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  1. #21
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    That exactly what it's saying.

    I was hoping some defenders of the current welfare state would at least give an attempt to refute the assertions in the article, but that would require them to read the article, something that's looking like more and more of a pipe dream every minute.

    It's funny that people on a site like this, where many day in and day out, claim a level of academic rigor that would require facts, figures and unemotional appeals logic, seem to clam up when actually presented with a legitimate argument.
    To be fair, you appear to have a habit of posting a bunch of long articles with little commentary. That's kind of tiresome.

    I'm not going to refute it because I don't think there's a problem with people above the poverty line getting help with medical care, food, housing, utilities, or childcare. We're the richest frigging country in the world. We can afford it if we want to.

    I have been on a lot of the programs described. I know a lot of people that have been and I know a lot of people that still are and I know some people that are unlikely to ever be able to survive with the basic necessities of life without them. The only people I know who seem to be able to do anything but barely scrape by while depending on those programs are people from middle class families and/or people in the clergy. Well, except for one family that I suspect has connections in organized crime but I'm not going to go poking around trying to find out.

    The poverty line or even a fair bit over the poverty line is not enough to pay for the basic necessities in most areas of the country, most especially urban areas.

    If you are a family of four attempting to live on $24K a year, you are going to have a heck of a time getting by unless you have some unusual advantages. If that $24K comes from two people working quasi part-time jobs, their lives are going to be very hard and very precarious. The first illness or unexpected expense of any size is going to throw them into a tailspin.

    I guess for me, it comes down to what we want to get from our safety net. I want more from it than to keep people from rioting and looting or to keep the streets from being littered with beggars. I'd like to see families have the means to have safe shelter, healthy food, medical and dental care, quality childcare, and reliable transportation. These, to me, are not luxuries, but necessities. When a family does not have access to those things, that family is not going to function well and their children will not be able to benefit from education as they ought to.

    If thresholds have increased since my family was able to get off assistance, I consider that a good thing. At the time when we were trying to get on our feet there was a big gap between being eligible for assistance and having the means to actually make it without the assistance. It made it almost impossible to really become self-sustaining because the first thing to go wrong pulled the rug right out from under you and you ended up very close to square one. We were lucky in that we had a sudden $200/week gross income increase along with full benefits when we were trying to get off of assistance. Had that not been the case, we might have stayed on assistance for years longer than we did.

    Most people are not that lucky and need the safety net a little longer to really get on their feet and become self-sufficient long-term. I think it's worthwhile to help that happen. I don't find it desirable or beneficial to make people have a miserable existence because they are disabled or disadvantaged. If people that are able to work are willing to do so, they should have what their families need to have a safe and healthy life. If we refuse to hold employers accountable for paying their employees any kind of a living wage, then society will pay the price one way or the other.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  2. #22
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    Do you know that the government gives leeway to states to defined the qualification requirements based on the cost of living in that state?

    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I know some people that are unlikely to ever be able to survive with the basic necessities of life without them
    The difference between can't and wont is important here.

  3. #23
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Do you know that the government gives leeway to states to defined the qualification requirements based on the cost of living in that state?
    Is that addressed in the figures in your articles? Does that artificially inflate the poverty line adjustment? If not, good.



    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The difference between can't and wont is important here.
    Agreed. If someone is a product of generational poverty and a bad education system it's possible that they can work but they may need additional training and support. I think we should provide that support unless they have shown that they *will* not do it rather than can't. And I think we still need to try to provide the support needed to their children to help break the cycle.

    For example, poor parents often have to leave their kids with people that are not optimal so that they can work. As a result, they are sometimes damaged emotionally which causes problems for them their whole lives. This can make them difficult to employ. We could provide safe, educational childcare for poor kids while their parents work. The employer could verify the hours the parents were working.

    Also, poor families often move a lot. The kids end up having to change schools a lot which can really screw with their educational continuity. We could provide transportation to keep them at the same school as long as they are in the same school district. They would have a better chance of succeeding in school and being contributing members of society as adults.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  4. #24
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    The #1 thing we could do to reduce poverty: end the drug war.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Is that addressed in the figures in your articles? Does that artificially inflate the poverty line adjustment? If not, good.
    It is my understanding that the the federal poverty line is averaged across all the states.

    Agreed. If someone is a product of generational poverty and a bad education system it's possible that they can work but they may need additional training and support. I think we should provide that support unless they have shown that they *will* not do it rather than can't. And I think we still need to try to provide the support needed to their children to help break the cycle.

    For example, poor parents often have to leave their kids with people that are not optimal so that they can work. As a result, they are sometimes damaged emotionally which causes problems for them their whole lives. This can make them difficult to employ. We could provide safe, educational childcare for poor kids while their parents work. The employer could verify the hours the parents were working.

    Also, poor families often move a lot. The kids end up having to change schools a lot which can really screw with their educational continuity. We could provide transportation to keep them at the same school as long as they are in the same school district. They would have a better chance of succeeding in school and being contributing members of society as adults.
    As laudable as those aims might be, we are not in a position to spend more money on entitlements at the moment.

    I think its more important to get our long term fiscal trajectory under control so that we can get our credit rating back, than it is to expand entitlement spending when we don't have the money to do so.

  6. #26
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    It is my understanding that the the federal poverty line is averaged across all the states.



    As laudable as those aims might be, we are not in a position to spend more money on entitlements at the moment.

    I think its more important to get our long term fiscal trajectory under control so that we can get our credit rating back, than it is to expand entitlement spending when we don't have the money to do so.
    I think it's more of a revenue problem and a priority problem than a matter of not being able to afford it. We have a low income cap on Social Security tax. We have an historically low tax rate for the very wealthy. We give a lot of subsidies and tax breaks to highly profitable corporations. We spend a lot of money on 'defense.' I think our society would get more bang for its buck by taking care of our children than some of this other stuff.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  7. #27
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    As laudable as those aims might be, we are not in a position to spend more money on entitlements at the moment.
    Prison is the ultimate entitlement program if you look at it in purely economic terms. You take someone who was, or at least had the potential to be, economically productive and make that person completely dependent upon the government. And these prisoners cost a LOT more money than those in general public receiving welfare.

    Now obviously I don't advocate letting violent criminals out of prison, but most prisoners aren't violent, especially the pot smokers.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  8. #28
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Prison is the ultimate entitlement program if you look at it in purely economic terms. You take someone who was, or at least had the potential to be, economically productive and make that person completely dependent upon the government. And these prisoners cost a LOT more money than those in general public receiving welfare.

    Now obviously I don't advocate letting violent criminals out of prison, but most prisoners aren't violent, especially the pot smokers.
    Yep. This, too. Plus, once a person has a felony, their chances of finding a job are lower and the kinds of jobs they can get are more limited. If they work in the skilled trades, they can sometimes get by with it, but a lot of other fields are just not going to hire you.

    I also think if we spend the money to take better care of our kids, we'll have fewer people that we need to incarcerate for both drug and violent crime.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I think it's more of a revenue problem and a priority problem than a matter of not being able to afford it.
    It's a difference of opinion, which is what democracy is all about.

    We can't afford the programs we already have.

  10. #30
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    As laudable as those aims might be, we are not in a position to spend more money on entitlements at the moment.

    I think its more important to get our long term fiscal trajectory under control so that we can get our credit rating back, than it is to expand entitlement spending when we don't have the money to do so.
    Because...u said so?

    Look, I read the article, but I live in a country that has a decent allowance for people without a job, healthcare up to dental care which seems to work, and salaries that while not being as stellar as the US, are decent and even enough for everyone to make a living. As much as I think my general attitude towards life would likely be more rewarded in the US, it´s hard to think that the US cannot afford an array of services which is much, much lower in scopen than Germany´s, given the higher overall income levels, technological levels, consumer base, available resources, etc.
    The calculations are based on current revenue, tax breaks, benefits, etc. nothing says that a different distribution could not achieve a pareto-improving result leaving taxes almost unchanged.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

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