April 5, 2013

The Terrible, Awful Truth About SSDI

franceriots.jpg
"wait-- didn't you do this post before?



The email:


The Simple Boring Reason Why Disability Insurance Exploded


Ahem... just spot on stuff here...


Sounds like a challenge.

I don't blame him.  The idea that psychiatry and government are working together through the welfare system to patch holes in feudal America is hard to swallow, and when no less than The Washington Post explains it so concretely in a few PowerPoint ready graphs... it's seductive, I sympathize.

The Post article clearly explains that the explosion in the number of people receiving disability benefits is not really the fault of the economy; and, they will grudgingly admit, not the fault of "doctors [and applicants] conspiring to game the system somehow--" the default narrative of anti-corporate, pro-common sense This American Life, whose typical maneuver for depicting a complicated social process is to find an N of 1 living somewhere in Appalachia and imply that this nice but toothless baptist woman doesn't know what's good for her.  "This week on This American Life, snark by Reductio Ad Absurdum, in four acts."

No, says the Post, the answer is more boring: people are getting older, and older people get more disabled.

Pure common sense, no need for an appeal to "some other omnipotent entity." Freakonomics would be proud .  But I can do this drunk, ready, go.

I.

You have to start from first principles: what does the author want to be true? The Washington Post has a two part mission statement: 1. get you a higher SAT score or your money back; 2. make sure nothing is Obama's fault.  I'm not saying anything is Obama's fault, I'm saying that in 2008 they switched from "It's Bush's Fault" offense to "It's Not Obama's Fault" defense in hopes of keeping their last ten readers. Note that the Post's site is called "WonkBlog,'  please also consider that anything branded with the word "wonk" is misdirection. 

The Post is making a bet that you won't know the difference between SSDI and SSI, and you wouldn't, no one does, it's deliberately obfuscated and frequently conflated.  They are totally different in terms of origin, budget and consequence, but both rely on "disability."  The only person who does know the difference is a guy actually on SSDI, so that when you ask him, "how long have you been on SSI?" he will freeze, pull out a knife, place it calmly on the table, and say, "listen lung transplant, I'm not on SSI, I'm on SSDI.  I worked."

SSDI is "Social Security Disability Insurance."  It is what it says it is: you worked in the past, paid payroll taxes, "paid into the system," and if you become disabled-- not necessarily on the job, which is the requirement for collecting disability from the job, but for any reason-- you can collect SSDI payments.

The Post is explaining the trend in SSDI as the result of the aging population-- not gaming the system, not the economy.

The obvious retort to all this is, fine, so what? SSDI is meaningless, well, meaningful to you if you need it, but to the economy and to the progress of humanity it's a wash.  You're telling me a guy pulled a 9 to 5 for a decade... and now "claims" he "can't"?  It's not my ideal life plan, but if he decided at 45 to quit being a welder so he could downgrade by two thirds to the $15k a year baller lifestyle, well, I prefer my grog made of Zaya rum but I'm not going to begrduge this guy the well liquor if that's the ship he wants to sail.

What will sink the Earth into oblivion isn't people who can no longer work, it is people who have never worked and will never have worked, who on the one hand will never pay into the system, on the other hand will never produce any output, and, thank you Zaphod, on the other hand will draw from it in a number of ways that perpetuate this draw.   This is SSI, which stands not for "social security income" which would helpfully explain where it comes from, but "Supplemental Security Income," which makes no sense, two of those words are lies.

Some numbers are often useful to scare off the uninterested, so boo:

Number of SSI recipients: 8M
Average payment: $550/mo
Total annual cost: $58B

Number of SSDI recipients (ex-workers): 8M
Average payment: $1100/mo
Total annual cost: $120B.  If you include family benefits, the total SSDI cost is $143B.


"Hey, dummy, I thought you said the problem was SSI.  58 is more tinyer than 143."  Yes.  My training in physics allows me to observe this as well, but the problem isn't the money, the problem is the calendar.

Since we like to defer our debts,here's the future of America question: who is more likely to eventually go to work: the children of SSDI recipients, or the children of SSI recipients?  The answer depends on whether there are class lines or multigenerational entrenchments of poverty in America, and there are, which means that while the kids of SSDI stand a chance, the kids of SSI are sunk.  Fortunately, a lot of them are black, so there's that.

The welder who "gamed the system" at 45 at least caused his kid to observe him as a worker for the formative first 8 years of the kid's life.  It counts for something, it is not nothing.  Possibilities exist.  That guy may be a jerk, but he is not the problem.

SSI is 100% a gimmick, but the gimmick is 100% hidden from you.  The gimmick isn't that poor people game the disability system to get cash payments, the gimmick is that the only way to deliver cash payments to poor people is through the pretense of disability, hence mental illness and pain disorders. Whether they are "disabled" or not is totally and completely irrelevant, poor people are going to get the money one way or another so that they don't riot, but in order to prevent everyone else from rioting, deniability is created: "look, doctors-- SCIENCE-- said they are medically disabled, it's out of our hands!" So your anger is safely diverted: "they're gaming the system!"  No.  That is the system.  If they were gaming it, someone would get caught.  No one gets caught.

"We need to create jobs."  There aren't any to create.  Robots and chinamen, that's the future of unskilled labor. Sorry, I meant chinawomen.  College won't help either, you went to Barnard and you can't find a job, what hope is there for the majority on SSI?  Zero, not the way we're doing it.  TV tells them how to want, no one else is around to tell them otherwise.  Here's the advice you need to give your kid: either you find a knowledge based productive skill, from plumber to quantum programmer, or you will be living off the state, regardless of what company you think you're working for.

II.

I know, the idea of people getting paid for nothing gives me the heebie jeebies as well, I'd want to shrug, too.  But the point here is not whether poor people deserve living wages, the point, again, is that since this is precisely what they are getting, already and irrevocably, can we do it more efficiently, cheaply? Why do we have to go through all this bureaucracy that massively inflates the costs-- for example, Medicaid (the poor have to first become "patients" and get meds to get disabled, after all)?  Why not more efficiently deliver the "assistance"?  Cut out the middlemen-- send them directly to an ATM?  I see how that might lead to an "entitlement culture", but isn't "disability culture" actually worse AND more expensive?

But no one would stand for it.  You, we, I, everyone, will gladly pay more in taxes or plunge deeper into galactic sized debt to not see the reality that some will get money just because,  so that we can lie to ourselves that the "disability system" isn't supposed to be used this way, they are gaming it.  The problem is not economics, the problem is psychology.  You're paying extra for the deniability.  Is it worth it?









Comments

I was hoping you'd comment ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 12:02 PM | Posted by Max: | Reply

I was hoping you'd comment on the This American Life story. What's interesting to me is this "100% gimmick" is being attacked, because all of these programs FDR and LBJ created to keep people from rioting are being taken apart, bit by bit. It's like the corporatists that run the show actually believe the Ayn Rand crap they read in college.

Can we set up a hedge fund to buy plywood and shotgun futures, and short McDonalds and malt liquor?

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I think we've run out of wo... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 12:15 PM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

I think we've run out of work. So much of what so many of us do is pointless. The effort required to produce everything our society demands (including TVs and cell phones for all) is far less than the productive capacity of the total available workforce. Our economic system doesn't have an explicit mechanism for adjusting to this. Things like SSI evolve into this role.

Suppose everyone who might be considered a freeloader on SSI woke up tomorrow with the work ethic of a veteran coal miner. What would they end up doing?

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Brazil started a program to... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 12:25 PM | Posted by Ovidio Maribondo: | Reply

Brazil started a program to give money directly to the poor, more than ten years ago.

Reading your post has made me realize how we, brazilians, had to find other things to deny. I'm wondering how much are we paying for this new target!

The program has become popular in 2003, when it changed it's name and made into the american wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fome_Zero

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Booyah, right-wing bogeyman... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 12:52 PM | Posted by Saul: | Reply

Booyah, right-wing bogeyman Milton Friedman called this a negative income tax. People who read Dissent call it a guaranteed minimum income. And stone cold microeconomics, with none of that Amartya Sen crap, suggests this may be a good idea: the more consumer preferences are quasilinear-like, the more we escape the nondeterminacy of general equilibrium, and maybe the whole concept of economic welfare starts making a little bit of sense.

You may ask if this is sustainable, if enough people won't be content with GMI that there isn't enough to pay for the system. Actually you will not, "money" is just something that has "moneyness", and moneyness comes from a symbolic contract. There's certainly a threshold, a Reynolds number where the availability of money outsizes the availability of goods and turbulence ensues, but the demand for goods itself is the result of symbolic contracts. TV teaches you to want it, as you will say.

Which brings me to my actual point -- the "Croatoan" post of recent. This reminds me of an old racial slander that south american indians were content to plant bananas so they would have a banana a day and not work anymore. Is this the fear? A kind of orderly, gradual civilizational deflation, with all the kids singing on YouTube on how they won't pay their tuition loans and instead "going Croatoan"? Is this how intergenerational economic disagreements are going to play out as a clash of narcissisms?

Also, where is the Pirate Doctor and when is he coming back?

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The idea of people getting ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 1:19 PM | Posted by M: | Reply

The idea of people getting paid for nothing actually doesn't give me any heebie-jeebies, maybe because I'm Gen Y. Robots will eventually replace the chinamen too, bring on the post-scarcity and let's see what we turn into!

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I think "Croatoan" was refe... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 1:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Saul's comment, by Simone Simonini: | Reply

I think "Croatoan" was referencing the Harlan Ellison story, but you might be right that it's about Roanoke.

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Your attack on the Washingt... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 1:46 PM | Posted by driveninsane: | Reply

Your attack on the Washington Post for having a pro-Obama agenda might sound less idiotic if Ezra Klein hadn't written a much more prominent post in drooling PRAISE of the dumb Planet Money episode:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/28/i-thought-i-knew-what-being-disabled-meant-and-i-dont/

The Post -- the real, prominent bloggers at the Post -- agree with you, Psycho.

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This blog post seems to ign... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 1:48 PM | Posted by Somebody: | Reply

This blog post seems to ignore the reason that money was created in the first place. If you just give people money for nothing, it will become worthless. The purpose of "all this bureaucracy that massively inflates the costs" is to maintain the illusion that what they are being given has some value.

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What makes you think Klein,... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 1:50 PM | Posted, in reply to driveninsane's comment, by Max: | Reply

What makes you think Klein, TAL, Planet Money, and Obama don't all agree? Have you seen Obama's latest Social Security proposals?

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Well, even Richard Nixon tr... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 3:53 PM | Posted, in reply to Saul's comment, by Jerkbag: | Reply

Well, even Richard Nixon tried to sneak a basic income law by congress, and he hated everyone.

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thanks Alone for shutting t... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 4:35 PM | Posted by gratified: | Reply

thanks Alone for shutting the fuck up about women for 5 minutes to write a half decent article about something important.

keep going down this path and i might not be ashamed to share your shit anymore.

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The I-Ching says: Kleptocra... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 4:36 PM | Posted by The Tao: | Reply

The I-Ching says: Kleptocracy above. Lootarchy below.

The reason the parasites must be funneled through the medical cartel, is the same reason why EBT is funneled through JPMorgan.

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Better hope for a Communist... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 4:48 PM | Posted by Lo Gol: | Reply

Better hope for a Communist revolution, Dr. Thelastpsychiatrist. Fascists have no use for your decadent Jew-science when there are other, more final solutions to the lumpenprole question, but us Commies will need your help making up our human faces when we lock up shitty artists.

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I'm going back and reading ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 5:04 PM | Posted by flavia: | Reply

I'm going back and reading everything you wrote because you're sharp as fuck.

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There are lots of problems ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 5:09 PM | Posted, in reply to M's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

There are lots of problems with a post-scarcity society that you don't understand. First off, there are only so many non-workers (freeloaders or not) that workers will support whether they're labeled disabled or not. There's already a fair amount of talk about Going Galt and we haven't yet begun to replace workers with robots yet. Wait until you order your food from a robot instead of a hipster, or until you can shop at 6 different stores and never meet a cashier. There's no work for lots of people because they've been replaced with machines, and now we're replacing the upper level. Basicly, unless you're working toward being one of the people designing or programming the robots, your labor will be obsolete within 30 years. How long will a stable economy last when an increasingly small laboring class is asked to support vast hordes of people who are essentially too stupid to be able to do the engineering or computer work that represents all of the remaining work? And if the workers withdraw their support, how long before the displaced start rioting?

The system is trying to cope with a labor glut, but it's not really going to work like Star Trek. If we had the Star Trek Replicator, we'd also have lots of unemployable people who were replaced by said replicators. We're on borrowed time -- once the system reaches critical mass, there's going to be a major greece style riot.

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"[W]ho is more likely to ev... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 5:57 PM | Posted by RadishMag: | Reply

"[W]ho is more likely to eventually go to work: the children of SSDI recipients, or the children of SSI recipients? The answer depends on whether there are class lines or multigenerational entrenchments of poverty in America, and there are..."

And what if these multigenerational entrenchments of poverty are due, in part, to the existence of a genetic component to behavioral traits in our species (like every other animal species)? In that case, it seems to me the problem becomes rather more difficult to legislate away.

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It is very telling that you... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 5:59 PM | Posted, in reply to gratified's comment, by Cretin: | Reply

It is very telling that you enjoy and agree with Alone's posts, except when they hurt your ego.

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If we had Star Trek replica... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 6:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Lo Gol: | Reply

If we had Star Trek replicators, we'd also have Star Trek transporters since they operate on the same principles, so we'd be able atomize now-surplus labor, or better yet, reassemble their atoms into food for laboring laborers.

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Who benefits from the denia... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 6:37 PM | Posted by Max: | Reply

Who benefits from the deniability?

Ok, so I get how it's a system. There are lots of people, there isn't work for them to do, so we mask a handouts-to-the-poor-to-not-riot as a medical out of our hands issue.

The people who I imagine get the angriest at the idea of a minimum income for the poor are listeners of Limbaugh, Tea Party candidates, etc. So is SSDI created to appease them? Or was it created to appease... everyone? Because I'm not personally against the idea. But I don't know how common a position that is.

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The United States is not ru... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 6:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Jim's comment, by AnyEconMajors?: | Reply

The United States is not running out of work and never has been except in the sense that it always has been. It's not that there's no work, it's that there's no work for people with an IQ 1 standard deviations below normal who went to school where success was not getting stabbed, shot, or pregnant by sixteen. They're either going to prison, dead, on government support, or at a minimum wage job.

Hard to blame them either, I barely survived my three months in a real inner city school. They're fodder for the system. Same as for the 'middle class' kids in the suburban district five (key) miles away but it's the difference between 1984 and Brave New World comparing the two. For the product of the former, it's not that there's no jobs, it's just that picking fruit, gardening, or whatever your local Mexican immigrants with dubious paperwork isn't "living the American Dream" to actual Americans.

Basic income is inevitable. Once the right realizes it is the perfect opportunity to buy votes and they can still genuflect at the alter of Friedman afterwards. The opposition is on the left because they will not be able to pretend it is about caring. Instead it is just changing a number on a spreadsheet.

Bravo, Alone. Now enjoy Times and Newsweek picking up the disability issue.

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You know, something weirds ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 9:02 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

You know, something weirds me out. Couldn't we just make jobs that subsist of unemployed people doing services for the needy?

I mean there is work that needs to be done to serve people with nothing-- the production of food and necessity items.

There IS work, people jsut need raw materials in order to do the work and they need to be allowed to work even if they aren't "as good" as other people at various measures of work performance. But if they're just serving people who will otherwise starve why declare them not good enough to work? Why not let them work with their flaws and low IQ and produce goods and services for themselves? They need farm land tools and some training and maybe some simple factory equipment to produce household items or carpentry or learn to do household repair..

I get that this results in no income or benefit to the system-- in fact if the system is permitting their use of the land the system "loses" but I mean... give communities some land and some books about building from raw materials and let them produce their own stuff.

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What's more if you let comm... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 9:03 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

What's more if you let communities build their own means of production they could wind up selling products outside the community and bringing some wealth into the community.

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I'll put this another way- ... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 9:06 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I'll put this another way- we put all this effort into helping poor countries create economies based on production they can export (when we help other countries the right way) and yet when we help poor communities or individuals with work limitations we aren't willing to think creatively about how to help them create production that is within their own actual abilities rather than assuming the goal is to force them to fit standardized levels of performance.

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your crazy, anon. american... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 11:13 PM | Posted by thestage: | Reply

your crazy, anon. americans are trained cradle to grave to regard the means of production as the sacred rights (and rites) of some magical fairy gods who wear suits made of dead children. we're not a production economy. we're a consumer economy. if by some miracle you could give poor people the means to sustain themselves and have them actually take, then they wouldn't be Buying Shit. that's about as dangerous a prospect as imaginable to the American mythos.

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I don't know about you, but... (Below threshold)

April 5, 2013 11:28 PM | Posted, in reply to thestage's comment, by Grammar nazi: | Reply

I don't know about you, but when a post starts with a grammatical error, I immediately think the author is a fucktard and don't finish their post. And maybe "thestage" should pick a better descriptive name, how about "thedumbass."

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You should know, that in Fr... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 12:46 AM | Posted by ooli: | Reply

You should know, that in France (and also in germany) SSI is clearly labeled as a minimum subsistence wage for those with no work.
People still claim receivers are "gaming the system": They could easily find work, but they're so lazy, etc...
Pointing the poor about "gaming the system" while you put your revenue in offshore paradise (so smart), is kind of a way of life everywhere. No need to manipulate people into that sort of argument, they'll resort to it no matter what.

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I will have you know, Mr. N... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 1:35 AM | Posted, in reply to Grammar nazi's comment, by thedumbass: | Reply

I will have you know, Mr. Nazi, that I noticed my error immediately after posting, and then sighed in vain as I realized there is no edit feature for comments.

Your comma after "name" is grammatically incorrect.

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The problem isn't that ther... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 5:34 AM | Posted by doug: | Reply

The problem isn't that there are no jobs. The problem is the ideology of "work" which justifies the owners of the means of production keeping the wealth generated by technology in their hands.

The POINT of technology in popular thought 50 years ago was that eventually, with the help of robots, etc. we would not HAVE to work anymore! Robots and computers would do our jobs for us. Well that happened kind of. The problem is, we the former workers don't own the robots and machines. 1% of the population owns them, so they keep all the wealth that those machines and technology creates. Even though they didn't necessary create the robots or the technology. The wealth is THERE. The technology EXISTS for all of us to be living the dream. But its concentrated in a few idle hands.

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You know what plays chess b... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 6:39 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You know what plays chess better than the world's best chess computer?
A human looking at the predictions of a chess computer.

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Hey, "IQ" idiots, "hurt you... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 8:14 AM | Posted by Go away: | Reply

Hey, "IQ" idiots, "hurt your ego" guy and the rest of you who think this blog is here to tell you what everyone else is doing wrong like the rest of the dumbshit pathetic ego salves you read online: shut the fuck up and go away.

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fucktard is the word only a... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 9:24 AM | Posted, in reply to Grammar nazi's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

fucktard is the word only a complete unlikeable moron and self-declared grammar nazi would use. Seriously, fucktard? I would bet serious money on you being smelly, fat and wearing ill fitting clothes. It's the kind of word the kid we bullied back in school would use

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Who told you that robots do... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 9:29 AM | Posted, in reply to doug's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Who told you that robots doing all the work would be good for workers?

Uh Hhuh. The people rich enough to be able to replace you with a robot. Weird isn't it?

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A basic living wage / guara... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 10:59 AM | Posted by Shibes Meadow: | Reply

A basic living wage / guaranteed minimum income is not a socialist idea. It is a libertarian idea. I support it, and I'm so far Right I make Franco look like Noam Chomsky by comparison.

The ultimate solution is wormhole technology. Once you have traversable wormholes, you just march the Useless Eaters at gunpoint through the old star gate and onto the pristine surface of E. Edidani IV, that verdant, well-watered twin of Earth.

Then close the Gate. Problem solved!

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Get the fuck off my Interne... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 11:17 AM | Posted, in reply to gratified's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Get the fuck off my Internet.

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Jesus, have the comments al... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 1:38 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Jesus, have the comments always been this hostile? This is Youtube-type de-evolution.

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the comments have really go... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 1:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

the comments have really gone to hell over the past few months or so... I hardly even bother reading them anymore, they're 80%+ spam.

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I'm not sure I understood t... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 2:35 PM | Posted by Anon x: | Reply

I'm not sure I understood this. Bypassing a bureaucracy by giving people money directly SOUNDS good - better than patronising disabled or sick people by making them jump through pointless bureaucratic hoops. But you will still have the problem of a medical system that the government (either party) colludes with in order to keep the nice profits in the hands of the Pharma companies and the already-rich (Vanderbilt Center, anyone? The clue's in the name). What I'm saying is that all of these solutions are too small. The whole system is crazy, and that's what needs to change.

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Fundamentally individual pe... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 3:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Will: | Reply

Fundamentally individual people are no longer valuable to the meta-organism as a whole.

The solution is decreasing birth rates. You heard it here first.

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How about a USA JOBCORE or ... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 4:14 PM | Posted by idiot1: | Reply

How about a USA JOBCORE or some shit. Make a bunch of minimum wage jobs where your duty is to pick up trash, repair potholes, tidy up a park, plant some veggies, serve as a guide to tourists in major cities. Who cares if they even get anything done. They can fuck around all day, as long as they put on the JOBCORE t-shirt and show up somewhere. More dignified than sitting at home smoking dirt weed.

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I thought Croatoan was a bi... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 5:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Simone Simonini's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I thought Croatoan was a biology joke

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even though you were too la... (Below threshold)

April 6, 2013 6:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by any mouse: | Reply

even though you were too lazy to pick a name, i'll respond anyway... now granted grammar nazi is just a troll looking to hijack the thread, fucktard is an awesome word. its very descriptive, with an edge. i really like it. I also doubt he's a fat guy with ill fitting clothing. I would guess a pre-pubescent that borrowed a computer from either a parent or older sibling.

and perhaps the comments are on the hostile end of the scale because the blog owner's posting frequency has declined? who knows?

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every time I read the comme... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2013 12:28 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

every time I read the comments I keep thinking: why these people feel the need to comment here? why do they read this blog? why do I?

the blog is my lie, all the more so because it's true.

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El Dorado 12 > Zaya 12... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2013 1:36 PM | Posted by Sam: | Reply

El Dorado 12 > Zaya 12

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Alone made the mistake of w... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2013 5:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Jerkbag: | Reply

Alone made the mistake of writing about modern feminism, especially in a critical capacity. I thought the posts had valuable insights, but wow does that topic bring out the most pathological elements of the peanut gallery.

For ex, feminism is all the rage on the Atlantic, Time, etc. It's the hydrogen bomb of clickbait. Atlantic has an article from 2011 with an ongoing commenter flamewar. From a revenue standpoint, you can't argue with that kind of draw.

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It's Nancy Kress's "Beggars... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2013 7:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by DensityDuck: | Reply

It's Nancy Kress's "Beggars Ride". There's a small group of elites who run everything, a small group of techies who keep everything running, and a huge population of "livers" who have no skills and no education and no way of getting either, but by God they expect their meals and NASCAR.

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TV teaches us how to want. ... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2013 7:09 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

TV teaches us how to want. And, frankly, the things that TV is teaching us how to want are cheaper now then they've ever been, and they're only getting cheaper from here. It used to be that a computer was a massively expensive specialist device that you'd expect to have for a good part of a decade. The smartphone I bought is better than any computer ever made, and it's now so cheap and outdated that I can't even give it away for free. People bitch about how poor people have nice cars, but that's because the base model car today beats the top-end luxury model of the 1980s in features, performance, handling, looks, all of it.

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Your smartphone is better t... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2013 10:41 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Your smartphone is better than any computer ever made?

I can say with no hesitation that you are pretty stupid.

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[Irrelevant Platitude]... (Below threshold)

April 7, 2013 11:59 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

[Irrelevant Platitude]

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Because they simply won't d... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 11:42 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by pops: | Reply

Because they simply won't do that work. A few years back when one of the southern states took a hard line on illegal immigrants and said immigrants decided to leave that state, that southern state made the decision to use prisoners to due the labor once done by immigrants. Here's what happened...the prisoners refused to do the work because it was too hard. However, the state reexamined the program and now it works better with fewer prisoners who actually want to do the work.

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The issue of the picture ... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 12:24 PM | Posted by Harry Horton: | Reply

The issue of the picture and riots brekaing out if Social security starts going down the drink in the decade ahead. People at risk for starving and the like being conditions that emerge possibly with such a deterioration of SSI that could result in riots in the streets, as the case with England some time back recently.
Reminds me of recent fascinating series on the History Channel. The History channel has teamed up with Metro Goldwyn Mayer to creates a historical series on the Vikings. Back in the 9th century environmental warming onset in Norway takes place as also was the case in subsequent centuries following the 800s, and famine and starvation set in on the population. The more criminal and violent of the population started raiding and stealing for food from the rest of the Norweigan population. They got the bright idea somewhere along the line, to build longships and assembled the Vikings, (who were the criminally dissolute) for raids in neighbouring territories such as England and Normandy and other areas of France. THe show is interesting because its nothing but ongoing violence and sadism, of Kings and warriors knocking each other off, burning villages of each of their warlords domains at times, betrothals of King's daughters to Viking warriors (Rollo was such a warrior). Interestingly, a Christian slave from England is brought by one of the VIking parties to Norway. And during the series he represents the civilizing of the violent Viking natures that erupted with such volatility when the famines struck Norway durinng the global warming that was taking place in these near Artic areas. Its an interesting series on the presence of GLobal warming, resulting in not enough food to supply to the Population. And the most violent and cruel natures of certain segments of the population fomenting to the surface in the Scandanavian culture. And then returning civilization influences to the Norweigan people with the inroads that Christianity made during these volatile times. The Vikings also mixed in with the French population in Normandy that became a VIking stronghold or military province on the European continent. And the Vikings took the most beautifual women in Scotalnd and Ireland to Iceland and created the Icelandic culture amongst other interesting historical happenings.The Icelanddic beauty is still known today.There are numerous episodes from Metro GOldwyn Mayer and the History channel on this subject. I watched it in pieces Saturday night April 6, 2013. During the final four.

The English made note of how totally disregardful of life the VIkings were when they landed in England and started to raid the monasteris. The churches in France opened their hymns in their church services, God save us from the Norseman.

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The followup on the Prev... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 1:14 PM | Posted by Harry Horton: | Reply

The followup on the Previous Harry Horton post on the VIkings April 8, 2013. The internet site: "Vikings-Episodes, Video, and Schedule- Histroy.com www.history.com/shows/vikings" is a good internet site that relates all the specific and information on this historically interesting series. Within the site the following 45 minute video clip is especially intersting: "Vikings Ep6: Burial of the dead (45 min)" Within the clip the issue of Ragnar being criminal, food and plunder are an ongoing continous subject area amongst the Norweigan tribes. Then a seer that can realte mystic knowledge to the VIking chieftan, the religion of the VIkings with Odin, THor, vahalla and the spectacular Scandanavian landscape in its breathtaking beauty all find their way into this series content. Most interesting global like warming in the Scandnavian regions and the collpase of the crops and argiculture set into motion a whole array of cultuural and political changes sweeping northern Europe from the creation of Iceland, the instatement of the Danelaw in England, The Viking military provinces of Normandy and even the creation of Russia at this time by VIking intrusions into the eastern Slavic territories. Subjects that pop up into this series. A good series not to miss.

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Brilliant! What you're talk... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 1:30 PM | Posted by Jon Cloke: | Reply

Brilliant! What you're talking about is the Guaranteed Minimum Income, or Universal Income, currently being trialled by (inter alia) those notoriously workshy gnomes in Switzerland.

The idea that everyone of a certain age (18, let's say) and who can prove their nationality receives a basic minimum income as of right and without means testing, along the lines of the UK Child Benefit. What that does, is release the perp (sorry, citizen) from the meaningless drudgery of having to sign on, prove they're looking for work, prove they haven't worked, and then allows them to go out and do fairly menial jobs if they have to in a lot happier frame of mind, knowing that they have a basic income to fall back on, they're not going to be imprisoned for fraud and they can try and do their own money-earning thing on top.

It does, however, have its' drawbacks - it wouldn't allow politicians to paint 'benefits' as a moral money-game any longer because they'd all be getting it too, thereby depriving them of their favourite scapegoat when they'd fucked up the economy again and were looking for someone to blame. It would also release the entrepreneurial spirit of everyone if they were free to choose a menial job if they wanted one because of the convenience it might allow them or be a web-designer if they wanted to do that - and in a capitalist society, if you're not having to root through the dustbins for your food then you're not even the 'deserving poor', so what's the point of you?

It might also force politicians to have to choose between meaningless, atrocity-ridden poor-man's-imperialist adventures in, say Afghanistan, and actually doing good for your population - so we can't have that, now can we? In other words, the biggest political drawback for the GMI is - it is common sense that doesn't allow for political posturing. What will they think of next?

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Congratulations, you're a D... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 1:57 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Congratulations, you're a Distributist. Yes, yes, and yes.

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Nice psychoweave. Thanks. Y... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 5:35 PM | Posted by auntiegrav: | Reply

Nice psychoweave. Thanks. You might want to pursue the usefulness aspects of love; particularly if you keep. Evolution vs. Civilization quantified in relation to available resources. In other words, asking what good are we to ourselves through our contributions to the environment we are depending on?

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"poor people are going to g... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 7:26 PM | Posted by Scrounger: | Reply

"poor people are going to get the money one way or another so that they don't riot"

So you think your 45 yr old welder on SSDI is going to riot? The riot demographic drops off pretty fast at 30.

It is also interesting that you do not think knowledge is passed from generation to generation. The welder worked but then discovered SSDI at say 40 and by 45 was hooked. His children will discover it in their 30s, their 20s if they qualify for VA benefits. I would also hazard to guess that people who game the system will have more not fewer children, so eventually White people will end up in the same position as Blacks are now.

Kids are very observant, they will notice their parents crummy work life and how the SSDI and PSTD cases in their community seem to have all the fun, and all day to enjoy it.

This will become dangerous as the police and military fill up with white people while the elite becomes Asian and Jewish, and the workers become Hispanic. 85% of the nation was White and 15% was Black and it was tuff to finance welfare. Just imagine Asian, Jewish, Hispanic 50% trying to fiance Blacks and Whites on welfare.

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This article describes the ... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 7:31 PM | Posted by Kat Fud: | Reply

This article describes the Wild And Wonderful White Family of West Virginia to an absolute T. They deliberately sign their children up early as mentally disabled so they can float on the guvmint dole for eternity. They get their favorite pills courtesy of the medical assistance they receive, which they can then deal on the streets for fast easy cash. They don't work (except maybe the one who was a stripper for awhile) and they don't pay taxes. They drive SUVs, buy great drugs, and teach their children the ins and outs of generational poverty.

This goes on everywhere, but the Wild and Wonderful White family has put their story on film (or plastic, or bytes, or whatever the video medium is these days...)

If every generational recipient of SSI were this entertaining, I wouldn't mind paying. But the choices for members of that family seem to be:

SSI - drunk/high all the time
Prison - drunk/high all the time
On TV - drunk/high all the time

ONE of the White family members escaped and has a real job far away, working for a living, not on SSI. He alone saw the insanity and wanted out, and he actually made it happen. He's the real hero of the movie.

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Yes, Kat Fud.Yes.<... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 7:49 PM | Posted by Hydrant Marker: | Reply

Yes, Kat Fud.

Yes.

Because rednecks are bad, and The Yuppie Life is good.

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Soylent Green is PEOPLE!</p... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 8:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Lo Gol's comment, by Kat Fud: | Reply

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!

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We are far from having surp... (Below threshold)

April 8, 2013 10:13 PM | Posted by Chunky Chipster: | Reply

We are far from having surplus productivity. If we did, we'd be paying for all these welfare programs with taxes instead of debt.

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Somes may calls it "hicks o... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 3:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Kat Fud's comment, by Jerkbag: | Reply

Somes may calls it "hicks on welfare", I calls it "deindustrialization", bub.

By the way, Chunky Chipster, do you happen to know what a free trade agreement is?

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Actually, there IS a simple... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 10:12 AM | Posted by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Actually, there IS a simple way to deal with this, and ironically, it's in the hands of the Republicans.
First, we have to decide if we really (really) believe in the language of our Declaration that says "All Men are created Equal, with the right to Life". Not getting into the womb-based debate for now, I'm talking about the question, "Does a citizen of our country have the right to basic subsistence or not?"
The answer and the solution is called the FairTax proposal. It is currently proposed as a sales tax to (revenue neutral) replace the income tax, with a prebate to everyone that covers the tax they would pay on basic necessities. The answer to your question, then, is to simply use the same scheme to replace ALL taxes and fees with sales taxes, so that everyone who doesn't want to pay for welfare of their fellow citizens (or their roads and bridges, etc) would simply just not buy anything. The only debate left, then, is to set the rate of the tax and the size of the prebate until the air and water are clean, people buy less and local (black market is still a win-win if it stops us from having excessive consumption), and the poor are fed with enough money from the prebate.
Anyone arguing that the poor don't "deserve" the prebate can be shut up when it is explained to them that everyone gets the prebate.
The current system does the same thing (everyone gets a 'personal deduction'), it's just not done with any kind of actual math or reality in mind.

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I like your handling of the... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 10:22 AM | Posted by Auntiegrav: | Reply

I like your handling of the low-skill jobs, but the missing question, as always in the consumer economists' shrill warning of economic collapse, is "Does anyone really NEED the crap we are making in those factories full of Chinese women and children?"

Yeah, I'm such a Luddite...but the part nobody is taught in 'history' class is that the British had more army troops engaged in putting down the Luddites on home soil than they had fighting their war with the French at the time.
"Just a few nutjobs" eh?
"When you use a machine to do the work of a man, you take away the value of the man." -Star Trek, "Insurrection"
If you have 1000 people in a city that don't have jobs, they will starve while waiting for the System to come to their aid.
If you put the same 1000 people in an isolated jungle without hope of rescue or escape, they will self-organize and take care of themselves to the best of human abilities.
The problem of Belief is that people will spend more effort on maintenance of their beliefs than on actual needs, and the systems that exploit them know this.

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The other question that beg... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 10:27 AM | Posted by Auntiegrav: | Reply

The other question that begs to be asked is, "If our food and lack of exercise makes us stupid and lazy, how will our children ever find out?"
This is especially visible when you use it to consider the "blame disability costs on aging" excuse.
Heaven forbid we should consider that people are aging faster because of the crap they eat and the toxins they are exposed to in a world where we consider real food a luxury and sugar (a drug sold by the megaton) harmless.

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<a href="http://www.morganw... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 11:23 AM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

A plan for this mess.

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<a href="http://unqualified... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 11:25 AM | Posted by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

A very different writer who has the same take:

Politically, the best way to fund and operate makework is to make it indistinguishable from the rest of the economy. If you tax productive citizens $1T a year to employ 10 million Americans to build, with hand tools, a 1:1 copy of Rome at the base of Mount Igikpak, you create a giant political target for stupid unruly peasants who persist in not understanding the genius of Lord Keynes. If instead, you manage to inflate aggregate consumer spending by $1T, you create ordinary jobs for ordinary Americans all across America - because where does that $1T go?

Your problem (and mine) is you were born to late:

When it came to politics modern philosophers disagreed about many things—but one thing philosophers as different as Thomas Hobbes and Jean Jacques Rousseau could agree upon is that freedom is natural and in some sense social institutions are not. To the medieval mind freedom was a moral achievement perfected with the aid of social institutions. The reason for the disagreement is that modern thinkers tended to focus on actions and how society constrains them while medieval thinkers focused on character and how social institutions help to develop it. Put another way—modern thinkers were concerned with freedom to do as you please while medieval thinkers were concerned with being pleased by the right things.

Put another way, with teaching the proper way to want. Not to worry though. The Truth is great, and shall prevail, one way or another.

On a side note, comments that complain about the quality of comments make my day.

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This. The problem is findi... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 2:12 PM | Posted, in reply to doug's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This. The problem is finding an effective way to distribute wealth that incetivizes productive activity. It's an old problem, actually, but with newer modern contours.

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I agree with those comments... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 3:56 PM | Posted by Regin: | Reply

I agree with those comments pointing out the need for good, meaningful, low-skilled work. What many/most of the intelligentsia fail to realize is that for the vast majority of the rest of flyover country, life IS work. Ask those people (regular people, not your buddy the philosophy grad/barista) "What do you do?" and they will respond with their profession: "I'm a plumber." "I'm a technician at the battery plant." "I'm a paper-pusher at the Bureau of Eternal Dependency."

The vast majority of those people will not--CANnot--imagine any other kind of life. Give them a guaranteed minimum income (barf) and they'll spend it all on cheap scotch and lottery tickets, meanwhile failing to include condoms on the shopping list thereby guaranteeing an endless supply of SSI recipients. Gin up the replicator and you'll fill the country with mindless drooling idiots who can't distinguish between Rights and Privileges. Wait, we already did that, witness the last ten presidential elections.

Those people--my employment puts me in contact with lots of them--are simply unable to engage in any deep spiritual/philosophical undertaking no matter how much free time the labor-saving robots gift to them. They want to work. They NEED to work. Work gives meaning to their lives, which seems to be the point of this carbon-based exercise, yes? Read Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano" for a longer, more emotive explanation.

The simple fact is that a rightly constituted society is hierarchical. Priests, warriors, and laborers. Tension over final authority exists between the thinkers and the warriors, but by giving the chthonic masses the "right" to vote we have upended the apple cart. Producers know how to make but they don't know how to govern.

But you can't get over the sales pitch of warm-hearted, soft-headed egalitarianism: "We have the right to vote." Sure you do. You vote for the best hair style, the sharpest tie, the most generous promises. The simple fact is that we are NOT equal, equality before the law is an entirely distinct concept from equality to CHOOSE the law. But because you are willing to believe anything to avoid that simple truth you'll flail around in a futile search for an effective band-aid to tape over society's gushing artery, watching in delirious astonishment while Western Civilization (pardon the redundancy) bleeds out 40,000 years of accumulated experience onto the altar of Progressive Liberalism's failed experiment in 'equality.' But as long as the beer's cold and the Xanax and Ritalin scrips refill you probably won't even notice.

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Widest dispersion ... ... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 5:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Lo Gol's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Widest dispersion ...

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It's just following the (de... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 5:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

It's just following the (de)evolution of the writing over time.

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i think you misunderstand t... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 7:40 PM | Posted, in reply to Regin's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

i think you misunderstand the issue for the people you're writing about. They like work because they want to be contributors to the society. The guy who gets up early to go roof a house gets the pride of knowing that because of him, a family has a roof over its head. The woman in the bakeshop is the same way -- she gets pride in knowing that the bread she baked fed another human being. It's a good impulse, and more importantly, it's a human impulse, we're to a large degree built by the universe as social creatures. We're all driven to contribute.

I think that's a problem with notions of idling masses of the population on bread and circuses. Humans are not built to be lapdogs and they are not as happy being a pet human as they would to be with their own kind, contributing in ways that humans do. Without that, we tend to find ways to get into trouble. If we have masses of people who we're essentially making into lapdogs, we're going to have the problem of those lapdog humans doing the equivelent of chewing up master's slippers. Or going to the bathroom in the house. Dogs are happier to be herding or hunting than to be laying around on the couch.

the other problem is exactly as I mentioned above -- there's going to come a time when the owners of the means of production are going to look at the masses of people not working and resent that they're paying for the "living minimum benefit" of people who do nothing but sit around and eat cheetos. We're already seeing blowback on this, and we still have about 60% total employment. What happens when we're down to 20% employment, or 10%? There will come a tipping point where the workers will refuse to pay for the nonworkers, either by opting not to work or refusing to pay taxes to support the nonworkers. I can't imagine that a situation even as low as 50% would be tolerable for long.

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Yes, but the current state ... (Below threshold)

April 9, 2013 9:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Regin's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Yes, but the current state of affairs is that the votes that go to the cheapest trinkets, the cheapest food, and the cheapest whiskey are the ONLY VOTES that COUNT on K street. There isn't an appropriate amount of feedback information to moderate those votes where the decision point is located: the cash register.
The arguments between the warriors and the philosophers (ha) are moot because there is no direct connection between the information in those debates and the impetus for cheap crapola. That's why we need a sales tax that is proportional to the costs of the overhead logistics. We need government because people BUY stuff, not because they own or produce stuff.

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Majority unemployment isn't... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 3:42 AM | Posted by uhuh: | Reply

Majority unemployment isn't as unfeasible as some might think. Fake work is getting better and better. As long as we can keep energy cheap enough there's no telling how compelling our entertainments might become.

The shrinking workforce might be willing to accept their role in exchange for increased social power-- each would be able to have a sort of "crew" if so desired. Or imagine some crowded neo-feudal society where loafing peasant masses are tolerated for any number of reasons, maybe they're just cheap enough to feed once the plankton food vats get invented that nobody cares.

Monkeys can be flexible beasts; never say never, just saying.

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> ... individual people are... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 5:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Will's comment, by Jill: | Reply

> ... individual people are no longer valuable to the meta-organism as a whole.

> The solution is decreasing birth rates.

Except the ones not breeding aren't the non-valuable ones.

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I guess that depends on wha... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 7:19 AM | Posted, in reply to Jill's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

I guess that depends on what you mean by "valuable". If you only think in terms of the current Imperial capitalism system, then yeah, but if you consider the long term survival of a diverse species, then the opposite is true. The current system favors a very narrow genetic band (the mean Mean) of bullies and their sycophants.

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Not "productive", but "usef... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 7:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Not "productive", but "useful". People can be very useful to each other without being very productive. That's called "wisdom", and we tend to lock it up in nursing homes and the best uses for it are locked up in little rooms called "schools", that teach 8 year olds to be just like all of the other 8 year olds.

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The most 'productive' (base... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 7:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Chunky Chipster's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

The most 'productive' (based on the highest income) aren't paying taxes in proportion to the resources they are accumulating (denying to others), and the resources they are accumulating are not available to those who need them, thus increasing the demand by the "non"productive on the System of redistribution.
Those who need to be consuming/producing more (useful activities for themselves) are depending on those who consume more than they need to pay income taxes on what those at the bottom are producing for them, but the tax system exempts those at the bottom, so the system has evolved to favor overpopulation at the bottom and exploitation of overpopulation by those at the top.

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Except that it's never work... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 8:28 AM | Posted, in reply to uhuh's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Except that it's never worked in the history of humanity. It's not likely that we're going to be the first civilization to try the bread and circuses route. We might very well keep it up for a time, but I think the trouble comes to some degree with notions of egalitarianism and democracy. What you're discribing would be essentially pet humans with no power -- you cannot have that system AND have an egalitarian democratic system. One man, one vote would have to go away because once you have a majority of nonworkers, the workers in a democracy would rapidly loose any say in their own system. So we're already in a bad way, because in order to give workers more say in the system, you have to disenfranchise nonworkers, and disenfranchise them completely. Remember, we're suggesting that only 10-30% of our nation goes to work on a regular basis, so giving a nonworker the social power greater than 1/10th of a worker still tips the scale to the nonworker.

But the second thing is that even with massive dole and entertainment, Rome still fell to a very similar problem. Their robots were slaves, but the problem was that free workers were idled because you could go to the forum and buy a slave to do the same work as the craftsman. So the craftsman and his family went on the dole. That meant lots of time to go to really realistic entertainment -- public executions and gladiator fights and theater. I'm pretty sure the realism of watching a man kill another man live and right in front of you is more realistic than our best 3D CGI. It didn't prevent Rome from falling, eventually Rome became too weak to defend itself and fell to German Barbarians.

But there is another problem, which is figuring out where the money is going to come from. You cannot take 90% of a person's income and have him want to continue working. You cannot have him support 20 people who do nothing without him resenting that fact. Add to that the logical fact that the system we're talking about is NOT egalitarian NOR democratic, and we have a system that's ripe for serious abuses. If the worker has power and the nonworker doesn't, then the worker can easily abuse the nonworker, if not kill him -- after all he has the power. In fact, I don't think there's ever been a case in which a powerful elite has not in some way abused or mistreated a powerless majority. Human rights under a monarchy up until England made theirs a literal figurehead is nonexistant. I don't think we're going to be the first civilization to create the benevolent dictator, as we cannot even create benevolent citizen leaders. If we cannot handle power well when we have people with enough power to hold the elites accountable, what makes you think that we can handle power when the people we'd be in power over can literally do nothing about the abuse we give them?

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The assumption is that peop... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 9:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

The assumption is that people work for wealth. Working to be useful is what humans did before civilization (city-based living), and the problem is with civilization itself (it is an incomplete machine that is missing effective feedback mechanisms, both positive and negative). Perhaps the problem is not that people are robots (controlled by the advertisers in an open-loop fashion), but that they are incomplete robots with no engagement in their own future usefulness. As to where the money comes from, the bigger question concerns where the resources come from. Every successful species contributes to its environment. The current production-based societies are purely extractive. "The opposite of consumption is not frugality. It is generosity." -Raj Patel
It isn't that the rich don't pay their fair share, but that humanity doesn't. From that premise, you can infer the rest of the solutions you need. Implementing them, however, will probably require several more generational collapse scenarios, based on psychohistory.

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" If the worker has power a... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 9:28 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

" If the worker has power and the nonworker doesn't, then the worker can easily abuse the nonworker, if not kill him -- after all he has the power. In fact, I don't think there's ever been a case in which a powerful elite has not in some way abused or mistreated a powerless majority. "
In the current system, 80% of the people are living on 7% of the resources(accumulated wealth), and when they figure it out, they will either eliminate the 20% that are hoarding resources and live well for a short time, or destroy the 93% of wealth in the process of collapse. Neither scenario addresses the sustainability of the basic civilizing system, which is central control and extraction of resources. As long as the extraction process is the primary mode of civilization, it will continue to also extract the personal self-usefulness of the masses toward another logistically unsupportable redistribution/collapse cycle. The key is to leave the resources where they are, and for humans to learn to add value to them, rather than subtracting it (improving the land rather than raping it).
The only intentional choice we make is when we say "no" to something. Otherwise, people just do stuff. They make up reasons for doing stuff: In that order.
The solutions that moderate us are the ones that we invent to trick us into believing we did the right things by choice, when we really just invent a process to make the right choice the easier choice (harsh penalties for wrong choices are one way).

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but in order to prevent ... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 12:20 PM | Posted by Monsieur Bobo: | Reply

but in order to prevent everyone else from rioting, deniability is created

I thought people were prevented from rioting because the very rage generated by the fact that they are subsidizing welfare recipients' lifestyle allows them to maintain the illusion of their superiority? That is they actually enjoy being able to complain about it.

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And that's a reminder to al... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 12:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Monsieur Bobo's comment, by Monsieur Bobo: | Reply

And that's a reminder to always finish the article before commenting...

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Japan is doing exactly this... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 1:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Will's comment, by Jack Parsons: | Reply

Japan is doing exactly this. The result is fascinating: young women no longer marry the old-school Mad Men who dominate their husband pool, live with their parents and buy luxury goods. And, the country is still as pleasant to live in as it always was.

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Ah, but the problem of a mi... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 1:50 PM | Posted, in reply to Jon Cloke's comment, by Jack Parsons: | Reply

Ah, but the problem of a minimum national income is the same as the minimum wage: politics can let it trail inflation. This has happened with the minimum wage for years as the political climate turned Nixon Republicans into Vile Socialists. The minimum wage only matters in certain small pockets of the country where our two-tier legal-v.s.-illegal-slave-labor-system does not rule. The stakes are much higher with a minimum national income.

The US system of multiple competing bureaucracies with complex rules makes for a richer mix of constituents and lobbyists for its existence.

Thanks for this fine fine blog.

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"It didn't prevent Rome fro... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 1:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by alaska3636: | Reply

"It didn't prevent Rome from falling, eventually Rome became too weak to defend itself and fell to German Barbarians."

Common misconception. Rome did not fall because of lack of security. It dissolved because people abandoned it. True, taxing the productive wealth of the civilization in order to expand an ever-increasing imperialism is why people chose to abandon it, and eventually, without a productive class to tax to pay for security it was more susceptible to being overcome; but the causative factor was a paradigm-shift in the minds of the citizens spurred ever decreasing standards of living due to coinage inflation for the imperial reasons state above. Many Romans simply joined the Barbarians and Rome sort of dissolved over a long period rather than fell.

I agree with the rest of your analysis.

Auntigrav: "The assumption is that people work for wealth. Working to be useful is what humans did before civilization"
That statement is more tautological than you think. Above subsistence survival, the human urge to acquire a better future state of affairs (clothing, tools, food and water when there's a shortage), is tantamount to wealth-building which is tantamount to "being useful." Just speaking from an economic standpoint.

And: "...the problem is with civilization itself ..."
Couldn't agree more. Maybe you have read Daniel Quinn? I think his argument pretty much sums up the inherent centralization of power (and it's subsequent corruption) of any agricultural system.

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"Above subsistence survival... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 3:01 PM | Posted, in reply to alaska3636's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

"Above subsistence survival, the human urge to acquire a better future state of affairs (clothing, tools, food and water when there's a shortage), is tantamount to wealth-building which is tantamount to "being useful." Just speaking from an economic standpoint."
From an economic standpoint, yes..I see the similarity you mean, but in the consumerist vein, we are looking at a hoarding instinct, vs. in a civilized, purposeful intention vein, where we want to establish a behavioral system of true intentions based on logical limits. From my cynical standpoint, that means a sales tax on everything that is commensurate with the need to limit extraction or reverse it, but from a fuzzy pink unicorn standpoint, it means "education", which never works on its own (back to cynicism again).
I'm familiar with Quinn in collected writings I've seen, and from everyone telling me I sound like him, but I've not talked with him or read any large work of his. I'm more familiar with Wendell Berry, Doug Rushkoff, Keith Farnish and John Michael Greer.

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And now for a reality based... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 3:28 PM | Posted by SunSword: | Reply

And now for a reality based comment. Admittedly a sample size of one. I actually know someone who collects SSI. She has an IQ of 82. Her math ability is zilch -- she cannot multiply or divide and cannot make change. She cannot run a cash register (because she cannot make change). Thus she cannot even work retail. Being female and of ordinary build she cannot do muscle work (warehouse, ditches, road work). Being stupid she cannot be trusted to even hold the flag for road work.
She will never hold any kind of job where strength, judgement or any kind of thinking is required. She is permanently unemployable.
She collects SSI. And she always will.
10% of the population have an IQ below 80. That percent of the population is probably permanently unemployable as a group. We can assume all of the that are of adult age are on SSI.

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"And now for a reality base... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 5:12 PM | Posted, in reply to SunSword's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

"And now for a reality based comment. Admittedly a sample size of one."
Ummm.....yeah.
Not that your comment has anything wrong with it other than that snarky bit, but I think I was trying to point out that everyone in a society is implied to have the right to necessities (the right to live) or they aren't citizens. Without citizens, the society doesn't exist.
The question is whether we can come up with a society that can be intentionally active as well as provide everyone with their needs, and how to go about that so that these ridiculous debates based on monetary value (without considering Malthusian value/needs) can be left behind while we advance the human race.
Your friend is obviously not part of the economic debates because she is unexploitable except politically (and religiously).

"10% of the population have an IQ below 80",
Yes, but you shouldn't blame those lawyers and economists for everything. ;-)

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Good Lord there are some re... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 5:48 PM | Posted by ahahah_whatever: | Reply

Good Lord there are some real fruitcakes in the comment section here. Rome fell because of high taxes, really? How can a person take anything else you argue seriously if you say something like that?

Ol' Diocletian managed to squeeze a few extra generations out of that empire, and brother, he didn't do it with menacing stares. Well, OK, partially. But that was only like 40% of it, tops.

Maybe we should take a page out of his book and make all tax records totally public. Dumb proles might feel more motivated to improve society if they could read up on how honest, productive citizens go about that stuff.

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I didn't say high taxes; I ... (Below threshold)

April 10, 2013 6:58 PM | Posted, in reply to ahahah_whatever's comment, by alaska3636: | Reply

I didn't say high taxes; I said taxes and inflationary policy (of clipping coins) to pay for ever-expanding imperialism. Sure they are the same thing, but still a point worth making.

It also does not follow that one mistaken idea invalidates an entire argument. But the idea is not mistaken, anyway.

Feudalism developed in the decline of Rome as peasants no longer had purchasing power from the fruits of their labor. They indentured themselves to landowners who could pay the taxes on the land and feed and clothes their sorry asses. Every smart, productive person who saw this coming took their human capitol elsewhere, thus reducing the tax base (and inflationary power) of the empire. Inflation can only stretch the illusion of wealth so far, and eventually, the most advanced civilization in history dissolved. Sound familiar. If not, check out every civilization ever.
As Jimmy Buffet said, "Fruitcakes...it takes one to know one."

As for the transparency you recommend, do you really need to know where your money is being wasted; for me, it's just good to know it's been destroyed by someone's brilliant wealth creating/redistributing legislation.

Auntiegrav: You can't fix society in its present paradigm; it's a bad deal for most people (no matter what they've been sold to believe.) Top-down hierarchy is not congruent with human nature which explains why it's only been around for about 10,000 years of the many millions of years of human history. We are tribal creatures. Bottom-up systems incentivize values like self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, loyalty, and respect for other people's propetry, and so on...

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I am glad it was an enjoyab... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 8:39 AM | Posted by Weight Loss Diet: | Reply

I am glad it was an enjoyable experience for you. I think that you should definitely do it again sometime and hopefully I will be able to make it to that one.

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Some really useful slides h... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 8:41 AM | Posted by Easy Diet Plans: | Reply

Some really useful slides here. I've been looking for something like this to help with a research piece I've been working on.
Easy Diet Plans

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It wasn't really high taxes... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 8:55 AM | Posted, in reply to ahahah_whatever's comment, by Dovahkiin: | Reply

It wasn't really high taxes per se, it was the fact that taxes were high enough that the productive and the wealthy refused to pay. It was probably closer to a collective "going Galt" as Randians would put it. I'm not sure how high the taxes were at an absolute level, however, the taxes were high enough (and the army weak enough) that taxpayers thought that moving to the country and building a rock wall was preferable to paying those taxes.

I don't think rate would matter so much as return on investment. If you pay to a government that's currupt and provides no real benefit to you, you're not going to want to pay very much. If you're getting benefits from the taxes you pay, it's probably higher. As long as people think there's something in it for them, they tend to go along.

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"You can't fix society in i... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 9:37 AM | Posted, in reply to alaska3636's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

"You can't fix society in its present paradigm".
Agreed.
What is the exact paradigm we're talking about, though. Is it really "top-down"? One dollar one vote, I think. The problem isn't the dollars, but who's counting them and using the numbers (see next comment) to control the government and the media (lobbying and advertising as well as education investments).
As for making tax records public, I would go a different direction: make all taxes sales taxes and the taxpayer becomes anonymous. Might as well, since the taxpayer function is a powerless one. It's the lobby-payer function that has power in the current paradigm.

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Yes. "I don't think rate wo... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 9:45 AM | Posted, in reply to Dovahkiin's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Yes. "I don't think rate would matter so much as return on investment. If you pay to a government that's currupt and provides no real benefit to you, you're not going to want to pay very much. If you're getting benefits from the taxes you pay, it's probably higher."
The current paradigm of corporate lobbying pays something on the order of 100:1 ROI.
The proles buy stuff and work for the corporations. The corporations count the dollars and pay a percentage to lobbyists and campaigns. The government passes laws written by those lobbyists in order to maintain the status quo.
The missing part of the machine (why it will fail) is the resource sustainability and stability (we invaded Iraq to 'stabilize' the price of oil: the high price was a bonus).
Every living thing has to pay something for the right to Try to live. The current economic paradigm is one of extraction and waste. The Roman paradigm was the same. The better comparison economically, though, is the Spanish empire. Instead of gold, we have oil and inflation as our sources of money to buy the things we want. The result is a society that is losing its ability to make the things it needs. We don't see it yet as consolidation and jockeying of power hides the loss of individual skills behind the machines and the plastic toys.

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So this is awfully Nazi-ish... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 11:45 AM | Posted by Olrac: | Reply

So this is awfully Nazi-ish of me, but what if we provided some sort of tax/credit incentive for undergoing state sponsored vasectomies? The real problem here is the birth rate. There are too many of us and fewer and fewer jobs to accommodate individuals in poorer communities. There are an absurd amount of fatherless children in said communities. Give these asshole non-dads a significant amount of cash to get an operation that greatly benefits their lifestyle choices, and in turn weeds out future generations of destructive individuals. Crime plummeted in the aftermath of roe v wade. I think a greater effect would occur if the controls were placed on impulsive, destructive men. Those left would ideal be those who are family and community minded.

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So this is awfully Nazi-ish... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 11:53 AM | Posted by Olrac: | Reply

So this is awfully Nazi-ish of me, but what if we provided some sort of tax/credit incentive for undergoing state sponsored vasectomies? The real problem here is the birth rate. There are too many of us and fewer and fewer jobs to accommodate individuals in poorer communities. There are an absurd amount of fatherless children in said communities. Give these asshole non-dads a significant amount of cash to get an operation that greatly benefits their lifestyle choices, and in turn weeds out future generations of destructive individuals/reduce over-population. Crime plummeted in the aftermath of roe v wade. I think a greater effect would occur if controls were placed on impulsive, destructive men. Those left would ideally be those who are family and community minded capable of adapting to the shitty future ahead of us.

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So this is awfully Nazi-ish... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 11:54 AM | Posted by Olrac: | Reply

So this is awfully Nazi-ish of me, but what if we provided some sort of tax/credit incentive for undergoing state sponsored vasectomies? The real problem here is the birth rate. There are too many of us and fewer and fewer jobs to accommodate individuals in poorer communities. There are an absurd amount of fatherless children in said communities. Give these asshole non-dads a significant amount of cash to get an operation that greatly benefits their lifestyle choices, and in turn weeds out future generations of destructive individuals/reduce over-population. Crime plummeted in the aftermath of roe v wade. I think a greater effect would occur if controls were placed on impulsive, destructive men. Those left would ideally be those who are family and community minded capable of adapting to the shitty future ahead of us.

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Gah, sorry for multi-posts,... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 11:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Olrac's comment, by Olrac: | Reply

Gah, sorry for multi-posts, iPod doesn't format well with comment reels.

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There is no major single re... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 1:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Dovahkiin's comment, by Monsieur Bobo: | Reply

There is no major single reason for the decline of the Roman Empire, although the biggest reason is, for lack of a better term, they got soft. (Gibbon refers to this softness as a "lack of virtue" or something.)

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But seriously, the fact tha... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 1:22 PM | Posted by Monsieur Bobo: | Reply

But seriously, the fact that people are trying to blame "high taxes" for the fall of Rome makes me want to weep. Here's a tip: if ever your theories for the decline and fall of the greatest Western Civilization ever known to man dovetail with political talking points (from either/any party), your theory needs work.

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"what if we provided some s... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 2:13 PM | Posted, in reply to Olrac's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

"what if we provided some sort of tax/credit incentive for undergoing state sponsored vasectomies? The real problem here is the birth rate. There are too many of us and fewer and fewer jobs to accommodate individuals in poorer communities."
This is where we take the path of mistaken thinking. Not because it's population control, but because is accepts the paradigm that humans are only consumers of resources, rather than caretakers. If people work usefully toward their own supporting environment (giving more to the environment than they take), then two things apply: the number of people doesn't matter, and when it does, the numbers take care of themselves.
If people are not usefully employed toward their own needs, they have nothing to do but eat, drink and reproduce.
"Crying 'overpopulation!' is simply another means of shifting the blame from the rich to the poor."
"The opposite of consumption is not frugality (population control in this case), it is generosity." - Raj Patel
"The most effective fertilizer is the farmer's footsteps." -Chinese proverb

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We have spent the last 100 ... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 2:31 PM | Posted by Auntiegrav: | Reply

We have spent the last 100 years replacing people with oil and electricity. In essence, we have made people valueless except as consumers. This is the root of the "It's the jobs, stupid!" paradigm. Our leadership doesn't want people to have autonomy or personally validated usefulness: they want them to be dependent on the System with ever-increasing debts (public and private) so that they are controllable and so that the System can maintain its power over the resources (property ownership by the few).
Sooner or later, the rich either give up enough of their ownership of resources to keep from losing their heads, or they lose their heads.
In the past, there was always another frontier to conquer, more resources to consume to build the next Empire when the previous ones undermined themselves. The final wisdom of Globalization is that there isn't another continent to consume when we reach the end of the extraction process (collapse). We have to learn to create and nurture the old resources or die off until there are few enough to live on what is left. Many species simply shrink in size when stranded on islands. Civilization isolates us from evolution's selection process until civilization can't maintain its walls. If you want to think outside the box, you have to learn to also think outside the city, the house, and the bank. Humanity is facing some serious limits now. Squabbling over how to deal with political stability support systems (just enough money to the poor to keep them from taking up arms) while we spend trillions bombing the land into Craterville from the GMO Rotunda is kinda silly.
"Efficiency is the straightest road to Hell." - J.H. Kunstler

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Those people--my employm... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 2:55 PM | Posted by Bart O'Pond: | Reply

Those people--my employment puts me in contact with lots of them--are simply unable to engage in any deep spiritual/philosophical undertaking no matter how much free time the labor-saving robots gift to them. They want to work. They NEED to work.

The condescension is very attractive. I find it compelling that you are well above those unfortunates, whose plight you rhetorically endorse with a show of false "understanding." Can I create a religion around your perspective?

I believe I'll call it "progressive" and/or "leftist" and the pride inherent in being a believer/follower should be quite obvious to all who answer the call and begin Walking with Progress.

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Auntiegrav's comments are u... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 2:58 PM | Posted by Bart O'Pond: | Reply

Auntiegrav's comments are undercut by the quotations.

Things said by others don't become wise or true simply because someone reprints them in quotation marks.

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Who said it dovetails? I'm... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 3:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Monsieur Bobo's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Who said it dovetails? I'm not sure it does precisely, but the fact remains that many Roman Patricians moved out to the country, built huge walls and refused to pay tax. It had nothing to do with the rate and everything to do with the perception that it was too high for what they thought they could get from Rome. Whether it's because of a decline in the desire to pay tax or the government raised the rates too high.

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This. Given the increase i... (Below threshold)

April 11, 2013 4:30 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Orionxl: | Reply

This. Given the increase in mechanization, we very well could come to a place where local communities become "villagy" again because there's no industry of any value. Combine this with some level of guaranteed income and add 30 years and you have a completely different looking civilization.

Wouldn't that be a sort of communism/capitalism mix that we hadn't seen before? Am I on crack?

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I Dunno, I expect some kind... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2013 8:36 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I Dunno, I expect some kinds of "touristy villages" But I'm not sure what kind of weird you'd get in a culture that's literally competing to become the kinds of places that people want to vacation in. I'm sure we'll find someone starting a Hogwarts in England somewhere, or Superhero Village, or Skyfall. When the only industry is entertainment, I think you'll get a lot of weird.

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Also, who the hell am I kid... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2013 8:50 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Orionxl: | Reply

Also, who the hell am I kidding? It'll all just look like one massive ghetto.

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You think there will be alo... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2013 9:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Gabe Ruth: | Reply

You think there will be alot of tourists in this future?

You need to think on what Auntiegrav is preaching, and maybe look up some of the writers mentioned.

An ideal Distributism is only improbable. Even an ideal Communism is only impossible. But an ideal Capitalism is inconceivable.
-Chesterton
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Leave it to Disney.. <a hre... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2013 11:00 AM | Posted, in reply to Orionxl's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Leave it to Disney.. http://www.good.is/posts/creepy-or-inspiring-celebration-florida-walt-disney-s-perfectly-planned-community/

Sorry, Pond, I didn't know that quoting someone invalidates what they say.

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Thanks for the props, but I... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2013 11:32 AM | Posted, in reply to Gabe Ruth's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Thanks for the props, but I don't necessarily agree with Chesterton's statement below.

"You need to think on what Auntiegrav is preaching, and maybe look up some of the writers mentioned.

An ideal Distributism is only improbable. Even an ideal Communism is only impossible. But an ideal Capitalism is inconceivable.
-Chesterton"

Nature has used ideal capitalism for billions of years. The 'net' profit is paid forward in the form of usefulness. Humans didn't evolve to be pure extractors dominating a food chain: the food chain used to fight back and moderate them.
Every bell-shaped curve of a species' population (random individuals subject to selection) is actually nested in a complimentary curve representing the niche in the environment (random and non-random risks) which they fortuitously fall into.
A pure capitalism would include both elements of the graph, not just the human population. The current paradigm of humanism and homogenization to 'normal' (the most stable profit paths) tends to make the civilized human curve into a tall spike (consumers), just begging to be knocked down by a random threat, either from within (disease, collapse) or without (climate change, asteroids, etc).
Thus, a 'pure' capitalism would have to engage some form of moderation to make up for the natural moderation we have eliminated, as well as stress stimulators to engage people in physical activity and healthy behaviors.
Otherwise, we should start building our replacement robot species already. From the looks of things, we don't have to worry about Arnold's Terminator robots taking over the world: they are us.
All of that is the easy part. The hard part is doing it on purpose and not being distracted by the Shiny, Noisy Crap..

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After that post, Last, I ho... (Below threshold)

April 12, 2013 5:16 PM | Posted by JackBluegrass: | Reply

After that post, Last, I hope someone's got your back.

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Sorry, Pond, I didn't kn... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2013 3:03 PM | Posted by Bart O'Pond: | Reply

Sorry, Pond, I didn't know that quoting someone invalidates what they say.

I didn't say it invalidated it. Indirectly, by mockery, you will note (if inverted accurately, as any half-smart slug should be able to do) that I said you're artificially inflating its wisdom/sagacity/impressiveness by citing it as a direct quote, source attributed.

Maybe that puts your head on a higher pike than Joe Biden's since he never credited Neil Kinnock?

Here's one for you.

I take people's posted statements, distort them so that I can find them "stupid," and then post snark which derides their stupidity but in a passive-aggressive way.

Who said that?

Given editorial license, I read Auntiegrav as the author.

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While i stumbled upon the t... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2013 6:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Go away's comment, by Ricther: | Reply

While i stumbled upon the topic and the idea seemed worthy of a precursory view.. I found the topic to be well adhered to and without going to far off into political agendas or personal gripes, which is not as easy to do as one might think when they have postioned themselves to be able to receive the knowledge base that gives them credibility, to expect that they would not correlate political differences among the viewpoints is not being realistic, but i dont want to read something that is done solely to support the same ole we are better than they conclusions. And this was not one of those, the discussion provided a viewpoint and philosophical angle that i found useful in understanding the arguements and to help me understand the issues that i am concerned , but with better clarity of thought, that is gained here by simply allowing myself to not dismiss the view i dont want to subscribe to.. Lets say its also an example to show a common mans approach to understanding the issues driving the topic and not soley providing a complexive diction that one would need a background in order to interpret the subject matter and it's meaning. So also do i find quite a rationally formulaterd set of responses and comments.. And for the most part in a healthy manner in regards to open discussion.. however the simplified directive of "just go away" only would serve to appease well, nothing... Unless you want them to stop for your own appeasement. Well if that claim of demanding appeasmenet if deemed valid in necesity of attention is one which you can grant yourelf to achieve by simply excluding yourself from the conversation as an audiance member.. ne can simply not read any of the postings and thus the same appeasement would be realized. If that is not sufficient, than the comment /directive to shut up and go away is driven by either ones own frustration with not being able to ingest what is being sufficiently understood between others as seen in the posts/replies regarding the topic and if causing one to feel less knowledgeable and thus lack any abiity to contribute to what is a thought provoking discussion... i.e. where one thoughts are not provoked.... ones thoughts are to want the conversation negated so as to avoid the the self damaging effects that come with the realization that one knows not enough to have a voice , thus fear looking stupid on the specific topic which in fact is the case, but they fail to account for this being the culprit that drives a newfound stance, which is an anti-stance towards anything subject related. Hoping to defame, threaten, and ridicule, the akwardness away so as not to have to deal with it, and then back to focusing on whatever area they deem they do have a worthwile knowledge base, but that is only cheating the process of a role which it rightly has. so it would be unfounded for the conversation to halt while so many others have an interest whether they have understanding or are now developing an understanding by following the conversation.... why would one negate the conversation personas to continue where they are not soley serving you, but countless others? you but are one, and is much an easier task and much less disruptive to just turn to some other forum which u eventually find worthy of your time energy and brain power... Say for instance you could focus on who plays better guitar Beck or Santana? i wont deny ur opinins if well supported... but your duirective left nothing to suggest as an alternative... so the request glaringly was driven by lack of any ability to conterpoint with what you feel against... not uncommon.

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I can't tell if what you're... (Below threshold)

April 15, 2013 11:06 PM | Posted, in reply to RadishMag's comment, by WhoaBuddy: | Reply

I can't tell if what you're implying ruffles my feathers because 1) it's borderline racist given the next few sentences of that quote, 2) I'm afraid it may be true and can't refute it due to my lack of knowledge of genetics, or 3) because I'm black and genetically predisposed to violent rage and self-righteous indignation.

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Nice article, we live in ex... (Below threshold)

April 16, 2013 1:48 PM | Posted by Joe: | Reply

Nice article, we live in extraordinary times and i don't think anyone really knows how to fix this, maybe the whole system has to change because it's to old for 2013 to work, but i'm sure through negativity and all the rest that fallows, nothing good comes out of that.

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I can't believe Alone can't... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2013 3:19 AM | Posted by amateur volcanologist: | Reply

I can't believe Alone can't see this one, drunk or not. The bureaucracy is the part of the end game. Qualify as many individuals as deficient in any way possible, real or not, and they become incapable of being a sovereign individuals. It's like the whole 2nd amendment controversy which is ultimately just a maneuver to control people based on their state assigned mental health status.

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Who picks up the garbage?</... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2013 3:28 AM | Posted, in reply to DensityDuck's comment, by amateur volcanologist: | Reply

Who picks up the garbage?

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Yep. The labor supply exce... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2013 12:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Jim's comment, by E. Rekshun: | Reply

Yep. The labor supply exceeds the demand, yet, elected officials want to import more labor.

Also, much of our labor pool is basically unemployable.

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The elected officials are t... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2013 1:16 PM | Posted, in reply to E. Rekshun's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

The elected officials are the puppets of the corporations. They've been playing this game since Operation Paperclip, when the CIA would blackmail German scientists with threats of trumped-up Nuremberg charges in order to get them to build rockets for us on the wages of janitors.
The only thing wrong with our labor pool is that it has advocates to fight for fair wages and benefits (except the farmers...and you might notice their labor is usually excluded from laws, as food and fuel are excluded from so many other statutes).

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Correction: it was called "... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2013 1:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Auntiegrav's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Correction: it was called "OSS" then, but the program was kept going into the 1970's.

and to finish the chain of connections: ...the corporations make decisions based on consumer demands, which are 'created' for the most part by advertising, which is driven by spending and resource consumption. There is no feedback mechanism to connect the resource availability to the decision process of consumerism/corporate power/government policy/perpetual growth. The lack of this feedback mechanism allows decisions about labor and wages to be at the mercy of the corporate-government-banking profits, rather than them being moderated by real planning for future needs or sustainable behaviors.
In other words, the functionality of the current system is that of eating itself out of house and home, and then collapsing. The SSDI/SSI growth is a symptom of that dysfunctional machinery, not the cause of it.

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Similar kind of closed feed... (Below threshold)

April 17, 2013 3:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Auntiegrav's comment, by RiverC: | Reply

Similar kind of closed feedback loop happened with the housing market; there's a certain ecological rule having to do with inputs and outputs, where it is generally destructive if something is fed directly by its own output or side-effect. This is simply because the side effect often contains things that are harmful (such as human waste.) Unless there is another to process this output/side effect, harmful excretions will build up and destroy the system. This can be all during the time that the system seems to be benefiting on the level of 'free energy' from its own waste.

With corporations, academia, media, government, etc, in this consumerist model, create their own demands and fulfill them. Ironic, isn't it, that the consumer is actually no longer a part of the loop since his responses, like the housing prices, are being driven by those catering to them. But the hidden toxins build up since there is nothing to filter them out; cupidity, envy, fear, wrath, procrastination - they are tweaked to create the desired feedback which in turn validates their tweaking.

You could say the same for our style of poll-driven politics... however, I think this is an American problem, nascent in our very formation that has now truly run amok and can no longer be ignored or analogized away.

(However, in the spirit of this blog, we can guarantee new capital, whether moral or financial, will be plundered from somewhere to keep blowing the bubble until it really does explode.)

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Late to the discussion here... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2013 2:32 AM | Posted by Piece of the Pi: | Reply

Late to the discussion here, but as someone with very strong social democratic leanings (look to Scandinavia to see how social democracies are run and run well), I've been thinking about a guaranteed minimum income for a long time. Capitalism worked when it was a matter of individuals competing with each other on a local level. In that small pond, most everyone could find a niche. But what we have now is corporate capitalism, in which all the power has been consolidated into the hands of a few international corporate elites, robbing most individuals of any realistic opportunity to compete and succeed.

At this stage, big business owes the American people a guaranteed minimum income. Why? Because they got wealthy off the backs of laborers who weren't rewarded commensurate with their labor. That's why real wages have been stagnant since the 1970s. At some point, probably when the unions started to disappear, corporate bigwigs realized there was nothing stopping them from progressively hoarding more and more of the pie that their workers produced. No one was teaching civic responsibility or moral absolutism anymore, so an appeal to noblesse oblige fell (and continues to fall) on deaf ears.

Unfortunately, the Puritan work ethic is too deeply embedded in the American psyche for us to even seek a guaranteed minimum income anytime soon. But it should most definitely come out of a corporate tax, and we need some level of price regulation a la utilities to prevent the greedy conglomerates from turning around and hiking up prices to pass on their pain to consumers. We probably also need to put a ceiling on C-level income in proportion to each company's median employee salary. But I digress.

It's shortsighted to assume that most people wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they weren't working for "the man." Rather, most people simply haven't had the chance to think about what work they'd really like to do. Given the opportunity, many people would probably choose to devote themselves to hobbies they already enjoy, and we'd probably see an explosion in the arts and sciences as people finally had time to develop their creative and innovative talents. Other enterprising individuals would start their own businesses. Still others would probably choose to travel or spend more time at home with their families or even practice more sustainable living (a lot of people are interested in raising their own food, making their own clothes, etc., but these things take a significant investment of time).

Ultimately, the guaranteed minimum income would be just enough to get by so that folks who want more than bare-bones living, which--let's face it--is most of us, would have an incentive to work. But at least no one would be without basic food and shelter anymore. The few truly lazy people would still be free to enjoy couch potato living (just like they do today), but the rest of us would be free from the burden of paper pushing so we could focus on activities that truly improve quality of life for everyone, not just the bottom line for some fat cat's wallet.

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Thanks for joining us. Good... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2013 11:08 AM | Posted, in reply to Piece of the Pi's comment, by Auntiegrav: | Reply

Thanks for joining us. Good points. I disagree with a corporate tax (unless it is in the form of a sales tax) because the decision process which empowers corporations takes place at the cash register, not in boardrooms. Sure, the CEO's and managers all take CREDIT for what happens, but the actual choices are made when the consumer looks at the product and the price and says, "Yeah, I can afford that."
Meanwhile, the economists beat the drum of perpetual economic growth, which is simply selling eventual mass suicide for short term gain.
Comprehensively, the same thought applies to a minimum income system: there has to be a feedback mechanism to moderate growth (including populations). I TOTALLY agree that people aren't allowed the time to think about the realities of living and value.
I have been lucky to have time while farming to think and listen to books and study people. Most people don't get that kind of luxury for their thoughts without tenure, and those that do aren't likely to have a connection to those that don't.
If the proles were ever allowed to think about it, they would realize that We Don't Need Them. http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Nov05/Carpenter1102.htm

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On second thought, I think ... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2013 1:17 PM | Posted by Jerkbag: | Reply

On second thought, I think this post has kinda mistook the forest for the trees.

The trick to the media construct of the "undeserving welfare leech" is that this person must continue to exist only in the realm of anecdotal evidence. When we're told about her or him, the individual in question is usually a shade darker or a county further out-state from the "normal people". That there are a small percentage of otherwise unemployable underclass collecting SSI benefits makes the gimmick more tangible.

In any case the confusion of SSI and SSDI isn't insignificant, although most Americans do not understand a single thing about the social welfare system until they need to rely on it to survive or escape total destitution.

The Welfare Queen's main purpose is to keep the so-called reserve army of the unemployed and the swelling ranks of the perpetually under-employed divided against each other while the asset-stripping operation of finance capitalism continues unperturbed. It's a canard that really got its start in Reagan-era for this specific reason, and that's maintaining working class discipline while industry is sold off and their unions are hollowed out from within.

It's a bit of simplistic, politically convenient horse shit, and compatible with the Galtian producerism of the white upper middle class (replace with liberal paternalism if you're on the coasts).

TLP loves to talk about the cost of labor, and its effect is to control this cost. "At least I'm contributing to society" is the expedient bit of false consciousness that keeps the $9/hr service sector's batteries charged, to use TLPspeak. The rage this myth provokes isn't going to lead to some kind of Galtian Revolution, but rather aimed at preventing any real change, to take it a bit further into TLPland. No one's going to be told what to do at gunpoint by an aging, diabetic Teabagger with an AR-15.

And of course, on an individual level, you'll find that it never actually occurs to anyone on welfare that they don't "deserve" it, only that other recipients abuse the system to ruin it for Respectable Citizens such as them.

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*the trees for the forest</... (Below threshold)

April 18, 2013 1:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Jerkbag's comment, by Jerkbag: | Reply

*the trees for the forest

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thanks Alone for s... (Below threshold)

April 19, 2013 5:45 PM | Posted, in reply to gratified's comment, by jonny: | Reply

thanks Alone for shutting the fuck up about women for 5 minutes to write a half decent article about something important.

Are you 100% certain? I got a different impression :/

Alone: What will sink the Earth into oblivion isn't people who can no longer work, it is people who have never worked and will never have worked, who on the one hand will never pay into the system, on the other hand will never produce any output...

My mother is one of those people. I'm just saying...

A lot of the girls I meet would qualify; they want someone to take care of them whilst they raise children to love them. They work pretty hard hardly working but you can't lie on your back for ever.

keep going down this path and i might not be ashamed to share your shit anymore.

Uh oh.

If you're ashamed by what you do, why do it? I know you're trying to give Alone some positive incentive to lift his game, but I don't think anyone would want you to feel ashamed. Would they? To what possible end?

Shame only degrades.

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...what if we prov... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2013 12:36 AM | Posted, in reply to Olrac's comment, by jonny: | Reply

...what if we provided some sort of tax/credit incentive for undergoing state sponsored vasectomies? The real problem here is the birth rate. There are an absurd amount of fatherless children in said communities. Give these asshole non-dads a significant amount of cash to get an operation that greatly benefits their lifestyle choices, and in turn weeds out future generations of destructive individuals. Crime plummeted in the aftermath of roe v wade. I think a greater effect would occur if the controls were placed on impulsive, destructive men.

lol. Those bastards.

I'm not referring to the men you hate. I'm referring to the babies born out of wedlock which married women label bastards in an attempt to give the newborn child a stigma which will disadvantage him and therefore appear to support the argument that children need a nuclear family structure to be raised Right.

She'll be a dependent raising children she's supposed to be making Self-reliant. I have a gut feeling those boys are going to be inexplicably more likely to suffer from autism & emotional and learning disorders. You'd put a cheeky fiver on them dabbling in some crimes of passion down the line, wouldn't you?

It would be a very shrewd wager at the right line.

Two points:
1. Why are mothers being permitted to have children they lack the capacity to care for? The pro-Choice / pro-Life debate seems outrageously limited. I know the answer to this question; the Australian government gave the game away. They give $5000 cash bonanza to any mother incentivised to have a child for a $5000 cash bonanza. Do you know how sick that is, in reality? 15 & 16 year old girls were cashing in on the State's generosity.
2. How horrid a corrupted Toddler would you have to be to turn the filthy smear campaign onto a newborn child? Anyone who attempts to label a baby a bastard should really be put down no?

Studies are coming out showing children of single mothers don't do that well. They're trying to make it a single-parent issue but it's not. It's a single mother issue which has implications for married mothers. It's 'controversial', of course; funnily enough, raising your child with lies, love, fear and shame isn't controversial.

Control the data for single fathers and you'll see what the study is actually saying.

Children of mothers don't do that well. Aside from the last 100 billion, I'd not have noticed.

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At what rate can I start bu... (Below threshold)

April 20, 2013 11:07 PM | Posted by confused: | Reply

At what rate can I start burning down the neighborhood? It is cold outside and I'm bored.

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There is no major ... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2013 1:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Monsieur Bobo's comment, by jonny: | Reply

There is no major single reason for the decline of the Roman Empire, although the biggest reason is, for lack of a better term, they got soft. (Gibbon refers to this softness as a "lack of virtue" or something.)

When I was 6 or 7, my mother (perhaps the most fundamental fundamentalist Christian in history) told me a bedtime story which I never requested.

It was short and sweet; some Christians were being persecuted in Russia and the big bad persecutors made the Christians take off all their clothes and stand in the middle of a frozen lake with all their family - young, old, children, even pets - and ordered to recant and live or hold steadfast to their faith and freeze to death.

The reason she told me this story wasn't lost on me and it shouldn't be lost on you. Needless to say, they all died. Innocents with the guilty. She was trying to make a point about Property Rights but all I could think about was being forced to die for her insanity.

Relevance to the fall of the Roman empire? You know what the Roman Empire became right?

I know more about the true nature of Holy Christian leeches than almost anyone alive. For example, I know their sociopathic Toddler leech Messiah was obsessed with manufacturing dependency and he was pure evil, a racist son-of-a-bitch (Matthew 15) with a Toddler mind that made up truth on the fly (Matthew 19). I know about the two-faced lying of Christian leeches (one verse explains an entire religion and you don't need to read another to understand their entire value system).

Luke 14:33 King James Version (KJV) 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

The Romans were not inhumane and corrupted like all of you. They did have a real dilemma when faced with the purest of Toddler evils, however.

They were dealing with Christians intelligently.

*** something happened ***

They got soft, lack of virtue sounds about right; hapless, helpless, decency stops breeding, leeches birth explosion, demographics start swinging one way.

The Roman empire became the Holy Roman empire and Europe was plunged into violence, bloodshed and the manufacturing of vassal slaves with love (to die for their imprinted overlord / Christian butcher / sovereign ordained by God post-1648 when Christian Kings, Dukes and Nobles (all Self-anointed) forced the HNIC Christian Emperor to divide up all the vassals of the Christian Patron system into sovereign plantation-states.

Thus began the latest chapter in the era of the Warlords, beginning circa 3000 BC when a sociopath saw opportunity in leaching and did a Numbers 31 reset switch on the entire world that had been preparing for Peace. We prepare for War now because we're Yahweh's cannibals.

If you can't work out what that *** something happened *** was, in between the Roman empire throwing Christians to the lions and the Roman Empire becoming the Holy Roman Empire, then lol @ you. Do you pimp your children out by the hour or do you sell them for dowries or what kind of promotional deals you got going?

It's a no-brainer option for Christian whores to breed. You buy one and they're like "Plenty more where that came from."

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Meth: Not even once.... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2013 3:22 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by RiverC: | Reply

Meth: Not even once.

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Oh I don't intend to blame ... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2013 4:36 PM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Olrac: | Reply

Oh I don't intend to blame shitty dads for the problem of child abuse, I believe mothers tend to be far more abusive than fathers. Granted, if more of these shitty dads stuck around I'm sure the rates of abuse would be closer between fathers and mothers.

You didn't really address the point of my post, though. Federally incentivized vasectomies could be a solution to overpopulation. If the goal is to limit childbirth in poorer communities, it would be much easier to sterilize men then women. Less usable jizz means less unwanted babies to be abused by said mothers.

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AdChoices chose to put up a... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2013 4:40 PM | Posted by B-dawg: | Reply

AdChoices chose to put up an "Apply for SSI and Disability" ad with this one.

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"It's Nancy Kress's "Beggar... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2013 5:44 PM | Posted by Reader: | Reply

"It's Nancy Kress's "Beggars Ride". There's a small group of elites who run everything, a small group of techies who keep everything running, and a huge population of "livers" who have no skills and no education and no way of getting either, but by God they expect their meals and NASCAR."

More like a small group of elites, a small group of techies with jobs, and a huge population of everyone else from people with no skills to techies without jobs.

A system needing only a million engineers is no guarantee that only a million will become engineers. Between the kids who actually like engineering, the ones who want their "don't major in liberal arts!!!!" parents to love them, and the kids who think every other major has too many people cooties, a system can easily end up with more engineering majors wanting engineering jobs than it has engineering jobs for them to do...

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You didn't really ... (Below threshold)

April 22, 2013 6:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Olrac's comment, by jonny: | Reply

You didn't really address the point of my post, though. Federally incentivized vasectomies could be a solution to overpopulation. If the goal is to limit childbirth in poorer communities, it would be much easier to sterilize men then women. Less usable jizz means less unwanted babies to be abused by said mothers.

Sorry I thought I did.

Why are mothers being permitted to have children they lack the capacity to care for? I know the answer to this question; the Australian government gave the game away. They give $5000 cash bonanza to any mother incentivised to have a child for a $5000 cash bonanza. Do you know how sick that is, in reality? 15 & 16 year old girls were cashing in on the State's generosity.

My point being, there is a reason for everything and only the vassals imagine shit to be random / uncontrolled. There is no goal to limit childbirth in poorer communities. That's what would be better for the state's populace; it would be a disaster for the state.

If they're giving $5000 to the kind of mothers incentivised by having children for a $5000 cash bonanza, it's pretty obvious what kinds of mothers (and damaged children) the state is looking for.

The unbelievable misconception vassals have with imagining that the state exists to act in the best interests of the state's citizens blows me away. The state exists to exploit the vassals on their plantation. If it were not for the state, there would be no wars fought to create the illusion of legitimacy for the state's existence.

It's a Protection racket.

The state is not your friend. The state exists to corrupt the emotional education of children. The state is in the business of creating slaves who will go over the top for Queen, God and Country; build pyramids for peanuts motivated by dreams and be a miserable (i.e. good, repeat) consumer the rest of the time.

For that, you need Toddler mothers and fathers who desert their children. Nothing is by accident. Everything is as the masters of the plantation want it. They manufacture everyone as they desire them to be conditioned / brainwashed / emotionally corrupted.

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i love this site, but the e... (Below threshold)

April 23, 2013 11:00 AM | Posted by Jason: | Reply

i love this site, but the economics are deranged. But if you must have subsidies for useless people, lets put in the right incentives:
http://www.morganwarstler.com/post/44789487956/guaranteed-income-auction-the-unemployed

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I am learning quite a bit a... (Below threshold)

April 25, 2013 3:41 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I am learning quite a bit about the SSDI system firsthand, as well as all of the obfuscations baked into it because it is an option – a terrible one, to be sure, but it is there – that I may eventually have to consider.

There are mental illnesses that everyone has heard of: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, panic disorder. Then, there is PTSD. If you go on an average feminist website, fully 80% of the participants will claim to have it, and accordingly slap "trigger warnings" on every damn word they type, but they somehow can't articulate what PTSD is like. I can.

I grew up in a completely unstable, ridiculously abusive home, and it got so bad that I had to live with my grandmother for a while. I then left home and promptly got into a series of abusive relationships that replicated my childhood to a tee. The symptoms I suffer today are exactly what soldiers returning from war after being traumatized by it report. And, like many ex-soldiers and former Marines, my brain is actually damaged and has been changed because of the abuse. I engage in positive thinking, I've attended the "holy grail cure-all," cognitive behavioral therapy, and I've tried every class and type of antidepressant and mood stabilizer on the market. But my problem is not my mood. I am actually a fairly cheerful person. My problem is that my physical self does not cooperate and it gets my mental self down in the dumps.

Over the years, a collection of bizarre physical symptoms have manifested, impeding my ability to do many things. I got rid of socializing and shopping first; they cost money and take up energy I don't have. Next, I condensed my life down to basic parts: eat, evening walk, work, bedtime. Then, my ability to work started slipping because over the years, my health declined. I started needing 12 hours of sleep a night plus a 3-hour nap, I woke up with swollen and painful joints, and I developed a bowel condition mimicking Crohn's disease nearly exactly. I will have weeks of severely dehydrating diarrhea and even heavy vomiting during an attack, and it's a good day if I can keep down Gatorade and ramen broth. Doctors ran batteries of tests and found nothing.

The medical literature brushes these symptoms under the rug, calling them "fibromyalgia," or "chronic fatigue syndrome," and chalk them up to women being depressed. But interestingly, although these total body fatigue and pain syndromes do occur mostly in women, the literature illustrates a strong link between severe abuse as a child and developing a pain/fatigue syndrome as an adult. The other link? Exposure to war and killing as a young adult, and developing a pain/fatigue syndrome as an older adult. There are men who have what I have, and most are ex-soldiers.

Feminism loves to collect its rape victims (of which I am one, but what I went thru as a kid makes that rape look like a pleasant picnic in the park), its malcontents, its bruised and sad women, and show them to the world, "See?" They say, "The world is a terrible place for women because patriarchy." But you know what they'll never do? They'll never fucking advocate for kids who got their lives pulverized to shit because of abusive mothers. Never, never. Because ONLY MEN are violent, they say. What a crock! Of course they have to sweep anything bad that women do under the rug, but know that they are liars. Rotten, dirty liars. Most child abuse is done to male and female children by the mothers, terribly damaged women who themselves grew up in poverty and with abuse. It creates a cycle of anger, resentment, despondency and dispair, and of course, more abuse.

Of course, even so, I managed to sustain a career for a solid decade and a half. I don't have or want children, but the people in my life have seen me working, and more importantly, being a cheerful, patient, friendly person, and a good spouse to boot, and that is enough to break the cycle.

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(The cycle = of dependence ... (Below threshold)

April 25, 2013 3:44 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

(The cycle = of dependence and abuse, sorry that wasn't clear.)

For you TL;DR folks: Many people who collect SSDI are on it because of earlier violence in their lives. More violence is done by women than this country cares to admit to. We will never be able to raise the total number of productive, healthy working adults until we speak honestly about child abuse and admit that it's not all about evil disciplinarian fathers and dirty uncles.

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An additional scary hook to... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2013 5:12 AM | Posted by JackBluegrass: | Reply

An additional scary hook to SSI is assessment of continuing eligibility.

I have read of someone who claimed that confirming the continued eligibilty of all SSI recipients yearly from the start of receiving benefits is too burdensome. Of course, that meant burdensome to recipients, not to taxpayers.

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JackBluegrass - Do you real... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2013 6:10 AM | Posted by confused: | Reply

JackBluegrass - Do you really trust the government that gave us the current system and then screwed it up further to now act with surgical precision when deleting people from the system. You don't strike me as a big government type.
Oh - to those who want to compare our crisis to that of late stage Rome, well - there seemed to be a time when the productive of society would rather see the barbarians coming down the road than the tax collectors. Sure, you got giant stadiums and roads to nowhere and everybody and their brother in-law had cushy government jobs protected by politicians who were unaccountable, but why should that bother you to the point of forming your own walled off cities. Is that happening in this country today? Time will tell --

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Modern money theory snake o... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2013 9:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Saul's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Modern money theory snake oil, and you'll soon see where that leads.

Dejad toda esperanza, los que entráis

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You'll turn into nothing. T... (Below threshold)

April 29, 2013 9:24 AM | Posted, in reply to M's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You'll turn into nothing. The unused limb withers it doesn't prosper.

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Dude,Love it. I a... (Below threshold)

April 30, 2013 1:57 PM | Posted by JOhn: | Reply

Dude,

Love it. I agree with you, that if we are paying for people who can't or won't work in the first place, then we should not label them as disabled, and cut out the middle man altogether.

In Canada, we have a system called Welfare but it's now changed to the name Ontario Works, where it's program where people can get money to help them in hard times, with the requiste that they take work training programs, and ultimately get them back to work.

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Johnny doesn't address poin... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2013 6:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Olrac's comment, by Kiki: | Reply

Johnny doesn't address points. His mother subjected him to a really bad childhood in a cult. He comes here to rant about his mom. She was a christian, put on a lot of make up and wore wonderbras. Johnny hates motherhood, christianity, make up and wonderbras.

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Jonny, where do you get the... (Below threshold)

May 3, 2013 8:48 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Jonny, where do you get the idea that Romans were peaceful loving humane people? They had slavery, they conquered huge swaths of territory, they tortured and killed millions of people -- and some of that was for mere ENTERTAINMENT. A humane society would get its fun quotient by forcing slaves to fight to the death? A humane society would torture people to death by nailing them to pieces of wood until they died of pain?

Don't get me wrong, I read the Greek and Roman myths, I read the Delphic Maxims (http://www.flyallnight.com/khaire/DelphicMaxims/maxims.htm) and there is a lot to be praised about the ideas these pagans had about the world and society. It's just that if you're looking for "humane" as you put it, the Romans are as bad if not worse that the Christians. It was a society run by the powerful for the powerful with no place for anything to challenge the power and authority of the powerful.

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"SSI is 100% a gimmick"... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2013 3:23 PM | Posted by Jesse: | Reply

"SSI is 100% a gimmick"

100%? Really? So you've looked at EVERY SSI case and can say the definitively?

I know a lady. She's 54. She worked from age 16 to age 30 and found herself pregnant (sort of a "date rape" situation). Had her child, got married. Turned out the child was severely Autistic. No chance to go back to work. Raised her child, found herself with a 14 year old severely disabled child who requires near constant care and no income. She herself has a number of health issues including one of those "Pain Disorders" you so cavalierly dismiss in your article, that keep her in misery nearly all the time. She is now living on that "scam" $650 a month SSI payment because she isn't eligible for SSDI. I am a dyed in the wool Conservative but you tell me, what is she or someone in her position supposed to do?

Be careful how you make claims such as "100% a gimmick". When you do this you turn a readable, well spoken blog into another ignorant "party line" rant.

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She's exaggerating dude. Th... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2013 6:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

She's exaggerating dude. There are cases that SSDI is supposed to be used for, but a lot of them are more about getting poor, unemployable people assistance without having them be on welfare forever. So we diagnose them with pain disorders and/or psychiatric "disabilities" so that they won't be listed in the wrong sorts of statistics. If we didn't do that, the welfare system would be much larger, and the proles would demand things change. If they're all disabled, it's not a problem. They aren't unemployed, so the president can ignore them in unemplyment numbers, they aren't on welfare, so the welfare numbers look good -- in fact, they look like the numbers are going down if you can get the person on welfare while they wait for their SSDI diagnosis. Win all around.

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I shouldn't reply to anyone... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2013 10:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Jesse: | Reply

I shouldn't reply to anyone who posts Anon, but in this case I will.

Exaggerating? How utterly arrogant to presume to know anything about the situation. I see this woman daily, I drive her to doctors appoints, help her around the house, etc. There is no "exaggeration" going on here. The pain disorder is but one of several chronic conditions she has. For your information she struggled for quite a number of years to get through college after her divorce and graduated. Soon after her various conditions stopped her from being able to work at all.

I fully agree that the VAST majority of the entitlement state is simply a fraud enabling a class of "indentured voters" who exist simply to perpetuate the government's hold over everyone. What I am saying is a) the blog post is being illogical by using the term "100%" when that is clearly impossible b) not everyone who is on relief of various types wishes to be there and c) not everyone who has worked (and this lady worked in a high powered law firm at one point) can get SSDI and not everyone who gets SSI is a scumbag.

In your case, calling out or making ANY assumption about the particular case I'm referring to is impossible as you do not know anything about the case. Think before you type, in short.

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I'm not an expert on any of... (Below threshold)

May 5, 2013 11:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by Different_Anonymous: | Reply

I'm not an expert on any of this, but I'd like to point out that SSI being a gimmick and SSI helping someone who needs help aren't mutually exclusive. If SSI is set up to disguise welfare payments in the form of disability payments, and someone who has an actual disability gets SSI, it doesn't change the intent or the gimmick. It means SSI had a false positive: an accidental good result.

It's kind of like if I get really angry and start punching random people in the face, and one of the people I punched in the face deserved it for some reason. It doesn't mean that my actions are just, it means I accidentally did something right. It's different. I'm bad at analogies, but hopefully you see what I'm saying.

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It's kind of like ... (Below threshold)

May 6, 2013 6:47 AM | Posted, in reply to Different_Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

It's kind of like if I get really angry and start punching random people in the face, and one of the people I punched in the face deserved it for some reason. It doesn't mean that my actions are just, it means I accidentally did something right. It's different. I'm bad at analogies...

Your insight is only mildly corrupted but you are terrible at analogies; because if you get really angry, to the point where you're punching random people in the face; everyone would deserve it. You were born happy, humane, predisposed to joy and sane. Now you're angry. Everyone who acted or failed to act made you that way. Humans are responsible for Humanity. When they fail to act Selfishly by failing to rescue a child from their mother's molestation and rape, they wear the liabilities of their failure to perceive that their own best interests will never be served by apathy.

You would require RIP of course; we can't very well let you go around meting out justice because justice is how misery is propagated. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth; an entire world blind and toothless, gumming on everyone because their whore mothers made them imagine they're powerful predators who stand a chance on their own, fighting billions of others. You know what I mean, right? How toothless, imbecilic victims of their diabolical, whore mothers terrify decency with their maniacal firing first in a 5000-year-old War that has destroyed the entire planet (including the species).

They're not alive. I understand they imagine otherwise. We don't need to fight over our disparate definitions of being alive; the distinction will be moot soon enough.

The only hilarious thing is that humans never needed to fight over anything. We only needed not to fight to live in Utopia, but leeches....
_______________________

On the flipside, SSI cannot help someone who warrants being helped. If they cannot justify the investment in their care (in the way every child can without being able to communicate anything at all to the Toddler victims of misogyny who breed them for the purpose of misery), why on Earth would anyone want to sustain their remaining on it? What right do they have to lean on Humanity? Why would they even want to exist in misery-creating dependency unless of course, they'd been led to believe they were entitled to their miserable leaching? Or made to be irrationally terrified of death?

No one is entitled to live without contributing or producing value and no one has a right to live by virtue of their fear of death. You exist, you contribute. If you do not want to contribute or produce value but you cannot bring yourself to do the right thing and relieve Humanity of your psychotic existence as a liability, the only thing you need is to be assisted to the next stage of your journey. There is no controversy. There is no logic you can bring to bear against that truth.

Save your emotive arguments; they're for the slave victims of rape. Raping leeches need to be assisted (with the utmost tender sympathy and decency) until they all Rest In Peace or this world will never again exist in harmony. Religious misogyny is and has been the only disturbance of the peace. All the suffering is created by leeches who don't want to contribute or produce value but they want their filthy need to create suffering tolerated. Their insanity is intolerable. This is not my opinion. Their needy isn't going to destroy everything; everything of value has been destroyed.

They're just breeding children to be raped now; to build pyramids, fight slave wars and consume, consume, con...consumption is not sustainable. The horror - thank fuck - will all be over soon.

If you cannot exist without needing to cause suffering, get the fuck off the planet. Oh, you don't want to? Hmmm. Well. I guess we should just let you rape children? Yeah, that makes sense.

Geez louise, what could possibly go wrong?

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People like you are the rea... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2013 9:26 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Different_Anonymous: | Reply

People like you are the reason that, when I bring up that I enjoy Atlas Shrugged and thought it made some good points, people run away screaming. Holy crap.

Also, you win the bad analogy war, hands down. Needing assistance = raping children? Possibly that may be overstating things, just slightly. So people who need assistance are leeches and terrible and need to get off the planet, but if someone gets angry enough to punch random people in the face, it's society's fault? No chance that society also creates an environment that encourages ignorance, need, fosters unemployment, etc I suppose. Only your fury is a product of society--it's everyone else's fault that you're so angry. Narcissist much?

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I didn't mean YOU were exag... (Below threshold)

May 7, 2013 4:11 PM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I didn't mean YOU were exaggerating, I meant TLP is exaggerating when she calls the situation 100% fraud. It's really probably only 70% fraud, which is less than 100% obviously, but the point being that there's more fraud cases on SSDI than real cases. More people are diagnosed with pain disability disorders, especially at the low end of the caste system, than are really dibilitated. If it's not you, it's not you.


As to johnny's comment, let's just simply be real for a moment. Spock out if you like. Imagine all of the resources that go into making a FIRST WORLD poor person's existence. Your TV, your cell phone, your 500 calorie per meal diet, your free apartment. How many people could that money feed in India, in Africa, in Bangladesh? I would think just by calculations that the money used to feed a single First World poor family could feed an entire African village. I would not suggest that the answer is to kill those on SSDI, but I think that the thrust of his argument has less to do with Ayn Rand, and more to do with the resources and what could be dome with them in most other countries.

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Something else to consider ... (Below threshold)

May 9, 2013 10:27 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Something else to consider if it hasn't already been mentioned: the artist knew beforehand what the "experiment" was all about- or if he didn't, he eventually figured it out after a few drawings- which subsequently biased the rest of his drawings.

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I engage in positi... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 1:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

I engage in positive thinking, I've attended the "holy grail cure-all," cognitive behavioral therapy, and I've tried every class and type of antidepressant and mood stabilizer on the market.

Positive Thinking is a lie so it will never be a long-term solution; only thinking accurately will ever be sane.

I had fairly extreme PTSD after surviving the first 14 years of my life in a religious sex cult, built on the rock of child exploitation. At 19, I was a 2nd-year cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy but I didn't think I was going to last much longer because the incompetence and stupidity of people was driving me up the wall. This is such a petty, reduced species; some people are just demanding to be terminated but of course we live in a failboat Society where as long as you do your best, no matter how malicious or incompetent or dangerous or pathetic you are, leeches have structured a world to protect you.

My contempt for people, in general, had risen to a degree of misery. Whatever the opposite of happy is, I was that. I didn't understand anyone, they all seemed so stupid they might as well be certifiable; and once you're locked in that sort of mindframe you only see what you're looking for. I was keeping it more or less together externally but it was getting harder and harder and I was crashing, plummeting really; on the brink of spinning out of control when a friend I was snowboarding with asked if I wanted MDMA. I'd never taken a drug before or medicine of any kind really; he said it was good for partying so I shrugged and swallowed the pill he gave me.

An hour later, I felt emotions I hadn't felt in over a decade. I stood alone as snowflakes fell on softly on the cobblestone streets of Thredbo, and the anger just floated away. People were beautiful. The world was beautiful. I understood them. A drunk wobbled past, staggering, yelling obnoxiously as drunks do when they've lost all control, and he saw me and came up to peer at my face trying to identify me and he grabbed onto me for balance as he did so. Had that happened an hour earlier...

But I looked into his eyes and saw a victim, a fellow sufferer, a hapless soul lost in an alcohol-drenched world trying to find happiness and coming up exploitable and miserable, having lost all control. Laughing, I walked him home along the icy streets.

"You won't be punished for your anger, you'll be punished by your anger." (the Buddha)

MDMA cured my severe PTSD. Though it might take some thinking to get your head around, the truth is no one takes drugs recreationally. They just feel that's what they're doing, but the truth is they're searching for pain relief. The state prohibits medicine to flood the market with substitute poison; it's capitalism. It's inhumane. It's genocide.

A decade later, I noticed this article:
The safety and efficacy of ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder

Decrease in Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale scores from baseline was significantly greater for the group that received MDMA than for the placebo group at all three time points after baseline. The rate of clinical response was 10/12 (83%) in the active treatment group versus 2/8 (25%) in the placebo group. There were no drug-related serious adverse events, adverse neurocognitive effects or clinically significant blood pressure increases. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can be administered to posttraumatic stress disorder patients without evidence of harm.

It's official now, but it's still illegal because power is built on the rock of human suffering. In misery, humans spin out of control; that's the only way they can be controlled.

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So people who need... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 1:54 AM | Posted, in reply to Different_Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

So people who need assistance are leeches and terrible and need to get off the planet, but if someone gets angry enough to punch random people in the face, it's society's fault? No chance that society also creates an environment that encourages ignorance, need, fosters unemployment, etc I suppose.

Don't look now but you just (idiotically) contradicted yourself, though I cannot imagine you'll be able to perceive the truth with your mother-addled, combative, reduced mind.

There is no such thing as humane charity. If people can justify the investment in their future contribution (like every child can), it's not charity to help them. It's Selfish investment.

If people cannot justify being invested in (because they do not with to contribute or produce value; they just want to be carried by virtue of entitled, leaching 'logic') - like girls who want to be treated Right (and not as equals) or mothers who want to raise children Right (to love them instead of loving themselves; the definition of inhumane) or bums who no longer have a reason to live (outside of irrational fear of death) or old people with dementia (who didn't have the sanity / decency to plan ahead) - it is not charitable to enable their misery-creation.

It's suicide.

20,000 toddlers die every single day and they are the value. Mothers embittered by their forced retirement from face-painting whoredom who need a pretext for their existence to continue to be sustained? We should go with the toddlers. A needy mother's children are going to be as worthless a liability as her (statistically-speaking).

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The pain disorder ... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 2:43 AM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by jonny: | Reply

The pain disorder is but one of several chronic conditions she has. For your information she struggled for quite a number of years to get through college after her divorce and graduated. Soon after her various conditions stopped her from being able to work at all.

In utter unemotional seriousness, why does she want to 'live' at all?

The answer is irrational terror (traumatised by what is a natural part of life; death). Or can you explain another reason why she is happy to inflict suffering on the living, purely to sustain her own existence in chronic misery?

It's not heartless to help living creatures injured beyond hope of saving, out of their agony and into the next stage of their existence (or whatever). It's heartless to sustain their suffering. It's inhumane. And from a logical standpoint, it's psychotic because 20,000 toddlers (pure potential) die every day whilst this sort of dead weight chokes the economies of first world nations conditioned by leeches to sustain leeches whilst children die in their millions.

Don't tell me, all she wants is kids of Her Own right? Slavery is disgusting.

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Jonny, where do yo... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 3:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Jonny, where do you get the idea that Romans were peaceful loving humane people? They had slavery, they conquered huge swaths of territory, they tortured and killed millions of people -- and some of that was for mere ENTERTAINMENT. A humane society would get its fun quotient by forcing slaves to fight to the death? A humane society would torture people to death by nailing them to pieces of wood until they died of pain?

Humane might not be the right word but compared to the Holy Christian bloodshed and horror that followed...

I suppose they were leeches, like all violent empires who impose violence on anyone who didn't prepare for war or didn't prepare for war as obsessively; but they had ideas, logical ideas, very good ideas - far more logical than mainstream emotive insanity in this, our 'progressive' era of misogyny / emotional insanity.

"The three rudest words in the English language are sorry, please and thanks because all three are intended to substitute for what has value." (me, hah; it's just pure truth and should be quotable)

Rome understood the Christian Problem (leeching / dependency creation) more intuitively than any civilisation since, with the possible exception of cannibals.

"Whenever a cannibal is on the brink of starvation, the Lord, in his infinite mercy, sends him a fat missionary." (Oscar Wilde)
__________________________________________________
It was a society run by the powerful for the powerful with no place for anything to challenge the power and authority of the powerful.

That's not exactly correct. There was a lot of meritocracy inbuilt into the system; more than anything this world has really seen since (though it's cute that slaves will go out and fight for property rights of 1300 or whatever individuals who largely inherited - and proceed to continue hoarding - 94% of the world's wealth and won't be giving that up to logic).

Humans suck at perceiving Self-interest. Their mothers were needy and rather than allow them to have Self, their mothers broke their spines with shame (of being human) and made them suffer to please her. But sure. Tolerate the leeches that rape every child's mind with power (violence / force to 'persuade') and love (to induce Stockholm Syndrome).

You could rise up through the military and political ranks based on merit in Rome; that is, until their moral fibre was corrupted by leeches who bred children as human shields for the Colosseum.

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Johnny hates mothe... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 3:18 AM | Posted, in reply to Kiki's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Johnny hates motherhood, christianity, make up and wonderbras.

I hate lies and liars, correct.

All the misery in the world is a product of deceit and all the deceit in the world is the product of mothers who rape their children's minds with lies, for their sake (of course).

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Saying you hate religion is... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 3:22 AM | Posted by Scissor: | Reply

Saying you hate religion is just a poorly disguised way of saying you hate humanity.

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"See?" They say, "... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 3:36 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

"See?" They say, "The world is a terrible place for women because patriarchy." But you know what they'll never do? They'll never fucking advocate for kids who got their lives pulverized to shit because of abusive mothers. Never, never. Because ONLY MEN are violent, they say. What a crock! Of course they have to sweep anything bad that women do under the rug, but know that they are liars. Rotten, dirty liars.

This is 100% correct and I suppose it always has been. I see no evidence of a patriarchal society in History, at all. No men have a motive to create worthless leeches out of women unless they are men who don't want to work, except on choirboys perhaps.

Mothers and priests (leeches) have created this world of unspeakable horrors and Polite Society ("If you have nothing nice to say, then don't reveal the truth about the malicious") keeps it all hidden from view.

Well this is what men do to women in 2013. So Not Suitable for Polite Society

Her crime was one that men are insane to imagine they should despise. It's just filthy Toddler whores lying to children about biology.
_____________________________________

I honestly don't know what has to happen to a human mind to make them this vile but Feministing.com says the graphic in that article explains violence against women.

You need to put these liars down. This is insanity beyond the pale. Mothers employed to raise children Right with violence and love introduce the corruption that is the perceived need for power into a human child's mind when they steamroll their will over the top of their children's crushed Self in callous and brutal fashion that can only ever be the result of ignorance beyond anything remotely culpable.

However, they choose to be reduced by misogyny after their mothers' acid sprays them. There is no getting around that fact. Girls can tell the truth at any time.

Good luck drawing blood out of a stone. Filthy liars. They're shameless, amoral sociopaths.

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Jee-zus tittyfucking Christ... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 3:50 AM | Posted by Scissor: | Reply

Jee-zus tittyfucking Christ.

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Saying you hate re... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2013 3:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Scissor's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Saying you hate religion is just a poorly disguised way of saying you hate humanity.

Insanity shouldn't be permitted to be expressed so freely. It is not my opinion that the above is insane; there is no working. No argument. No logic. No reasoning. That it is a bold-faced, provable lie is to be expected, but I mostly want to point out that anyone who does this no longer has value in retaining on the planet. They're just a screaming liability.

Religion is the polar opposite of Humanity. Humans don't need religion to be good, they need religion to be bad. If humans weren't conditioned with the corrupted emotional education of Yahweh Shibboleth's need to muster armies (for the purpose of leaching, genocide, slavery and pillaging), they'd be humane.

I don't think this is especially disputable. Human DNA codes humans to be Selfish, humane, happy and sane; to do what we want, when we want, with whom we want, so long as it's not hurting anybody (empathy regulates). It's all perfect.

But a needy whore of misogyny who wants to be a leech that makes others to suffer to please her comes along and with her needy lies, her need for love, her filthy shame (at being human) and her limitless fear; every child is destroyed by her emotional degradation. And the boat sails on Happiness for life. In terms of logic, the formula looks like this:

[You + X] = Happiness.

X = [whatever you need to be happy]. It's a trick equation; you were already happy. Joy is the natural state of humankind. You just don't remember how you were happy once.

You need not to need.

In need, you will become someone else's X.

X needs to be removed from the equation.

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so you're basically saying ... (Below threshold)

May 12, 2013 12:20 PM | Posted by Agent Smith: | Reply

so you're basically saying that the upper classes are willing to give up some of their resources in order to avoid a revolution by the lower classes. By doing so they maintain the status quo and therefore their position of power.

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What nonsense! Halleck dem... (Below threshold)

May 13, 2013 2:02 PM | Posted, in reply to doug's comment, by Maximo Macaroni: | Reply

What nonsense! Halleck demolished this "labor theory of value" argument years ago (1900, if I recall). Why should workers own technology when they did nothing to invent it? Why should workers be able to steal from the truly productive engineers and systematizers? Even salesmen produce more real value than dumbhead assembly line workers.

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Why should workers... (Below threshold)

May 13, 2013 2:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Maximo Macaroni's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Why should workers own technology when they did nothing to invent it? Why should workers be able to steal from the truly productive engineers and systematizers? Even salesmen produce more real value than dumbhead assembly line workers.

Well they're not dumbheads who imagine they control standing armies, so they have that going for them.

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to "auntiegrav" who said th... (Below threshold)

May 13, 2013 3:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Auntiegrav's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

to "auntiegrav" who said that every citizen has a right to subsistence support.

How in the world can anyone have a "right" to someone else's labor or resources to support him? Isn't that slavery? This argument is so old it should have a beard. The 100 million or so dead in Socialist nightmares in the 20th century are rolling over in their graves.

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you are so stupid you hones... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 4:40 AM | Posted by SuckMyFeedingTubeAsshole: | Reply

you are so stupid you honestly don't deserve to breathe. i don't think i've ever read a blog written by any jackass half as pompous and downright retarded as you.

did it ever occur in your absolutely dog-shit coated brain that most people on ssi are *actually fucking disabled*? no, i'm sure it didn't, because you are just a dumbfuck who knows how to use a thesaurus and rile up the lowest common denominator with dem big wordz u be usin.

how about we arrange to meet up and after i give you the same spinal damage i have, by beating you senseless with my cane, i then shove the feeding tube i depend on to keep living up your smarmy ass? and then you go out into the world and fend for yourself. oh, and no, you don't get a wheelchair to do it in, since you seem to think that people with completely fucking mangled bodies COULD get a job if they wanted to, they just choose not to.

i guess i should have been born normal so i would actually DESERVE to not die in the street, clearly it's my own fault. or maybe it's just my lazy mother's fault except--oh, wait. she DID work and pay into the system, and so did my grandmother and my great grandmother. all the menfolk as well. huh, gee willakers, i wonder if they had EXACTLY this in mind when they did it--that should any of their progeny be born with a broken, useless excuse for a body, that those poor unfortunate souls wouldn't just be tossed into a sewer for the vermin to feast on.

i seriously hope that you are badly physically mangled some day. normally i don't wish that on people, but, you know, i think you could do with learning that particular lesson the hard way.


TL;DR version: you're absolute garbage, go fuck yourself.

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Just a question. W... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 8:50 AM | Posted, in reply to SuckMyFeedingTubeAsshole's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Just a question.

Why are you remaining alive?

If you exist solely to create suffering for others, and cannot contribute to Society or to happiness or to the Greater / Common Good, why?

Why are you still in the game? Are you simply too afraid to die?

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because the need t... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 9:15 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

because the need to contribute to society is the real illness? In other words, why don't you tell us what ways you "contribute to Society" before you judge the value of others' lives?

You sound like goddamn Ayn Rand.

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jonny:wow, that's ... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 10:09 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by SuckMyFeedingTubeAsshole: | Reply

jonny:

wow, that's a really ignorant question. i remain alive because there are people i love. because there are people who love me. because i enjoy living my life, limited though it may be in some respects. because i'm a god damn human being with friends and family and interests i feel passionately about, you absolute waste of humanity.

are you really arguing that people who are disabled to any extend where it may render them unable to work, have no quality of life and deserve to--nay, WANT to--die, and the only reason they don't die is because they "fear death"? you're just as stupid as the author of this worthless drivel, then. and clearly lacking in compassion or understanding of what being human is. (hint: its not being some kind of idiotic corporate automoton who places no value on peoples lives past financial.)

again, you are absolute garbage, go kill yourself.

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you are absolute garbag... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 10:40 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

you are absolute garbage, go kill yourself.

+1

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I have always read your pos... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 11:10 AM | Posted, in reply to jonny's comment, by higher than a mofo: | Reply

I have always read your posts and blog with a lot of interest even though it is hard to understand you. But in this post you convey nothing but real ignorance, and a lack of humility(which is not unexpected). You talk about a world without need, and also about people contributing to society. Why should someone without need have a need to contribute to society if they don't want to? Or are you imposing what you consider is an obligation to others?

Oh so you think the homeless and the disabled have to right to live because they are "leeches of society"?
All this time I had been thinking that you were talking about decency of character and the ability to leave others alone because, well, WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO WITH YOUR TIME IS FUCKING IRRELEVANT TO WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON?
I can't believe I had been reading you wrong all this time.

"The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless." -T.S. Eliot

P.S. You claim to have a great ability for logical thought, but the examples of your opinion about women you give here(in other posts) comes down to:

Every swan I have seen is white ---> all swans are white.

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Life is a struggle. Get ove... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 11:26 AM | Posted by RiverC: | Reply

Life is a struggle. Get over it, people!

Also, anyone who claims to have solved half of the world's problems in their head has done just that, solved half the world's problems in their head. Regrettably, more than half of the world's problems don't exist solely in your or my head.

Another point, if suffering is itself defined as the problem, as though the system itself is the only problem, there are no real solutions. Let's look at it another way: You must suffer, all must suffer. What shall be made of our suffering? Usually problems in the system actually just boil down to problems in people anyway.

From that perspective, it's not whether people suffer or not, but rather whether or not a good end can be given for their suffering. We care for the weak and the infirm not because we shall eliminate suffering, but rather to ensure that people are not overcome by its severity.

People are born in pain and die in pain, as they say, and did you, O man, choose your birth? We have no choice as to whether we will suffer or not, much less whether others will. If people have no end other than to avoid pain, then morality can be simply reduced to 'cause others no suffering'. Since humankind is built to suffer, it can easily be as immoral to prevent suffering as it can be to inflict it. To grow is to struggle, and to not grow is to die.

We just don't have the luxury of that simplification.

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Alone comes from that syste... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 7:53 PM | Posted, in reply to SuckMyFeedingTubeAsshole's comment, by KdeTX: | Reply

Alone comes from that system where people who intend never to work line up in droves to get a diagnosis and collect SSI. You are an individual who needs it and the need is fully justified. Two different individual views. He never made a blanket statement condemning everyone on SSI so I don't think it's fair for you to come at him with such vitriol. He sees one side of it, you see another. I've seen some of both.

What I think could have been mentioned is that, yes, the system will be abused, but all systems are. The point is that despite the abuse it's still there for people like yourself who truly need it. That makes it worth it.

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Or, more to the point, the ... (Below threshold)

May 31, 2013 9:44 PM | Posted, in reply to KdeTX's comment, by RiverC: | Reply

Or, more to the point, the massive abuse of the system threatens valid cases, in the sense that a backlash is possible. While it is doubtful there will ever be any serious government cutbacks, if there are, SSI will get targeted because of waste and abuse. It does no good to give knee-jerk defense of something that is helping you (since you are obviously invested in it) when it is being rampantly abused by others. If you think about Chavs in Britain, while it may very well be that someone was helped get back on their feet or was kept from homelessness and didn't cause problems because of the free council housing. But the abuse of it and the side effects are so rampant, that those helped by it will be threatened when it comes time to pay the piper.

Thus for SMFTA, I think they should be very concerned about this abuse - because it may very well take away their lifeline at some future date.

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OP states in the article:</... (Below threshold)

June 2, 2013 1:02 AM | Posted, in reply to RiverC's comment, by SuckMyFeedingTubeAsshole: | Reply

OP states in the article:

"the gimmick is that the only way to deliver cash payments to poor people is through the pretense of disability, hence mental illness and pain disorders."

mental illness and pain disorders are actual conditions. i know people with one or the other and both. ever heard of CRPS? no? please google it. and as someone who is "supposedly" a psychiatrist, you'd think he/she/it would be a little bit more informed about mental illnesses and how truly debilitating they can be.

OP also states that the children of people receiving SSI won't "contribute to society" either. there is absolutely no basis on which to make that assumption, so it's just stupid rhetoric. just because i'm disabled, doesn't mean i'm going to--should i have kids some day--shove that child into the system because oh hey you can get free things.

life on ssi blows. i don't get enough income to cover all of my needs. being on medicare & medicaid means that they can deny coverage for whatever medications and treatments they want to regardless of how badly my doctors know that those things will help me have a better quality of life. and might even enable me to work some kind of a job that isnt physically demanding. im fighting my way through college, one class at a time. i have a body that doesn't function and i still try because this isnt a life anyone would want to live if they didnt have to. im not even "comfortable" financially, im just surviving. barely.

additionally OP says on no uncertain terms that the problem is people who have never worked and will never work. and by that definition he absolutely was talking to me. he doesn't differentiate between the handful of people that really are scamming the system and the bulk of people who really aren't. which as far as i am concerned that makes him and anyone who agrees, a problem too.

he made grand generalizations about illnesses he knows nothing about, and doesn't sound any different from the ignorant morons who think that if you get food stamps you're milking the system and driving an escalade and living in a mansion while faking "middle child syndrome" to take people's hard-earned tax dollars away from them.

MOST people who receive any kind of benefits due to being disabled are actually disabled. and none of us are driving escalades unless it was bought from a junkyard. that's nothing but a misconception perpetuated over and over again by people who don't really know anything.

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His November 2010 "The Terr... (Below threshold)

June 2, 2013 2:43 AM | Posted, in reply to SuckMyFeedingTubeAsshole's comment, by Ryan: | Reply

His November 2010 "The Terrible, Awful Truth About Supplemental Security Income" article covers his conspiracy theory in much more detail.

"mental illness and pain disorders are actual conditions. i know people with one or the other and both. ever heard of CRPS?"
Of course they are real, they aren't going to invent fake diseases. The actual affected people give the system its legitimacy, it wouldn't be able to withstand the scrutiny if well-connected people repeatedly knew apparently healthy people receiving it. It works because his conspiracy targets the inner-cities, where people usually have bigger fish to fry than trying to get their neighbor investigated by the federal government.

" just because i'm disabled, doesn't mean i'm going to--should i have kids some day--shove that child into the system because oh hey you can get free things."
Of course if you ARE disabled and your child isn't it doesn't mean anything in that regard, this was about people who weren't disabled but were still receiving benefits. Just like if you are paid by a corporation, but actually work there, it's nothing special, but if you are willingly getting paid a corporation and don't work there, you might think that was a pretty good gig and tell your kids (since of course the misrepresention is obviously not a problem if you are accepting the unearned pay).

"i don't get enough income to cover all of my needs."
It says that in the 2010 article; they are only paying people enough not to riot, they aren't going to give more than the minimum.


"MOST people who receive any kind of benefits due to being disabled are actually disabled."

That's true in lower-middle class areas and above (as he noted, this doesn't work well "for anyone with a driveway"). At least in the previous article, this was specifically about psychiatrists practising in inner cities and undeveloped rural areas. His plan for a psychiatrist getting rich was going to an inner city and diagnosing lots of people with depression and the like.

Also, he used scare quotes with the 'The welder who "gamed the system"' because he said those who receive benefits without the disability weren't actually "gaming" or "abusing" the system, the government intentionally funnelled them into it.

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A minor quibble on the dist... (Below threshold)

June 2, 2013 4:10 AM | Posted by brad: | Reply

A minor quibble on the distinction between SSI and SSDI.

A person receiving SSI whose parent begins collecting regular old age social security can switch to SSDI despite never having worked a day in his life. The rate is half of the primary social security recipient's amount (with some wrinkles).

After two years on SSDI the recipient can enroll in Medicare, generally while also keeping Medicaid. Medicare plus Medicare is better than almost any private health insurance -- the lack of co-pays of Medicad with the wide doctor choice of Medicare.

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So far. It won't last forev... (Below threshold)

June 5, 2013 12:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

So far. It won't last forever.

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The real problem is demogra... (Below threshold)

June 6, 2013 11:04 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The real problem is demographics. People continue having kids no matter how bad economic indicators get. People have kids, then wonder if jobs will exist when those kids grow up. Harvard and other colleges are finite, yet people are amazingly surprised that it's harder each year to win one of those very finite slots, even though the number of people applying increases each year. I am among many who maintain a middle class lifestyle by abstaining from parenthood. Yet those on SSI have as many as they want, then complain of their lot?

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This is a silly mistake. </... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2013 8:54 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RiverC: | Reply

This is a silly mistake.

1. People need to have kids. Period.
2. Telling people not to have kids and given reasons is most likely to cause intelligent people to have fewer kids, since they are already predisposed to this anyway
3. This will not have any effect on the majority of people having kids, who either aren't listening or don't care about the argument
4. Result: The people who should be most having kids have fewer, while those who should have fewer children have the same amount or more.

There's never a guarantee of 'jobs' anywhere; people have always had to make their own way. That's a chimera.

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But the point here is not w... (Below threshold)

June 7, 2013 11:01 AM | Posted by Samuel Anderson: | Reply

But the point here is not whether poor people deserve living wages, the point, again, is that since this is precisely what they are getting, already and irrevocably, can we do it more efficiently, cheaply? Why do we have to go through all this bureaucracy that massively inflates the costs-- for example, Medicaid. More info at this web site.

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Do any of you even know a s... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2013 4:32 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Do any of you even know a single person on SSDI or SSI, because you're all making a lot of really big assumptions here that would really make you look stupid if you had any real experience.

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Anonymous: ... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2013 10:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Anonymous: why don't you tell us what ways you "contribute to Society" before you judge the value of others' lives?

What are you talking about? No one has a Right to lean on Humanity. If you're not paying your own way, it is an inherently valid query to ascertain why exactly you remain alive? To create suffering?

If you cannot keep yourself alive, someone is suffering to sustain your existence. To expect that you are entitled to this imposition is psychotic insanity. This world owes you nothing. To want to create suffering so that you can prolong your existence is an outrage. How dare you!

SuckMyFeedingTubeAsshole:i remain alive because there are people i love. because there are people who love me.

Ah love. That enslaving, obligating, manipulative, conditioned, unnatural (when it's not felt for Self or briefly by a mother for her defenceless young), corrupted, religious construct.

Those who love you don't want to lose you; I sympathise. They should sustain you. Why should Society sustain you? I'm asking questions; I'm asserting nothing about your case - I'm asking you to make the logical case for why Society should be investing in you. Screaming emotional hatred at the idea that someone would ask you to justify the suffering you're imposing upon innocents is hardly convincing.

Where's the unemotional logic in defence of your imposition? This world owes you nothing. Society owes you nothing. Humanity owes you nothing. What gives you the Right to impose? Make the logical case.

are you really arguing that people who are disabled to any extend where it may render them unable to work, have no quality of life and deserve to--nay, WANT to--die, and the only reason they don't die is because they "fear death"?

Their reasons don't matter. If they cannot justify the investment in their existence being sustained, they are outrageously indecent for even wanting to impose their suffering on others. The money used to sustain their zero-potential existence could be used to assist children dying at a rate of 29,000 under the age of five every single day; infinite potential v outrageous imposition. No one has a Right to their imposition. The living have a Right to an existence free of hijack.

higher than a mofo: Why should someone without need have a need to contribute to society if they don't want to? Or are you imposing what you consider is an obligation to others?

We're not talking about people with Self here. No one should have to contribute to anything if they're not imposing. This discussion is about those who impose. Either you are very confused or I am.

Every swan that is imposing on others to sustain their non-contributing (we're only talking about people who cannot sustain themselves) existence is not a swan at all; they're leeches sucking the will to live right out of the world. No one has a Right to life. The living have a intrinsic Right to live free from imposition. This is the purest logic imaginable.

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RiverC: If ... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2013 10:38 AM | Posted, in reply to RiverC's comment, by jonny: | Reply

RiverC: If people have no end other than to avoid pain, then morality can be simply reduced to 'cause others no suffering'. Since humankind is built to suffer, it can easily be as immoral to prevent suffering as it can be to inflict it. To grow is to struggle, and to not grow is to die.

That would be a perfect morality.

"Pain is certain, suffering is optional." - the Buddha

Who says humankind is built to suffer? Where do you get off making such outrageously inhumane religious proclamations? It's a bold faced lie. Our DNA is encoded to get out of suffering, to relieve pain; it is not the natural state of humans to live in chronic pain.

"Immoral to prevent suffering?" What the devil God? I haven't heard such brazen religious filth in years. Vomit. Empathy really should preclude your making such an inhuman assertion. Has yours been bankrupted?

To grow doesn't necessarily require suffering, and suffering doesn't necessarily generate sustainable growth. We're growing towards unsustainability (M.A.D.) so this point is already proved. We don't need the pyramids afforded by the harnessing of human suffering. We need nothing that exploitation and pain can offer.

SuckMyFeedTubesAsshole: i have a body that doesn't function and i still try because this isnt a life anyone would want to live if they didnt have to. im not even "comfortable" financially, im just surviving. barely.

...he doesn't differentiate between the handful of people that really are scamming the system and the bulk of people who really aren't.

If yours is a life no one would want to live if they didn't have to, why do you have to?

One logical reason for why there isn't a differentiation between scammers who impose and legitimately disabled who impose is that they're both imposing. They cannot take care of themselves. It's irrelevant why when they simply cannot. So what's the problem? Why do they want to exist by virtue of the suffering they inflict upon others?

To what end is all this suffering being created and endured? It's purely religious leech-serving misery. Prove me wrong. Make the logical case.

"May all that have life be delivered from suffering."- the Buddha

All the need for imposition is sourced from those who do not have the capacity or willingness to sustain their own existence.

There is no need for suffering.
1. Find out who needs it.
2. Ascertain why is it believed to be needed.
3. Shine truth and logic into the darkness of lies, fear & malice.
4. Bring an end to the need for need.

With no more need, Humanity will be returned to Neutral and there will be no more slavery. Day 1 of utopia. Anyone standing in the way of that needs to be humanely moved out of the way. I am not imposing and I will happily die for the Greater Good so why aren't the leeches able to make the case for why they don't want to remove their needy imposition from the equation for global happiness?

Trick question; who could possibly give a fuck? Put the inhumane leeches down.

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Come, it has always been tr... (Below threshold)

June 13, 2013 6:21 PM | Posted by Carl Pham: | Reply

Come, it has always been traditional to pay for your charity by personal humiliation. The medieval Church required you to abase yourself and ask for forgiveness before you got it; in fact Catholicism is remarkable in saying that alone will probably be sufficient -- good works and penance are cherries on top, the essence is the asking and recognition of what you're asking, id est, the personal humbling.

And this makes sense. Human beings, social animals that they are, hate personal humiliation more than anything, considerably more than death in the normal case. The police completely rely on this to solve crimes. We might as well set the cost of charity high enough to minimize demand, inasmuch as its other qualities (ease without work) are so attractive.

What is interesting I think is to ask why NPR and its fellow travelers work so hard to alleviate the personal humiliation aspect of accepting charity. Is it because they really care about the recipients? Of course not. As any dumb conservative will point out, in increasing bewilderment and frustration, if you really cared about the welfare of the poor, objective facts and a modicum of logic would drive you towards conservatism. Teach a man to fish, et cetera. So we can rule that one out as the flimsiest of bullshit excuses proffered for the least intelligent of listeners.

What then? If indeed personal humiliation is that which makes accepting charity most painful, and we insist upon it precisely because it minimizes demand, and this is exactly what they attack, it follows -- assuming none of us is stupid, in the sense we all possess sound tribal primate instincts -- they want to stoke demand.

They have every practical reason to. The left used to point to the military-industrial complex and say those who sell weapons of war have every reason to promote, or at least do nothing to prevent, the continuance of war.

Indeed. I would only add that this is equally true for a metaphorical war -- on poverty, let us say.

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Who the FUCK is paying for ... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2013 1:09 PM | Posted, in reply to B-dawg's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Who the FUCK is paying for ads to take MORE FREE TAX DOLLARS?

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More like, a swan held him ... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2013 1:40 PM | Posted, in reply to higher than a mofo's comment, by K: | Reply

More like, a swan held him captive and raped him and now all swans throughout the history of swandom have been and will be captors and rapists. Either way, every good thought he brings to the conversation is drowned in a boiling sea of irrational personal hate that attempts to heal or deal with personal past wounds. It's too bad... Substitute "whore mothers" with "modern society" and this lunatic, at least, agrees with much of his sentiment.

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As a side note, the system ... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2013 1:59 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Kelsey: | Reply

As a side note, the system is set up not only to make difficult the process of recognizing the need for birth control (poor/underfunded early education contrasted with little or no communal/familial examples of an educated sex life) obtaining & using birth control ($30-90 a month most "poor" people - scratch that, poor WOMEN, don't have), and finally ABORTIONS (god forbid) that are EXORBITANTLY EXPENSIVE for a "poor" WOMAN to access when needed; but to actually produce monetary INCENTIVE for these children no one can pay to educate or feed once alive. WIC, SNAP, etc. - the more poor mouths in the household the greater the pay out for the breeder.

It really is not the individual's fault that the system is set up like that, nor is it the individual's fault for utilizing what system is there to be used. It is my fault for allowing that system to be in place without amendment, my fault for paying tax dollars to support it, our fault for not demanding something different of our representatives... Except they are not our representatives. They are members of a system that holds a very different agenda. The sooner we as a society stop blaming our poor and focusing on the system that allows them to exist as such, possibly, the sooner a solution could be attempted.

As it is, does all of our ranting against the abusers of the existent system achieve anything?

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More like, a swan ... (Below threshold)

June 20, 2013 1:45 AM | Posted, in reply to K's comment, by jonny: | Reply

More like, a swan held him captive and raped him and now all swans throughout the history of swandom have been and will be captors and rapists.

You degrade yourself with nonsensical, deceitful, childish smear like this. I was effectively abandoned during my formative years; my mother didn't need me or my love. She didn't care if I lived or died until I was five. You were made to love a needy 'mother'. I was not. As a result, you are blinded but I can see a more clear reality.

Decades later, I watched the light of life drain from my siblings' eyes as the Self they possessed (which made them my emotional superior) was chipped away. They're dead now; even worse, they're...polite. There's no light in their eyes; they're considerate and insulting robots, forced to care about the non-existent feelings imagined in the minds of creeps like their 'mother'. I watched in agony, hapless; I knew she was destroying them. I pleaded with their oppressor so many times to stop forcing them to do what they didn't want to do but that God-wielding demonic whore Knew Best how to make worthless slaves that loved her and suffered to please creeps. Like most 'mothers', she attacked what makes humans valuable (Self) and reduced them with her force, coercion, violence, putrid emotional manipulation and love.

A whore's favourite manipulating trick is to label anyone who doesn't please them as abnormal, shameful, an embarrassment, disgrace or - especially for mothers - a burden. Children on this planet are emotionally molested by the most horrifying betrayal imaginable. Their one mirror is evil.

Any 'mother' that wants children to love her is an amoral sociopath who wants slaves. They Know Best how their slaves should feel in any given situation, turning them into sociopaths in the process. Humans aren't humane because they feel what they know they're supposed to feel; they'll feel that way for as long as they need to.

But they don't feel truly. It just feels true to them in the moment of need. Their feelings are as variable from moment to moment as their 'needs' (preferences, desires, wants) require. People are stupid if they don't know What Women Want; they want what they're entitled to by virtue of being born female:
* Malice without consequence.
* Deceit without illumination.
* Exploitation without complications.
* Obedience without question.
* Pleasure without reciprocation.
* They want their male slaves to be loyal but they also want to steal the loyal slaves of other leeches. They hate women because they know those women are trying to steal their man who belongs to them; they'll be indignant whilst simultaneously attempting to steal men who belong to other, competing slave owners.
* Women want everyone to suffer to please them.
* Women do not want to have to justify.
* What women do not want is a discussion about female reproductive biology. Hah.
* What women want is to have their cake and eat it as well.

"Some things are not meant to be understood, but to be accepted."
____________

Either way, every good thought he brings to the conversation is drowned in a boiling sea of irrational personal hate that attempts to heal or deal with personal past wounds. It's too bad... Substitute "whore mothers" with "modern society" and this lunatic, at least, agrees with much of his sentiment.

You want to blame the crimes of mothers on "modern society" so that women can continue to exploit themselves without their shame being illuminated, I understand.

Whore is a descriptive word. It's as emotional as your corrupted mind perceives it. Mother is a descriptive word. No mother is a mother if they're not a constructive force in their children's lives and who needs to reduce her children will never be a mother.

If you have a problem with my use of words to describe the behaviour of women, their Self-degradation and their preference for Self-defeating evil; you need to bring a logical argument to persuade. I will not be moved by your filthy lies and your smear.

What Women Want is to be allowed to fuck anyone without attention being drawn to the fact that they've blown their youth on sex. Their denial sounds like:

"I can't believe I'm doing this. I literally never do this."

"I get drunk at frat parties because...guys shouldn't rape!"

"I date date-rapists because we have a connection."

"I have sex with too many guys because I feel bad turning them down."

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This will be the right webl... (Below threshold)

June 25, 2013 9:23 AM | Posted by piyush001: | Reply

This will be the right weblog for any individual who desires to find out about this topic. You understand so much its virtually hard to argue with you (not that I essentially would want?-HaHa). You absolutely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Very good stuff, just excellent!

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DSM-5:Cast your ne... (Below threshold)

June 30, 2013 4:58 PM | Posted by Louise: | Reply

DSM-5:

Cast your net wider and you'll catch more fish.

It's not rocket science.

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Wow. Some of you folks are ... (Below threshold)

July 25, 2013 10:08 PM | Posted by J: | Reply

Wow. Some of you folks are cranks, and being cranky is fine, it means you're smart in a very particular way, but that doesn't mean you can divorce conservative talking points from your line of thinking by saying "I'm not talking about conservative talking points." Chesterton? Ha. Catholicity aside, his problem with distributism was not realizing his ideology was universalist, but his solutions were not. Venerable guy, isn't brought up enough nowadays, and the properly intellectual conservatives never cease to at least make me think. But saying SSI is part of the end game? That's doomsaying. Some of you folks seem to crave the apocalypse... We're a species, the species is valued, the individual is valued, the nation-state is a wink of the eye.

I get that labeling poverty as mental illness (in essence) is bad shit, bordering on Marxist-theoretical, but as soon as a druid was brought up, the conversation died. How did Greer wind up in a post on SSI and the false-consciousness of the proletariat?

More pertinently, have any of you guys ever, you know, thought humanism is a more encompassing philosophy than The Terminator...?

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Some of you folks ... (Below threshold)

August 3, 2013 3:08 AM | Posted, in reply to J's comment, by jonny: | Reply

Some of you folks seem to crave the apocalypse... We're a species, the species is valued, the individual is valued

By whom?

We've been surviving on needy credit for over 5000 years and the liabilities we've been shrewdly avoiding are going to need to be paid very soon. It's game over.

More pertinently, have any of you guys ever, you know, thought humanism is a more encompassing philosophy than The Terminator...?

Not if mothers are too stupid to understand their leaching cannot be sustained, it's not. Whilst there are leeches, humanism will simply be a Confidence trick sold to children and naively decent men.

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Unfortunately this process ... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2013 9:34 AM | Posted, in reply to Jon Cloke's comment, by fiona: | Reply

Unfortunately this process deprives many government workers and deserving lawyers of their daily bread in gaming the system and acting as gatekeepers for entry. How can you be so cruel?

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Make work for SSDI. THis i... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2013 9:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Make work for SSDI. THis is what killed HEad Start. We had all these unemployed moms hanging around and it looked like a really cheap way to provide employement (Babysitting) for them instead of the original idea, educated workers that the children would not normally come into contact with.

As for picking up trash, etc. - have you seen the union protests about Boy Scouts trying that on trails in National Parks? Too many broken rice bowls.

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Who picks up the garbage? ... (Below threshold)

October 13, 2013 9:50 AM | Posted, in reply to amateur volcanologist's comment, by fiona: | Reply

Who picks up the garbage? In my neighborhood, one guy and a large truck has replaced 4 guys and a large truck. Waiting for the auto drive truck next decade.

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FTFP: The welder who "ga... (Below threshold)

October 23, 2013 11:14 AM | Posted by Bedlamist: | Reply

FTFP: The welder who "gamed the system" at 45 at least caused his kid to observe him as a worker for the formative first 8 years of the kid's life.

His kid from his first marriage or his third? You'd be not only showing your social class but also point up the bigotry sustaining its mindset by intending the former: generally speaking, based on my 50 years of experience being a poor guy, the age of first fatherhood rises with socioeconomic status. It's not uncommon for really poor guys on the South Side of Chicago to be at least biological fathers by the time they're 17, while it's not uncommon for guys whose only real-life experience with The Baddest Part Of Town has been speeding past on I-90 (if not flying over it) to delay causing a human birth till their mid-30s.

Granted the very very rich, who probably inherited the bulk of their social position, throw the scale off because there are usually no real consequences for anything they do aside from giving everything away to follow some deity, but with men as with women if parenthood will hinder you in Establishing A Career you're apt to delay reproduction until the damage lessens. (This also goes for women who hope to make a Career of finding and milking a rich spouse: most men don't want to raise some other guy's kid and most mothers for some unfathomable reason won't want their sprogs packed off to boarding school.)

But the poor have been taught not to plan ahead and consider the consequences of their actions so they'll remain poor and susceptible to other people's power, so poor guys were most likely going to stop their education at highschool anyway if indeed they don't drop out long before they could be promoted out. And (or so?) in the world of Poor you're expected to become a father and either work to raise the kid or to pay child support as soon as you possibly can, whether you've got the skills to not make a hash of it or not. As a proletarian you are only valued for your exploitability, and part of that is producing the next generation of Exploitables.

If you hope to become, say, the last psychiatrist on the Internet, marrying your childhood sweetheart is a fine idea as long as you put it off till you've established your career and started spending down your massive debt as well as supporting yourself and an office prole or two. (And if you can hold on to your childhood sweetheart for that long it proves you're a bona fide stud with a ton of heavy equipment, but that's not germane at the moment.)

On the other hand if "work" means going into the coal mines and going into the coal mines means getting out of your wife-&-kid-beating drunken daddy's house into your own, having a ball-&-chain with bun in the oven might well work in your favor because coal bosses know that Heads of Families are much easier to push around and rip off than guys who can just as easily move to West Hollywood and become a drama queen. (This was the Mob's employment strategy in Grisham's The Firm as well.)

Being a certified near-genius I swore off even the chance of having to support a wife & kid in order to make my future of poverty more bearable, but then I taught myself most of the book larnin' I know from reading books whose titles other guys in my stratum are kept from learning to pronounce: I'm not supposed to have this wisdom, I'm supposed to hope to get my own McDonald's franchise after 30 years of working my way up to bing Manager of someone else's. (It's having knowledge like this while being stupid enough to express it in public that has helped me get SSI in 1986 and keep it this long: for one thing I have a talent for "conspiracy theorizing" and getting upset when people beat up on me instead of heeding my warnings; but that too lacks germanity here.)

As for your career, it's more likely that they'll set up "robots" to diagnose people onto SSI than that they'll eliminate the program (or so I hope anyway), unless anti-poor shrinks like you preach them into dumping us poor loonies onto the Salvation Army because you can afford to not rely on Medi-Cal to support your social status and its concommitant biases. (Thanks a fucking lot, d00d.) If that's not what you intend to do, if you're not trying to persuade the Thrones & Dominions to purge the SSI roles of psychiatric outpatients, perhaps you need to sober up long enough to get a grip.

You might be correct that one of the functions of SSI is preventing riots & rebellions, but you'd be wrong to imagine that the only causes of those disruptions would be economic, at least in the narrow sense. Consider that we can only collect SSI and the Medicaid that goes with it if we're not locked up in a loony bin or more likely prison, so besides the economic incentive we have for keeping the peace many of us also have an emotional incentive: so we can kep getting the cheap or freee medications that make our shitty lives somewhat bearable.

And not only do I have to approximate positive citizenship to keep getting rewarded with rent & DSL, I'm also incentivized to avoid becoming hooked on heroin: my dead junkie buddy was right, the smack I tried a few times years ago would make me feel a whole lot better than bupropion XL and citalopram ever could, but Medicaid won't cover it (nor would any of the jobs my few practical skills might get me if I weren't nutty as a fruitcake), so I'd have to commit illegal and perhaps unpeaceful actions to procure my thrice-daily fix. Acts that might well lead to me going to prison (or suiciding by cop to avoid that), costing me the SSI that supports me and the Medicaid that has helped support folks like you. See?

By the way, to shine up my tinfoil beanie a second, the Nurture that allegedly reinforced the Nature of my inherited propensity toward lunacy had to do with the disjunction between my intellectual capabilities and my parents' poverty: e.g., poor 3rd graders are not supposed to be able answer the teacher's invitation to spell "antidisestablishmentarianism" on the blackboard, and woe betide the 4th grader who gets caught defining it in class. (Without an open dictionary too: it was looking it up after figuring out how to spell it that first taught me about "the separation of Church and State.") Not only will lots of other kids shun, dislike and even beat you for being a "fag" but most teachers and almost everybody in the Principals' offices will regard you as uppity, and together they will keep stomping on until you either shoot up the place or (thank heaven!) curl up into a whiny little ball in a corner someplace (which is my M.O. in a nutshell). Note that "poor kids should be stupid" might not be part of an actual Iron Mountain kind of plan, but it sho nuff do work out that way as I'm sure you've got to admit.

A general corollary of his general rule is that people who get SSI for psychiatric diagnoses are generally smarter (or at least read better) than those who rely on physical ailments. And that, as you point out above, people who get SSI are often born into poverty. Voila! Part of being a Mad Prophet on the Internet is being a pertinent illustration of the stuff I preach about.

So, anyway. Two things:

1) Does it irk you that people who grew up half-starved because their parents were too proud to take the Food Stamps they qualified for can not only read your blog but answer it? Or am I being semi-paranoiac again?


2) If your blog will link to mine and/or my LiveJournal I'll be able to answer your posts elsewhere instead of posting comments that are longer than your posts (if not stupider); I've provided my Yahoo address for any reply just in case. To appeal to your professionalism as well as your (im)patience, it might well be therapeutic for me to have my own blog that people might actually know about so I'll have something more or less constructive to do over the Winter.

Okay? Okay.

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Actually, widespread idlene... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2013 6:02 PM | Posted by Cato: | Reply

Actually, widespread idleness (enabled by widespread welfare programs) is more likely to lead to rioting than if people have to work for a living. I don't know if you've noticed, but places with high unemployment (especially among the young) and relatively generous welfare programs -- places like Greece, Palestine, France, the UK, etc. -- tend to have more rioting than places where the reverse is true.

Another too-often-ignored factor: massive immigration by low-skilled workers tends to suppress wages for low-skilled labor. The people most harmed by this are, of course, the indigenous low-skilled population.

Educated elites like to pay lip service to caring about the plight of the low-skilled, and they try to demonstrate their care by supporting redistributive policies, but ultimately, they benefit greatly from easy access to cheap labor. How many upper-middle-class families mow their own lawns or take care of their own kids these days? This lifestyle is made possible by a steady stream of cheap pliant labor.

As to the notion that indigenous low-skilled people won't do these jobs -- sure, if you only offer $8-10/hour for back-breaking labor, they'd rather sit home and collect their SSI and SSDI checks, thank you. If, mirabile dictu, the illegal immigration spigot were turned off tomorrow, it'd take some time to transform the expectations of a generation or two of people habituated to the current "arrangement" -- we turn a blind eye to your gaming the welfare system, if you turn a blind eye to our using cheap illegal immigrant labor.

After a while, employers would realize they need to offer that "living wage" the left keeps banging on about, only without the violent coercion of law, but with the gentle nudge of supply-and-demand economics. Imagine that: the poor get the dignity of work and relatively higher wages. But some of the upper-middle-class types may have to mow their own lawns, so no dice.

As long as the river of illegal immigration continues to flow, why pay $15-20/hour (with benefits) to an out-of-work African American whose family has been in this country for 250 years, when you can pay an illegal immigrant from Mexico $8-10/hour under the table for the same work? Bonus perk: the Latino immigrant will be more "submissive" because he/she will be reluctant to report violations of her/his labor rights to the authorities.

Alas, I suspect the current system will stay in place as long as there isn't a sudden flood of illegal immigrant journalists, lawyers, academics, and politicians to undercut the wages of our chattering classes.

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I have a question. Does the... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2013 12:19 AM | Posted by Cody: | Reply

I have a question. Does the government HAVE to support people who DON't want to work by giving them Medicare/welfare? I mean, what else are they going to do, let them starve? If you were the government, would you let people starve to death?' for example.
Thoughts?

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HA! Found a book about exac... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2014 8:03 PM | Posted by Molly: | Reply

HA! Found a book about exactly this- on accident no less- "Fraud in Mental health" by the Therapist. When I see ads to "become a social worker" I think- "you better read this book first". The details about SSDI fraud are easy to understand. After reading this book- WOW I would NOT want to be a therapist or a psychiatrist- EVER! Well, not in a government run clinic anyway.
I think it's only kindle. Not sure. Some parts are pretty funny.

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Farming is a lot harder tha... (Below threshold)

March 11, 2014 11:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by beansnip: | Reply

Farming is a lot harder than you think. Most farmers where "generational" with 18-20 years of practical, hands on experience. You don't just hand someone a shovel and some seeds expecting good results. If you do all you get is a discouraged person and a hole.

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