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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 08:39 PM   #41
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Re: class in the united states

TH,
I am glad that you have a positive attitude about the intelligence level of the general population. 90 % seems high. It may be true that if one is willing to learn and is driven, the probability of success will be greatly enhanced (though not assured). Another factor, I think, is confidence and believing in your self. You have to believe that you can do it despite all odds, i.e., not having the educational background, lacking the social status, coming from a poor family, living in the ghettos, etc. Even more important is to never give up.

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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-17-2005, 09:51 PM   #42
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Re: class in the united states

I believe that as a practical matter, we are never going back to anything as ambitious as the Great Society. It was an abysmal failure. Black illegitamacy in the 60s was less than 30%. I think the latest figure is around 70%. When the Great Society began we had about 10-11% black poulation, many of whom qualified for G.S. programs. Also about an equal or somewhat larger number (not %) of whites. Today we have a "disadvantaged minority population of over 25%. By disadvantaged I mean those formally qualified for various preferences or subsidies.

Remember econ 101-whatever you subsidize, you get more of. Works for sugar and it works for poverty.

The modern strategy is loading the cost of these people onto the private sector as much as possible with things like affirmative action.

If a Democratic regime got in and passed targeted welfare type proposals, they would lose the House at the next midterm , the presidncy 2 years later, and probably the Senate by then too.

Also, the electorate seems more willing to waste huge sums of money on hopeless wars than on hopeless welfare schemes. This may change if we cannot get a handle on immigration of uneducated people from backward societies..* It is frightening to me that not only do these people bus tables and clean houses, they may also decide to vote.

Myself, I just wish I were Swiss. No underclass, and no wars.

Mikey
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 02:04 AM   #43
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Re: class in the united states

As I read this thread a few thoughts occurred to me. Minimum wage is a STARTING wage. Meaning you have no skills. If someone is still in a minimum wage job after 2-3 years then they are either not motivated to move up or they are/should be eligible for Gov't disability subsidies. Many of the people I have to deal with/arrest are employed in these type of jobs. Why is that? My guess is that they refused to learn to get ahead in society. If someone who is from a bad school and is abused why do we let them live if they are just going to be a burdon on society (sarcasm implied).

Free education based on income is a crock. Why should a person who isn't all that bright, but is from an impoverished family be given a better education than someone who is bright but from a family with more resources. This system seems to be in place now anyway. I attempted to obtain any assistance for college and was turned down by all. After I was out of my parents house a couple years I was finally able to obtain a Federal Loan. Still it's far from free and due to a poor choice in majors my degree is pretty much useless.

What it all boils down to is personal responsibility. If the person wants to succeed AND has the drive they will find a way. My mother-in-law dropped out of school in the 7th or 8th grade only to get her GED a couple of years later, without studying. She also went on to own several business and enjoy a fairly high standard of living, because she chose to succeed. The barriers to success are not placed on any person in particular. A few people, convicts, social outcasts, have barriers placed in their way because of personal choices not who they are.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 07:45 AM   #44
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Re: class in the united states

Oh, well, I guess I am glad I am Norwegian. Maybe I'll move there. Or Canada.



But Minnesota is home. At least it finally raised its minimum wage. Thanks a lot to my cousin who was given the "working class hero" award for her efforts on the minimum wage issue.

So I guess I'll stay here, vote, and lobby.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 08:09 AM   #45
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Re: class in the united states

I have to agree with TH. Great story, TH, BTW. Since I was raised in poverty, and have siblings, some of whom have made it, and one who went to jail, I know TH is absolutely on the money. How can they come from the same family, mine, and wind up in the slammer? The same background, religious beliefs, same schooling, and the same parents. Answer: Choice, attitude. The day prior to my brother's arrest, DW and I happened to be in New Orleans, and went to his house at 3 p.m. We had to wake him up. First thing he did, was go to the mailbox cause it was time for his welfare check.

I like Martha's compassion, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Great Society was/is an abysmal failure. My wife, BTW, worked in Head Start when it first began. How can it still be needed, after all these years?

BTW, what's the purpose of destroying the American Dream? Myth or not, do you really want us NOT to believe that anyone can achieve? Why? I got it; cause an ever growing government can help us, right. Instead of one Head Start, we can have two Head Starts.

Couple of quotes: "Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money --- only for wanting to keep your own money." [Joseph Sobran]

"America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to 'the common good,' but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance -- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way." [Ayn Rand]
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 08:32 AM   #46
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Re: class in the united states

Quote:
I had nothing. I mean *nothing*. No college, hardly got out of high school, no vocational training, nothing. I was on my own with 2c in my pocket.

I could have decided I was a lost cause and not tried to learn something I could make money on. I could've gone on welfare and laid around complaining about my misfortunes; I worked 3 jobs instead. I could have knocked up one of the girls I went out with in high school or later; I wore a condom. I could have gotten involved with drugs as most of my friends were; I didnt. I could have worked some cheesy job instead of offering to work for free or at a ridiculous salary to get experience.

TH you are a good person. I think we followed or stumbled down a similar path. Pride can be a dangerous thing but it kept me from collecting welfare. I never entertained the thought b/c I was a young, healthy person and I felt capable of earning a wage. I did the worst kind of work but beggars can't be choosers when you don't have certain qualifications. Invest in yourself.

Most of my friends never made it out of the hole. Funny and odd how most of their parents never encouraged them to do more or that there was more out there for them. Pop was poor and uneducated but he told me the world is full of opportunity if you work hard. That was all it took. If I made it anyone can. Not many people start out shoveling horse manure at 17 and end up on the ER forum.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 12:35 PM   #47
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Re: class in the united states

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey
I believe that as a practical matter, we are never going back to anything as ambitious as the Great Society. It was an abysmal failure. Mikey
Totally disagree, Mikey. Read Coontz's books and the studies.

Minority poverty, illegitimacy rates, and other indicators have historically been much higher than for white Americans, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries. During the 50s and by the end of the 60s much progress had been made for blacks & other minorities. (Hence the low starting numbers you quoted.) As these programs were cut in the 70s & 80s, and more importantly as America started getting competition from a new industrial world, minorities living in the industrial regions were hit very hard. Some studies placed their unemployment rates as high as 50%.

The "Great Society" made a lot of progress, although it created a huge amount of bureaucratic & fraudulent waste too. But the principles were sound then and they are today. I suspect charities & non-profits will be more successful (or at least less bureaucratic & more fiduciary) than govt programs.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 01:45 PM   #48
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Re: class in the united states

Arrrgh....seems that these discussions try to avoid race issues, eventually succumb, and then are amended to avoid racism.

Remember reading stats that 75% of all illegitimately born in the US are to black mothers. Also, 75% of all black births are illegitimate. This was read sometime in the past decade, so not sure of most current stats. The uteri and ovaries of most races are remarkably similar.
People seem to conveniently forget that blacks are not the only minority group in the US. There is at least one other minority group that quickly comes to mind as having low rates of illegit. births, high rate of highschool/college completion, low percentage of utilization of public assistance, etc. etc etc whether you look at 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation in the US.

Seems these discussions divide participants into groups:
1. those that use words like "personal responsibility, just do" and other verbs considered "active";
2. those that use words like "should, must, help";
3. those that use words like "tried, couldn't, can't, THEY."

Mikey, I agree on your reflections re: the Swiss. And based on many visits to that country, they seem to be contented and happy (on the world scale) especially in comparison to countries like Sweden.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 02:53 PM   #49
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Re: class in the united states

Quote:
Originally Posted by P.S.
Mikey, I agree on your reflections re: the Swiss.* And based on many visits to that country, they seem to be contented and happy (on the world scale) especially in comparison to countries like Sweden.
Actually Sweden is full of happy people too, if stats are to be believed:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/lif_hap_net

They rank above Switzerland in this one and both rank in the top 10.* I recall news reports about other happiness rankings (it was years ago and I can't recall the source) that listed Denmark and Sweden near the top and that report even went into the tax situation (i.e. "yes we have high taxes, but we get benefits, so we're happy").* Different strokes...

Bulgaria, on the other hand...
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 02:56 PM   #50
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Re: class in the united states

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Originally Posted by Austin_Explorer
Actually Sweden is full of happy people too
Have you SEEN their bikini team? I would be happy too!
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 03:03 PM   #51
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Re: class in the united states

I would say that people fall into three categories also.

1. Those that don't need help.
2. Those that can't be helped.
3. Those that need help and can be helped. (A very small percentage of people would fit the third catigory.)

Doesn't mean that we should try to help people. Just temper your expectitations.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 05:38 PM   #52
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Re: class in the united states

By the way, before I'm pushed firmly into one "category", I do believe that there are people who need help and can be helped, and belive that those who are fortunate enough to have the time and money to do so (along with the inclination) should do so.

I also believe that it IS harder for some classes/categories of people. I think everyone is entitled to a loving, warm and caring home as a child and a good education. I think part of the reason why those latter two things dont happen isnt because people dont try or money isnt spent, but it isnt spent wisely. I see a lot of disparate, half attempts with no cohesion and no follow through.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-18-2005, 08:00 PM   #53
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Re: class in the united states

I too think there are people who can be helped, who need help. But I lack faith in a government solution. I donate to private charities with good expense ratios that I believe in that seem to give the most bang for the buck - children's hospitals and battered women shelters. Those in a critical crisis situation, that can recieve help at a key time in their lives, have a great shot at moving past this crisis and living full, happy lives. Multi-generational welfare families, inner city poverty? I don't have a clue. Perhaps a private scholarship fund? But those with enough upstairs to apply are already probably going to make it. My cousin is a single mom and I've seen how supremely beneficial programs meant to help her with day care and job training have been to her. She's going to be a nurse, works full time at a bank and goes to school. These programs made it possible, and I think we can agree a nurse adds value to society. A hand up instead of a hand out? Too cliche, I know.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-19-2005, 10:44 PM   #54
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Re: class in the united states

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurencewill
... and I think we can agree a nurse adds value to society.
Yes, nurses do add value to society. I am still questioning what value does the government provide given the amount of money they collect (or impose) from tax payers. This is also true for corporate executives who take in millions of dollars, entertainers, professional athletes, money managers, stock brokers, major airline pilots, corporate attorneys, plaintiffs lawyers (personal-injury), specialty surgeons, etc. They, I agree, provide valuable services for their clients, but are they worth that much $$? The simple truth is that they charge what the market will bear (or willing to pay) - marketing 101.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-20-2005, 09:18 AM   #55
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Re: class in the united states

Another point of view, from the most eloquent Fred....

http://www.fredoneverything.net/FOE_Frame_Column.htm

A snippet: This I submit is goober-brained nonsense. America has precious little poverty, if by poverty you mean lack of something to eat, clothing adequate to keep you warm and cover your private parts, and a dry and comfortable place to sleep. In the ďinner citiesĒ or, as we used to call them, slums, there is horrendous cultural emptiness, yes, and the products of the suburban high schools are catching up fast. But poverty? The kind you see in the backs streets of Port au Prince? It barely exists in the United States.

The problem is that the poor do not know how to be poor.

As a police reporter for the better part of a decade, Iíve been in a lot of homes in allegedly poor parts of cities. Physically they werenít terrible. Some (not many, really) were badly kept up, but that isnít poverty. The residents could have carried the garbage out to the dumpster in the alley. They just couldnít be bothered.

Ah, but they were indeed morally deprived, culturally and intellectually impoverished, or what we used to call shiftless. Iíve come into an apartment in mid-afternoon and found a half dozen men sitting torpidly in front of the television, into homes where the daughter of thirteen was pregnant and on drugs. The problem wasnít poverty. The poor can keep their legs crossed as well as anyone else. If the daughter could afford drugs, she could afford food.

Most of these homes would have been regarded as fine by the graduate students of my day. They would have put in board-and-cinderblock bookshelves and a booze cache and been perfectly content.

The reality is that the wherewithal of a cultivated life of leisure, if only in tee-shirts and jeans, is within the reach of almost all of the ďpoor.Ē If I had to live in really cheap welfarish quarters in Washington, DC, which I know well, on food stamps and a bit of cash welfare, what would I do?

Iíd have a hell of a good time.

First, Iíd get a library card, which is free, for the public libraries of the District. The downtown library, over on 9th Street, is a huge dark half-empty building in which very few people appear and none of the poor. Iíd spend time reading, which I enjoy and the poor donít. They arenít interested.

A great many of the poor canít read, and the rest donít, but in both cases it is by choice, not because of poverty. The poor can go to the public schools. Their parents can encourage them to study. The schools are terrible, but neither is this because of poverty. The per-student expenditure in Washington is high. The city could afford good teachers and good texts. It isnít interested.

Music? A hundred-dollar boombox these days provides remarkably good sound, and Iíd roll in pirate CDs. The poor listen chiefly to grunting animalic rap, but that is by choice, not by necessity. Washington is neck-deep in free concerts by good groups, as for example the regular ones at KenCen. All of these are advertised in the City Paper, which is free. You never see the poor at these performances, though there is no dress code or discrimination. They arenít interested.
...cut....for brevity...

All of this much reminds me of homosexuals and AIDS. Like illiteracy, AIDS is voluntary. I donít dislike homosexuals, certainly wish AIDS on no oneóbut they know how HIV is transmitted. It they choose to indulge, well, so what? People ride motorcycles without helmets. Itís their decision, but donít expect me to be particularly stunned if they, or I, croak as a result. Donít want to study? Your decision. I donít care. We make our choices.

So it is with poverty.

I now encounter charges that culpability for the usually unimpressive health of the purportedly poor rests with McDonaldís, which sells them foods loaded with fat and salt. Indeed McDonaldís does. But eating Big Macs is a choice, isnít it? The poor could buy better food at the supermarket. Further, they know they could. They tend to watch a lot of television, with its endless health warnings. They eat fat because they want to eat fat.

Is this, in the tiresome phrase, blaming the victim? Absolutely. When the victim is to blame, blame him. If I get drunk and suffer a hangover, is it your fault? Jim Beamís fault? Why?

Some will object that the (slight) poverty of the American poor somehow forces them to make bad decisions, which they know to be bad decisions. Well, if the poor have no free will, and haplessly do what their environment ordains, can not the management of McDonaldís plead the same?
- - - - -
Any plenty more; I won't post it all, it's there and very good, if you're interested.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-20-2005, 10:33 AM   #56
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Re: class in the united states

Eagle, it's an interesting read, but I disagree with it more than I agree. True, we don't have poverty like third world countries have poverty, but telling a 13 year old who is pregnant and on drugs to suck it up is pretty pathetic. It's one thing to go on safari in a crime and drug riddled neighborhood, try living there for a while, have a guy pound on your door screaming, "help, their going to shoot me!" (as I did) and see how long you want to live there. Yes everything is relative, but the message people in this environment have recieved since childhood is "your worthless". It takes a special person to rise above the station they were born into. This website is NOT a good sampling of the average joe/jane, but in general, how many people move up the ladder when compared to their parents? If all you know, all you've experienced is this kind of squalor, how many people can think of a better life without having experienced it? Comparing being born in a crime infested, drug riddled ghetto to engaging in unsafe sex and riding a motorcycle without a helmet is just bogus. Did that 13 year old really "choose to indulge"? Please!
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-20-2005, 11:42 AM   #57
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Re: class in the united states

I agree - you have to see a glimpse/get some hope there is a way out. Like one of my Black engineer buddies who did volunteer math tutoring - it's not about the math - it's about hope.

BTY - a certain young lady - sole heir of a large farming op. scarfed him up - he's been a 'gone pecan' - gentleman farmer for a while - a step up from grunt engineer - and he sure as heck ain't going back to Newark.

We had a guy at the plant(15 yrs nobody knew) who could not read or write - but was such an astute observer - he was considered an ace mechanic in his job. He did a good job of hiding the fact.

Then there is The Major - grab every edge you can get, work hard - and then, then you get a spoiled kid (think Fresh Prince of Belair, not Will Smith) - free ride thru Med School with Mom and Pop footing the bill - which apparently no amount of talk about the 'old days' will unspoil.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-20-2005, 12:00 PM   #58
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Re: class in the united states

Laurence, it may be age related (71 here) or just my community of
friends, but I can't think of anyone who is not "better off" than
their parents in my little circle. * It is hard for me to relate to the
mind-set of those in abject poverty.

In my heart I know that able bodied persons of average intelligence
can succeed in rising above their circumstances if they want to badly enough, get a decent education and get a little help along the way. *

Of the three, It seems to me that instilling a "want to" spirit is
the toughest nut to crack. *

Cheers,

Charlie


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Old 05-20-2005, 12:07 PM   #59
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Re: class in the united states

BTY - given where we worked - we basically were exposed to only the succeses - failures were on evening news or when I did my stint on jury duty in Criminal Court.
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Re: class in the united states
Old 05-20-2005, 12:18 PM   #60
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Re: class in the united states

A couple of sociologists recently wrote a book about poor single mothers. A review in the WSJ says:

. . . If anything can revive interest in this vexing subject, it is "Promises I Can Keep" by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas. The book is the product of five years of interviews with black, white and Latino women in the poorest neighborhoods of Camden, N.J., and Philadelphia, where the authors are professors of sociology. Ms. Edin and Ms. Kefalas decisively rescue the young welfare mother from the policy wonks and feminist professors who have held her hostage until recently, and in so doing overthrow decades of conventional wisdom.

That wisdom had it that unmarried poor women got pregnant either because they were unable to get hold of birth control or ignorant of its use or because they viewed a welfare check as a substitute for an in-house father. Not so, find Ms. Edin and Ms. Kefalas: Young women, even those pregnant as young as 14, simply want to have babies. True, many wish that they had waited. But by and large these young women speak in hidebound terms about the "joys of motherhood," as do their young boyfriends, who often whisper "I want to have a baby by you" as part of courtship. Far more than their middle-class counterparts, low-income women are likely to see abortion as wrong and childlessness as a tragedy. It's not a fabulous career or sexual and romantic adventure that endows life with purpose; it's having a baby.




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