Should Poverty Be Comfortable?

  • Thread starter WhoWee
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  • #1
WhoWee
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The poverty level in the US is defined by income level.
http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml


http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11poverty.shtml
"The 2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines

The following figures are the 2011 HHS poverty guidelines that are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on January 20, 2011. (Additional information will be posted after the guidelines are published.)


2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines Persons
in Family 48 Contiguous
States and D.C. Alaska Hawaii
1 $10,890 $13,600 $12,540
2 14,710 18,380 16,930
3 18,530 23,160 21,320
4 22,350 27,940 25,710
5 26,170 32,720 30,100
6 29,990 37,500 34,490
7 33,810 42,280 38,880
8 37,630 47,060 43,270
For each additional
person, add 3,820 4,780 4,390 "


The chart indicates the poverty level (in the 48 contiguous states) for a family of 4 is now $22,350 in the US - that's $429.81 per week/40 hour week = $10.75 per hour.

By world standards ($1.25 per day = $8.75 per week = $455 per year) the US standard is quite high. http://uk.oneworld.net/guides/poverty

"Extreme poverty strikes when household resources prove insufficient to secure the essentials of dignified living. The absence of social safety nets in under-developed economies shuts off potential escape routes. The consequences of persistent poverty include insufficient food, children out of school, diminution of household back-up resources and exclusion from valuable social networks.

Global Poverty Trends

Based on World Bank figures which are used for official global poverty statistics, the number of people living below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day fell from 1.8 billion to 1.4 billion between 1990 and 2005."


To compensate for poverty in the US, the per capita welfare spending is estimated at $2,358 per person of $20,967 of total Government spending per person.
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/per_capita

Has poverty become too comfortable in the US. Is there adequate incentive for individuals to escape the gravity of benefits?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
BilPrestonEsq
43
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No one wants to be poor. There is and always will be a curve. There will always be people that strive to accomplish great things and well.... those that don't. I really don't think it is comfortable to be poor for anyone though. I also don't think welfare should just be a handout to anyone. There needs to be government social workers assigned to a number of welfare recipients and they need to prove that they really need the money. I have definetely seen people at the grocery store pay with foodstamps or the new cards they have, walk out with 2 carraiges full of food with gold chains hanging off of them, brand new clothes and shoes and then climb into lexus. Ahh.. yea I don't think so, that absolutely can't happen, ever. But I do believe that a government should provide for people that can't provide for themselves without a doubt. It is only right.

Based on World Bank figures which are used for official global poverty statistics, the number of people living below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day fell from 1.8 billion to 1.4 billion between 1990 and 2005."

Yea now they make $1.75! I'm sure the rise in inflation eventually gave way to a well deserved raise. The World Bank does nothing good for developing countries just as the Fed has done nothing good for the U.S.. Sounds like propaganda to me.
 
  • #3
Evo
Mentor
23,923
3,251
No one wants to be poor. There is and always will be a curve. There will always be people that strive to accomplish great things and well.... those that don't. I really don't think it is comfortable to be poor for anyone though. I also don't think welfare should just be a handout to anyone. There needs to be government social workers assigned to a number of welfare recipients and they need to prove that they really need the money. I have definetely seen people at the grocery store pay with foodstamps or the new cards they have, walk out with 2 carraiges full of food with gold chains hanging off of them, brand new clothes and shoes and then climb into lexus. Ahh.. yea I don't think so, that absolutely can't happen, ever. But I do believe that a government should provide for people that can't provide for themselves without a doubt. It is only right.



Yea now they make $1.75! I'm sure the rise in inflation eventually gave way to a well deserved raise. The World Bank does nothing good for developing countries just as the Fed has done nothing good for the U.S.. Sounds like propaganda to me.
So what is your answer? What will fix this?
 
  • #4
brainstorm
564
0
Imo, the big problem is that it seems very difficult to be relatively poor but stable compared to the impression I have of how it once was. People without money and/or income should be able to get access to very basic shelter, healthy food, adequate clothes, etc. They should not have to go into debt or work bad jobs with bad schedules just to barely keep up with the bills. They should also have the choice to live away from crime, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc. It seems like the only way to do this nowadays is to be middle class or at least find a very good working class area to live in.

I think lower mortgage rates have helped make that possible for many people, but lower mortgage rates have the double-edged effect of promoting higher sales prices (since the same monthly payment can afford more) and this makes banks more weary to take risks and certainly makes it harder for people to save up and buy houses outright. The problem is that over a half-century of gradual real-estate inflation has led to an economic dead-end where many people get either stuck in debt or cannot own property at all - and the people who do own property outright and could reduce the price to a level that a poor person could afford are under pressure to make their investment pay to keep up with corporate and public salary levels, insurance costs, etc.
 
  • #5
WhoWee
210
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Imo, the big problem is that it seems very difficult to be relatively poor but stable compared to the impression I have of how it once was. People without money and/or income should be able to get access to very basic shelter, healthy food, adequate clothes, etc. They should not have to go into debt or work bad jobs with bad schedules just to barely keep up with the bills. They should also have the choice to live away from crime, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc. It seems like the only way to do this nowadays is to be middle class or at least find a very good working class area to live in.

I think lower mortgage rates have helped make that possible for many people, but lower mortgage rates have the double-edged effect of promoting higher sales prices (since the same monthly payment can afford more) and this makes banks more weary to take risks and certainly makes it harder for people to save up and buy houses outright. The problem is that over a half-century of gradual real-estate inflation has led to an economic dead-end where many people get either stuck in debt or cannot own property at all - and the people who do own property outright and could reduce the price to a level that a poor person could afford are under pressure to make their investment pay to keep up with corporate and public salary levels, insurance costs, etc.

Is it possible the barrier to home ownership isn't inflation, but trying to live beyond one's means? The term "McMansion" is relatively new - and denotes the desire to live in larger homes than necessary. Is it possible this behavior occurs at every income level?
 
  • #6
brainstorm
564
0
Is it possible the barrier to home ownership isn't inflation, but trying to live beyond one's means? The term "McMansion" is relatively new - and denotes the desire to live in larger homes than necessary. Is it possible this behavior occurs at every income level?
People trying to live beyond their means STIMULATES inflation. McMansions add a class-tier to the upper echelons of real-estate and give investors that much more motivation to milk more money out of low-end properties to pay for higher-end ones. The size of a house doesn't really matter as much as the cost of producing it. If you wanted to build a 5000sf enclosure with the cheapest materials using your own labor, how would that compare with Mansion-building in terms of cost and resource-waste?

The barrier to home-ownership, imo, is a gap between wage-labor income and the labor that goes into building a house. If people could build their own houses using their own labor and get very cheap but effective materials, everyone could have a house regardless of employment. As it is, people can do this with tents but they're usually camping on land that's not their own and they can barely afford to develop their tent into a shanty house.
 
  • #7
WhoWee
210
0
People trying to live beyond their means STIMULATES inflation. McMansions add a class-tier to the upper echelons of real-estate and give investors that much more motivation to milk more money out of low-end properties to pay for higher-end ones. The size of a house doesn't really matter as much as the cost of producing it. If you wanted to build a 5000sf enclosure with the cheapest materials using your own labor, how would that compare with Mansion-building in terms of cost and resource-waste?

The barrier to home-ownership, imo, is a gap between wage-labor income and the labor that goes into building a house. If people could build their own houses using their own labor and get very cheap but effective materials, everyone could have a house regardless of employment. As it is, people can do this with tents but they're usually camping on land that's not their own and they can barely afford to develop their tent into a shanty house.

On the other hand, when the Government officials spoke of the dream of homeownership - do you think they thought people would try to purchase homes they couldn't afford? If a 4 bedroom home can be found for $40,000 - that they can afford - why would they instead purchase a $100,000 home (they can't afford) - just because the funds were available from a lender?
 
  • #8
brainstorm
564
0
On the other hand, when the Government officials spoke of the dream of homeownership - do you think they thought people would try to purchase homes they couldn't afford? If a 4 bedroom home can be found for $40,000 - that they can afford - why would they instead purchase a $100,000 home (they can't afford) - just because the funds were available from a lender?

No, because they see property as an investment instead of just as a place to live. I have been playing the board game, Life, lately and the more expensive "starter houses" make more profit when you resell them than the mobile home or less expensive houses. So there is a general cultural assumption that one property is a better investment than another, so people try to get the best investment they can. This mentality is what drives speculation-driven investment and it is a cause of inflation. The funds-availability is just part of the problem, which is generally that everyone wants to get in on a bubble when it's growing.
 
  • #9
WhoWee
210
0
No, because they see property as an investment instead of just as a place to live. I have been playing the board game, Life, lately and the more expensive "starter houses" make more profit when you resell them than the mobile home or less expensive houses. So there is a general cultural assumption that one property is a better investment than another, so people try to get the best investment they can. This mentality is what drives speculation-driven investment and it is a cause of inflation. The funds-availability is just part of the problem, which is generally that everyone wants to get in on a bubble when it's growing.

We're not analyzing speculative investors in this example. The politicians said affordable home ownership was a right. There were plenty of nothing down and no doc loans available + quite a few agencies to provide assistance.
http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/affordablehousing/programs/shop/
 
  • #10
WhoWee
210
0
We are moving off-topic. The OP is focused on the level of poverty in the US and asks the question - "Has poverty become too comfortable in the US. Is there adequate incentive for individuals to escape the gravity of benefits?"

Do we, as Americans, expect too much?
 
  • #11
brainstorm
564
0
We're not analyzing speculative investors in this example. The politicians said affordable home ownership was a right. There were plenty of nothing down and no doc loans available + quite a few agencies to provide assistance.
http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/affordablehousing/programs/shop/

Home-ownership is a right in the sense that people have the right not to be excluded from owning some form of property that they have the means to develop into a livable domicile. That isn't the same thing as lenders using people as a means to invest in potential foreclosures when the belief was that foreclosed property would be worth more than the mortgage when/if they would default. Nobody seems to remember how lucrative property-investment appeared @2006.
 
  • #12
WhoWee
210
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Home-ownership is a right in the sense that people have the right not to be excluded from owning some form of property that they have the means to develop into a livable domicile. That isn't the same thing as lenders using people as a means to invest in potential foreclosures when the belief was that foreclosed property would be worth more than the mortgage when/if they would default. Nobody seems to remember how lucrative property-investment appeared @2006.

Again, a person trying to buy an affordable house is not a speculator. If they can find a foreclosed property that is affordable to live in - that's great!
 
  • #13
brainstorm
564
0
Again, a person trying to buy an affordable house is not a speculator. If they can find a foreclosed property that is affordable to live in - that's great!
It's hard to discuss with you. You state assumptions without stating grounds or reasons. In what sense is a person trying to buy an affordable house not speculating? People get excited about buying a domicile because they see it as a nest egg.

But that wasn't my point with the last post. It was that lenders were using home-buyers as a means of making profit when/if they defaulted on property that they expected to appreciate beyond its loan value. In 2006, people thought it was impossible for property to depreciate.
 
  • #14
WhoWee
210
0
To go back to the OP - "...the poverty level (in the 48 contiguous states) for a family of 4 is now $22,350 in the US - that's $429.81 per week/40 hour week = $10.75 per hour. "

If the acceptable percentage of income for a mortgage payment is 25% - the maximum payment a person earning $22,350 per year should pay is $465 per month. This will amortize a loan of approximately $72,500 over 30 years @ 5%.
http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/

This is with nothing down and doesn't include taxes, insurance, maintenance, furnishings or improvements. Given this information, how much should they pay for a house? Would it be wise to buy a house for $72,500 because the money is available or perhaps $50,000 and have enough credit left over to be comfortable and secure?

Remember - this purchaser is at the US poverty level.
 
  • #15
russ_watters
Mentor
21,858
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Has poverty become too comfortable in the US. Is there adequate incentive for individuals to escape the gravity of benefits?
My answer to this is simply my usual refrain about definitions:

Definitions are only useful when they are clear. For most words, that means one accepted definition, but if a word has more than one, that's ok as long as those definitions are clear and faithfully adhered to. It's fine to define "poverty" in any way that is useful for the purpose the word is used for as long as people clearly understand and accept that there are multiple definitions in order to hold a proper conversation on the subject. The counterexample is the word "terrorist" where some people intentionally manipulate the definition for political purposes and never accept any consistency, making discussion impossible. Yes, the same thing can also happen with "poverty".

Too often I see conversations where people lament about the high poverty rate in the US, while not recognizing that our poverty rate is not comparable to poverty rates in a lot of other countries. Most of the poor in many countries (we're talking a large fraction of the global population - 10%ish) have living standards on par with medival peasants while most of the poor in the US and many European countries have standards of living that would make medival kings envious enough to start wars.

What "poverty" in the US means is very simple: the poverty line is the line above which the standard of living is deemed acceptable by American standards. Anyone below the line has a standard of living below the minimum of what is considered acceptable.

Now regarding the specific question, there are many different types of "comfort". You can drive by a trailer park and see a rediculous fraction of trailers with satellite tv dishes. That's a luxury item that the poor choose to buy which puts their basic needs in jeaporady. They must have a certain level of "comfort" otherwise they wouldn't do that. If you really aren't sure where your next meal is coming from, you'll let go of your satellite TV to make sure you get it. But the downside of having your car reposessed isn't severe enough to give up certain luxuries: hence, people with a lot of debt and satellite TV. IMO, that's because we provide the poor with financial crutches that enable them to continue making poor decisions without consequences, thus perpetuating their poverty and dependence on government aid. That's leaing us in a direction I'm not sure the OP intended, though...
 
  • #16
Pengwuino
Gold Member
5,124
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Imo, the big problem is that it seems very difficult to be relatively poor but stable compared to the impression I have of how it once was. People without money and/or income should be able to get access to very basic shelter, healthy food, adequate clothes, etc. They should not have to go into debt or work bad jobs with bad schedules just to barely keep up with the bills. They should also have the choice to live away from crime, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc. It seems like the only way to do this nowadays is to be middle class or at least find a very good working class area to live in.

How? Aside from the fact that domestic violence and substance abuse is not confined to the poor in the first place, I don't see how that's possible. There WILL be bad jobs out there, bad schedules, low wages, and poor benefits. There will always be people who have piss poor financial control. I know MULTIPLE people who have spent their early 20s and late teens getting jobs, spending their paycheck on beer (LITERALLY!), and getting fired the next week. Crime and everything considered "bad" about living in poverty will always follow the lowest segments of society. There will always be a segment of the population whom, if westernized societies hadn't effectively fought off the forces of natural selection, would never have made it to today.
 
  • #17
WhoWee
210
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How? Aside from the fact that domestic violence and substance abuse is not confined to the poor in the first place, I don't see how that's possible. There WILL be bad jobs out there, bad schedules, low wages, and poor benefits. There will always be people who have piss poor financial control. I know MULTIPLE people who have spent their early 20s and late teens getting jobs, spending their paycheck on beer (LITERALLY!), and getting fired the next week. Crime and everything considered "bad" about living in poverty will always follow the lowest segments of society. There will always be a segment of the population whom, if westernized societies hadn't effectively fought off the forces of natural selection, would never have made it to today.

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?
 
  • #18
brainstorm
564
0
This is with nothing down and doesn't include taxes, insurance, maintenance, furnishings or improvements. Given this information, how much should they pay for a house? Would it be wise to buy a house for $72,500 because the money is available or perhaps $50,000 and have enough credit left over to be comfortable and secure?
What about buying a land-parcel for $5000 and getting a used mobile home or getting a kit-house for another $10,000? That would be better for the poor person but it would have a negative effect on an economy fiscally stimulated by long-term mortgage funding of $50,000+ properties. The ethical issue is whether the working poor should be held hostage in bad service jobs for 30 years to fund the economy that exploits their labor 24/7 for every possible type of service.
 
  • #19
WhoWee
210
0
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.
 
  • #20
brainstorm
564
0
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.
 
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  • #21
WhoWee
210
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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.
 
  • #22
WhoWee
210
0
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."
 
  • #23
brainstorm
564
0
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.
 
  • #24
WhoWee
210
0
BTW - this would expand the number of households served from 2 million to over 9 million.
 
  • #25
Radrook
314
0
....
...., 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.
 
  • #26
WhoWee
210
0
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?
 
  • #27
thephysicsman
22
0
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.
 
  • #28
WhoWee
210
0
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.
 
  • #29
brainstorm
564
0
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.
 
  • #30
russ_watters
Mentor
21,858
8,824
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.
 
  • #31
WhoWee
210
0
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!
 
  • #32
brainstorm
564
0
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.
 
  • #33
Radrook
314
0
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
 
  • #34
brainstorm
564
0
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?
 
  • #35
BilPrestonEsq
43
0
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.
 

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