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12-16-2011, 08:19 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by riff Quote
I believe the "war" on drugs and the "war" on terror have been extremely successful, it's just a matter of how you define success
declaring 'war' on something that isn't a tangible thing, much less an actual provable threat, can in my mind never bee seen as 'successful'. criminalizing someone on the tax dollars of others for something that is less harmful than what the government legally profits from is successful? creating an industry that not only didn't exist before the 'war' was declared, and then escalating the violence associated with the trade (that the war created), by your own declaration of war, and then blaming it on the people? (one of the main contributing factors for the militarization of our police forces, has been the 'war' on drugs and 'terror') yea, I guess you would have to have a pretty strange definition of 'successful' to count them so.


Last edited by séamuis; 12-16-2011 at 08:25 AM.
12-16-2011, 08:44 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Why is it always off limits to question lifestyle choices and material excesses like designer clothes, smart phones which require expensive plans, new cars, ivy league education, etc. all bought with borrowed money by people of modest means who would have been wiser choosing more modest options.
Mike, these questions are not off limits, per se, but when put forward as an argument that the problems of the poor are not any great thing, the questions come across as callous and out of touch. Furthermore, the implication is that the majority of the poor insist on luxury goods and that's why they are poor. This may be the case with some - usually downward mobile yuppies - but with the long term poor, clearly is not the case. And getting that ivy league education - usually through scholarship money, if you're poor rather than in the yuppy class - is one legitimate way to give your children a way out of poverty.

Lumping the wealthy as predatory, self-absorbed ogliarchs also doesn't contribute towards solving issues.

The idea that those of us lucky enough to have good, competetive, jobs where our industries have to do something to retain us - treating us as humans, paying us decently, etc - are the 'winners' and therefore deserving of even more is just simply bunk. Yes, we are 'winners' in the jobs and financial area, but we are also fortunate... and extremely selfish, to be grubbing for ever more marginal dollars while telling the rest of the country (the 'losers') to F.O.

My reading of the past 10 years is that the hollowing out of the middle class has been reaching the yuppies - upper mid income professionals etc - and this last recession has finally started to hurt us, big time. In trickle down terms, it is these people whose spending comes closest to 'creating jobs' absent a mass middle income market. It is these people who may be most likely to be living above their means, having the kids and sending them to summer camp and so on... And it is these people who are now being squeezed and are over-leveraged. If the trend continues, you and me are going to be drastically down-sizing and down-spending indefinitely. (Well, you do have the upward salary expectation still, being young... but it wont' be as steep as it has been in the past.)


Our problems, painful as they are, are nothing like the problems of the poor.
12-16-2011, 09:06 AM   #18
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Doing without for me means eating a lot of ramen, rice and beans sometimes if I want to get my rent paid. Or forgoing the used Barbie habit for a long while, no Goodwill once a month, not going to the dentist, the doctor, not getting vet care for the animals regularly. I can deal with doing that mostly. Poor to me is going sans heat in the winter eating mayo sandwiches on white bread or ketchup soup because that's all you've got. Abject poverty that's living in a box on the street, forging in dumpsters for food.

I've pretty low income actually and I've been "without funds" for long periods of time, but I don't actually consider myself truly poor. I know better. As bad as it can get around here there's a lot worse happening out there. I'm not living on ramen, et all I'm just stretching my food dollar a little with it. Really, really POOR is a whole different category from what I live with. I'm not affluent by any means, I'm not even middle class really though my family pretends to be lol, but I'm not dirt poor. I'm far luckier than most who would use that description and don't think I don't know it too. I've seen tin roof shacks and the people in them with no shoes or food to speak of. I've never forgotten that. How lucky I am.

Last edited by magkelly; 12-16-2011 at 09:12 AM.
12-16-2011, 10:16 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Why is it always off limits to question lifestyle choices and material excesses like designer clothes, smart phones which require expensive plans, new cars, ivy league education, etc. all bought with borrowed money by people of modest means who would have been wiser choosing more modest options. These contribute to people's poverty and the interest. Likewise, the choice to have kids (and the choice/situation of raising them alone as many in this country do) and how many kids you have creates a stream of huge financial obligations that makes even someone who earns plenty of money feel poor compared to peers without children.
Good luck fighting Darwins "survival of the reproductively fit" mentality and especially when wrapped in the "be fruitful and multiply" .. To them those without offspring are the genetic losers and are the non-productive members of society.........it's not ALL about money.........

12-16-2011, 10:49 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Why is it always off limits to question lifestyle choices and material excesses like designer clothes, smart phones which require expensive plans, new cars, ivy league education, etc. all bought with borrowed money by people of modest means who would have been wiser choosing more modest options. These contribute to people's poverty and the interest. Likewise, the choice to have kids (and the choice/situation of raising them alone as many in this country do) and how many kids you have creates a stream of huge financial obligations that makes even someone who earns plenty of money feel poor compared to peers without children.
The thing that makes it off limits is the presumption that because a few work the system, everyone milks it. You talk like as if every one who claims poverty is dressed in Armani suits, and eats steak for dinner every night.
I know it's easy to compartmentalize people that way, you see a few who bilk the system and just put everyone who claims poverty into the same box, but that is a leap of logic that just doesn't hold water.

Let me ask you a question:
Since the vast majority of child molesters are males, should we just lock up every man on the planet because obviously every man is a child molester because child molesters tend to be men?
You are using exactly the sort of absurd logic here. It's nonsense and it's wrong.
12-16-2011, 11:12 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
Doing without for me means eating a lot of ramen, rice and beans sometimes if I want to get my rent paid. Or forgoing the used Barbie habit for a long while, no Goodwill once a month, not going to the dentist, the doctor, not getting vet care for the animals regularly. I can deal with doing that mostly. Poor to me is going sans heat in the winter eating mayo sandwiches on white bread or ketchup soup because that's all you've got. Abject poverty that's living in a box on the street, forging in dumpsters for food.

I've pretty low income actually and I've been "without funds" for long periods of time, but I don't actually consider myself truly poor. I know better. As bad as it can get around here there's a lot worse happening out there. I'm not living on ramen, et all I'm just stretching my food dollar a little with it. Really, really POOR is a whole different category from what I live with. I'm not affluent by any means, I'm not even middle class really though my family pretends to be lol, but I'm not dirt poor. I'm far luckier than most who would use that description and don't think I don't know it too. I've seen tin roof shacks and the people in them with no shoes or food to speak of. I've never forgotten that. How lucky I am.
Mags I admire people such as yourself - although I (similar to most of the so called "silent majority") am not all that far away from yourself economically, it is certainly there on the horizon somewhere.

You make do with what you have and you don't grumble that much and you have no ill will towards those who have made or inherited their millions. Quite the opposite in actual fact because you admire their business accumen or their inventiveness or their brains and you are aware that a prosperous country and a progressive country needs such people. You also recognize that politics is full of hypocracy, empty promises and rationalizations to "get your vote" but that in the end it is necessary to endure this process in order to regulate society properly and prevent the "bad old days" of yesterday where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer and there was little, if any, regulation.

What has always puzzled me endlessly, is how easily people are persuaded to vote for and espouse politicians and policies that are against their own (and their families) interest and, in particular, why (even in hard times such as exist today) 50% of the population will never vote at all!

Last edited by stevewig; 12-16-2011 at 11:20 AM.
12-16-2011, 11:55 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevewig Quote

What has always puzzled me endlessly, is how easily people are persuaded to vote for and espouse politicians and policies that are against their own (and their families) interest and, in particular, why (even in hard times such as exist today) 50% of the population will never vote at all!
People vote against their interests because someone scares them with a boogeyman. Don't vote Democrat, says the Retardpublicans, because they are socialist, just like the evil Commies in Russia that we've been fighting for decades.
So people who would benefit from a dose of socialism vote against their interests because they don't want to be like the damned Commies.
People don't vote at all because they have decided that the system has abandoned them, that they are disenfranchised outsiders who will never be let in.
This is why poor people vote for the party that would take away food stamps, would take away education funding, and would take away hope. The people who don't vote at all, for the most part, have already had the rug of hope pulled out from under them, and they can't see any reason since they can't see a way get up anyway.
12-16-2011, 12:03 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevewig Quote
Mags I admire people such as yourself - although I (similar to most of the so called "silent majority") am not all that far away from yourself economically, it is certainly there on the horizon somewhere.

You make do with what you have and you don't grumble that much and you have no ill will towards those who have made or inherited their millions. Quite the opposite in actual fact because you admire their business accumen or their inventiveness or their brains and you are aware that a prosperous country and a progressive country needs such people. You also recognize that politics is full of hypocracy, empty promises and rationalizations to "get your vote" but that in the end it is necessary to endure this process in order to regulate society properly and prevent the "bad old days" of yesterday where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer and there was little, if any, regulation.

What has always puzzled me endlessly, is how easily people are persuaded to vote for and espouse politicians and policies that are against their own (and their families) interest and, in particular, why (even in hard times such as exist today) 50% of the population will never vote at all!
I wasn't raised to whine too much. My Dad and his folks they lived through a REAL depression and believe me they let me know the difference too, smile, but thanks. I know brains and invention when I see it and yeah, I do admire it even when it doesn't line my pocket too much or the people running businesses don't do so completely to my personal moral standards. (Like Walmart, Target etc.) I'm a big realist when it comes to business, particularly retail. I've worked retail for most of my life. I've seen far, far worse companies than Walmart, Target etc and I'm the first one to say that because it's only fair. The whole word doesn't revolve around me and not every business on the planet has to be 100% green and or morally perfect to do business with me. I'm not perfect and therefore I certainly can't expect them to be. I do support local businesses that deserve it. I also shop at Walmart and Target et all and I refuse to apologize for that.

As for politics for a lot of people I suspect the reason they vote is just to vote, and they just choose the lesser evil. I used to be like that. I used to vote for people I could barely stand just to vote against someone worse, but I don't see it the same way anymore. I believe our political system and the politicians in it are for the most part so corrupted by self interest and party concerns that they can't be trusted at all. They'll say whatever you want to hear to get elected then do what they want after. I won't vote just to do my duty anymore. It doesn't work. It doesn't help, and it disturbs my conscience to vote just for the sake of voting. Look at what happened with Obama. So many people ran to vote for the guy, let him slick talk them right into believing his carny act mainly out of sheer desperation and waning hope. What good did electing him do? I can't see much myself and I feel pretty good actually that I didn't just cave and vote for the man just to vote non-Republican like most people did.

Fact is I'm ticked at both parties to the point where I really wish they'd both go away. I feel like my vote counts for absolutely ZILCH in this country and I've finally gotten to the point where I don't care. I can exercise my civic duty doing other more productive things. If a candidate came along who I could actually believe in maybe I'd think about it, but at this point he/she'd have to be practically a saint to get my attention. Even the politicians I sort of like, I still don't trust them, and that's just sad...

12-16-2011, 12:19 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
People vote against their interests because someone scares them with a boogeyman. Don't vote Democrat, says the Retardpublicans, because they are socialist, just like the evil Commies in Russia that we've been fighting for decades.
So people who would benefit from a dose of socialism vote against their interests because they don't want to be like the damned Commies.
People don't vote at all because they have decided that the system has abandoned them, that they are disenfranchised outsiders who will never be let in.
This is why poor people vote for the party that would take away food stamps, would take away education funding, and would take away hope. The people who don't vote at all, for the most part, have already had the rug of hope pulled out from under them, and they can't see any reason since they can't see a way get up anyway.
I would say that this is pretty much spot on. I know of a great number of people, many close personal friends who would incite these exact reasons. why vote at all, when you already know you will never get a leg up? they don't complain really on how screwed up it all is either, because, well for the same reasons. why complain? it may be difficult for some, especially those who come from backgrounds that aren't necessarily rich but significantly better off to understand, but it is a very real sentiment in this country, and when you add onto it a grade A circus of politicians all over the TV telling them to vote for them, it only makes one even more likely to never vote. the politicians especially the current crop of GOP's will just never get it, and I think understandably so. the old adage of voting for the lesser evil isn't always the best answer, in all honesty most people at the bottom see such an act as playing to the system. it may be easy to say that not voting is just as unhelpful as voting for someone that is essentially working against you, but at least with the former you don't have to worry about having personally participated.

its not the poor that pander to the fear mongering of the politicians, they mostly ignore these issues. its the (whats left of it) middle and upper-middle class that pander to it, and since the politicians aren't addressing any of the issues that the poor are concerned with (except for making harder for the poor of course) they, simply put flat out ignore the entire election process.
12-16-2011, 12:43 PM   #25
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12-17-2011, 07:30 AM   #26
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I see these figures about the US and they dismay me.

The US is so rich, but something seems to be wrong with the system. It's not good for the future of US society to have so many people in poverty and (effectively) being denied opportunities to live healthily, get educated, develop their potential, and contribute to building a prosperous economy and stable society.
12-21-2011, 05:07 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I wasn't raised to whine too much. My Dad and his folks they lived through a REAL depression and believe me they let me know the difference too, smile, but thanks. I know brains and invention when I see it and yeah, I do admire it even when it doesn't line my pocket too much or the people running businesses don't do so completely to my personal moral standards. (Like Walmart, Target etc.) I'm a big realist when it comes to business, particularly retail. I've worked retail for most of my life. I've seen far, far worse companies than Walmart, Target etc and I'm the first one to say that because it's only fair. The whole word doesn't revolve around me and not every business on the planet has to be 100% green and or morally perfect to do business with me. I'm not perfect and therefore I certainly can't expect them to be. I do support local businesses that deserve it. I also shop at Walmart and Target et all and I refuse to apologize for that.

As for politics for a lot of people I suspect the reason they vote is just to vote, and they just choose the lesser evil. I used to be like that. I used to vote for people I could barely stand just to vote against someone worse, but I don't see it the same way anymore. I believe our political system and the politicians in it are for the most part so corrupted by self interest and party concerns that they can't be trusted at all. They'll say whatever you want to hear to get elected then do what they want after. I won't vote just to do my duty anymore. It doesn't work. It doesn't help, and it disturbs my conscience to vote just for the sake of voting. Look at what happened with Obama. So many people ran to vote for the guy, let him slick talk them right into believing his carny act mainly out of sheer desperation and waning hope. What good did electing him do? I can't see much myself and I feel pretty good actually that I didn't just cave and vote for the man just to vote non-Republican like most people did.

Fact is I'm ticked at both parties to the point where I really wish they'd both go away. I feel like my vote counts for absolutely ZILCH in this country and I've finally gotten to the point where I don't care. I can exercise my civic duty doing other more productive things. If a candidate came along who I could actually believe in maybe I'd think about it, but at this point he/she'd have to be practically a saint to get my attention. Even the politicians I sort of like, I still don't trust them, and that's just sad...
Bravo!! Well put. that pretty much sums up how I feel, but could not have put it that eloquently. My husband is a legit candidate for SS disability, (he's 61 and has cancer), and they have been jacking us around for nearly a year. They have gotten us other help like Food Stamps and last year, they pointed us in a direction for heating help. It got us one tank of LP gas and that was $400 we didn't have to shell out. I'm kind of hard headed, and even though both of us have worked pretty much all of our lives, and paid what we were supposed to pay-why can't we get the SSD?? I would much rather have that to add to what I earn a month. It would give us breathing room when it comes to the bills-and take a load off our minds. It's kind of like they want to keep us "broke".
12-21-2011, 05:37 AM   #28
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The sad thing is that the electorate getting disillusioned and giving up voting suits the Ayn Randian crowd (in various disguises) just fine as long as the opposition loses more votes than they do.
12-21-2011, 01:48 PM   #29
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50% is too much...

I was talking to someone who used to work as an accountant in the auto industry. She was telling be about how much computers streamlined the accounting process (in other words jobs were lost). The same has happened to every aspect of almost every industry. Automation had replaced skilled labor, and many manual labor jobs have moved out of the United States. This leaves a large portion of the non-college educated workforce to search for service oriented jobs. These jobs do not tend to pay a living wage (probably because there is a large portion of the workforce competing for them).

The solution. Put everybody through college. The problem is that not everybody has the proper skills to do well in college (or did not acquire the proper skill because they were poor and thus went to a bad school). The result is that too many people take out loans for college and either do not complete it or complete it and are unable to find a job (because there are too many college graduates).

A social safety net is needed, but I think it sometimes allows us to hide the deeper issues. I do not think a majority of people want to rely on safety nets. I believe they would rather earn a bit more and pay for things themselves (and I think this would help people psychologically as well). I think the real solution is for these service oriented industries to increase their wages. I will gladly pay a bit more at Wallmart or Wendie's if it means that the people who work there can make a living wage. The question is how to get companies to pay these workers more. If I had that answer, I would run for president.
12-22-2011, 05:13 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by kswier Quote
This leaves a large portion of the non-college educated workforce to search for service oriented jobs. These jobs do not tend to pay a living wage (probably because there is a large portion of the workforce competing for them).

. I think the real solution is for these service oriented industries to increase their wages. I will gladly pay a bit more at Wallmart or Wendie's if it means that the people who work there can make a living wage. The question is how to get companies to pay these workers more. If I had that answer, I would run for president.
Good post. Perhaps the service industry doesn't pay well in order to price its product (mainly labor + data processing) cheap enough to sell to its employees.

The way business math is taught and practiced, stuff that's capitalized (as in Capitalism) gets a preferential treatment in accounting and taxes, whereas labor doesn't as much. Even outsourced labor is 'better' in that sense, accounting wise. This has been the path since the industrial revolution - machinery replacing human work, then replacing the humans that run the machines, then replacing the humans that help manage the people who used to run the machines that do the work humans used to do... Skills (and labor) are driven out: the demand is for both lower skills and higher, more abstract ones.

If industry and business change what they measure, we'll get different results. ("you get what you measure")
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