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In defense of bleeding-heart Conservatives!(73 posts)

In defense of bleeding-heart Conservatives!czardonic
Jun 10, 2003 2:55 PM
I'm sure we were all shocked and outraged at the confirmation that so many of the whiny poor who are constantly harping on Bush for his tax giveaway to his rich contributors don't pay taxes themselves. Such treachery! Especially given the selflessness with which so many of you work to make sure that while the poor don't have health care, housing or education, they do have tidy parks in which to sleep. (Assuming that they aren't what you all are "cleaning up" in the first place!) Quoting Ari Fleischer, perpetual font of objectivity and spokesman for the only politician in history who has never distorted the truth, "People who have had their entire income tax burden forgiven -- I think they're very appreciative of the fact that they pay no income taxes in America and still benefit from a national defense, which is paid from income taxes; they still benefit from school programs that are paid at the federal level income taxes." ( I think any decent person would agree. And if the decent people are in agreement, the poor can't be far behind! Am I right, Conservatives, or am I Right? ;)

Except that it turns out that federal income tax is not the only tax in existence. Has anyone else heard of this? I mean, if the self-styled tax experts on this board overlooked them, they must be pretty obscure:

Anyway, what matter if Conservatives manage to shift even more tax burden onto already struggling poor families? We can all rest assured that those same Conservatives will be out there every sunny weekend during May through August planting Marigolds in the median down on Main Street. And if they happen to be planted in the form of a local business logo, well that just proves that community activism can be win-win!

The bottom line is this: private activism has been proven by history time and again to be the ultimate remedy to social ills. Poor people didn't exist until Liberals and their Evil Socialism turned hard-working people into loafers. Once we roll our social safety net back to 1930's conditions, we'll be in business. ;)

And remember, the suspicion of a certain Lazy Liberal that you Conservatives are in the grip of some kind of economic Munchausen's Syndrome are completely off base. No way such group of people who care so much about social welfare would contribute billions towards gutting programs for the poor so that you can pat yourselves on the back for contributing a few scraps towards the crisis your politics have created. I'm sure that once Evil Socialism is destroyed, the same money contributed to its defeat will be devoted towards helping the poor that have been its victims for so long. The class war Conservatives are waging no doubt comes with a Marshal Plan of some kind.
How do you define poor?Continental
Jun 10, 2003 6:00 PM
If you think that households with $30K to $50K income are poor, you need to take a few trips abroad. Does your definition of poor include people with cable TV, cell phones, DVD players, microwaves, and multiple cars? People who eat several restaurant or prepared meals per week? I think that basic welfare in the US should insure that everyone has nutritious food, safe shelter, clothing, decent (but rationalized) health care, and educational opportunity. I think a much larger effort needs to be made to reduce real poverty around the globe. Eliminating federal income tax for a group of people with some of the highest material standards of living in the world does not help the true poor. It is purely a political game to get votes. A cynical, sarcastic person like you should see this.
Not as broadly as you might imagine.czardonic
Jun 10, 2003 6:27 PM
Frankly, I think you need to take a few trips around your own country. In my area, a family living on $30K-$50K would be scraping by, and likely would not be able to afford some of the basic necessities that your version of welfare would provide. (And selling their TV or their car would not bridge the gap).

Funny how people think that catering tax policy to the interests of the poor is low cynicism, but catering to the wealthy is the height of moral righteousness.

But on the basic level of services that you describe, I am in complete agreement.
In my area, a family living on $30K-$50K would be scraping bypurplepaul
Jun 10, 2003 7:10 PM
And in my building, that wouldn't even pay the rent. So, should we take up a collection so that poor people can live on Central Park South?

One problem, as I see it, is the poor get services that only rich people can afford. As you said, $50K won't get a family what they need. But $0K does. How much sense does that make? Does it make sense for the $50K family that can't afford health care to pay taxes so that a $0K family can? At what point should the burden be shifted away from the individual and onto the taxpayer?

Now, I make a big distinction between the poor and the needy. Those who are unable to support themselves due to physical or mental problems, to me, seem more worthy of help than those who are capable but, for whatever reasons, don't work (and that includes having kids; as I've said before, people should decide if they can afford children. Under no circumstances should children born into poverty be paid for by tax payers).

I believe that making poverty tolerable discourages people from getting themselves out of it. Handouts certainly don't instill any sense of responsibility to the community, or even to family. I'd have more compassion for those who tried their best and failed than those who didn't bother at all.

Now, if I were so poor that I was having trouble affording food, you're damn right that I wouldn't have cable and a tv.

I once saw a woman on tv complaining about how Christmas sucks for the poor, but she had gold designs on her teeth! Sorry, but if she has money for jewelry she shouldn't receive a dime of welfare.
Come on Paul,sacheson
Jun 10, 2003 7:26 PM
don't resort to irrational arguments to support your beliefs.
Sounded rational to me. Must have something to do with ...Live Steam
Jun 10, 2003 8:01 PM
being from New York :O)
Yes, there has been a serious...Dwayne Barry
Jun 11, 2003 2:41 AM
lack of stressing personal responsibility in the past. Maybe there should be a class in highschool that combines some kind of instruction in ethics, personal responsibility, basic personal finance, and common sense. I don't know if it would do any good as it's probably the home environment that is the determining factor in people staying poor who are born into a poor environment. I find it amazing that people want to blame the "system" for poverty in this country. Seems to me, that if you're in poverty in perhaps the easiest country in the world to make a decent living that the problem isn't the "system" but rather your personal skills.

And it doesn't take alot of money to get by. My wife and I have never made more than 50k in a year (we live in the Baltimore/Philadelphia area). I in fact, don't even make 20K a year (grad student) and we have a baby. Yet, I have thousands of dollars worth of bikes, race most weekends, we have a DVD, computer, have managed to invest somewhat. In short, there is little we do without other than seeing each other, since we necessarily work opposite schedules so one of us can watch the baby while the other works.
You show me a family of 3 that can't live on 30K and I will showKristin
Jun 11, 2003 5:57 AM
you how they can. Its rediculous to say that someone can't live on $30-50 g's a year. I can't believe you guys would even assert this. Have you ever been poor? They can't make it in your area? Okaaaay... Move. Not everyone can live in Beverly Hills--does that mean that someone should complain because their 50K salary doesn't get them by? That's a joke. I just bought a $90,000 condo in a not so hot neighborhood because I couldn't afford to buy a $160,000 townhome in a neighborhood I would prefer. Such is life. I'm just thankful to be building equity.

A family of 3 can live on $30K, and I can show you how. More than 2 kids? Well, lets hope they were doing better than $30K before Buffy was born. If so, then perhaps they have reached hard times and would be an excellent example of what's good about welfare. They get temporary help through food pantries and basic staple products like milk and rice, until they get back on their feet.

The problem is welfare fraud. If you ever checked at a grocery store, then you should have been taught what welfare and WICA can be used for and what they can't. They can be used for stables such as milk, formula, diapers, rice, eggs, beans, etc... They can not be used for tabacco, booze, candy, non 100% fruit juice, hair products etc... The problem is that there are plenty of people who will exchange welfare for cash which is then spent to buy innappropriate products.
You show me a family of 3 that can't live on 30K and I will showpurplepaul
Jun 11, 2003 9:24 AM
I thoroughly agree with you, Kristin. Even in NYC there are plenty of people who make do with sub $20K incomes. A few of my friends live in tiny one room studios with a bathroom in the hallway, pay about $500/month, but they're in very good neighborhoods. They give up space for safety and convenience.

I don't know what the status of our welfare hotels is, but there was a time when NYC was paying $1500/month per room for poor families to stay there. One of them was right across the street from Macy's, not exactly an inexpensive part of town. Of course, the building itself looked like a bomb hit it, and there were tons of kids, drug dealers and prostitutes everywhere. I was in college at the time and $1500/month sounded like a dream to me. You easily could have had a two bedroom near Central Park for that back then.

So, our taxes paid for a horrendously overpriced slum where people spent whatever money they had on things they didn't need, and could afford to do so since everything they did need was given to them.

Welfare fraud is a problem, though I think it is a distant second to the very concept of getting something for nothing in condemning people to perpetual dependence on the state.

Now, if you really want to get angry, start looking at the numbers involved in corporate welfare. Makes family welfare look like nothing.
Section 8Live Steam
Jun 11, 2003 10:19 AM
The link below shows what someone may be eligible for under Section 8 of the HUD charter. This is specifically for Westchester, NY. It varies from locale to locale.

This link is for the main HUD web site.
Let's see.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 10:54 AM
When I was making arond $30K, I was taking home around $1500 a month. Now, in my area you would already spend half of that on rent for a studio in a part of town wholly unsuitable for raising kids. That leaves $700 for utilities, transportation, food, childcare etc. While certain members of the board are making a lot of hay because I live in Albany, rent in notoriously unwholesome neighboring cities like Oakland and Richmond is about the same.

True, a family could move even farther into the boondocks and save on rent. But the money saved would quickly be eaten up by the increase in transportation costs, plus the longer time spent commuting would mean more spent on childcare. Hardly a solution.

Maybe they should move to another city. Maybe all the poor should move to cities where the cost of living is low. Of course, that would drive up the cost of living and drive down wages. Again, not a solution.

In fact, I have been poor, which is why I know that a) many of the pat answers provided by conservatives to the problems of the poor are unworkable and b) not all of the poor trade in their food stamps for booze, cigarettes and junk food.
Jun 11, 2003 11:03 AM
BTW, I heard on the radio, but can't recall the show, that a single parent of one child making $20k a year actually can pay no taxes and qualify for about another $20k a year in government (non taxable) benefits. This could refute the argument that the "poor" pay taxes, meaning a income tax credit is justified.

The benefits include child care tax credit, earned income credit (same thing?), housing assistance, food stamps, training, and several other things listed that I can't recall. Housing assistance was a big one. (That $1500 a month apartment in the Bay Area may cost someone only $200 a month with subsidy.)

Don't know the sources, but if true, it's fairly significant information.

Unless you manage to cancel those programs.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 11:29 AM
So, the fact that benefits allow poor families to get by justifies cutting those benefits because it proves that poor families don't have trouble getting by?

I'm confused.
not the pointDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 12:27 PM
The point was in response to other messages discussing the child "credit" for people who pay no income tax, but otherwise pay other forms forms of taxes. While it is a good point that they pay other forms of taxes, the net over all is that they already can receive more in public benefits than the possibly could pay in taxes, as much as their gross salary, even. If so, an additional "credit" cannot be justified in terms of offsetting taxes paid.

Now I see.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 12:39 PM
Within the narrow hypothetical you propose (a person who earns 20K and receives 20K in benefits), you have a point.
Let's see.purplepaul
Jun 11, 2003 11:31 AM
I certainly agree that there are no simple solutions to poverty, especially since there's no consensus on just what poverty's definition is. I also agree that not all poor spend what they are given foolishly. However, it should not be possible for them to do so. It's not their money, it's ours. And I don't think it's asking too much for them to remember that.

Should poor people be relocated to less expensive areas? Well, let me ask you this: if I can't afford my rent, should I be forced to move somewhere less expensive, or should I expect the government to pay for me to live where I want? What if I have kids?

Frankly, it would be nice to see the results of a study on poverty that isn't paid for by poverty enablers. Understanding why people remain in poverty would do more to lift them out than anything that's been done thus far.

Some conservatives are no doubt guilty of wishing the poor away. But liberals are guilty of doing things that ensure that the poor remain poor. I know that's not the intention. But there are still people b!tching (why can't we say b!tch on this board?) about the welfare reforms that Clinton instituted despite the positive results. I really believe that when society treats people as if they aren't capable, they become so. And so many of the social programs reinforce that belief. And cost us a fortune in the process.
But on the other hand. . .czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 12:03 PM
True, many liberals were not pleased with Clinton's welfare reforms. Then again, look how many Conservatives are still griping about the New Deal. Are you telling me that there were no positive results?

Moreover, Conservatives absolutely refuse to take responsibility for the problems that their ideology created in the first place. To hear them tell the tale, you'd think that economic libertarianism and social darwinism represent some kind of brave new world. But the fact of the matter is that the failure of the policies that Conservatives embrace are the very reason Liberalism came to be.

Obviously, many of Liberalism's "answers" are kludges, and there is likely a better way somewhere in the middle ground. But rather than find that middle ground, Conservatives denounce these programs as Communism and Socialism, i.e. evil on their face. The only "alternatives" Conservatives have represent a retreat to failed policies of the past.

As for relocating, many people are caught in a Catch 22 where they can't find housing where they can find work, but they can't find work where they can find housing. What's the good of moving to an area you can "afford" if it diminishes your earnings to the point that you can't afford it after all.
not black and whiteDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 1:07 PM the "all or nothing" or "right or wrong" sense.

Neither conservativism or liberalism in an extreme would be good. It's a constant, dynamic struggle between the two that probably gives a pretty good result. Now and then, one side may go too far, and needs to be yanked back a little. Or, a third idea may be better yet. Sometimes many of the issues are not right or wrong, but a matter of degree.

So, it's not that conservative (or liberals) denounce "middle ground," but that to get to middle ground, you have to pull hard enough to get things moved from the other side, that is, appear to be more extremist than your realistic result is likely to be. It's sort of like a huge, complex negotiation. Gotta ask for more than you hope to get. Don't tell me you don't do it all the time. We all do.

So, you know darn well that conservatives don't want to abolish all assistance for the poor or declare all business regulations void. It's a matter of degree, and we simply disagree upon the level of these things.

There are a few black and white issues, and they are likely the most devisive -- abortion, death penalty -- hard to have much of a gray area there.

I disagree, especially considering today's conservativism.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 1:30 PM
Conservativism as represented by the GOP is not an ideology or a "side" in a struggle to acheive middle ground. It is dogma that allows no compromise, lest its righteousness be tainted by the "evil" of socialism. It's solutions are presented as the absolute truth.

I don't know as a matter of fact that there is a moderate face behind the conservative mask of extremism. Why would I assume so, when Conservatives continue to pursue supply-side economics and deregulation despite their track record of failure?

And what of the naked hypocrisy of soaring deficits during the Reagan/Bush era, agitation for balanced budget amendments during the Clinton era, justification of a return to deficits during the second Bush era, and new rumbling for another balanced budget amendment to take effect after the presumed date when Bush will hand the economy he has pillaged back to a Democrat to fix? We all know that the tactic is to starve the government to the point that it has to cut services, but you'll never hear Bush own up to it. This is not a party that is interested in the honest brokering of solutions, or honesty at all. They are interested in power, and there is no gray area about it.
no compromise?DougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 1:48 PM
You know, about 9 times out of 10 you can make legitimate points, even if I disagree. This one, though, is way off base. "...dogma that allows no compromise"? I challenge you on that one. Name one prominent conservative who said anything like "abolish all social programs" or anything like that. I think you are sooooo far to the left, so fanatical in your thinking, that you see conservatives that way, but it's far from fair or the truth.

Heck, I'll own up to hoping to reduce taxes so that goverment size and programs must be reduced. I think that's perfectly legitimate. Government will spend every dime, and then some, that it takes in, so the only way to reduce spending is to give it less money.

I could take almost exactly what you said and subsitute liberal for conservative, etc., and it would make just as much sense to half the country's voters -- "This is not a party (Democrats) that is interested in the honest brokering of solutions, or honesty at all. They are interested in power, and there is no gray area about it."

Come on, I was offering a glimpse of honest reality, even self-deprecating, and you are sticking to your fanatical guns. Your extremism is harming your credibility this time.

I really don't see it.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 2:14 PM
Guaging by whether or not they specifically say "abolish all social programs" is not helpful since they Conservatives are so dishonest about their agenda. Its the ends that matter, not the means. Starving the government to the point that it cannont hope to provide Medicare and Social Security is the same as trying to abolish it. You'll own up to it, but Bush will dissemble his agenda in to some kind of populist Robin Hood act, only more "fair".

Frankly, your opinion that I am a far-left fringe fanatic hints at the converse: that you are so far right you can no longer recognize the center. What, other than my view of the right marks me as a leftist? I am for a baseline of services that guaruntees the basic health, sustinance and shelter for all. And by basic, I am talking about minimun calories necessary for health, a cot in a warm, safe environment and aid for job training and/or loans for education. Yet I am tarred over and over again as some kind of communist wealth reallocator. Whatever.

Any time a "liberal" tries to broach a middle ground plan that will appeal to the vast majority of American's view about social justice and helping out the needy, Conservative derail the debate with a hail of apocryphal tales about how the "poor" watch plasm-screen TV's all day and have two BMW's parked on their lawns. How can you claim that Conservatives don't want to abolish welfare when they refuse to recognize that there is even anyone worthy of it?

Incidentally, the government under Clinton didn't spend every dime it took in (unless I am incorrect about the surplus).
Jun 11, 2003 11:43 AM
Oakland? Why is that? Is it because the population of African Americans is so much greater than Albany? Why don't you live out your platitudes and move there, since it would have little bearing on your income or your expenses, and it would get you closer to those you really care about while writing your tax-checks and tipping generously.

You seem to have pejorative race attitudes on the brain.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 12:10 PM
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is due to your relatively homogeneous background.

I have lived in Oakland, and have many friends who still do. None with kids, of course. Pollution, underfunded schools, poor access to parks and play areas, high traffic etc. make it undesirable.
If it's so undesirable, why isn't rent cheaper there? (nm)TJeanloz
Jun 11, 2003 12:15 PM
Perfectly suitable for yuppies.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 12:17 PM
And much cheaper than San Francisco.
This is just too funnyLive Steam
Jun 11, 2003 12:26 PM
I am ashamed to say that I didn't pick up on the "unwholesome" part :O) Can you believe this guy?

I'll pay my share so I don't have to live next door to the "unwashed masses". Across the bay is close enough.
Personally, I think your ignorance is sad, not funny.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 12:34 PM
But I also find it rather frustrating, so I guess the joke is on me.

You obviously have no knowledge of the Bay Area or its demographics. Or you do, realize that it blows your pernicious thesis out of the water, and decided to that smearing me falsely was more fun than showing a bit of class and admitting you are wrong (for once!).
I am truly sorry ....Live Steam
Jun 11, 2003 1:29 PM
I didn't realize that Albany was on the east coast of the Bay. No need to move across the Bay to Oakland. Just head a little south. I guess I was wrong on that one :O)

I have a friend in Alamo which is right next door. He rides Mt. Diablo. Tells me I should come out to do some riding. Hey maybe when I visit him, we could get together for a drink and hash out the Worlds problems over a beer :O)
Beer never solved anything. . .czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 1:32 PM
. . .but that doesn't mean we should give up on it.
Whew! I thought ....Live Steam
Jun 11, 2003 2:12 PM
I would get one of your acrid responses. I give you permission to use one of my little smiley faces to denote the lightheartedness in your response :O) Wow a crack in the facade? Beer solves many things including thirst after a long ride!

You know it's funny that most if not all of us would not be talking to each other in person like we correspond here on this board, and for a few reasons. One, we would more than likely be discussing cycling and two, most people who want to keep their friends leave politics and religion out of the mix. However this board is to exchange ideas and the General forum is for cycling related issues, thus the non-cycling forum is for discussing what's on our minds besides cycling. It is not for attacking each other, at least not in a vicious way. Sacheson I think does not understand this. If I ever come out that way and you want to have a beer, I would be happy to join you, no matter what moneyman says about you :O)
Cripes, what a load of horse. . .czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 2:40 PM
. . .sense.

But, I discuss religion and politics with my friends all the time. You can really get into some knock-down-drag-out debates with someone you've known for years (and know isn't really out to damage you).
Just looking at your area breifly, I'd say yesKristin
Jun 11, 2003 12:20 PM
If I had a wife and small child and only earned $30K/year, then I'd either have to rely on welfare or leave the state of California. Personally, if it were me, I'd find assistance to move and go some place (like Chicago or Washington DC) where I could live on my salary.
That is not a description of being poorContinental
Jun 11, 2003 1:20 PM
You had food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and opportunity. I'm sure that you had some entertainment and leasure. I can't decide if this is a great nation because many people seriously consider those conditions to be poverty, or if we live in a nation on the brink of social collapse because a large portion of the population, who have some of the highest living standards in the history of mankind, consider themselves to be the victims of those with more material wealth.
It wasn't intended to be.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 1:54 PM
I was talking about someone making $30K. You might want to sit down for this: a lot of people don't even make $30K. Some work full time and don't even make $20K. Can you imagine!? (Wait, of course you can't) And incidentally, when I was making $30K I was barely taking home 2/3 after taxes, and my average return was about $500.

It probably seems like a great nation to you because you are so misinformed or self-deluded about the standards of living in your country. Apparently, anyone who isn't sleeping under the freeway and eating out of garbage cans should keep their ingrate mouths shut. And if they were, well they are sleeping under the finest freeways and eating the finest garbage in the world, so maybe they should count their blessings. They could be dead.
define poverty?DougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 2:07 PM
So, what is poverty in America? Don't define it in terms of gross income, but unmet needs, maybe.

Anyone malnourished and/or unhoused. . .czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 2:59 PM
. . .and without the opportunity to improve themselves.

It seems that the case against the poor rests on the assumption that this is a land of abundant opportunity such that anyone who fails to grasp it is a victim of their own laziness. But the facts on the ground are that many people are stuck in a hand-to-mouth cycle that does not leave them time for education or job hunting, and does not allow them to save up the resources to relocate. Kids are raised in dilapidated, underfunded and unaccredited schools, and then derided for their lack of education. Single mothers are forced off of welfare and into jobs that don't pay their original bills, don't pay for the additional childcare that they now require, and don't train them for any position that ever will allow them to be self sufficient.
Anyone malnourished and/or unhoused. . .purplepaul
Jun 11, 2003 3:09 PM
What you described is not the lack of opportunity to improve, but the squandering of that opportunity. Becoming a single mother is a great way to lock yourself into poverty. Knowing that your kid will be going to awful schools may be a clue that you should wait until you can afford better schools before you have the kid. Making the schools better is a goal, but it's not the current reality.

It's amazing to me when I hear really poor immigrants talk about this country because I've never heard one say anything other than, "If you want to work, there's a job here for you." I believe that to be true simply because enough people have told me that. I have also met people who wouldn't help me clean the floor of our skating rink before indoor practice because they felt it was beneath them. Invariably, they were poor and angry about being so.
Jun 11, 2003 3:38 PM
First, let's not assume that woman who becom single mothers chose to do so. Let's also not pretend that marriage is the answer to the situation, when 50% fail anyway.

Becoming a single mother is great way to doom yourself to poverty. But if you are poor in the first place, just about any frailty, misstep or plan gone wrong is a great way to doom yourself to poverty. Since we know people of all backgrounds make mistakes, it seems cruel to keep the stakes so high for those who are most vulnerable.

But even if you feel that these mothers are getting what they deserve, what about their children? What opportunity are the children squandering?

And why is it not current reality to make schools better? And if you yourself went to an awful school, and so did your parents, might that effect your ability to make wise decisions?
Jun 11, 2003 4:24 PM
I have to assume that the VAST majority of single mothers wanted a kid since it is so easy for them to a)not become pregnant b)terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Throw in an unfulfilling life, a desire for something to love and no need to pay for it, and BINGO another child doomed to poverty is born.

Since the stakes are so high, society should make it as difficult as possible for a person living in poverty to have a child. Financial disincentives are one way to do that. However, if society is unwilling to deny money and care to children born into poverty, then something other than financial pressure must be used. I'm not sure there's anything else as effective. But, if a mother has a child that she knows she can't take care of, I say it's her responsibility to find a way to do so. I don't think too many would go that route if they saw how awful life is for others in that situation. It's not fair for the child, but it's a way of minimising the number of children born into such deprived circumstances.

"And why is it not current reality to make schools better? And if you yourself went to an awful school, and so did your parents, might that effect your ability to make wise decisions?"

The current reality is that schools in poor areas tend to be awful. That will hopefully change for the better, but it'd be stupid to anticipate the change when contemplating having a child.

Even the worst schools could show the consequences of having a child and maintaining a culture of victimhood instead of working so hard to create a false sense of pride. I don't believe we should have to hold a person's hand all through life. At some point, bad schools, bad parents, bad decisions fade into the backround and the person takes over. Sure, they're not as likely to succeed as someone who came from a good backround. But should we really be encouraging those who currently have no prospect of becoming contributing members of society to keep up the good work?

I'd say no. Removing financial support is one way to force people to re-evaluate their choices and their options. Some will feel screwed, others empowered. But society would no longer be complicit in the failure of those stuck in poverty.
I'm not sure economic dissincentives are effective.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 4:48 PM
If as you say, a life of poverty is the clear consequence of single motherhood even to the young women going down that path, then you have to acknowledge that it current consequences do not discourage nearly enough of them.

If you can find a way to make motherhood a burden without diminishing the child's chance of overcoming his mother's mistakes, then I'm on board. The problem is that most programs designed to force these women to deal with the consequences of their mistakes punish the children unjustly and perpetuate the circumstances under which these attitudes of hopelessness and ignorance of consequence thrive.

FWIW, I don't think you'll find an abundance of false pride in welfare situations. What you will find is a sense of futility that sees a world stacked against the poor and reasons that one may as well get what small pleasures one can because there's little hope no matter how hard one tries.
I'm not sure economic dissincentives are effective.purplepaul
Jun 11, 2003 6:26 PM
I don't think the economic disincentives are powerful enough since very few teenagers think that they'll be left to fend for themselves. If they knew that the gov. wasn't going to provide for them, and saw their slightly older peers having trouble coping with that predicament, I believe it would curb their behavior big time. Of course, I could be wrong. But it's inconceivable to me that they would put themselves into a situation where their very survival is in doubt. That leads to: what should be done if they do it anyway? As disturbing as it is to contemplate, I'd say: nothing. Or, perhaps charities would step in. But it should be clear that bringing a child into poverty is not a choice that will be supported by society.

Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to withhold from the mother without depriving the child, unless the government confiscated the child (not something I'd suggest).

I agree that one's pride is wounded living under welfare. That's why I don't understand why schools are trying so hard to counterfeit pride in students. They should be focusing on reality and any limitations standing in the way of each student's chances for success, not dumbing down tests so as not to wound the pride of individuals who will be left utterly unprepared for life outside the classroom.
Teenager = Perception of Invincibility.czardonic
Jun 12, 2003 10:24 AM
No teenager thinks that "it" is going to happen to "them". They aren't going to get pregnant. They aren't going to die due to reckless or drunk driving. They aren't going to do something stupid if they take drugs. They aren't going to end up dead on the street if they join a gang. They aern't going to break their neck hurling themselve over a staricase into traffic on their bike/skateboard. Moreover, they don't care what society "supports". That is practically the defining feature of being a teenager.

Unfortunately, pregnancy is a responsibility that humans can saddle themselves with long before they are mature enough to handle it. But it doesn't need to be a sentence to a lifetime of poverty, and there is no humane reason to make it so.

I don't think that browbeating kids over their parent's failings is the answer to anything. What is this "counterfeit pride" you are talking about? Letting some poor kid feel that maybe he isn't a born loser? Giving him credit for progress that he has made, rather than denigrating him for the progress that he hasn't?
Teenager = Perception of Invincibility.purplepaul
Jun 12, 2003 2:50 PM
Some teens have the invincibility syndrome. Not all do. I believe that many of the teens who have kids do so because other teens have done it and perhaps their own parents have. If, instead of seeing other teens financially supported, they see them having to get a job in spite of having a baby, and they hear first hand from someone their own age how much it sucks, I think their thought process would be impacted.

There are plenty of people who are sentenced to a lifetime of poverty. Why should those who actively court it be exempted? It would do everybody a great favor if the consequences of actions were passed down from generation to generation. Except, instead of being taught that society will bail you out for this and that, they'll teach their kids that it won't. So the only answer will be, "don't have kids." Sure, some will do it anyway. Some will have families that will support them. Others won't. But the sum total should be vastly less than what it is now.

And who said anything about browbeating? Schools now are discouraging smart kids from being seen as smart because it wounds the pride of the not so smart. That's BS. Curriculums center around feel good cultural drivel that will do students no good regardless of how they feel in the moment. Tests are made so that no student will fail. So, again, I say that this is counterfeiting pride rather than creating an honest to goodness knowledge of what each individual is capable of. Also, this fantasy of telling kids that they can be whatever they want to be doesn't help. Then when they don't, who gets the blame? I think that giving kids a false sense of themselves is cruel.
Jun 12, 2003 3:37 PM
Skipping ahead to your final point, which seems to be that it is wrong to tell kids that they can be whatever they want to be, I can only refer you to an informal concept known as The American Dream. It is really alarming to see this kind of elitist dogma gaining respectibility among supposed conservatives. I bet even a remedial student in some inner-city school could point out how your attitude contradicts the stated beleifs of the Founding Fathers.

Who is sentenced to a lifetime of poverty? Are you somehow logging in from the McKinley era? "Don't have kids" is already the message. Fewer and fewer are, but some still do, and a few always will no matter how draconian a punishment you can cook up.

How do schools discourage smart kids from being seen as smart? By sending them to the "intellectual ghettos" of the Honors Program? I'm no proponent of dumbed down tests or social promotion, but get real.
Jun 12, 2003 5:22 PM
You're the one who needs to get real. Kids can be whatever they want to be. Yeah, that's realistic. So go ahead and neglect your studies because you WILL become a pro basketball, football or baseball player. Right. Even the most talented need to know the odds against success. I would feel much more comfortable if they told kids that they are free to TRY to be what they want to be, rather than just spout some crap about magically becoming the next J-Lo or whatever if you just believe, which is what is being done. So stop attributing your prejudiced beliefs of what I must be thinking, because you're all wrong.

Next, way too many teens are having children. Remember the stats on out of wedlock births among the black population? Something needs to be done.

As for your last point, you truly don't know what you're talking about. From a teacher friend of mine I know that smart students in NYC public schools are being told not to answer questions because they are making the less gifted feel inadequate. So there. Now you know how schools are discouraging smart kids from being seen as smart. In addition, the smartest students get graded harsher than others in their same class, again, so they won't wound the pride of anyone less capable. Of course, they aren't said to be less capable because that would wound them as well. So it must be one hell of a shock when they don't get the best jobs because they've been shielded from themselves their whole school career.
Poetic Justice.czardonic
Jun 12, 2003 5:44 PM
I hope that you are really, really outraged by these outlandish caricatures you are citing. Anyone who would teach kids that they can be a pro athlete without years of dedication and training is out of touch. So is anyone who believs that this is commonly taught to kids.

Why are you so worried about the black population?
Nope, no justice.purplepaul
Jun 12, 2003 6:26 PM
Of course I'm outraged. And if you realized that they are not "outlandish caricatures" but rather the result of years of idiotic teaching policies you'd be outraged too. So, you think it's not commonly taught to kids? What is it when actors, singers and athletes, the people that kids REALLY listen to, stand at a podium and accept awards, thank God and tell the children that "you can be whatever you want to be if you just believe." Then, the kids don't give a damn about schoolwork, because that's not cool, and they focus instead on their dreams. Good teachers, few though they are in public schools, will steer their kids through this unrealistic dream. But most teachers in poor schools are not good. Indeed, many don't even teach! They are just concerned with not being assaulted by the students or their parents should they dare to give them a bad grade. So, they pass students who should never be passed, and if they ever do fail a student, there's very little chance that the principle will back them up. So the good teachers usually leave for better schools, or get out of teaching altogether. That leaves the schools with bad teachers who have bad or no ideas on how to teach, and students who could give a damn anyway. I guess it's just easier to say, "you go on and follow your dreams." Mind you, I'm summing up the experiences of several friends of mine who were teachers in NYC public schools.

As for you last question, I used blacks as an example because the teen pregnancy rates are worst among them. Is there something wrong with citing that?
Not much reality, either.czardonic
Jun 12, 2003 6:42 PM
Celebrities are not teachers. When they talk to kids they are not trying to teach, they are trying to inspire (ostensibly). It is then the job of society to provide the opportunity and means, through teachers, schools (as far as educational resources go). And as you freely admit, society is not providing competent teachers of adequate schools. And as you just as freely admit, you are not interested in solving these problems.

Rather, you are interested in perpetuating the notion that poor kids can't get good jobs because they are too ignorant, that they are ignorant because they are lazy, and that they are lazy because their parents and teachers are inexplicably misleading them about the efforts needed to suceed.

What I find inexplicable is how you could miss the countless messages I see celebrities (e.g. Kobe Bryant) delivering about how they only got where they were through hard work and determination. Maybe Sprite doesn't buy ad time on Fox News?

How many "years of idiotic teaching policies" are we talking about anyway?

What is wrong with your comment is that it race is completely irrelevant to the argument. . .except to you, since you deem it necessary to specify that black teens are the problem.
Oh, what it must be like to be in your head.purplepaul
Jun 12, 2003 7:06 PM
You seem awfully comfortable accusing me of all sorts of things, which I guess I should have expected by now. However, it's grown tiresome. So, to finish this off, no, black teens are not THE problem, but they are disproportionately a PART of the problem. Apparently, you see nothing at all significant that vastly more blacks are born to out of wedlock mothers than other races. Perhaps keeping separate statistics for races offend you. Well, that kind of thinking is THE problem. There's nothing wrong with citing black unwed teens. What would be irrelevant would be to cite unwed Asian mothers as apparently the rate isn't very high. So get a grip and learn to deal with reality. It's no secret that blacks are underperforming other races. I think you're the one who points it out the most.

And it's not that I'm uninterested in solving the problems. I just don't see how there's a chance until the parents take responsibility for their actions. You seem to think that is asking too much. Fine.

Nowhere did I state or infer that poor kids are lazy or that they should accept that they are just screwed. I did say they're not interested in school, and I believe that's accurate given what my teacher friends said, not that disinterest is limited to poor kids. You must have missed that I felt it would be preferable to tell kids that they are free to try to be whatever they want. That would teach kids that they need to work hard to reach a goal, but would not hold out a false promise that all they have to do is want it and they will get it. That's not realistic. I think my way is kinder than your way and more likely to achieve results.

As for your Sprite ads, regardless of what is said in a 30 second commercial highlighting a winner of the life lottery, kids are not getting the message. And schools are part of the problem because they reinforce not working by just passing kids who are undeserving. I really think you're not aware of much of what you speak.
Your statistic would have been relevant w/o race.czardonic
Jun 13, 2003 11:12 AM
Why not just cite "teen pregnancy". Perhaps because "teen pregnancy" is not a problem in general, as I suggested? Perhaps because what troubles you about teen pregnancy is not its actual rate, but the percentage of that rate that is attributable to blacks?

The problem with your type of thinking is that it focuses on "fixing" blacks, rather than on the problem at hand. Why do black teens have higher rates? Because they are black? If not, then why bother pointing it out?
that seems fairDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 3:11 PM
I don't mind your definition. In fact, I think it's a fairly conservative (small "c") definition.

There is no "case against the poor." There may be a case against liberals for their methods to help the poor, but that's not the same.

No one wants to see people malnourished, homeless, or uneducated. The issue is how to avoid it as much as possible, both presently and to stop the cascade from one generation to the next. This is extremely complex, as you know, with a combination of many social, psychological, economic, and political factors. For example, you mention "single mothers are forced to live off welfare..." Why are they having children out of wedlock? Just an example of an issue. I'm not saying I know the solution, but wouldn't it be better to enourage policies that prevent the very situations that increase the likelihood of poverty?

By the "case against the poor". . .czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 3:25 PM
. . .I am refering to the mischaracterization of the poor as dominated by people driving expensive cars, stocking their homes with expensive electronics and spending their government checks on malt liquor and lottery tickets.

I'm all for family planning, sex education etc. Most Liberals are, but it is yet another realm where (many) Conservatives are more interested in dogma than constructive, realistic approaches. You're never going to get young adults to stop having sex before marriage. At best you can get their parents to fool themselves into thinking that their child would never do such a thing.
You are completely wrong about my experience and valuesContinental
Jun 11, 2003 6:56 PM
Both of my grandfathers died during the Great Depression, leaving widows with young children. Both of my parents had 8th grade educations. My dad worked at the kind of jobs a person with an 8th grade education could get. Farm labor. Egg packing plant. My mom was a housewife with 7 kids. I worked to get through college and qualified for foodstamps until I was 27 years old, but never considered using them. My grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, and I never considered ourselves poor and we didn't need any Liberal pity. We never resented the people who were better off than us. My values are no different now that I'm making $140K than they were when I was making $14K. I have lived in close proximity to true poverty in the U.S. I know that some good people (probably 5% of the population)just don't have the skills it takes to survive in our economy, and they need help. Wacky liberal ideas like sending income tax refund checks to people who don't pay income tax may make you feel good, but it doesn't help these truely poor people. The absurd liberal philosphy that these people are victims of the rich does nothing to solve their problems. These people need government to be their guardian. I know that people barely making ends meet can become temporarily incapacitated physically, mentally, and emotionally. They need a helping hand. Tight, well controlled programs to meet the basic needs of these truly poor people would cost very little money.

I've also seen firsthand the abject poverty in parts of Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. I know that these people have little chance of pulling themselves up, and that great human talent and potential is wasted. The Global problem of abject poverty is incredibly complex, politically and socially as much, or more than, economically. Our efforts to alleviate this scourge are abysmal.

I think that Liberalism, as promoted and practiced today, is an impediment to improving life for the needy.
BINGO!!!!!!!!Live Steam
Jun 11, 2003 1:54 PM
"consider themselves to be the victims of those with more material wealth.

You hit the nail on the head. Many of the "poor" send their kids to school with $150 sneakers on their feet. Some admittedly send their kids to school in pajamas because they are still passed out from the previous nights drinking and partying, but that's a different issue.

The pathogenic worm of a liberal radio host, David Brock was even able to figure this one out. He was responding to Chris Mathews about the lack of character in America. He admitted that the problem today is that mass media has created an environment of immediacy, where those that are the "have nots" believe they have a "right" to objects of status such as expensive sneakers, designer clothes, etc. They see it all before them on TV. Their idols and heroes endorse these products and lifestyles and many believe they need to do what ever it takes to get them, including taking the easy way, through crime and cheating. The risk reward factor is not high enough to deter them from acting. I am probably not explaining this well, but in essence he said that they see the stuff on TV and believe they are entitled to it without the hard efforts it takes to get it.

Additionally many community leaders, and I use that term loosely, tell them that "the Man" is what is keeping them down. They fail to point out that success comes through hard work. No one wants to hear that. That takes too long. Who knows, we may have our own 1917 revolution someday.
Government cash disbursements not effective welfareContinental
Jun 11, 2003 3:45 AM
If a household in the US cannot provide basic needs (and I mean needs)it is highly likely that the household has problems that government cash disbursements will not solve. In these cases I think that government should provide basic food, shelter, childcare assistance, and medical care, but no cash. These basic needs are not expensive, and there are few who need government help to get them (with possible exception of decent healthcare). But now were talking about welfare, not crazy tax cuts to people who don't pay the tax. (I think the entire tax cut package is stupid in times of record defecit spending).

No way $30K is poor. Scraping by? I don't think government should try to eliminate the struggle to scrape by. I've been around the country, and by your definition I guess I grew up in abject poverty. Never was hungry, got a college degree.
Agree. I just wrote a whole post about a debit systemKristin
Jun 11, 2003 6:09 AM
Then I deleted it. But really, a good start for the welfare system would be to create a national bank of sorts and issue debit cards to recipients. These cards would only be good at certain grocery stores and what purchases can be paid for with that card would be controlled through the stores inventory at the register. You run the debit card through, the register calculates what is eligable for purchase, and then transfers that amount to the store. Then the balance must be paid for by some other means. But we're talking about the government and they are at least 2 decades behind the rest of the world in technology...despite having invented the internet and having sent a man to the moon.
If debits are for needs only it would be good and popular reformContinental
Jun 11, 2003 10:34 AM
I once lived in a neighborhood where foodstamps were equal to cash. You could buy anything, legal or illegal. The knuckleheads who develop welfare either don't know crap about street life or have agendas more important to them than efficiently helping the truly needy. I realize that someone would create a fraud for the debit system too, but it would be less widespread.
here is what they should doDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 10:51 AM
Issue debit cards instead of foodstamps, but have the system track by UPC items purchased; make retailers liable for selling illegal items; put ID photo on debit card.

That's what I just said!Kristin
Jun 11, 2003 12:04 PM
Thanks for interpretting.
sorry; must have missed itDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 12:12 PM
reading parts of threads days apart means I miss or forget about some messages.

Jun 11, 2003 12:13 PM
Now I see it; that pretty much is the same thing, huh? I feel silly. Never mind.

median *family* income in US is about $40k nmDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 10:08 AM
Proof that we are an impoverished nation! (nm)TJeanloz
Jun 11, 2003 10:32 AM
Redistrubute income evenly--taxes for average family go way upContinental
Jun 11, 2003 10:40 AM
If every household had equal income, then the taxpayer now making the average income would have to pay way more federal and state income tax than they do now.
median could be very different than average nmDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 10:47 AM
2000 census median = $51K, mean = $65K for family of 3.17Continental
Jun 11, 2003 12:54 PM

$30 K/yr still isn't poor.
looks right; last figures I had were 1995 nmDougSloan
Jun 11, 2003 1:09 PM
if you include people like gates and warren buffet nmColnagoFE
Jun 11, 2003 12:54 PM
You are such a hypocritemoneyman
Jun 11, 2003 7:22 AM
In so many ways. You scream about the mistreatment of the poor, yet you won't lift a finger to help out unless it's writing a check. And even then, you only write it because the law says you have to, although you are a generous tipper.

You insist that the world do more for minorities and working poor, while you live in the tony, lily-white town of Albany, California. I got some information from Albany's website ( that was really interesting. Ethnic makeup - White - 66%, Asian/Pacific Islander - 20%, Hispanic 8%, African-American 6%. Median Single Family Home Price: $245,750 (August 1999)
Mean Household Income: $61,400 (1995 adjusted). Sounds like a real destitute place to me.

So now we've got you pegged - white yuppie, above average income, well educated, unwilling to help when help is needed, derides those who do help, and lives away from the unwashed masses in his protected white-flight compound in the suburbs.

Now pardon me, but I have a volunteer board meeting to attend, but only after I finish some other volunteer duties raising money for cancer survivors. Then I have to get some work done so I can continue contributing my money as well as my time and talent. By the way - when you watch Gilligan's Island tonight, in between paying your taxes and tipping your gardener, pay careful attention and let us know which episode it was.

ROFLOL Gilligan's Island!!! nmLive Steam
Jun 11, 2003 7:33 AM
In addition to that, I've personally nicknamed him...No_sprint
Jun 11, 2003 8:32 AM
Mr. Contrary, amongst other things. When I first was introduced to him, I expressed my opinions without personally attacking anyone, he followed with personal attacks and even name calling. I pointed it out on several occasions. He seemed to try to convince me that my opinions were somehow *wrong* and seemingly tried to change my interpretation of facts, while I did neither.

I now rarely if ever read him.

I didn't read this opening post or any other messages in this thread other than yours, $$.
lol (nm)czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 10:39 AM
Looks like the pot's calling the kettle white now.czardonic
Jun 11, 2003 11:26 AM
    So now we've got you pegged - white yuppie, above average income, well educated, unwilling to help when help is needed, derides those who do help, and lives away from the unwashed masses in his protected white-flight compound in the suburbs.

LOL. Takes one to know one, I guess. Or, at least takes one to think you know one. Or maybe it just takes some deluded, out-of-touch blowhard from Cheyenne freakin' Wyoming. You know, the type who calls a town that is 66% White "lily white", when his own community is nearly 85% White. You call me a hypocrite in "so many ways", but evidently not in so many ways that you can't distinguish yourself in the field.

Tell me about the homeless shelters in your community that enjoys 3.4% unemployment, and rents for 2 bedroom appartments that average $453. I was going to tease you about how your singular efforts stemming the tide of social ills, but it turns out that this is entirely plausible.

I see you are still mischaracterizing my stance on tax funded public services. Really speaks you your intellectual honesty. But I can see why someone who won't lift a finger unless he can brag about it on the internet (reluctantly, of course) would be puzzled by someone who cares more about making sure services are there than turning those services into a platform for his business, church or ego.