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BS: Benefits/Welfare.

McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 08:28 PM
Don Firth 10 Oct 03 - 08:33 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 09:15 PM
Forum Lurker 10 Oct 03 - 10:06 PM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 11:13 PM
Bobert 10 Oct 03 - 11:29 PM
Peg 10 Oct 03 - 11:36 PM
katlaughing 11 Oct 03 - 12:02 AM
Rosebrook 11 Oct 03 - 03:09 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 03 - 06:10 AM
akenaton 11 Oct 03 - 02:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 03 - 04:13 PM
akenaton 11 Oct 03 - 05:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 03 - 06:03 PM
Bobert 11 Oct 03 - 07:48 PM
katlaughing 11 Oct 03 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,Wolfgang 12 Oct 03 - 05:56 AM
Bobert 12 Oct 03 - 11:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 03 - 12:10 PM
Art Thieme 12 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM
Art Thieme 12 Oct 03 - 12:57 PM
Don Firth 12 Oct 03 - 02:35 PM
John Hardly 12 Oct 03 - 03:12 PM
Forum Lurker 12 Oct 03 - 04:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM
Bobert 12 Oct 03 - 06:58 PM
akenaton 12 Oct 03 - 07:03 PM
katlaughing 12 Oct 03 - 07:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 03 - 08:36 PM
Bobert 12 Oct 03 - 09:49 PM
Greg F. 12 Oct 03 - 10:26 PM
Forum Lurker 12 Oct 03 - 10:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 06:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 06:46 AM
Bobert 13 Oct 03 - 08:05 AM
Don Firth 13 Oct 03 - 01:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 02:04 PM
John Hardly 13 Oct 03 - 02:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 03:39 PM
katlaughing 13 Oct 03 - 04:06 PM
Bobert 13 Oct 03 - 08:06 PM
Forum Lurker 14 Oct 03 - 12:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Oct 03 - 05:45 AM
GUEST 14 Oct 03 - 02:23 PM
John Hardly 14 Oct 03 - 02:41 PM
Forum Lurker 14 Oct 03 - 04:18 PM
katlaughing 14 Oct 03 - 04:40 PM
John Hardly 14 Oct 03 - 05:28 PM
akenaton 14 Oct 03 - 05:57 PM
Bobert 14 Oct 03 - 07:45 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:28 PM

There's all kinds of shades of grey, true enough.But there are times when the grey shades into black.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:33 PM

Well . . . yeah, okay. John Hardly, I used to say a lot of the kind of things you have written above when I was going through my Ayn Rand phase, but I've seen a bit of real life since then. It sounds good in theory, but it fails to pass the test where real people and real situations are concerned. Most poor people are not poor because they are unproductive. And most rich people are not rich because they are productive. Can you give me a rational explanation for why someone like Kenneth Lay got the kind of salary and bonuses he got when he did what he did to so many people? The current business fashion is for CEOs to lay a whole bunches of people off in the name of corporate efficiency, for which they get multi-million dollar bonuses. The people they lay off often wind up living in their cars or under a bridge somewhere. Then, after the wearying effort of laying people off, closing factories, and moving manufacturing facilites overseas to take advantage of cheap labor, the CEO takes his bonus and rests up by hopping the Concord to Europe and sunning himself on the Riviera. Capitalism at its finest!

Sheila, a woman I know, was deserted by her husband and left with two kids. Not trained for anything (married just out of high school), she wound up on welfare. She hated it. Her monthly stipend was barely sufficient to feed her and the kids. She talked to her welfare worker about getting some kind of training so she could become self-sufficient, but they wouldn't approve funds for tuition. So she checked out a business course at a local vocational school that offered a placement service, then tried to accumulate enough money to pay the tuition for the course by doing housework in the neighborhood--dusting, cleaning, making beds, sometimes cooking, scullery work, just about anything to earn a few dollars for tuition. She wasn't trying to keep it a secret from the welfare department. She thought she was doing the right thing and that they would actually approve of her trying to get off welfare and becoming self-sufficient. But no! When they found out she was earning money, they made her account for what she had earned, and then deducted that amount from her next month's welfare check. They locked her into the system! She was trying to be "productive," but they wouldn't let her! This is not an isolated case. It's typical.

There is a station wagon that is often parked across from the local Lutheran church. A woman and a pre-schooler live in the station wagon. She got laid off when the company she worked for moved overseas, couldn't find another job (Seattle's unemployment rate is pretty high right now), and when her unemployment ran out, she had to move out of her apartment because she couldn't afford the rent. She is working. At the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. Minimum wage. Monthly rent on even a studio apartment in the city would take all of her net pay, and no way in hell could she pay first and last month's rent plus a damage deposit. Where is the woman's husband? His National Guard unit was activated and he's in Iraq. Between what he earns while bringing democracy to Iraq and what she earns at Colonel Chicken, she still can't afford an apartment. When Johnny comes marching home, hooroo, he'll find that he and his family are living out of the glove compartment of their ten-year-old Subaru. Nor is this an isolated case. There are hundreds of people like her in this one city alone.

I could fill several pages with the stories of people I know personally who are hard working, productive people--when given the chance. But they find themselves deprived of the ability to be productive through no fault of their own. Whose fault then? The government and the business leaders. But to say "the government and the business leaders" is redundant. They are one and the same. These people I speak of are the serfs in the new feudal system governed by an aristocracy of greed. Welcome to the domestic side of "The New American Century."

A truly civilized nation is best known by how well it takes care of its citizens. All of its citizens, especially those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to take care of themselves. This country does a great job of making things very cushy for those who, by many orders of magnitude, don't need to be taken care of.

John, when I hear people toss off the kind of glib dismissals of real people that you do, it kinda makes my blood boil. Look around you!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 09:15 PM

Don, I'm not saying there is a set ratio that determines wealth and work. We all know people wealthier than we are that work no harder, and hard workers who profit little (I, as a potter, fall in the latter category).

And I'm not saying that welfare is unnecessary.

What I am saying is that it is easily corruptable (for so many reasons--f'rinstance the very first point of this thread -- that it is used to keep politicians in power), and it is fighting the natural tendencies of mankind in order to succeed.

And I am also saying we have lived for quite a while now thinking that the safety net should be big enough to save us from our bad decisions and destructive lifestyles -- in part because we think welfare best when given with no judgement -- in a society that holds us to no moral or behavioral accountability except what is legal.

And envy of the wealthy doesn't help the poor. Hate the wealthy all you want, but hatred seems to me to build barriers...and make success seem even less achievable.

Of course, maybe I can one day be wise too after I've "...seen a bit of real life"


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 10:06 PM

A properly designed welfare system does not "fight the natural tendencies for mankind in order to succeed." If a welfare system provides guaranteed necessities, and only necessities, for all, then there will still be a strong motivation to gain luxuries. Our capitalist society has seen to it that very few are content on only what they need. Certainly an important part should be to ensure that everyone has some useful job skills, and encourage self-sufficiency, but in this recession and similar events, there still needs to be a net for those who simply can't find a job. There just aren't enough to go around.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:13 PM



What I am saying is that it is easily corruptable (for so many reasons--f'rinstance the very first point of this thread -- that it is used to keep politicians in power), and it is fighting the natural tendencies of mankind in order to succeed.


Could say the same of power and wealth, as Don has pointed out in the instance of Kenneth Lay.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:29 PM

Screw productivity. This is the US of A where our jobs these days are just to consume as much stuff as we have stolen off other folks! Right? No mixin' word here. We aren't comin' up with jobs to produce much of anything... Our job is to just gobble and gobble all this stolen stuff.... Like, any arguments here?

Didn't think so...

Okay, that being a given, why not a guarenteed national income? Hmmmmm? Takes care of poverty and keeps Americans doing what that do best. Consume!....

I'm noe being flip here.... Think about it....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Peg
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:36 PM

I think anyone who has never been on welfare or other form of public assistance (food stamps, subsidized housing, etc.) is ill-equipped to criticize those who have found themselves in that position. Western culture glorifies those who can screw the system and make a fast buck, but not where welfare or these other services are concerned. It carries a humiliating stigma. I know a number of people (myself included) who are several paychecks away from being on the street, if not for friends or family who would take them in...but not everyone has that or feels they could ask for that help. It's embarrassing to admit you've failed to provide for yourself and family. Some prefer the anonymous assistance of the state to the emotionally-charged baggage of living in Mom's basement or sleeping on a friend's couch. But even those with secure homes and jobs may lack medical coverage,   and would lose their homes if illness or injury struck suddenly, or if faced with some other catastrophic expense. Our fair country is full of people who do not have health insurance who would not know where to go for free care. This is an outrage. There are single parents who can barely feed their kids even while working full time. This is an outrage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 12:02 AM

And, there are many who wouldn't qualify for that free health care, if they did know where to go, Peg. I know of several people who are working at so-called decent jobs with no benefits, one paycheck away from poverty, who cannot get any kind of assistance, for anything. That is an outrage, too. We absolutely have to get some kind of universal health care in this country.

Don, thanks for your last posting. Well said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Rosebrook
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 03:09 AM

My livelihood is as an Instructor in a Job Training Program for participants who are (hopefully) transitioning from welfare to the workplace. It's a work simulation program, and I work daily with an ever-changing population of up to 25 individuals.

Many of the folks I work with are facing huge barriers, i.e. their own lack of education and training, lack of reliable child care and transportation, a possible history of drug / alcohol addiction, incarceration, mental illness, domestic violence, physical or learning disabilities, low cognitive skills, etc. I work with some people who have multiple barriers.

I have learned some things that are irrefutable to me: welfare recipients are as diverse as any other group of people. You cannot "clump them" all together, or have a "typical" stereotype image of a welfare recipient. I've worked with people who have incredible internal motivation to succeed, no matter what hiccups they face in their paths. I've also worked with highly manipulative people who know exactly how to "work the system".

One previous poster remarked about productivity. I have learned that for the majority of the people I instruct, the act of learning to work - participating in work itself increases their sense of self-worth and confidence. And for too many people in my program, that has been lost somewhere along the way. Welfare recipients are mandated to participate in my program. It's part of the welfare reform act. So often people come into the program with a defensive attitude. I have learned that this is usually masking fear and self-doubt. I see incredible turn-arounds in attitude once participants get into the program and start doing the work - meeting the expectations - participating as a co-worker. Either this happens, or typically they flake out of the program.

If they fail to participate in these "work attached" activities, they face a disqualification process where their benefits are reduced incrementally.   

Lastly, I have also learned that timing is everything in successfully transitioning from welfare to self-sufficiency. For what it's worth...
~Rose


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 06:10 AM

It's possible to provide support for people in hard times in ways that are not helpful, and can give rise to other problems, that's true enough. That's been done often enough - the workhouse system was a clear historical example.

So when people call for changes in the way things are done, that doesn't necessarily imply that the people calling for the changes are mean or uncaring.   What does imply that is when it becomes clear that a central motive in this is a desire to take money away from the poor and let it stay with the comfortably off.

Hatred of the rich? It seems to me that, in the system that has been described here and elsewhere, a key element is hatred of the poor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 02:46 PM

From reading all the thoughts expressed on the thread,It seems that most of us are in agreement that the Welfare/Benefit system ,although introduced by well meaning people,with the best of motives,has indeed become a tool of the state.    If this is the case,"welfare fraud" would seem to be a legitimate response to state manipulation. After all isnt it every man or woman for themselves in this glorious free enterprise society.
But wait...Do not governments of the exterme left also use subsidies and benefits and blatant propaganda to keep their subjects in poverty
The fault as ever, lies in the powerful manipulating the weak through any political system left or right..
Forget politics ....Learn to love....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 04:13 PM

Here's Willliam Morris writing about "Equality". Beautiful looking page, even aside from the things he wrote.

For example:

There is no legal arbitrary obstacle to a labourer raising himself into the privileged class, and this fact is the safety-valve to our society of inequality, which without it would at once explode in mere violence. But this safety-valve is the creation of the ideal of commercial society which puts forward the acquirement of riches as the one aim of life; i.e., bids every man struggle to attain a position of social usefulness as the reward of labour: which means in plain terms that our society ignores all society but that of club law:

That those shall take who have the power

And those shall keep who can.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 05:56 PM

McGrath.. I would be interested to read the page by William Morris.
You seem to have left the wrong link on your previous post.
Could you please try to set the link again.Thanks...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 06:03 PM

You're right there - I brok ethe basic rule, always check your links on preview before submittinng.

Here's the right one: William Morris on Equality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 07:48 PM

So a "Guarentted National Income" didn't go over too well? Why, the heck, not? Would end poverty. Would cut down on crime. Heck, it would be a bargain...

And I'm not speaking just as some idealistic lunny (which I may be...) but as someone who as worked as a jailhouse teacher (3 years), a drug rehab couselor (3 years) and a social worker working exclusively with folks recieving public assistence (10 years).

A guarenteed national income which put 100% of Americans above the poverty line is affordable and moral. It is prohuman and, in the end, a darned good investment on out population...

Public assostence, as it is today, is downright mean spirited and antihuman and only perpetuates the system....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 08:39 PM

Bobert, I'm with you on that!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 05:56 AM

And if there seems to be not enough money, we always can print more of it easily.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 11:58 AM

There's plenty of dough to go around without having to print up any, Wolfie. It's just being horded in the wrong places, which when the multiplying factor is taken into account, lowers our GNP...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 12:10 PM

I've never heard an argument against a Basic National Income which actually stands up. I suppose there are some unpleasant low-paid jobs which they'd have problems filling, so it'd start to cost more to get them done if they needed to be done. But that is the same kind of argument that gets put up against minimum wage legislation, for what it's worth, which isn't too much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM

After spending everything we had for medical bills---and we did have insurance--Our spenddown now is designed to keep us poor so we can get P.A. to pay for my wife's needed treatments each month. No Medicare for her. My Social Security Disability provides Medicare for me only now. Because of her ongoing illness, she never worked enough "quarters" to get on Medicare --even though disabled. It's a system that never allows you to get ahead and/or keep anything anyone might like to donate. It necessitates that you stay destitute to stay "insured?".   Purchasing insurance again would be an imposibility because of ALL the preexisting conditions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 12:57 PM

GOOD PEOPLE, that is simply REAL LIFE in my previous post. Just the way things are---the way they come down---and the way they are set up here in the USA in this modern year of 2003. And 68 billion will go to rebuild Iraq after we were the earthquake that destroyed them in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 02:35 PM

It's not a matter of envying or hating the wealthy. Heck, I wouldn't mind being wealthy myself. I can think of a lot of things I would like to do if I had more money than I have. I can also think of a lot of things I would like to do if I had more money than I need. But I fail to see any rational point in accumulating more money and possessions than one can use in a lifetime, and continuing to acquire more that one can possibly use in a googolplex of lifetimes. Especially when this kind of pathological lust for acquisition involves the disruption and sometimes the destruction of the lives of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of others. Maximizing the corporation's "bottom line" by laying people off and moving facilities overseas is one of the more popular ways of earning multi-million dollar bonuses and establishing that one's executive skills are worth those multimillion dollar annual salaries, perks, and stock options. But don't forget: all those unemployed people are part of the bottom line, too.

Point to ponder:— when all of the wealth is finally in the hands of the multi-national corporations and/or stashed away in the Swiss bank accounts of the corporate executives (and, of course, their political puppets) and the rest of us are broke, unemployed, and homeless—who's going to buy the goods and services the corporations produce? Hmm? Eh?

I think this pathological acquisitiveness is a national sickness, and it's not just some peculiar little cultural quirk that has occurred by happenstance. Nor is it limited to corporate executives and their political stooges. Almost all Americans have it to one degree or another. It's been gradually drummed into us since the moment of our birth. It's core is the idea, promulgated by corporations, their advertising agencies, and the politicians who pave the way for them, that America is a nation of consumers. The main conduit for this kind of brain-washing is the media. The vast majority of Americans watch two, three, maybe four hours of television per day, and every eight minutes or so, whatever they're watching is interrupted by a string of sales pitches for the newer, faster, more powerful SUV, the latest fashion ensemble from the Gap, teeth whitening strips, Preparation H to take care of the problem they acquired by sitting for hours in front of the television set, and Zoloft to alleviate the depression they feel because their lives are so bloody pointless. Every eight minutes.

If Ed McMahon every got up off his butt and gave me the ten million dollars he keeps promising me, I don't really think it would make that much difference in our lives. We have a 1999 Toyota Corolla. It has about 10,000 miles on it, which shows you how much we drive. It's a nice little car, and we'd keep it till it starts needing a lot of repairs. I might turn us into a two-car family by getting a van with a wheelchair lift and hand controls (about $35,000) so that I can go more places, but that's about the only major purchase I can think of. We might eat out more, and yes, we'd hire a maid service to come in once a week (Barbara loathes vacuuming). I'd put a wad of it into solid, stable savings where it could earn a bit (not the stock market, which, these days, is often like flushing it down the toilet, thanks to the aforementioned corporate greed and corruption) and assure us of a secure future. And then I would start making some carefully targeted donations.

All Sheila (mentioned in my former post above) needed was a couple hundred dollars for vocational school tuition. I would have been nice to be able to give her that. But Sheila was never a free-loader. She probably would have insisted on regarding it at a loan and paying it back. That would be okay, too. But it would have been nice to be able to do it, whichever way.

We have a neighbor whose garage is right next to ours (where the Corolla sleeps). Two years ago they had a Lexus sedan. Last year they had a Volvo SUV. A few days ago, I noticed that they now have a new Mercedes SUV. Huge thing! When they moved into their apartment in the building next door, they had the whole thing redecorated. The oak floorboards ran east and west—or was it north and south? Anyway, they didn't like it that way, so they had them pulled up and rotated ninety degrees. Cost a bundle! I don't get it. But someone told me it had something to do with the fact that he's into feng shui. He's in the import-export business. China. Their kids go to private schools. No messy mingling with the peasants. Nice to have lots of money, I guess. Especially when you don't have a care in the world. . . .

This is a sick country. And most of its population is pretty sick, too.

And when I think about it, sometimes I don't feel to well myself. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 03:12 PM

Nicely said, Don,

And though I see the same things about what seems to be unecessary opulence, while you say "tomato" I say "tomato"...

I remember an epiphany of sorts (no, not the guitar) that I had several years ago (see, I am old enough to have seen a little bit of real life --even if not enough yet to acquire wisdom *tweak, tweak*).

I was visiting the Biltmore estate outside of Ashville NC. After walking through what seemed to be endless rooms of incredible art and craft, representing millions of dollars, I started to think to myself, "What in the name of God could anyone need with so MUCH?!".

Then, of a sudden, the craftsman/businessman in me popped his needy little head up over my other shoulder and said......"wow, what else could have employed this level of craftsmanship? -- allowed this many craftsmen to profit from work done in such a manner that was both the pinnacle of human craftsmanship (something I hold in high esteme -- and think it a GOOD part of humanity), and yet so improbable as a thing to be able to sell among the masses?"

We can poo-poo the refinement that we choose not to have -- or can't afford, and surely there is a balance to be had wherein we aren't meant to live in caves (much as I might have enjoyed the porn-lite, junk anthropolgy of Jean M. Auel).

As a craftsman though, I think the arts elevate us -- make us better humans, improve life. What you suggest -- subsistant living, well, I'm also just selfish enough to not want to have to give up my life as a potter to take on what "meaningful" work may be left in your world view.

And that doesn't even touch on technical achievement and excellence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 04:39 PM

There's a very good argument against a basic guaranteed income: money can be spent on a myriad of non-subsistence items, and frequently is in the worse cases of welfare. Guaranteed free housing, food, and clothing, on the other hand, has the advantage of being harder to exchange for drugs (I don't believe that a majority of welfare recipients spend most of their checks on such, but a significant minority do). It's also easier to avoid corruption in a purely governmental program than a government-funded but privately run system, as a basic living stipend would be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM

It seems pretty clear that most people spending significant amounts of money on things that are bad for us acquire that money as wages and salaries. So would it be better if everyone was paid in the form of housing, food and clothig to stop them doing that kind of thing?

I seem to remember that at one time a system involving this this was tried in the United States for quite a sizeable proportion of the population. And that kind of argument was in fact one of those used to justify the continuation of the "peculiar institution" of slavery.

There are other ways to try to improve us morally and stop us being corrupted. To divert whatever system exists for eliminating poverty into trying to achieve this selectively is to try to make it do too many things at once.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:58 PM

Druggies trade their food stamps fir drugs, F.L.... Or if you provide them housin' will figure out how to trade it for drugs... 'Er bus tokens, or.......

Nah, we have to get beyond this master/slave mentality where rich folks think that poor folks are stupid. They aren't. They are quite inventive and creative to be able to live with virtually nuthin'...

No, we have to have educational and vocational programs to go along with a guarenteed national income and push toward franchising folks and *habilitatin'* where is is needed and *rehabilitatin* where that isx needed. We need a big ol' Job Corps, similar to the W.P.A. and get our intastructual deficiencies taken care of. This will porived a snse of worth for the folks who participate. That sanse of worth is the one thing that the current system does not address. Far worse, it works against a sense of worth. And we wonder why inner city kids don't give a darn about their lives or the lives of others...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 07:03 PM

In my last message ,I mentioned in a lighthearted way, that "welfare fraud" might be justifiable in certain circumstances.So far "no comment " from Catters....Perhaps performing folk music is making a profit at last...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 07:38 PM

Art, I may be wrong, I don't have enough quarters to qualify for SSDI. I was told, though, that if Rog was on it, I could also then be eligible. I don't know if that helps you or not, and you've probably figured all of the angles from everywhichway, but I offer it for what it might be worth.:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 08:36 PM

Of course "welfare fraud" is justifiable in certain cases. Does anyone dispute that? Saying categorically that it must always be wrong is like saying that in all circumstances stealing is wrong. Life isn't that simple,and never has been.

But that's another topic entirely, and it'd be a mistake in my view to drift this thread away into discussing it, when it is so easy to start a new one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 09:49 PM

"Welfare fraud" is so insigficant that it's nothing more than a joke (lie) played by the right wing. "Yeah, them women show up at the welfare office in their Cadilacs, don't they Bubba?"

"Sure do..."

Another rith winged "Big Lie". They're r4eal good at 'em, ya' know...

Well, what lots of folks don't knoe is that when someone applies for public assistence they are assigned an "eligibility" worker and a "case" worker and the case worker make3sx home visits. Lots of 'em... Now in my 10 years of being a case worker (social worker), during which I mangaed cases of well over 2000 folks, I never had one case of fraud. I didn't see and Cadilacs. What I saw was abject poverty and human suffering. What I saw was a lot of old folks livin' in garages in alleys with a wood stove fir heat and cooking. What I saw was a lot of folks who were mentally ill who lived in various "home for adults" where their entire $300 a month SSI checks went to the caring old ladies who ran them homes... No Caddies... Waht I saw were balck folks living in homes with dirt floors down in Fulton Bottom without electricity or indoor plumbing. No Caddies...

Welfare fraud never existed! No where! Just another right wing Big Lie, which they have gotten down to an art!

I'd like Bubba to live on public assistence for 6 months...

No, forget Bubba, make that Dubya....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Greg F.
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 10:26 PM

And then, as opposed to the phantom welfare fraud, there's the Ken Lay type of fraud, which IS real and which DOES cost taxpayers billions upon of dollars.

But you don't hear people whining on about corporate fraud. Too easy to kick the poor, look the other way, and hope one day YOU can grow up to be the rich corporate crook.

Ain't that America.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 10:35 PM

Bobert- Many, perhaps most, people on welfare are simply victims of circumstances, who are at least the equals of the middle class. However, there are certainly people on welfare who use this money for drugs, alcohol, or even perfectly acceptable luxuries that aren't what they need. My objection to a monetary universal welfare was that it was more open to abuse, both by the recipients and the (private) providers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 06:29 AM

But why would it be any more open to "abuse" than any other sort of income? It's not practical, trying to kill too many birds with one stone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 06:46 AM

Here's a site talking about what would be implied in a basic income for all, pros and cons: PAX CHRISTI


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 08:05 AM

Thought provoking, McGrath. And certainly a good starting point for discussion purposes. The political climate is not right today but if US corporations continue shipping jobs overseas at the current rate, it shouldn't be too long before this issue comes into focus.

And, F.L., while I understand what you are saying, we can't take liberty and freedom away in exchange. Sopme people, no matter how just a society is created, will make bad decisions and do stupid things. All we can do is try to educate folks better. We are failing badly at that and when coupled with poverty its no wonder that we have so many messed up people.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 01:54 PM

No one doubts the importance to the civilized world of the good that can be done with large accumulations of wealth. "Patron of the Arts" is a time-honored position in society, and it takes money to be this kind of benefactor. Historically, this was well understood. In Renaissance Italy, the talents of artists such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and scores of others might have never seen the light of day had it not been for commissions from the Medici, the d'Este, and the Vatican (never noted for it's poverty). Many people in this country loathed those whom they regarded as "robber barons," like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford, yet the Rockefeller Foundation funds various worthwhile projects to this day, Carnegie endowed a system of public libraries all over the country, and Ford was smart enough to be sure to pay his workers a living wage. He understood something that modern corporate heads apparently do not: he wanted his employees to have enough money to be able to afford to buy the automobiles they produced.

Locally, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (I think his marrying Melinda was a good thing. She seems to have humanized him) is funding medical research among other things, and one of Bill's associates, Paul Allen, funded and built the "Experience Music Project" at the Seattle Center. Weird building, excellent resource. The Benaroya family made a fortune in real estate, and within recent years they, too, have been spreading the wealth around with good affect. Seattle has a truly world-class symphony orchestra, but until now, it had to share facilities with Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Scheduling nightmares! Now, its home is the brand new Benaroya Hall, enclosing a large concert hall and a smaller recital hall, both acoustically state-of-the-art. In the meantime, someone else with substantial wealth has financed the renovation of the aging Opera House, improving the already good acoustics and making it more suitable for opera and ballet productions. Seattle Opera is the fourth largest opera company in the country, and Pacific Northwest Ballet is a major contender for world class. Seattle is a great place for music and theater arts, thanks to people who have large accumulations of wealth and who are willing to think beyond their own constrained circle. But these projects didn't just benefit the arts. They provided jobs for thousands of people in the construction business, not to mention the office staffs, stage hands, etc., needed to run these facilities. Without infusions of private money, this just wouldn't happen.

Media mogul Ted Turner has been spreading his money around as well. On a television interview a couple of years ago, with my own ears I heard him say, "I have three billion dollars. Who needs that much money?" He went on to outline all the good one could do with it, should one be sufficiently observant, aware of need, and open-handed enough to be willing to part with some of it, and he took his fellow multi-millionaires and billionaires to task for their lack of social conscience, short-sighted greed, and general miserliness.

No, I have no objection to great accumulations of wealth. What I object to is when this wealth is accumulated at the cost of rendering thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people jobless, homeless, and miserable.

Many people seem to be under the impression that FDR ended the Depression in the Thirties by getting us into World War II (that may have been one of Bush's rationales for getting us into the current mess), but that isn't true. The Depression, initially caused by wild Wall Street speculation, inflated profit figures, and corporate corruption (sound familiar?) was pretty well over with before we got into the War. It was ended by FDR's initiation of a series of job-creating federal "alphabet soup" programs such as the Works Projects Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and many others. Instead of cutting taxes on the rich with the forlorn hope of some of those tax moneys being used to start new businesses and maybe put the unemployed back to work, these government programs put people to work directly. Some people (e.g., Westbrook Pegler) screamed about socialism, but these programs did put people to work building projects (roads, bridges, conservation projects, and many other things) that we are still reaping benefits from today. By the way, setting up the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress was one of FDR's government funded projects. And—it was FDR who started the Social Security program.

But demagogues and their political stooges are too hung up on their own agendas to look at the lessons of history. Besides, that might be flirting with something that looks like socialism! Oh, horrors!!

(Back during my Ayn Rand phase, I never thought I would be talking like this. But live and learn.)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 02:04 PM

The most important way that art can be subsidised is by making it possible for artists to have the time and the opportunity to create it. A modest income they can rely on, and a place to live and work in.

And I believe that the best and the greatest art is in fact public art.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 02:25 PM

MofH,
That is a formula for "Art about Art" not for "Art". In my opinion as a working artist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 03:39 PM

You mean "a modest income they can rely on, and a place to live and work in" John?

It's the way most patrons used to do it at one time. It would have helped Mozart, for example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 04:06 PM

It is and has helped my brother, McGrath, and none the worse for it. It's more of a poverty level income than modest, but, for the first time in his life, he feels completely free to work, as Mozart, composing great symphonies, concertoes, etc. precisely because he does not have to worry about how to pay the rent, what to buy food with, etc. It has also given his family (siblings, etc.) great relief from the stress of worrying about him and trying to help him financially.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 08:06 PM

Well, I think we can all agree on one thing: Artists will work cheap! Yeah, there are plenty of artists out there who just require the basics. Nuthin extravigant. Just the basics. Might of fact, most folks is purdy much like that.... Just the basics: food, housing, transportation, health care and materials needed to produce their art. But this society can't evn come up with those basics. Sad commentary on the times in which we live where so much wealth is corraled by so few folks....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 12:58 AM

McGrath-Welfare is more open to abuse than earned income because earned income usually ceases when self-destructive habits like alcoholism or other drug addictions take over. Cash income is more open to abuse than directly provided services because dealers are more likely to accept cash for drugs than they are canned soups or a bed.

I agree that the government should provide for the basic necessities of all citizens. I simply think that the idea of direct provision of these services, rather than simply handing out cash, should be explored.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 05:45 AM

It's true enough that heavy drug use of one sort or another can interfere with employment earnings - but in any case benefits don't pay for much of a habit. Serious drug users get their money in other ways, frequently very socially destrictive ways. This is just one of the ways in which the "war on drugs" damages everybody.

Sorting out the drug problems of society isn't going to be significantly furthered by leaning on people living on benefits. Insofar as doing this increases pressures on people living on the edge and on their growing children, it could well make things worse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 02:23 PM

I would just like to ask a question. Who has the RIGHt to the benevolence of the community at large ? How do we decide if anyone does and if so, who ? I do not mind supporting the needy I hate supporting generations of the needy. I find it a very difficult thing, who is needy, who is habitual ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 02:41 PM

"It is and has helped my brother"

What is "it", kat?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 04:18 PM

GUEST of 2:23 PM-The society has the obligation to support its members; that's what makes it a society. Anyone who needs help should recieve that help, within reason, and certainly it is reasonable to provide necessities to those who, due to either disability or the fluctuations of our "free-market" economy, cannot provide for themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 04:40 PM

"It" is in reference to McGrath's It's the way most patrons used to do it at one time. It would have helped Mozart, for example. Meaning "it," a governement subsidy, essentially, is helping my brother, as an artist. He receives SSI, being over 65 and in the next-to-nothing income bracket.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 05:28 PM

oh. So the subsidy has nothing to do with his being an artist? And actually it is part of a plan of which all are participants (except the amish) :^)


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 05:57 PM

You still dont get it....Start looking at the benefit system as a tool of the powerful,who want to preserve the status quo.
Stop complaining about benefits and benefit fraud and think of the condition your wonderful economic system would be in if they were scrapped......AKE.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 07:45 PM

Starting with Corporate Welfare....

Man, that alone would provide a decent standard of living for, ahhhh, the rest of the population...

Bobert


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