So on the advice of Alyssa Vance, I decided to take a look. Like a stimulant that removes the need for sleep, this can be expected to double economic productivity and family income.
In practice it doesn’t, because wives usually earn less than their husbands, but it comes pretty close.
These selfish narcissists pretty much want to steal as much as they can from their children. Warren, page 47: When we analyzed unpublished data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we found that the average amount a family of four spends per car is twenty percent less than it was a generation ago.
So, while I, Jasper, and my good twin brother Jason put tens of thousands of dollars into index funds each year, thereby forgoing fancier cars, vacations, and the like, the selfish, narcissistic baby boomers laugh gleefully, knowing that they’ll find a way to eat our nest eggs. They knew what they were doing, and they spent their entire adult lives making the wrong choice over and over and over again. [Families spend $4000 more on automobiles in general, but instead of luxuries they are spending it on] something a bit more prosaic – a second car.
The average family income in the 1970s was around $40,000.
The average family income in the 2000s was around $70,000 (all numbers in the book and in this post can be considered already adjusted for inflation).
So, Warren argues, the common-sense conclusion that a modern family making $70,000 is nearly twice as well-off as a traditional family making $40,000 clearly doesn’t hold. Wait, sorry, actually it was about how we should cancel Social Security and let old people starve to death on the streets: The baby boomers spent their entire lives buying new cars they didn’t need, buying houses that were too big, taking extra vacations, splurging on eating out, and the like. But in Chapter 2 of Two-Income Trap, “The Over-Consumption Myth”, Warren tears it apart.
They enjoyed a higher standard of living than they could really afford. Because they figured that when they retired, they could just use their voting power to force younger generations to pay for their retirement. The Boomers “spent their entire lives buying new cars they didn’t need”?
The BHL article doesn’t mention appliances, but in case you were worried, moderns spend 44% less on appliances than their parents’ generation, which is partly compensated for by a 23% increase in home entertainment (probably things like DVD players).
Warren says that: This same balancing act holds true in other areas. And when we add it all up, increases in one category are offset by decreases in another.
My argument was that if everybody can use stimulants to work harder and sleep less without side effects, then people who work very hard and don’t sleep will become the new norm.