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    Politics - Thread: The Spoiled Poor

    1. #1
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      The Spoiled Poor

      A common argument among conservatives in the US is that the poor are spoiled, that they are deterred from manning up, getting a job - simply cause they get free money. Well, anyway, what are some counter-arguments? Well, one involves the fact that poor also exist in the third world, they get NO welfare - and yet they're still poor!

      O.K., how can this dilemma be solved? Well, the poor cannot utilize government money - and are poor, as would also be without welfare, because they aren't well integrated in society. In fact, the US has simply huddled them into reservations of a sort.

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      I had an uncle who used the system until the day he died. He refused to work and had "health issues" whenever they tried to force him to look for employment. My dad said he was a hypochondriac.

      I know not everyone who is poor takes advantage of the welfare system but there are some who are life timers and teach their kids to do the same.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      I had an uncle who used the system until the day he died. He refused to work and had "health issues" whenever they tried to force him to look for employment. My dad said he was a hypochondriac.

      I know not everyone who is poor takes advantage of the welfare system but there are some who are life timers and teach their kids to do the same.
      It would be interesting to see what percentage use the system - and also - as I was saying - lack of welfare in Haiti or Colombia hasn't made the poor there richer.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Jason76 View Post
      A common argument among conservatives in the US is that the poor are spoiled, that they are deterred from manning up, getting a job - simply cause they get free money. Well, anyway, what are some counter-arguments? Well, one involves the fact that poor also exist in the third world, they get NO welfare - and yet they're still poor!

      O.K., how can this dilemma be solved? Well, the poor cannot utilize government money - and are poor, as would also be without welfare, because they aren't well integrated in society. In fact, the US has simply huddled them into reservations of a sort.

      The trouble is that there are people who are genuinely unable to work. We can discuss endlessly the best way to provide for such people but the underlying reality is that they are incapable of providing for themselves.

      There are other people who are temporarily unable to provide for themselves. Not in the sense they aren't capable of working, simply that they are temporarily unable to find work to do. Given that they pay into the system while they are working it doesn't seem hugely unreasonable that the system should offer them some support to help them through a rough patch.

      And then there are the people who are perfectly capable of working but prefer not to. There's no reason at all why they should be given anything for free because the simple reality is that they are lazy. If the system gives them money why would they ever bother to work for themselves? They'll often have a go-to excuse for why they can't work this job or that job but the simple truth is that they just don't want to work.

      One thing I've noticed is that the people with the greatest needs tend to be the least vocal about them. The ones who cause a lot of drama are often the ones with the least serious problems. The ones who have a work ethic wil try to continue to work despite their health problems, and hence the system tends to spit them out and deny them the help they need. The lazy will create one health problem after another after another, game the system to maximise their payments, and gladly accept everything handed to them on a silver plate.

      In the UK some years ago I remember seeing a leaflet titled "How to be better off in work". The fact such a leaflet even exists shows the rather sorry state where people have to be told that they might be better off working than not working. Sadly it didn't get any better from there, as it showed a couple of hypothetical unemployed people and how taking a job would change the payments they got but the conclusion was that they would be better off with a job. The numbers were stagging - one hypothetical example would be better off by less than $5 per week. It's hardly difficult to imagine why someone wouldn't want to work a 40-hour week to gain $5. Is anyone willing to work for 13 cents an hour?

      The trouble when welfare is administered by government is that it simply applies a rigid set of rules, such that people who are so inclined can game the system and continue to be lazy.

      I think the old saying "if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for life" applies very much here. If someone is truly unable to fish they need to be fed. Someone might need to be given a few fish while they learn to catch their own, but if you keep giving a man free fish what incentive is there for him to catch his own?
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Jason76 View Post
      It would be interesting to see what percentage use the system - and also - as I was saying - lack of welfare in Haiti or Colombia hasn't made the poor there richer.
      The fact that a lack of welfare means poor people stay poor doesn't inherently mean that the welfare system is a good thing. I remember a wise man once said we'd always have poor people with us.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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      I also remember that He also admonished the church to take care of them
      Isaiah 40:31

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      Why myths about poor endure

      by Judith McCormack in the Toronto Star

      Our perceptions of poor people are full of stubborn myths. The man who picks up his welfare cheque in a white Cadillac, the teenage mother with a flock of illegitimate children, the loafer who works the system instead of a job – these are the stuff of urban legends. The reality of poverty is surprisingly different. To begin with, the proportion of single parents on welfare who are under 20 years old is very small – 3 per cent, according to a National Council on Welfare study. And nearly half of all single parent families on welfare have only one child, with another 31 per cent having only two children. That couch potato with a weak work ethic? Another myth. The grim truth is that more than half of all poor people are working. And even bleaker – almost one-third of people on welfare are children. When the proportion of poor people with disabilities is added to this mix, the picture looks quite different. There is a notable absence of white Cadillacs among the poor as well. Welfare incomes typically hover at around half the poverty line, not nearly enough money for adequate food or housing, let alone a car. Perhaps the most persistent of these fallacies is the idea of widespread welfare fraud. In fact, the evidence suggests that the rate of welfare fraud is quite low.

      As professors Janet Mosher and Joe Hermer found in a report to the Law Commission of Canada, the number of welfare fraud convictions in Ontario in 2001-02 was roughly equivalent to 0.1 per cent of the combined social assistance caseload. Even more telling is that these convictions represented only 1 per cent of the allegations about welfare offences. And there were a large number of allegations – 38,452 welfare fraud investigations were conducted that year. The end tally? Ninety-nine per cent of them did not result in convictions. In other words, a great deal of time and energy is spent looking for welfare fraud, but there doesn't seem to be much to find.

      So why are these myths so resilient, despite the evidence to the contrary? One reason has to do with underlying economic fears in society at large. For many people, concerns about financial insecurity and ending up poor are never far from the surface. These fears can be handled by assigning certain traits to the poor that make them different from the rest of society. If we think of the poor as lazy and dishonest, then it seems less likely that poverty will happen to us, the hard-working, the responsible. But these stereotypes are not merely the result of personal fears. They serve a number of other purposes as well. Blaming the poor for their own plight makes it possible to avoid a more searching examination of the social and economic factors that contribute to poverty.

      For example, unemployment is an important determinant of poverty. But the unemployment rate is closely linked to broader economic policy decisions. Increasing interest rates, for instance, usually results in fewer jobs and higher unemployment. This means that finding a job is like a game of musical chairs for the poor. No matter how motivated an individual person may be, there will always be too few chairs to go around. Similarly, a low minimum wage, or a lack of affordable housing are public policy choices that have a direct effect on poverty. Stigmatizing the poor allows politicians and policy-makers to ignore responsibility for those decisions.

      The myths about poverty often serve other political purposes as well. Defining the poor as lazy or irresponsible creates popular villains for the rest of us to condemn. It panders to a human weakness to feel superior to someone, and provides a handy target for complaints about tax dollars. The same is true when those stereotypes are dressed up in the jargon of "welfare dependency," argued as the reason why poor children sometimes end up as poor adults. The real problem is that poor children have severely limited resources, which often translates into less education and fewer opportunities as they get older. They may indeed end up losing that game of musical chairs, but not because of a particular mindset.

      The truth is that, like the rest of us, poor people engage in a wide range of moral conduct and possess a broad array of personal traits and psychological outlooks. And the way to address a complex problem like economic inequality is from a variety of different angles. Rather than scapegoating the poor, there are a series of practical steps that would have a significant impact on poverty. Several of these steps have been canvassed in these pages – a higher minimum wage, affordable housing, universal child care, a guaranteed income, and accessible education. These measures go to some of the most fundamental principles of civil society: ensuring human dignity and a fair shake for everyone, regardless of income.

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      Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
      Why myths about poor endure

      by Judith McCormack in the Toronto Star

      Our perceptions of poor people are full of stubborn myths.
      Article shortened for brevity...

      Do you think an article from 2007 is still applicable?
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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      Quote Originally Posted by Lämmchen View Post
      Article shortened for brevity...

      Do you think an article from 2007 is still applicable?
      Perhaps not in a few of the fine details but in the broad sweep --- yes.

      BTW the most recent book in scripture was written 1890 years ago.

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      Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
      Perhaps not in a few of the fine details but in the broad sweep --- yes.

      BTW the most recent book in scripture was written 1890 years ago.
      I hardly think that Judith McCormack is on par with God's Word.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus

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