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Kevin Drum has post up talking about how much income people think they need to get by and it seems that most people believe that however much money they make is about how much it takes to get by until you start getting up to some pretty high incomes. It seems like this should lead to more empathy by people that make more for those that make less, but it doesn't, or at least I haven't noticed it, but it does show how hard it is for people to be happy and perhaps is part of the reason why the U.S has such a high rate of depression and stress related illness. Even when you make a lot of money here in the U.S you still don't have much security.
Politicians, even some I really like, seem to miss this point, Obama talks a lot about creating "good jobs" and educating people so that they can get "good jobs" but most of us at some point will be laid off, make a mistake and get fired or for any host of reasons lose our job and not able to make our obligations. It seems like a really comprehensive social safety net should be a bigger part of the discussion, and might lead to a happier population that might really start to create some "good jobs".