September 24, 2010

The Paycheck Cycle

benefitscard.jpg
Problem 1: if you need to point out the card number...
Problem 2: this is not a paycheck




The CEO of WalMart, discussing how he manages the fluctuations in day to day consumer spending:

The paycheck cycle... remains extreme. It is our responsibility to figure out how to sell in that environment... large pack at sizes the beginning of the month, small pack sizes at the end of the month. And to figure out how to deal with what is an ever-increasing amount of transactions being paid for with government assistance.

He is describing how Walmat customers spend more when they get their check, and less at the end of the month.

But:

And you need not go further than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it's real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m., customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items, baby formula, milk, bread, eggs,and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight, when electronic -- government electronic benefits cards get activated and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher.

What's in your mind right now? Above are a bunch of words.  What do you infer from them?

Ib.

Clear your mind, just think about this strategically.  Ok, these women-- they are women, right?-- are waiting for the government money to be activated.  Fine.  But why are they there at midnight?

Ic.

And if you really think about it, the only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it, and they've been waiting for it. Otherwise, we are open 24 hours... But if you are there at midnight, you are there for a reason.

What he's telling you is that on the 29th of the month, kids are running out of food.


II.

The conclusion that there are kids without food is obviously obvious, and undoubtedly you already knew that there were hungry kids in America.  But what was your actual first conclusion when you read customers were milling around at 11pm?

Your mind jumped to the causes of that behavior, not the consequence.  Are they wasting their money, what?

And your solutions to "that problem" are related to your perception of that person in the store.  But the kid didn't ask for this life, and whatever solution you come up with has an effect on that kid.  Or, stated more clearly: if your solution doesn't help that kid, it is not a solution; it is a self-aggrandizing political stance.  Masturbation is fun, but don't expect anything productive to come from it.  And you will be shamed if you get caught.

III.

Note the date on this story: September 2010.  What does it mean?  It means people in America are struggling right now, living paycheck to paycheck.  We hear about the bankers/bailout, we hear about unemployment, but here are some untold stories about the devastating impact of the economic crisis on ordinary Americans.

FALSE.  This has nothing to do with the current economic situation, this has been going on for decades.  It is framed as related to a current "crisis" so that you are less attuned to the ordinariness of this.

"It's the recession."  No, the recession "ended" last year; again, what you see outside is normal.  What you saw for the past 20 years was CGI.

III.

Maslow's and his hierarchy suggest that in individualistic cultures, failing to meet basic needs results in anxiety and inhibited development.   So if these kids are underfed regularly at the end of the month, their basic needs aren't being met.  So we'd expect them to be more anxious and tense.  Hence, psychiatry.

Maybe ADHD is an invented diagnosis, maybe not.  But the symptoms are exactly what one might expect when the basic needs aren't met.

Note, however, that the institutional response to this very basic problem is the total mobilization of an unrelated service sector.  Medicaid will happily pay $50 a patient visit to prescribe Ritalin, not because Ritalin works or doesn't but because it is cheaper than spending $1000 a month to feed the family.

That's the truth about mental health parity, about healthcare reform. The government needs you to have access to healthcare way more than you actually do.

Or, as Maslow put it: if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.


IV.

So we should increase welfare payments?

Won't help.  Evidently, middle class Americans cannot effectively manage their own mortgages.  Why would we expect poor people to be better at it?

How big a welfare check should be is a separate question.  When data reveals widespread patterns of behavior in society (e.g. paycheck cycle), then something in the society creates that behavior.  If many poor parents can't manage their families' (no sic) meals, it suggests  failure in social services or education.

A simple example.  Note the welfare recipients are waiting for their monthly allowance to be activated electronically on their cards.  But since it's all electronic, why can't the money be activated weekly?  Or, if the data reveal that that results in faster spending (so now 4 days per month the kids are hungry rather than one day), the cards could be filled every 6 months.  Or, based on the pattern of spending, each individual would be given the money in different amounts at different times.


V.


The irony: this story occurs at Walmart, notorious for paying people low wages and etc.

That's actually not irony, it is the whole point: labor costs.

The solution that the system has conditioned you to believe is the answer is to give them something.  The political divide differs only on what to give them: outright cash payments?   Jobs? 

What you need to focus on is the why.  Solving this isn't a simple matter of raising the food benefit by an amount equivalent to one more day.  The system needs to educate the poor on how to live life as a poor person. 

But then the system has to confront the reality that it produces the children who are more likely to grow into poor adults as a direct consequence of treating poor people as an aberration of the system, rather than as a fully predictable if unintentional result. In other words, the systematic treatment of poor people as a unexpected result of the system is the very part of the system that maintains the poverty.







Comments

I love you for sharing a pe... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:22 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I love you for sharing a perspective I will never hold.

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I think I remember someone ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:35 AM | Posted by nohope: | Reply

I think I remember someone once saying, "You will always have the poor with you..."

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"The system needs to educat... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:51 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"The system needs to educate the poor on how to live life as a poor person."

Lesson One: Birth Control

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The minimum wage artificial... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:57 AM | Posted by Andrew: | Reply

The minimum wage artificially makes unskilled labor more expensive, which discourages employers from hiring them. That is all.

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nohope, I think you mean Je... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:58 AM | Posted by first poster b: | Reply

nohope, I think you mean Jesus in Matthew 26:11 which is a non-sequitur. Jesus isn't telling the Disciples to not help the poor he's telling them there are sometimes more important things to do than help the poor. In this case tending to Jesus before his death.

TLC above makes the point that there is a better more methodical way to help the poor than the two politicians put forward. But maybe you just failed to communicate.

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But if you treat them as an... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:13 PM | Posted by destlund: | Reply

But if you treat them as an expected, yet unintentional result, how would that change their situation? It might resolve a bit of cognitive dissonance among the privileged, but would likewise heighten their anxiety--or would it? They seem to be awfully worried about a huge number of phantom threats substituting themselves for the real one: class warfare. Of course the phantoms keep everybody attacking downwards rather than upwards, so there's that. Cold comfort, starving babies.

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From reading the Wal-Mart C... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:15 PM | Posted by Jack Coupal: | Reply

From reading the Wal-Mart CEO's remarks, I can understand why Wal-Mart was already transporting bottled water to New Orleans' Katrina victims, long before FEMA and the rest of the federal, Louisiana, and New Orleans governments were getting out of bed.

If people are smart enough to know exactly when electronic cash-payment cards are activated, shouldn't they also be smart enough to handle at least some responsibility tasks?

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Why the assumption that peo... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:27 PM | Posted by destlund: | Reply

Why the assumption that people are congenitally lazy/stupid/irresponsible because their larder is bare at the end of the month when they're on the dole? They're not stocking up on liquor and lottery tickets. The crux of the matter is that everybody in America (western culture?) is trained to believe that their ticket to the good life is just around the corner, if they can just [insert ambition here]. That's not true for everybody, never has been, never will be. That some people give up and accept defeat is a problem, but not one that's going to be resolved through eugenics or mindlessly tossing more money at them.

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While I agree, the pendulum... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:38 PM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by Andrew: | Reply

While I agree, the pendulum swings both ways. Why automatically assume that poor people aren't lazy or irresponsible?

What's the point in thinking they're frugal, diligent, proactive (not watching paternity tests on Maury), *yet GAWL they just can't make it in today's society for some mysterious reason!*

"They have it deep inside their psyche that though they are taught to make prejudicial judgments based on hearsay, they are not allowed to show that they made them." - TLP

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Stats from the Dept of Labo... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Stats from the Dept of Labor

http://moneycentral.msn.com/articles/family/kids/tlkidscost.asp

Best way to help the financial situation of poor? Have less children.

Each child costs a single-parent family an extra 6,000 dollars a year.

Cost of child caluclator
http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/raise-child-calculator.aspx

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Unfortunately, there are en... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Lynne Skysong: | Reply

Unfortunately, there are enough people in government and society that make birth control harder to obtain. For instance, you're a teenager trying to buy condoms. You're poor and there's one store within walking distance to you. The condoms (because this is a poor area) are locked up and need to be requested. Even assuming that this teen actually asks for them, he/she in then in a situation where the pharmacist can pass judgment on them and possibly refuse to even sell them. And this happens even more with pills and plan B. If you have money, you obviously go somewhere else, but not everyone has that option.

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More abortions for the poor... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:57 PM | Posted by Paul: | Reply

More abortions for the poor would be a start.

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If people earned ANY LESS t... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 12:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Andrew's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If people earned ANY LESS than they do at a minimum wage job, there would be no point in working at all. It would be slave labor. Right now a person can expect to earn around $200 a week full time if they make minimum wage. I know you probably live in mom's basement, but do you have any fucking idea how little $200 a week is to live on? You might as well not work at all.

Actually the minimum wage is so LOW that it discourages people from working at all (no skills to get a real job, but the jobs available to them are only suitable for children and older people on assistance who need blow money)... people end up deciding collecting welfare and food stamps are a better alternative. Why work and make LESS than you can by collecting hand outs you wouldn't qualify for if you had a tax paying job?

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You can't disprove a negati... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Andrew's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You can't disprove a negative you fool.

"prove the poor aren't lazy or irresponsible". Um, okay. Only if you prove that you're not a skinny pimple faced guy in his early-mid 20s who fantasizes about right wing revolutions dumb to the reality that he is a prole benefiting from society as well.

Because at the end of the day we can say whatever shit we want no matter how ridiculous, so taking the time to "assume" it's all true is irrational.

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Correction...having less ch... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Correction...having less children only helps WORKING people save money.

People on welfare actually have their income directly proportional to how many kids they have.

The system not only discourages people from working (if you make minimum wage you get *nothing*, but if you don't work at all you get more money in welfare/food stamps)... but it ALSO discourages people from practicing birth control (and the poor, heavily religious and often not particularly good at critical thinking or planning, are already vulnerable to poor family planning).

If you ask me I would say the way our benefits system is designed, it ENCOURAGES people to not get minimum wage jobs and to have more kids. It seems almost fucking intentional.

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To me the (main) leap of fa... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:19 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

To me the (main) leap of faith in this article is assuming that poverty begets poverty because basic needs aren't being met. You aren't getting enough to eat, so you're anxious, so you exhibit symptoms of ADHD, so they put you on Ritalin instead of finding a way to feed you, and in the long run this doesn't solve anything so you're poor again...

The conclusion that teaching the poor to somehow better manage their resources would break this cycle is far-fetched. I admit it's a better answer than just throwing money at the problem, but the real issue is the consumer culture. I suppose teaching the poor to spend their money buying in bulk and to avoid putting Air Jordans on credit makes sense, but until we create a society where your self-worth isn't dependent on how expensive your shoes are, we'll never break the chain. The desire to SPEND as a means of asserting your value will never go away.

Incidentally, it may seem harsh to view the poor as more likely to spend money on shoes than food, but let's face it--there are a lot of people out there who are in poverty precisely because they have no idea how to manage their money or their time. To deny this is to deny reality.

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No offense but that's ridic... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Andrew's comment, by Stephen: | Reply

No offense but that's ridiculous. The minimum wage is $7.25/hr. These unskilled people who would otherwise have jobs making $5/hr couldn't survive on $5/hr. If you make less than the minimum wage it's not worth your while showing up to work - you're better off collecting welfare and looking for spare change at the bus station.

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Poor people go to Walmart a... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:31 PM | Posted, in reply to BHE's comment, by Paul: | Reply

Poor people go to Walmart and not Whole Foods?

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Are the poor lazy and irres... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Andrew's comment, by Stephen: | Reply

Are the poor lazy and irresponsible? Yeah probably. Some of them at least. Some are discouraged, some just go along with whatever subculture they belong to that doesn't encourage working too hard. But what are you going to do with that? Let's say they are just irresponsible. They still live in our society. They're not going anywhere. They're not cheap either.

It's a problem that we have to find a solution to if we want to live in a decent, safe country. It doesn't really matter why the poor are poor as far as assigning blame goes, you don't solve a problem by blaming the people responsible. Solutions to poverty matter, ways to eliminate poverty, and give the people who would be buying baby food at Walmart in the middle of the night a way to move up in the world and contribute.

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"I suppose teaching the poo... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:33 PM | Posted, in reply to BHE's comment, by y.u.i.: | Reply

"I suppose teaching the poor to spend their money buying in bulk and to avoid putting Air Jordans on credit makes sense, but until we create a society where your self-worth isn't dependent on how expensive your shoes are, we'll never break the chain."

Isn't this exactly what rich Liberals do? Buy in bulk and shop at Goodwill.

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I'm sorry, but that is simp... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Andrew's comment, by Nigel Fistybuns: | Reply

I'm sorry, but that is simply ignorant. Minimum wage does not preclude employers from hiring people. The downward pressure of the cost of business in the market is what is responsible. People need to get paid, and in the absence of government intervention, businesses would pay their employees nothing. If we didn't have our current setup, the logical endpoint is the "company town" where workers weren't even paid in real money. Look up the history of the Pullman company for more details.

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"In the absence of governme... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 1:49 PM | Posted by sol: | Reply

"In the absence of government intervention, businesses would pay their employees nothing."


You do not even have the slightest understanding of economics. Truly. Take that sentence to an economist. Or post it on an econ blog. But do it anonymously, for your own sake.

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Agree with Sol. H... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 2:01 PM | Posted, in reply to Nigel Fistybuns's comment, by Andrew: | Reply

Agree with Sol.

How long do you think employees would work in a business that paid them nothing?

Or better yet: how about you come on over here and mow my lawn for free? Then do my weeding, also for free. Next you can get some wood planks and build a doghouse for me (no compensation of course). After that go take my car for a wash and pick up some groceries for me, for free.

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I love when people talk abo... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 2:02 PM | Posted by HKB: | Reply

I love when people talk about Welfare when they have NO IDEA how it works/how much the benefits are. It's called TANF, and if you rely on it you will be homeless in less than a month.

Even if someone is lazy/stupid/irresponsible, that does not mean that they, and especially their kids, deserve to not have the basic necessities of housing and food.

re: abortion/birth control. You'd have to change society so that these things carry no stigma.

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"you don't solve a problem ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 2:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Stephen's comment, by Andrew: | Reply

"you don't solve a problem by blaming the people responsible."

Right, just blame the responsible people. Tax the rich! Hobos are the real job creators.

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As regards Nigel Fistybuns ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 2:16 PM | Posted, in reply to sol's comment, by Will Brown: | Reply

As regards Nigel Fistybuns Pullman company reference, his sentence ought more properly read, "Businesses that operate within a government imposed monoply would pay their employees nothing in the absence of yet more government intervention" to have at least some relationship with historical accuracy (not to mention basic honesty).

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TLP: What's in your mind ri... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 2:44 PM | Posted by Lise: | Reply

TLP: What's in your mind right now? Above are a bunch of words. What do you infer from them?

My first thought was that the CEO reminded me of a vulture waiting for something to die.

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If you treat them as an exp... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 3:53 PM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by jen: | Reply

If you treat them as an expected result, then you might start looking at other real options. Not just "if we cut off their money, they'll go find jobs" versus "we just have to raise their benefits $30 per person per month and all will be rainbows". Maybe instead it would be "what can we do to reduce the physical impact of poverty on the kids", or just lead to reality-oriented studies and demonstration projects aimed at figuring out ways to break the cycle and teach the kids to do better.

Or, heck, maybe we could look at the similarities between welfare parents who have trouble budgeting diapers and middle-class folks who have trouble budgeting mortgages, and figure out how to work "budgeting 101" into Desperate Housewives, CSI, and Survivor.

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Its easy to key certain sku... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 3:59 PM | Posted by Morgan Warstler: | Reply

Its easy to key certain sku's to limit the food stuffs purchased on these cards...

And it should be done. Once we have a grip on the "type" of care being provided, it becomes easier feel comfortable about demands that we're not providing enough.

It also creates a better social mechanism, last year's outcry about Foodies using food stamps at Whole Foods, doesn't nothing for the people who actually need the help.

"beggars can't be choosers" resonates deeply for a reason, we should follow it as government policy.

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The rich don't create jobs,... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 4:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Andrew's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The rich don't create jobs, that's a myth you've been told on your teler-vision.
The rich capitalize off of our fucked up society that lets the rich get away paying FAR too little, that's why wealthy people MOVE to america from other countries - this is a free ride for those scumbags compared to a REAL country.

Jobs are created by people - not the "rich". Workers are just as important as business owners as well (1) and not all business owners are "rich" (2). So please tell me how some old fucking gazillionaire who does NOTHING but invest money and sit on his wealth and collect interest, how does this d-bag create jobs?

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It doesn't matter why the p... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 4:28 PM | Posted by Veven: | Reply

It doesn't matter why the poor people are poor. Unfortunately, we mostly blame the poor for being poor. But blame is a bullshit mechanism that brains default to when they can't figure out a causal chain.

Poor people are poor. My brain gets confused just thinking about the possible first steps in what causes that. It feels better to just blame them. Problem goes away and we get a perverted little mental reward from it. "Ha, fuck you, you're poor, I'm not."

As a side effect, we're easily sold shitty policy decisions from politicians who feed on our 'moral' inclinations but which ultimately fail to fix the problem. But it feels good when, as a society, we fuck the poor. No more food stamps, that kinda thing.

Since the poor don't vote as much as those with money, we wind up with a system molded by our desire for justice, or some bullshit milieu of other reasons/feelings that I can't sum here, and which is broken. (less dramatic: not optimal)

This is much more ranty than I normally go for.

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1) THE FREE MARKET SOLVES A... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 4:34 PM | Posted by Andrew, Sol, and the rest of the short bus: | Reply

1) THE FREE MARKET SOLVES ALL PROBLEMS. NO GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION OR REGULATION.
2) TAXES ARE THEFT & WAY TOO HIGH... UNLESS IT'S TAXING THE POOR THEN IT'S FAIR.
3) ELIMINATE ALL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS EXCEPT COPS AND MILITARY ...AND MAYBE KEEP THE FIRE DEPARTMENTS AND ROADS AND THE MAILMEN TOO I HAVENT DECIDED YET I MIGHT MISS THOSE THINGS.
4) ONE DAY I AM GOING TO BE AN AMERICAN DREAM SUCCESS JUST LIKE THAT D-BAG WHO OWNS WALMART. I CANT WAIT FOR THAT DAY.

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Also, just wanted to point ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 4:36 PM | Posted by Veven: | Reply

Also, just wanted to point out that the mentality of "Give money to poor people, let them handle it themselves" is fundamental to the vast majority of poverty reduction strategies in the developed world. Having met with some of the people running these organizations (surprisingly not all faith-based) it is clear that this mentality drives that entire sector. It's the charity mentality, and it winds up pouring money down the drain. Getting these people to move toward investing in long-term sustainable strategies is very, very difficult. The same minds that get off on indirectly punishing poor people just for being poor, are the ones that are most resistant to fostering long-term poverty reduction. They want their little bit of feel good for continually handing out money to the down-trodden.

Sorry for the wall of text...

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"Since the poor don't vote ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 4:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Veven's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Since the poor don't vote as much as those with money.."

Let me guess, You blame the rich for this? Just another example of why stupid people find their way to the bottom of the pecking order...they're stupid.

Beyond voting, there is a well-established cluster of behaviors that the poor--as a group--do more than non-poor people. Behaviors that perpetuate their situation.

The poor BEHAVE like poor people; they--as a group--select strategies that lead to poverty. It's not random.

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Midnight shopping? Where a... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 4:47 PM | Posted by wifeandmom: | Reply

Midnight shopping? Where are the kids? Either they are out when they should be in bed, or the moms have left them alone...

I would be more sympathetic to the payday blues if one didn't so often see 250 pound mothers pushing those carts filled high with formula, with very skinny little kids in tow. Management of budget? It isn't that there isn't enough food in some poor households, it's that not enough is getting to the children because some parents are not putting them first.

Also, having managed my own household on very little when my spouse was unemployed (without getting WIC or AFDC) there are a few things that poor women can do to make sure their kids don't go hungry before the end of the month (I did all these things):

-breastfeed kids til age 2 (this keeps them healthier too). The mothers aren't working anyway, so no excuse. It's different for a woman working ten hours a day, who may be too exhausted to do anything except bottle feed.
--use cloth diapers and wash at home
--buy nothing new if possible, so clothes from thrift shop, ditto toys and strollers, etc.
--no meals or movies out
--no cellphones, cable
--no alcohol, cigarettes
--cook food from scratch, avoid junk food

I don't mean to sound like a self-righteous jerk, but we all had to grow up when we had kids. It's not rocket science, but priorities. The parents have to put their own children first, it's not some mythical village's responsibility...

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"I don't mean to sound like... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 5:04 PM | Posted, in reply to wifeandmom's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"I don't mean to sound like a self-righteous jerk..."

These days, it's necessary to preface any commentary that remotely hints at common sense with some kind defense, or perhaps even an apology. Refusal to patronize has unfortunately be equated with lack of empathy.

Blaming someone when they make poor decisions is a sign of respect.

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They are deposited at midni... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 5:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

They are deposited at midnight. Do they check their balances at midnight? If so, what do they use? An iPhone? Their laptop at home?

wait a second...

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@Anonymous 4:25"<i... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 5:22 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Andrew: | Reply

@Anonymous 4:25

"The rich don't create jobs, that's a myth you've been told on your teler-vision."

Ahhh so it was The Homeless who were doing the hiring all along. Where'd they run off to? People could really use jobs nowadays. Wait, I see one! He's......he's jerking off in the alley behind the dumpster. I'll hold him here! Quick! You go flag him down and ask if he's got any more openings for you! Go now!

"The rich capitalize off of our fucked up society that lets the rich get away paying FAR too little, that's why wealthy people MOVE to america from other countries - this is a free ride for those scumbags compared to a REAL country."

Well we've got the highest corporate tax rate in the world, so that's a start right? It's weird because I see all those rich people coming in from Mexico on teler-vision the news...you'd think they'd just stay there it's so beautiful. Mexico's a "REAL country."

"Jobs are created by people - not the "rich".

And never, NEVER "rich people."


"Workers are just as important as business owners as well (1) and not all business owners are "rich (2)."

But business owners took the risk. They used to be workers, now they hire workers. And you're right, they're not always rich. A lot of the time, they file their small business taxes as an individual. So if their revenue is over $250K per year, they're getting effed by the tax cuts expiring. More jobs lost.

So please tell me how some old fucking gazillionaire who does NOTHING but invest money and sit on his wealth and collect interest, how does this d-bag create jobs?"

The answer is: how he became a gazillionaire in the first place.

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Soooo, is this still pastab... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 5:26 PM | Posted by syntaxfree: | Reply

Soooo, is this still pastabagel or is it Alone?

There's no pastabagel credit, but how would they mindmeld about this labor costs theme that clearly will be developed further?

And hey, where's "How Seroquel XR works pt. 4"? Where's the psychiatry? I'm guessing your angling for a book contract, but the recent lack of balance is turning me off. (Not that you should care -- your traffic stats will tell you what you need to know. I'm pissed off at something else and venting randomly)

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They shop on the first day ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 6:00 PM | Posted by AnCap: | Reply

They shop on the first day of the month, at midnight, because their kids are hungry? Leading us to believe that there are infants wasting away after 36 hours of hungered cries...

Maybe they shop then because the only other people in the store are TANF recipients and kids buying booze.

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It is worth noting that mos... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 6:38 PM | Posted by ST: | Reply

It is worth noting that most regular firms pay their employees twice a month, once on the 1st and once on the 15th or 16th. If the issue here is budgeting or learning how to budget, those who are on government assistance already begin on different footing than most who are employed.

TLP rightly notes that "…since it's all electronic, why can't the money be activated weekly? Or, if the data reveal that that results in faster spending (so now 4 days per month the kids are hungry rather than one day), the cards could be filled every 6 months," but rigorous studies would have to be done to establish such conditions intelligently and fairly, and it would be especially difficult to do them on an individual level (unless a computer program is used, at which point there arise different sorts of problems). An important consideration driving such research must be the fact that budgeting in general involves at least some sense of self control, which is rather difficult to exercise in our society where options for what to spend one's money on run rampant. Not to mention the fact that the poor must be far more militant about their self control and budgeting than most others, which is difficult especially when operating from a place of low morale.

Additionally, government assistance needs to be distributed at least twice a month not only to allow recipients to feel as though they're in the same boat as working people (producing a positive effect on their morale due to their being more like the norm) but also to help them transition to being employed without requiring them to change their money managing habits. Change comes slow for most folks and the less barriers there are for adapting to a 'social norm' lifestyle, (assuming this is the goal for those on government assistance) the better.

On the other hand, if those on government assistance don't consider their situation as problematic, they would first have to be convinced that there is a problem and that it direly needs fixing before they'll have any desire to change their ways. Else, all it boils down to in their eyes is a difference of opinion.

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You are absolutely right th... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 6:44 PM | Posted by CarlM: | Reply

You are absolutely right that this is NOT a recent development. I lived for several years in a small town in the deep south that had fairly high levels of poverty. Early in my time there I noticed that a grocery store was uncharacteristically empty one day. I commented on this to the cashier and was told that it is always like that at the end of the month.

It does not surprise me that people want to be at the checkout as soon as their accounts are replenished. Those of you who are making the snide remarks like the one about these people using their iPhones to check their balances are simply clueless about the poverty in America.

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This is a good idea on its ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 7:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Morgan Warstler's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is a good idea on its face; but once you use government authority to bless certain items, then those items will become monopoly rentiers; which will drive out their competitors and decrease overall opportunity.

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Poor people are poor. My brain... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Posted, in reply to Veven's comment, by jen: | Reply

Poor people are poor. My brain gets confused just thinking about the possible first steps in what causes that. It feels better to just blame them. Problem goes away and we get a perverted little mental reward from it. "Ha, fuck you, you're poor, I'm not." There's also a significant thread of religious ideology - the Puritan idea that G-d rewards some with earthly wealth and causes others to be poor (whether to punish them or as a trial so that they can prove their faithfulness). http://www.apuritansmind.com/stewardship/rykenlelandpuritansandmoney.htm

As long as that kind of belief is at the back of some people's minds, it will be difficult to push through meaningful reform - if you don't think that the problem *should* be fixed, you're not going to help figure out how to fix it.

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Those of you who are mak... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 7:51 PM | Posted by AnCap: | Reply

Those of you who are making the snide remarks like the one about these people using their iPhones to check their balances are simply clueless about the poverty in America.
And you're simply clueless about welfare fraud in America. Remember, welfare != poverty. Welfare = income below X.

X is defined by what we consider commonplace - having a mortgage, credit card debt, car loans and so forth. In reality and in most areas, a family of 4 can live on $25,000 per year (maybe less) if they don't have those things. It's even easier because they can get bonus cash from the government, in the form of food stamps, Medicaid, utility assistance and waived fees/free lunches at public schools. Of course this isn't "common." But it happens and it's important to remember.

In some states (such as the good ol' Land o Lincoln) a mother (and father) and a child are one distinct family. Get a few of those "families" together in one house, and you may have a combined income in excess of $70,000 - more than enough to pay the bills - but each "family" is under the poverty line and receives benefits. Bonus cash if the father brings in an income, lives in the house, but isn't married to the mother or listed on the birth certificate. If the social workers come knocking, just explain that he fell on hard times and is couch surfing until he finds a new place. There's too much pressure on the system for anyone to check up on it.

No, it's not everyone. But don't assume that everyone shopping for $150 worth of Enfamil at 11:59PM on September 30th is anxious to get home to a screaming baby.

Sidenote: Why will WIC and TANF only buy the most expensive brands of formula...?

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Reminds me of "The road to ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 7:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Reminds me of "The road to wigan pier" by Orwell.
The system is generous because if people show they need less, we'll give them less.

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Alone, please return to non... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 7:52 PM | Posted by Kay: | Reply

Alone, please return to non-financial/economic postings. These posts make the comment section even more biased than usual, because everyone thinks they know about economics, when they really dont.

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Ack, sorry, blockquoting di... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 7:57 PM | Posted by jen: | Reply

Ack, sorry, blockquoting didn't work on that last post...

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It has been pointed out by ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 8:20 PM | Posted by AnonyMouse: | Reply

It has been pointed out by many economists over a long period of time that THE MINIMUM WAGE DESTROYS JOBS. This is a fact of economics, a fact of reality, that is not up for debate.

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I guess I'm glad I wished t... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 8:20 PM | Posted by spriteless: | Reply

I guess I'm glad I wished the grown ups could budget so they did not have to have a paycheck cycle instead of getting self aggrandizing about it. I wish a whole lot of people could budget, though.

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This happens right now in T... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 8:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Morgan Warstler: | Reply

This happens right now in Texas.... once kids are over 2, parents can't use food stamps to buy whole milk... makes fat kids - policy works fine.

I completely understand the "no regs" approach - I'm a a long time hard core libertarian of the anarcho-capitalist variety, at the same time I'm a now a serious policy realist.

We need to dial back use of Food Stamps to staples and low cost brands, the whole approach to policy needs to be, "if we're going to provide free toilet paper, make it single ply," to much data says the current benefits are causing less vigilance in finding jobs.

We're not going to cut back on UI, but we could hack it in any number of ways it, see here:

http://biggovernment.com/author/mwarstler/

Right now, I favor a policy that basically forces people to be registered for worker retraining after 26 weeks...

and let's businesses write off their re-training costs.

right now we are facing structural unemployment because of hyper-specialization of low wage jobs... this is an outcome of productivity gains - and we should build it directyl into our UI, if we are going to provide it.

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We are a country that buys ... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 8:58 PM | Posted by Jake: | Reply

We are a country that buys a lot and produces little... I don't see how an economy can run that way. And from what I've seen, it's not just poor people that shop at walmart. Middle class people do too. We are grasping at straws while teaching our kids to make nothing of value. It just can't last.

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"Or, stated more clearly: i... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:27 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Or, stated more clearly: if your solution doesn't help that kid, it is not a solution; it is a self-aggrandizing political stance."

I can not agree with you more.

1. Could we put a focus on afterschool programs that encourage education, discussion, and critical thinking about birth control, sexual health, managing money, ethics, social issues, and life issues? Many kids who need this kind of intervention are stuck in after school programs anyway due to having working single moms, or two working parents. Could we at least make healthy sex education, and life decisions part of those programs?

2. We need to make sure that parents know they can come in for drug treatment without having their kids removed. I understand why this is so controversial, but if we are looking at the kids involved, what is better, harsh punishments that cause parents to run from all social services, or getting the parents help such that the kids don't have to suffer?

3. Personally, I think parenting techniques should be taught in schools. Child development, basic human psychology, and infant and childhood needs should be taught both for the benefit of helping people with messed up childhoods process what they went through, and to give people an opportunity to make changes to what they experienced if/when they go on to be parents.

4. Can we make counseling available for adolescents in schools? Is that possible? And if it exists could we work to make sure that it's accessible to kids and they have a safe way of getting a counseling appointment without being "seen" by their peers, and the other concerns adolescents have about counseling could be addressed?

5. Enrichment programs for underprivaledged kids? What if we made sure that lower income kids had access to art classes, gymnastics, yoga, martial arts, science camps, music lessons? Further is there a way we could be smart about making this access possible? Could we have an earning program where kids over a certain age do work to earn credits for such things? And this could include kids of any economic background. Learning the value of earning what you receive and managing those earnings is a healthy skill for all kids to learn.

Thank you for bringing this up TLP. Truly, thank you.

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that was me, rox... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:30 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

that was me, rox

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I was poor during most of t... (Below threshold)

September 24, 2010 11:55 PM | Posted by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

I was poor during most of the Nineties for reasons that seem to me probably unrepresentative; my career and education choices played a role, but other sorts of overspending did not, as I had no house, car or fancy tennis shoes. I was not raised in a "culture of poverty" whatever that is. And I never received any direct government assistance. But I can tell you that I grocery shopped in almost exactly the same way as the people described, because I made a very conscious choice to feel comfortable for awhile each month and then tough it out the rest of the time because if the choice was between feeling broke and like crap all the time or feeling broke and like crap only part of the time, it was a no brainer. There was absolutely no subjective payoff to acting "responsibly" and no amount of self-discipline could have possibly changed my circumstances. Only luck could, and in the end, it did. My two cents.

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Looks like AnonyMouse is as... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 12:04 AM | Posted, in reply to AnonyMouse's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Looks like AnonyMouse is as suave with social problems as he is women.

You're a charmer my man, I wonder why the women aren't knocking down the door to get to you?

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I work part time in a groce... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 12:14 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I work part time in a grocery store. The first few days of the month there are significantly more transactions that use the electronic food stamp card. Many of the people that use EBT cards do need them and do make "good" purchases, however there are many that buy high end resalable food items in bulk. I will probably be judged a terrible person for thinking that they are selling these items, but one trip to the local flea market type thing shows these same items for sale, sometimes with our "Thanks for shopping" stickers still on them. By the way, one of the items with the best "markdown" at the market is baby formula, usually about three dollars cheaper than what it costs in the stores. Thanks WIC! Again, I do know that there are many, many people that these programs benefit. It is just frustrating dealing with those who have learned to game the system.

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The level of ignorance in m... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 1:05 AM | Posted by Mark V Wilson: | Reply

The level of ignorance in many of these comments is amazing. I thought the piece was brilliant. I remember when I was in elementary school (back in the 70s) me and my brothers going hungry the last 3 or so days of the month until food stamps came in. The reasons for this bear no resemblance to anything some of the more snarky commenters cite. Luckily for me, this was before the widespread prescription of psychoactive drugs for children.

But here's another contemporary data point -- imagine that tonight you were a fly on the wall at Wellesley -- you would see so many students taking Ritalin, Adderall and/or Provenge to get an edge on their studying. What's wrong now is much deeper than class and income differences.

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I am overwhelmed by your co... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 1:24 AM | Posted, in reply to Morgan Warstler's comment, by Zo: | Reply

I am overwhelmed by your compassion, sir. (Not.)

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This shouldn't be necessary... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 1:28 AM | Posted by Morgan Warstler: | Reply

This shouldn't be necessary here, but I gather it is...

http://thecomingprosperity.blogspot.com/2010/08/its-toilets.html

The correct approach to poverty is only Rawlsian, we are after all a nation of very very fat poor people.

And large amount of Freedom is lost when the aid is increased... that's why again, the solution is ALWAYS a clear-as-day two tiered system. One for the have-nots, and one for the haves.

As in healthcare, it is easy to provide decent care for people with no insurance at $2-3K a year, but it will be the kind of care they have in UK, slightly better than Cuba.

It means no MRIs, it means ugly scars from heart surgery, it means off patent drugs, it means being a number, and VA style single payer with a "global budget" where every doctor knows that if you get X, another patient doesn't get Y."

more later, just remember things get better for our poor people every single decade. disparity means nothing, real actual technology means everything to the poor, just ask them.

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Kay — True, but look at the... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 1:31 AM | Posted, in reply to Kay's comment, by Zo: | Reply

Kay — True, but look at the pathologies that crawl out from under the rug!

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Kay and Zo, one of us knows... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 3:24 AM | Posted by Morgan Warstler: | Reply

Kay and Zo, one of us knows economics... the other two spend their time pretending to talk about mental health.

Read Rawls, when you have really grasped his work, get back to me.

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Sorry - $1000 to feed a fam... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 6:13 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Sorry - $1000 to feed a family?
Well, doess not sound like welfare for me, or is it a BIG family?

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"4. Can we make counseling ... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 6:20 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"4. Can we make counseling available for adolescents in schools? ... safe way of getting a counseling appointment without being "seen" by their peers"

And pay for it how? What would you recommend they cut in favor of it, assuming those areas that need it most have already gotten rid of music and the like? Especially if we want more than worthless bottom-of-the-barrel counselors, not that we'd ever be willing to pay for better than that.

As for peers, what about their parents? The kids who would need it most cannot afford to miss the bus home because their parents don't care about their needs and will be pissed if they have to inconvenience themselves for them. Assuming they are available for inconveniencing at all.

It would be nice if kids had easy access to mental help not under the control of their parents. Maybe then we'd see common solutions other than medicating them into submission for the convenience of the parents. Child psychiatry does not in practice exist to benefit children. The true customer is the parent because they have the money and power, and if they care enough for that not to be a issue then it is unlikely their kid will end up needing treatment.

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I think part of the budgeti... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 7:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I think part of the budgeting problenm is lack of education, yet another big problem is that essentially the money is free and will always come no matter what they do (so long as they don't make any money on their own).

As to the fist problem -- simple education. Teach everybody in america home economics and domestic skills. Teach budgeting as young as possible. Teach stuff like auto repairs (not only a job skill, but being able to repair some things on your own saves money). Teach people how to cook -- again a job skil AND a money saver.

As for it being FREE MONEY, I think if peopl had to do something to get it, they'd be less likely to blow it on nonessentials. I'm not talking even about full time work, but maybe 30 hours a month of community service to get bennies. That's like an hour a day, or a couple of 8-hour days. Hardly difficult, but it would make you appreciate what you have. Drug test might also be a requirement -- but I'll leave that to experts to decide.

Personally I think the model of the Brooklyn schools is best -- the community needs to deal with the whole family not just the kids. But the parents have to agree to do thier part.

I don't see really why changing the paydays makes

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One thing that I think woul... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 8:40 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

One thing that I think would be awesome is if every person thought of social programs as something that could offer services and also generate income to sustain the program. My biggest dream is to run a restaurant and garden and use the profits to run a community service program for families.

It's going to be awesome. Now I just have to win the lottery and I can start my restaurant. Of course, having never once bought a lottery ticket, there may be a flaw in my plan...

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One thing that would be use... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 8:49 AM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

One thing that would be useful would be for everyone to have to actually live on what poor people live on - what I've found is that people who are comfortably well off simply have no conception of how hard it is to be poor (and to only know other poor people so you don't have access to the resources of other's either). It's also because people all like to assume that we've got what we've got because we merit it and not because we were lucky enough to be born into a certain position of privilege. This is where the narcissistic perspective comes in - what's being protected is the sense of identity and ego, the belief that one earned one's privilege and it's not even partially a result of factors that have nothing to do with how hard we worked, how brilliant we are and so on. To protect this image of ourselves we NEED to blame the poor for being poor so we can claim that our circumstances didn't contribute to our ability to be successful.

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It's not unrelated to how "... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 8:54 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It's not unrelated to how "kind" slave owners liked to pretend to themselves they were actually doing slaves a favour by "looking after them" because they were "like children". Except, of course, when they showed they were actually adult humans and then they were compared to dangerous animals. Both are ways to deny the basic humanity of slaves and for slaveowners to see themselves as good and kind people. The poor are often treated the same way. One can't really ignore the lingering history of slavery in the US and how it shapes public attitudes (though it's pretty common to infantalize the poor as a means to distance oneself).

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Brainchild, one issue with ... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 9:58 AM | Posted, in reply to brainchild's comment, by jen: | Reply

Brainchild, one issue with the idea that we'd all learn by having to live like the poor is that, not knowing how they live, when someone does try it, they often get the details so far wrong it's ridiculous.

For instance, local politicians wanted to draw attention to how hard it is to live off food stamps. So they set up a challenge where the politician, as an individual, lived off the $3/day of foodstamps for a week.

Never mind that the reality isn't one person with one week of foodstamps, trying to get through that one week... The reality is a family of however many (whether it's two or ten) living off a month at a time of foodstamps for the whole family. Major, major difference.

And then, of course, they tried to use that same $3 a day notion as the way to guilt downtown employees into giving to the food pantry - "after all, you couldn't even buy lunch downtown for $3!" Completely oblivious to the fact that many, many of their employees (often the ones that DO give to the food drive) bring their lunch from home specifically because they don't want to waste the money to eat out!

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Some of those folks are und... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 10:16 AM | Posted by carol: | Reply

Some of those folks are undoubtedly on WIC, which is for low income working families - not all people on food stamps are unemployed (or have a ton of kids.) There is also a huge problem with people that have disabilities that can't work or they get their medical coverage cut off - this is a huge disincentive for people who want to work but have chronic health problems that may limit the number of hours or the kind of work that they can do.
And get birth control along with comprehensive sex education to people where they are for free.

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"It would be nice if kids h... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 12:02 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

"It would be nice if kids had easy access to mental help not under the control of their parents. Maybe then we'd see common solutions other than medicating them into submission for the convenience of the parents. Child psychiatry does not in practice exist to benefit children."

I agree with you both that this would be nice and possibly change lives more than we could imagine.... but I also agree finding funding for these kinds of programs is a huge problem. While I personally think that capitalism and socialism can work together to produce a healthy economy, most of my family members are conservatives and I understand their concerns about where the money will come from.

I also think we REALLY need to come up with solutions for the children that take into account the difficulties many poor parents have with managing money and with making healthy choices for the kids. If we are going to offer assistance, it's perfectly legitimate to make requirements about the offering of assistance and the nature of what the assistance is.

Which is why not only do I think we should have a largely capitalistic economy with socialistic supports in place to help ensure people get the support they need to work and find jobs, but also the nature of the support being offered could involve capitalistic rewards for successes. Example:

A housing program in my city offers tiny dorm rooms to homeless. There is a bed and a fridge and nothing else. You have to find a sponsor to pay 50 dollars a month which helps fund the program. If you want a TV, if you want a music player, if you want anything else in your room, you earn it by working.

There are counselors available to work through common problem chronically homeless people face in obtaining and maintaining employment. Once a person in the program has achieved employment, rent in the amount of 300 per month is required. An interesting thing about this program is that they found; people prefered to work and pay for their rooms.

Surprising huh? 75 percent of the people in the program at any given time wind up paying the 300 dollars. That money helps fund the program so there is very little burden on tax payers.

This is how to run a smart program. Find ways that those being offered services can contribute to make the program work and help the program be as little of burden on tax payers as possible. And it builds self esteem as well, so it's incredibly good for those being served.

The program is even more succesful because there is no time limit on exiting the program. Homeless services that cut off at 6 months are found to be ineffective because chronically homeless don't know how to maintain a job. In this program ongoing support is provided to develop job skills such as doing what your boss says, not screaming at people when you don't want to do something, respectful behavior; things that are very different from the world of being homeless where any behavior goes.

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Of course there is fraud. ... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 2:16 PM | Posted, in reply to AnCap's comment, by CarlM: | Reply

Of course there is fraud. Nobody is denying that. But, that doesn't address the fact that there is a REAL problem with poverty in this country.

"having a mortgage, credit card debt, car loans and so forth. In reality and in most areas, a family of 4 can live on $25,000 per year (maybe less) if they don't have those things."

If they don't have a mortgage, they have a rent payment (unless you're suggesting that they could save money by being homeless). Having no debt is a wonderful goal, but is a goal that is more difficult to obtain for the poor. Predatory lending practices (and high interest payments and fees brought on by a single missed payment) contribute to the cycle of poverty. Outside of cities in much of the country (as in the small town in South Georgia in which I lived), there is essentially NO public transportation. Having a car is a necessity. Having a car means having car payments and/or repair bills, etc.

Yes, a family that has no mortgage and no debt can live on $25000 per year in many parts of the country. Of course assuming that families have no housing payment and no debt is a rather large assumption. In any case, the Federal Poverty line in 2009 was 22,050 for a family of 4. Those families of 4 that brought in $25000 were not considered to be in poverty.

As has been said and implied by many already .. if you look at the problem and see only fraud rather than the very real suffering that is borne by so many people, then you are not likely to want to work to solve the problem of the suffering. Yes, there is fraud. Everyone acknowledges this. Now, if everyone could also acknowledge the extent of the suffering, maybe we can make some progress in alleviating it.

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"I don't mean to sound like... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 2:18 PM | Posted, in reply to wifeandmom's comment, by moms who think they know better: | Reply

"I don't mean to sound like a self-righteous jerk" ---> You do sound like one. You even apologize for sounding like one, so you know you do.

You're like most moms: always thinks you know better than other moms. Well, guess what: you don't.

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How about this? Once you ar... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 2:39 PM | Posted by GT: | Reply

How about this? Once you are on the dole, you are prohibited from having any more children. In other words, no getting pregnant while getting state aid and contraceptives and abortion will be provided free of charge. If you do have a kid, no increase in aid and if you are unable to raise them in a safe environment due to you lack of funds; foster care. Sterilization of men and/or women on the dole would also be a free option if they so chose that procedure.

I could never understand why people who can barely support themselves go on to have kids of their own.

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Um. GT, just a personally p... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 2:58 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Um. GT, just a personally preference, but as someone whose mom got pregnant as a teen and who was subsequently adopted, I would prefer that she had been given nothing but got to keep me, than that I be removed from her to fulfill your agenda.

I am just like her, and if society doesn't know how to serve her, they didn't know how to serve me either.

She learned many ways to deal with the problems that we are biologically predisposed to, and it was knowing her that changed my life in so many ways.

I know it feels good to stick it to the pregnant poor, but you're forgetting that that also often means sticking it to their kids too.

Do you ACTUALLY care about the kids involved or do you just want to sound morally superior?

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um rox, there's a more than... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 3:33 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Morgan Warstler: | Reply

um rox, there's a more than a billion people cozy with having only 1 child.

this isn't about sticking it to the poor, or forgetting about the kids... it's just a simply a question of decisions, costs, and who bares them.

as wealth grows, birth rates go down by choice - codifying that into safety net economics isn't some monstrous violation.

the ultimate winning point is this: for any system to function, the rules and incentives must always be aligned properly. right now they aren't.

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It has nothing to do with "... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 4:01 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

It has nothing to do with "sticking it" to anyone. It's basic common sense. If you cannot support yourself, then you have no business bringing a new life into this world that you clearly cannot support also.

Making an emotional appeal will not sway me.

Based on the tone of your post....it is YOU who is trying to come across as morally superior because of your sad tale.

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So you're advocating the re... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 4:54 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

So you're advocating the removal of poor peoples children? What makes you think this is any more economically feasible? So now the government is paying to care for all the children of the poor in foster homes/goup living situations?

And ultimately, who is really being harmed? You really think the kids will be better off in the foster system? You're trying to make a point about how bad the parent is, but your solution is really punishing the child.

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Nope. Let me clarify. I'm a... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 5:00 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

Nope. Let me clarify. I'm advocating the following:

1) If you are on the dole, no more making babies.

2) If you are on the dole and you make a baby, you get no increase in dole money. If the addition of the extra mouth to feed is too much for you to handle, then the extra baby needs to be taken away because clearly the child is in danger.

And you think the children won't be harmed by being born into poverty where malnutrition and poor economic opportunities exist?

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Why all this focus on welfa... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 5:10 PM | Posted by A simple solution: | Reply

Why all this focus on welfare? medicare and social security are the two programs that cost the most... but everyone overlooks this because old people vote, and old people want to take benefits away from the young to steal for their greedy elderly asses.

President Anonymous will put the following into law :

1) Change eligibility to collect social security benefits to 70 YEARS OLD *or* as early at 62 provided there is a medical inability to work any longer (must be documented).

This bullshit of 62 year olds and 65 year olds riding the dole has to stop... people can still work at that age. It's not the government responsibility to give you a timely retirement, if you fucked up planning your finances for 40 some odd years thats your own problem.

The problem with social security is that people who aren't truly elderly are collecting ... and our lifespans are such now that people can easily live to 80 or 90 years old. The only reasonable way to make this work is to change the age.

2) Medicare... Stop keeping vegetables alive and collecting medicare benefits. I work in a LTC facility, you won't believe the number of fucking moronic religious black and hispanic families that can't accept scientific reality (i.e. people die)... so they stick PEG tubes in their braindead parents and keep their corpse alive for YEARS AND YEARS. Who pays for this shit... we do.
If a patient has no level of consciousness, if several doctors document that the patient has a If you want to keep the body alive, that's totally your choice...but after x amount of time you need to be footing that bill.

I guarantee expensive nursing home warehousing would go down in an instant if these families had to face the financial responsibility of their stupid religious delusional thinking.


3) Regarding welfare... simple solution. Give benefits to people who work part time minimum wage jobs. Provide a financial incentive for people to work. As it is now a family is better off being at home with the kids and collecting benefits than they are getting minimum wage jobs because it all works out to about the same cash. They need to REDUCE the benefits given to terminally unemployed women, and provide supplemental income to those mothers who actually do go out to get a job (and lower their taxes on their income as well).

It should never, ever fucking be the case that its financially a better idea to lay on your ass and have kids. But that's the case now.

4) Oh and depo-provera shots for all women collecting welfare. Should be part of the fucking program. If you sign up for bennies you need to be taking birth control. I don't care about your religion... if you want society to pay for your family, it's only fair that society ask you not to have any more kids you can't pay for. The sign up process for welfare should include a visit to a clinic to get your depo shot.

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But if we have that attitud... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 5:11 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

But if we have that attitude, why are we bothering to offer government assistance to begin with? Why would we offer government assistance the first time? I mean, I get what you're saying, I don't like the idea of people popping out babies they can't care for either; but I don't think removing children is as simple as you're making it out to be.

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So, if I'm interpreting thi... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 5:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So, if I'm interpreting this correctly, the lack of psychiatry posts as of late is because, as I've gathered from reading the site, that the field itself is endemic of larger social issues which is more or less used as a stigmatising tool by those in a position of power to regulate the emotions and feelings of those in the poorer or otherwise less powerful classes to submit to the consensus of the crowd which, through journal upon journal of unbiased research and confirmation, tells us that we are all in some way diagnosable under the DSM if given enough observation rendering the whole of society marginalised if not for certain portions thereof to stay away from psychiatrists in the first place?

Because I'm ignorant and google is too complicated to use, what does "ability to maintain a job" imply? Showing up on time and doing the labor? If they get jobs, do they stop showing up because life on the streets is comparatively and cognitively easier? If that's the case, does giving them drugs make them better labor monkeys as they become docile and process their input at work more efficiently? Is there a pill for body odor?

Here's a modest proposal: There is apparently a large or otherwise noteworthy percentage of the homeless population with mental health problems. There is also a large portion of Americans that want their prescription drugs at lower costs. Until we start not testing on animals and start testing on humans, make the latter as socially acceptable as not having babies and educate accordingly, the spiralling costs of each - crazy people and kids - may very well bring about the apocalypse as so many that try to help both problems with more Jesus understand the term. The living dead will walk the earth begging for work and when that fails will resort to cannibalism or otherwise find gainful occupation in the corn fields as the plant continues its quest for global dietary domination. Why not employ the homeless/jobless as test subjects for drugs at big pharma? Before the question of ethics comes into play, consider the following: napalm. Invented in the sixties, not by big pharma, the song tells us that it sticks to kids. Almost like an ADHD diagnoses and the stigma that's associated with it unless you can offload the script to college kids. The only difference between napalm and pharmaceuticals being that one when used as directed actually brings about the intended effect. Adderol just makes your friends seem to talk in slow motion while when you're dancing around on fire you're wishing things would speed up or end altogether. Of course, there's always the Bayer argument... heroine anyone?

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Oh...5) More money... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 5:17 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh...

5) More money into mental health care for people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

It's a f ucking disgusting shame that schizophrenic people are dumped on the streets the way we do, as a result of the 80's closing down of mental institutions for these people.
See all those people on the side of the highway, begging for change and food? A good number of them have mental illness and they have no choice but to do that.

Our religious stupid idiotic society stigmatizes the mentally ill because we assume, stupidly and idiotially, that if they were better people morally they could overcome it. So we let them go on the street or wherever, when in reality there should be homes for these sorts of people with chronic severe mental illness.

It's a myth and a fantasy that medication and antipsychotics can manage ALL mental illness. Certainly a lot of people can be functional and somewhat independent on medication, but it's also true a lot of people do not acheive adequate symptom control on medication and cannot reasonably support themselves or live independently.

If this were a 90 year old person with dementia we would all be horrified if it were routine for our society to allow them to wander the street confused and homeless. But, it's perfectly okay for a 20 year old man with schizophrenia to be dumped on the street... because he's just some crazy fuck who cares.

I think the best thing we as a society could do is distance ourselves from religion and irrational thinking. We'd become much more reasonable and compassionate.

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"3) Regarding welfare... si... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 5:21 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

"3) Regarding welfare... simple solution. Give benefits to people who work part time minimum wage jobs. Provide a financial incentive for people to work. As it is now a family is better off being at home with the kids and collecting benefits than they are getting minimum wage jobs because it all works out to about the same cash. They need to REDUCE the benefits given to terminally unemployed women, and provide supplemental income to those mothers who actually do go out to get a job (and lower their taxes on their income as well)."


BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God can we start that now? Part time work would allow single moms to spend more time with their kids and give them a better start in life. Part time work would also allow the woman to mostly support herself, reduce her need to use support at all, and make any money that is going to her such that it can go to really enhancing her child's life.

I have dreamed of this for a long time, I think about the cons of this and I haven't found a solution to those yet, but I think it would be worth figuring out!!

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Why wouldn't you help those... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 5:39 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

Why wouldn't you help those in need? Our solutions are designed simply to keep them from digging themselves into an even bigger hole than they already are. Poverty is a stressor in and of itself. No need to add another mouth to feed into an already crappy situation.

You are correct. Removing children is never simple regardless of the circumstance. The best thing to do is to prevent this children from being introduced into a crappy situation (birth control, contraceptives, etc).

Basically, the parents (or in some cases the mother since daddy skipped town) needs to take personal responsibility for their reproduction and their station in life and for the welfare of their current children and not introduce another mouth to feed in an already crappy situation.

In Brazil, people on welfare are given the option of going to school to learn a trade. If after a certain amount of time they don't take advantage of the educational offer or they don't graduate, they are kicked out of the system and they have to fend for themselves. How about that for a new idea?

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I know that you aren't in t... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 6:03 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

I know that you aren't in the position to begin removing children from poor people, but I do hope before you made in sort of voting decisions of advocacy toward such removals that you would read up on life issues for adoptees, and on PTSD and trauma in mothers who have lost children. There may be situations where the child is better off being removed even though adoptees are twice as represented in mental health care, however we need more research to truly decide when exactly it's better.

White people decided that Native American children were too poor (and too native american) and removed large numbers of native american children "for the good of the children." It caused a lot of heartache for a lot people, and policies like this can get dangerous very easily, so I'm a little concerned about throwing it out there as some sort of "fix".

But I agree the prevention of children being born into situations where there parents can't adequately care for them is imperative.

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And if you do some research... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 6:09 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

And if you do some research on "Split feathers" (native americans raised by whites) one might begin to wonder if they wouldn't have been better off raised in poverty in their own cultures, considering the issues they tend to have. It's been documented that people spend less money on non-biological children, and many of these children were abused by their adoptive families. What kind of improvement is that?

"In a recent study (Locust, 1994), the majority of Split Feathers who responded to a national survey noted that they had failed in school, had problems with employment, had alcohol problems, were antisocial, and felt that they didn't belong anywhere. The pain caused by the loss of their culture was overwhelming; it is no wonder that many of them reported having been in jail or prison"

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What about the parents who ... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 6:50 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

What about the parents who introduced these kids into such a crappy situation? Where does their responsibility lie in all this and how would you suggest handling this situation?

The current system is broken and must be fixed. What is your proposed solution?

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The issues they have are th... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 6:52 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

The issues they have are the same I've read about when they are still raised in their cultures.

I can't believe you are suggesting that maybe kids are better off being raised in poverty. Unbelievable.

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Jen - Too true about it oft... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 6:59 PM | Posted, in reply to jen's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Jen - Too true about it often being a symbolic not real attempt to live off of what poor people do, so people don't experience the reality. I was thinking more along the lines of how particularly brilliant NYC judges used to make slumlords live in the buildings they owned for a period of time. People simply don't realize how many things they take for granted, that are so easy they don't even notice them, are 10 times harder for someone to do if they're poor (working or not). Not to mention how banks and other institutions penalize the poor to squeeze every extra cent they can out of them (not that banks should be charitable institutions but there are very different services provided to the rich and the poor). Most poor people are doing just as good a job looking after their kids - in the important ways - as middle class and wealthy parents are. It's just that the neglect and abuse isn't as obvious when it's happening in a gated community.

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I agree the system has prob... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 9:17 PM | Posted, in reply to GT's comment, by Stephen: | Reply

I agree the system has problems. However think about the consequences of removing children from poor mothers.

To start, it would be very expensive, and there are limited foster parents available. It would also be highly highly traumatic for the children and mothers. And it would remain open to 'abuse'. Imagine a mother who kept having children anyway, despite the fact they were being taken away, forcing the state to find placements for dozens of children. Like the extraordinary cases of mothers who have a lot of children to increase their benefits this would actually happen somewhere.

I think a better idea would be requiring welfare recipients to take birth control while they receive benefits. Taking someone's kids is a pretty major step that should be reserved for the worst cases.

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Well my personal proposed s... (Below threshold)

September 25, 2010 9:24 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Well my personal proposed solution is to provide parent mentoring programs, working to change the nature of availability of counseling and sexual education in schools, as well as discussing human development and parenting techniques in highschools; to provide services to struggling families that includes encouragement of responsible family planning and self reliance.

In fact there is one program in my city that is doing just that and it's a pretty cool program, their focus is on families in severe crisis. Removing kids due to poverty alone (when abuse is not present) is not something I will ever believe in, I think we just think differently about that. I'm a socialist at heart, so no it doesn't bother me at all to help parents achieve healthy parenting goals without having to give up their children.

People like you will simply be people I'll have to work around in achieving my goal, so thanks for presenting the opposition for me! : )

I am ok with such programs being indepently funded (i.e. not government funded) it doesn't matter to me whether it's government funded or I have to get rich somehow in the next 15 years and fund it myself. I only care that it happens.

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The idea that people can't ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 6:32 AM | Posted by infopractical: | Reply

The idea that people can't live on $5/hour is utter crap. I've done it. Millions and millions of people [in the United States] have done it. It's certain tough to support a family that way, but $10,000/year doesn't buy a bad life in the U.S. unless it's squandered on frivolity. Just ask most college students.

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Clearly neither you nor Rox... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 9:35 AM | Posted, in reply to Stephen's comment, by GT: | Reply

Clearly neither you nor Rox have comprehended my posts. It's called reading comprehension. You should try it sometime, it really works!

Now go back a reread my posts and show me where I failed to propose contraceptives for those on the dole. Go ahead I'll wait. ;)

And show me where I advocated the wholesale removal of children from poor people. You two are stuck on that point to the point where you both turn your brain off!

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I like your proposed soluti... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 9:44 AM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

I like your proposed solution however it is not complete. You don't address an issue that I've already raised and you fail, yet again, to address.

What do you do with someone who is on welfare, already has kids, and gets pregnant again? In other words, what do you do with people who get pregnant while on welfare when they clearly shouldn't be getting pregnant for whatever reason? Hmmm?

You see, you clearly did not understand what I was writing. Try reading comprehension. It really works!

Oh, and people "like me?" What exactly do you mean by that comment?

Your welcome in terms of my showing you what the opposition is. It makes me feel good when I can educate someone but I'm a bit perplexed. I'm shocked that you don't know anything about the opposing view points. It makes me wonder just how much thought you really put into this.

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Yes I am aware there are ma... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 11:44 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Yes I am aware there are many people who think that removal of children is a good punishment for unprotected sex outside of wedlock. For one thing, it fails to punish the man at all (and that is what we're going for right, punishment?)

For another thing, I have dedicated my life to studying adoption issues and it's not a simple math equation. It's not a simple, "mom isn't good with birth control and therefore she will abuse and neglect her kids". Removal of a child has repercussions that will damage a woman, probably beyond what you may be able to comprehend. I recognize that you don't care and you see such people as dispensible, but I don't. Adoption also has long term affects on the child, again I recognize you think american style poverty is the worst thing anyone could experience, but I think this is a gray area since adoption isn't a simple fix for the child. They may or may not be better off depending on the person and the situation.

Usually there is more going on with the lack of birth control use than just an inability to understand procreation, or a desire to get more welfare benefits. Usually there are abuse issues with men going on, a lack of ability to stand up to a man when condoms are your preferred birth control method, and one more:

Many people who are poor, don't believe they should have been aborted, or have never existed. People with money tend to think in terms of "let's eliminate the poor and it's better nor to exist than to be poor".

There are certainly certain types of poverty wherin this may be how a poor person feels--wishing they had never existed. However usually the things that make people feel that way involve neglect, abuse, abandonment, warfare, disease...

Straight up struggling for food sometimes as happens in the US often doesn't make people wish they didn't exist. They feel legitimate in creating children who will have the same experiences they did because they feel happy to live and they don't feel they are perpetuating a cruelty.

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Just to say, I'm fine with ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 11:55 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Just to say, I'm fine with not increasing benefits. I understand that a large portion of taxpayers don't want their money to go to a cause they don't believe in. This is why, as I'm saying, I hope to create some support programs my self, if nothing else, here in my city.

I think there certainly are people who would literally reproduce soley to increase benefits. However if that is going on, it's very likely that other forms of abuse/neglect are going on as well.


I'm fine with requiring an interview with CPS whatever, but involuntary removal of children sounds like we would be leaning in the direction of China which is just scary.


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I would note the problems o... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 12:01 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I would note the problems of "split feathers" are identical to the problems of native americans - alcoholism, unemployment, undereducation, poverty.

It seems to me all that has been demonstrated is that the problems native american communities face are not as simple as culture, but part of it may be innate because changing families did not do much to prevent it.

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Bullshit, unless you live i... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 12:06 PM | Posted, in reply to infopractical's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Bullshit, unless you live in a really cheap area of the country. Try to live on $5 an hour in new jersey and you are going to find yourself fucked royal.

I think a solution to the minimum wage issue is to adjust minimum wage to cost of living. In some crappy areas of the country, it might be possible to live on $5 an hour... but in the new york/nj area, THERE IS NO WAY AT ALL to live on even minimum wage nevermind $5 an hour. How in the hell do you expect to pay rent, feed yourself, AND have enough money for the things requiring money like transportation and clothing? On minimum wage?

It's sorta stupid there's a national minimum wage when some areas of the country costs waaaay more than others.

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Oh and anyone advocating re... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 12:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oh and anyone advocating removing children from the home if the parents are poor - you're a fucking idiot.

1) This would be WAY more expensive for tax payers
2) This would be traumatizing to parents and children, and the children are placed at additional risk of ending up in the hands of a pedophile rapist "foster family".
3) Being poor is NOT abuse. There is zero grounds to even advocate such stupidity.

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Ok, so here's another idea.... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 12:16 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Ok, so here's another idea. Instead of extra money, and instead of involuntary removal (I still think this is over the top, but ok..:) How about we do a couple of counseling sessions in which a counselor with experience at coming up with solutions to the common problems such women are facing and a creative plan to help the woman parent effectively and come up with financial solutions in created?

She could for example: work in a day care where the kids are allowed to go for free, raising her total income but possibly a thousand dollars.

Work as a nanny and bring her kids to work. This would allow her to spend time with her kids, and earn even more income for her family, possibly even making it possible to work part time. (This workds well as I've done it!)

Educate her about parent training programs in the area, family crisis programs, women's shelters...

And obviously if there are drug abuse issues, get into a drug rehad program. If there are drug abuse issues, then this is one of those areas where adoption might be talked about, however I think child/abuse and neglect itself needs to be the behavior that dictates involuntary removal. I know lot's of rich parents who toke up and no one is thinking about removing their kids.

I can about gaurantee someone on meth will be neglecting their child and that it would take about five seconds to find proof of that neglect. So it's not the meth use, but the neglect that would constitute a removal. However now we're getting into removal of older kids which is not my specialty. I am however pro-protection of kids, I just do not see poverty, in and of itself, as ever being a legitimate reason to involuntarily remove a child.

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I know you mentioned birth ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 12:37 PM | Posted, in reply to GT's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I know you mentioned birth control as an option. I'm just saying that the problem with your other suggestion is that it rests on a 'make the rules clear, and if you don't follow them it's on your own head' kind of approach, which I don't think will be very effective at dealing with poverty. Punishment in general is not a hugely effective deterrent for people, but you have to realize whatever your rules are some people will fuck up. If you give them a thousand chances they will still make the same mistakes.

I think the better approach is in limiting the possibility of making bad choices however you can do it. Punishing after the fact is not effective at modulating behavior, and does not solve the problem that has been created by the behavior either.

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^my post... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 12:41 PM | Posted by Stephen: | Reply

^my post

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Removal of children as puni... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 1:19 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

Removal of children as punishment for unprotected out of wedlock sex is:
1) Outside the scope of this discussion.
2) So over the top that it happens that I don't believe anyone who says it happens. Taking kids away is a big deal that judges don't do that lightly.

So I really don't know why you are coming here with something so clearly off topic.

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OK. So we agree on not rais... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 1:23 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

OK. So we agree on not raising benefits. That was the thrust of my point to begin with.

All your solutions I don't have a problem with. I'm going to make some additional points in response to one of your other posts.

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GT, just to quote what brou... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 1:30 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

GT, just to quote what brought removal of poor children into the discussion:

"2) If you are on the dole and you make a baby, you get no increase in dole money. If the addition of the extra mouth to feed is too much for you to handle, then the extra baby needs to be taken away because clearly the child is in danger."

If you didn't mean that, then sure we can removing discussing this statement.

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My 'make the rules clear' a... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 1:33 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by GT: | Reply

My 'make the rules clear' approach has nothing to do with solving poverty. It has everything to do with personal responsibility and personal accountability in sticking with whatever program they are in that is designed to get them out of the situation they are in.

Punishment, or the threat of, is an effective deterrent for those who have a future minded orientation; for those who are serious. Of course if someone is too stupid to know what is best for them then...The question becomes: What do you do with those who absolutely do not follow the rules? They continually fuck up? What of them?

Limiting the chances of fucking up is a good idea but I have to ask another question: At what point does personal responsibility for your own life come into play?

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Lets read closer:"... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 1:43 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

Lets read closer:

"....If the addition of the extra mouth to feed is too much for you to handle..."

Note the qualifier "IF" which implies that it is possible to handle that extra mouth to feed. The statement "too much for you to handle" implies within it that there is neglect or the child is not getting proper nutrition due to the extra financial burden that extra mouth to feed is placing or in your previous example of meth and drugs then the state needs to step in. Does it automatically lead to removal? Nope. Perhaps parental training classes in tighter budgeting would help. A closer look at the family finances may reveal the need to eliminate some extraneous expenses such as cable, booze, cigarettes, sugary non-nutritious drinks (I'm just plucking random examples for the sake of illustration so don't panic).

I'll admit, I didn't get into specifics to aid others in understanding.

I stand behind my statement.

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"Punishment, or the threat ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 1:51 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

"Punishment, or the threat of, is an effective deterrent for those who have a future minded orientation"

People living pay check to paycheck, or who are completely "on the dole" and just making it day to day, are at a disibility with future oriented thought patterns.

I don't think you will find the same results will occur with a population functioning on a day to day basis.


I think again on the issue of personal responsability we are again going back in programs in schools that teach and value this. We all know that the parents valueing these things would be the best, but if they never got this is part of their value system from their parents, then it has to start somewhere.

And again the issue of poor people not seeing creating children in poverty as an act of cruelty is relevant. A rich person, or someone who has gotten out of poverty may look back and say, "Man, no one should go through that! Birth control, abortion, let's eliminate these poor people from existing!"

But someone who has lived in poverty with parents "on the dole" may feel that they are simply offering another human a life, that is just as good as the one they had.

They may not be seeing this as an issue of causing someone pain, but an issue of offering someone an opportunity to experience they good things they had even within poverty.

I still think offering financial management counseling, innovative creations of solutions to poverty, and such things will be more succesful than thinking about removing children as punishment. If you aren't thinking about removing children as punishment, then we don't have to discuss this further, other consequences within the program for violating the rules of the program are fine.

I think encouraging working by offering incentives to work, especially part time as was mentioned earlier, would be excellent. In depth counseling sessions about the reasons people continue to have unplanned pregnancies (of which there is in fact no dearth of research on) and ways to help individuals face those issues that may bring them back to unplanned pregnancy would likely make a bigger difference than scaring people with the threat of removal if they give birth while in the program.

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"Perhaps parental training ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 1:55 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

"Perhaps parental training classes in tighter budgeting would help. A closer look at the family finances may reveal the need to eliminate some extraneous expenses such as cable, booze, cigarettes, sugary non-nutritious drinks (I'm just plucking random examples for the sake of illustration so don't panic"

Ok, so perhaps instead of throwing in the word "removal" we could simply say that other services that do not involve an increase in funds could be provided to help the family plan for the new child. If those services fail to help create a safe environment for the child, the parent could voluntarily consider adoption if she does not think she can adequately care for her child.

Is that more along the lines of what you're thinking?

My goal in life is to provide the services that would made relinquishment unecessary, however my personal focus is on situations where poverty (and even bad personal decisions that are causing poverty) are the cause of the needed relinquishment. Abuse and neglect are very different although correlated with poverty.

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So, really, people here are... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 2:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So, really, people here are advocating for reproductive freedom for themselves but don't want other people to have it. Are people who advocate taking children from parents on welfare also advocating taking children away from wealthy and middle class parents that can't balance a budget, cook a healthy meal or who live on credit? Or perhaps corporations should be able to decide how many children their employees are allowed to have?

Since when was being a good parent about how much money you can spend on your children?

What's ironic here is that everyone is focusing on the poor and deciding they're all "bad" people (so as to facilitate and protect their image of themselves as "good" people). Do any of you even know anyone who's poor? Or what it's like to be poor today? Americans are so hung up on Right and Left as labels that they can't even consider the issues or political/social beliefs outside of this highly manufactured duality.

Who knows how rigorous this study was but it does point to some interesting confusion amongst Americans about their own beliefs and how they label things (and actually work against what they really want).

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/09/poll-wealth-distribution-similar-sweden/

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"Ok, so perhaps instead of ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 3:41 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by GT: | Reply

"Ok, so perhaps instead of throwing in the word "removal" we could simply say that other services that do not involve an increase in funds could be provided to help the family plan for the new child. If those services fail to help create a safe environment for the child, the parent could voluntarily consider adoption if she does not think she can adequately care for her child."

What you write is generally fine however the state, at this very moment, has the right to remove children from their parents if they are being neglected, abused, etc... You will never get away from the word "removal" when it comes to children's welfare and the state.

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Nobody is saying that poor ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 3:44 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by GT: | Reply

Nobody is saying that poor people is bad. I think we can all agree that poverty is bad.

Reproductive freedom? Ok...let me throw out,"With freedom comes responsibility."

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It's been a pleasure going ... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 3:48 PM | Posted by GT: | Reply

It's been a pleasure going back and forth on this topic. I look forward to Alone's next article. Anyone care for the last word?

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And it's rather amazing tha... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 3:52 PM | Posted by brainchild: | Reply

And it's rather amazing that so few people are even willing to consider the social conditions that mean that women end up having lots of children (whether they want them or not). There's been a very overt religious war in the US (which the US has taken into Africa as well) on all kinds of family planning services for the past 20 years - from access to birth control (condoms by themselves are not a very good form of birth control, women need access to more effective forms of birth control, this includes economic access) to what amounts to domestic terrorism targeting and murdering doctors who perform legal abortions.

Give women access to safe, legal, discreet forms of birth control that they have sole power over and then a sane discussion about childbirth rates in lower economic brackets can be had. As it is it's demonizing people with little power instead of calling to account the people in power who have created this situation through a very intentional policy of making birth control difficult and potentially dangerous to access (not to mention preaching - yes that is the right word - that birth control is immoral).

Add into this that you're much more likely to be jailed for a crime if you're a poor person than if you're middle or upper class, and you have a situation where there's a systemic demonization of the poor and (once) working class, not to mention large percentages of particular communities have family members in jail, and you're pretty much ensuring that only the truly exceptional and lucky can break the cycle.

Rich sociopaths run corporations and become politicians or lobbyists (or, more accurately, switch up between working as all of the above). Poor sociopaths who are successful run criminal empires (and, of course, once they're rich enough can be integrated into "legitimate" society - some of America's most wealthy families made their fortunes doing illicit things...the Kennedys, for instance, made much of their fortune during prohibition).

Of course, whether birth control is legal or not makes little difference to the wealthy because they'll still have access to both safe medical abortions (at home or abroad) and forms of birth control. But, hey, it's easier to blame the victim than it is to take responsibility or even acknowledge that the system you benefit from may be doing harm to others...and that your privilege is dependent (at this point in time) on the exploitation of others.

It's pretty obvious it's not just poor Americans who don't know how to live on and budget what they really earn/get. You've got supposed professionals in business and economics that believe in magic mortgages (clearly they're not able to deal with economic reality, they prefer a fantasy even if it results in others suffering and losing their homes). You've got people living well above their means in all income brackets (hence the amount of debt and well off people who still live paycheck to paycheck). To ignore all this and to then make out like it's people on welfare who are the problem is just inane and a way to avoid reality. That reality is that the ranks of the poor in the US are getting much bigger and the income gap in the US is bigger than it was before the depression. Life can be random so while it may make you feel secure to believe that you will never be poor because you're in control of your personal finances you're ignoring the fact that the larger economic reality is well beyond your personal control and no matter how "good" you are that you're at the mercy of people who may just lose or take all your money, and an economic system that's more voodoo than science or even math.

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Of course with freedom come... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 4:13 PM | Posted, in reply to GT's comment, by brainchild: | Reply

Of course with freedom comes responsibility. That's why demanding people be responsible when they're not actually free to do so and have the access to the means to be responsible is inane and not dealing in reality. And so far it's all been blaming women for having children with no accountability directed towards the fathers (or discussion of why women end up being single parents).

The reality is that there are plenty of poor parents (and mothers) who are far better, more loving and engaged, parents in every real way than actually matters to a kid than many middle class and wealthy parents. (And Alone has written about this before in regards middle and upper class parents.) We accept things from people we think we're like that we demonize in people we've othered, it's a means to avoid and deflect things we don't want to acknowledge because it disturbs our idealized version of ourself (particularly our belief that we're in control of our destiny and everything positive that's happened to us is a result of personal effort and that if those people without bootstraps would just pull themselves up by their bootstraps then they too would be as "successful" as us...it's a bit ridiculous to keep saying that people without boots or straps should pull themselves up by their bootstraps).

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Lol, yes good times GT.... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 7:12 PM | Posted by Rox: | Reply

Lol, yes good times GT.

Another thing I'm thinking about is, I wonder of concerns about the safety of oral birth control plays into it's lack of use for some women. It's always assumed it's the woman who has to get fixed or take birth control, why not more vasectomies for men?

Just a quick read up on google shows lot's of information about oral contreceptives causing lot's of scary and undesirable side effects and long term complications. I can't verify if these studies mentioned are correct, but I wonder if that's affecting some women's desire to remain off oral contraceptives.

We can say from a public policy perspective, "All poor women should automatically be on birth control" but what if those side affects are real? Will individual women who are poor see themselves as unworthy of avoiding those side effects the same as those with money see them as unworthy of avoiding them?

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Rox - Lack of access to bir... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 8:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Rox - Lack of access to birth control for women in the US has more to do with people not using it than any scary internet stories (they're more likely to influence middle and upper middle class women with a new age, anti-science belief system). The lack of easy and safe access to birth control for women in the US is due to an institutional attempt by religious factions in the US government to deny women access to birth control and abortions. This was done by cutting funding to planned parenthood (and by domestic religious terrorists who kill doctors who perform abortions, much how the Taliban treats women and people who help them). And, of course, the US government also tied this into their foreign aid policy as well.

And, yes, men getting vasectomies would be another solution and it takes the emphasis off of women. And it's not just poor people having broods of children - all those middle class and upper middle class men (and women) who start new families each time they remarry are doing a lot more than simply replacing themselves. And it's not like they're more likely to be raising kids that contribute to society any more than poor people are (or are feeding or treating their kids better just because they have more money).

It's always interesting when people think the solution for something that bothers them is for others to change. The reality is that most governments spend far more on the military (well, funding their arms dealer friends and Blackwater or whatever name they've changed to recently so taxpayers won't notice the government is still siphoning taxpayer money to mercenaries that do more to harm American foreign relations and soldiers than aid them - and the mercenaries take home much more taxpayer funded pay than actual soldiers, who often join the military to try to get out of poverty, do).

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The Last Venture Capitalist... (Below threshold)

September 26, 2010 9:12 PM | Posted by C.M.: | Reply

The Last Venture Capitalist

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My first thoughts were "the... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2010 11:15 AM | Posted by WaitJustOneSec: | Reply

My first thoughts were "there must be hungry people towards the end of the month", but NPR didn't think that maybe walmart is the kink in the system here. Maybe those people are getting there just before midnight because walmart doesn't want product sitting on the shelf. Maybe there would always be a handfull of people who would have to wait for the next shipment of parishable goods. How do you budget for that? How do you know for sure that you're not one of those people? You get there at midnight. That's how.

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$2.4T in, $3.6T out.... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2010 12:52 PM | Posted by Iris: | Reply

$2.4T in, $3.6T out.

I've been on disability for years, but I can still afford everything I need (that includes expensive doctor visits, tests and medications, and an education once those meds had kicked in). My parents live beyond their means because they don't know what else to do. You guessed it right; their parents made up for the lack of love and attention by buying them things.

I think the biggest problem is a sense of entitlement. No, you don't deserve it and yes, challenging it will make a difference. The stories you hear about elderly people eating dog food because they have nothing else - I don't know where they buy their dog food, but where I live it costs way more than human food.

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Every Walmart needs a suici... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2010 6:51 PM | Posted by Futurama: | Reply

Every Walmart needs a suicide booth!

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I didn't need to infer anyt... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2010 10:36 PM | Posted by Sephira: | Reply

I didn't need to infer anything from those quotes. I remember it easily enough.

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Problem is, they don't want... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2010 10:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Steve: | Reply

Problem is, they don't want birth control. The more children they have, the more money they recieve.

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I don't understand the conn... (Below threshold)

September 27, 2010 11:58 PM | Posted by Hosea Anonymous: | Reply

I don't understand the connection between ADHD and not getting your needs met. We're talking basic needs, right? Food, water, shelter? How is it that Number 1 Son has ADHD and yet we are a middle class family? Sometimes it's been tough when I've been out of work, but he has never gone hungry (unless he has gotten stubborn and refused to eat what was in front of him, but that never lasted as long as two meals in a row).

In the interim -- again, while I was unemployed -- we cut out a lot of luxuries. Not alcohol (sorry, but wine is a basic food group) but eating out for sure. We weren't on AFDC (just unemployment insurance, as long as it lasted). And yet he still was diagnosed with ADHD. Connection?

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ADHD has nothing to do with... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2010 7:34 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

ADHD has nothing to do with upbringing (although people seem to enjoying asserting that it does, always sans evidence)

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This is a wild ride here!</... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2010 9:38 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

This is a wild ride here!

The most disgusting thing in all of this is the way that some commenters feel that the govt should be deciding who gets to bear children and who does not.


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Minimum wage:Has T... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2010 9:46 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Minimum wage:

Has Ted Kennedy been deceased long enough for me to criticise him?

OK.

The Tedster was known for being a leading advocate of the "livable wage" (AKA "minimum wage") for "humane" reasons.

Tedster was also a major proponent of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" when it comes to illegal immigration: allow people to come in illegally so they can make a living in an employment situation with unregulated wages.

How can you be both FOR minimum wage for "humane" reasons and be for a black market labor market for "humane" reasons?

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Minimum wage:Has T... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2010 10:21 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

Minimum wage:

Has Ted Kennedy been deceased long enough for me to criticise him?

OK.

The Tedster was known for being a leading advocate of the "livable wage" (AKA "minimum wage") for "humane" reasons.

Tedster was also a major proponent of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" when it comes to illegal immigration: allow people to come in illegally so they can make a living in an employment situation with unregulated wages.

How can you be both FOR minimum wage for "humane" reasons and be for a black market labor market for "humane" reasons?

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ADHD is not a disease. It's... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2010 11:31 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

ADHD is not a disease. It's a symptom set that can be caused by numerous different factors including allegies, lack of healthy sleep patterns, stress, trauma, genetic predispositions from family, diet, exposure to toxins, prenatal conditions etc etc..... the list goes on and on.

Your son having ADHD minus the factor of lack of adequate food, does not meet lack of adequate food might not cause some of the symptoms that match an ADHD diagnoses.


It only means that would be one of many factors that can cause the symptom set.

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Walmart will be there at th... (Below threshold)

September 28, 2010 9:55 PM | Posted by ThomasD: | Reply

Walmart will be there at the end with the roaches and the rats.

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If you have an allergic rea... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 4:47 AM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If you have an allergic reaction to food dyes that cause ADHD like symptoms, you don't have ADHD, you have an allergic reaction to food dyes. Whats the difference you may ask? When you stop taking the food dyes, the "ADHD" goes away too.

Kind of like how your "schizophrenia" goes away when you stop taking amphetamines. You never had schizophrenia in the first place, you were taking amphetamines.

Is it useful? Yes, because it informs treatment. TLP wrote about this in his schizophrenia post.

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I absolutely agree. And I t... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 9:13 AM | Posted by rox: | Reply

I absolutely agree. And I think the percentage of people who do not actually have ADHD who are being treated as if they do is likely very high since so many different things can cause the symptom set. In fact I wonder about the existance ADHD as random biological malfunction at all. While I think it can happen that the body malfunction for completely inexplicable reasons, I think it is a rarity and the "inexplicable reasons" are in fact reasons, we just haven't been able to identify them as of yet with science. There is always a cause, that is the definition of science. All things are a set of chain reactions to other events.

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... I don't follow you.... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 9:23 AM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

... I don't follow you.

You wonder if ADHD exists in human biology because we can't link the cause with the effect?

By that reasoning you also doubt that consciousness exists, but surely that's not what you're getting at.

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Ok ok, let's go back. One p... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 12:27 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

Ok ok, let's go back. One person said, "If you have a toxicity that is causing ADHD symtoms than it's not ADHD."

What if toxicity, allergic reactions, food allergies, responses to all the various food additives and chemicals in our environments etc is a major cause of the reported diognosis currently considered ADHD? And what if further, malnutrition, poor diet, processed foods that lack nutrients, and the Standard American Diet as a whole accounts for another large portion of ADHD diagnosis? And what if watching too much TV and being exposed to electronics is another cause? And what if high levels of stress cause the brain to function differently and lack of focus results? What if lack of healthy sleep patterns causes the brain to loose focus during the day?

By saying, "If it's toxicity it's not ADHD" you're saying if we find the cause and the condition of "ADHD" is improved by removing the source of the problem, than it isn't ADHD.


And I'm saying that I believe in 99 percent of cases there is a source of the problem and if science were good enough, we could find the source of the problem, make appropriate changes and the condition would improve. Meaning that if toxicity that mirrors ADHD symptoms is not ADHD, I think we could find similar biological and emotional sources which we could change making most diagnosis of ADHD not ADHD either.

If I had more time I would explain that more clearly, but I can do so later if that doesn't make sense to you.

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You've given me a lot of wh... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 2:50 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You've given me a lot of what if's but lets run with it anyway, addressing each point one at a time.

Allergic reactions to food additives can cause ADHD like symptoms, and does so in what seems like 1 in 20 ADHD cases, that to me is significant but hardly major. It's not ADHD because after the allergen is removed, so does the ADHD.

Malnutrition doesn't cause ADHD either, although it causes a whole host of other problems. ADHD is represented equally throughout the economic classes, a further blow to this idea.

Does the Standard American Diet cause it? Well presumably not for us here in Australia, and certainly not for the kids with ADHD in say, Japan, Korea or Malaysia, where rates are similar.

Watching too much TV and electronics seems to be a bit of a red herring too because as much as people love to blame the media for serial killers, violence, communism, the decline of morals and education, this just isn't founded. Society isn't more violent, now they're just more acutely aware of the emotional pornography we call "news". Besides ADHD was first documented in the 1700s or so? Presumably they blamed those fandangled abacus.

Stress and lack of sleep are absolutely problems, but then whats the causal role here? Are lack of sleep and stress causing ADHD? Or is it ADHD and the burden of living with a disorder that people are convinced is an excuse causing the stress and the sleeplessness?

So in my case for example, harmed by years and years of ADHD denialism by doctors who a priori were convinced there was no possibility that I could possibly have ADHD because they had a certificate and I didn't. Logic, reason and evidence were rent asunder by these confident autocrats at little cost to them and huge irreparable cost to myself.

One thing we agree on though, is that if its not ADHD, we shouldn't call it that. That's why I exhausted every other possibility fanatically. Just like most smart people with ADHD do. So its good that you -believe- that 99% of the time it's an emotional or biological cause, but it doesn't square with reality at all.

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In order to go further with... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 3:08 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

In order to go further with this, we had to discuss what you believe ADHD is and what it IS caused by. If you want to say "It's a mystery" that's fine, however it's only a mystery in that our science is lacking. There is no such thing a lack of explenation so far as science goes, there is simply an inability of us as humans to use science to explain some things.

All things are set in motion by other events, it's nature of reality. There is a cause, the question is, what is the cause, and if there are a host of different causes, what are the causes?

Another thing to consider is that even if the cause of ADHD like symptoms were toxic exposure, that doesn't necessarily mean that removing the toxic exposure will immediately fix the ADHD symptoms. When people are exposed to drugs like meth that cause brain damage, quitting the drug doesn't mean the brain suddenly returns to normal functioning, or that it will ever return to it's previous capacity for functioning.

Not to mention humans are being exposed to pharaceuticals in utero on a much more frequent basis. How will these exposures affect peak performance in brain functioning later in life? If there were poor conditions in utero, like high maternal stress, lack of key vitamins and nutrients, exposure to toxins etc... then simply "removing exposure" or "improving diet" will likely not magically make the brains functioning improve.

So if you're implying that because you tried many methods to relieve your ADHD symptoms and did find improvement that negates the possibility that your ADHD may have had an organic cause, I wouldn't find that to make sense.

We certainly need more research in order to truly understand where the causes lie. Until that research is done I will continue to suspect that there are causes of these mental states occuring and they do not magically appear out of thin air.

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Who is saying ADHD magicall... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 3:19 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Who is saying ADHD magically appears out of thin air? Heritability studies show that ADHD overwhelmingly genetic. So far as the evidence goes, that's what we've come up with.

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So if you're implying that ... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 3:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So if you're implying that because you tried many methods to relieve your ADHD symptoms and did find improvement that negates the possibility that your ADHD may have had an organic cause, I wouldn't find that to make sense.

If I did find improvement (and it wasn't something you'd expect to benefit anyone, regardless of ADHD like exercise), that would be evidence to suggest that it is not ADHD. Other conditions I ruled out were hyperthyroidism, food allergies, anxiety, depression, diet, haemochromatosis, even schizophrenia.

So tell me, what emotional root causes my ADHD symptoms?

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My point was that if scienc... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 5:38 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

My point was that if science doesn't have an answer it doesn't mean there ISN'T an answer. It just means we haven't found it yet. There is always an answer.

I don't know where you would think I implied I had any knowledge of what exactly caused your ADHD

Here's another question: If ADHD only stems from heredity, how does the first parent get it? What triggers that DNA to become active or not active? Is it possible that if parents had DNA activated by environment that would pass those gene tags on to their offspring and grandchildren, as is theorized by some epigentic researchers? Which would mean that possibly, what we see in gene trends is still the result of environment affecting biology.


I have no stake in defining your ADHD for you, so worry not. I recognize the lack of research and I certainly can't tell you what caused your ADHD. The research that I've done has lead me to believe that there are many causes of ADHD symptoms, and I never said genetics wasn't one of them. I've read some interesting studies that have found that rats exposed to toxins pass on epigentic changes to grand"children".

Meaning that, to me, the fact that genes are related to ADHD doesn't rule out that environmental factors may have caused the problem in the genetic relative who first presented symptoms.

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About the first line, it se... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 6:49 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

About the first line, it seems we completely agree.

How does the first parent inherit any trait? What triggers DNA to become active? Methylation markers I'm lead to believe, unfortunately my experience is not in biology so I can't give a more in depth answer. Yes it is possible that some phenotype information can be inherited (as seen with studies of birth weight in Poland post world war famine). Yes, environmental influences are omnipresent in any biological system as humans do not operate in a space-time vacuum.

No, you're right, it doesn't rule out environmental factors, but what good are knowing the environmental factors if we're past the window of intervention? Sorry if I sound snappy by the way,I seemed to have mischaracterised your position somewhat.

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I agree with this except th... (Below threshold)

September 29, 2010 7:30 PM | Posted by Sammy: | Reply

I agree with this except the part about poor kids being medicated. I worked at a kids summer camp for a few years and found the opposite to be true.

All the rich kids we had in the beginning of the summer were loaded with ADHD meds and growth hormones and all this other shit, but at the end of the summer when we'd have the poor kids who attended the camp with special scholarships, half the nurses would have already left because they didn't need as many staff to hand out meds and inject kids with hormones.

Poor kids don't get behavioral disorders, they get spanked or yelled at.

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"How long do you think empl... (Below threshold)

September 30, 2010 12:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Andrew's comment, by Grenada: | Reply

"How long do you think employees would work in a business that paid them nothing?"

In response to Nigel Fistybuns and Andrew's thread:

about 400 years. It was called slavery in America.

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I wouldn't hold your breath... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2010 12:27 AM | Posted, in reply to Morgan Warstler's comment, by Zo: | Reply

I wouldn't hold your breath, Warstler. Condescending little ....

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According to wikipedia, 38 ... (Below threshold)

October 1, 2010 7:39 AM | Posted by acute_mania: | Reply

According to wikipedia, 38 states give each of their SNAP recipients a randomly selected "payday" to avoid this problem.

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Someone said: "The most dis... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2010 5:03 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Someone said: "The most disgusting thing in all of this is the way that some commenters feel that the govt should be deciding who gets to bear children and who does not."

It isn't that the gov't should prohibit poor people from having multiple children. It's that the rest of us shouldn't have to pay for it. The poor who receive benefits are dependents; the rest of the population (whose money goes to pay their benefits, whether they want it to or not) is doing them a favor for compassionate reasons (or pragmatic ones).

It's decent and right to help the disadvantaged. But it's also decent not to punch a gift horse in the mouth - if other members of society are helping you, don't make their task harder and more expensive when it's within your power to help it. Being on welfare is supposed to be a temporary state, not a permanent economic niche. (For people who are physically and mentally capable of work, that is - I think those that are disabled in the long-term should be given more benefits, assistance and slack as they have no other options.)

I think it's great that even very poor people want to have children and share life with others. I just don't think it's right to view the rest of the public as a giant economic resource they can pluck from whenever they want to to support their chosen lifestyle. Everybody needs help sometimes, and there is nothing wrong with that. But permanent welfare for the able-bodied should not be seen as normal, but shameful.

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