Saturday, August 23, 2014

Christian Values Maligned ?

 I am not sure this was a good title...
MinnPost Fall from Grace, How Christian Values Became Non-issue in MN Elections

Here were my first comments...
"Of course, religious values will continue to be important in all elections. Just one issue is quiet this time.

Here is an interesting take on this.
http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/cherry/080128

I also found this comment humorous.

"it doesn't make a lot of sense to vote for candidates who are promising to use the power of government to enforce Christian or any other religious values"

What exactly are the "Liberal Rob from the Rich to Give to the Poor" values? The passion with which it is pursued seems nearly religious in its fervor."  G2A
Thoughts?

48 comments:

Laurie said...

about "Liberal Rob from the Rich to Give to the Poor"

I believe caring for the poor is at the heart of Christianity. It's been many years since I've read the Bible but I believe Jesus had a lot to say about this.

It's interesting how mostly secular liberals rather than Christians are the strongest advocates for caring for the poor.

John said...

"Caring for the poor"

I think many Conservative Christians believe the Liberal methods are harming the poor more than helping them.

Remember that old saying...

"The path to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Laurie said...

providing assistance with medical care, food, and housing sounds more helpful than harmful to me.

John said...

Not if it encourages people to stop striving to be self sufficient and responsible for their personal actions.

Then those gifts lead to self fulfilling prophecies, doom and despair.

Remember the story I told you about the little girl from the Chicago projects when the kindly man asked her what she was going to do when she grew up... And the Grandma piped in that she was going to become a welfare Mom in the projects and that was all she will ever be...

Sean said...

Anecdotes are swell and all, but there's not a lot of actual evidence that large numbers of people are striving to live the rich and pampered life of government assistance. Do you have any sources that indicate that is occurring?

John said...

Please provide a source to show that this not occurring.

John said...

Of course there are the surreal Pelosi videos
Video 1
Video 2

John said...

Stossel doc

John said...

Stossel 2

John said...

These are interesting. (and explicit)
EBT and Sex Video
EBT and Lobster
Welfare Back Story
Black man critique of response

John said...

Now are you honestly going to say that the freebies have no negative societal consequences?

I especially like the black man's critique, he understands the problem better than the DFL folks.

Sean said...

"Please provide a source to show that this not occurring."

That's not how it works. When you make a claim, it's your responsibility to back it up.

The videos are all anecdotal. No statistics to back them up.

When it comes to fraud in these programs, fraud rates are pretty low and oftentimes the fraud is perpetuated by others than the beneficiaries.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/just-how-wrong-is-conventional-wisdom-about-government-fraud/278690/

BTW, John, some of those videos are really offensive and trafficking in dreadful racial stereotypes.

John said...

Even more interesting is that they were mostly created by Black citizens who are concerned about the problem that resides within their society...

They understand the problem, are you going to call them racist?

John said...

The problem with the videos and the topic in general is that "welfare fraud" is NOT the problem.

The problem is that most of the payments they are complaining about are 100% legal within the welfare world.

In what world does it makes sense that a woman with little to no money has 5 children? And that we encourage that behavior by paying her more money as the number grows?

Personally I am not sure which is more offensive. The videos or that we set up a system that encourages people to fight for their entitlements harder than they fight for their personal success in life.

John said...

Atlantic Just How Wrong is Conventional Wisdom about Government Fraud

John said...

I liked this idea.

"Cross-referencing databases of social benefit recipients can cut down on fraud, such as recipients who did not disclose income from one programs that would make them ineligible for another; prisoners collecting benefits to which they are no longer entitled, like unemployment; or those who are simply dead."

Of course, that would likely mean we should ensure every legal citizen has a legal photo ID that needs to be shown before attaining any benefits.

Sean said...

Again, by most accounts, the number of people gaming the system to stay on it is rather low.

For instance, here is the most recent HHS report on welfare dependency (through 2011):

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/14/indicators/rpt_indicators.pdf

It shows that before the recession, we had reduced welfare dependency by 40% since the passage of welfare reform in the Clinton Administration.

It also shows that over 3/4 of AFDC/TANF recipients have been on it for less than two years out of the last 10, and over 90% have been on it for less than five years.

No one has ever denied that there is a very small portion of folks who abuse the system.

Sean said...

But there's nothing that represents a widespread culture of dependence.

Sean said...

"Of course, that would likely mean we should ensure every legal citizen has a legal photo ID that needs to be shown before attaining any benefits."

Ah, this old canard.

https://edocs.dhs.state.mn.us/lfserver/Public/DHS-5223-ENG

John said...

HHS Stats

MN DHS Info

John said...

Different topic, but if one needs an ID to get benefits?

How does requiring them to show an ID when voting disenfranchise them and reduce turn out.... So strange...

John said...

For different perspectives.

Heritage Welfare Page
Brookings Welfare
CATO Welfare
Urban Poverty

John said...

10% for over 5 years?

Is that more or less than 3,000,000 people on it for 5+ years?

Sean said...

"Is that more or less than 3,000,000 people on it for 5+ years?"

Less.

Taking an average U.S. population of 300 million over that time (was 290 at the start, 311 at the end), the numbers show that 8% of recipients were on it for more than 5 years out of the 10 years. Over that decade, an average of 1.6% of the population was on TANF/AFDC.

So that works out to 384,000 persons on those programs for more than 5 years, or about 0.1% of the population.

John said...

Figure SUM 1. Recipiency and Dependency Rates: 1993-2011

Says ~15% were receiving benefits on average. (ie receiving = benefits are <1/2 their income)

Says ~4% are dependent on average. (>50% of income comes from benefit)

If the 10% is a good number. That means .4% of 300,000,000 people are on welfare >5 years. (1,200,000,000) Correct?

Got any sources that describe the demographics of that group? I am betting...
- High School Drop Out
- Single Mother
- Kid(s) Father is AWOL

Think I am close?

Raising my 3 kids costs a small fortune, I can't imagine a single Mom with 5 of them... Which brings me back to...

In what world does it makes sense that a woman with little to no money has 5 children? And that we encourage that behavior by paying her more money as the number grows?

Sean said...

You can't it calculate it that way, because the longevity stats I referred to were only for the TANF/AFDC program.

The details for the program show that the "average" recipient is a single mother with 1.4 children.

For SNAP (food stamps), only 47% of the households that receive them have children.

SSI serves primarily the elderly and disabled. Maybe you consider them addled by a culture of dependency, but I don't.

John said...

More interesting links:
Pew Welfare Demographics
Wiki Welfare Dependency

John said...

Wiki Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act

John said...

People who paid their SSI premiums (ie FICA) deserve their benefits.

Though I have met some SS Disability payment recipients that have made me wonder about the criteria.

By the way, the Wiki Welfare link seems the most useful and non-biased so far. Especially with regard to race, single mothers, generational welfare, etc.

Remember, I support safety trampolines, just not safety hammocks.

Sean said...

OK, and you still haven't provided any evidence that the "safety hammock" is where a large number of people live.

John said...

Let's say that the number of hammock loungers lies half way in between our numbers. (348,000 and 1,200,000) That means 774,000 people are kicking back and raising kids who will likely follow in their parent's foot steps. (per wiki link)

I am guessing the number understates the problem, however I am willing to go with it for this discussion. Does 3/4ths of a million people seem like a small number to you?

The GOP promoted work requirments are aimed at the heart of this problem, however the DFL seems to be resistant to work requirements.

And remember the grief Hiram and you gave me about forcing people to work for their benefits. G2A Keep America Beautiful

Assuming MN has 1/50th of them, that means we have 15,000+ people that could be keeping the Twin Cities beautiful.

An interesting China Street Sweeper story.

John said...

More More Sweeper Picks

Sean said...

"Does 3/4ths of a million people seem like a small number to you?"

1.) I would dispute that all of said people are "kicking back". Some of them are, but some of them are also unlucky, unhealthy, or undereducated.

2.) It's a small number compared to the number of people who are being helped by these programs. In the HHS study, not only did it show that 3/4 of people on TANF are on it less than 2 years, a majority of them are on it for less than 4 months at a time -- an indication the program is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.

Sean said...

"And remember the grief Hiram and you gave me about forcing people to work for their benefits."

If you look at the comments I actually made on the thread, you'll note I suggested that if we're going to force people to work, we should have them work on projects that have long-lasting value, not just picking up trash. If that's "grief", you need a thicker skin.

John said...

From my experience, unhealthy folks typically go on disability. It must pay better.

Unlucky and undereducated are not adequate excuses in America. They are obstacles that can be overcome in many different ways. I mean we have beautiful libraries everywhere if nothing else. It does take work though.

Finally you know how sensitive I am to your critiques. As I said then, most unlucky and undereducated people can manage a broom and a dust pan, and we are already paying them. So why wouldn't we get some value for our money.

I wonder what the lady with the 5 kids in the video would do if social services gave her an orange jumper, a broom, a dustpan and an area near her home to keep clean along with her check?

And told her check would be reduced if the area was not clean when the inspectors came through. I am pretty sure she would become a big promoter of stopping littering.

John said...

And just think, it would have no impact on those using the safety net as a trampoline.

John said...

And for you Northern European lovers, it is even being tested in Germany... Well sort of.

HP Beer to Clean Streets

Sean said...

"And told her check would be reduced if the area was not clean when the inspectors came through."

It's fascinating that those who profess to hate the waste of government money are willing to fund inspectors to watch over the sweeping skills of poor people but chafe at the notion of the IRS or the SEC or the FEC or OSHA having adequate numbers of inspectors to do their jobs. I guarantee you that society is out far more money from lack of enforcement in those areas than would ever be made up by such a sweeping enforcement program.

John said...

So what is your proposal to discontinue paying ~15,000 under educated Minnesotans for doing nothing?

Just assuming we are paying $15,000 for their food, living quarters, healthcare, etc. And more if they have kids.

That would be ~$225 MILLION per year we are paying them...

Do you have a better idea or are you just going to continue throwing rocks at mine?

By the way, we already have city works and State DOT personnel who could report on a districts cleanliness. No additional inspectors required.

John said...

By the way, $15,000 X 774,000 people equals $11,610,000,000 per year.

John said...

By the way, the real reason isn't to save money. It is to help these people break their cycle of generational poverty and to help them learn that life can be more than what they are experiencing.

Just writing them checks each month is not going to do it. And that is where we started.

"Caring for the poor"

I think many Conservative Christians believe the Liberal methods are harming the poor more than helping them.

Remember that old saying...

"The path to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Sean said...

"So what is your proposal to discontinue paying ~15,000 under educated Minnesotans for doing nothing?"

Not sure where you're coming up with that number, but I'm not sure that I have one. I'm not going to kick off the people who are rightly benefiting from the program to get at the small group of scofflaws. I have no problem enforcing the current work requirements or possibly even strengthening them somewhat.

"By the way, we already have city works and State DOT personnel who could report on a districts cleanliness. No additional inspectors required."

I think you're being overly optimistic to think that these folks can just fit this in. Especially given how many people you think would be subject to this. And why is a city going to just hand over their public works department to do welfare enforcement for the feds or state?

Sean said...

Incidentally, tax evasion takes over $300 billion annually out of the federal government's coffers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_evasion#Estimates_of_lost_government_revenue

One would think that tax-and debt-sensitive conservatives would want to collect some of that money, because the impact of evasion is effectively to raise everyone else's taxes. Yet, the GOP has consistently sought to reduce funding for IRS enforcement.

Sean said...

"I think many Conservative Christians believe the Liberal methods are harming the poor more than helping them."

Belief is great. Empirical data is lacking.

John said...

Wiki Tax Evasion

John said...

Do you think those folks begging for their checks after a one day system glitch seem like mature healthy humans?

I feel for them... They have been conditioned to expect their food ration from the big machine on a regular schedule... Instead of being taught that they are capable humans who can provide for themselves...

That seems pretty cruel to me.

Sean said...

"Do you think those folks begging for their checks after a one day system glitch seem like mature healthy humans?"

I can't make a judgment on that based on an edited video clip that shows most people for just a few seconds.

John said...

I just posed this question to Matt and Paul on Minnpost.

Why do you have such a hard time acknowledging that 0.3% of our citizens are "welfare addicted", when you have no problem accusing the upper 2% of being greedy, self serving, near criminals???

It is puzzling...

I'll happily admit that there are some greedy, self serving, near criminals within the top the ranks of the well to do.