For all of time, or at least for the time that monetary exchange has existed, we have been asking ourselves this question: Can I buy happiness with this money? Or, if I were to acquire more money, would that make me happy?
The Wall Street Journal's
Katy McLaughlin wrote her final column about money this weekend
, and her takeaway is something we always talk about here: What we learn from each other when we talk about our money.
"Why do poor people make stupid, illogical decisions to buy status symbols? For the same reason all but only the most wealthy buy status symbols, I suppose. We want to belong. And, not just for the psychic rewards, but belonging to one group at the right time can mean the difference between unemployment and employment, a good job as opposed to a bad job, housing or a shelter, and so on. Someone mentioned on twitter that poor people can be presentable with affordable options from Kmart. But the issue is not about being presentable. Presentable is the bare minimum of social civility. It means being clean, not smelling, wearing shirts and shoes for service and the like. Presentable as a sufficient condition for gainful, dignified work or successful social interactions is a privilege. It’s the aging white hippie who can cut the ponytail of his youthful rebellion and walk into senior management while aging black panthers can never completely outrun the effects of stigmatization against which they were courting a revolution. Presentable is relative and, like life, it ain’t fair."
The New Republic has a profile of Gov. Mitt Romney's eldest son Tagg, who shares his father's values of being self-made (these values is why Gov. Romney appears to have such disdain for "the 47 percent").