[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Tom Tobin korpios at korpios.com
Wed Feb 13 15:55:14 UTC 2008

On 2/12/08, Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> ### I am not sure why you have such dismal expectations. Decent health
> care costs about 2,000$/year per person (and that's without pinching
> pennies), and if you have no preexisting conditions, it's just a phone
> call away.

I'll be getting coverage from my new job starting in April;
considering that my health already isn't great, I either need to 1)
sign up for COBRA connected to my previous job before the deadline
runs out this month, or 2) avoid any talk of "preexisting" conditions
... everything is "new", of course.  Either way, the American system
is great *if* you start out with a good set of genes.

> A job is usually something you don't really care about that
> much, it's a place where you make money, preferably without too much
> aggravation.

I couldn't disagree with you more.

A job is what I'll be spending 1/4 of my life doing (approaching 1/3,
if you only count waking hours); I damn well *better* enjoy it, lest
it aggravate and depress the hell out of me.  I've been fortunate
enough to (mostly) enjoy my current and previous jobs (web-oriented
programming using open source tools), but the salary demon keeps
haunting me due to my debt.  If not for the debt, I could stop chasing
money — I'm perfectly content with a handful of gadgets (laptop, etc.)
and renting apartments indefinitely.

> If you really hate your job, it's not difficult to find
> another. If you hate everything you can get, well, that's a
> non-enviable position, indeed.

It's difficult to find something I enjoy; I'm the sort of person who
would rather work in a field I had absolutely *no* interest in rather
than take a job where I had to engage in an awful distortion of my
interests (e.g., software development using C# or Java).  Of course,
*either* would depress me.

> As an American you have started from a
> very secure position, and it's primarily up to you to make the best of
> it.

"As an American" needs to be qualified.  I started from a situation
much more secure than some, and much less secure than others.  I try
to make the best of it, but it's all too easy to despair on some days.

> BTW, the point of not being a slave to others is not "accumulating as
> many goodies as possible" but being free to choose. I refuse to accept
> the legitimacy of any peremptory claims on my life, time and property.

I don't quite get how taxes make me a "slave" to others; I appreciate
many of the things that taxes accomplish, even if I wince at many
others.  I've never bought into the libertarian "taxes are the root of
all evil" argument; hell, without public roads, libertarian property
interests could keep me physically boxed into one area, unable to
move, forever.  :p

> > American society does not treat its fledglings well.
> ### On the contrary, I would confidently state that young modern
> Americans are some of the most mollycoddled groups in the world,
> surpassed only by the 10,000 Saudi princes and the like. Almost nobody
> else in the world has ready access to 400,000$ per capita in
> wealth-producing infrastructure (i.e. companies, legal institutions,
> etc.) that can be used to easily get a starting salary of on average
> 40 to 60k, with a well-chosen bachelor's degree or more.

Again, qualifiers — both of us should have used them.  ^_^

> ### Well, there is a significant premium to a college degree in the
> workplace (which, of course, does not prove causation), so the
> majority of graduates, especially those who were very careful in
> choosing their majors, can expect to easily recoup their educational
> expenses, by a wide margin.

The highest-paying fields are also the ones that hold absolutely no
(or even negative) interest for me.  This comes back to my distaste:
the bargain isn't a good one if you don't want many possessions
(particularly children) in the first place.

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