# Should Poverty Be Comfortable?

by WhoWee
Tags: comfortable, poverty
P: 1,123
 Quote by brainstorm What about buying a land-parcel for $5000 and getting a used mobile home or getting a kit-house for another$10,000?
That is a great point. There are plenty of "Green" SIP kits available now. Some designs are very affordable and quite energy efficient. As for building sites - look to reclaimed inner city locations - where the utilities are already available.

I don't have specific figures for this post, but if you consider the cost of HUD and HEAP/PIPP subsidies over a 20 or 30 year period compared to a specific cost for a new energy efficient house on re-claimed land - there has to be savings - plus the reward of home ownership.

The only problem is the houses would need to be smaller and more affordable. A 600 to 800 square foot design - similar to an apartment - not a $100,000+ and 1,500 sq ft + luxury home. P: 1,117  Quote by WhoWee That is a great point. There are plenty of "Green" SIP kits available now. Some designs are very affordable and quite energy efficient. As for building sites - look to reclaimed inner city locations - where the utilities are already available. I don't have specific figures for this post, but if you consider the cost of HUD and HEAP/PIPP subsidies over a 20 or 30 year period compared to a specific cost for a new energy efficient house on re-claimed land - there has to be savings - plus the reward of home ownership. The only problem is the houses would need to be smaller and more affordable. A 600 to 800 square foot design - similar to an apartment - not a$100,000+ and 1,500 sq ft + luxury home.
Right, but one of the things I was trying to point out with this poverty thread is that the reason a 1500sf house costs @$100,000+ is because there is an economy built up to receive the money from the bank. In other words, the middle class would lose income if the poor would build their own houses for$15,000. A middle-class income relies on an economy where poor people borrow $50,000 and spend the next 30 years working in crappy service jobs to pay off the mortgage. I'm for liberating people from a life of crappy dead-end service jobs, but I think you have to be clear that this is not separate from the middle-class culture of investment in$100,000+ suburban property (and other price property not located in suburbs.) Middle-class income and GDP will continue to decrease as the poor become less restricted to paying either long-term mortgage payment or rent for their domicile.

Maybe a more gradual compromise would be for crappy service-jobs to be made less crappy by shortening the opening times of businesses and reducing full-time work from 40 to 30 or less, while expanding the pool of people available to work in these kinds of jobs. Yes, it is many middle-class people's nightmare or biggest sense of failure to have to get a job in food service, cleaning, etc. But as long as the economy continues to patronize businesses that require such labor, there have to be people to perform it. So it makes sense to me that more of the people who consume such services spend at least part of their careers working to provide them.
P: 1,123
 Quote by brainstorm Right, but one of the things I was trying to point out with this poverty thread is that the reason a 1500sf house costs @$100,000+ is because there is an economy built up to receive the money from the bank. In other words, the middle class would lose income if the poor would build their own houses for$15,000. A middle-class income relies on an economy where poor people borrow $50,000 and spend the next 30 years working in crappy service jobs to pay off the mortgage. I'm for liberating people from a life of crappy dead-end service jobs, but I think you have to be clear that this is not separate from the middle-class culture of investment in$100,000+ suburban property (and other price property not located in suburbs.)
A $25,000 (total investment) in a new energy efficient home on a reclaimed city lot financed over 30 years at 5 percent (with$500 down payment) would have an estimated monthly payment of $157.04. That is affordable and reasonable. It would enable poor people to byild equity in a quality asset and revitalize the inner city neighborhoods. It's a win - win - win.  P: 1,123 With a budget of$17.836 Billion for rent subsidies - HUD could finance the full cost ($157.04 per month) of 9,464,680 of the affordable homes in our discussion. This is not what I'm proposing because the "owners" would only have$500 invested in an asset worth $25,000 upon delivery. However, if the Government guaranteed the loans and kept them occupied (in the event of foreclosure) the savings for taxpayers (over 30 years =$535,080,000,000) could be substantial. http://www.hud.gov/budgetsummary2010/fy10budget.pdf "Reaffirming Support for Vouchers: The first element of the new partnership on affordable rental housing involves strong and persistent support for vouchers. HUD requests $17.836 billion for vouchers, an increase of approximately$1.77 billion over the levels provided in the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. Initiated in the mid-1970s, rental housing vouchers have since emerged as the nation’s largest low-income housing assistance program. They now serve over 2 million households with extremely low incomes (about 40 percent of families who receive vouchers now have incomes below half of the poverty line), paying the difference between 30 percent of a household’s income and the rent of a qualifying, moderately priced house or apartment."
P: 1,117
 Quote by WhoWee A $25,000 (total investment) in a new energy efficient home on a reclaimed city lot financed over 30 years at 5 percent (with$500 down payment) would have an estimated monthly payment of $157.04. That is affordable and reasonable. It would enable poor people to byild equity in a quality asset and revitalize the inner city neighborhoods. It's a win - win - win. It doesn't sound like a bad deal to me either, superficially. But what happens if you lose your income and can't make your$157.04 payment anymore? To me it would be better for people to own property without debt at all, but that would require an economy where people have the means to save up to buy it. Then, of course, where do you live while you are saving up to buy? Ideally, people's parents should provide them with a starter-home when they leave the house; which is what some people used to do.

But what do you do for people whose parents don't provide them with anything when they are old enough to go out on their own? You can say it's unfair for them to have to work for others to afford a place to live, but if the government provided people with a starter home, what incentive would parents have to save and invest in their children's future? What's more social-economic cultural differences have evolved such that some people expect things like jobs and income at levels that exceed basic necessity. So if you were working to build a starter-house for your kid and someone else was just working a job and paying rent and then expected you to pay taxes to fund their income, e.g. so that they could buy a house you built, you might wonder why you should work to build/fix their house for them and their kids instead of them doing it themselves as you do.
 P: 1,123 BTW - this would expand the number of households served from 2 million to over 9 million.
P: 334
 Quote by brainstorm .... ...., but if the government provided people with a starter home, what incentive would parents have to save and invest in their children's future? .....
The government has no such incentive qualms when it comes to giving foreign aid to nations that should be doing their own things. In fact, it encourages dependence on foregn aid in order to maintain regional political influence. I don't see Americans taking umbrage with their tax dollars being splurged that way. They only seem to take unmbrage whenever the tax dollars are imagined as going to fellow Americans in need.
P: 1,123
 Quote by Radrook The government has no such incentive qualms when it comes to giving foreign aid to nations that should be doing their own things. In fact, it encourages dependence on foregn aid in order to maintain regional political influence. I don't see Americans taking umbrage with their tax dollars being splurged that way. They only seem to take unmbrage whenever the tax dollars are imagined as going to fellow Americans in need.
This thread is focused on the comfort level provided by benefits. Do you have any thoughts as to the quality of benefits - too much - not enough?
 P: 89 No matter how poor you are, you don't have the right to other people's money. It's time we replace social security with private charity.
P: 1,123
 Quote by thephysicsman No matter how poor you are, you don't have the right to other people's money. It's time we replace social security with private charity.
Social security is funded through payroll deductions and matching tax.
P: 1,117
 Quote by Radrook The government has no such incentive qualms when it comes to giving foreign aid to nations that should be doing their own things. In fact, it encourages dependence on foregn aid in order to maintain regional political influence. I don't see Americans taking umbrage with their tax dollars being splurged that way. They only seem to take unmbrage whenever the tax dollars are imagined as going to fellow Americans in need.
You're comparing radically different things. Be careful before you start threatening "foreigners" by suggesting that they are an impediment to the "national welfare of the American People." That is too close to a national-socialist type approach, imo, where scapegoats are sought to exclude in order to increase "the nation" as a closed social group. The political reality is that the US political-economy extends beyond people with US citizenship and the government has responsibilities to protect all those people's freedoms, not just promote collective dominion for citizens globally over anyone and everyone without citizenship.

If you want to mess with foreign aid, it would be better to take an approach that is constructive and respectful of the rights and freedoms of the people those policies are aimed to serve. Look at their relationship(s) with US businesses and industries, etc. Don't just look at them as sandbags to be jettisoned in times when US citizens/businesses can't get their acts together to overcome financial hurdles to universal opportunity for at least basic economic sustainment.
Mentor
P: 22,305
 Quote by WhoWee This description of "bad jobs", tied to Russ's observation of world wide poverty levels, leads to another point - there are jobs Americans (living in poverty) are not willing to accept - largely because the pay rate for the jobs would not exceed their Government benefits. Domestically, this creates an opportunity for migrant workers from Mexico and Central/S America. In China (and elsewhere) low paying manufacturing jobs abound. These jobs raise their local standard of living - but are below the US comfort standard and Government benefits - correct? The question of do Americans expect too much is valid - in as much as how long should we wait (decades?) for the standard of living in the world to catch up - before our "poor" re-engage? Or, should we re-evaluate our own poverty rates and strive for full employment and maximization of production capacities?
I realize I said I was answering the question directly but I really didn't. My answer is no, poverty should not be comfortable because if it is comfortable, many people won't make an effort to get out of it.
P: 1,123
 Quote by russ_watters I realize I said I was answering the question directly but I really didn't. My answer is no, poverty should not be comfortable because if it is comfortable, many people won't make an effort to get out of it.
In his response to the State of the Union Address tonight, Congressman Ryan said (something to the effect of) "let's not turn the safety net into a hammock" - classic!
P: 1,117
 Quote by russ_watters I realize I said I was answering the question directly but I really didn't. My answer is no, poverty should not be comfortable because if it is comfortable, many people won't make an effort to get out of it.
This is the kind of economic thinking that poisons any hope of ever having a truly free market, imo. If poverty is seen as having a social-motivational purpose for "getting out of it" in a meritocratic system, the economy becomes nothing more than a systemic reward/punishment for submission and obedience to authority figures in control of those economic rewards.

There needs to be some form of economic opportunity that allows people to directly work for what they get and be able to make due with little or no money if they so choose. They should be able to get access to building materials and tool (use) to build their own home/shelter to stay out of the weather OR have a small apartment in a public building if those are more readily available than land in an urban area. They should also have access to some kind of community agriculture where they can work to produce their own food.

There is also no reason that basic forms of piece-work shouldn't be available for people to work for pay when it is convenient to their schedules. In other words, people shouldn't have to submit to an employer's schedule to be able to contribute their labor to an enterprise in exchange for some pay. Having this kind of work available, however, would require labor-intensive local factories or farms that had a steady supply of tasks to be done and a large number of people ready to work. Maybe there could be something like a gas-station sign to advertise the going rate for labor at various moments, so that the price could go up at moments more labor was needed and it could go down when less was needed.
P: 334
 Quote by brainstorm You're comparing radically different things. Be careful before you start threatening "foreigners" by suggesting that they are an impediment to the "national welfare of the American People." That is too close to a national-socialist type approach, imo, where scapegoats are sought to exclude in order to increase "the nation" as a closed social group. The political reality is that the US political-economy extends beyond people with US citizenship and the government has responsibilities to protect all those people's freedoms, not just promote collective dominion for citizens globally over anyone and everyone without citizenship. If you want to mess with foreign aid, it would be better to take an approach that is constructive and respectful of the rights and freedoms of the people those policies are aimed to serve. Look at their relationship(s) with US businesses and industries, etc. Don't just look at them as sandbags to be jettisoned in times when US citizens/businesses can't get their acts together to overcome financial hurdles to universal opportunity for at least basic economic sustainment.
Your response is full of strawman arguments based on your misinterpretation of what I said. It assumes intentions and ideas totally alien to me. When not sure it's better keep the imagination in check and if in doubt to respectfully ask for clarification instead of pretending to be omniscient. IMHO
P: 1,117
 Quote by Radrook Your response is full of strawman arguments based on your misinterpretation of what I said. It assumes intentions and ideas totally alien to me. When not sure it's better keep the imagination in check and if in doubt to respectfully ask for clarification instead of pretending to be omniscient. IMHO
I don't believe I'm omniscient. I just analyzed the what you wrote. Here is what you said:
 The government has no such incentive qualms when it comes to giving foreign aid to nations that should be doing their own things.
First, what does this sentence imply? Why should "nations be doing their own things?" That implies that there's automatically something wrong with people in separated national regions with different national citizenships working together. Is this what you're assuming. That every form of global interaction that doesn't restrict itself to homonational relations is a problem?

 In fact, it encourages dependence on foregn aid in order to maintain regional political influence.
I see how it could, but that's the same as saying that providing federal funding for interstate highways could encourage dependence on federal aid. You're just singling out "foreign aid" because it's "foreign," no?

 I don't see Americans taking umbrage with their tax dollars being splurged that way. They only seem to take unmbrage whenever the tax dollars are imagined as going to fellow Americans in need.
This sounds like some kind of sarcastic double-talk to implicitly complain that "Americans" should support tax money going to "fellow Americans" and be against money going to "foreigners" for any reason. In other words, you want the US government to underwrite a system of economic privilege for citizens based on birth-right. You assume that the money spent on "foreign aid" is nothing more than a welfare check for non-citizens.

You don't even mention specifics about what the money is being spent for and who the people are that are involved. You just prejudicially assume that because (some) of them don't have US citizenship that they are not part of a global US community. What right do people have to deny responsibility for US presence globally and redirect government spending on no other basis than the recipients being citizens and/or living within the regional boundaries of the official states?
P: 220
 Quote by thephysicsman No matter how poor you are, you don't have the right to other people's money. It's time we replace social security with private charity.
That's like saying that we should rely on a person's self discipline and morality instead of enforcing laws(on criminals, theives and the like). There will always be people who can't help themselves and yes natural selection would 'take care of them' if you know what I mean. But we are humans and we have compassion. Problem is you can't rely on everyone to have compassion. So you have to take their money by force through taxes or else the burden would fall on the shoulders of only the compassionate, giving people without compassion a financial advantage. The problem is getting the money to the right people and leaving able minds and bodies to fend for themselves like everyone else. It needs to be case by case rather than just giving money to anyone below a certain income. Hiring social workers to weed out the people that don't really need the money would certainly be more efficient than just handing out money to anyone that says they need it. A lot of this has a lot to do with the state of our economy anyways, you cannot leave out the fundamental flaws of our monetary policy in any of these arguments. But if we are talking about a monetary policy that actually works and is sustainable and fair, unlike the one we have now, then that is my answer to the welfare problem.
P: 220
 Originally Posted by russ_watters I realize I said I was answering the question directly but I really didn't. My answer is no, poverty should not be comfortable because if it is comfortable, many people won't make an effort to get out of it.
 WHOWEE In his response to the State of the Union Address tonight, Congressman Ryan said (something to the effect of) "let's not turn the safety net into a hammock" - classic!
Anyone would have to agree with this on the basis that anybody given a choice between working for a paycheck or recieving an equal paycheck without working would take the free money. I know I would! The problem with solving welfare problems is that under our current system the value of money is diminishing without working any less. That has to be changed just the same. The gap between rich and poor will continue to grow. And that is equal to the welfare problem. Or rather that is equal to unemployment and other subsidies given to people that want to work but can't find any or can't make enough to pay their bills due to economic circumstances that are out of their control. Bottom line is you can't give money to able minds and bodies for nothing. It is obviously not fair to those that work.

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