OT - Is this representative of US public opinion? UK Newspaper Front Page

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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004 01:00:34 +0000, Charlie Self wrote:

I'm sure not everyone in that situation is there because of poor decisions, but I've watched far too many including some family crank out kids with no job and no prospects. I've also watched co-workers making in the six digits live paycheck to paycheck and put nothing away for emergencies/retirement/jobless-periods/etc. I myself have been jobless, however I had the forsight to save when times were good and have never had my family go without, never used government or family assistance and can retire with no government assistance.
Some decisions we all make include how much to invest in school and studying, what career path we choose, whether or not to marry/have family and under what conditions, whether or not to save for emergencies/retirement/etc. so that one can be independent, and many more. As someone once said, "where ever you go, there you are".
-Doug
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Doug Winterburn responds:

Yes. But what happens if you're one of the children some clown and her boyfriend cank out, one after one, and have no idea those options are available. Or, in fact, have no access to those options.
Charlie Self "Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004 02:39:19 +0000, Charlie Self wrote:

Then it continues generation after generation as a result of a system that rewards it. I have seen this as well, unfortunately in some of my family as well as others.
-Doug
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Doug Winterburn writes:

I don't think the system rewards this as well as it used to, but, unfortunately, education, whether as to choices or as to real education so those choices can be achieved, is not all that easy, especially in families with no tradition of learning (or achieving).
I don't know how you break the cycle permanently: all the tearjerker stories seem to show individuals breaking out, leaving the rest of the family group behind.
We have discovered that just supporting people physically and fiscally is not enough, but how do you help make someone who has no idea life can even BE meaningful live that meaningful life? Is it a one-on-one process? Does everyone of us have to mentor someone in that category?
Or do we leave them to the every night half gallon screw top and make sure all have effective birth control, whether they wish the latter or not. I recall my first wife telling me that enforced birth control was a form of slavery, forcing someone else to fit my (or society's) preconceived notions. My reponse was that my having to work extra hours to pay for the raising (if that's what it is) of someone else's children is also a form of slavery. It's just a matter of which is preferable.
Or do we go with the concept of the social sciences: the triple P groups. Piss Poor Protoplasm?
Charlie Self "Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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How about getting people to realize they do make a difference, and their life is important. This is not to treat the matter with simplicity, but a whole lot of the "generational welfare culture" exists in large measure because they do not realize that they are valued as individuals. They have been down trodden for so long they believe they are worthless, which is not the case.
--
Think thrice, measure twice and cut once.

Sanding is like paying taxes ... everyone has to do it, but it is
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And what, exactly, are we to do with those that make the wrong decisions?
Dennis Vogel
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    Greetings and Salutations...      On Fri, 23 Jan 2004 23:38:00 GMT, Doug Winterburn

    Hum...decision making...Yea...while my FIRST reaction is that I hear this being said with that faintly superior and smug tone that folks use to indicate that THEY have never made a bad decision, I am not going to go with that.     Instead...how about a concrete example. I have an acquaintance who is a single mother with three kids, one of which has just gone to college. She came out of college with no useful degree, and, few life skills because her parents, in order to "protect" her had kept her so isolated from reality while growing up that she had not, for example, learned to cook. She married a fairly pleasant-seeming fellow and got moved several thousand miles from home. Alas, he turned out to be abusive, not a good provider, so, finally, she divorced him and moved back to her home town. She struggles along with help from family, and working when she can, clerking, and, some gov. assistence.     True...there were some bad decisions there, but a big chunk of them were not hers, nor did she have any control over them. She has made a bunch of good, but hard decisions in the past few years, and while they have left her in a very difficult and scary financial position, she is managing to raise three bright kids, who are still in school, and, will likely end up with good moral values and more of a work ethic than they would have if she had stayed married. In the long run, a relatively small amount of aid now will produce four productive citizens who will contribute to society instead of being a drain on it.     Just to rant a bit further...until one has spent some time trying to survive in America with an income well below the poverty line, one should be careful with judgements. One somewhat under-rated aspect of this struggle is the mental strain and drag it puts on a person. That constant, nagging problem of having to balance whether to pay taxes, buy groceries or keep the lights and heat on in the house causes one to lay awake at night, and drains energy needed to "get ahead".     There are abuses of the system, of course, and, there are folks that, if they put as much time and energy into pursuing a job as they did in working the system, they might well be CEO in a decade. There are good workers who try to short-cut these abuses though, but it is really hard these days to get folks sanctioned. However, a big chunk of the folks on public assistance are either temporary clients who have been struck down by disaster beyond their control or folks that are not going to be able to keep a job because of mental or physical impairment. I suppose we could save a few bucks by cutting off the latter catagory, and letting them become someone else's problem. If we are comfortable with an increase in stories of folks being found dead from exposure, or starvation, then that should not be a problem. We could also change public aid from a grant to a loan, however, since many of the folks that DO get jobs tend to remain in the "working poor" catagory, the likelyhood of getting any money back would be pretty small.     I could go on, but, this has VERY little to do with woodworking, so, will cut off with the thought that the way we treat the poorest and least able citizens of our society pretty much defines what sort of society we are. We can be warm and compassionate, or we can be cold, merciless bastards. It is up to us.     Regards     Dave Mundt
    Regards     Dave Mundt
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On Sat, 24 Jan 2004 18:14:09 +0000, Dave Mundt wrote:

Another concrete example:
A family member who has had drug problems for forty years. He has been in treatment many times. He has drained taxpayers money and family money for forty years. His latest treatment involves wearing some sort of patch which he trades to his "friends" for money to buy better stuff. We give him new clothes because he usually looks worse than most street people and he trades them for drugs. A sister had him set up with low cost housing and was managing his government assistance money and all was going well for almost a year. He was booted out because of all the high traffic of short duration into and out of his apartment. I'd like to hear a solution.
-Doug
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Doug Winterburn responds:

I think we all would, Doug. But can we deny someone else some help because one person takes advantage of what is provided?
I'd guess there's some sort of cut-off needed on people like this, but I'm not savvy enough to know the place to put the limit.
I think your relative's patch is similar to what I used to hear about methadone treatments for drug addicts: they finally started making them take the dose at the place where it was handed out, because the dopers were trading the doses for drugs that gave them more of, shall we say, a nodding acquaintance with the world and the people in it.
Charlie Self "Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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    Greetings and Salutations.
On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 15:54:49 GMT, Doug Winterburn
    *snip*

with too. I don't know that I have a "solution" for anyone else (shucks, my own life is hard enough for me to muddle through). But (and there always IS a big, old but) I know that rule number one is that if anyone is going to change that desire for change has to come from within, not from others. If that desire to clean up one's life is not there, then there is NOTHING that anyone else can do to MAKE that person clean up their life.     One big problem with addicts (especially those on harder drugs) is that they WILL sell their baby sister into prostitution for that next hit. Their entire life revolves around the buzz and nothing else is important to them. It has been my experience that any kind of enabling will simply perpetuate the problem, and, at some point the folks around the addict have to say to them, in very simple and clear terms that the addict will get no more help or support until they take the steps necessary to get clean and stay clean. Then, alas, comes the hard part, as everyone has to stick with that, and after years of forking over support, it is really hard NOT to take pity on the addict and "just help them this one time". However, as y'all have found out (and I have a GREAT deal of sympathy for you and your family as regards the situation) the addict will turn every bit of help given to them into drugs.     Don't make his problem into YOUR problem. He is an adult, and, by now should, like the rest of us, understand that there are consequences to our actions, and, sometimes those consequences are fairly unpleasant.     There are root causes, I believe, for every self-destructive thing that we do. Once we are willing to admit there is a problem, and, honestly turn towards trying to SOLVE that problem to move on to a better life, it is possible to dig down and perhaps find what caused the problem in the first place. Once we have dug up the problem, and brought it out in the light, it loses some of its power over us, and we have a better chance of controlling it, instead of it controlling us. Once the fact there is a problem is faced, there are many ways to get in contact with folks that can help one through the painful path of recovery, ranging from high- priced health care professionals, to absolutely free AA or NA meetings.     Regards and best wishes.     Dave Mundt
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snipped-for-privacy@esper.com says...

But it's really a class of people paying 96% of taxes who are acquiring only 86% of total income.

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No doubt about this one.

For most of these people, they've worked very hard for what they have and not had it "given" to them.

Works for me. So you're advocating a tax cut for the top 1%?

todd
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Don wrote:

For what it's worth: I agree with you we should be free to do whatever we want with our money, but with income taxes, equality has to be assured somehow, so some figures _must_ be freely available, and must be verifiable. Privacy is a huge concern as well.
I think the right balance between availability and privacy is struck every time the IRS releases overall tax figures by city, zip, or county and no more specific than that... I don't need to know what my neighbor makes, but knowing the average income of my zip code has countless benefits.
--
gabriel

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snipped-for-privacy@myrealbox.com says...

You are assuming that this is a zero-sum game, i.e., cut taxes, and those revenues go away forever. Truth is, historically, tax cuts have actually resulted in increased revenues, this occurred both during the Kennedy and Reagan administrations -- it's too early to tell with the current tax cuts. This results from the fact that turning more money loose in the market results in more investment, more spending and a growing economy.
OTOH, spending is out of control, this is my primary beef with Bush, he continues to cater to the left, expanding social spending at every opportunity -- increased educational funding, this medicare increase, as well as other such spending.

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On Thu, 22 Jan 2004 04:52:44 GMT, Mark & Juanita

Except that businesses, while continuing to be quite profitable, are often cutting jobs in droves. But not executive pay. The gap widens... This investment, spending and growth don't seem to be helping the job market, even though that's usually a justification (the rich pour back their their tax savings into businesses and create more jobs).

I was under the impression that while he pushed thru the No Child Left Behind, he (or Congress wasn't inspired to) didn't actually fund it - or at least not at all adequately.
The medicare thing seems to be also catering more toward business than seniors. For example, there's this gaping hole where folks will have to cover their own expenses between certain dollar amounts (2k-4k?). The giveaway to HMOs. Negotiation for best prices for drugs ain't allowed.
Spending might be out of control, but I don't think too much of it is actually going for "social programs". Though they certainly are trying to give that impression w/their words. Looking at actualy dollars might tell a different story. e.g. the $24 billion for pork projects in the current omnibus funding bill - an all time record far surpassing the past pork allocations.
Renata
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<snip>

From the most recent chart I could find from 2001, the breakdown is as follows:
Social Security: 23% Medicare: 12% Medicaid: 7% Other Entitlements: 6%
There's 48% of the budget that goes to social programs, assuming there isn't more in the 6% described as "other mandatory".
I would agree that all of the politicians in DC are too free with spending out money.
todd
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@NOcomcastSPAM.net says...

From OMB figures for 2004 (as a percent of federal budget): Social Security, Medicare, Other Mandatory: 55.4% Non-Defense Discretionary:             19.2% Defense                     17.5% Net Interest                     7.9%

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The interesting part of that is that the percentage of the budget spent to service the debt went down from 11% in the year I was looking at to about 8% in 2004.
todd
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Someone please explain what government spending is "mandatory". I don't remember any specific government programs or spending being delineated in the Constitution. I do believe that it is ALL discreationary - certainly Social Security and Medicare is. I do however believe that many a politician refers to welfare programs for the "poor" as "entitlements" and I know that they all see corporate welfare as an "entitlement" in order to keep their jobs.
Dave Hall
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snipped From the US Constitution Section 8 first paragraph
"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"
IMHO then, anything the government spends money for needs to fall under these guidelines which have gotten pretty damn broadly interpreted over the last 225 years.
Allen Catonsville, MD
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