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Thread: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    Because I know what a lot of my family's bills are. Many of them struggle to make ends meet, and none have credit cards.

    I also know what we live off of. My husband's base pay now is more than what some people make in a month, and we still struggle just to pay for food, insurance, child needs, cable/internet/phone, and have a little extra money each month for savings. His base pay now is more than he was making when we lived in NC and had to pay rent and utilities. I know people who are struggling.

    And it isn't that hard to calculate how much it would cost for someone to try to live off of min. wage or even a little higher. I have done it a few times before in other threads. You can easily do it by looking up the average cost or even low end costs for living expenses in different cities.

    But, one of the things that many fail to grasp is that there are people out there who are doing decent, you know 2 incomes, good paying job, making enough to pay all their bills and have a little extra, then something happens. A person moves out, the job goes down hill, an unexpected bill comes up, and now the person could easily be sitting with several year or 2 year contracts for all/most their bills and are struggling to make it. Things happen in life.
    Oh, totally agree, the problem is that is a personal responsibility issue and the only solution is "tough" love unless you have another solution. I remember those days well when my pay didn't cover the monthly bills so we did without a lot of things and cut those bills until my pay grew and then I added those bills back in. We just did without which is what many don't seem to understand. That is why I say that things people want get in the way of the things that they need so they get themselves into trouble with credit cards and buy what they want on credit and what they need with cash and the credit card payments then exceed the cash on hand.

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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by Dickieboy View Post
    According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,700 square feet in 2009, up from 1,400 square feet in 1970.
    Read more: U.S. Home Size — Infoplease.com U.S. Home Size — Infoplease.com

    In the past 20 years (Sep 88 to Sept 08):
    • Total American debt increased 258%.
    • Revolving credit increased 450%
    • Non-revolving increased 196%.

    Debt Statistics | Credit.com

    Sure there are plenty of folks that do not ‘fit in the mold’ but the statistics prove the point. Whether you want to accept it or not.
    And many of those who are struggling are probably not living in a house at all or at least not one they had much say in how big it was built. Many are probably living in an apartment or possibly a rental house. Many more bought a house within their price range in the area that they had a job in.

    Are people building houses that big or simply buying already built houses that big? Who decides how big the average home is built now days, a family or a company building homes in an area?

    And I know plenty of people who are struggling to make it and do not have a credit card at all.

    Plus, how much have bills increased as compared to income?

    I'm pretty sure most people thought that they were going to be able to easily afford those things, and then something happened.

    And it isn't as simple as either "people aren't getting paid enough to afford what they need" or "people don't work hard enough to afford what they want". There are a lot of factors that go into whether people can afford to live how they are living or not and why. Unfortunately neither side wants to discuss this. Everyone just wants to blame the other. The problem is not black and white, and neither is the solution.
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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    This is just wrong and not really representative of what many face as far as where their money goes, especially those at the lower end of the pay scale. There are plenty of people who work their asses off, do not have credit cards, but still struggle to pay their basic bills, rent, phone, utilities, and groceries. You may not like it, but it is reality for many families.
    among JUST those classified by the Census Bureau as living in poverty:


    80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
    92 percent of poor households have a microwave.
    Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks (in the 1950's most families had one).
    Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.
    More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
    43 percent have Internet access.
    One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV....

    For decades, the living conditions of the poor have steadily improved. Consumer items that were luxuries or significant purchases for the middle class a few decades ago have become commonplace in poor households, partially because of the normal downward price trend that follows introduction of a new product...

    42 percent of poor households actually own their own homes.
    Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
    The average poor American has more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France, or the United Kingdom...

    The fact that the average poor household has many modern conveniences and experiences no substantial hardships does not mean that no families face hardships. As noted, the overwhelming majority of the poor are well housed and not overcrowded, but one in 25 will become temporarily homeless during the year. While most of the poor have a sufficient and fairly steady supply of food, one in five poor adults will experience temporary food shortages and hunger at some point in a year.

    The poor man who has lost his home or suffers intermittent hunger will find no consolation in the fact that his condition occurs infrequently in American society. His hardships are real and must be an important concern for policymakers. Nonetheless, anti-poverty policy needs to be based on accurate information. Gross exaggeration of the extent and severity of hardships in America will not benefit society, the taxpayers, or the poor....



    no one is saying that there aren't people in America who struggle to make ends meet. I've been one of those people - one of the one in five adults who has experienced temporary food shortages etc. One of our issues was that we were living in an apartment that cost a higher percentage of our budget than we should have been spending on housing. But to pretend that life was so much better back in the 50's is just bupkis.
    Last edited by cpwill; 11-03-11 at 12:42 AM.

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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by Conservative View Post
    Oh, totally agree, the problem is that is a personal responsibility issue and the only solution is "tough" love unless you have another solution. I remember those days well when my pay didn't cover the monthly bills so we did without a lot of things and cut those bills until my pay grew and then I added those bills back in. We just did without which is what many don't seem to understand. That is why I say that things people want get in the way of the things that they need so they get themselves into trouble with credit cards and buy what they want on credit and what they need with cash and the credit card payments then exceed the cash on hand.
    There's not much to cut when you have to have a place to live. Power is a must if you have anyone under 18 or elderly in your house, and is pretty much considered a necessity for most people. Same for water and sewage/trash. Most people need a car to go to work, especially if you live outside a major city. This means possibly a car payment and definitely insurance. And it means money for gas and maintenance. If you want any sort of decent job and plan to keep it, you also need a reliable phone. Then there is food and toiletries. And every now and then you will need some clothes and shoes. Low paying jobs pay about enough to take care of just this stuff for most people, in most places. There is normally not going to be any money left to pay for common sense things such as property insurance or health insurance, let alone savings. Every little dollar adds up when it comes to someone struggling to pay their bills and living off of barely anything.

    And I am telling you that many people who are at that low end of the totem don't have credit cards at all. They are still struggling though. In fact, I can tell you that the only person in my family that has credit cards right now is my husband, and they are low limit credit cards if we do need something and don't have money in the bank or have to have a credit card to get it.

    The solution is going to take a lot on both sides. Coming up with ways to improve wages without mandating min. wage increases. A UHC system would go a long way to dealing relieving people of health care costs (which are just way out of range for most at the bottom). Laying tax penalties on companies that ship jobs, in any way, overseas. Increase import fees and/or tariffs. Emphasize budgeting and financial management in high school. (Hell, it should be a mandatory class.) Find a way to lower tuition costs, which would then lower the cost of higher education. Get high school staff, especially counselors, to actually start evaluating high schoolers on what they want to be and why and actually helping them meet their goals, not pushing them toward the job that might make them the most money. Find a way to encourage health/scientific/public service careers over just what-will-make-me-the-most-money careers.

    I am not a genius. It will certainly take more than one person to work on this problem. But it is definitely not going to be solved by these protests or just giving some "tough love". Neither provides a reasonable, reality-based solution to the many issues.
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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    And I am telling you that many people who are at that low end of the totem don't have credit cards at all. They are still struggling though. In fact, I can tell you that the only person in my family that has credit cards right now is my husband, and they are low limit credit cards if we do need something and don't have money in the bank or have to have a credit card to get it.
    I do financial counseling in the military - and so I am dealing with junior enlisted who generally come from our lower to lower-middle class, and who make very little money. I think I could probably count the number of Marines who have come to me with no credit card debt on one hand. kids coming out of highschool are carrying balances.

    The solution is going to take a lot on both sides. Coming up with ways to improve wages without mandating min. wage increases. A UHC system would go a long way to dealing relieving people of health care costs (which are just way out of range for most at the bottom)
    by denying them care - the people you are describing already have UHC: we call it "Medicaid". now, I would be 100% in favor of modifications to Medicaid similar to what Indiana is doing, which allows the poor (who are often the young) to build wealth off their health, but that's a state-by-state decision.

    Laying tax penalties on companies that ship jobs, in any way, overseas.
    would simply encourage them to locate their headquarters overseas as well, and limit their business in America.

    Increase import fees and/or tariffs.
    which would raise the cost of living for our poor, making it harder for them to meet all those bills even as it becomes harder for them to find employment as the losses invariably are expressed in increased unemployment.

    Emphasize budgeting and financial management in high school. (Hell, it should be a mandatory class.)
    definitely.

    Find a way to lower tuition costs, which would then lower the cost of higher education.
    well, there are two sectors of our economy that the federal government either directly or indirectly provides most the funding for - healthcare and education.

    there are also two sectors of our economy that have seen their costs inflate by massive, double digit pushing inflation year in and year out - strangely, it's the exact same two sectors.

    I am not a genius. It will certainly take more than one person to work on this problem. But it is definitely not going to be solved by these protests or just giving some "tough love". Neither provides a reasonable, reality-based solution to the many issues.
    that is unfortunately not true; because the main causes of poverty in our country are behavioral rather than conditionally driven. Until people are allowed to suffer the full consequences for their poor decisions, their incentive not to make them will be reduced.

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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    among JUST those classified by the Census Bureau as living in poverty:


    80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
    92 percent of poor households have a microwave.
    Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks (in the 1950's most families had one).
    Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.
    More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
    43 percent have Internet access.
    One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV....

    For decades, the living conditions of the poor have steadily improved. Consumer items that were luxuries or significant purchases for the middle class a few decades ago have become commonplace in poor households, partially because of the normal downward price trend that follows introduction of a new product...

    42 percent of poor households actually own their own homes.
    Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
    The average poor American has more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France, or the United Kingdom...

    The fact that the average poor household has many modern conveniences and experiences no substantial hardships does not mean that no families face hardships. As noted, the overwhelming majority of the poor are well housed and not overcrowded, but one in 25 will become temporarily homeless during the year. While most of the poor have a sufficient and fairly steady supply of food, one in five poor adults will experience temporary food shortages and hunger at some point in a year.

    The poor man who has lost his home or suffers intermittent hunger will find no consolation in the fact that his condition occurs infrequently in American society. His hardships are real and must be an important concern for policymakers. Nonetheless, anti-poverty policy needs to be based on accurate information. Gross exaggeration of the extent and severity of hardships in America will not benefit society, the taxpayers, or the poor....
    How many houses/rentals come standard with air conditioning? How many come houses/rentals come standard with a microwave? How many of those poor people bought their microwave (if they own it) before they were considered "poor"? How about that game system, where did it come from? Was it bought while they were poor or prior to that? Maybe a gift or hand-me-down item?

    1/3 have two or more cars, yet how old are those cars? What condition are they in? How close are they to losing those cars if they just became "poor" from some other financial level? And let us not forget that in the '50s, most families only had one person working too.

    What are their contracts for that satellite/cable TV, especially if they are newly poor? Are you suggesting that they damage their credit even further and possibly owe an early cutoff fee to those companies because they don't need those things? Same for the internet.

    Once again, things are not always black and white. There are plenty of reasons for people to have luxuries or more than you feel they should once they become poor. Are you planning on taking away these people's possessions once they become poor just so that you feel justified in helping them? What the hell good is that going to do? Even if they have a couple of cars and a house, all probably are really owned by the bank(s). The vast majority of people who become poor are likely not going to have enough assets, such as TVs and other electronics, including game consoles, for you to sell to make back even a small portion of money that might be needed to help them get on their feet again.
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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    How many houses/rentals come standard with air conditioning
    most of them. and it costs more if you use it; as it drains energy. most probably will - air conditioning is wonderful.

    none of which changes the fact that the claim that people were better off in the 1950's because they didn't pay for air conditioning remains bunk.

    Once again, things are not always black and white.
    that's correct - most of these poor people appear to be living lives that would have been considered generally lower-middling class in the 1950's.

    There are plenty of reasons for people to have luxuries or more than you feel they should once they become poor.
    it's not a matter of whether I feel that they should or shouldn't. but we should keep it in mind when fools try to tell us how awesome everyone had it back in the 50's and how crappy we have it today.

    Are you planning on taking away these people's possessions once they become poor just so that you feel justified in helping them?
    nope. but I would prefer to help the truly needy, and I would prefer to help them in ways that encourage good behavior rather than bad behavior.

    What the hell good is that going to do? Even if they have a couple of cars and a house, all probably are really owned by the bank(s). The vast majority of people who become poor are likely not going to have enough assets, such as TVs and other electronics, including game consoles, for you to sell to make back even a small portion of money that might be needed to help them get on their feet again.
    the vast majority of people who "become poor" do so (according to Pew) for the following reasons:

    1. divorce
    2. never married other parent of children
    3. used 'hard' drugs
    4. did not graduate high school

    those are all behavioral decisions that these people made. you can't help them by just giving them money - you only enable continued bad decision making, which will keep them in poverty.

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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    I do financial counseling in the military - and so I am dealing with junior enlisted who generally come from our lower to lower-middle class, and who make very little money. I think I could probably count the number of Marines who have come to me with no credit card debt on one hand. kids coming out of highschool are carrying balances.
    If they are jr enlisted and coming to you, there is a good possibility that they are going to be those most likely to have credit card debt, since you are the financial counselor. I have never had a credit card. I knew few young sailors who did. Most lived off of their paychecks. We had some who would buy cars that were way out of their budget, but that was actually rare.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    by denying them care - the people you are describing already have UHC: we call it "Medicaid". now, I would be 100% in favor of modifications to Medicaid similar to what Indiana is doing, which allows the poor (who are often the young) to build wealth off their health, but that's a state-by-state decision.
    Which is not reasonably going to happen in this country. And shouldn't happen.

    And, no, Medicaid is not available to most adults. Despite what some may believe, Medicaid is only available, for the most part, in most states, to certain people, such as the blind, aged, and disabled, children and pregnant women, and certain adults with children in their household may be eligible to get Medicaid. There are a lot of stipulations on this though, including a financial assessment that takes into account every bit of money you have and possibly anything that you could reasonably sell for value. If you own a vehicle worth over a couple thousand dollars, your family may not be eligible for Medicaid even if you would otherwise qualify.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    would simply encourage them to locate their headquarters overseas as well, and limit their business in America.
    Where exactly are they going to move to? And how are most companies honestly going to make more money limiting their business in America? Isn't America the biggest consumers? Plus, wouldn't that actually help Americans? We are likely going to need those jobs.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    which would raise the cost of living for our poor, making it harder for them to meet all those bills even as it becomes harder for them to find employment as the losses invariably are expressed in increased unemployment.
    Or the poor can buy American products that wouldn't cost as much.

    Not to mention, there definitely could be other measures put into place to reduce the impact those increases.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    definitely.
    At least we agree on something here.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    well, there are two sectors of our economy that the federal government either directly or indirectly provides most the funding for - healthcare and education.

    there are also two sectors of our economy that have seen their costs inflate by massive, double digit pushing inflation year in and year out - strangely, it's the exact same two sectors.
    Education costs are high because a) people are told they need a higher education to get a job and then they end up educating themselves about things that are worthless to most jobs, b) the schools want more students, so they can make more money, so on top of all the many expenses they already have, they also pay to impress school raters/rankers to get their schools at the top, and c) there are a waterfall of reasons why higher education is so high, and little has to do with the government offering help to those who cannot afford it (correlation does not equal causation).

    Health costs are high because everyone wants a bigger piece of the pie. Doctors want their huge pay. Pharmaceutical companies want to charge massive amounts for their drugs. Insurance companies want to make their money. (Again, correlation does not equal causation.)

    If other countries can work a UHC system that costs their own government so much less per person, then it is not unreasonable to say that we should be able to do it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    that is unfortunately not true; because the main causes of poverty in our country are behavioral rather than conditionally driven. Until people are allowed to suffer the full consequences for their poor decisions, their incentive not to make them will be reduced.
    And again, we have black or white understanding. There are many causes for the poverty in this country, and it is not just behaviorally driven. Every person makes poor decisions in their lives. There are plenty of conditions in this country that effect the level of poverty.

    I don't think anyone who says that people should be forced to face "the full consequences of their poor decisions" really understands exactly what effect that would really have on this country.

    The situation simply is not black or white.
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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    most of them. and it costs more if you use it; as it drains energy. most probably will - air conditioning is wonderful.

    none of which changes the fact that the claim that people were better off in the 1950's because they didn't pay for air conditioning remains bunk.
    How much does air conditioning cost the poor person? Honestly, how much money do you believe they could put away if they didn't use their air conditioning (that they might have) as compared to what the average poor person spends due to their air conditioning right now?

    And the vast majority of air conditioning was barely available in the 1950s. It was only during that time that residential air conditioning increased. So your (or whoever is making it) comparison of poor people now having air conditioning to poor people in that period is highly flawed. Many houses of that time, including upper income houses, did not have air conditioning. It wasn't because of the cost of air conditioning itself, but rather the fact that most people didn't consider it to be necessary.

    But then again, only about a decade ago did cell phones really start to become popular, and now, every servicemember (or at least sailor) is required to have a cell phone so that they can be reached no matter where they might be. We are not living in the '50s. Things that were considered conveniences then, are now requirements. Hell, only about 62% of the households in the 1950's had phones. Now, it would be pretty much impossible to get/keep a job without a phone of some kind that you could be reached by fairly quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    that's correct - most of these poor people appear to be living lives that would have been considered generally lower-middling class in the 1950's.
    And most of those in the middle class are living lives that would be considered rich. And those at the top are living lives almost undreamed of in the 1950s. The problem here is that life now is not the same as the '50s, including expectations and even laws.

    I highly doubt that they had the same Residential Codes that many states require now either.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    it's not a matter of whether I feel that they should or shouldn't. but we should keep it in mind when fools try to tell us how awesome everyone had it back in the 50's and how crappy we have it today.
    You brought up them having those items. Most of those items were not even available in the '50s. So, maybe if you compared the activities and what was owned by the varying classes in the '50s to what those classes now have/enjoy, you may have a point. But, by just listing what the poor have, it simply appears that you are just complaining about them owning stuff that you consider "above their means" without any information to go along with why they have that stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    nope. but I would prefer to help the truly needy, and I would prefer to help them in ways that encourage good behavior rather than bad behavior.
    I want to help everyone. There is no reason that everyone shouldn't be able to live lives that are at least a little closer between the top and the bottom. That means that the top is going to have to do some sacrificing too.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    the vast majority of people who "become poor" do so (according to Pew) for the following reasons:

    1. divorce
    2. never married other parent of children
    3. used 'hard' drugs
    4. did not graduate high school
    1. I am all for making divorce harder, when there are children involved. I would also say that we should raise the age of marriage to at least 18, if not 21, to discourage teens from getting married too young.

    2. I am all for making child development classes, including comprehensive sex education, child costs analysis, and field trips/videos of childbirth, mandatory for all high school freshmen.

    3. I am all for decriminalizing most hard drugs, so that costs saved from incarcerations and fines paid for violations can go toward rehabilitation programs. I also would like to see drug testing for anyone who gets government assistance or any government paycheck. Also, legalizing and highly regulating/taxing marijuana would also help to boost tax revenue and decrease the number of people in jail for such a petty drug.

    4. This one is going to take a bigger push than the rest. It is going to take a while to implement because you cannot force people to learn. You can force them to stay in school for only so long. Mandatory financial planning classes might help this a little, especially if done prior to legal drop-out age. Encouraging parents to take an active part in their child's school life. Mandating certain tutoring programs and/or level of class participation as a part of receiving assistance for children might help, but it would certainly be iffy on how legal it is. Mandated parenting classes relative to the age of the child every year or two for those receiving assistance might help as well.

    There are probably a lot more things that could be done in these areas to encourage better results, but mandating much of it cannot be the only option.

    And these are not the only reasons that people are living in poverty. And even within those categories, there are people for which those were not choices that they made, but rather things that were not an option for them. How do you stop a person from divorcing you if they decide to leave? How do you force someone to marry you if they decide they want nothing to do with you or your baby? What do you do if the school rules prevent you from graduating high school because you failed one grade in elementary school? Not everyone can afford the classes for their adult high school diploma or to move to another state on their own at 18 or 19, just to finish a semester of school. And GED is looked down on, even by the military.

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    those are all behavioral decisions that these people made. you can't help them by just giving them money - you only enable continued bad decision making, which will keep them in poverty.
    I have never said "just give them money". But education and a leg up, along with systems in place to limit the impact of such things can go a long way. And it is going to take more than letting them fail on their own, because that is really not an option that is likely to happen. It will lead to more problems.
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    Re: The 53%: We are NOT Occupy Wall Street

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    How much does air conditioning cost the poor person? Honestly, how much money do you believe they could put away if they didn't use their air conditioning (that they might have) as compared to what the average poor person spends due to their air conditioning right now?
    well, i have a pretty small house (it's Japanese), and we only cool the rooms we are in rather than the whole house - really, mostly just two bedrooms (ours and the boys). we use natural light during the day, and electricity at night. this month, we are out of the house (she's in the US and I'm TAD); and our electricity bill is about $215 (ish) lower. Mind you, we're in Oki, so it's hot and humid. In the US, when we were living in an Apartment, we probably could have saved more like $125 ish. And, the months when we were down, that's generally what we did - we cut the luxuries and bought food and gas.

    And the vast majority of air conditioning was barely available in the 1950s.
    yes. that's the point. we have something now that we didn't have then, and surprise, it costs us more to have something than to have nothing. give the choice, we would generally rather have it than not, and thus claiming that we are worse off because we have made this trade and we should all long for the grand ole days of the 1950s is poppycock.

    But then again, only about a decade ago did cell phones really start to become popular, and now, every servicemember (or at least sailor) is required to have a cell phone so that they can be reached no matter where they might be.
    required? not in the USMC - if you have a billet where it's required you are issued one. I'm carrying a temp right now for while i'm on TAD and when I get done I'll turn it back in.

    We are not living in the '50s. Things that were considered conveniences then, are now requirements.
    this is incorrect - these things remain improvements in our standard of living. i have half siblings on medicaid, and I am forever seeing them posting pictures on facebook.... that they take with their smart phones.

    Hell, only about 62% of the households in the 1950's had phones. Now, it would be pretty much impossible to get/keep a job without a phone of some kind that you could be reached by fairly quickly.
    and cable television? who will fire you if you aren't watching MTV?

    And most of those in the middle class are living lives that would be considered rich. And those at the top are living lives almost undreamed of in the 1950s.
    that is all correct thank you for taking several pages to agree with us that life is now better than it was in the 1950's .

    You brought up them having those items. Most of those items were not even available in the '50s.
    precisely. the poor today have access to (and are accessing) things today that weren't available to even the wealthy in the 1950's.

    So, maybe if you compared the activities and what was owned by the varying classes in the '50s to what those classes now have/enjoy, you may have a point. But, by just listing what the poor have, it simply appears that you are just complaining about them owning stuff that you consider "above their means" without any information to go along with why they have that stuff.
    i'm not complaining about them owning stuff - you seem not to have read the backstory on this. I am pointing out that aren't we glad that they own stuff, aren't their lives probably better for things like air conditioning, safer cars, etc.

    I want to help everyone. There is no reason that everyone shouldn't be able to live lives that are at least a little closer between the top and the bottom. That means that the top is going to have to do some sacrificing too.
    if that means cutting them off the government teat all well and good - i'm a fan of means testing government giveaways. but if you mean trying to tax them extra then that is a problem. you can't build up one class by taking from another, not really. attempts to jack up taxes on the wealthy invariably backfire and hurt the poor and middle class.

    1. I am all for making divorce harder, when there are children involved. I would also say that we should raise the age of marriage to at least 18, if not 21, to discourage teens from getting married too young.
    i'm down with both of those. no fault easy quick divorce for $99.99 is destroying our country.

    2. I am all for making child development classes, including comprehensive sex education, child costs analysis, and field trips/videos of childbirth, mandatory for all high school freshmen.
    sexual education is something far too easy for the state to abuse it's mandate on - it belongs in the homes, not the schools.

    3. I am all for decriminalizing most hard drugs, so that costs saved from incarcerations and fines paid for violations can go toward rehabilitation programs
    and we would see a rise in their use, which means a rise in child abuse, child abandonment, poverty, divorce, crime (ironically - much "drug related crime" involves people engaging in illegal behavior to get money for drugs) and so on and so forth. you could have an argument with regards to "soft" drugs like marijuana which works generally like alcohol, but not methamphetamine.

    I also would like to see drug testing for anyone who gets government assistance or any government paycheck
    why? you just legalized it.

    Also, legalizing and highly regulating/taxing marijuana would also help to boost tax revenue and decrease the number of people in jail for such a petty drug.
    truth.

    4. This one is going to take a bigger push than the rest. It is going to take a while to implement because you cannot force people to learn. You can force them to stay in school for only so long. Mandatory financial planning classes might help this a little, especially if done prior to legal drop-out age. Encouraging parents to take an active part in their child's school life. Mandating certain tutoring programs and/or level of class participation as a part of receiving assistance for children might help, but it would certainly be iffy on how legal it is. Mandated parenting classes relative to the age of the child every year or two for those receiving assistance might help as well.
    as a public choice theory sympathizer, my first question is, what are the incentives involved. have we incentivized sticking it through graduating and then working full time? or have we disincentivized those behaviors.

    my younger half sister in law is 16 years old with a baby, the daughter of a single mother herself. she hasn't graduated high school, and her intention is to 'finish school at some point, because that would, like, help with getting a job'. instead she's living with single-mom parent in your classic description of a generational cycle of poverty. we have worked hard, lived lean, and are now doing okay, so we offered to take her in. it would be easier on my wife's biological mother, easier on her sister (we could take care of little one with our boys while she focused on finishing education) and - most important to us - better for the baby, who would be raised at least part of her critical early years in a two-parent fully functioning household. at first she was excited, and so we got the paperwork ,flew the wife back to the states to do the legal work, and were prepared all told to spend about 8-10K ish out of our "we want to buy a house one day" fund in order to help her live a better life. then she found out that there would be no parties at our house - we mean it about the education and the work. and no boyfriends coming over to screw her while the baby sleeps in the crib by the bed. and baby daddy is 'just about' to start making child-payments, and baby daddy momma wouldn't like it...

    she decided to remain poor, and she decided to raise her daughter in conditions that will probably guide her to become a single, young, poor mother herself. no banker robbed her. no top 1% guy saw her walking down the street and forced her to drop out of high school and start sleeping with older guys. she is poor because at the end of the day it's easier.

    And these are not the only reasons that people are living in poverty.
    overwhelmingly those are the main ones. if we were to wake up tomorrow and have all mothers of impoverished children marry the fathers of their kids, child poverty would be reduced by over 75%.

    And even within those categories, there are people for which those were not choices that they made, but rather things that were not an option for them. How do you stop a person from divorcing you if they decide to leave?
    you marry well at the beginning, and that person will (odds are) likely not do so well themselves. in the meantime, we should probably stop deliberately disincentivizing marriage. the illegitimacy rate for blacks in America was lower than the rates for whites prior to us putting them on welfare and paying them not to get married.

    [quote] How do you force someone to marry you if they decide they want nothing to do with you or your baby? [/quote

    don't have sex outside of marriage unless you are willing to marry that person and they are willing to marry you. hell, maybe (this might be crazy) don't have sex outside of marriage.

    What do you do if the school rules prevent you from graduating high school because you failed one grade in elementary school?
    we institute school choice so they can go to a smarter school, but realistically, graduation should be based on a national, standardized test that comes with incentives. You pass the citizens test to become an adult citizen, you you don't.

    Not everyone can afford the classes for their adult high school diploma or to move to another state on their own at 18 or 19, just to finish a semester of school.
    which is one of the several reasons I am in favor of vouchers. Indiana has just instituted school choice for its' lower-income children. I won't pretend it will change the situation for all or even most (most having been raised by a failed subculture to be a failed subculture), but for some it will provide that much needed escape.

    I have never said "just give them money". But education and a leg up, along with systems in place to limit the impact of such things can go a long way.
    and a leg up? in what way? limit the impact of "such things"? how? at some point unless you structure very carefully you are giving them money or buying them things to make up for their failure to provide for themself; meaning that you are only increasing their relative incentive to continue to do so.

    And it is going to take more than letting them fail on their own, because that is really not an option that is likely to happen. It will lead to more problems.
    more problems are coming. the fiscal survival of the Western states at this point necessitates sharp reductions in social spending upon which we have trained these populaces to be dependent. the riots we saw in Greece and Britain, the flash mobs and OWS'ers we see here in the States? they are all part of the same phenomena, and they are only the beginning. These aren't educated enlightened youngsters who have reached a new transcendental understanding and are speaking out against injustice, they are nomads - trained to live off of the efforts of the proceeds of workers in the civilized farming community below. we've taught them that they are justified to take from others in order to sustain themselves, and trained them to think of that as a morally just order of the world, reinforced by the relative ease of doing so. we have created a generation of feral human beings within our own society. what do you think their reaction is going to be - these people who have been trained to think that it is their right to sustain themselves indefinitely off of others - when they are informed that the state can no longer be the vehicle for that transaction? they will turn - as all nomads do - to burning and pillaging. you can only pay the danegeld so long before you run out of other people's money.

    the longer we wait, the worse the social explosion becomes. we can either allow the natural results of their failure to force these people to start becoming productive members of civilized society now, or we can gun them down in the streets (not hyperbole) sometime in the next 20 years. you tell me which is "kinder".
    Last edited by cpwill; 11-03-11 at 03:33 AM.

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