Repubs 0, Demos 0--EVERYBODY gets a big fat zero...

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Fell Swoop

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Jan 10, 1995, 5:01:21 AM1/10/95
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And so it comes out, in hearings today, that the Democratic welfare reforms
also call for children being taken away from their parents and placed in
"group homes."

V-"Which, of course, are waaay better than orphanages."-X

It's coming, really (YAY!): The World Wide Web Jack Chick Archive!
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"Is good to use detectiveness! To fight hard, and then win!"
--The Flaming Carrot

Fell Swoop

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Jan 10, 1995, 11:59:16 PM1/10/95
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In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.950111141241.29409F-100000@world> Geenius at Wrok <gee...@evansville.net> writes:

>On 11 Jan 1995, Alex Darke (as Stacie Brown) wrote:

>> I grew up in group homes from the time I was 9 until I was almost 16.
>>
>> They taught me that this world is about dog eat dog and that if you see
>> someone you must DESTROY them before they destroy you. They taught me
>> that the value of a human life is nothing more than what the governemtn
>> is wiling to pay for it. They taught me that in the end nothing matters
>> but who has the power over you and that unless you can eliminate them,
>> they will elliminate you.

>That explains Gingrich's fondness for them. They sound like an ideal
>environment for the budding demagogue.

You're a little mixed up, Geenius--the "group homes" are part of the Democrats
welfare reform package, which was the original point of my post.

Of course, we're not going to be hearing about that for the next three months,
or see a "Murphy Brown" episode hurriedly made about it, the way we have with
the Republican plan.

Repubs want "orphanages."

"We're Milk and Cheese! We aim to please! (PTOO!)"

Jennifer Basil

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Jan 11, 1995, 7:33:25 PM1/11/95
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Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:
: And so it comes out, in hearings today, that the Democratic welfare reforms
: also call for children being taken away from their parents and placed in
: "group homes."

: V-"Which, of course, are waaay better than orphanages."-X

Just goes to show you....everyone is out of touch with reality on
capital hill. *shakes head*

Jenny, gearing up to work on the next election (I've missed the
last two, so I feel like I have no one to blame but meself if
I'm unhappy.)

--
Jennifer Basil (ba...@bio.bu.edu) Has angst, will travel.

"Gas smells awful;
nooses give;
guns aren't lawful;
You might as well live."
....Dorothy Parker


Jennifer Basil

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Jan 12, 1995, 1:26:20 AM1/12/95
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Jennifer Basil (ba...@bio.bu.edu) wrote:
: Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:
: : In article <3f1hve$j...@dunix.drake.edu> sjb...@dunix.drake.edu (Stacie Brown) writes:

: : >I just don't know how in the hell to make people understnad how
: : >dangerous those places ARE for children.

: : And now he exacts his terrible revenge on poor little news groups full of
: : ghost story lovers...

: Ok...please someone, please correct me if I've missed something, which
: I hope I have..

apparently I have missed something...either way, still seemed kinda
insensitive.

sorry for the intensity of the flamage...still think it's not
something to joke about, tho.

welcome to jenny's icky irish temper!

Jenny


: --

Jennifer Basil

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Jan 12, 1995, 11:33:58 AM1/12/95
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Stacie Brown (sjb...@dunix.drake.edu) wrote:

: Stacie Brown (sjb...@dunix.drake.edu) wrote:
: : Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:

: : : And now he exacts his terrible revenge on poor little news groups full of
: : : ghost story lovers...

: : : (Heh.)

: : that was an inadvertant troll that made me famous...read the faq...:)

: : Alex

: Now I feel really bad that I was joking around in a thread about
: something that I care about.

: Jenny...you have probably read the email I sent you explaining all of
: this.

Yeah, I feel like a bit of a loser, but hey. Arg...I don't even
comprehend what half the messages mean in the only newsgroup I
read anymore! *sigh* Eitherway, the tone of the message sounded
jokey, and after reading your post on group homes I was amazed
and stunned anyone could joke at *all*. All *I* could do was stare
silently at the screen and try to breathe.

Once again. sorry for the intensity of the flamage. But, I think
Alex's post is a pretty strong argument against institutionalizing
children whether you call it an orphanage or a group home. I only wish
the dolts on capital hill would stop looking at 1930's movies and start
talking to people who really know.

Can I beam off, please?

Carl Beaudry

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Jan 12, 1995, 1:02:10 PM1/12/95
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Fell Swoop wrote:

> And so it comes out, in hearings today, that the Democratic welfare reforms
> also call for children being taken away from their parents and placed in
> "group homes."

Don't blame Congress for this one.

With *overwhelming* (75% or better) majorities of Americans telling
pollsters that we've got to spend less on welfare and with the media
pandering to disinformed public bigotry by running apocryphal pieces like
the food stamp fraud story on ABC last night, is it any wonder that
Congress is responding to the groundswell of public backlash?

And lets not forget the voices of reaction that have been trumpeting the
"cut welfare" rhetoric right *here* on a.s.g.x.. All Congress is doing is
giving the voters what they are *urgently* demanding and it is *not*
reasonable to expect that an elected leader will defy huge majorities in
favor of such hateful idiocy. (Although Mario Cuomo did.)

Until voters learn some math and pay close enough attention to government
to understand the difference between entitlement spending and welfare
spending, then those with the least political protection--poor children
and their parents--will consistently get reamed by a tragically
*dis*informed political system. And we'll all see the consequences
immediately in infant and child mortality and later on in social decay and
regionalized increases in violent crime.

Just like the fallout from the cuts of the early 1980s which were enacted
amid identical rhetoric about personal responsibility, welfare queens and
wasteful excess in antipoverty programs, we're about to make the same
mistake yet again. Someday people may finally recognize that those are
calculated and manipulative lies told by people who know better and which
are aimed to seduce the middle class into a Faustian bargain with the
interests of the overprivleged.

And anyone who voted Republican this last time around is to blame for
these idiot-cretin welfare-reform proposals from both sides of the aisle.
The message of 'Contract with America' was received by *both* parties. You
cannot 'throw the bums out' in a vaccuum.

We need *more* welfare spending not less. And the only methods that have
ever mitigated the concentration of wealth in a democratic state have been
violence and taxation. You can take your pick between the two.

--Carl (liberal with an earned right to be disgusted)

Douglas Lathrop

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Jan 12, 1995, 1:05:41 PM1/12/95
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In article <3f2tla$d...@dunix.drake.edu> sjb...@dunix.drake.edu (Stacie Brown) writes:

>Alex
>(Some mistakes you can never take back...but I'm in the faq!)

What faq? You mean we actually have a faq now?

D O U G L A S P. L A T H R O P
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
ASGX Poster Child, Dionysus Emeritus, Monster Truck Neutopia Spokes Person
Visit Stately PAPER CUT MANOR! http://www.primenet.com/~lathrop/index.html

Fell Swoop

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Jan 12, 1995, 1:08:33 PM1/12/95
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In article <3f2b84$a...@news.bu.edu> ba...@bio.bu.edu (Jennifer Basil) writes:

>Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:
>: In article <3f1hve$j...@dunix.drake.edu> sjb...@dunix.drake.edu (Stacie Brown) writes:

>: >I just don't know how in the hell to make people understnad how
>: >dangerous those places ARE for children.

>: And now he exacts his terrible revenge on poor little news groups full of
>: ghost story lovers...

>Ok...please someone, please correct me if I've missed something, which
>I hope I have..

>Is it just my interpretation, or are you making light of the awful
>experiences of the ONLY person on this thread who really has any
>real knowledge about what group homes/orphanages are like?

It's just your interpretation...

>His LIFE is a 'ghost story'? I don't give a flyin' hoot if it's
>a 'group home' and that's a *Democrat* word. He's making a valid
>point based on information no one else here can possibly have, and
>you respond with this crap? What is *wrong* with you?! This is
>hardly hearsay, and it's hardly political...it's his *life*.

Oh, Jenny...

>I don't think he has some political agenda here. I don't think he
>cares WHO thought the group home was a good plan. I don't think he
>cares whether you call it a group home or an orphanage. I don't
>think he cares whether you're a Democrat or a Republican. I think
>he thinks institutionalizing children in any form is a bad plan, and
>I think he knows 100 fold more than we could ever imagine.

Oh me, oh my...

>Once again, I *really* hope I missed some inside joke here. Because
>the filter you read his post through seems to have negated the only
>*first hand facts* we have here. You groan when you don't get the
>facts on one thread and then laugh when you are handed a lifetime
>full of facts on another.

You missed a BIG inside joke between myself and Mr. Darke. You can get
something of a hold on it by reading the alt.folklore.ghost-stories FAQ, or my
recent parody of it on r.a.g-s, which may still be at your site if you hurry...

>I'm stunned.

You're probably more stunned now...

>: (Heh.)
>^^^^^^^^^

>Neat. Really neat.

Hmph.

Officially beginning in the wee hours of January 12th:


The World Wide Web Jack Chick Archive!

http://www.teleport.com/~vx/jackhome.html

Timothy Burke

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Jan 12, 1995, 1:18:50 PM1/12/95
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In article <beaudry-1201...@beaudry.swarthmore.edu>,
bea...@cc.swarthmore.edu (Carl Beaudry) wrote:

All true...but there's still more to it than this, I think. The
orphanages/group homes proposals are not in fact cheaper--they represent
MORE spending on welfare if actually implemented, which I doubt they will
be. I'd expect more likely that the incredibly puny amount of federal
dollars now going to those programs typically lumped into "welfare", like
AFDC, will simply be cut.

So why is the orphanage proposal such hot stuff all of the sudden? Why is
either party offering it, even if they never mean to follow through on it?
I think it's the next logical ideological step in the public demonization
of that mythical creature, the lazy welfare recipient, who is also
significantly envisioned in political discourse as female and black. What
is this next step? Well, since everyone's got a big political hard-on for
cutting benefits, you can't score demagogic points any more by simply
calling for more cuts.

The only way to sustain the whole ritual is to subject imaginary "welfare
classes" to actual punishment...the orphanages proposal is offered up as
part of the overall *carceral* vision touching so many other
institutions...we will not only remove people from what Republi-crats and
Limboheads fantasize is the awesome generosity and largesse of the federal
government, we will remove them from public visiblity, lock them away from
decent God-fearing Americans in "homes".

If anyone doubts this, take a look at Gertrude Himmelfarb's weird
delusional op-ed piece in the NY Times last week, the gist of which was
"Hey, Victorian Britain was a pretty cool place after all, and a great
model for the contemporary U.S.".

Douglas Lathrop

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Jan 12, 1995, 1:19:50 PM1/12/95
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In article <3f3llm$r...@news.bu.edu> ba...@bio.bu.edu (Jennifer Basil) writes:

>Once again. sorry for the intensity of the flamage. But, I think
>Alex's post is a pretty strong argument against institutionalizing
>children whether you call it an orphanage or a group home. I only wish
>the dolts on capital hill would stop looking at 1930's movies and start
>talking to people who really know.

I've talked to a number of Gimps who grew up during the good old days when
disabled children were routinely institutionalized (roughly the 1920s through
the early 1960s), and Alex's post would have been all too familiar to them.
There's just something about warehousing human beings that rots the soul - it
brutalizes those being warehousing, while those doing the warewhousing either
become burned-out and cynical or corrupted by the power they have over these
other human beings who are at their mercy.

Maybe one of these days the congressional copy of _Boys Town_ will break and
they'll read Dickens or _One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest_ instead, or listen
to people like Alex. And maybe one day monkeys will fly out of my butt.

Carl Beaudry

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Jan 12, 1995, 2:37:13 PM1/12/95
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Timothy Burke wrote:

> The only way to sustain the whole ritual is to subject imaginary "welfare
> classes" to actual punishment...the orphanages proposal is offered up as
> part of the overall *carceral* vision touching so many other
> institutions...we will not only remove people from what Republi-crats and
> Limboheads fantasize is the awesome generosity and largesse of the federal
> government, we will remove them from public visiblity, lock them away from
> decent God-fearing Americans in "homes".
>
> If anyone doubts this, take a look at Gertrude Himmelfarb's weird
> delusional op-ed piece in the NY Times last week, the gist of which was
> "Hey, Victorian Britain was a pretty cool place after all, and a great
> model for the contemporary U.S.".

Saw it. She's been ranting like that about Victorians for years. She's as
close to an academic loon as I've ever encountered in print.

Thing is, people really *do* want to believe that the poor are
constitutionally different from the rest of us. It's far easier to
reassure onesself that one can never be poor if you believe there is some
intrinsic difference between them and us. Otherwise, it's "but for the
grace of God go I" every time you pass a poor person.

Which is a chilling prospect indeed.

Himmelfarb's history reminds me of those pieces in the early 1980s about
how slavery was really not so awful. My favorite was the one about the
odds of having ones family broken up by being sold off were 25 to 1 in any
given year--which makes it *very* likely to happen within a normal
lifetime.

What people will believe because they want to is simply amazing.

--Carl

coates

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Jan 12, 1995, 2:45:40 PM1/12/95
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Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:
: You're a little mixed up, Geenius--the "group homes" are part of the Democrats
: welfare reform package, which was the original point of my post.

: Of course, we're not going to be hearing about that for the next three months,
: or see a "Murphy Brown" episode hurriedly made about it, the way we have with
: the Republican plan.

You picks your enemies, you takes your chances.

I mean: the *only* reasons the Dems are proposing group homes is because
(i) the Republicans are threatening worse and (ii) the Republicans got
enough votes and seats in Congress to convince the idiotic Dem pols
(including Clinton) that they can get reelected only by acting like
Republicans.

None of which is really a justification. Just explanation.

--
john coates
I liked the recent Village Voice cover
that puts Republican faces on the Sergeant Pepper's cover
and includes Bill Clinton in their midst, looking sheepishly
at his feet.

Message has been deleted

Jennifer Basil

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Jan 11, 1995, 11:17:08 PM1/11/95
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Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:

: In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.950111141241.29409F-100000@world> Geenius at Wrok <gee...@evansville.net> writes:

: >On 11 Jan 1995, Alex Darke (as Stacie Brown) wrote:

: >> I grew up in group homes from the time I was 9 until I was almost 16.
: >>
: >> They taught me that this world is about dog eat dog and that if you see
: >> someone you must DESTROY them before they destroy you. They taught me
: >> that the value of a human life is nothing more than what the governemtn
: >> is wiling to pay for it. They taught me that in the end nothing matters
: >> but who has the power over you and that unless you can eliminate them,
: >> they will elliminate you.

: >That explains Gingrich's fondness for them. They sound like an ideal
: >environment for the budding demagogue.

: You're a little mixed up, Geenius--the "group homes" are part of the Democrats
: welfare reform package, which was the original point of my post.

: Of course, we're not going to be hearing about that for the next three months,
: or see a "Murphy Brown" episode hurriedly made about it, the way we have with
: the Republican plan.

: Repubs want "orphanages."

Oh, which are so different, of course. From what I've read, they have
the two most significant things in common:

1) Yank kids away from parents
2) Put them in a big old place without much hope of individual attention.

I think that was his point.

Fell Swoop

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Jan 12, 1995, 10:16:53 PM1/12/95
to

>Fell Swoop wrote:

>> And so it comes out, in hearings today, that the Democratic welfare reforms
>> also call for children being taken away from their parents and placed in
>> "group homes."

>With *overwhelming* (75% or better) majorities of Americans telling


>pollsters that we've got to spend less on welfare and with the media
>pandering to disinformed public bigotry by running apocryphal pieces like
>the food stamp fraud story on ABC last night, is it any wonder that
>Congress is responding to the groundswell of public backlash?

We *do* have to spend less on welfare. It costs an idiotic amount of money,
most of which goes to maintaining and building the system itself, not to the
people it's supposed to help.

Does anybody else remember an article back in the mid-80s where someone
figured out how much it would cost, paperwork and all, to just send every
family in the US under the poverty level a tax-free check for $15,000.00, no
strings attatched? It ended up being something like 20% of what we currently
spend--or maybe less--it's been a while.

The "welfare queen" stories are smokescreens--the fact is that welfare is a
woefully inadequate system, overloaded already with snoops and regulations,
that hampers those using it more than it helps. My sister was on it (she's
unmarried with two kids, the father's dead, and his mother kept all his money
and insurance), and was constantly thwarted in her attempts to get off. If
she got a part-time job, her benefits were cut accordingly. When she went to
college, her benefits were cut. (Although welfare *does* vary from state to
state, and if she'd moved across the river to Washington, which has a more
user-friendly welfare system, she might have actually gotten aid in going to
school instead of a kick in the butt.) She couldn't finish school, and pulled
herself off welfare and works a really crappy job, and seems to have given up
hope, pretty much, that anything better will ever happen to her.

What needs to happen, and is completely impossible, is a massive and momentary
"union busting" that allows the federal and state governments to fire just
about everyone, if not everyone, working in the welfare system, and start over
from scratch, without possible legal recourse from those fired, but doesn't
allow the government to exploit that opening later.


>And anyone who voted Republican this last time around is to blame for
>these idiot-cretin welfare-reform proposals from both sides of the aisle.
>The message of 'Contract with America' was received by *both* parties. You
>cannot 'throw the bums out' in a vaccuum.

Yeah, right. The fact that the Democratic Party has no integrity at all is
the Republican's fault. (Not that I'm saying the GOP has any.)

I have absolutely no respect for a party that controlled the entire
legislative branch for a decade and then the executive branch for two years,
and spent the entire time whining that the minority party was ruining
everything. Which is not to say that a minority party is powerless, not at
all, and the Republicans *were* responsible for blocking Demo legislation.
But that's what they're *supposed* to do. That's what Republicans elected
them for. The fact that the Democrats played the game astoundingly badly
isn't the Republicans' fault.

>We need *more* welfare spending not less. And the only methods that have
>ever mitigated the concentration of wealth in a democratic state have been
>violence and taxation. You can take your pick between the two.

Maybe. I wouldn't mind more being spent, if I knew it was being spent wisely.
I don't car that much about cheaters--somebody's always going to figure out a
way to scam--but the system should be helping people, not double and
triple-checking every request for a new pair of glasses or a wheelchair
repair...

Officially beginning in the wee hours of January 12th:

The World Wide Web Jack Chick Archive!

http://www.teleport.com/~vx/jackhome.html

Jennifer Basil

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Jan 11, 1995, 11:29:56 PM1/11/95
to
Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:
: In article <3f1hve$j...@dunix.drake.edu> sjb...@dunix.drake.edu (Stacie Brown) writes:

: >I just don't know how in the hell to make people understnad how
: >dangerous those places ARE for children.

: And now he exacts his terrible revenge on poor little news groups full of
: ghost story lovers...

Ok...please someone, please correct me if I've missed something, which
I hope I have..

Is it just my interpretation, or are you making light of the awful
experiences of the ONLY person on this thread who really has any
real knowledge about what group homes/orphanages are like?

His LIFE is a 'ghost story'? I don't give a flyin' hoot if it's


a 'group home' and that's a *Democrat* word. He's making a valid
point based on information no one else here can possibly have, and
you respond with this crap? What is *wrong* with you?! This is
hardly hearsay, and it's hardly political...it's his *life*.

I don't think he has some political agenda here. I don't think he


cares WHO thought the group home was a good plan. I don't think he
cares whether you call it a group home or an orphanage. I don't
think he cares whether you're a Democrat or a Republican. I think
he thinks institutionalizing children in any form is a bad plan, and
I think he knows 100 fold more than we could ever imagine.

Once again, I *really* hope I missed some inside joke here. Because


the filter you read his post through seems to have negated the only
*first hand facts* we have here. You groan when you don't get the
facts on one thread and then laugh when you are handed a lifetime
full of facts on another.

I'm stunned.

: (Heh.)
^^^^^^^^^

Neat. Really neat.

Jenny


: Officially beginning in the wee hours of January 12th:


: The World Wide Web Jack Chick Archive!

: http//www.teleport.com/~vx/jackhome.html
: Hi, Canter & Siegel !


: "Is good to use detectiveness! To fight hard, and then win!"
: --The Flaming Carrot

--

Message has been deleted

Fell Swoop

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Jan 13, 1995, 10:14:30 AM1/13/95
to

>Fell Swoop wrote:

>> We *do* have to spend less on welfare. It costs an idiotic amount of money,
>> most of which goes to maintaining and building the system itself, not to the
>> people it's supposed to help.

>Before I chime in with some statistics, how much do you *think* we spend
>on anti-poverty programs? (ie. those programs where eligibility is
>means-tested, where you can be disqualified if you have too much money.)

I will admit, I have no idea. My thoughts are based on the word of people you
probably detest, and the experience of friends who have been on welfare,
combined with my experience with public workers--my wife works in public
assistance in Clark County, WA, and frankly, about 75% of the staff should be
fired and replaced immediately. They are mean, cranky, unqualified people who
do nothing but create ridiculous in-house feuds and complain about not getting
paid enough, when they're lucky not to be working as maids or fry cooks.

>This is a serious question since I honestly believe that you have been
>systematically lied to on the subject. I've posted lots of numbers on this
>topic before and I'll doubtless do it again. I'm just curious as to what
>specifically has created your impression. Was it the oft-repeated canard
>about the poverty rate being the same as it was before the Great Society
>spent [insert huge number here] of dollars? If that's all it is, then my
>job is easy.

I honestly wish you would, and if I haven't proved anything else on a.sg-x, I
think I've shown that I will own up to being wrong, even *really* wrong.

>Entitlements are *not* the same thing as what people commonly refer to as
>"welfare." Broadly conceived, *any* program can be called "welfare" and
>conservative demagogues have used that term to discribe AFDC but *not* the
>business lunch deduction though both result in taxpayers bearing the cost
>of feeding some people and not others.

Educate me further, Carl, please. We can take this to e-mail, even. I am
concerned about this, and embarrassed by my lack of knowledge. I haven't
really known where to start looking, though...

>And according to the budget committee nerds, the business lunch deduction
>costs the treasury more than the school lunch subsidy for poor children.
>But guess which one is assailed by conservatives for being too expensive?

I can guess...


>> Does anybody else remember an article back in the mid-80s where someone
>> figured out how much it would cost, paperwork and all, to just send every
>> family in the US under the poverty level a tax-free check for $15,000.00, no
>> strings attatched? It ended up being something like 20% of what we currently
>> spend--or maybe less--it's been a while.

>I've seen a number of intentionally rigged computations like that. Most of
>them use the number of people in poverty *after* benefits are counted as a
>base (which assumes that current programs are maintained in addition to
>the cash giveaway) and most also ignore the net payback to the treasury
>that funds a good portion of welfare (for example, food stamps and
>surpluss giveaways are tied to agricultural stabilization programs and so
>have much lower net costs to the public.)

>I can write an awful lot on this subject if you care to cite any single
>one of those bits of disinformation. Start with P.J. O'Rourke's screed if
>you like. *Please* do. I've already dissected his claims on the subject of
>welfare in considerable depth. He even found time to praise Charles Murray
>in one of them. (prior to Murrays little foray into racial eugenics that
>is).

Was it P.J. O'Rourke who said this?

>So again, before I quote any specific numbers. Do you *think* we spend
>more than $288 billion on means-tested welfare programs?

Again, I have no idea...

>By contrast, the amount of money that pays for *anti-poverty* programs,
>(ie. the ones that *only* go to the poor) is quite small compared to
>entitlement spending and certainly when compared to entitlement growth.
>As I said, I think that you've bought the stereotype without checking the
>numbers. Tell me what you *think* the welfare numbers are and I'll post
>some numbers of my own.

I probably have.

>> The "welfare queen" stories are smokescreens--the fact is that welfare is a
>> woefully inadequate system, overloaded already with snoops and regulations,
>> that hampers those using it more than it helps.

>Yep.

>But the only way to fix welfare is to make it far more *expensive* to
>administer and pay for. Not to mention raising benefits.

>In the words of notable conservative Charles Murray: "In many cases there
>is nothing a poor child can learn that will repay the cost of teaching."
>And Murray's 1984 book 'Losing Ground' is the single most frequently cited
>conservative study of the issue. Do you endorse this too?

Ugh. No.

>
>> What needs to happen, and is completely impossible, is a massive and
>momentary
>> "union busting" that allows the federal and state governments to fire just
>> about everyone, if not everyone, working in the welfare system, and
>start over
>> from scratch, without possible legal recourse from those fired, but doesn't
>> allow the government to exploit that opening later.

>Great. After demonizing the poor *and* those working with them we can move
>on to yet another scapegoat before we admit that the vast majority of the
>voters are either contemptibly callous or so woefully misinformed about
>the nature of social programs that they are responsible for the
>wretchedness of the present arrangements.

I still stand by that statement. I know something of which I speak, and
government workers are (a) generally overcompenstated (the difference between
what my wife earns now, in salary alone, and what she made doing much the same
thing privately is just absurd--not to mention the insurance and other perks
we had none of before) and (b) largely underworked. A lot of government work
resembles that ridiculous factory in _Atlas Shrugged_, the one that collapsed
when all the real workers left, because they'd had all the responsibility
shifted to them and off of the 90% of the workers who were shirking.

(BTW, Joy is one of John Galt's stalwarts, and deserves every useless paid
retreat she gets. She's one of those people who keeps everything running,
stays out of stupid controversies, is not afraid to put her job on the line in
real ones [She and her boss went to the local media recently, and to the city
council where they serve, which they had been forbidden to do, to bring down
the county head of Social Services. It worked, and the head was asked for
her resignation, but it could have gone the other way in a second...), won't
call in sick when even when she's *really* sick, and generally is a welcome
slap in the face to me when I slack. Can you tell I'm proud of her?]

>Gimme a break.

>Blaming social program employees (many of whom *are* odious) is just
>shooting the messenger. If the *citizens* are not responsible in a
>republic then just who the hell is? I thought conservatives *favored*
>taking responsibilty?

Maybe you're right. I dunno. I find it difficult to shoulder the blame for
thousands of louts who have settled into cushy union-protected berths to mark
time until retirement, but maybe I am responsible.

>> >And anyone who voted Republican this last time around is to blame for
>> >these idiot-cretin welfare-reform proposals from both sides of the aisle.
>> >The message of 'Contract with America' was received by *both* parties. You
>> >cannot 'throw the bums out' in a vaccuum.
>>
>> Yeah, right. The fact that the Democratic Party has no integrity at all is
>> the Republican's fault. (Not that I'm saying the GOP has any.)

>No, but the fact that those who have tried to do something about the
>problem's in welfare programs have been consistently voted out of office
>*is* the fault of conservative voters. So also is the fact that present
>entitlement spending is tilted toward those who need it least. I can cite
>specific budget proposals if you don't believe me.

I wonder what you're talking about when you say "need it least,"
though. I didn't get to finish school. I didn't start until I was 24. Part
of the reason was because my parents were "middle class," but they couldn't
afford to help me *at all,* except maybe a hundred bucks at the beginning of a
semester now and then to help with supplies. You wouldn't believe how
un-employable a graphic artist who didn't even get his B.A. can be. So if
you're calling, say, student loans to middle class kids "help for those who
need it least," I can't agree with you. I need some kind of new student aid
program *bad,* but I'm not going to get it. I'm not trying to get sympathy,
certainly not from a group that includes people like Mr. Lathrop, but who
"needs it least," in your book? You included workman's comp in there.
Roofers and maids who bust their asses all day, and slip in mop water or fall
off a ladder--they "need it least?"

This "The poor vs. everybody else" mentality has got to end, on both sides...

>And it ain't liberals who created the mistaken stereotypes of federal
>programs that you cited here. Quite the contrary, the people who have
>consistently proposed legislation to address the problems of current
>administration have been liberals like Moynihan and McGovern and Mondale
>and Califano and Jackson and lots of others from the left side of the
>Democratic party.

>Conservatives have even trashed the moderate Republicans who have tried to
>do something about these issues. The fault lies with the right wing that
>doesn't think that *any* welfare program *can* work. So it's not
>surprising that they have consistently voted for the cheapest and worst
>approaches. Which is exactly what we've got now.

If you honestly think that the left bears *no* responsiblity for the mess of
welfare, I don't know that we have anything to talk about. I'm perfectly
willing to acknowlege, say, the Reagan era's additions to the maze of
regulations hampering welfare recipients, and I'm sure there's much more I
don't know about.

>> >We need *more* welfare spending not less. And the only methods that have
>> >ever mitigated the concentration of wealth in a democratic state have been
>> >violence and taxation. You can take your pick between the two.
>>
>> Maybe. I wouldn't mind more being spent, if I knew it was being spent
>wisely.
>> I don't car that much about cheaters--somebody's always going to figure out a
>> way to scam--but the system should be helping people, not double and
>> triple-checking every request for a new pair of glasses or a wheelchair
>> repair...

>I agree.

>I'd be glad to cite a reading list of boring books on the subject since
>this stuff was what I went to grad school to learn about.

Please do, the boringer the better.

>But frankly,
>hearing someone use the disclaimer "if I knew it was being spent wisely"
>begs the question of what you would consider to be 'wise' welfare
>spending.

>You have already said that the *amount* we currently spend is "idiotic" so
>presumably one criteria of a 'wise' set of programs would be that they
>cost less than the current one. Which contradicts the first half of your
>sentence about not minding if we spent more.

I think I made it clear, later, that I thought the way the money was spent was
idiotic, not the amount, in and of itself.

>In the course of college, grad school, lots of political campaigns, being
>a Senate staff assistant and working in a child mortality research
>institute I've met *lots* of conservatives who have used that line and not
>one of them ever saw a welfare program that they were willing to pay for.

I have.

>In fact, the current crop in Congress is even trying to cut Head
>Start--which is demonstrably the single most effective welfare program
>ever devised. And one that benefits needy children directly.

And the only one I was ever directly involved in, back when my parents were
hippies. Actually, I thought until fairly recently that *everyone* went to
Head Start...

>So you'll have to pardon me if I take your statement here with a few
>grains of salt--say, a number equal to the number of dollars in the
>entitlement budget.

That would probably be wise.

steven r kleinedler

unread,
Jan 13, 1995, 12:16:44 PM1/13/95
to
In article <vx.2430....@teleport.com> v...@teleport.com (Fell Swoop) writes:
>
>You're a little mixed up, Geenius--the "group homes" are part of the Democrats
>welfare reform package, which was the original point of my post.
>
>Of course, we're not going to be hearing about that for the next three months,
>or see a "Murphy Brown" episode hurriedly made about it, the way we have with
>the Republican plan.
>
>Repubs want "orphanages."

I'm not sure I know what the difference is--- enlighten me?

--
Steve Kleinedler, GenX-icographer (and his stuffed meese, Kozmo & Jiri)

What's left: "slick" thru "tyrant"

Jennifer Basil

unread,
Jan 13, 1995, 12:42:52 PM1/13/95
to
Fell Swoop (v...@teleport.com) wrote:
: In article <3f2b84$a...@news.bu.edu> ba...@bio.bu.edu (Jennifer Basil) writes:


: Oh me, oh my...

: >Once again, I *really* hope I missed some inside joke here. Because
: >the filter you read his post through seems to have negated the only
: >*first hand facts* we have here. You groan when you don't get the
: >facts on one thread and then laugh when you are handed a lifetime
: >full of facts on another.

: You missed a BIG inside joke between myself and Mr. Darke. You can get
: something of a hold on it by reading the alt.folklore.ghost-stories FAQ, or my
: recent parody of it on r.a.g-s, which may still be at your site if you hurry...

: >I'm stunned.

: You're probably more stunned now...

No, actually I'm irked. Based on the amount of email I got thanking
me for flaming you, I'm not the only one who thought this wasn't
the best thread to joke on. At first I felt like a dope, but based
on the fact that there was NO REFERENCE WHATSOEVER to what the heck
you were talking, the context I took it in makes a bunch of sense.

: >: (Heh.)
: >^^^^^^^^^

: >Neat. Really neat.
: Hmph.

Hey, it shouldn't be so amazing that anyone took it this way. Besides
you and Alex, no one else knew what the hell you were talking about.


Jenny

coates

unread,
Jan 13, 1995, 3:43:00 PM1/13/95
to
Stacie Brown (sjb...@dunix.drake.edu) wrote:
: But the thing that people seem to be ignoring is that there IS no
: "worse" idea between orphanages, group homes, whatever.

In other words: orphanages = group homes, from the point of view of the
child.

But you realize this *is* about media, politics and images. Orphanages
have Newt on their side, but Cls. Dickens is a hard force to oppose.
Group homes haven't yet found their Dickens. Or maybe they have. Aren't
you a writer?

--
john coates For Human beauty knows it not: nor can Mercy find it!

Andre

unread,
Jan 13, 1995, 7:00:32 PM1/13/95
to
> v...@teleport.com (Fell Swoop) writes: (in regard to welfare spending)

>
> Maybe. I wouldn't mind more being spent, if I knew it was being spent wisely.
> I don't car that much about cheaters--somebody's always going to figure out a
> way to scam--but the system should be helping people, not double and
> triple-checking every request for a new pair of glasses or a wheelchair
> repair...
>


Bingo! Right on the money!

Anyone out there ever give money to charities,
like "Save the Children" that you year that pathetic Sally
Struthers whining away on TV for? Did you ever bother to
ask any of those charities what percentage of your donation
goes to directly helping those children and what percentage
goes into the administrative pockets of the fund-raising
companies and the bureaucratic machine that is doubling
as a worthwhile cause?

I seem to remember a Toys for Tots scandal in the
past year where they spent so much of their cash donations
on fund-raising that they had no money left to buy toys.........


It isn't a matter of throwing more money at the
problem. It's a matter of using the money we have more
efficiently. Maybe, in order to reform welfare, the government
should pass legislation restricting the percent of funds which can
go to administrative costs?

If we could bring that percentage down from where
it is currently, then we would have more money to spend on the
problem without having to THROW more money (both mine and
yours) at the problem. (Does that make sense?)


Jimbo

"All I want is a stable family, a stable residence, a stable income,
a stable mental state, and a stable full of horses."

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 13, 1995, 8:03:32 PM1/13/95
to
Fell Swoop wrote:

> We *do* have to spend less on welfare. It costs an idiotic amount of money,
> most of which goes to maintaining and building the system itself, not to the
> people it's supposed to help.

Before I chime in with some statistics, how much do you *think* we spend


on anti-poverty programs? (ie. those programs where eligibility is
means-tested, where you can be disqualified if you have too much money.)

This is a serious question since I honestly believe that you have been


systematically lied to on the subject. I've posted lots of numbers on this
topic before and I'll doubtless do it again. I'm just curious as to what
specifically has created your impression. Was it the oft-repeated canard
about the poverty rate being the same as it was before the Great Society
spent [insert huge number here] of dollars? If that's all it is, then my
job is easy.

Entitlements are *not* the same thing as what people commonly refer to as


"welfare." Broadly conceived, *any* program can be called "welfare" and
conservative demagogues have used that term to discribe AFDC but *not* the
business lunch deduction though both result in taxpayers bearing the cost
of feeding some people and not others.

And according to the budget committee nerds, the business lunch deduction


costs the treasury more than the school lunch subsidy for poor children.
But guess which one is assailed by conservatives for being too expensive?


And the same people who justify the former on the basis of economic
benefits to the food service industry cannot seem to justify the latter on
the basis of increased liklihood of staying in school, higher grades and
higher earnings for poor children who are well-nourished.

The hypocracy of this class warfare from the right is demonstrated most
clearly by the fact that no one is attacking the largest
entitlements--Social Security and Medicare--because those are received by
people like you and me as opposed to poor folk. So tell me what amount of
money you consider to be "idiotic" to spend on the welfare of poor people
and I'll work on convincing you from there.

> Does anybody else remember an article back in the mid-80s where someone
> figured out how much it would cost, paperwork and all, to just send every
> family in the US under the poverty level a tax-free check for $15,000.00, no
> strings attatched? It ended up being something like 20% of what we currently
> spend--or maybe less--it's been a while.

I've seen a number of intentionally rigged computations like that. Most of


them use the number of people in poverty *after* benefits are counted as a
base (which assumes that current programs are maintained in addition to
the cash giveaway) and most also ignore the net payback to the treasury
that funds a good portion of welfare (for example, food stamps and
surpluss giveaways are tied to agricultural stabilization programs and so
have much lower net costs to the public.)

I can write an awful lot on this subject if you care to cite any single
one of those bits of disinformation. Start with P.J. O'Rourke's screed if
you like. *Please* do. I've already dissected his claims on the subject of
welfare in considerable depth. He even found time to praise Charles Murray
in one of them. (prior to Murrays little foray into racial eugenics that
is).

As for me, my back-of-the-envelope estimate is that there are somewhere
around 120 million households in the U.S.. And based upon the commonly
reported number of families who are below the poverty line *before*
welfare which is 15-18% of all families, an assumption of 16% yields about
19.2 million households in pre-welfare poverty. It would thus cost ~$288
billion to send everyone a tax free check for $15,000 not counting
administrative expensives which are not trivial for any other giveaway
programs (even those aimed at the wealthy.)

So again, before I quote any specific numbers. Do you *think* we spend
more than $288 billion on means-tested welfare programs?

And compare this calculation to the $250 billion dollar depreciation tax
giveaway that happened in 1981 and again in 1990, or the trillion dollar
buildup in peacetime military spending and the point tends to *not* look
nearly so clear-cut. But the ideologues don't mention that. They just try
and scare people with trumped-up sticker shock.

You see, 'entitlements' include many different things--even some military,
police and government pensions and, depending on whose counting, ambulance
services, certain jails, legal aid, community centers, student loans,
adult education, job training, unemployment insurance, workman's comp,
pre-natal care, school lunches, rural cooperatives and a zillion other
things that *you* currently receive benefits from just like I do.

By contrast, the amount of money that pays for *anti-poverty* programs,
(ie. the ones that *only* go to the poor) is quite small compared to
entitlement spending and certainly when compared to entitlement growth.
As I said, I think that you've bought the stereotype without checking the
numbers. Tell me what you *think* the welfare numbers are and I'll post
some numbers of my own.

> The "welfare queen" stories are smokescreens--the fact is that welfare is a

> woefully inadequate system, overloaded already with snoops and regulations,
> that hampers those using it more than it helps.

Yep.

But the only way to fix welfare is to make it far more *expensive* to
administer and pay for. Not to mention raising benefits.

Make no mistake that welfare (ie. WIC, AFDC, Food Stamps, Medicaid and a
bunch of smaller programs) has *lots* of problems. But it has those
problems in large part because of the opposition to taking money from
middle-class entitlements and defense and using it for the poor. Hell,
the S&L fiasco was a middle and upper class bailout--the poor don't have
money to lose.

The present welfare state is the *cheapest* solution to poverty and easily
the worst. If you want a program that works to get people on their feet
again it's gonna cost money. But there's at least some prospect of a
payback. It's funny how the cost to the treasury of a tax cut is justified
on the basis of future tax revenues but *not* the cost of training a poor
person to work or giving them the daycare needed to do so.

In the words of notable conservative Charles Murray: "In many cases there
is nothing a poor child can learn that will repay the cost of teaching."
And Murray's 1984 book 'Losing Ground' is the single most frequently cited
conservative study of the issue. Do you endorse this too?


> What needs to happen, and is completely impossible, is a massive and
momentary
> "union busting" that allows the federal and state governments to fire just
> about everyone, if not everyone, working in the welfare system, and
start over
> from scratch, without possible legal recourse from those fired, but doesn't
> allow the government to exploit that opening later.

Great. After demonizing the poor *and* those working with them we can move


on to yet another scapegoat before we admit that the vast majority of the
voters are either contemptibly callous or so woefully misinformed about
the nature of social programs that they are responsible for the
wretchedness of the present arrangements.

Gimme a break.

Blaming social program employees (many of whom *are* odious) is just
shooting the messenger. If the *citizens* are not responsible in a
republic then just who the hell is? I thought conservatives *favored*
taking responsibilty?

> >And anyone who voted Republican this last time around is to blame for


> >these idiot-cretin welfare-reform proposals from both sides of the aisle.
> >The message of 'Contract with America' was received by *both* parties. You
> >cannot 'throw the bums out' in a vaccuum.
>
> Yeah, right. The fact that the Democratic Party has no integrity at all is
> the Republican's fault. (Not that I'm saying the GOP has any.)

No, but the fact that those who have tried to do something about the


problem's in welfare programs have been consistently voted out of office
*is* the fault of conservative voters. So also is the fact that present
entitlement spending is tilted toward those who need it least. I can cite
specific budget proposals if you don't believe me.

And it ain't liberals who created the mistaken stereotypes of federal


programs that you cited here. Quite the contrary, the people who have
consistently proposed legislation to address the problems of current
administration have been liberals like Moynihan and McGovern and Mondale
and Califano and Jackson and lots of others from the left side of the
Democratic party.

Conservatives have even trashed the moderate Republicans who have tried to
do something about these issues. The fault lies with the right wing that
doesn't think that *any* welfare program *can* work. So it's not
surprising that they have consistently voted for the cheapest and worst
approaches. Which is exactly what we've got now.

> >We need *more* welfare spending not less. And the only methods that have


> >ever mitigated the concentration of wealth in a democratic state have been
> >violence and taxation. You can take your pick between the two.
>
> Maybe. I wouldn't mind more being spent, if I knew it was being spent
wisely.
> I don't car that much about cheaters--somebody's always going to figure out a
> way to scam--but the system should be helping people, not double and
> triple-checking every request for a new pair of glasses or a wheelchair
> repair...

I agree.

I'd be glad to cite a reading list of boring books on the subject since

this stuff was what I went to grad school to learn about. But frankly,


hearing someone use the disclaimer "if I knew it was being spent wisely"
begs the question of what you would consider to be 'wise' welfare
spending.

You have already said that the *amount* we currently spend is "idiotic" so
presumably one criteria of a 'wise' set of programs would be that they
cost less than the current one. Which contradicts the first half of your
sentence about not minding if we spent more.

In the course of college, grad school, lots of political campaigns, being


a Senate staff assistant and working in a child mortality research
institute I've met *lots* of conservatives who have used that line and not
one of them ever saw a welfare program that they were willing to pay for.

In fact, the current crop in Congress is even trying to cut Head
Start--which is demonstrably the single most effective welfare program
ever devised. And one that benefits needy children directly.

So you'll have to pardon me if I take your statement here with a few


grains of salt--say, a number equal to the number of dollars in the
entitlement budget.

--Carl


________________________________________________________________________

"if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give
your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also
the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not
refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you."
--Matthew 5:38-42


"Jesus answered him, "The first commandment of all is, 'Hear,
O Israel! The Lord our God is one God; and thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with
thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength.' This is the first
commandment. And the second is like it, 'Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself.' There are no greater commandments than these."

--Mark 12:29-31

ZZYZX

unread,
Jan 15, 1995, 12:19:30 PM1/15/95
to
In article <3f7j9l$f...@news.bu.edu> ba...@bio.bu.edu (Jennifer Basil) writes:

>: in what I said. You acknowledged that it might be a private joke, which it
>: was, and then flamed away anyway.
>
>Yeah, that's it. I knew it was a joke and thought I'd flame anyway.
>Actually, what I did was show 3 separate people the thread with no
>comment and ask them what they thought (they don't know any of you),
>and they thought the *exact* thing I did. My statement that I must
>have missed something comes from my newsfeeder..but I checked the dates
>and times and figured I probably wasn't missing something. Silly me,
>I was missing being subscribed to a newsgroup I've never heard of! I
>don't have a problem with inside jokes, but don't be stunned and amazed
>if a)someone doesn't get it and amazingly enough b) tries to *fit it
>into the context of the thread*.

I don't know why I'm entering this, but...

For some reason I seem to recall reading about 30 references to that
ghost story FAQ on this newsgroup over the last month. None on this
thread, but... I tend to be clueless, but I got the reference. I
won't comment on how appropriate it was to this thread, but man I
could have sworn that the ghost story thing was someone we all knew
and were getting kind of sick of hearing about because there were so
many references to it...

-David "ZZYZX" Steinberg (dste...@nmsu.edu) "Time for Timer"
**********************************************************************
*"It seem we all *"I can't believe I'm a junior and a *
* Live so close to that line * film major, when all I really *
*and so far from satisfaction." * wanted in this life was to marry a *
*-Joni Mitchell "Give me hope. * lobsterman and cook fish." *
*Give me hope." -Amy Ray * -a letter from Christie Searing *
**********************************************************************

Micky DuPree

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 4:30:43 AM1/16/95
to
U.EDU> <D2G34...@world.std.com> <rgilD2G...@netcom.com> <tburke1-15...@mac01.trotter1.swarthmore.edu>

tbu...@cc.swarthmore.edu (Timothy Burke) writes:

>1) Granting that in fact very little is spent on what most people
>imagine to be "welfare" (as opposed to all the revenues lost to various
>middle-class and upper-class tax deductions) what in ideal terms should
>the purpose of "welfare" expenditures be? Merely to alleviate the worst
>effects of poverty (a "safety net") or rather, to eradicate or
>transform poverty itself?

I don't think you're going to get any kind of consensus on the overall
philosophy of fighting poverty, and therein has lain a most vexatious
and unnecessary snag in discussion of the issue. This is one of those
rare issues where I think that many sides should be able come to some
sort of arrangement about the pragmatics of the issue without ever
agreeing on the underlying reasons. The various moral positions,
whether considered by absolutes or degrees, can be considered academic,
and so can issues of violence (since conservative response to poverty-
related crime is to throw Their Own Money (tm) into building little
suburban fortresses and throw Other People's Money (tm) into building
prisons), if there are pragmatic reasons why the entire economy can
benefit from the transformation of the truly destitute into economically
viable workers and consumers. And there *are* such reasons, argued even
by conservatives in this newsgroup. The unemployed and homeless
represent, or should represent, a developable, exploitable market for
goods and services.

>I would be prepared to argue that most anti-poverty programs put into
>place since World War II, broadly defined to include institutions
>ranging from public housing, homeless shelters and AFDC, have in fact
>functioned as a form of social control [other good points deleted]

No argument here. In fact, my point about treating the poor as a market
to be developed is rife with political indoctrination: become a willing
cog in the capitalist machine and you can get food and housing. But
hey, those who already have neither would consider it a bargain at twice
the price. These aren't revolutionaries or political rebels who have
chosen to opt out of the system, after all. These are people who were
red-lined or bumped from the scheduled flights of economic prosperity.

>So, how to make "welfare" something other than social control?

If you're defining "control" broadly, I don't think you can ever get
away from it completely (the number of true anarchists in any society
being comparatively small), and it doesn't all come from the
conservative camp. I've seen some of the rhetoric from the earlier part
of the century. Liberal desire to engineer a better society often likes
to jettison Carl's insistence that Good should be freely chosen. But
the internecine policy disputes of leftist factions stray from the
topic.

>One thing we hear again and again from the anti-taxation know-nothings
>[....] is that whatever wealth an individual controls is his or her
>[....] own earned without anyone else's participation.
>
>I frankly despair on this point.

This might be amenable to a little simple (if simplistic) education at
the junior high or high school level about the interconnectedness of
economic prosperity. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just some
case studies about the ripple effects of things like fiscal policy
decisions in Washington and local layoffs at the town factory. To flog
a 20th century cliche, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize
that when your neighbors are prospering, they have more money and reason
to buy goods and services from you, and when they get laid off, your
business suffers too.

But if you're talking about educating know-nothing adults, you've got me
there. Maybe we could hire Ross Perot to give another chalk talk on
national TV. :^) Bill Moyers would undoubtedly volunteer for the job,
but who A) listens to him and B) watches PBS (assuming it's still around
after the Year of the Newt)?

>Wealth is social, and exists in its present forms only because of
>massively interwoven webs of hierarchy, compulsion and power. That
>these webs are also maintained by ambition, self-interest and
>creativity is no small matter...a critique of capitalist production
>requires a lot more appreciation for the fecundity of capitalism than
>most on the Left have hitherto allowed.

I have no problem with saying that a lot of the material comfort
available to us in the West is the byproduct of the self-interest of
individuals. The reason why I call it a byproduct rather than a direct
result, though, is that only a few concerned primarily with their own
self-interest have the vision to discern the warp and woof of the web
you describe. The theory of capitalism may be built on the principle of
enlightened self-interest, but its everyday practice is demonstrably
driven by next-quarter profits at best, and by taking Other People's
Money (tm) and running at worst. "Enlightened self-interest" has no
quibble with theft and fraud as long as you can get away with it (how do
you propose having rational discourse about the future of the
commonwealth with someone who measures his enlightenment by his ability
to escape detection and punishment?), giving rise to *routine* ruptures
in your great web.

Gilchrest can go roll his eyes as I insist on dragging my liberal
morality into the discussion, but how else can you explain the
conservative reaction to the underclass but as a deep-seated character
flaw? They look on the unemployed, the homeless, the welfare
recipients, and take it as an occasion for congratulating themselves on
their conservative superiority instead of being appalled at the missed
economic opportunity represented by these poor people not buying their
goods and services. Where's the "enlightened self-interest" in that?

>You don't have to wear a hairshirt and flagellate yourself, you don't
>have to give everything to charity and go live in a cave. What you do
>need to do are two things: 1) have a little fucking modesty, okay? and
>2) acknowledge that your wealth and accumulation are dependent upon
>disciplined forms of social relations..

Ha! I made my money the old-fashioned way: I inherited it. My
grandfather, not a terribly astute investor (he was getting 6% return
back when everyone else was getting 12%), was just lucky to live and own
land in Florida before the big real estate boom. I was just lucky to
have that particular grandfather. Whence arises merit? I was born at
the right time to qualify for Social Security Survivor's Benefits for
four years of college. They eliminated that just as I was about to
leave school, but they "grandfathered" it for those of us who already
had it so that we wouldn't organize a protest. Hey, I've gotten mine, I
don't pay into the system anymore, and I don't need any SS benefits to
retire on. I could laugh my ass off at the rest of you sinking into the
tar pit. But I would eagerly vote to make all of us who got SS in
college PAY IT ALL BACK if it were part of a comprehensive across-the-
board program to stifle non-means-tested entitlements and improve
federal solvency, so I'm starting to take certain other people's casual
personal attacks about my willingness to spend Other People's Money (tm)
a little ill.

-Micky

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 2:04:47 PM1/16/95
to
Rich Gilchrest wrote:

> If you and Carl want to continue to fund your lust for
> philanthropy with Other Peoples' Money, then it is up to you and him to
> explain why it's good for us to pay.

Only if you concomitantly explain why someone who signs a piece of paper
agreeing to pay a percentage of the cost of his home to a bank over a
period of time should pay lower taxes than someone who buys their house
outright or who rents.

For my explanation, the empirical results of unfettered markets have led
*every* *single* democratic government all over the world to fetter those
markets in various and sundry ways, some of which are better than others.
All of which are corrupt to one extent or another.

The question is *who* is a *net* recipient and who is a *net* donor to the
economic wealth pot and it's not at all clear that the presently wealthy
in this country are net donors rather than net recipients. So Mickey and I
want to keep the subsidized royalty in the upper income brackets from
robbing the rest of us.

> : moral obligation or even stretch of the imagination compels the
> : taxpaying public to *subsidize* the luxury spending of the rich?
>
> Where is the gain being made by Mr Millionaire? Where are we Middle Class
> Fools giving him any money? By giving him a tax break, we haven't
> given him anything, but merely chosen not to take what was his.
> That is not a subsidy.

You assume that the house or his salary belonged to the millionaire in the
first place. Beginning even before the Homestead Act of 1862, we have been
giving away public wealth to people who then proceed to act as though they
had somehow uniquely earned it as opposed to having been given it by the
people who cleared out the original inhabitants.

> "Tax break" does not equal "handout".
> "Losing less" does not equal "gain".

Yes it does for the reasons that John Coates has already explained. In the
private sector, it's called a "rebate." And if tax breaks are not
"handouts" then please have the maximum tax witheld from your paycheck and
send your non-handout refund check to me.

> "The government oh-so-generously not taking EVERYTHING we have" does not
> equal "entitlement".

The key phrase is "not taking everything we have."

You assume, quite contrary to the Constitution I might add, that you
"have" ownership of anything prior to the government granting your
property right. You may be in the general vicinity of some particular
thing, but until a legitimate democratic state says that it is yours, then
you do *not* own it.

Ownership is not a natural fact, it is a legal concept and laws are made
by states.

Just ask the Native Americans how natural property rights work. You are
proposing to allow another generation of people to seperate others from
their wealth by force--in this case by charging renters more in taxes than
homeowners who receive the same shared state services.

> In other words, (-a) <> a, something they should have taught you
> liberals in the third grade.

Yawn.

It just so happened that I skipped the third grade so you'll have to
forgive my ignorance as I did not have the benefit of your mathematical
dunderstanding. I was taught that A-X <> A and still believe it to this
day, where A is income and X equals the amount of the tax paid by one
group but not by another. The net difference is X. Which is the amount of
wealth that has been redistributed.

--Carl

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 2:43:45 PM1/16/95
to
Ian Williams wrote:

> Carl Beaudry wrote:
>
> >Thing is, people really *do* want to believe that the poor are
> >constitutionally different from the rest of us. It's far easier to
> >reassure onesself that one can never be poor if you believe there is some
> >intrinsic difference between them and us. Otherwise, it's "but for the
> >grace of God go I" every time you pass a poor person.
>

> That was one of Neil and Bill's big hot-buttons while we were working on
> 13th-GEN, too. They seemed to think that we've inherited that sort of
> thinking ourselves. They were pretty emotional about it...

I think they're right to a very large extent.

But it's not just GenXers and it's not just money. It's the experience of
any human being in the throes of fear, revulsion and dread.

Try watching a 65-year-old talk to an Alzheimers patient or see how you
feel in the presence of someone with AIDS. The effect is the same--we
invent reasons why it couldn't happen to people like us and feel
uncomfortable in the presence of such apparent counter-examples. We all
want to place distance between ourselves and the afflicted and it's
perfectly right and normal to want to do it.

Everyone wants to believe that there is something seperating themselves
from misfortune whether it's really there or not. I think that having
money is just an occasion of the more general experience--which is
revulsion toward the poor.

Such revulsion is not for the most part a rational conclusion, it's a
visceral reaction that seems clearly warranted when you are in the middle
of it. You cannot take the most callous right-winger to a homeless shelter
without them experiencing it firsthand. That's why they stay away from
those places and seek to hide the problem.

Even those of us who would proudly drink a toast to the dignity of the
impoverished would hesitate to drink it from the same bottle as one of
them. Prejudice against the poor exists on both the right and the left
and, as George Orwell put it, belief in the inferiority of the poor "can
be reduced to the obvious and quite sensible perception that the lower
classes smell."

The only way to be rid of that revulsion is to eliminate the
impoverishment--or the impoverished. And it isn't because I like the poor
that I want my taxes raised to help them any more than my affection for
AIDS victims causes me to want AIDS research funded. On the contrary, it
is revulsion that motivates both.

--Carl


___________________________________________________________________________

"When we establish a paradigm of how we *ought* to live, free
of the biases of our social position, then we can call our philosophy
just. For only behind the veil of ignorance, and only from a viewpoint
independent of man's current relationships, can we establish an objective
justice, for which we may strive."

--John Rawls,
final Harvard lecture

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 3:00:29 PM1/16/95
to
Rich Gilchrest wrote:

> I don't have any problem at all with government spending as long as
> they're not spending it on something I think is truly a Bad Thing.
> My problem is with they way they fund their spending.

That, sir, is unprincipled to say the least.

Unless you earned your property before the government was set up and the
state was imposed upon you after the fact, you cannot consistently claim
that the government has taken *anything* from you--*ever*, since at best,
you were in the general vicinity of some property before the state but did
not own it any more than a fish owns the ocean.

> ...it annoys me greatly to watch people defend what I consider to be theft
> (yeah, I'm one of those) with untruths.

The cure for which is superior argument. Furthermore, 'theft' is a null
concept without a prior theory of property rights just as 'lies' is an
unproven libel until such time as you can prove a contradicting truth.

--Carl

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 4:49:40 PM1/16/95
to
Erich Schwarz wrote:

> Which is why some of us are libertarian, not Republican. If we're
> going to prune government or redesign government, plainly there are less
> injurious ways to do so than to *start* with those citizens most genuinely
> dependent on it.

Then just be sure to keep spelling libertarian with a small-l. Or, better
still, find another word altogether.

My distaste for that particular breed comes from what they do when they
get together and attempt the art of politics, where, as a matter of
expediency, they seem to consistently target the politically vulnerable
*first* and in the case of David Stockman, exclusively.

> Uh, maybe I'm wrong -- but isn't the whole point of an "agricultural
> stabilization program" to keep food costs *high*? So that America's
> beleagured yeomen of the soil won't go broke from having their incomes
> plummet? Or have I totally not grasped something?

You're half right. The program exists to keep prices *stable* and the
business profitable. In an ideal world (as far as our government is
concerned), that would mean low domestic food prices but even lower
production costs resulting in our competing successfully in foreign
markets.

In fact, without the billions of dollars in subsidies, farming would long
ago have been monopolized with predictable effects on food prices.
Currently, half a dozen companies control about 80% of the food market
through various means but because of the federal programs their operations
are approximately as regulated as the cable-tv companies.

It throws a monkey wrench into the ideology to consider that governments
have been controlling agricultural prices in most of the developed world
for 70 years--precisely as farming has become more and more efficient and
productive.

> First of all, if we abolished giveaways like Social Security checks to
> the well-off, it might release some pocket change which could then be
> directed towards actual welfare. As you yourself have pointed out, it is
> SS that is the real money-eater and that is a real give-away.

But see, it isn't.

S.S. would be totally self-funded were it not for the cost overruns in the
rest of the budget which S.S. money is presently being diverted in order
to cover the other $200 billion deficit. This is why D.P. Moynihan wanted
to stop that charade so we would have to face the reality of our $400
billion annual deficit which derives principally from interest on the
debt, middle-class entitlements, Medicare and defense if one excludes S.S.
from the regular entitlement budget as was the case previously.

And the amount of S.S. that goes to wealthy people is a small fraction of
the total because of the fact that the wealthy are a minority of the
population. So I don't think that you could find anything close to $288
billion that way.

At this point, the only discretionary budget categories capable of
realizing those kinds of cost savings *in* *addition* to balancing the
budget which must be done just to keep interest payments from swallowing
the budget are Medicare and Defense. Both of which the liberals want to
address with specific cost-saving mandates--a single payer system and
spending cuts and both of which conservatives oppose changing.

To be honest, non-medical middle-class entitlements are probably a wash
because if the government doesn't provide them to the middle-clasee it
will decrease the amount of taxes those people are willing to pay for any
reason. And since most of those programs tend to go toward things that are
already public-private parterships like education and home finance I'm not
sure that economic efficiency would be improved much anyway.

> It could also be assumed that any elderly actually in poverty
> would move from one to the other and not be harmed.

Yep. But we both know the age demographics of poverty. Over half are under
25, so those don't do much, dollar-wise, to S.S.. What we need is a wealth
transfer from the old to the young.

> Second, the administrative costs are a function of how intelligently we
> set up the giveaway. If we make the $15K/yr. a negative income tax, it's
> not obvious why we can't use a pre-existing bureaucracy (the IRS) to run
> it. That has got to save at least some costs in setting a bureaucracy up.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I'm all for it!!!!! Have been for *years.*

The negative income tax was what George McGovern ran on (though he was
only going to give everyone $1000) and it was last seen as the
Humphrey-Hawkins guaranteed national income bill in the mid-1970s. Milton
Friedman and all the monetarists criticized it during the Carter years as
being an engine of inflation.

If we could flip a switch and enact it tomorrow for anyone who was not
demonstrably mentally incompetant, I would do it. The problem is that
there isn't any money in the budget to pay for it now that the opponents
of Big Gubb'ment(tm) have run up so goddamn much debt. And the very same
people opposed guaranteed annual income for identical reasons--they said
that it would make government too big a part of the economy and that it
distorts the market leading to inflation and killing the incentive to be
productive.

It is *precisely* the history of guraranteed annual income proposals that
have led me to distrust libertarians as really being
conservatives-in-drag. Your advocacy of a guaranteed annual income,
assuming of course that you do in fact advocate it, constitutes the
political equivalent of a sex-change operation and I could never in good
conscience call you a libertarian or anarcho-capitalist in the face of
such a major heresy.

> Third, I have a question. What do you think the hidden costs to the
> U.S. of *not* having a $15K/yr. program are? Me, I'm inclined to think
> that they're substantial, and that in 20 years we might find that we *save*
> money by reducing social pathologies associated with non-effective welfare.
> What's your guess?

I'm inclined to agree. I'm also inclined to agree with Milton Friedman
that the short term result of a GAI bill at least would be inflation as
lots of people who could never afford basic things saw their living
standards rise very rapidly.

But the measurable costs of doing nothing are all too familiar--the
further concentration of wealth in the hands of a few amid vast zones of
deprivation and a sinking middle-class that is displaced as automation
increases and employment in physical production drops even further. The
result will be either state redistribution of wealth if the government
holds or a Russian-style meltdown if it doesn't.

The question is whether or not those who are relatively well off--and
statistically, despite my humble origins, I am compelled to count myself
among them--are willing to bite the bullet and stop pissing away the
future.

> > You see, 'entitlements' include...a zillion other


> > things that *you* currently receive benefits from just like I do.
>

> Some *you*s do, some don't. The _Wall Street Journal_ recently had an
> article about poor whites in Appalachia who would have a very hard time
> with the above pronouncement. Here is yet another benefit I would see from
> the $15K/yr. program: it would be race-blind.

Not if the IRS does it. You need a residence and someone who will vouch
for your identity even to pay your taxes or get your refund. Neither of
which is available to the poorest. That's a real problem. If you are poor
you cannot even get a bank account or a government check cashed without
giving a fraction of it to someone.

> More to the point, it would
> be *perceived* as race-blind, which might convince poor Appalachian whites
> that voting for welfare cuts is not the last word in political wisdom.
> Right now, I suspect that a lot of *possible* voters for an improved
> welfare program vote against the existing programs because they feel that
> they are completely left out of them.

Frankly, I think that a large fraction of the low-middle and working poor
who currently vote for welfare cuts would oppose anything that *was* race
blind for the usual familiar but deplorable reasons.

> > The present welfare state is the *cheapest* solution to poverty and easily
> > the worst. If you want a program that works to get people on their feet
> > again it's gonna cost money. But there's at least some prospect of a
> > payback. It's funny how the cost to the treasury of a tax cut is justified
> > on the basis of future tax revenues but *not* the cost of training a poor
> > person to work or giving them the daycare needed to do so.
>

> Again, I suspect that that could only be achieved by cutting other
> giveaways to the not-poor. Not physically impossible...just politically
> awfully hard.

Yep. What we need is a demagogue on the left with half the talent at
prevarication of Newt Gingrich and then perhaps the votes will
materialize. I would like to believe that it could be done strictly with
factual analyses but that isn't going to happen until a majority of the
voters master the subtleties of multi-variate regression analysis.



> > In the words of notable conservative Charles Murray: "In many cases there
> > is nothing a poor child can learn that will repay the cost of teaching."
>

> Is that from _The Bell Curve_?

Yep. Makes you just want to hurl doesn't it?

> > And Murray's 1984 book 'Losing Ground' is the single most frequently cited
> > conservative study of the issue. Do you endorse this too?
>

> As -- probably -- the only human being on the entire 80,000-member
> a.s.g-x newsgroup, besides yourself, who has in fact READ _Losing Ground_,
> I must take some issue with this. In _Losing Ground_ Murray was critical
> of welfare programs because he thought that they augmented poverty through
> unintended perverse incentives. He was not in my recollection opposed to
> efforts to end poverty per se -- merely to ones that didn't work. To
> quote from _LG_, ACCURATELY: "There is no such thing as an undeserving
> five-year-old."

I've already posted my screed about Murray's numbers in *both* books and
my judgement of his opinion is altogether different. While he *poses* as
being a reluctant opponent of antipoverty spending, he then proceeds to
present what can only be termed intentionally cooked numbers in order to
'reluctantly' conclude that such programs are inherently futile.

Such a conclusion would be unwarranted from his data even if his numbers
were not cooked and virtually every other social scientist in the field
has pointed this out which makes me wonder how someone can reluctantly
leap to such a laughably unwarranted conclusion.

The fact that he was unemployed himself until the American Enterprise
Institute and the Heritage Foundation took him in doesn't make him any
more credible in the academic independence department. Now, if his
methodology were sound then his funding source wouldn't matter. But it is
not. I'll post a full critique of 'Losing Ground' if you have the time to
respond to it, but I'd rather do it by phone since it would fill volumes.

> > I'd be glad to cite a reading list of boring books on the subject since
> > this stuff was what I went to grad school to learn about. But frankly,
> > hearing someone use the disclaimer "if I knew it was being spent wisely"
> > begs the question of what you would consider to be 'wise' welfare
> > spending.
>

> Like V-X, I would also be glad to see that reading list.

Will do.

> But frankly, reading this paragraph makes me wonder how awful the
> current system has to get before those of us who detest it get taken
> seriously by the Left.

'The Left' isn't the problem for the simple reason that it has no
political power in this country. What passes for the left wing of the
Democratic party would be center-right just about anywhere else. Plus,
'The Left' already wants to overhaul the system as did the mainstream
Democrats like McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis and Clinton all of whom
ran on promises to do so. (Carter did make a few nice changes when
Califano headed H.E.W.)

> I've already written at great length about the
> genuine atrocities of the Los Angeles public school system and won't again.
> I'll merely note that if the public schools in Los Angeles were *private*,
> somebody on this newsgroup would be very loudly pointing them out as proof
> of the incorrigible eternal viciousness of capitalism.

That's not fair, some of us would have pointed them out as example of the
eternal goofiness of Californians and an unfortunate historical
demographic selection process of Californians. I mean, Hollywood movies
suck rocks too and it's not because they're privately made. :)

--Carl

terra

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 7:44:34 PM1/16/95
to
Carl Beaudry blabbed:

[VX:]
: > : in what I said. You acknowledged that it might be a private joke, which it

: > : was, and then flamed away anyway.

[Jenny:]
: > Yeah, that's it. I knew it was a joke and thought I'd flame anyway.

: There was no hint of context-shift *or* the inside joke in the post that
: Jenny flamed. This is an exchange where the absence of inflection in
: cybertalk is a real problem.

or it was just a very effective case of:

| ,//:, ,/
| o:::::::;;///
\_/ >::::::::;;\\\
'''\\\' \ (pardon me, but i'm "ASCII-line-and-sinker-impaired")

It was an inside joke which turned into a very public troll. I don't see
the big deal. I remember being very embarassingly trolled by "jesse
garon's" assertion that anyone who doesn't know who was Truman's vice
president is a moron. That was not _clearly_ an inside joke (to me
anyway) nor did it have a hint of a context-shift. That's why it was so
embarassing when I bit so hard onto the bait. (though I think it was
just intended as a joke and not intentionally meant as a troll).

I don't see the difference, so let's just give VX and Alex a break and
drop it pleeeeeease.

-terra, kinda likes cybertalk...

--
Terra Goodnight
http://www.primenet.com/~terra/


Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 16, 1995, 10:18:22 PM1/16/95
to
jsl...@asmusa.org (Andre) wrote:

> Anyone out there ever give money to charities,
> like "Save the Children" that you year that pathetic Sally
> Struthers whining away on TV for? Did you ever bother to
> ask any of those charities what percentage of your donation
> goes to directly helping those children and what percentage
> goes into the administrative pockets of the fund-raising
> companies and the bureaucratic machine that is doubling
> as a worthwhile cause?

Yes. Ralph Nader publishes annual ratings of charitable organizations
where the throughput of organizations is estimated based upon independent
financial audits.

'Save the Children' is indeed pathetic. Charities range from around 3-5%
to 100% throughput and those run by conservative "Christian"
televangelists perennially score very low. Literally hundreds of millions
of dollars are being bilked by the cretins of the National Association of
Religious Broadcasters through various allegedly charitable scams. The PTL
club was one such scam and the host of Lynchburg, VA based operations will
have the IRS looking for hooks till doomsday while the Rev. Falwell
retires fat and happy.

At the risk of offending the faithful, fundamentalist "Christian"
charities have traditionally been bottom feeders in these audits. By
contrast, Catholic Relief Services rates bear the top. Which I ave no
explanation for. But I have personally seen non-profit organizations that
operated far more extravagantly than large for-private corporations.

Still, government programs are a different matter because they are
administered with the force of law and have Congressionlly mandated
accounting practices that differ from private organizations and make it
harder to misuse funds.

> It isn't a matter of throwing more money at the
> problem. It's a matter of using the money we have more
> efficiently.

Actually, I think it's a matter of both.

> Maybe, in order to reform welfare, the government
> should pass legislation restricting the percent of funds which can
> go to administrative costs?

Which is the opposite of what conservatives have been demanding for the
last 40 years. It has been the continual harassment of federal welfare
programs that has caused paperwork to absorb an increasing share of the
costs so that there is a paper trail to prove that money hasn't been spent
for political purposes or on cronies.

It seems that you can take your choice between a certain level of spoils
politicking or administrative overhead costs.

--Carl

Erich Schwarz

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 2:32:07 AM1/17/95
to
Micky DuPree wrote:

> ...how else can you explain the


> conservative reaction to the underclass but as a deep-seated character
> flaw?

How about massive stupidity? :^}

(Uh, maybe they'd *prefer* your explanation to mine...)


> They look on the unemployed, the homeless, the welfare
> recipients, and take it as an occasion for congratulating themselves on
> their conservative superiority instead of being appalled at the missed
> economic opportunity represented by these poor people not buying their
> goods and services. Where's the "enlightened self-interest" in that?

Nowhere. Which is why those of us who believe in "enlightened
self-interest" can get as appalled as Kantians about a lot of 1994 America.


--Erich Schwarz

Erich Schwarz

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 2:37:31 AM1/17/95
to
Micky DuPree wrote:

> My grandfather, not a terribly astute investor (he was getting 6% return
> back when everyone else was getting 12%), was just lucky to live and own
> land in Florida before the big real estate boom. I was just lucky to
> have that particular grandfather. Whence arises merit?

Not to be too annoyingly disputatious, but when I read this, it
occurred to me that maybe it was those "not terribly astute" personality
traits -- that prevented your grandfather from getting a 12% rate on
watered stock in the 1920s -- also enjoy actually living in Florida and
owning land in it for its own sake.

In my experience, chance favors the prepared mind. Not absolutely
always, but often enough that that's the way to bet. I think that there's
a lot more earned wealth out there than liberals like to admit.

Which still makes the unwillingness of today's rich to invest in
America's poor utterly dumbwitted...


--Erich

Erich Schwarz

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 4:20:42 AM1/17/95
to
I edited this after seeing a totally confounding typo. Editing is in
brackets.

Micky DuPree wrote:

> My grandfather, not a terribly astute investor (he was getting 6% return
> back when everyone else was getting 12%), was just lucky to live and own
> land in Florida before the big real estate boom. I was just lucky to
> have that particular grandfather. Whence arises merit?

Not to be too annoyingly disputatious, but when I read this, it
occurred to me that maybe it was those "not terribly astute" personality
traits -- that prevented your grandfather from getting a 12% rate on

watered stock in the 1920s -- [that made him] also enjoy actually living

in Florida and owning land in it for its own sake.

In my experience, chance favors the prepared mind. Not absolutely
always, but often enough that that's the way to bet. I think that there's
a lot more earned wealth out there than liberals like to admit.

Which still makes the unwillingness of today's rich to invest in

America's poor utterly dumbwitted...[but what the heck! Soak the poor!
Vae victis! That which kills you makes me stronger, mein Liebchen!]

<whoops...disregard that last, inadvertantly revealing, outburst...>


--Erich

Jason Kodish

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 7:24:30 AM1/17/95
to
In article <rgilD2F...@netcom.com> rg...@netcom.com writes:
>
>coates (coa...@is.nyu.edu) wrote:


>Wrong. It simply means he's paying less for his share of all those nice
>little things. When you start giving them to him for free, then he's making
>a gain.


Which means *I* have to make up the difference. So his tax break means
I have more taxes to pay.

>Dude starts with 0.
>You take A from him in the form of various taxes, he has -A left.
>You decide the next year to take nothing from him, and he doesn't have A, he
>has 0 again. You haven't subsidized or given him anything; he hasn't made
>any gains.

X amount of goodies needs to be bought. Dude A gets a break. Dude B
has to make up for that break.
Comprende?


--
____________________________________________________________________________
Jason Kodish, | R - 1/2 g R =T
University of Alberta | un un un
Department of Gravitational Engineering |(Einstein Field Equation)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
_____..---======~~^~~=======---.._____
______________________ __,-='=====____ ================ _____=====`=
(._____________________I__) - _-=_/ `--------=+=-------'
/ /__...---===='---+---_'


Jason Kodish

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 7:36:37 AM1/17/95
to
In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.950115083343.13858F-100000@world> gee...@evansville.net writes:

>Yes, dammit. You live in a SOCIETY. Humans are social animals, not
>abrogation of their responsibility to the system that enabled them to
>become strong. You can call that "socialist" (and probably will). I
>call it HUMAN. There is no civilization without taxation.

And those who forget these lessons often are found paying for them in
far worse ways than merely taxes.
Deny a man food,shelter and the neccessities of life, and he becomes a man
with nothing to lose.
A man with nothing to lose is a *very* dangerous creature.

>"I believe in property rights; I believe that normally the rights of
>property and humanity coincide; but sometimes they conflict, and when
>this is so, I put human rights above property rights." -- Theodore Roosevelt


:-)

>
>--
>Keith Ammann is gee...@evansville.net <- NEW ADDRESS!
>DNRC Lord High Geenius and Minister for Vegetability
><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>"I don't know that it will make a difference in the end, but it's important
>to object to abuse even when bullies continue to impose their way." --S.W.
><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>Dig my home page: http://www.evansville.net/~geenius/geenius.html <- NEW!
>T-shirts for sale! E-mail me or see home page for details.

Jason Kodish

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 7:40:09 AM1/17/95
to
In article <rgilD2G...@netcom.com> rg...@netcom.com writes:
>
>
>Then I guess, as you say, "all bets are off". I don't have any problem at

>all with government spending as long as they're not spending it on something
>I think is truly a Bad Thing. My problem is with they way they fund their
>spending.

And what,pray tell, is a Good Thing(tm)?

>people defend what I consider to be theft (yeah, I'm one of those) with
>untruths.

Unless,of course, it is you doing the theiving.

Jason Kodish

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 8:04:24 AM1/17/95
to
In article <tburke1-15...@mac01.trotter1.swarthmore.e tbu...@cc.swarthmore.edu writes:
>
>
>It's sort of like what I always say about "development" in the Third
>World--most people (though importantly not all) in the development industry
>would be horrified if someone "developed" in front of them.

And let's not forget that in this world,the poor far outnumber us.
By a long shot.


There's a work of fiction called Cataclysm by William Clark, I'd highly
recommend it. It's a story of what happens when the Third World defaults
on all it's debts. And a story about how venerable our society truly is.
Consider how much of our money is stored electronically, and what a few
good hackers could do....

coates

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 10:53:05 AM1/17/95
to
Carl Beaudry (bea...@cc.swarthmore.edu) wrote:

: At the risk of offending the faithful, fundamentalist "Christian"


: charities have traditionally been bottom feeders in these audits. By
: contrast, Catholic Relief Services rates bear the top. Which I ave no
: explanation for. But I have personally seen non-profit organizations that
: operated far more extravagantly than large for-private corporations.

In general, I would guess that part of the explanation for different
throughput is whether the organization is embedded in larger organization,
with goals (and budgets) of much larger size, so that the advantage of
skimming in the smaller organization is outweighed by the risk of
reputational damage to the larger organization. E.g., Catholic Church
would look bad and lose more; Falwell could give a crap because he has no
loyalty to or concern for anyone other them himself. I would bet that
Catholic Church, overall, is probably pretty low on the throughput scale.
But then maybe that's my know-nothingism coming out.

Maia Gemmill

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 11:50:12 AM1/17/95
to
Micky DuPree (MDu...@world.std.com) wrote:

: Ha! I made my money the old-fashioned way: I inherited it. My


: grandfather, not a terribly astute investor (he was getting 6% return
: back when everyone else was getting 12%), was just lucky to live and own
: land in Florida before the big real estate boom. I was just lucky to
: have that particular grandfather. Whence arises merit? I was born at
: the right time to qualify for Social Security Survivor's Benefits for
: four years of college. They eliminated that just as I was about to
: leave school, but they "grandfathered" it for those of us who already
: had it so that we wouldn't organize a protest. Hey, I've gotten mine, I
: don't pay into the system anymore, and I don't need any SS benefits to
: retire on. I could laugh my ass off at the rest of you sinking into the
: tar pit. But I would eagerly vote to make all of us who got SS in
: college PAY IT ALL BACK if it were part of a comprehensive across-the-
: board program to stifle non-means-tested entitlements and improve
: federal solvency, so I'm starting to take certain other people's casual
: personal attacks about my willingness to spend Other People's Money (tm)
: a little ill.

This reminds me of an argument I had with my mother a couple of years
ago.

My paternal grandfather is fairly wealthy, and I guess someday I'll probably
inherit a good-sized chunk of it (though probably not for 15 years or
so...my family has long-life genes). I was arguing something along the
line of "tax the rich and feed the poor," when my mother said, "but they
want to take away *your* money, *your* inheritance." I answered, "And what
did *I* ever do to deserve that money?" She just kind of looked at me for
a moment, and let the subject slide.

--
Maia Gemmill
Generation M: Club P
I think they know.
Eep.

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 12:33:56 PM1/17/95
to
Erich Schwarz wrote:

> Timothy Burke wrote:
>
> > 2) One thing we hear again and again from the anti-taxation know-nothings
> > who shriek, Daffy Duck-style "Mine, mine, mine" ... is that whatever
> > wealth an individual controls is his or her...own, earned without anyone
> > else's participation.
>
> Nice put-down here and below, but what alternative viewpoint do you
> seriously uphold? "From each according to his ability, to each according
> to his needs"? You go try having *no* property rights if you like. I'll
> watch.

Nowhere was that implied.

The all-too-familiar BolshevikContrast Gambit(tm) is a straw man. (Or,
more appropriately, a 'red herring.') The argument proposed here is one of
constitutionally and legally *limited* property rights as established by a
democratic state. Or, to recall Keith's appropriation of Theodore
Roosevelt:

"I believe in property rights; I believe that normally the rights of
property and humanity coincide; but sometimes they conflict, and when
this is so, I put human rights above property rights."

And, Constitutionally speaking, there are not many protections of property
rights and those which exist are fairly limited. There is nothing
approaching the "Congress shall make no law...." language. And while you
are correct that property rights must be respected universally, I defy any
libertarians out there to defend the view that property rights *precede*
the law, either logically or historically.

> ...the only reason most of [the poor] are *alive* is that modern
> capitalism has made it possible to feed and clothe several more billion
> humans than in that wonderful pre-industrial era of high virtue and low
> life expectancy. Take away the social arrangements that make rich
> Republicans rich, and most of the world would starve.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Technological assimilation predates capitalism by several millenia. It
predates democracy and has persisted in states that lacked both. It is
even found amoung lower primates, ferchrissakes! And it would seem that
technological and social advance is *not* a sine qua non of markets as
much of the Third World amply demonstrates.

Furthermore, the greatest gains in productivity have been in those states
which *did* limit property rights to a far greater extent than that
proposed by even the mildest libertarians--indeed it is those states which
libertarians seek to 'restore' to the dedicated purpose of
wealth-building.

> OK, specify *what* percentage of his money he has the right to say that
> about ["Mine! Mine! Mine!"]. Obviously you think it's less than 100%.
> So, what percentage of his money *do* you think he should be able to claim?
> 10%? 0%? What?

That depends upon the tax code and his state of residence.

> Most people earning wages are paying something like 30+% of their
> income in taxes already. Is one-third of a human being's productive power
> too little?...

Coincidentally, 30+% of the population still lives in poverty despite our
limited welfare state. Is cutting one-third of citizens out of the economy
too few for the system to be deemed unfit? What percentage would *you*
say are expendables?

We liberals want taxes to be low in the same way that capitalists want the
poor to be fed--up to a point.

> Am *I* allowed to decide what my obligation to society is? ....

Frankly, your rhetorical dalliance with a guaranteed annual income
proposal is the most revealing thing you've posted thus far. If in fact
you favor such a thing then I am hard-pressed to find any fault with your
political-economics at all, comrade Schwarz.

> There really is a virtue in people saying "mine, mine, mine." It's
> hard to see sometimes, but it's there.

Of course there is. That's exactly what the non-wealthy are doing when
they petition for a redistribution of wealth.

--Carl


___________________________________________________________________________

"The cost of living hasn't seemed to affect its relative popularity."

--Anon.

Geenius at Wrok

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 2:54:14 PM1/17/95
to
On 17 Jan 1995, Erich Schwarz wrote:

> Keith Ammann wrote:
>
> > The purpose ought to be to keep people out of poverty, period...
> > I recommend indexing the minimum wage to the
> > poverty level so that any one person working 40 hours per week at minimum
> > wage can support himself and two dependents at subsistence level. Then fix
> > welfare so that it pays 75 percent of that amount. Let people who work
> > less than 30 hours a week collect enough assistance to bring them up to
> > that 75 percent level -- but if they wanna make 100 percent, they've
> > gotta work full time.
> >
> > The importance of allowing one person to support three is that it allows
> > one parent to stay home and support children. I don't care which parent
> > stays home to raise the kids, but I firmly believe that one or the other
> > should...
>
> For the record: I would happily pay taxes to support this *and* to see
> it in the form of $15,000/recipient in cash.

Thank you, sir. It's so rare that someone agrees with me. :-)

Unknown

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 3:14:09 PM1/17/95
to
jko...@thwap.ve6mgs.ampr.ab.ca (Jason Kodish) writes:
>
>The following is fiction, for now:
>July 12 2012
[...]
> There is talk of killing, of killing the guards, and
> taking it out the streets.

That might be a tad difficult since the liberals have
almost finished disarming the public up yer way.
All in the name of "reducing crime" eh?

Erich Schwarz

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 8:34:10 PM1/17/95
to
Peter Dubuque wrote:

> Yes, the concept of property rights
> is a valid one. But you have to pay your bills too.

Yep. I agree with you.

It's not that I think tax rates should be zero -- they *can't*, even if
you're living in Libertopia. Nor do I think that we can get from here to
an anarcho-capitalist Libertopia in one fast step -- incremental reform of
the existing system will be needed first, and for some time to come.

It's just that it seems to me that some people sort of mystically
confuse themselves with the deity, Government, and then make pronouncements
about property rights from that apotheotic position. *That* has the same
effect on me as fingernails screeched along a chalkboard. Government is
not a god and individual human beings are not its votaries. And, contrary
to what Carl seems to be saying, I don't think that individual property
rights are something that are utterly subordinate to the whims of
government -- for the same reason that I don't think that the First
Amendment is.


--Erich Schwarz


Soviet prosecutor: "Who gave you a licence to write books?"

Joseph Brodsky: "Who gave me a licence to be a human being?"

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 17, 1995, 11:43:28 PM1/17/95
to
Erich Schwarz wrote:

> ...contrary to what Carl seems to be saying, I don't think that

> individual property rights are something that are utterly subordinate
> to the whims of government -- for the same reason that I don't think
> that the First Amendment is.

Pardon my presumptuousness, but you have said almost *exactly* that when
you argued that all rights derive from the willingness of people to take
up arms to defend them--including the First Ammendment.

To the extent that the government represents the biggest, most powerful
heap of force presently assembled, it *does* justify Schwarznerian rights
until such time as someone else teaches it an evolutionary lesson in
long-term practicality. Your stated ethical empiricism gives you no other
available ground upon which to defend a rights position.

As for me, I contend precisely the opposite: that no government may
ethically violate the categorical moral imperative regardless of what
people are willing to fight or vote for. And I also grounded the provision
of life-sustaining necessities in the same categorical morality which does
not depend upon gunpowder for it's moral ground, but rather upon moral
reason.

--Carl

______________________________________________________________________________

"You can build a throne out of bayonnets, but you cannot sit on it for long."

--Boris Yeltsin
(quoting Russian proverb)

Timothy Kordas

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 9:28:16 AM1/18/95
to
Micky DuPree (MDu...@world.std.com) wrote:
> And that this made him more meritorious than people who get intrinsic
> pleasure from living in, say, Cleveland? (Don't laugh; there must be
> some.)

hehe...given a choice between Cleveland and anywhere in Florida I think
I'd be forced to live in Cleveland.

(and actually the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra is, supposedly, the best
in the nation...the Cleveland Museum of Art has a very nice Asian collection
...and both the Cleveland Cinematheque and the Cleveland Museum of Art
show loads of awesome movies)

-Tim
(lives in Cleveland)
--
Timothy J. Kordas
http://bambi.eeap.cwru.edu/tjk/tim.html

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:13:27 PM1/18/95
to
Erich Schwarz wrote:

> I'm sorry it looks that way. But if society really is the
> irresistable arbiter of all things -- including personal ability and
> property rights -- why does it matter? Presumably if Society Deified
> agrees with you and Timothy, my dissenting opinion is of ant-like
> insignificance.

There you go again.

You're conflating an empirical question with a moral one. It is not a
question of whether society is an 'irresistable arbiter of all things' but
rather whether any individual ought to be. I say not. For the simple
reason that people make mistakes.

In the scientific world, mistakes are not corrected by empirical data
springing forth from some empirical data tree, but rather by a systematic
and *collective* applied reason which works very hard to select specific
bits of empirical data which are then used to establish empirical
propositions within the collective.

So while you fancy that one person may be right and the world mistaken,
being right in a vaccuum is an act of monumental empirical inconsequence,
however important it may be in an intellectual or moral sense. It is thus
*your* reliance upon empiricism which argues for the moral
inconsequentiality of individual heretics. I submit that such a thing is
inconsistent with your true beliefs.

> When I see the "all wealth is social" argument, I basically
> hear "no wealth is actually yours to actually have, so cough it up,
> capitalist scum." That's not a particularly exciting imperative.

You are selectively hearing that argument in much the same way that Yoder
misinterprets the Golden Rule as implying self-abnegation. It does not.
The argument that "all wealth is social" does not mean that you own
nothing or that evryone owns everything, it means only that you rightfully
have no absolute claims to any material outside of your own body. (Except
possibly for oxygen, food and water).

Consider the example of mother and child. While the child resides
internally, you affirm the Daffy Duck principle with respect to the fetus.


Later, as an infant, you affirm a slightly weaker version of property
rights so that particular parents still have particular claims to
particular infants but society restricts what they may do to that child.
Later still, you observe progressively weaker versions of the Daffy Duck
principle until the child is an adult at which point you abridge *all*
chattel rights on the part of the parents.

The point is that there is an entire range of property rights within this
most basic and natural unit of human organization.

Similarly, there should be an even greater range of property relations
within a complex society. And this means that the most extreme form of
chattel governance--the "Mine! Mine! Mine!" rule (as espoused by Duck, D
et. al.; 1954) cannot be allowed to supercede that myriad of arrangements
and must be restricted to the material spatially contained within a living
individual.

--Carl

Kelly T. Conlon

unread,
Jan 18, 1995, 1:37:16 PM1/18/95
to
dan s. <alt.society.generation-x> wrote:
>That might be a tad difficult since the liberals have
>almost finished disarming the public up yer way.
>All in the name of "reducing crime" eh?

Well, no 2nd amendment here. As much as I hate to see the draconian
anti-gun measures being proffered up by the Liberal, there is nothing in
the constitution to stop them.

KTC


--
Kelly T Conlon / con...@mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca / Bureaucracy is as wrong as
cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite
potentials and differentiation and independent spontaneous action, to
the complete parasitism of a virus / William S. Burroughs, "Naked Lunch".

Erich Schwarz

unread,
Jan 21, 1995, 10:19:19 PM1/21/95
to
Tom Bitterman wrote:
>
> [Erich Schwarz wrote:]

> > Who gets to define the class of non-wealthy? And who manages the
> >system that makes such definitions? Who will the nomenclatura be this
> >time?
>
> Maybe I'm being thick, but I'm not sure what a property right is. Certainly
> I can eat the Ho-Hos in my fridge whenever I want.

Not if some loose-cannon Whiny Liberal suddenly enacts a "Windfall
Excess Ho-Ho Tax," to be paid instantaneously in kind... ;)


> I can't, of course, eat
> the Ho-Hos in your fridge without your permission. It's in between I get
> confused. Why can't I beat people up with _my_ stick?

There are a lot of possible answers to that question, depending on what
sort of "why" you have in mind. For a Kantian answer, direct your request
to "bea...@cc.swarthmore.edu".

In most libertarian discourse, the answer would be: "Because you're
choosing to use your property to damage the property of somebody else, in a
manner that you are neither adequately compensating them for nor obtaining
any form of their informed consent for."


> After all, it is
> _my_ stick, and who are you to limit my property rights by imposing conditions
> upon my use?

Consider the alternatives to such conditions. Unless you are the
Stick-Bashing World Champion, *you* are going to live in perpetual
uncertainly about whether you will make it home with an un-dinked body that
night.


> I can imagine an argument based upon your property rights, in
> particular the idea that you are your own property and I shouldn't damage
> it. After all, though, you knew that it was always a possibility that I could
> whap you with a stick if I wanted to.

But you're completely confused about what libertarians are advocating.
Generally they advocate a society in which initiating force and
perpetrating fraud are outlawed. Plainly gratuitously bashing somebody
with a stick is not kosher in that view.


> If this
> sounds a lot like an analogy for getting laid-off...

Not to me. There is a complex and subtle sense in which failing to
provide charity for the unemployed may, in the long run, be self-lacerating
in the same way that bashing people with sticks is. But, in general, I do
not believe that you can equate my refusing to hire you (jeez, you must be
desperate -- you want to be my assistant in lab, 50+ hrs./wk, earning less
than what *I* make? you fool...) with my beating you upside the head.


> Still, I'd be interested in the answer.

There's my answer.


--Erich Schwarz

Jason Kodish

unread,
Jan 22, 1995, 5:31:09 AM1/22/95
to
In article <schwarze.ccoma...@131.215.5.32> schwarze...@starbase1.caltech.edu writes:
>
> No: I'm ridiculing -- gently, I hope -- the idea that libertarianism
>constitutes a "moral vacuum." By asking just what the point is of debating
>individual libertarians if they are rebellious mites, bereft of the one
>source of all Light that is called Vox Populi.
>

Libertarianism doesn't constitute a moral vacuum, but libertarianism without
recognition that the capitalist system is not perfect, and will leave
some people out does.
In the end when the basic needs of all people can be met(through technology,
or other means), and the sole reason for working, and producing is to
gain extra benefits,we will have true liberty. Until then, your guaranteed
anual income is the next best thing. Something this leftist will easily
support.


>
>--Erich Schwarz
>
> "Yoooooooo-eee-ooo-eee-oooooh!" --Tarzan, while tree-swinging

Douglas Lathrop

unread,
Jan 22, 1995, 7:19:15 PM1/22/95
to
In article <schwarze.ccoma...@131.215.5.32> schwarze...@starbase1.caltech.edu (Erich Schwarz) writes:

> Why is it that _The Bell Curve_ has gotten such a thrashing from the
>left in this country? Because they can prove that there is no validity to
>the central points raised by that work? I don't think so. Because there
>have been, historically, horrific abuses of eugenics? Yes. And they're
>right to be roused by that precedent.

> I react to Marxism the way leftists respond to eugenics, and for
>exactly the same reason -- *massive historical abuses*.

> Please note what I am not saying here. I am not saying that anybody
>whatsoever who cites Marx is automatically willing to run a gulag. I don't
>think that. I also don't think that anybody who writes works about a
>genetic basis for intelligence is automatically willing to run gas chambers
>either, for that matter.

> What I am saying is that, with something like 40 million humans in
>this century killed by collectivist regimes, I have at least *some* right
>to stand up this newsgroup and challenge rhetoric that strikes me as
>collectivist. Just as Carl Beaudry has a right to challenge Murray and
>Herrenstein's writings, in the dark light of Auschwitz.


This is an illuminating point, and a valid one.

I've been following this thread closely, and I've concluded that the reason
it's going in circles (like so many of the threads around here) is that Erich
is arguing from a practical AND philosophical standpoint, while the statements
of Carl et al. about the nature of wealth are purely theoretical.

I have a hard time discussing pure theory - in part because I have no
formal grounding in philosophy, but also because I can't consider things in
a practical vacuum. When you're arguing theory, it's too easy to rationalize
or become an apologist for those times in real life when the theory has been
abused (or, in the view of your opponent, taken to its logical conclusion). I
mean, if you're going to make me a convincing case for egalitarianism, you
have to deal with what's happened in history when equality (or bringing
down the better-off, which IS sometimes mistaken for equality) has been
pursued at all cost. And the same thing is true if you're going to argue that
productive individuals were torn from the thigh of Zeus and are thus rightful
masters and mistresses of all they survey. I just can't accept it when
egalitarians look at gulags, or anarcho-capitalists look at sweatshops, and
then say, "Well, that's not what will happen when *real* such-and-suchism is
tried."

Back to lurkerhood,

Doug

D O U G L A S P. L A T H R O P
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
ASGX Poster Child, Dionysus Emeritus, Monster Truck Neutopia Spokes Person
Visit Stately PAPER CUT MANOR! http://www.primenet.com/~lathrop/index.html

Carl Beaudry

unread,
Jan 23, 1995, 6:48:21 PM1/23/95
to
Douglas Lathrop wrote:

> > What I am saying is that, with something like 40 million humans in
> >this century killed by collectivist regimes, I have at least *some* right
> >to stand up this newsgroup and challenge rhetoric that strikes me as
> >collectivist. Just as Carl Beaudry has a right to challenge Murray and
> >Herrenstein's writings, in the dark light of Auschwitz.
>
> This is an illuminating point, and a valid one.

Except that I challeged Murray and Herrenstein in the dark light of
America in the 1980s, not Auschwitz in the 40s which I do not see as a
likely result of such vicious propaganda as 'The Bell Curve.' Far more
likely is the crucifixion of innocent and unprotected poor children on the
alter of windfall profits for the rich.

Anyone who thinks otherwise had better be able to explain why a nation
that annually spends $22 billion *at* *all* *levels* on welfare apparently
thinks that it spends too much. Particularly when *over* *2/3rds* of all
welfare recipients are children. (Source: House Ways and Means Committee
quoted in yesterdays Philadelphia Inquirer, p.1)

That is a clear and present link to the impending danger of welfare cuts.
By contrast, no such link has been shown between the welfare state as
espoused by American liberals and the drastically antidemocratic
collectivism of Stalinist Russia. That is the mythos of radical right
wing in this country with absolutely *ZERO* evidence to support it. Yet I
still hear it parroted.

So, unless Erich wants to also defend slavery and colonialism which killed
easily as many as Soviet communism, comparisons like that ought to be
dispatched en haste.

And at risk of sounding like an apologist, 40 million dead Russians is a
humongolopoulos stretch, as no one that I know of can document more than
10 million when you exclude those killed directly by Nazis though most
people think the number is around 20 million over half a century. (And
even *that* number needs to be compared with the alternative of extended
Balkan warfare and famine which had been the rule in that part of the
world before the communists came to power and which has resumed in their
wake.)

I also questioned the character and good intentions of Murray whose
obvious manipulation of numbers to please his sponsors is academically
sinful and worthy of heaps of derision. And I made valid methodological
charges to accompany each criticism of the work. So it's not the case that
I'm just grinding some ideological axe.

> I've been following this thread closely, and I've concluded that the reason
> it's going in circles (like so many of the threads around here) is that Erich
> is arguing from a practical AND philosophical standpoint, while the
statements
> of Carl et al. about the nature of wealth are purely theoretical.

I disagree.

I would *vastly* prefer to have a purely practical discussion of the issue
but Erich doesn't ever disagree at *that* level which is why I maintain
that he's a stealth liberal. Good God! The man favors legalized drugs and
a guaranteed annual income!

At a purely pragmatic level, I can easily make the case that casting ones
political lot with the anti-welfare crowd is the act of a moral miscreant
and I can use David Stockman as an empirical example. But Erich hasn't
ever done that. He votes the same way I do! But since Erich persists on
wanting to rescue what he seems to feel is the baby trapped in the
libertarian bathwater, the argument necessarily focuses on etheria like
property rights rather than votes in the Senate.

--Carl

Steve Andrews

unread,
Jan 24, 1995, 3:13:16 PM1/24/95
to
In article <tburke1-20...@mac18.trotter1.swarthmore.edu> Timothy
Burke, tbu...@cc.swarthmore.edu writes:
> In article <schwarze.ccoma...@131.215.5.32>,
> schwarze...@starbase1.caltech.edu (Erich Schwarz) wrote:

[snip]

> > Political failures are the norm in public education, not the rare
> > exception. I wish this wasn't so -- frankly, I'd rather have the U.S.
> > public schools work as well as its publicly-funded scientific
research than
> > otherwise. But public education in the U.S. really is a hideous sore
on
> > the body politic, and as damning an indictment of the public sector
as any
> > factory town is of the private sector.
>
> Sure. But private sector management of the schools wouldn't be any
better.
> The problem is not with the public/private nature of the management. The
> problem is a) available resources and their distribution and b) the
lack of
> classroom autonomy in either public or private management.
Agreed. Too much is spent on 'administration' and not enough on
salaries, supplies, maintenance, construction, etc.

I think another problem is the backgrounds (economic, familial) of the
students coming into school. My wife has students whose parents tell
them to get in fights so they aren't perceived as wimps. My wife can't
combat that during 180 hours of school a year. The mother and
grandmother of one of her students are always making excuses for the
student, and overreacting to every perceived slight, no matter how minor.
The mother is my age, sill lives with her mother, and cannot read or
write beyond an elementary school level. She has no job or survival
skills, and her son is being raised the same way; he's a classic victim.
How can a school system educate him and make him aware of the importance
of an education when he comes from that environment? There are schools
filled with students like that, and I think that blaming the schools for
failing to educate is the easy, incorrect way out. Maybe if all they had
to do was educate, would I be willing to blame the schools and the
teachers. Schools are asked to counsel, teach 'values', teach drug use
prevention, teach basic social skills, and control unruly students, with
no means of discipline available. Shouldn't most of these things be done
by the parents in the home before the kids get to school? Should we
expect the schools to pick up the slack left by
inattentive/poor/nonexistent parenting? Is it possible to hope for a
solution?

Sorry for the rant. Since my wife is a teacher, I get a little upset
thinking about all the 'blame schools for everything' mentality I see in
news reports and politics.

Steve A.

stephen...@gsfc.nasa.gov

Steve Andrews

unread,
Jan 24, 1995, 3:24:25 PM1/24/95
to
In article <schwarze.ccoma...@131.215.5.32> Erich Schwarz,
schwarze...@starbase1.caltech.edu writes:
> Chris Lehmann wrote:

[snip]

> Let me make one point: it is not obvious to me how you can say in
one
> breath "public schools aren't so horrible" and then in the next say
"give
> parents vouchers and they'll all flee the schools." Kind of a cognitive
> dissonance there, wouldn't you say? :^}
The reality is "public schools aren't so horrible"; the perception is
that they are all cesspools of violence, failing facilities, and horrible
teachers. Parents with that perception are the ones referred to in the
comment "give parents vouchers and they'll all flee the schools." But
you probably already knew that.

>
> > The fact remains that the public
> > schools, I think, manage pretty well given the disdain out society
has
> > shown with education of late...
>
> Heh heh. It's not "of late." In your copious free time ;) check
out
> Richard Hofstadter's _Anti-Intellectualism in American Life_. And gape
at
> anti-educational quotes from 250 years ago...

I may do that; it may be preaching at the choir, so to speak, but what
the heck. Any idea why this sentiment seems so deep rooted? Is it
unique to USA culture? Has their ever been a pro-intellectual period in
American life? Should I just read the book? : )

Steve A.

stephen...@gsfc.nasa.gov

Chris Lehmann

unread,
Jan 24, 1995, 4:41:23 PM1/24/95