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Old 03-28-2009, 09:30 PM   #21
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Maybe we should just legalize it and get rid of all these expensive welfare programs (any other libertarians??).

I'm trying to figure out a way to tie this in to some FIRE-related topic, but I'm drawing a blank here. And I'm 100% totally sober right now.

Edit to add:

If I become the recipient of unemployment insurance, I'm going to spend my entire first check on two things: booze and toilet paper. The first is like a middle finger to the man, and the second, well, I want to buy about a thousand rolls of toilet paper and make a sculpture out of it.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:34 PM   #22
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To be honest... I am not sure that I care if someone wants to waste their life, gambling, doing drugs, drinking themselves into oblivion etc. The only problem that I have, is them using my dime (via taxes) to do it.

What I would do (I believe we have the tech at this point) is to issue welfare recipents some sort of electronic card that can only be used in certain stores, to buy only certain products. As in "Sorry Mr. Smith... but your welfare card will not purchase alcohol in our store." Remember, being on welfare is not about being made "comfortable" and having things be convienient for you.

Every week that card can be re-filled at the local welfare office only by the legal holder of it, and yes ID would be required. Good luck trying to buy booze or lottery tickets with that....
Not a bad idea, but it will just result in a barter black market, where the card holder would buy milk and bread in the store and trade it at a discount for cash to buy the bad stuff. Desire trumps tech every time.

As far as not using our tax dollars on people getting high, our government spends my tax dollars on so many other things I disapprove of so much more (war, prohibition, and bailouts come to mind immediately) that this particular problem is just a blip on my radar, as well as a very tiny portion of the overall tax spending. It all comes down to government having to tell people what to do.
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:50 AM   #23
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Not a bad idea, but it will just result in a barter black market, where the card holder would buy milk and bread in the store and trade it at a discount for cash to buy the bad stuff. Desire trumps tech every time.

As far as not using our tax dollars on people getting high, our government spends my tax dollars on so many other things I disapprove of so much more (war, prohibition, and bailouts come to mind immediately) that this particular problem is just a blip on my radar, as well as a very tiny portion of the overall tax spending. It all comes down to government having to tell people what to do.
Sigh.... so true... There is no way to "legislate" responsible behavior. I guess the best you can do is make it as difficult as you can to "milk" the system, and then hope for the best.

I agree with you the very notion of the govt telling me, or anyone else what to do with their lives, rubs me just about every wrong way..
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:35 PM   #24
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If the Congress critters and White House can get angry about allowing large bonuses to be paid to employees of a company receiving government assistance, why can't I be angry when I see welfare recipients use money for food and rent buy drugs. Laws are being contemplated to stop the bonuses, why can't laws be passed that will protect the taxpayers role in providing assistance to those individuals who ask the government for a bailout?

Don't give me the crap that it's all about their civil rights. The bonuses paid were specifically allowed by law. There was nothing illegal about them, yet that doesn't seem to have stopped the critters from demanding some onerous tax scheme to seize the property of the populace. Using drugs is illegal. Using my tax money to buy illegal drugs is not and has not ever been legal. Why can't I demand those people who have shown an inability to manage their lives be required to live their lives in a legal manner? What costs more drug testing and rehab or the cycle of dependence with intermittent periods under correction control.
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:58 PM   #25
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If the Congress critters and White House can get angry about allowing large bonuses to be paid to employees of a company receiving government assistance, why can't I be angry when I see welfare recipients use money for food and rent buy drugs. Laws are being contemplated to stop the bonuses, why can't laws be passed that will protect the taxpayers role in providing assistance to those individuals who ask the government for a bailout?

Don't give me the crap that it's all about their civil rights. The bonuses paid were specifically allowed by law. There was nothing illegal about them, yet that doesn't seem to have stopped the critters from demanding some onerous tax scheme to seize the property of the populace. Using drugs is illegal. Using my tax money to buy illegal drugs is not and has not ever been legal. Why can't I demand those people who have shown an inability to manage their lives be required to live their lives in a legal manner? What costs more drug testing and rehab or the cycle of dependence with intermittent periods under correction control.
Very well stated... and I agree. Unfortunately that sort of thinking goes against the current PC gone wild world view, we are currently in the middle of.

If you are poor you are always assumed to be the victim, and if you are wealthy, or somewhat better off, you are viewed as the oppressor. For some, it really does not matter what facts, figures, or logic might show the contrary to be true.

Where you and I would see a drug addict, others will see a "troubled individual downtrodden by society". One grouip belives that we are all responsible for our own actions, both the good and bad. The other group claims the only reason people ever do bad things is because of a "misunderstanding" or were forced into doing it by "society" pressure. Essentially, one reason or another why an individuals actions are not his/her personal fault.

The world is a big and scary place... you can get hurt out here, and your bad decisions can get you killed, or doom you to a life of misery. I like the challenges of life though... sort of what gives it meaning for me.
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:04 PM   #26
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I prefer not to have tax dollars spent on illegal drugs...but hey, that's just me.
no, bbamI, that's not just you...
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Old 03-29-2009, 02:33 PM   #27
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If the Congress critters and White House can get angry about allowing large bonuses to be paid to employees of a company receiving government assistance, why can't I be angry when I see welfare recipients use money for food and rent buy drugs. Laws are being contemplated to stop the bonuses, why can't laws be passed that will protect the taxpayers role in providing assistance to those individuals who ask the government for a bailout?

Don't give me the crap that it's all about their civil rights. The bonuses paid were specifically allowed by law. There was nothing illegal about them, yet that doesn't seem to have stopped the critters from demanding some onerous tax scheme to seize the property of the populace. Using drugs is illegal. Using my tax money to buy illegal drugs is not and has not ever been legal. Why can't I demand those people who have shown an inability to manage their lives be required to live their lives in a legal manner? What costs more drug testing and rehab or the cycle of dependence with intermittent periods under correction control.
I don't disagree with the general premise, and you're more than welcome to be angry about it. And I don't see where the bonus issue even applies to this. A completely different boondoggle.

I'm just saying that in this case the cure is worse than the disease. IMO it's not about civil rights, it's about possible success. So you take away the benefits from the parents (and the children). You have a bunch of poor people living and starving on the streets? With their children? This would certainly result in increased crime as some of them tried to find other ways to get the money. Or you put the parents in jail, and turn the children over to our oh so functional and well funded Social Services and Foster Care systems? I just don't see the benefit from either a personal or cost basis.

Every time I see the goverment(s) do something like this, it either never actually gets off the ground due to being mostly hot air poorly thought out and executed, or it falls victim to the law of unintended consequences and creates so many problems they end up passing 16 other laws to try to control the mess. Beware politicians trying to "do something". If they were smart enough to solve these problems, or even think them through, they'd either get a real job or maybe even be FIREd. IMO, it won't make it better and will probably make it worse. I say leave well enough alone.
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:14 PM   #28
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Why not?
Exactly.
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:17 PM   #29
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One group believes that we are all responsible for our own actions, both the good and bad.
My momma was and still is a card carrying member of that group. A lot of hugging and a few spankings...
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:46 PM   #30
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Where you and I would see a drug addict, others will see a "troubled individual downtrodden by society". One grouip belives that we are all responsible for our own actions, both the good and bad. The other group claims the only reason people ever do bad things is because of a "misunderstanding" or were forced into doing it by "society" pressure. Essentially, one reason or another why an individuals actions are not his/her personal fault.
I'm in the group that believes there are more than two groups. The "shades of grey" group.
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:30 PM   #31
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I'm in the group that believes there are more than two groups. The "shades of grey" group.
harley, I also find myself in the "shades of grey" group on many issues. It's usually easy to think of an extreme situation where most would agree one way or another. There is the case of a person who takes welfare to fund a drug habit and is not really benefiting from the subsidy. How about the person who is trying to quit drugs and has a slip up? What happens to the kids in these cases? The "shades of grey" make things much more complex.

Take the death penalty for example. Most of us can think of an act so heinous the death penalty would seem to make sense. Hey, if Hitler survived WWII, how many people would have argued he should be spared? The problem is, where do you draw the line? Most of us would be all over the board if presented with a number of potential death penalty cases.

Almost nothing is black and white.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:01 AM   #32
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harley, I also find myself in the "shades of grey" group on many issues. It's usually easy to think of an extreme situation where most would agree one way or another. There is the case of a person who takes welfare to fund a drug habit and is not really benefiting from the subsidy. How about the person who is trying to quit drugs and has a slip up? What happens to the kids in these cases? The "shades of grey" make things much more complex.

Take the death penalty for example. Most of us can think of an act so heinous the death penalty would seem to make sense. Hey, if Hitler survived WWII, how many people would have argued he should be spared? The problem is, where do you draw the line? Most of us would be all over the board if presented with a number of potential death penalty cases.

Almost nothing is black and white.

At the end of the day all decisions are black and white. You will choose to go left or right. And each of those paths has it's own particular outcomes. Some good, some not so much. The reasoning behind those decisions is as "grey" as it gets.... in that we agree.

And endless series of debates, conjecture, trying to find that perfect solution will always fail. Put 10 people in a room and tell them to come up with a "consensus" where no person in the room has any more power or authority than anyone else. Then sit back and watch the fun begin. In short order it will turn into an endless and often circular debate that will NEVER get resolved. I have watched this one happen in countless business meetings.
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:45 AM   #33
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Put 10 people in a room and tell them to come up with a "consensus" where no person in the room has any more power or authority than anyone else. Then sit back and watch the fun begin. In short order it will turn into an endless and often circular debate that will NEVER get resolved. I have watched this one happen in countless business meetings.
Or even right here!

One observation: Juries work like this--no one has any official power over anyone else, and all progress in negotiations is through strength of argument, compromise, and other techniques of persuasion. I won't comment on the efficacy of this system, but the founding fathers could not come up with a better one for controlling the police power of the state when wielded against the individual, so they must have had some faith in it. And I haven't seen a better system elsewhere.
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Old 03-30-2009, 04:40 PM   #34
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I don't disagree with the general premise, and you're more than welcome to be angry about it. And I don't see where the bonus issue even applies to this. A completely different boondoggle.

I'm just saying that in this case the cure is worse than the disease. IMO it's not about civil rights, it's about possible success. So you take away the benefits from the parents (and the children). You have a bunch of poor people living and starving on the streets? With their children? This would certainly result in increased crime as some of them tried to find other ways to get the money. Or you put the parents in jail, and turn the children over to our oh so functional and well funded Social Services and Foster Care systems? I just don't see the benefit from either a personal or cost basis.

Every time I see the goverment(s) do something like this, it either never actually gets off the ground due to being mostly hot air poorly thought out and executed, or it falls victim to the law of unintended consequences and creates so many problems they end up passing 16 other laws to try to control the mess. Beware politicians trying to "do something". If they were smart enough to solve these problems, or even think them through, they'd either get a real job or maybe even be FIREd. IMO, it won't make it better and will probably make it worse. I say leave well enough alone.
Not providing the rehab assistance and providing penalties for drug use while receiving public assistance only acts to increase the costs. The parents wind up in jail or on probation anyway for some kind of drug charge. I can't tell you how many people receiving assistance I've arrested and place the children with foster care. That is not a good solution a family should stay together, by having the laws on the books outlawing drugs and not requiring abstinence while receiving assistance only serve to tear the family apart.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:32 PM   #35
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harley, I also find myself in the "shades of grey" group on many issues. It's usually easy to think of an extreme situation where most would agree one way or another. There is the case of a person who takes welfare to fund a drug habit and is not really benefiting from the subsidy. How about the person who is trying to quit drugs and has a slip up? What happens to the kids in these cases? The "shades of grey" make things much more complex.

Take the death penalty for example. Most of us can think of an act so heinous the death penalty would seem to make sense. Hey, if Hitler survived WWII, how many people would have argued he should be spared? The problem is, where do you draw the line? Most of us would be all over the board if presented with a number of potential death penalty cases.

Almost nothing is black and white.


Overcoming Bias: The Fallacy of GrayThe Fallacy of Gray

The Sophisticate: "The world isn't black and white. No one does pure good or pure bad. It's all gray. Therefore, no one is better than anyone else."
The Zetet: "Knowing only gray, you conclude that all grays are the same shade. You mock the simplicity of the two-color view, yet you replace it with a one-color view..."
-- Marc Stiegler, David's Sling
---------------
Addendum: G points us to Asimov's The Relativity of Wrong: "When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

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Old 03-30-2009, 05:43 PM   #36
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Sigh.... so true... There is no way to "legislate" responsible behavior. I guess the best you can do is make it as difficult as you can to "milk" the system, and then hope for the best.

I agree with you the very notion of the govt telling me, or anyone else what to do with their lives, rubs me just about every wrong way..
IMHO...You cannot legislate morality or abstinence from drugs above and beyond what law enforcement is able to do at street level.
What you can do is provide a major deterrent to continued daily drug use. Fail the test, no check. Try again next week.
Theoretically, with emphasis on the theoretical part, drug abusers who may still be reachable just may be able to stay clean for a day or two before the check date. Most won't and will resort to other means (robbery, hooking, barter) to get money for the fix.
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:04 PM   #37
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Overcoming Bias: The Fallacy of GrayThe Fallacy of Gray

The Sophisticate: "The world isn't black and white. No one does pure good or pure bad. It's all gray. Therefore, no one is better than anyone else."
The Zetet: "Knowing only gray, you conclude that all grays are the same shade. You mock the simplicity of the two-color view, yet you replace it with a one-color view..."
-- Marc Stiegler, David's Sling
---------------
Addendum: G points us to Asimov's The Relativity of Wrong: "When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."


Dang, I'm confused now. Heck, I've gone through most of my life being confused....but maybe confusion is a good thing
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:15 PM   #38
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Dang, I'm confused now. Heck, I've gone through most of my life being confused....but maybe confusion is a good thing
[/indent]
Did you leave a "not" out somewhere?
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:18 PM   #39
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Did you leave a "not" out somewhere?
I think not, but I am in a state of confusion so I'm not sure
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:59 PM   #40
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IMHO...You cannot legislate morality or abstinence from drugs above and beyond what law enforcement is able to do at street level.
What you can do is provide a major deterrent to continued daily drug use. Fail the test, no check. Try again next week.
Theoretically, with emphasis on the theoretical part, drug abusers who may still be reachable just may be able to stay clean for a day or two before the check date. Most won't and will resort to other means (robbery, hooking, barter) to get money for the fix.
Not too bad, but the requirements are fail = rehab. Not so bad, probably not a bad idea at all. Fail again = more rehab. Fail 3 times, off the books (for good, I think). As far as the staying clean for a day or two, pot (which will be the hugely most common failure) shows up in a test for up to 11 weeks.

To me, again, the cure is worse than the disease. Now if you've got a hardcore heroin/meth/pcp addict picking up food stamps, it might be a good thing for him and his family to identify him, put him through rehab, maybe jail if he's a danger. However, if you've got a recently unemployed programmer who smoked a bit of weed to help him through the depression of getting laid off, I don't think withholding his unemployment check is going to help. Sure, he needs to get it out of his system in order to qualify at Home Depot, but still. Is this truly worse than going out the night before and getting totally wasted on Budwieser, then passing the test the next day?

As far as black and white, this just wouldn't be the same without the shades of grey.

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