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".
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.
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
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
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
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
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
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
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.
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.
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
Greetings and Salutations.
On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 15:54:49 GMT, Doug Winterburn
Yep...that is a difficult and complicated sitation to deal
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
From the most recent chart I could find from 2001, the breakdown is as
Social Security: 23%
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
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.
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.
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