Saturday, May 3, 2014

Keep America Beautiful

The MinnPost moderation system still has me puzzled.  Here is a snippet from a comment string.
"FDR's Liberties. How long after FDR's Four Liberties speech did he intern Japanese-Americans? They were provided free houses, so maybe he only kinda infringed on their freedoms, right?

I'm surprised that there has been no discussion of positive and negative liberties here. A positive liberty is one where someone is kept from a bad situation (i.e. freedom from want) where a negative liberty describes a right that can't be taken from someone. So the negative liberty reading of a general 'right to bear arms' describes a situation in which people can't be forbidden from owning guns, but a positive liberty reading is one where guns would be provided. 
FDR's assertion of positive liberties doesn't constrain all of us, forever, from the negative liberty position. In fact, the negative one was the more basic understanding from before the founding of the country. 
He suggests a right to a good education but that doesn't magically make it appear. Similarly, his promise of a right to a good job didn't make them happen either. You could argue that the creation of the WPA and similar was a good idea in the depression (and I'm not sure I would disagree) but would the failure of the government to create jobs mean that the unemployed were having their rights violated? Right now we have the lowest job participation rate in a generation. Should the jobless file a civil rights suit?
If not, why?" Peder

"It seems many people here think that "freedom" means that the government must provide "it", whatever "it" is. And that the recipients effort or lack of effort is immaterial to the discussion.

As is who's Private Property is seized to enable this "freedom"." G2A

"G2A chimes in...we arrive full circle. Back to taxes being "seizure" and anyone that isn't wealthy is lazy. Cue usual pimping of his blog for more unique insight...that's a wrap." Jason

Something's Missing
"Trash. Most welfare recipients already have a job, often several jobs that take them away from their families for extended periods of time. They're on Welfare despite having employment. And yet you want them to work more and take them away from their families even longer.

Compassionate conservative you're not. You're simply conservative." Todd

 "Willful ignorance... Less than 5% of the population are "dependent on welfare", which is defined as having more than half of their family’s income coming from TANF, food stamps, and/or SSDI payments.  5%.  And that is with the cutoff of HALF or more of their income coming from the gubbmint." Neal

"Clean Neighborhoods. Let's say 1.000.000 adults in metro
Let's say 1% of your 5% could be cleaning
Means 10,000 people could cleaning the metro." G2A
 So I am re-reading this string and all of a sudden it hits me that some late moderation had occurred.  A whole comment had been there and was later deleted.  And this seems to happen to me occasionally.  Here is roughly what went missing...
"No need. Hits are at record highs. And I think there are many reasons that people are poor. (ie bad luck, poor decisions, divorce, etc)

I just think some of them could be cleaning our streets or doing other tasks for their benefits. " John
Not sure why the comment got yanked...  Thoughts on the discussion or the moderation?

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's useful to look at Roosevelt's speeches in the political context of the time.

--Hiram

Laurie said...

I think Jason's comment is pretty funny and also their comment moderation seems arbitrary or inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

I figure if they delete my postings it's their loss, not mine.

--Hiram

John said...

Laurie,
Figures you would find Jason amusing. Don't encourage him. Hahaha

Do you have any new thoughts regarding. Why are poor people poor?

John said...

Didn't you have a younger relative who was trapped in some destructive behavior? Have they resolved their issues yet?

John said...

My challenged friends keep finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot...

Laurie said...

my neighbor boy who is 20, same as my older son, did drugs and dropped out of high school. He is currently working at a gas station and living in a trailer park with his girlfriend. I never could figure out why he got off track because he comes from a model family and all of his younger siblings are doing well.

As to why people are poor in general, I think 2 factors have the most impact; lack of marriage or at least long term stable relationship, and low skills jobs pay less well than they used to. Not everyone has the aptitude to succeed in college. Many kids lack the ability to sit quietly in school and do their work. I don't know why that is.

John said...

I liked your answer from when we discussed this in 2012.

"I believe the ability to delay gratification is a factor that helps some to succeed and move up.

Don't! the secret of self control"
Kid's Marshmallow Experiment Laurie

John said...

I went to ISU / Ames today and hauled back all the big stuff for the Summer. This gave me time to think.

I fully understand that people are born into many different situations. Some like myself are blessed to have parents that were well educated, pretty well off, conservative, hard working, caring, serious, knew how to save/invest, communicated well in many situations, etc. Being human, they have their faults, but overall I was truly blessed and it would have been hard for me to screw it up. Though some children like your neighbor boy do.

John said...

Now I think the self control concept is crucial. The people I know that are successful tend to have the self discipline to follow some form of positive values.

G2A Principles
Life's Greatest Lessons Hal Urban

They have that drive to strive for more. Be it that HS diploma, Technical diploma, College diploma, etc. Then they have the self confidence to take responsibility for their own success and the common sense not to make foolish mistakes.

John said...

Where as my friends and acquaintances who are floundering struggled with forcing themselves to cross those initial hurdles. So they ended up in okay starter positions that could have led to something, however they just had a hard time dealing with managers and/or co-workers.

I don't mean they weren't okay workers and nice people. It is just that they would get frustrated and quit, or say something improper and get fired, etc. Therefore they ended up moving from starter job to starter job and have had a hard time getting ahead.

John said...

So Jason's statement of my view is incorrect... "anyone that isn't wealthy is lazy"

One my best friends works a lot and often has 2 or 3 jobs. He is very professional, courteous, hard working and has no addiction problems. Yet things happen, and often he is at the center of it...

That is one of the reasons I find this a fascinating topic.

John said...

In summary, I truly don't know what makes poor people poor. However I am pretty sure it is not a vast conspiracy by the Rich White Man to keep them poor folk in their place...

President Obama somehow escaped and became the President of the USA. Yet as he said, many kids from his circumstances will fail.

Maybe it is the Lead... (Lead 2)

jerrye92002 said...

To find an answer, you first have to state the question correctly. That is, "since government spending on means-tested welfare programs is sufficient to put every person in poverty into the upper middle class, why are poor people poor?" Hint: there is more than one correct answer.

Anonymous said...

I had a long unfortunately twitter based with a conservative guy about the role of logic in political discussions. One of the things I should have said but didn't is that it's much easier to get the answer you want in any political discussion if you incorporate it into the question.

--Hiram

John said...

MP War on Poverty

I'll probably post on this again, yet this discussion and those comments seem aligned.

I asked the writer for some additional information along the lines on Jerry's comment...

"Cynthia,
Are these poverty rates before the variety of welfare payments that are provided? (ie medical, food stamps, housing assistance, heating assistance, welfare checks, etc)

If so, do you have any idea how many individuals are in poverty after their wages and the benefits are added together?

If not, what are the real poverty rates without benefits?

Just curious if we are comparing apples and apples."

However she never replied.

John said...

Later I found this link and added the following.

MN2020 Report w/ Map

It looks like most of the poverty reduction has occurred in rural MN. Maybe the decrease in the size of farm families, kids like me moving into the cities, the great commodity prices of late, the high land values, etc have done more to help the State's poor than any actions the government has taken?

It looks like Ramsey and Hennepin counties have stayed the same or gotten worse.

Cynthia,
Still wondering if you have answers to the questions I asked above. Also, Is there a source where we can see more of the State Demographers data. I am interested to see how this changed over time. Thanks John

John said...

Hiram,
How would you logically restate the question?

I think "Why are poor people poor?, is pretty logical and open ended...

Anonymous said...

I think "Why are poor people poor?, is pretty logical and open ended...

It's a different question, better designed to elicit information and thinking. I don't know whether it's more logical or not, but if one is trying to understand something, it's better to strip questions down to basic issues, and get rid of loaded terms. Many times in discussions when I direct attention to loaded terms, I am criticized for missing the point or creating straw men, or of being obtuse. But for me, when I see that kind of stuff, what that tells me is that the writer senses a weakness in his argument and is trying to assume it away, hoping no one will notice. I think of it, in poker terms, as a "tell", an indication of where the writer thinks his argument is weakest.

==Hiram

Anonymous said...

Why are there poor people? Why are there rich people? The answers are complicated and various, and exist on multiple levels. Maybe the existence of both is inherent in a class based society. It's not as if either wealth or poverty are things that recently emerged in history. Both of them have been around for a while. Tevye observed that God loves poor people, the evidence being that He made so many of them. I suppose there is a certain logic to that argument. Even Jesus said the poor will always be with us, while making no similar assurances about rich people.

--Hiram

jerrye92002 said...

Simple logic says that you don't make poor people rich by making rich people poor. There are simply too many poor people for the math to work. It isn't a matter, as Reagan observed, of how to cut the pie, but of how to bake a bigger pie.

The latest studies on the subject find that income inequality grows fastest when the economy grows slowest, and that income inequality declines during periods of better economic growth. It has grown markedly during the Obama years, and made worse by Obama policies.

Poor people are poor because some are not as gifted, advantaged, or driven as others. They remain poor largely because of government policy that curtails their freedom to become rich.

Anonymous said...

Simple logic says that you don't make poor people rich by making rich people poor.

I don't think logic simple or otherwise says any such thing. Logic just isn't something that says what people who pay lip service to it, want it to say.

"The latest studies on the subject find that income inequality grows fastest when the economy grows slowest, and that income inequality declines during periods of better economic growth."

The suspicion is that growing income inequality is slowing the growth of the economy, or at least is a consequence of a slow growing economy. All those big brains discovering that they could get rich simply by shuffling papers as opposed to doing things that are actually productive.

--Hiram

John said...

Which policies are those?

"It has grown markedly during the Obama years, and made worse by Obama policies."

The GOP has pretty much stifled Obama's plans for new policies. ACA is something, but it isn't that wide reaching... So I am curious what you mean with that simplified generalization,

Anonymous said...

"It has grown markedly during the Obama years, and made worse by Obama policies."

We are pretty much past the point in our history, with rare exceptions, where government is capable of any kind of positive policy. The reason to elect Democrats now is to pretty much slow the damage Republicans are inflicting on our economy and our country.

--Hiram

John said...

Hiram,
Now it is your turn... Please give examples...

"damage Republicans are inflicting on our economy and our country"

Other than trying to slow or reverse our moving toward being a social democracy that accepts previously frowned upon behaviors as normal. (ie abortion and open homosexual behavior) I am not sure what drastic "changes" they are making.

It seems like they are working to prevent change. For better or worse.

John said...

An interesting piece:
Forbes War on Poverty

Anonymous said...


"damage Republicans are inflicting on our economy and our country"

Pointless tax cuts which did little more than inflate bubbles. Tax policies which favor paper shuffling. Cut backs in spending at times when the economy is struggling.

--Hiram

John said...

What cuts are those exactly?
Fed Spend History

jerrye92002 said...

"Pointless tax cuts which did little more than inflate bubbles."

After the Bush tax cuts, the rich paid a HIGHER percentage of the total taxes than previously, while the largest percentage tax cuts went to the poor. I don't see how any of that money could have gone to "inflating bubbles," and even if it did, the other word for "bubble" is a "growing economy," something Obama and the Democrats seem to totally oppose.

Sean said...

You don't have the math on the Bush tax cuts right. Not even close, in fact.

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3811

John said...

CBPP Bush Tax Cuts

Sean,
I'll need to do some more research. It seems this source is likely very biased.

"The Center conducts research and analysis to help shape public debates over proposed budget and tax policies and to help ensure that policymakers consider the needs of low-income families and individuals in these debates. We also develop policy options to alleviate poverty."

Kind of like Conservatives pointing to analysis done by the Heritage group.

John said...

For comparison. Selected at random...
Policy Mic Who Benefitted

John said...

One More
Tax Foundation

Sean said...

Neither of those two posts address the one I posted. The Policy Mic looks at 30 years of tax cuts, not the Bush tax cuts in particular.

Meanwhile, the Tax Foundation article points out that there were provisions in the Bush tax cuts that impacted lower- and middle-income taxpayers, they ignore other provisions of the law that benefited high-income taxpayers.

jerrye92002 said...

So, unless tax policy punishes the rich, even though it benefits everybody, it's a bad policy?

Sean said...

You said: "the largest percentage tax cuts went to the poor", which isn't true.

The largest percentage tax cuts went to wealthy -- by about 4x as much as the poorest.

You may believe that it is sound economic policy to structure tax cuts in that manner, but don't lie about their impacts. The Bush tax cuts worked as designed, and that design was to benefit wealthy taxpayers disproportionately.

John said...

Tables 3 and 4 of the Tax Foundation document clearly show that the Bush tax cuts helped the lower income folks more than the wealthy on a percentage basis.

I'll read your link later.

Sean said...

The scenario for the high-income family in Table 4 is $1 million in salaries and wages income. If that's the case, then yes, it's true they fare slightly worse than one of the two examples of lower-income people in Table 3.

The percentage of high-income families that are in that scenario are quite low, and it is not a representative example. As many of the Bush tax cut changes impact non-wage income, it creates a distorted picture.

jerrye92002 said...

The average "rich" person received a 4% tax cut. Millions of low income people got a 100% tax cut, from the 10% bracket to zero. As a result, the rich paid a higher percentage of the total taxes.

So I ask again, is the purpose of the tax code to punish the rich?

Sean said...

The purpose of the tax code is to raise money for the government's operations.

John said...

Now that is interesting and loaded... "raise money for the government's operations"

I wonder how giving things to people became part of "Government Operations"...

Sean said...

We inherited it from the British, who instituted programs to help the poor that date back to the 1300s.

John said...

Seems like we have put that concept on steroids since ~1930...