia for safety but it’s an eye-opening experience.

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America as a single unit is rich
America as a median is a third world country

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I live in the US South and my city raised $ and built houses (single room 10x10, locking door with their own key, heat in the winter - communal showers and toilets) for the homeless in our city. It gave them an address so they can get a job and move up to an apartment.

with all the $ in SF and NYC there is no reason for anyone to be homeless.

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Break Americans into three groups

The lower/middle class: bottom 80%, most jobs

The upper middle class: top 20% minus a small number at the top, high paying professions: software engineer, consultant, lawyer, doctor, etc

The upper class: top 1%, income from assets: dividends, capital gains, rent, etc

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COS I’m not denying their labor can contribute to a part of their income, but to say “oh it’s all derived from labor if they are working is silly.”

If they own a company that is set up with a pass through structure that has more than one employee or has significant assets, by definition they aren’t making their money purely from their own labor.

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Makes me feel appreciative and blessed. That I had the right opportunities and was able to capitalize on them.

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Yes but if you took our military spending and split it up to each citizen then everyone would be a millionaire so technically we could be rich

funny

This is why McKinsey sticks to selling drugs instead of math.

funnylike

It's a problem. Whether or not other countries have it better or worse, we should make our nation a better place.

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The point they’re making is that it’s not Perfect. But making it better rather than worse is a difficult thing.

Important question: do any of these figures include government subsidies and transfer payments? Much of the earlier research on inequality (e.g. piketty, etc) was updated in later iterations to include the sometimes substantial payments many working poor receive and didn’t make the U.S. look as bad as the original assumptions hinted at. (Though still work to be done).

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Good point! These figures do not include government subsidies or aid.

But I think that would make the US relatively worse than other developed countries, since we have less generous social programs.

Privilege, the post.

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It’s the student debt we take on with compound interest that kills us. Plus, everything is very expensive in even MCOL cities. Most of us are minorities on here plus well to do white folks. We can’t live in bumfu*ck middle of America.

Some of us have every right to complain. I only make $130k plus $20k B at age 40+ with a lot of education between spouses (she makes sub-six as a lawyer).

We are not poor by any means but, given our combined education, we should be well off. I mean, I live in a townhouse for gods sake 😂.

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Oh no, not a townhouse!

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Why does everyone benchmark themselves against median income. It’s not the same as benchmarking against white collar workers. There are a ton of low wage and primary economic workers plus all the people who work under the table and don’t declare income. Plus income doesn’t account for wealth.

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“Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in.”

It’s painful how many young, well-paid professionals want governments to head back down the path of self annihilation.

likesmart

As rothbard said, capitalism is a terrible system, except all the others are worse.

Median global income is about $10k. So $32k is quite a bit more, by global standards.

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https://news.gallup.com/poll/166211/worldwide-median-household-income-000.aspx

Fairly certain that’s household income; US avg household income is about $60k. Really puts things in perspective.

Great post OP

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