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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 10:40 AM   #61
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

For an experiment, if you have cable television, spend 30 minutes one afternoon flipping through the channels and see what passes for entertainment these days.

The very fact that there is a large audience for the various types of trash that is on show the character of the general population. The government doesn't want to help the people that routinely watch such trash, it wants to exploit them. These are the people that keep government in power.

As far as the public education system, take a read of The Underground History of American Education, http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/index.htm.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 10:42 AM   #62
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Well, I do apologize for downplaying or appearing to downplay "soft" disciplines. Was never my intention (I'm a half-softie myself), and, yes, well-roundedness is very important. The words "soft" and "hard" when applied to disciplines are inherently discriminatory to some degree, I suppose, but I use them anyway for lack of anything better.

I would take issue with the idea that the MRI scans showing most decision-making activity occurring in the amygdala before age 16 somehow implies that kids are not fully ready to learn math/"hard" sciences or even reading very very early on. I'm not a neurobiologist but as a student of artificial intelligence and philosophy I know we have only the faintest theoretical understanding of how our brains actually work and we are in no position to make broad conclusions like that which fly in face of empirical evidence (which clearly indicates that kids are very adept at picking up math at very young age). My apologies if I misinterpreted what you were trying to say, of course.

Anyway, now this is really going off at a tangent (though a fun one * ) and I don't think I'm contributing anything new to the discussion, so I'll stop. Once again, apologies to "softies" everywhere
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 11:18 AM   #63
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Quote:
Martha:

I do have a rather philosophical question.* What is wrong with the answer that "there is no saftey net for her but family"?
Depending on how widespread the situations we an do better than "The Tribe". That's what "progress" is all about

Quote:
To me that is the issue.* Family, community, and personal compassion is the answer...not the federal government.*
It NEED NOT be the Federal Gov but there is no inherent reason why it OUGHT NOT be the Fed Gov. IT's The People's choice.* Also, the fantasic modern world, with all it's progress and wonderful fall-out would not* have been possible if everyone were eternally tied to family and "community" as defined as "Those people who knew you since you were little" or* "One of Us". MOBILITY and adaptability has been a major componment of the last 50 yrs success. The old ways are not always transcribable to the new situation. We can't all live and prosper in the 18th century


Quote:
Over the years we have created an entitlement mentality where everyone expects someone else, particularly the federal government to take care of them, to provide their education, to give them jobs, to give them a retirement, to give them healthcare.* Politicians gain power by promising that they'll take it from this group and give it to that group.
And nobody personifies Entitlement like The Rich and the Money Centers. They are all about getting theirs and then railing against Big Gov when somebody else gets some.

And if the economy worked as it sould be working the Gove wouldn't ever get away with these "entitlement programs". They would be told to kindly bug out.

Quote:
There is no compassion and no dignity when a government institution gives handouts.* There is compassion and dignity when family and community step in and help.
*

Compassion/dignity.... here/there...andouts vs help in? Assertions not solutions. If the economy worked as it should then everybody would simply be able to access what they need as a minimum. Where is it? And how about teh Rich? They don't seemed shamed by their Gov "support"

Quote:
When America was being built, family would help family or neighbor would help neighbor get off to a good start or rebuild their homes when tragedy struck.* Today we say we don't need to help, we paid taxes to the government and we expect the government to help you.*
All fine in a small small world that didn't move much.* Can't have a modern economy living like that. Or at least natural selection has discarded it. Do not blame the victims.* (ie The People) They don't have much say in the matter

Quote:
Along with that, consumerism has destroyed us as we have grown to want more and more and fill the endless void with things instead of helping those around us.
I'm not defending it. I onboard with you here, but it's called Capitalism. It's how the Rich get Rich. Expanding and "creating" new markets. Creating a need. (where there really is no legitimate need) redistribute their wealth* and call it "Profits" (A Government program btw), Find out where the money is a get it.* Smith and Marx both spoke of this need for markets as a weakness of capitalism.* Don't blame the worker bees* they* don't run that part of the operation.

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In general, all the incredible advances in life have not helped societies as much as they should because of the general lack of character in our own hearts.
Right! It's not the kind of system you have. It's the People who RUN the system.*

Quote:
I am being a little over simplistic in my explanation, but the attitude of it's the government institutions responsibility is pervasive.* That removes responsibility both for ourselves and for others.* We have given over our rights and responsibilities to the government.
Because there aren't enough people who really truely benefit from Big Government* to win an honest election. No Government or Ruling Class really wants all the people to be free and be able to take care of themselves. Again. don't blame the victims. Go to the Top.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 11:20 AM   #64
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE ME!
Martha:

I'm sorry to hear about your neice. It is tragic. I am sure there are lots of situations that have happened like that.

I do have a rather philosophical question. What is wrong with the answer that "there is no saftey net for her but family"?

To me that is the issue. Family, community, and personal compassion is the answer...not the federal government.


What if she got leukemia? Most families are not rich enough to pay out of pocket for their uninsured relatives. Almost all the people I care about grew up dirt poor. I can't take care of all of them.

I grew up in a very poor rural area, the poorest in my state. There was a lot of helping out each other in that community,with I have firewood you have a cow kind of barters. But medical care? No way. Not enough money. I know many who didn't have insurance and died early unnecessary deaths. My father was on social security disabilty and died when I was in college. I would have loved to care for him but neither I nor anyone else in my family had the means. Thank goodness for social security. Thank goodness for grants and student loans.

Also, my community had its dark side. What if your religion was different from everyone elses? You were ostrasized. My stomach turns when I think of my childhood. Also, I have seen helping hands turned into lording one person's position over another with not so subtle pressure to change. Praise Jesus and have a bowl of soup! Lots of dignity in that.

Odds are my neice will be fine. She is very smart. She is going to go to nursing school. Her experience has given her a calling. She will get financial aid and I can help out.

There is dignity for all if we make sure everyone has health insurance and our elderly and disabled have social security.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 11:33 AM   #65
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

It's one thing to show up for a couple of days of barn-raising or to cook a little extra food for a few weeks--and quite another to write checks for tens or hundreds of thousands for surgery, drugs, medical devices, physical therapy, etc. This ain't the days of $25 doctor fees for delivering a baby!
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 11:34 AM   #66
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Very valid points, indeed.

Many of those expose the main problem, which is a lack of character and geniune self-centeredness in our race. *

I just don't think government controlled anything is the answer to that problem as it becomes a reflection of the people in our system. *There are no easy answers, that's for sure. *We do the best we can.

I'm glad you are in a position to help those around you to some extent and have the heart to do so. *May your kind increase.

::::: completely aside :::::

I'm surprised I haven't read anyone connecting tort reform issues to helping solve our insurance and healtcare problems.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 11:40 AM   #67
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Odds are my neice will be fine. She is very smart. She is going to go to nursing school. Her experience has given her a calling. She will get financial aid and I can help out.
That's great.
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There is dignity for all if we make sure everyone has health insurance and our elderly and disabled have social security.
Affordable health care, education, and social security are the foremost issues that must be addressed and resolved by the government. It's true that there are other important issues, i.e., environment, economy, homeland security, foreign affairs, etc.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 11:48 AM   #68
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Quote:
Originally Posted by astromeria
It's one thing to show up for a couple of days of barn-raising or to cook a little extra food for a few weeks--and quite another to write checks for tens or hundreds of thousands for surgery, drugs, medical devices, physical therapy, etc. This ain't the days of $25 doctor fees for delivering a baby!
We're not even doing the "couple of days of barn-raising". *Let's start there. *The need for that is great.

My daughter and I spent a week on a mission trip in the mountains of Kentucy this summer. *There are people that don't even have running water and live in 3rd world conditions. *I could have spent a month there giving and fixing things and not made a dent. *And, sadly, that wouldn't solve the problem because it would occur again shortly thereafter. *When you have kids getting married at 15 to their cousins and having babies at 16 and dropping out of school and getting their education from Maury Povich, Judge Judy, and Jerry Springer, my putting a working toilet in isn't going to help much.

I'm not going to expect the government to do anything. *I know what is in the hearts of people and the government is going to be a reflection of that. *I'll do what I can to help those God puts in my path and trust that one day, he will put to right what went wrong. *

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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 11:53 AM   #69
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Another tangent re. "character": I see this refered to everywhere as something that can be taught. Good parents instill it in their children. I think that is indeed the way it works for almost everyone, providing they have a stable home and everyone is mentally healthy.

Unfortunately, what I have observed in my own family is that you can teach "character" until you are blue in the face, but if the kids are mentally deficient, mentally ill and/or are exposed to other kids who are delinquents, it is a losing endeavor.

One of my former neighbors was a teacher and a missionary. His wife was also a professional: they were the most middle-class, decent people you'd ever meet. Both took turns being at home for the kids so they were never unsupervised. The whole family attended church, family outings, etc. and were very close. Unfortunately, their children became drop outs and drug addicts during their teen years. How? Why? The father told me his children both fell under the thrall of a gang of rough kids in the neighborhood. (We moved from the neighborhood because of this.)

Again, in my own family, three kids dropped out of high school and one finished college. Same parents and upbringing. How? Why? I know now that both my sisters had depression, and one was recently diagnosed as bipolar. My brother has symptoms similar to Asperger's.

My sister raised her stepchildren and spent a lot of time trying to correct the bad influence of their mother, a drug addict and criminal. Unfortunately, all the stepkids were low/dull IQ and one had mental illness. Result: despite the good influence of my sister and her clean, orderly household, all are dropouts, petty criminals and drug users.

Low IQ, poor mental health and, as a teenager, the influence of delinquent kids in the neighborhood all contribute to "poor character". *The best parental influence can amount to nil in these cases. I think when you look at poverty, you are seeing these three factors at work. Also, you are seeing the results of low-attainment people like my sister's stepchildren having children of their own. Not a pretty picture. *But not really a choice on their part, either, since they didn't ask to be born dumb/mentally ill, and they really are not capable, unfortunately, of making informed decisions re. reproduction.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 02:53 PM   #70
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMcDonald
>>Higher taxation does not translate into higher employment.

And as we have seen with the Bush administration policies, lower taxes also does not contribute to higher employment.
.
I do believe that Bush inherited a budding recession from his predecessor and unemployment is lower now than at the peak of the recession.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 06:41 PM   #71
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

This is a delicate argument. But, I think, an important one.

I see big differences between liberals and conservatives. And I especially see big differences between the older conservatives and the newer ones of the past five or six years.

I see a sort of degeneration of Republican office holders, our current leaders. And it goes to the deeper levels of experience--to my mind. I see current conservatives focusing to a greater extent then they did previously on money issues, e.g. reducing income taxes, eliminating inheritance taxes, repairing or replacing social security, reduction of welfare benefits, reducing/privatizing Medicaid or healthcare services, etc. The list of such ideas, possible and actual legislation, goes on and on.

As I see it, conservative leaders attempt to manipulate the other parts of the world thru the manipulation of money—seemingly simple fixes: take welfare money away from the poor and they will just go out and find jobs, work; offer even more stimulus to the rich (lower taxes) and to the business man (reduced regulations and taxes) and they will automatically work harder.

Simple, straightforward ideas, but are they effective? My belief is that they are not. Life is more complicated. Oftentimes, when a person has less money, he or she turns to crime or is driven into a deeper hole. When frustration with the political system increases, one is more likely to turn to a tyrant that provides even more meaningless, destructive, or overly simplified solutions.

A case in point is how we raise our children. I don’t believe anyone would say that raising children should be done with only one tool. If all we did in bringing up children was use rewards, treats, allowances and such, and punishments (the taking away of these things) we would be doing a disservice to our children. They are not rats in a behaviorist’s box. They need some affection, consideration, and some reason--minimally. This is good for each side, parents and children. Such consideration is also important for our neighbors, our city’s residents, our state’s general welfare, our country as a whole—and all the particulars within. They shouldn’t be rewarded and punished with one tool in isolation.

Over the past few years I see more and more of this manipulation of the social fabric with money, like in a gigantic Skinner box. The power of money has grown out of proportion to its real value. And self-centeredness and selfishness has ensued

As I see things, liberals have a more comprehensive approach to many of the problems in our society. They seek a restoration of balance. One of the great achievements over the past fifty years has been the growth of the middle-class—the quiet majority who go about their work, don’t rock the boat, and devote a portion of themselves for those who need a little extra. This appears to be disappearing too as we move toward becoming a nation of polarity, of rich and poor, of second- and third-world political manipulation--more animal-like--as folks move away from a balanced life.

Balance is important. I don’t mean the type of balance where one group has about as much power as its opposing group. I mean a moderation--of nothing to excess. My mother used to tell me, as I suspect many other mothers told their children, “Eat all your food; there’re kids in China who don’t get supper.” It didn’t mean much at the time, except that it was a shot across my bow saying “Finish your food now.” It means more to me nowadays. It means watch for those extremes and attempt to rectify them as best you can.

I read an article a number of months back about the increase in sales of Italian yachts. It was about the rapid increase in sales of these things to the rich and, especially, to American rich. Most of them were in the $20-40 mil range, but a few were in the $100 million range. I see this as excess in the context of all the poverty in this country.

I think owning a boat can be a good thing, but in the context of impoverishing the poor further it seems extreme. By way of example, I just read an article in BusinessWeek about the option-ARMs that are starting to trigger higher mortgage rates and driving many folks closer to bankruptcy and/or losing their homes. One can surely say “Buyer beware.” to these folks, that it was their fault for taking such a mortgage in the first place. But at the same time we had a gov’t so uncautiously free with low interest rates (below inflation rates in 2003-2004) and a willingness not to supervise the banking industry as credit requirements were eased to ever lower levels, allowing people access to money that even a few years before would have been prohibited. The gov’t allowed and, in fact, nurtured excess and stupidity. What comes back to all of us for allowing that is a potential loss in our home values as nature and the market restores itself to balance. And it may be at a time when we most need that home to sustain its value. Too bad it is happening this way. We could have easily prevented it.

So, I see liberals as proponents of restoring balance to the system. They tend to see the graver mistakes as they are legislated and enacted and see the consequences and fallout to come. We currently have an administration that almost revels in allowing extremes to get out of hand, thinking things are different this time. This, in fact, is exactly what has happened over the past few years. The housing bubble is an example.

Another example of a thing in the process of going awry is the greed factor. When money becomes easy to get, the satiation point increases disproportionately: the more money one gets, the more one wants. The economy starts going awry. Hedge funds are a good example of this process. A few of them, even a moderate number, are alright. But now we have an excessive number of them buying up companies, stripping them of their assets, loading them with debt, and then dumping them back on the market--all serving no real good business purpose--not improving productive situations at all, but making huge amounts of cash for those who do the stripping. Another recent problem is the options timing manipulation schemes that are becoming evident over the past few months. Executives worry more about extracting every last bit of cash--legally or otherwise--out of the company, rather than doing a good job for a fair payment. Greed warps priorities; extreme greed warps our leaders, warps us. Yet we pass tax laws that encourage the formation of more greed. Moderation in laws, e.g. a progressive income tax, helps alleviate or reduce this tendency. It mildly pulls folks back toward moderation, keeps them a little more balanced. One is tugged away from an extreme and toward the middle.

Those at the bottom also need a bit of help. They need that helping hand to get them up a notch. This doesn’t mean a handout. It just means some multi-functional assistance to get them out of a hole that they may or may not have dug themselves. It should be offered to those with a desire to use it. Simple and straightforward. But as long as one is willing to work on pre-established goals and make regular ‘objective’ improvements, different in each individual case, one should have that help. Cutting all the strings so that one has to fend for oneself isn’t a solution, it’s the creation of a disaster.

We shouldn’t further the creation of extremes. Time to rebalance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 07:11 PM   #72
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by FIRE ME!
There is no compassion and no dignity when a government institution gives handouts. *There is compassion and dignity when family and community step in and help.
Nonsense.* I don't see what compassion and dignity there are in allowing people to become uninsured and uninsurable.

National health insurance is not a hand-out, by the way.* Everybody pays their health insurance premiums/tax, and everybody is covered.* It is just expanding the risk pool to include everyone in the country.* Are there any community-based organizations that even try to provide universal coverage?* If not, how else would you propose to get the job done?* Or do you prefer letting people die early, dignified deaths from treatable causes?

This is also something that I don't see clever entrepreneurs ever deciding to do on their own (to answer Nords), because profits can always be maximized by eliminating the more expensive cases from the risk pool.* You need government to back something like that, like it or not.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 07:22 PM   #73
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by bennevis
.
I do believe that Bush inherited a budding recession from his predecessor and unemployment is lower now than at the peak of the recession.
That is because the calculations that were used to come up with the unemployment number were changed.* Essentially they redefined 'unemployment' the same way they redefined 'clear skies initiative' to mean 'the sky will be clear of birds'*
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 07:23 PM   #74
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

Quote:
Affordable health care, education, and social security are the foremost issues that must be addressed and resolved by the government.
implicit here is the assumption that government can successfully address these issues without making us worse-off on some other dimension -- the assumption itself is dangerous.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 07:45 PM   #75
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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implicit here is the assumption that government can successfully address these issues without making us worse-off on some other dimension -- the assumption itself is dangerous
Absolutely true. But I don't think the freemarket, privately super rich, "entrepreneurial business class" is gonna be full of ideas on this besides "I got mine" "Life ain't fair", "strive, take risks, and achieve, blah blah yadda yadda. IOW, the same old nonsense that hasn't worked.

Now, as far as the Gov successfully addressing issues being a dangerous assumption... hey man, it works for The Rich. Seems to be their "A" list go-to guy for all sorts of things

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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 07:48 PM   #76
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

razz: did you not just confirm that it is a dangerous assumption?
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 07:51 PM   #77
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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Originally Posted by d
implicit here is the assumption that government can successfully address these issues without making us worse-off on some other dimension -- the assumption itself is dangerous.
Very good point. We just had many posts complaining about the government education system. Healthcare is far more complicated than education, IMO.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 07:56 PM   #78
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

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razz: did you not just confirm that it is a dangerous assumption?
No. It could be a dangerous assumption. There is always potential for danger is anything But assuming it is a non-player en toto is at least equally dangerous. You can't know about these things. All you can do is assess the problem and attempt solutions. You have no way of knowing which assumption is dangerous. Reliance of what most people today call free markets as a cure-all for everything is not only dangerous it's inhuman in that HUMANS have not climbed the ladder over 40,000 yrs by NOT trying new ways at different times.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 08:04 PM   #79
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

interesting. you state that we "have no way of knowing which assumption is dangerous" and then proclaim that free markets are worse than dangerous.
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer
Old 09-04-2006, 08:04 PM   #80
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Re: Rich get richer / poor get poorer

As an aside....

I love the dialog on this board. *There are sharp minds here on the ER forum, even if we sometimes disagree. *Since the money issue is taken care of for some of us, maybe some of us should go into public service to help solve some of these issues instead of golfing, fishing, eating chocolates, and bloviating about solutions all day. *

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