All Forums > General Discussion > Non-Sports > What really eats me up...
11/16/2012 2:53 PM
I debated for years in high school and college, and let me tell you, I dealt with plenty of people who were so "confident in their position" that they seemed to think it was perfect and infallible.  That wasn't "too much of a challenge for me;" those were the easiest debates to win.  Particularly at the college level where things were less formulaic.  If you aren't willing to be flexible and concede the obvious points of the other side you come across looking like a stubborn moron, which is what happens in virtually every thread you argue in.  Not just politics.  Goes back to the thread where you were convinced your HD players should gain WE instead of losing it when they didn't get the PT they wanted.  Your incredibly poor grasp of the reality of human nature is laughable.  This, of course, explains why you think socialism works.  You seem blissfully unaware that political and economic systems that take advantage of human selfishness are inevitably going to be more successful than systems that attempt to take advantage of the better parts of human nature.  The cold reality is that in easily over 90% of cases selfishness is far more powerful.  I have long thought that a federal sales tax on nonessential goods and services would allow a significant reduction in income taxes, would have no loopholes, would be simpler, and most people would probably prefer it after a few years because it would feel less like the government dipping into their pockets.  Obviously the danger is that increasing the marginal costs of consumerism might reduce spending and slow the market, which would be bad.  But to just dismiss the idea out of hand because it's too even indicates a total lack of willingness to engage in an honest discussion with the other side.  All you really want to do is beat everyone over the head with your belief system, and frankly, none of us are ever going to agree with you.  Thus, nobody can ever have a productive or truly meaningful discussion with you, since you won't meet on common ground.  Same is true for MikeT, but everyone knows he's just a belligerent idiot.  You try to make yourself out as an intellectual, but realistically you're being just as belligerent and bullheaded as he is, you just use more words.
11/16/2012 2:53 PM
In summary, get over yourself.  You're not as superior as you secretly think you are.  I know you're going to tell me you don't think that, but everybody here knows that's bullshit.
11/16/2012 3:35 PM
If you aren't willing to be flexible and concede the obvious points of the other side you come across looking like a stubborn moron, which is what happens in virtually every thread you argue in.

First, if a point really is obvious, I can concede it without a problem. I haven't done that here because there haven't been many obvious points to concede. There's been a lot of people stating their opinion and questioning the validity of the opposite opinion, but no obvious points have really been made anywhere.

Second, I'll be the first to tell you I'm a bit stubborn, because I've done the research and that makes it difficult for someone to present me with something new to consider.
Your incredibly poor grasp of the reality of human nature is laughable.  This, of course, explains why you think socialism works.  You seem blissfully unaware that political and economic systems that take advantage of human selfishness are inevitably going to be more successful than systems that attempt to take advantage of the better parts of human nature.

I grasp human nature incredibly well. I understand that most people make terrible human beings by their very nature.

Socialism does work when put within the proper construct, and it can do so by taking advantage of the very human selfishness you think makes it fail. If you set the system up with the proper incentives, checks and balances, etc., it can work far better than modern American capitalism to say the least.
All you really want to do is beat everyone over the head with your belief system, and frankly, none of us are ever going to agree with you. 

I'm going to state my beliefs, yes. I'm not beating anyone over the head with anything. Frankly, I don't care if you ever agree with me.  I'm never going to agree with some of the ideas presented here either.
Thus, nobody can ever have a productive or truly meaningful discussion with you, since you won't meet on common ground. 

I don't have to "meet on common ground" to have a discussion. I can hold my views, you can hold yours, and we can discuss their various merits peacefully if both sides choose to do so. I've been nothing but peaceful in this discussion, but cannot say the same thing for some others.
You try to make yourself out as an intellectual, but realistically you're being just as belligerent and bullheaded as he is, you just use more words.\
I don't try to make myself out as anything. If you think I'm coming across as attempting to sound intellectual, the most probable explanation for that is because I AM an intellectual. I'm sure my saying that will be interpreted as arrogance of some sort, so I'll head that off by saying my intention is simply to offer the simplest explanation for your thinking I'm trying to make myself out as an intellectual. 

As I said before, I'm the first to tell you I'm stubborn when it comes to my personal beliefs, so to tell me that isn't news to me.
In summary, get over yourself.  You're not as superior as you secretly think you are.  I know you're going to tell me you don't think that, but everybody here knows that's bullshit.

I've never said anything that would indicate I think I'm superior to anyone. Not a single thing.

Either you've misinterpreted some of the things I've said, or you are making wild assumptions and jumping to incorrect conclusions. The former can be fixed if you tell me what I've said that makes you think what you state here, so I can explain it to you and clear it up. The latter can be fixed by making sure you're not inadvertently adding information to what someone actually says by making your own assumptions.
11/20/2012 10:31 AM
Also, for those who think government programs for the poor are terrible, some of them, such as food stamps, are widely misunderstood. Check this out.

http://www.nyccah.org/learn-about-hunger/food-stamp-myths

11/20/2012 11:31 AM

That's all cool, but I don't really think there are many who believe the generalization that government programs for the poor are terrible in the first place - even those who rail the loudest about those who don't work. 

There's not a single myth on that list, for example, that reflected my own beliefs about them.  That said, dependency on government is not terrible in the sense that people that need help can get it.  It's the effects of that help (long-term) on a large number of those people that do the most damage.  Anytime you incentivize people to do less and receive more, the aggregate result (not necessarilly indivually) is that less will be done.

Plus I'm sure you've heard (or observed as I have) many of the stories of EBT abuse.  I've seen more than one occasion of an EBT recipient paying cash for some IPod and then EBT for their food, then taking them out and loading up their 2012 SUV with their goods.  That doesn't make the program useless, but does serve as an example of how helping a symptom may not help cure the disease.  I refuse to paint all recipients with a broad brush like that, but it is still an illustration of how it's possible to disincentivize the very thing you want to help.

Still planning to come back and address some of your other issues, bis, but I've been short on time.

11/20/2012 1:41 PM
It's the effects of that help (long-term) on a large number of those people that do the most damage.  Anytime you incentivize people to do less and receive more, the aggregate result (not necessarilly indivually) is that less will be done.

I don't think that's how it happens. I think the incentive to do less in order to get more is only actualized in a very small percentage of people, with a minimal effect on the total result of the program.

However, I can certainly see how some people in certain specific circumstances could be trapped into staying within the system. For example, when I used to volunteer at a crisis shelter, there was a disabled woman who routinely came and stayed there when she needed to do so. When she told me her story, I realized why she felt helpless financially. She received social security disability income of about $800 per month, along with medicare and other health benefits, and this wasn't enough to pay for all her bills and keep her going. She wanted to get a job, and there were several she could do, but none of them paid very well. She was actually offered a job which paid her about $1,200 per month, or about $400 more than she received in social security disability pay.  Her net gain would be $400 per month, meaning she'd be working 40 hours per week (as compared to the zero she worked already) for a gain of only $400 per month, so she was really working for a net gain of perhaps $2.50 or $3 per hour.

Nontheless, she was willing to do the job because she WANTED to get off of government programs. However, if she took the job, she would not only lose her $800 per month in social security pay, but her medicare and other medical help from the government. The job had benefits, but they wouldn't start for six months, The woman's prescription medication only cost her $32 per month with the government help, but would be over $600 per month with no help. By taking the job and making "more" money and getting rid of her government help, she would "gain" $400 but lose $600 for six months until her insurance kicked in, for a net loss of $200 per month. She was already barely scraping by with $800 per month to spend on bills - she couldn't possibly last six months at $600 per month until benefits kicked in at her job.

Hence, the government's idea of taking away her benefits as soon as she gets a job artificially kept the woman on government benefits when she wanted to get off of them and tried her best. It's a sad story, and it shows that not everything is as black and white as some people believe.
11/20/2012 7:40 PM

This is why these programs promote dependence rather than INdependence, and should be replaced by training programs to get that woman into the workforce.  If she doesn't have the skills yet, TEACH HER SOME MARKETABLE SKILLS.  Don't just throw money at her.

Funny how you can tell that whole story and not realize that the SYSTEM is the problem.  If thine eye (or system) offend thee, CUT IT OUT.

11/21/2012 8:39 AM
The woman had the skills, she was simply unable to do some jobs because of her disability. She had skills necessary to hold a middle class job, but the disability cost her the ability to do that job. Then her skills only let her do jobs which made $1,200 per month at best, which as I explained was actually a net loss for her so she didn't end up taking it.

The problem isn't that she didn't have any marketable skills - the problem is that there weren't any jobs available which paid enough to be worth taking. This all goes back to the state of the economy and the fact that there aren't as many good paying jobs.

The system isn't the problem - the lack of good jobs is the problem.

11/21/2012 10:24 AM
First of all, kudos bis for your volunteer work.  I've seen stories much like the one you told as well.  But as todd points out, even without intent these programs foster dependence - and they do so because the opportunity cost of the various alternatives.  That's kind of the way markets work too.  Which is why businesses and rich people react to tax code changes (one of the points I'm still planning to address in your case for taxing the rich more - but I digress).

A rhetorical question for you...who is responsible for an individual's job?  Am I responsible for being employed?  Is my employer responsible for keeping me employed? 

The system isn't the problem...but it is part of the problem.  If the safety net is too comfortable, people don't want to leave it.  They may say they don't want the government help, but when faced with real economic decisions, time versus money matters.  The unemployed see the same type of competing incentives.  If they make the equivalent of $10/hour unemployed, why would they jump into a $12/hour job?  (just using numbers for the sake of discussion)
11/21/2012 12:47 PM
Posted by bistiza on 11/21/2012 8:39:00 AM (view original):
The woman had the skills, she was simply unable to do some jobs because of her disability. She had skills necessary to hold a middle class job, but the disability cost her the ability to do that job. Then her skills only let her do jobs which made $1,200 per month at best, which as I explained was actually a net loss for her so she didn't end up taking it.

The problem isn't that she didn't have any marketable skills - the problem is that there weren't any jobs available which paid enough to be worth taking. This all goes back to the state of the economy and the fact that there aren't as many good paying jobs.

The system isn't the problem - the lack of good jobs is the problem.

Define "good jobs".

Then tell me what Obama has done to either (a) create jobs like that, or (b) train people for jobs like that.

So far, he's just thrown money at people that aren't working.
11/21/2012 12:50 PM
If they make the equivalent of $10/hour unemployed, why would they jump into a $12/hour job?  (just using numbers for the sake of discussion)
 
Exactly.  Frankly, if you offered me 75% of my salary AND gave me benefits to sit around and NOT work, I'd probably do it.?
11/21/2012 1:07 PM
A rhetorical question for you...who is responsible for an individual's job?  Am I responsible for being employed?  Is my employer responsible for keeping me employed? 
There is responsibility by both parties, I believe.

Many (most?) employers should do more for their employees than they currently do. There are mounds of evidence to suggest employees who believe they are treated fairly by their employer work harder and are more productive than those who do not share this belief. Many jobs should earn more than they presently do, but it's not all about money. Offering decent health insurance and other benefits matters a great deal, as does the way employees are treated on the job.

Individuals need to make every effort to find the type of job they want and are qualified for. That is their responsibility. However, this does not necessarily mean they will be successful in their attempts. Someone who is trying over and over again to their best ability does not deserve to be criticized by others for their lack of employment, nor do they need to be told their inability to find a job is somehow their own fault. The fact of the matter is in this economy, sometimes qualified individuals who work hard and do their best still can't find work at a family sustaining full time job with benefits.

That's really the key to a better economy, too. Consumer spending drives the economy, and middle class people with family sustaining wage earners drive consumer spending. Therefore, the creation of family sustaining jobs with benefits is the best way to boost the economy, as opposed to all of these part time jobs no one wants but some people have to take because they have no better alternative.
The unemployed see the same type of competing incentives.  If they make the equivalent of $10/hour unemployed, why would they jump into a $12/hour job?  (just using numbers for the sake of discussion)
This isn't exactly an accurate analogy, but the idea is the same as what I'm expressing.

If someone doesn't have to work and gets, say the $800 per month this woman was receiving, they get that for zero hours of work (effectively). If they can make, say, $1,200 per month for working 40 hours per week, their net increase amounts to about $2.50 or $3 per hour.

I don't know about you, but unless there is some other incentive or circumstance at work, I wouldn't want to work a 40 hour week for what amounts to $2.50 or $3 per hour. That's just one example, but you get the point.
Define "good jobs".
As I said, a "good job" is one which is full time with benefits and earns a wage that would sustain a family's basic needs. The actual amount would vary based upon a number of factors including geographical location, but the point is the job in question isn't part time or for a low wage like many jobs are now.
11/21/2012 1:11 PM
Posted by toddcommish on 11/21/2012 12:50:00 PM (view original):
If they make the equivalent of $10/hour unemployed, why would they jump into a $12/hour job?  (just using numbers for the sake of discussion)
 
Exactly.  Frankly, if you offered me 75% of my salary AND gave me benefits to sit around and NOT work, I'd probably do it.?
$450 a week is the max unemployment in California. That's not enough for most people to live on long term. It's barely enough to survive on short term. It does exactly what it is designed to do, keep you from being evicted or starving until you land another job.

The problem in our economy today isn't that people don't want to work. It's that there aren't enough jobs.
11/21/2012 1:43 PM

You'd be surprised how little you can live on if you know that's all you have coming.

I'll assume you went to college and took some low level entry job when you got out.   Do you recall what you made?

The first year I went to college, I worked around 35 hours a week for $7.50 an hour.    Had my own shithole and a car.   My weekly take home was usually about $200.   Somehow it worked. 

11/21/2012 2:02 PM
$450 a week is the max unemployment in California. That's not enough for most people to live on long term. It's barely enough to survive on short term.

That's the equivalent of $11.25 per hour working a full time 40 hour work week. There are plenty of people who work full time hours for less than that, and they manage to survive.

Unless the cost of living where you are in California is substantially higher than in many other areas of the country, I would suggest you could survive on that income. You wouldn't be well off by any means, but you could survive.
The first year I went to college, I worked around 35 hours a week for $7.50 an hour.    Had my own shithole and a car.   My weekly take home was usually about $200.   Somehow it worked.
I find myself agreeing with MikeT23 for once. It works if you make it work (and can put up with being somewhat uncomfortable for a while).

Still, I do agree with bad_luck for the most part. People who have never had to survive on $450 per week or less for their entire month's bills may not understand how difficult that can be for the people who do it all the time. I know because I have a good understanding of the economics of it, what little money that actually represents, and because I've talked to people who have those low paying jobs. It's not easy, and most of them probably work harder than a great deal of the people who make more money than they do.



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