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Apr. 10 2010 - 2:43 pm | 67,130 views | 24 recommendations | 221 comments

Brooks: Let Them Eat Work

Unlike 90 percent of America, I was rooting for Duke last night. This was widely cast as a class conflict — the upper crust Dukies against the humble Midwestern farm boys. If this had been a movie, Butler’s last second heave would have gone in instead of clanging off the rim, and the country would still be weeping with joy.

But this is why life is not a movie. The rich are not always spoiled. Their success does not always derive from privilege. The Duke players — to the extent that they are paragons of privilege, which I dispute — won through hard work on defense.

via Redefining What It Means to Work Hard – Opinionator Blog – NYTimes.com.

I know, I know, I was supposed to lay off David Brooks for a while. But how can this latest gem of his possibly be ignored? I’m beginning to absolutely love this guy — for sheer comedy value, he really doesn’t have any peers at this point, especially with Thomas Friedman seeming more subdued and gloomy than ever. In fact I’m beginning to worry that Friedman might take himself out of the comedy game for good by shaving his porno mustache, thereby eliminating the Boogie Nights factor from his work and leaving Brooks the runaway clubhouse leader.

Anyway Brooks in the above column — a sort of running conversation he has with Gail Collins — manages to take the experience of watching the recent Duke-Butler NCAA championship game and turn his impressions into the missing last chapter of Atlas Shrugged. He starts with the above observation that the reviled Dukies, who are often painted as college basketball’s spoiled children of privilege, won because they simply worked harder than those poor mid-major farm boys from Butler. Then he has a remarkably funny exchange with Collins in which he expands this observation to the rest of society. The whole passage reads as follows:

David Brooks: A few hours after that atrocity of opening day, Duke went on to beat Butler the national championship. You should know that Duke is one of my alma maters. I am very generous in my definition of alma maters. I claim that affiliation with any school I went to, taught at, lived near (Villanova and St. Johns) or parked at.

Unlike 90 percent of America, I was rooting for Duke last night. This was widely cast as a class conflict — the upper crust Dukies against the humble Midwestern farm boys. If this had been a movie, Butler’s last second heave would have gone in instead of clanging off the rim, and the country would still be weeping with joy.

But this is why life is not a movie. The rich are not always spoiled. Their success does not always derive from privilege. The Duke players — to the extent that they are paragons of privilege, which I dispute — won through hard work on defense.

Gail Collins: I’m sorry, when the difference is one weensy basket, I’d say Duke won neither by privilege nor hard work but by sheer luck. But don’t let me interrupt your thought here. I detect the subtle and skillful transition to a larger non-sport point.

David Brooks: Yes. I was going to say that for the first time in human history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people. How do you construct a rich versus poor narrative when the rich are more industrious?

I had to read this thing twice before it registered that Brooks was actually saying that he was rooting for the rich against the poor. If he keeps this up, he’s going to make his way into the Guinness Book for having extended his tongue at least a foot and a half farther up the ass of the Times’s Upper East Side readership than any previous pundit in journalistic history. But then you come to this last line of his, in which he claims that “for the first time in history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people,” and you find yourself almost speechless.

I would give just about anything to sit David Brooks down in front of some single mother somewhere who’s pulling two shitty minimum-wage jobs just to be able to afford a pair of $19 Mossimo sneakers at Target for her kid, and have him tell her, with a straight face, that her main problem is that she doesn’t work as hard as Jamie Dimon.

Only a person who has never actually held a real job could say something like this. There is, of course, a huge difference between working 80 hours a week in a profession that you love and which promises you vast financial rewards, and working 80 hours a week digging ditches for a septic-tank company, or listening to impatient assholes scream at you at some airport ticket counter all day long, or even teaching disinterested, uncontrollable kids in some crappy school district with metal detectors on every door.

Most of the work in this world completely sucks balls and the only reward most people get for their work is just barely enough money to survive, if that. The 95% of people out there who spend all day long shoveling the dogshit of life for subsistence wages are basically keeping things running just well enough so that David Brooks, me and the rest of that lucky 5% of mostly college-educated yuppies can live embarrassingly rewarding and interesting lives in which society throws gobs of money at us for pushing ideas around on paper (frequently, not even good ideas) and taking mutual-admiration-society business lunches in London and Paris and Las Vegas with our overpaid peers.

Brooks is right that most of the people in that 5% bracket log heavy hours, but where he’s wrong is in failing to recognize that most of us have enough shame to know that what we do for a living isn’t really working. I pull absolutely insane hours in my current profession, to the point of having almost no social life at all, but I know better than to call what I do for a living work. I was on a demolition crew when I was much younger, the kind of job where you have to wear a dust mask all day long, carry buckets full of concrete, and then spend all night picking fiberglass shards out of your forearms from ripping insulation out of the wall.

If I had to do even five hours of that work today I’d bawl my fucking eyes out for a month straight. I’m not complaining about my current good luck at all, but I would wet myself with shame if I ever heard it said that I work even half as hard as the average diner waitress.

Then again, maybe I’m looking at this from the wrong perspective. Would I rather clean army latrines with my tongue, or would I rather do what Brooks does for a living, working as a professional groveler and flatterer who three times a week has to come up with new ways to elucidate for his rich readers how cosmically just their lifestyles are? If sucking up to upper-crust yabos was my actual job and I had to do it to keep the electricity on in my house, then yes, I might look at that as work.

But it strikes me that David Brooks actually enjoys his chosen profession. In fact, he strikes me as the kind of person who even in his spare time would pay a Leona Helmsley lookalike a thousand dollars to take a shit on his back. And here he is saying that the reason the poor and the middle classes are struggling is because they don’t work hard enough. Is this guy the best, or what? Does it get any better than this?


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  1. collapse expand

    Even when I agree with him – which is rare – I find that his conclusions so poorly thought out, so weakly rationalized, and so blantanly dishonest that I’m forced to reconsider whether I agree with him and sometimes find that I’ve been sucked into his “apparent reasonableness”.

    What I like best about his “logic” is how he can turn some random, specific event like the NCAA championship game and use it to explain the “bigger picture.” How are the two issues even related? A basketball game between two colleges can be used to explain the work ethic in America? What a phony.

    Rich people deserve their money because they work harder and they work harder because they get more money? Forgetting for a moment the imbecility of tying a basketball game to America’s work ethic, his claims are patently false.

    Hard work doesn’t equate to making vast sums of money and making vast sums of money doesnt equate to hard work. Working at McDonald’s for 40 hours a week at $9.00 per hour is a hell of a lot harder than securitizing a bunch of mortgages and then dumping them onto ill-informed buyers for 80 hours. Frankly, the first is called hard work and then second is called fraud.

    Brooks is a pooer man’s Malcolm Gladwell. You could start an entire industry of ebuffing Brooks columns. Start a web site:

    http://www.whybrooksiswrongthistime.com

  2. collapse expand

    “I’m not complaining about my current good luck at all, but I would wet myself with shame if I ever heard it said that I work even half as hard as the average diner waitress.”

    Amen Brother!

  3. collapse expand

    I haven’t read all of the comments yet, but just in case nobody has quoted from Henry George’s “The Crime of Poverty” -

    “Nature gives to labour, and to labour alone; there must be human work before any article of wealth can be produced; and in the natural state of things the man who toiled honestly and well would be the rich man, and he who did not work would be poor. We have so reversed the order of nature that we are accustomed to think of the workingman as a poor man.”

    and…

    “Think for a moment how it would strike a rational being who had never been on the earth before, if such an intelligence could come down, and you were to explain to him how we live on earth, how houses and food and clothing, and all the many things we need were all produced by work, would he not think that the working people would be the people who lived in the finest houses and had most of everything that work produces? Yet, whether you took him to London or Paris or New York, or even to Burlington, he would find that those called the working people were the people who live in the poorest houses.”

    That was 1885. This is 2010. We’ve come a long way … baby?

  4. collapse expand

    What’s so blue collar about Bulter? It’s a highly selective private school that costs more than $40,000 a year to attend. I doubt there are very many poor farm boys wandering around that campus.

    The Butler/Duke game was the “Haves” vs “Have Mores”

    I guess it’s just assumed that any school not located on the east coast is automatically not elite and full of blue collar poor people. And apparently just about everyone is going along with that assumption. But, I’m here to tell ya folks, Butler ain’t a school for poor people.

  5. collapse expand

    Dance your dance, Matt–you always energize others who yearn to speak truth to power.

    (http://home.comcast.net/~wizardofwhimsy/index.html)

  6. collapse expand

    matt, i read this article after having just completed a 12 hour shift.
    after reading, i feel better now. thank you.

  7. collapse expand

    I don’t disagree with Brooks…you twisted his words around, you say the “Dukies, who are often painted as college basketball’s spoiled children of privilege, won because they simply worked harder than those poor mid-major farm boys from Butler.” But that wasn’t what Brooks said, he said “The rich are not always spoiled. Their success does not always derive from privilege. The Duke players — to the extent that they are paragons of privilege, which I dispute — won through hard work on defense.”
    The distinction is a major one, and you missed it in your eagerness to bash Brooks, and prove some point (which I have yet to find in your article). Duke worked hard, and they don’t get credit for it…he never said Butler didn’t. His point that the rich work hard is what you really disagree with…if you want a piece of the pie, go work for it. You don’t deserve it just because you breathe.

    • collapse expand

      I don’t presume to speak for Taibbi, but sorry mixgasdlvr, I think you missed Taibbi’s point; namely, that the “major distinction” to focus upon is that a privileged job isn’t the same as an underprivileged job, in that the number of hours worked can’t be matched up with the difficulties of a particular job–or the enthusiasm of doing a job you hate, versus one you abhor.

      Brooks’ observation that “the rich are not always spoiled” can be rebutted with: the poor aren’t always lazy–another obvious conclusion.

      It comes down to resentments and which resentments are justified and which ones are not–even though we all think our own resentments are always justified. Nevertheless, my sympathies lie with those exploited by the wealthiest in recent history.

      Brooks has often been an apologist for the wealthier class in America, while Taibbi is more concerned with economic justice (not the hands that feed him)–another “major distinction” you seem to avoid.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      It’s not about Duke or Butler or basketball. (I can’t believe I’m writing this lame shit to an adult.) It ain’t a pie or a level playing field where most folks have a decent shot at being able to produce an adequately healthy lifestyle for themselves just by “work(ing) for it.”.

      “You don’t deserve it just because you breathe.”
      I just have to let this one go. Sort of a catch and release philosophy. This is such a small idea it barely irritates me, but it does. I’ll quote Matt here, “Only a person who has never actually held a real job could say something like this.” Can’t believe I made it through this post without calling this jerk an asshole. Or Brooks.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    Interesting post…not sure I like how it leaves the reader…

    My take , after working “hard” for 26 years is its not about working hard, and the number of to-do’s you accomplish. The magic happens when you shift your focus from “rewards for me” to a quest to solve your customers’ (internal and external) problems.

    As I discuss in my blog, in our active “plate spinning lives” there are two plates you must never let drop: http://nosmokeandmirrors.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/entrepreneur-best-practices-9-dont-let-the-two-most-important-plates-drop/ .

    When we setout to serve others, “work” becomes a “passion”. When we prioritize out two top plates, life becomes more rewarding.

    Mark Allen Roberts

    • collapse expand

      Mr. Roberts, I admit up front that I’m not all that bright, but Anthony Robbins-type posts like yours always leave me confused.

      I mean, SOMEBODY has to cook pancakes at the IHOP, and drive the school bus, and deliver the mail, and read the electric meter. They “serve others” but I’m not sure they would say that magic happens.

      Seems like the way to get ahead in our society is to move from doing to talking about doing. But as I said, I’m not all that bright.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      What planet are you from, Mr. Rogers? Texass? Poor folks don’t have the energy to review the dissonant morality of their worlds. We are fucking tired. The only important plates in our lives are the plates in front of our children. We don’t want rewards. 50% of US would like a bit more than 2.5% of the US wealth. So you think we don’t have a shot at it because we don’t “serve others”? Utter horseshit.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  9. collapse expand

    “for the first time in history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people,”

    Riiight — like the reason they ‘might’ (at this moment unproven) be working more is because they’ve fired all the poor slobs who really needed the jobs. Goddess forbid that these cretins (like the ceo of jp whoregan — I love that play on names but can’t take credit for it — some other poster on true slant thot it up :-) ) should have to eat shrimp instead of lobster one meal a month in order to have enough to pay for th

  10. collapse expand

    There are a number of the rich who believe they have what they have because they ARE better and more hardworking, unfortunately. It’s eerie and they don’t usually say it out loud like this. Is Brooks looking to pick up a sugar daddy?

  11. collapse expand

    Thanks to Crooks and Liars for sending me to this site.

    Excellent article. I, like many here, have worked those shitty jobs. It does suck going to a job you hate but one you just can’t leave because you must eat.

    Someone else mentioned the myth that you can succeed by hard work in this country and I agree.

    Americans have two myths the buy into. The first is that if you simply work hard enough you can be rich. You don’t have to be lucky and you don’t have to be smart, you just have to work harder. And if you don’t succeed, as David Brooks notes, it’s because you don’t work hard enough at your shitty job.

    The other myth is Properity Christianity. If you have God’s grace you will be wealthy. If you aren’t wealthy, it’s because you don’t have enough faith. There are two real advantages to this myth.

    The first is that no matter what you do, no matter how much you lie or cheat, if you get rich it means God has graced you, therefore whatever you have done is OK because if it wasn’t you wouldn’t be graced by God with wealth. What an exceptional way to ease your conscience.

    The other is that if you aren’t wealthy, all you have to do is have more faith. If you do succeed, you can look down your nose at others because it’s obvious isn’t it, they don’t “believe.”

    Work harder, have more faith. That’s the paean of the self-righteous, like Brooks. Luck certainly had nothing to do with his success. Being able to go to college. Having some innate talent. Having parents who were encouraging and role models. I don’t really know his history, but I suspect he’s never waited tables for a living, and I don’t mean to supplement college, I mean to feed his kids.

    Thanks for the article, Mr. Taibbi. I applaud you.

  12. collapse expand

    David Brooks again speaks from the only part of his body that really works… his ass: “[F]or the first time in human history, rich people work longer hours than middle class or poor people. How do you construct a rich versus poor narrative when the rich are more industrious?”

    He really has just never experienced real work. The slaving away for a kick in the teeth by the boss.

    No one has had to really work – hard low down grovelling work – who has not had to say “Yes sir” where “sir” might as well be “master”.

  13. collapse expand

    David Brooks, purveyor of pure, unadulterated Bull Shit. Man, what a clueless putz.

  14. collapse expand

    The Manhattan op-eds all suck. How that Dowd person keeps being published tells the whole story. It’s made Krugman into a blithering clown. I saw George Will on Sunday Chat and he’s so far gone that he selects words because they sound important, not that they are correct in context. Brooks is in full court clown world – Butler wasn’t built on cigarette wealth but is just as costly and selective as Duke and probably has a more illustrious alumni.

  15. collapse expand

    In general, the rule works like this; the less work you do the more you are paid.

    Like it or not, that’s just how it is.

  16. collapse expand

    Has it occurred to Bobo that the current economy means that many hourly workers have had their hours cut? Then there’s that unemployment thing. Brooks is a moron.

  17. collapse expand

    It takes very little analysis to confidently assert that only a small percentage of people can be very wealthy no matter how hard the the lower 98% work. Wealth distribution is in fact a zero sum game. Sure, the overall pie might increase with time, but it WILL NEVER allow all, most, or even a lot of the 60-80 hour a week workers to have their work rewarded with fabulous wealth of the type that the top 2-5% enjoy.

    The myth that Brooks continues to promote is that because any one person could become wealthy, by extension, everybody can become wealthy. The extension is wrong. Everybody can’t, it is in the nature of the economy that only a few can. To put it the accurate way, 98% of the people are absolutely not going to be wealthy, ever.

    The pervasiveness of that myth in our culture is what allows the likes of Brooks to speak and not be bitch-slapped for being a moron.

  18. collapse expand

    Yeah, the Roman galley has been allowed to drift wildly off-course, and the conclusion of Brooks – the boat’s crier – is that the galley slaves must just row harder.

  19. collapse expand

    Ive worked pouring plastic pellets into giant metal hoppers in a plastics factory, where Fernando, my supervisor had his arm lopped off inside an injection mold for 13.00 an hour. Ive
    worked as a go-for in construction where (like Matt’s hilarious description) I dug out a basement foundation with a shovel and stuffed it with straw in 90 degree heat after stacking broken cinder block developing bloody blisters on my hands for 11.00 dollars an hour. Ive worked as a assistant manager in a retail bookstore, placating wealthy snobs looking for Oprah’s book selection (not to read, but to place on the coffee table)for 8.75 an hour. Ive worked as a metal re-finisher in a laboratory where some strange substance caused my gums to bleed profusely.
    As a janitor at Ortho Pharmaceutical heaving hundreds of rubber breast busts into the trash compactor, (wondering the psychological damage being done) for 8.00 an hour.
    There are alot more horror jobs Ive chosen to forget, but the fact is, after all this, I’m still broke. I HAVE NOTHING. NO HOME, NO SAVINGS, NO NOTHING.
    Ive watched David Brooks and Charlie Rose sit at the creepy dark Star Trek table (http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/File:Vians.jpg) an pontificate about the poor and middle class as a if they were studying bugs. Charlie Rose devotes his (supposed) public broadcast to selling the iPad to a hand full of people that can afford one. Everyone else cant pay the phone bill. If Steve Jobs were any sort of true pioneer, he would donate 300 million iPads to the schools.
    This Brooks guy is reflective of all that seems wrong with the mindset that prevails in America for quite some time. That the haves have it because they earned it (not stole it, or inherited it from those that did earn it) and the have not’s are stupid or lazy.
    The truth is, it is a rigged game and if you are not a member of the “club”, as David Brooks and Charlie Rose are so desperate to belong to, you are doomed to low wages and poverty or in my opinion, worse yet, a bottom feeding parasite like David Brooks or Dennis Miller. People who are more than willing to sacrifice they’re souls for a few crumbs.

  20. collapse expand

    Thanks Matt, now that was a good column.
    I’m still waiting for you to really nail the Pope like this…it would be too easy, but what the heck, you could use the time off after whizzing out that easy piece.
    The elite flatterers have nearly everyone convinced that the poor are lazy and the rich so newsworthy deserving…like they were just discovered sweating — OMG!
    The “Undercover Boss” show has exposed how little the head honcho knows about his underpaid-overworked bottom tier workers, who
    really have to work and live on nothing.
    The boss sweats and grimaces and is thoroughly embarrassed, but bravely awards a $5000 scholarship, preens and calls it a day. Across the board raises? Not exactly…thanks anyway.
    So many rich to eat and so little time.

  21. collapse expand

    David Brooks is a dickhead. I worked with my husband for a few years doing electrical work and let me just say that I could not imagine a lifetime of that. I worked in the heat and cold for very little pay and it sucked ass. Anyone who is able to sustain these type of jobs deserves respect.

  22. collapse expand

    Taibbi has indirectly hit upon a good reason as to why this country is so messed up:

    “The 95% of people out there who spend all day long shoveling the dogshit of life for subsistence wages are basically keeping things running just well enough so that David Brooks, me and the rest of that lucky 5% of mostly college-educated yuppies can live embarrassingly rewarding and interesting lives in which society throws gobs of money at us for pushing ideas around on paper (frequently, not even good ideas) and taking mutual-admiration-society business lunches in London and Paris and Las Vegas with our overpaid peers.”

    People get their information and form opinions based on what overpaid jerks spout daily in the MSM. We’re expecting the truth, but does anybody really think that highly paid people are going to upset the status quo that they’re profiting from? Back in the days of Murrow and Cronkite journalists were working class people who sought to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Nowadays, not so much. The American people are being fed a hill of beans instead of the straight truth and the national dialogue suffers for it.

    That said, Matt is one of the good guys.

  23. collapse expand

    One last comment after reading all this:

    The timing of this could not really be worse;

    Aren’t we in the middle of greatest theft of public wealth in world history?

    Hasn’t the neoclassical economic theory of You’re On Your Own (YOYO)just been dis-proven as de-regulated and private companies perpetrated their own form of domestic economic violence?

    The wrong time and place for Brooks; he is lucky someone doesn’t dot his eye; during a point where joblessness has been higher in three decades and wage, income, and asset disparities haven’t been greater….

    Yeah Dave lets focus on more on the social ramifications of why people get the things they have in this economy; start by reading Jacob Hacker…. shifting risk onto individuals and then blaming them for not taking responsibility….

    Brooks you are such a douche bag

    • collapse expand

      Spectacular. A little more “gratuitous” profanity would be acceptable and emphatic. “…dot his eye…”, hehehe. Cool idea.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Aren’t we in the middle of greatest theft of public wealth in world history?

      Yup….and would recommend anyone ignorant of this to please read the following:

      ECONned, by Yves Smith
      It Takes A Pillage, by Nomi Prins
      The Buyout of America, by Josh Kosman

      Plus, there are some truly remarkable papers published on public-private partnerships in Australia by a Dr. John L. Goldberg, at the University of Sydney, which completely nails the accounting type of control fraud taking place.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        sgtdoom

        Am currently reading Smith as you replied; I do enjoy Prins’ work—- she also had a big role in Danny Schetchter’s movie Plunder…

        Will check out Kosman & Goldberg; thanks for the reference list….

        I have enjoyed:
        1) Galbraith’s Predator State
        2) Bill Black’s – How to rob a bank is own one
        3) Johnson & Kwak’s – 13 Bankers
        4) Lewis’ – Liars Poker
        5) Stewarts’ – Den of Thieves
        6) Hacker’s – Great Risk Shift

        all the best

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  24. collapse expand

    I have a question: Brooks states that for the first time in history the rich are working more hours than the poor, but what is his source for that factoid? I wonder because I’d like to see how they define “the rich” and “the poor”?

  25. collapse expand

    A “class conflict”? Where did he get this from? Correct me if I am wrong but I swear I heard someone say something about Hayward and Howard being all star (american?) academics and was even reported that Hayward had to attend a class in ‘game theory’ on Monday of the big game. He is like an engineering major and ‘game theory’ has nothing to do with sports – it’s a math class!

    Now smartums don’t getchya class, but I hardly see what this man is talking about. I have to admit, Matt, I thought you were a bit hard on Brooks in some of your other columns but I am beginning to really come around to your view on Brooks as a total racist, classist dill weed.

    Sure I was kind of rooting for Butler since they did take out my team (Syracuse) and overall it was a total kick-ass game. NOT the blowout many predicted and, frankly, IMHO, Butler proved it was the Danielson to Duke’s Cobra Kai – and DAMN deserving of that net. The next section is my fantasy ending to that game…

    …(the sound of a bong hitting the table rings out just before a faint exhale can be heard)…so it’s a total reverse Bad News Bears ending where shu-shef-ski accepts the trophy and after giving a huge salute to Butler says they deserve the trophy way more than he needs a 4th and hands it to the Butler coach. He then says that any team that can beat who they beat on the way to the final and then play Duke to within 2 points is the true champion!

    Oh well. It didn’t happen and Brooks is still a tool. We can dream…

    jesse

  26. collapse expand

    best section:
    “I would give just about anything to sit David Brooks down in front of some single mother somewhere who’s pulling two shitty minimum-wage jobs just to be able to afford a pair of $19 Mossimo sneakers at Target for her kid, and have him tell her, with a straight face, that her main problem is that she doesn’t work as hard as Jamie Dimon.”

    One slight correction though. Single moms struggling to pay bills working 2 shitty minimum wage jobs can’t afford to shop at target. Other than that i love the post.

  27. collapse expand

    With all due respect, Brooks can suck my middle class dong. I’m a baker that puts in 50-60 hours a week@ 8.50 an hour so rich assholes like him can have their baguettes and pastries at their convenience. Almost everybody where I work has a second job, and the only reason I don’t is because I go to school as well. But I guess that’s just not enough for Mr. Brooks.

  28. collapse expand

    The only mistake Matt has made is his declaration of intent to back off on Brooks. I say give us MORE! This guy deserves his own wing in the Hall of Fame of Vapidity. The fact that someone of his stature has access to a mouthpiece like the NYT alone justifies his being pummeled without mercy.

  29. collapse expand

    I am with you Matt. The constant demonization of the poor, particularly by the right, is appalling. Almost without exception every poor person I have known works incredibly hard just to survive;forget about getting ahead. The deck is stacked against you in Amerikkka if you don’t have money.

  30. collapse expand

    oh, god, that was a good one. the idea of a leona helmsley look-a-like taking a hot dump on brooks back is awesome. hell, brooks doesn’t even have to pay for it. i’ll chip in a few bucks. when i was a kid, i worked putting in insulation, and i spent my evenings trying in frustrating futility to pick the fiberglass out of my labor-sapped ballsack. it’s fucking outrageous to read a privileged gas-bag like brooks talk about the “rich” working sooooo hard when the even the duke fucking basketball team is manned by mostly workingclass black kids there on scholarship. asshole.

  31. collapse expand

    “he strikes me as the kind of person who even in his spare time would pay a Leona Helmsley lookalike a thousand dollars to take a shit on his back.”

    Jesus, Matt… I don’t know whether to laugh hysterically or pour bleach in my eyes.

  32. collapse expand

    Matt, Tom Friedman has been well behaved lately, which only means he has been insufferably boring. The only thing that made his columns worth reading were his many literary faux-pas, and I think your two pieces on him have shamed him so much he’s having his work proofread now. Too bad. I say bring it on with David Brooks. Be merciless.

  33. collapse expand

    When my husband and I were married 35+ years ago, we foolishly thought hard work would pay off and have renovated or built 5 homes. After the last housing bubble burst, we looked at each other and realized we should have been learning how to screw people over a la Wall Street. Hard work doesn’t pay, but criminal enterprises do. (This is my first post . . . I’m so excited to have found Matt Taibbi’s blog!)

  34. collapse expand

    Brooks uses a bad premise/example to explore rich vs poor, and of course comes to the wrong conclusions. Really stupid, wished you didn’t even given it a notice. It costs $39K/year in tuition at Duke and $29K/year in tuition at Butler. Pricy at both places unless you got a full scholarship playing ball, then that evens things up. Generally everyone going to these schools will be successful.

    This whole hard work stuff is bullshit. Goldman Sachs employees work real hard; trying to steal money from people who are being productive in some tangible way. Most rich people are so because they are leveraging other people’s hard work. I think there is abundant opportunity to succeed in our country for everyone, though initiative has to be shown some help is needed from time to time. At least from my experience, in every case I have seen, hard work does bring you at least into the most exploited class, the middle class.

    Side note, bought Palm stock the other week thinking it would recover since I have always liked their products. Now, I am glad to take my profit and get out since they hired blood sucking Goldman Sachs to find them a new buyer. What do they need to pay these leaches for this service, and why? Like paying the mafia for protection.

  35. collapse expand

    I once had an interview with Bernstein Capital. At the time I had already been in the business about 12 years. As part of the interview process I met with one of their local AE’s. He was explaining the job to me and remarked that this is the “hardest job” you will ever do in your life. I told him that with all due respect I had done the hardest jobs that you can do in your life and that exactly none of them had anything to do with the financial services industry. In fact that was why I chose the financial services industry, because I did not want to spend a lifetime of doing those hard, shitty jobs that I had done as a kid and a teen. Here are those jobs in no particular order: working in a Rice Dryer in South Texas, working on a ranch, laying railroad track in college, cleaning horse stalls, branding cattle, dehorning cattle, castrating bulls, cleaning out rotted soybeans from the bottom of a grain bin, plowing all day, pouring concrete…I could go on and on. And yes I would cry like a pussy if I had to work anywhere remotely as hard as I did in anyone of these shitty jobs.

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