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Will poverty ever be history?

#161 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-August-07, 17:54

View Postkenberg, on 2014-August-07, 14:53, said:

Win-win does not really apply, because there are more than two players. If you take some money from me, money I was planning on saving rather than spending, and gave it to someone who would spend it, that would be a win for the person that you gave it to, and a win for the mercahnt that he bought something from, but it would not be a win for me.I suppose two out of three ain't bad, as they say.

I am not just trying to be cute here. Most of us our willing to give some assistance to those in need. But at least for me, I expect some effort on the part of the person being helped. At the personal level of assistance I can be quite effective with making my expectations clear. In a large scale social policy, such clarity is tougher but I think that those who wish to push for greater help need to address the issue of what is expected from those on the receiving end. If the answer is "nothing", then I think that the program is not apt to have wide support.


I think there is a substantial difference from taxing middle class and taxing wealth when comparing who feels most the missing money - hence, the idea of progressive taxation.
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#162 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-August-07, 17:59

View Postbillw55, on 2014-August-07, 12:58, said:


....I think it must be acknowledged that the loss of incentive for productivity is one potential problem with freely available government support. It may not be the dominant factor, but it is there.


Do you consider being poor a free service? What group(s) do you recognize as showing a dis-incentive to work due to free government support?
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#163 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-August-07, 18:14

View PostPassedOut, on 2014-August-07, 13:53, said:

Million, yes. :)

And yes, what you say is true. On the other hand, when 10% of the population can more than provide enough good and services to provide a comfortable life for everyone, what should be done with the other 90%?

They should go to the beach. B-)
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#164 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2014-August-07, 18:38

View Postbillw55, on 2014-August-07, 14:53, said:

View PostPassedOut, on 2014-August-07, 13:53, said:

On the other hand, when 10% of the population can more than provide enough good and services to provide a comfortable life for everyone, what should be done with the other 90%?

That sounds like an exaggeration, but I can't be sure. Do you have a source?

I don't claim that to be the case now, but we are heading in that direction. Already many folks hold "jobs" that don't really contribute, and are often counter-productive. (It would, of course, be very helpful for the government to redirect the funds that go to make-work projects -- like unnecessary military hardware -- to infrastructure improvements.)

I'm simply saying that, as the need for people in the work force continues to decline and jobs disappear, we need to figure out how deal sensibly with the mismatch. In the meantime, allowing the people who don't want to work a graceful way out will open opportunities for those who do.

The current system of creating pretend jobs just so some lucky people can get paid should be replaced.
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#165 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2014-August-07, 18:52

View Postkenberg, on 2014-August-07, 14:53, said:

I am not just trying to be cute here. Most of us our willing to give some assistance to those in need. But at least for me, I expect some effort on the part of the person being helped. At the personal level of assistance I can be quite effective with making my expectations clear. In a large scale social policy, such clarity is tougher but I think that those who wish to push for greater help need to address the issue of what is expected from those on the receiving end. If the answer is "nothing", then I think that the program is not apt to have wide support.

I understand what you are saying and don't really disagree. What I'm not getting though, is your idea of what should be done when there are not enough jobs for everyone, and won't ever be.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. — Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell. — Bertrand Russell
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#166 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-August-07, 22:51

View PostPassedOut, on 2014-August-07, 18:52, said:

I understand what you are saying and don't really disagree. What I'm not getting though, is your idea of what should be done when there are not enough jobs for everyone, and won't ever be.


A very tough question. I will try to get to it. We have been on the Oregon coast walking the beaches and such, and now I am in Portland for the Math meetings. That's a way of saying I think the question deserves a serious response and I lack the time right now to give it all that it deserves. Still, I will say a bit. There is work that needs doing. There are people that need jobs. And they need to be paid decently. I am not prepared to give up on the basic structure. I see being self-supporting as almost the defining quality of being an adult. I want to see this preserved.

One quick story. We hire a woman to come in to do some cleaning once a week. Her husband does painting. How are they doing? They own a house, they are raising two absolutely terrific youngsters, they take vacations. The kids show every sign of being proud of their parents, as well they should be. I have hired the older kid, now 16, to do some things. For the summer of '13, I was supposed to quit mowing grass (I claim I gave the doc an extra fifty bucks to say this) so I hired the boy. I am now back doing my own mowing but we are gone now and he is taking care of it. His mother comes with him and Becky gave her a list of things to do in the house.

Their life is working. What are some of the features? Not college (although the kids are smart and I hope they will go). But here is a feature: The woman goes in the house while we are gone. She knows the combination on the garage door. I have not the slightest worry about this. Absolutely not the slightest. This is more valuable than a Ph.D.

Of course I understand that there are not enough houses so that everyone can earn a living in this way. But we hire a plumber from time to time. When a storm hit it almost brought down a tree, and we hired someone to bring in down the rest of the way before it came down on its own (it was near the house).

There are people that I would not allow in my yard while I watch them, let alone inside my house when I am not there. Those people are going to find it tougher to get a job, but it will not be because they lack a college degree.

I think that this country has work that is in need of doing. Lots of work, actually. And no, it can't all be housekeeping and tree removal. But the country is aging, and the aged will need help. We have environmental problems that need addressing. We have problems up the wazoo that need addressing. There is a shortage of jobs, true, but I don't think that there is a shortage of work that needs to be done. We need to get the alignment right, and we need to address the wages.

So: I think part of the problem is a lack of faith. I am speaking of faith in people. People can learn to do better. But I also think that the structure has gotten screwed up.

Ok, back to math. There was a very good talk on Undecidability today. More tomorrow.

Btw, the Oregon coast is terrific. The Pacific is frigid, the wind was intense, it was great.
Ken
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#167 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 09:14

On the East Coast, the Gulf Stream starts in the tropics, and runs North up the coast, bringing warm water. Clockwise flow. On the West Coast, the California Current starts in the North (cold!) and brings cold water south. Also clockwise flow. That's why the Pacific is frigid in Oregon, even at the height of summer. Sounds like you're having a great time, though, so it's all good. B-)
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#168 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 09:32

View Postkenberg, on 2014-August-07, 14:53, said:

Win-win does not really apply, because there are more than two players. If you take some money from me, money I was planning on saving rather than spending, and gave it to someone who would spend it, that would be a win for the person that you gave it to, and a win for the mercahnt that he bought something from, but it would not be a win for me.I suppose two out of three ain't bad, as they say.

The win-win is because it's a win for the economy as a whole, which benefits everyone, including you. A rising tide lifts all boats.

For instance, even though you may not get to save that dollar, interest rates might go up, so your earnings from all the other dollars you have or will save will increase, and this could more than make up for that dollar. And as well, everyone else's savings will also grow faster due to better interest rates.

#169 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 09:39

View PostPassedOut, on 2014-August-07, 18:38, said:

I don't claim that to be the case now, but we are heading in that direction. Already many folks hold "jobs" that don't really contribute, and are often counter-productive. (It would, of course, be very helpful for the government to redirect the funds that go to make-work projects -- like unnecessary military hardware -- to infrastructure improvements.)

Do you really think the military projects get funded because they're "make-work"? I think it's much more likely that they're the result of successful lobbying by the military-industrial complex, as well as a conservative legislature that continues to view a huge military force as necessary. That it also provides needed jobs is just the cherry on the top -- the threat of job losses makes it hard to defund any of these programs.

#170 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 10:24

View Postbarmar, on 2014-August-08, 09:39, said:

Do you really think the military projects get funded because they're "make-work"? I think it's much more likely that they're the result of successful lobbying by the military-industrial complex, as well as a conservative legislature that continues to view a huge military force as necessary. That it also provides needed jobs is just the cherry on the top -- the threat of job losses makes it hard to defund any of these programs.

I'm pointing here specifically at those projects for weapons systems that the military does not want or need, but which congress insists on funding anyway. Members of congress from both parties fight tooth and nail to preserve those jobs regardless, while refusing to acknowledge that they have simply become welfare programs for the lucky. Of course there are many other military projects that are in a larger sense unnecessary and ultimately counterproductive, but that are not specifically make-work jobs.
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#171 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 11:04

View Postkenberg, on 2014-August-07, 22:51, said:

I see being self-supporting as almost the defining quality of being an adult. I want to see this preserved.

I admit that my reflexive reaction is to agree with this: However, some reflections give me pause. My maternal grandmother never held a paying job and Constance's mother never held one after World War II. It always seemed to me -- and still does -- that both of them were adult in every sense of the word and made valuable contributions to society in many ways.

All of my grandparents considered themselves very fortunate to have avoided taking the brunt of the depression, but were much influenced by it. They were keenly aware that the economy did not always provide jobs for everyone. That's not to say that the US is in depression now, but today's economy does not provide jobs for everyone either.

View Postkenberg, on 2014-August-07, 22:51, said:

I think that this country has work that is in need of doing. Lots of work, actually. And no, it can't all be housekeeping and tree removal. But the country is aging, and the aged will need help. We have environmental problems that need addressing. We have problems up the wazoo that need addressing. There is a shortage of jobs, true, but I don't think that there is a shortage of work that needs to be done. We need to get the alignment right, and we need to address the wages.

I do agree with this, and replacing the decaying infrastructure of the US would go a long way toward addressing the job shortage problem for the time being. The economy under President Kennedy certainly gained because of President Eisenhower's massive federal highway program.

One wouldn't think that there would be much opposition to projects like that, but times are different. Two of my sisters live in Wisconsin, north of Madison. Wisconsin had gone through all the hoops to work with the federal government to build a high-speed rail line that would ultimately complete a connection between Chicago and Minneapolis with stops in Milwaukee and Madison. The project was approved by the US government, the funds had been allocated, and my sisters were enthusiastic about the eventual prospect of taking the train to the cities. Then a new governor, Scott Walker, took office and canceled the project.
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The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell. — Bertrand Russell
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#172 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 11:45

I don't understand the mechanics, the whys of it, but it certainly seems to me that societies worldwide are breaking down from nationalism into more and more tribalism. This, it seems to me, seems to thwart any advances toward compromises or shared goals. How does one make the quite reasonable case that the U.S. does need infrastructure and can get by quite nicely without as much war-nachinery spending?
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#173 User is offline   billw55 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 12:00

It is a sad situation. Our politics has reached the point where incoming officeholders seem to make it their first order of business to cancel anything the previous incumbents had done. Thus making it near impossible for long term projects or planning to get done.
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#174 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 13:49

View Postbillw55, on 2014-August-07, 10:15, said:

Presumably we are discussing ways to reduce poverty in an attempt to make the world a better place. I choose to remain consistent with that theme, so no child labor.


I vote strongly for child labor. I certainly worked as a ten year old and I helped support the family as a child as best I could.

IF that means a child has very limited rights as compared to an adult, so be it.
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To live in a universe where 10% of the world can support a nice lifestyle for the other 90% is some goal. I just wonder if there will be pushback by the 10% to be equal but more equal to the 90%.

I guess I still see a world where 20% of women in college are raped or sexually assaulted. A world where it is common for 8-15 year old girls are kidnapped, raped and forced into marriage and when the husband dies far too soon they are kicked out of the community. A world per NBC news where 200,000 children are sold for sex each year in the USA alone.

I guess I advocate for much smaller goals than a house and decent lifestyle for the 90% who don't work. In these posts a try and advocate for tinkering, for taking numerous smaller approaches towards poverty rather than one grand scheme. Smaller approaches that allow for failure and small error and which allows for those approaches being destroyed and replaced by others.
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#175 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 14:09

View PostWinstonm, on 2014-August-08, 11:45, said:

I don't understand the mechanics, the whys of it, but it certainly seems to me that societies worldwide are breaking down from nationalism into more and more tribalism. This, it seems to me, seems to thwart any advances toward compromises or shared goals. How does one make the quite reasonable case that the U.S. does need infrastructure and can get by quite nicely without as much war-nachinery spending?


We need all that expensive war machinery such as a world wide navy and world wide ranging airforce if the world wants us to be the policeman or world leader such as today in Iraq and Africa and South America.

ONe small example, I do not see any other countries making air drops in Iraq this morning.

IF we should not be able to have the infrastructure to do this, ok. If we should turn inward such as Western Europe, fair enough but making doing what we did today in Iraq is very very expensive and risky.
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#176 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 14:49

View Postmike777, on 2014-August-08, 14:09, said:

We need all that expensive war machinery such as a world wide navy and world wide ranging airforce if the world wants us to be the policeman or world leader such as today in Iraq and Africa and South America.

ONe small example, I do not see any other countries making air drops in Iraq this morning.

IF we should not be able to have the infrastructure to do this, ok. If we should turn inward such as Western Europe, fair enough but making doing what we did today in Iraq is very very expensive and risky.


This spending level seems excessive: (source: ABC News)

Quote

The U.S. spent more on defense in 2012 than the countries with the next 10 highest budgets combined.

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#177 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 14:55

View PostWinstonm, on 2014-August-08, 14:49, said:

This spending level seems excessive: (source: ABC News)


True and your main point may very well be valid but what is also valid is that the next ten countries combined did not air drop today in Iraq. That drop costs billions in infrastructure and years and years of training.

If we want the capability of Germany or Sweden in defense fair enough
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#178 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 21:02

View Postmike777, on 2014-August-08, 14:55, said:

True and your main point may very well be valid but what is also valid is that the next ten countries combined did not air drop today in Iraq. That drop costs billions in infrastructure and years and years of training.

If we want the capability of Germany or Sweden in defense fair enough


Hardly. We could have the capability of half of present US and still be far ahead of Germany and Sweden combined.
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#179 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 21:04

View PostWinstonm, on 2014-August-08, 21:02, said:

Hardly. We could have the capability of half of present US and still be far ahead of Germany and Sweden combined.


which half of capability do you suggest we give up?

If you advocate this at the least let us know which half of capability you suggest we end.
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#180 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2014-August-08, 22:54

View PostPassedOut, on 2014-August-08, 11:04, said:

I admit that my reflexive reaction is to agree with this: However, some reflections give me pause. My maternal grandmother never held a paying job and Constance's mother never held one after World War II. It always seemed to me -- and still does -- that both of them were adult in every sense of the word and made valuable contributions to society in many ways.

All of my grandparents considered themselves very fortunate to have avoided taking the brunt of the depression, but were much influenced by it. They were keenly aware that the economy did not always provide jobs for everyone. That's not to say that the US is in depression now, but today's economy does not provide jobs for everyone either.


This aspect occurred to me as I was writing but time was short. My mother did not work (she had worked at an earlier time). And of course that was the common arrangement. The father worked, the mother stayed at home. I did not mean that either parent is/was not an adult in this. And it is not necessary to take the romantic view that marriage makes two people one. Yes, there are many arrangements that work. My mother and my father, together, were self-supporting. This is what I meant.

There are many caveats to my simple formulation. We all depend on society. We do not hire our own security (most of us don't), we depend on the police. We depend on schools. We drive on roads that society has provided. So it's at least partly a matter of degree. Still.

I know two young men who are showing no signs of ever leaving home. They have parents that can support them, while the parents are alive anyway, but jeez. One of them has, I think real psychological problems and he has had some issues with drugs. So I have no idea what to do. The other, as near as I can tell, just sees no reason to work if his parents will house him and support him. This is the sort of prolonged adolescence I have in mind. In these two cases, the parents are taking care of the problem. For now, anyway.

Growing up, I not only accepted that I must grow up to support myself, I was chomping at the bit. So was everyone else, and I expect it is not that much different for most young people today. But there seems to be exceptions. I don't think we should encourage these exceptions. It is not healthy for the person himself.

I know I have mentioned this before: I rgew up in a modest sized, but perfectly fine, house. When a woman left her abusive husband and took her two girls with her she moved in upstairs. Small does not begin to describe their living quarters. Illegal by today's standards I am sure. She got a job at Wards (Monkey Wards as it was then known), paid my parents what I suspect was very modest rent, and raised her kids. Helping people is good. Expecting nothing of them is not good.


View PostPassedOut, on 2014-August-08, 11:04, said:

I do agree with this, and replacing the decaying infrastructure of the US would go a long way toward addressing the job shortage problem for the time being. The economy under President Kennedy certainly gained because of President Eisenhower's massive federal highway program.

One wouldn't think that there would be much opposition to projects like that, but times are different. Two of my sisters live in Wisconsin, north of Madison. Wisconsin had gone through all the hoops to work with the federal government to build a high-speed rail line that would ultimately complete a connection between Chicago and Minneapolis with stops in Milwaukee and Madison. The project was approved by the US government, the funds had been allocated, and my sisters were enthusiastic about the eventual prospect of taking the train to the cities. Then a new governor, Scott Walker, took office and canceled the project.


This stirs memories! I grew up not far from train tracks leading out of St. Paul and to Chicago. Every night around ten there was a train chugging its way up the hill, heading South. I won't comment on the specifics here, I know too little. But the general idea of this is what I am advocating, absolutely.

A few weeks back I went on a road trip, up through Sault St. Marie, over to Lac La Belle (or words to that extent) across Wisconsin, visiting a friend in northern Minnesota, down to the Twins, back into Wisconsin for a couple of stops (including the House on the Rock, a truly weird place that plays a role in American Gods, hence Becky's desire to see it) and then back to Maryland. A fun trip.
Ken
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