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  1. #41
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Entitlements do make up a portion of our budget. But, they do NOT make up the shitty portions of our budget.

    The US economy is much bigger and more complex than a family budget. But you know what I do when my family needs to cut spending? I cut out the extras. Yeah, sure, I'd love to learn about Krav Maga and continue my training. But Krav Maga, a nice phone service, cable tv.. Those are the things that go. You know what doesn't go away? How much we spend on our medical care. How much we have available for our food budget. The things we need stay.

    Even something big and complex like the US budget must see that cutting entitlements is not really the fat on the steak. (Hint: if there's more fat than steak, it's probably not a steak at all..) Americans have their priorities in the wrong places.

    You know what people voted to be most important? Border security and immigration. Those came in at #1 and #2 in the poll being read on the radio news. You know what came in third and fourth? Job security and education. THEN the economy. How the fuck are we really worried about immigration when our education system is complete bullshit and our economy is crap?

    American military was getting paid almost $2000 in per diem alone to work on the border mission. JUST IN PER DIEM. That's not including their monthly pay, BAH, and other entitlements. Can you imagine what the civilians are getting for that sort of work? The contractors are usually paid 2-5x more than we are. We waste money on contractors instead of getting our resources to work for us, we keep outsourcing our jobs and then loudly complain that mexicans are somehow stealing them all, and we're doing research on prairie dogs while our kids are getting retarded. Our priorities are messed up.

    Cutting entitlements is not the cure-all for things. It isn't even a major fix for them. Our citizens are neglected currently.. cutting potential entitlements to them is not going to create more opportunities for Americans. That logic is off.
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  2. #42
    The Unwieldy Clawed One Falcarius's Avatar
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    As a non-American, it clear in terms of entitlement spending that Medicare and Medicaid will be will be an ever-increasing budget drag until the health care cartel is eliminated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thalassa View Post
    Oh our 3rd person reference to ourselves denotes nothing more than we realize we are epic characters on the forum.

    Narcissism, plain and simple.

  3. #43
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    People who went to the US, told me there is a safety net, and that absolute poverty is very, very rare. I cannot verify this but I believe them based on my view of US life as seen through Hollywood (which often tries to show the "worst" side of life, but still I don't see slums and starvation). Though I would be open to evidence which contradicts my belief.

    Just my 2 cents.

  4. #44
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Absolute poverty is, as far as I know, rare in the US. Relative poverty is not and there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, while our middle class is shrinking. I, personally, don't find it particularly meaningful to pat ourselves on the back for not having a lot of absolute poverty since we are a wealthy, developed nation and a world power.
    “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

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Absolute poverty is, as far as I know, rare in the US. Relative poverty is not and there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, while our middle class is shrinking. I, personally, don't find it particularly meaningful to pat ourselves on the back for not having a lot of absolute poverty since we are a wealthy, developed nation and a world power.
    True, but it means there must at least be a safety net, otherwise people who do not work, would not have homes and food on the table.

    I guess it depends what people mean by "restoring a true safety net", it's all relative. I am not saying you're wrong though

  6. #46
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il Morto Che Parla View Post
    True, but it means there must at least be a safety net, otherwise people who do not work, would not have homes and food on the table.

    I guess it depends what people mean by "restoring a true safety net", it's all relative. I am not saying you're wrong though
    I grew up poor by US standards. My mother was single for much of my childhood and did not have much education beyond high school. For awhile in the eighties, we lived on $200/month and food stamps. I don't know how much we received in food stamps. We lived in a house my grandmother moved out of when she went into subsidized housing for the elderly. It was maybe 600 sq feet. The floors were crooked. The front and back porches were starting to fall in and the roof leaked in spots. We only had heat in two rooms and when the water heater broke, we took showers at a neighbor's or heated water on the stove. When my mom found a boyfriend and we moved away, she sold the house for $1000.

    We did not live on the streets and we did not go hungry. I was just a kid, so I don't know what it was like for my mom trying to take care of us. I would imagine it was pretty difficult.

    Disabled people get around $700 a month from the government. Depending on the state, they get free healthcare, generally they are eligible for some level of food assistance, and subsidized housing. If they can get into subsidized housing or have family to stay with they can keep off the streets. It's not much to live on, but if they do not have any addictions, they can just about subsist if they are very careful and lucky. It's a pretty miserable existence, though.
    “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. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I grew up poor by US standards. My mother was single for much of my childhood and did not have much education beyond high school. For awhile in the eighties, we lived on $200/month and food stamps. I don't know how much we received in food stamps. We lived in a house my grandmother moved out of when she went into subsidized housing for the elderly. It was maybe 600 sq feet. The floors were crooked. The front and back porches were starting to fall in and the roof leaked in spots. We only had heat in two rooms and when the water heater broke, we took showers at a neighbor's or heated water on the stove. When my mom found a boyfriend and we moved away, she sold the house for $1000.

    We did not live on the streets and we did not go hungry. I was just a kid, so I don't know what it was like for my mom trying to take care of us. I would imagine it was pretty difficult.

    Disabled people get around $700 a month from the government. Depending on the state, they get free healthcare, generally they are eligible for some level of food assistance, and subsidized housing. If they can get into subsidized housing or have family to stay with they can keep off the streets. It's not much to live on, but if they do not have any addictions, they can just about subsist if they are very careful and lucky. It's a pretty miserable existence, though.
    I was proposing to limit benefits only to those disabled over 200% of the federal poverty level, which it does not sound like you were.

  8. #48
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I was proposing to limit benefits only to those disabled over 200% of the federal poverty level, which it does not sound like you were.
    I was just trying to give Il Morto Che Parla an idea of what relative poverty can look like in the US.

    We weren't disabled. Just poor. After her divorce, my mom tried to work. For awhile, she worked at Hardee's. When the car didn't work, she rode a bike, even in the snow. She later got some job training and became a secretary for an insurance adjuster. Between trying to keep reliable childcare and transportation, she ended up being better off with food stamps and $200/month.

    200% over the federal poverty line for disability sounds reasonable. I just don't know of anybody irl that is on disability and makes anything close to that.

    Hell, if that's the case, I should probably apply for disability for my sons. I always thought we made too much. We keep our expenses low so don't need the monthly payments, but I think they'd get a settlement for all the years they were eligible for SSI and did not receive it, which would be a big help to them when they are trying to get on their feet here in a few years.
    “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. #49
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Feel free to bring your facts and figures to bear on this issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    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.
    Oy vey.

    You haven't presented an ARGUMENT, it's simply an opinion piece, the subjective opinion being what constitutes the minimum help the state should provide to her citizenry.

    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    To be fair, you appear to have a habit of posting a bunch of long articles with little commentary. That's kind of tiresome.
    And frankly, I agree with cafe. It is tiresome. Come up with a comprehensive strategy, a plan, rather than look at one piece of the pie here.

    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. 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.
    And this. Looking at one piece in isolation removes the context of overspending and under-taxing in other areas of the budget. It's like trying to trim the monthly grocery budget whilst still paying $200 a month for cable TV.
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  10. #50
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    We can't afford the programs we already have.
    As a general response to affording the programs, it's well worth noting that government/macro-economics does not work intuitively, and the concept of not being able to afford something is not really applicable. The US can certainly afford it, both in theory and in practice. Whether it's being applied effectively is up for argument, and the division of power in the states is pretty similar. The issue is mostly political rather than economic. Increasing federal power and removing the state's ability to determine thresholds, etc. or another configuration of aid (fixed aid to state based on x, state distribution system open). It's just hard to do in the American political environment.

    For the OP, discussion is wonderful, and I welcome you to start it. As it is, I'd have to start it with the author of the article.

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