I am a few years younger than Noonan, but I grew up in a very different world -- one where a number of my grammar school classmates were living in public housing or on food stamps, but everyone had more than one pair of shoes....
Joni Ernst, who is just a few years older than me, had a much more affluent childhood than the generation that settled the prairies, and more affluent still than the generations before them. But in many ways, she was much poorer than the people making fun of her on Twitter, simply because so many goods have gotten so much more abundant.A few, a few! ... Gesundheit.
A few seconds on Google will tell you that McBargle is actually 22 years younger than Peg, and only 2.5 years younger than Ernst, despite McBargle's construction to the contrary. One difference is more than 8 times the other. The difference between Nooners and McBargle is the difference of a generation.
Also dishonest is McBargle's assertion that Ernst grew up poorer than the people making fun of Ernst on Twitter, who, for all McArdle knows, are Ernst's age or older and grew up without the annual farm subsidies that Ernst's family recieved. McArdle is comparing the imagined wealth of Ernst's critics today to Ernst's financial condition as a child, as if Ernst died in her ninth year.
What McBargle really gets wrong, however, is why Ernst and Nooners spoke about bags. It wasn't, as McBargle insists, to remind us "how much poorer we used to be" or "the immense difference between [prior generations'] living standards and ours." Ernst told her story as preface to the claim that "These days though, many families feel like they're working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it," as if the olden days were Nirvana compared to now (or since Obama ruined the economy). Nooners likewise used the story to illustrate how America -- and Americans, by which she means Americans who lunch with millionaires -- suck now. Ernst and Nooners weren't telling their constantly bitching wingnut audiences to quit bitching because things are so much better now.
Bottom line: McArdle will always be a joke.