General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Helping hand or handout?

Asked by wundayatta (58354 points ) May 7th, 2012

Some complain that federal benefit programs are an unnecessary handout—people receive the handout and do nothing but consume it and then ask for more. The handout not only wastes our tax dollars, but it keeps people from having the motivation to try to take care of themselves.

Others say the programs are a needed helping hand that helps people get on their feet. These folks need training and help with their kids. Without this assistance, they will stay mired in poverty. With it, they will be able to get their heads above water, get trained, and find jobs that will allow them to prosper.

Can you provide examples—either people you’ve known personally, or stories you’ve heard—preferably sourced, to indicate which you believe it is? If you have no sourced stories, what stories have you heard to indicate these programs work the way you think they work? Please make sure to say what kind of evidence your ideas are based on.

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63 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

My sister got pregnant at 18. The child was actually planned. Around 5 months in the father bailed. So my sister was pregnant and a manager at McDonalds. Around month 8 in the pregnancy she couldn’t work and had to go on welfare.

After a few years I was was able to watch the kid as she went back to school while getting financial aid.

Symantec opened a support center in Eugene and she applied there while in school. She was hired and no more welfare.

So it can work. Taxes aren’t actually bad. I’m happy paying if it means I can leave my window open at night.

wilma's avatar

I think it’s both. It depends on the situation and the people involved.
I have neighbors who have lived for generations on welfare, the more kids you have the bigger the check. This is a way of life for them. They think we are foolish for working, “why would you work when you don’t have to”? They have said that to me personally.
I know of other people who have used welfare temporarily to get through a very difficult time. (Mom had breast cancer and couldn’t work, dad was laid off from a factory job.) It was a lifesaver for them. It was humbling and they appreciated it very much. They are now fully supporting themselves and paying in with their taxes so others can be helped.
I think there needs to be stricter controls on who gets what and when, but I don’t think that the programs should go away.

Roby's avatar

For some it’s needed..for others it’s a free ride.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Personally, for me, it kept me and my kids from the street. However, I used it for the purpose it was designed for—temporary help.

I know of people who are too lazy to work and just play the welfare system. Despicable.

jerv's avatar

Like many things, it can go either way. It fed and sheltered me when I was laid off at the height of unemployment and could not find another job for over a year despite bring desperate enough to so any job available, but it also pays my step-sister to sit at home and do nothing. I have seen both sides, and still remember my childhood and my first year in Seattle. The system is flawed, but it also helps many people.

I prefer erring on the side of not harming innocent people; I consider the freeloaders to be the price we must pay so that honest people do not suffer needlessly. Unless you can look into the eyes of a starving child and refuse to help because someone else is scamming the system, I think you’ll agree with me on that.

Fly's avatar

I don’t think we can judge its success based on those who take advantage of it. That is difficult to control, and there will always be someone out there who will abuse just about anything; all we can do is continue to improve the programs to try and filter out freeloaders. Rather, we should gauge it by whether or not it has helped those who have used it for its intended purpose, and I think most of us can agree that the answer to this is most often yes.

john65pennington's avatar

Chidren tend to follow in the footsteps of parent(s), that depend on welfare for their existence.

Not all children, but quite a few.

In this situation, the parents are not looking for work. Some(most) are involved in illegal drug activity to supplement their welfare checks.

I have seen this so many times in the projects area of my city.

bkcunningham's avatar

@wundayatta, for clairfication, would you please say what federal programs you are asking about or at lease would those that answer say what programs you are referring to when you answer, please? Excellent question.

Salem88's avatar

I know many people who never needed a “helping hand or a hand out” because they were fortunate by birth, but MADE to work in family businesses or mow yards with a push mower around the neighborhood for older folks cause it’s good to build Character.

Does one see any 12 yrs. Old girl mowing in July heat for $3 a yard anymore? Don’t think so. Lessons in service of those less fortunate.

However, if one is laid off with 20,000 others and paid into Unemployment benefit maxed out, of course draw the money. That’s what it’s for. Duh.

Don’t know anything about welfare system in my lifetime. Only dad’s little orange overalls in the 1930’s. He did us all very proud.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Salem88, unemployment isn’t a fedreal welfare benefit. It is insurance paid by the employer (with the exception of miniscule amount paid by employees in I think five states.) That is why I was curious what federal benefits people who are kind enough to share stories are referring to.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My grandmother and her siblings were on “relief” after her father abandoned the family to go live with another woman. She says it was a humiliating and helpless feeling that drove her to never be reliant on another person ever again, in her whole life.

My grandfather who married the above grandmother also experienced a period of years on “relief”. He and his brothers enlisted for WWll with the specific pact to return and use their GI Bill monies to buy houses for the family and help each other send their kids to school rather than letting them work. In those days, lots of Jr. High age kids stopped school and went to work instead.

In Jr. High and High School then I met several students who’s families were on welfare and had been for as long as the kids knew. Their view of Welfare was that is was their due, they were angry and resentful but not motivated to get off the aid until as a last resort. That I know, two of the girls went into the Welfare as young adults with their own kids.

I had a co worker once who was on Section 8 with her young son. I hadn’t met such a hardworking woman aside from my grandmother. This co worker helped me through a divorce to learn how to get by on a fixed very small income. She taught me how to take charge of my credit, negotiate with with landlords and utilities companies, etc. She looked at Welfare as a temporary aid while she regrouped and went forward with life. She didn’t have an attitude of entitlement.

laureth's avatar

I don’t think it has to be one or the other. It’s not all a handout, and it’s not all needed, because people are not all the same. I could come up with examples of both extremes.

Knowing that there are cheaters in any system, I’d rather accept some cheating (adding, of course, ways to minimize and catch cheaters) in order to have the programs in place to help those that truly, really, honestly do need some help.

Example: I grew up on welfare. We got food stamps, and a welfare check each month, throughout my childhood. Did we need it? Well, I was a kid, so what I saw I remember through a child’s eyes. I remember it not being enough, so Mom had to work under the table (like babysitting for cash, or bussing tables in a sympathetic restaurant) in order to make ends meet. Could she have worked a “regular job” to support me? I don’t know: she could so some simple things, but she was a high school dropout. She had few marketable skills, plus she was a b!tch to people around her so I could see her out on her ear very easily. She had a “world owes me a living” attitude, so you might consider her a cheater.

That said, I was not a cheater. I was just a little kid. I needed a place to stay and food to eat, and the welfare checks supplied that. I don’t know if my mom could have afforded daycare on the crappy wages she would have been getting had she worked crappy jobs. It was just my single mom and me, no dad or siblings, so Mom was who there was to take care of me. Because of government support, I was able to have enough food (even if it was frozen pot pies, ramen, or potatoes with government cheese, and yes I got “free school lunch”) to see me through my educational day without being too hungry. I had clothes to wear, even if they weren’t the most fashionable. And because of all of this, I went on to become a net benefit to the government: I pay taxes. I have worked real jobs since age 18, and never been fired. I don’t steal, I pay my rent or mortgage, I am not on drugs, or have eight kids starting from when I was 16, and I graduated high school and have some college. I am everything that I wouldn’t have been, had I had to live on the street. I was the sort of person who took the hand-up.

Of course, after Clinton’s welfare reforms, you can’t be on it for your whole childhood anymore, but in order to help people like me, there are going to be some people like my mom. You can try to separate the two, but some will make it through. That’s part of the cost of having a compassionate first-world society where we don’t let children like me starve. It sucks that it happens, but the benefits outweigh the costs.

Salem88's avatar

@bkcunningham – Was not too upset over answers, probably since ignorant of such things. Everyone on site knows that Braveheart enters room whenever my “Precious’ ” are perceived as mentioned.

It’s taxing on a welter weight. . . Or should that be swealter weight?

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t have an example of someone who has used Federal benefit programs but California gave me free college tuition, food stamps and Medicaid for four years. After I graduated from college I quickly got a good paying professional job. Over the last 37 years I’m must have paid back to society many thousands of times more that what I was given and my tax paying potential continues to grow.

Jaxk's avatar

According to Dr. Ruby Payne, there are two distinct types of poverty. Situational and Generational. Situational poverty is where you’ve suffered some calamity that pushes you into poverty. Generational is defined as two generations of poverty. The reaction to these two types is quite different and I’ve seen this reinforced in the answers above. Those in situational poverty are reluctant to take assistance, they don’t want welfare (whether they take it or not) and expect to recover. Generational poverty brings a different mindset. They feel entitled to it. The world owes it to them.

To be sure these attitudes are not absolute but rather but rather tendencies that affect the ability or desire to break the cycle. We have spent $8 trillion since Johnson’s Great society and the war on poverty. It hasn’t helped since we have more poverty today than we did when it started. We can’t discontinue the programs without severe repercussions but we can find a better way. Simply giving money to people doesn’t lift them out of poverty it merely enables them to learn how to live on it. There needs to be some activity associated with it that will help them to become self sufficient.

wundayatta's avatar

I suspect that we all agree that the goal is to enable people to become self-sufficient. If people use a program to live on because they can, then what? How can we teach them to get on their own two feet? The PWORWA act in 1996 limited the amount of time that people could be eligible for benefits for a variety of assistance programs (I think).

What has happened since then? In theory, it is no longer possible to stay on “welfare” forever (there is no program called “welfare” any more). So what happens to people who are kicked off the program? What happens to the children, who probably shouldn’t suffer because of the behavior or their parents?

@gondwanalon In fact, Medicaid and Food Stamps and some student loans are Federal programs, administered by the states. You have been on federal programs, but you went to the state to get the assistance.

@bkcunningham I deliberately did not limit the programs so that people could talk about what they want to. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve worked in this area, and I no longer know the name of all the programs. Last I heard, TANF was the acronym for what most people think of as welfare. I don’t know what it is these days. Plus there are food stamps, and health programs of many kinds, and childcare assistance in some places, housing assistance, and many other programs that I’m probably unaware of.

I find it interesting that when we first decide what our goals are, we can often agree what the goal is, across the political spectrum. Then it becomes an issue of finding the best way we can to meet the goal, given the resources. We may find that liberals support for programs does not appear so monolithic. It’s not that we support programs. We want results, but we don’t want a program to be cut because there are problems with it, until we’ve got something better.

It is interesting to hear @Jaxk write that there needs to be a program to help folks become self-sufficient. Does anyone disagree with that? Does anyone disagree that a program that enables people to stop working is not a successful program for that person? I don’t know how many such programs exist any more, but in principle, it seems like if there are any, no one would want that result. We want people to become self sufficient.

Once we get past the fear of throwing people away who need help and will benefit from it, then it seems like maybe we can cooperate to create programs that will help people without enable further dependence. As long as we can get past the name calling and the fear that people will suddenly be thrown out in the streets, I know we can find better ways to help people become self-sufficient.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk That is where the system goes wrong. I think that just giving people money is a poor solution, but giving somebody a pair of boots so they can take a warehouse job and a bus pass to get to said job is reasonable… and more than many people are willing to give.

Despite all of the squabbles we have had over this and similar issues, you and I pretty much agree on this one.

laureth's avatar

I would love to see a program that helps people become self sufficient. Although I’m not a Catholic, I think some of them have a good thing going with Distributionism, a worldview which seeks to put in everyone’s hands the tools needed to make a living on their own. If nothing else, I favor, as did Thomas Jefferson, the right of the ambitious unemployed to till the soil.

“Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. If for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be provided to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not, the fundamental right to labor the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment, but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state.” —Thomas Jefferson (Source)

josie's avatar

A helping hand is a voluntary action. I do it all the time and I fill good about it. Sometimes people say thank you.
A handout (in this context) is forced by an institution that has a monopoly on force and owns all the jail cells. If I don’t do it I will be in trouble. Plus, nobody says thanks, and many bitch that it is not enough.

jerv's avatar

@josie Sadly, we live in an age where people will walk right over somebody bleeding in the street and, instead of helping, we complain that they stained our clothes during their death spasms. We live in a time/place where they actually had to make laws telling you that you had to render assistance to somebody in such a position, yet we still don’t.

There are still some people that want to help other people, but there are growing numbers of people who won’t even when forced.

Jaxk's avatar

@wundayatta

Apparently we’ve substituted SS Disability for unemployment. That’s particularly disturbing since once on disability they seldom return to the workforce. Another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

josie's avatar

@jerv Whom do you know that doesn’t to one degree or another, even if it is subltle, resist any time they are forced to do something against their will. It is human nature. Something the Political State forgets every day.

Paradox25's avatar

I believe that some programs do work, when they’re properly enforced that is to weed out those just abusing the system. Programs that provide job training produce productive people that end up giving back to society anyways through tax monies gained through their new employment that pays them more.

The SS program is going to fall apart in less than 20 years, but yet we can’t expect all people to be able to work when they start getting up there in age. Maybe a SS trust fund that is devoted to that purpose (hands-off money) could be established. Welfare programs should be cracked down on a bit more as well, since I know many that take advantage of this program as well.

wundayatta's avatar

SS Disability probably has a moral hazard problem.

Being intimately involved with many people who are mentally ill and on disability, I see that it is the only thing that keeps them from being homeless and crazy, living under bridges and so on. Or just dying because they can’t handle their anti-organ rejection meds when they are sick, etc.

The chart suggests that as people lose unemployment, they are finding ways to be certified as disabled. But perhaps they truly are disabled. I don’t know. But I know it would be a shame if people attack the program and those who really would be homeless except for the SSDI program were turned out into the streets.

Once again, the data are suggestive. We need to find out what is really going on and if changes need to be made, they should be made sensitively so that people who really need the help don’t lose it. I think it is more constructive to take an improve the program approach than an attack the program approach. If you attack the program, it’s beneficiaries and defenders become defensive and it becomes less likely anything will be done to improve things.

Nullo's avatar

Helping hand is all well and good, but the problem is that some people – possibly most people – will abuse it, preferring to lie in the safety net instead of getting back on their feet.

wundayatta's avatar

@Nullo Some, most, or very few. I don’t think you know how many, really. Yet the impression people get from your post is that it is probably an awful lot. Enough to scuttle the program. Do you think there is enough fraud to make it worth scuttling the program?

jerv's avatar

@josie True, but when showing even a hint of human compassion or empathy must be forced upon people, one must wonder if people these days are still human.

Nullo's avatar

@wundayatta In fact I do not know how many. I know that there are some – for I have met them. And I know that where there is one kind of person, there are others.

I have found that when I let myself latch on to the safety net of the cheat codes (particularly invincibility) in my gaming, I become fearful of playing without them. Games that don’t have them I play without fear. I feel that a similar situation is provided by aid.
So, not even necessarily fraud.
I apologize in advance for a lack of clarity; I’m trying to filter out A Room With A View, which is playing in the same room.

Jaxk's avatar

@wundayatta

It’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff on this. While the population is becoming more healthy, the disability rates are increasing. I recently read a study on this very problem in Europe as well. It seems they see the exact same relationship with unemployment. Unemployment goes up, disability goes up. The health of the population seems to have no bearing. At the same time we know that as people become unemployed, some will suffer from debilitating stress or even physical ailments. I think there’s both a real connection and a game the system connection. How do we sort it out?

The problem I have with most government subsidies is that we don’t ever measure the success. Send them the money and pat ourselves on the back for doing good. Hell, we don’t know if we helped or hurt the problem. Currently, you can sit on your fat ass for two years collecting unemployment and never leave your house. Hell, your unemployment is even automatically deposited in your account. I’m sorry that sounds too easy to not get abused.

I can’t help but bring up the $million lotto winner that kept receiving food stamps. It was just too easy. No one is watching the store. Of course there’s also the story about 1500 federal employees receiving disability. Hell, the same employer is paying them wages and disability. It’s not like this would be hard to catch if anybody was looking. That’s why people object to these programs. Not because they don’t want to help those in need but rather because no one seems to care how much they are abused. We’ll just raise taxes to cover it.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk There really is no practical way to separate the wheat from the chaff, so you have to ask yourself, “If success is not an option and I am going to fuck this up one way or the other, how would I prefer to fuck it up?”.

How do we sort it out? If I were smart enough to answer that, I wouldn’t be doing what I do for a living!

BTW, about the direct deposit, think of all the savings in paper and postage. Scammers will scam whether using checks or computers, so why not reduce overhead costs?

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

You disappoint me. I’ve never gone into anything with the notion that ‘Success is not an option’. I can’t help but assume that’s a self fulfilling prophesy. You are fairly computer savvy, at least you’ve asserted such. How difficult is it to compare SS records to employment records to find out who is on disability and still working full time. Give me a break, even I could code that. The problem is there’s no incentive to do it. Too many people will write it off and get a laugh out of it. Prisoners received $39 million in fraudulent tax refunds… hee haw what a hoot.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk It isn’t difficult to check the records, but it is difficult to get people to do their job correctly, moreso when they are overpaid and have kick-ass benefits like pensions that they get regardless of whether they do their job right or not.

Or are you telling me that contrary to many of your previous posts you actually do have faith in the ability of the government to operate effectively, efficiently, and correctly? I don’t believe that they can, though I sincerely hope to be proven wrong.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I believe they can, they just don’t. For the reasons you stated. They can’t be fired, they don’t have any incentive to be innovative. Status quo is the best course for any government job. But the issue here is not government employees doing thier job it’s merely putting some software in place to do it for them.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Who writes the software here though? I thought it was government employees higher up in the hierarchy, including Congress.

wundayatta's avatar

I have only worked for government for a couple of months as a summer intern, and I remember the office I worked for being pretty dedicated. Some of my college classmates have also led careers in public service, and my impression is that they take the work seriously.

I also have friends who have worked in social services in the city, and I have heard how management treats them. It’s somewhat infantilizing. The civil service rules have arisen as a response to government workers slacking off and management tightening work rules in an ever more draconian manner so as to help them manage.

What these rules do is make it possible to initiate a “consequence” if you catch someone doing something wrong. But it’s just the start of a long chain of things that have to happen that might end in a worker being fired. The unions have fought back, and made the process even more long and drawn out.

It’s a slow motion war. And it doesn’t work. And we are trapped in the system now. You can’t get rid of that style of management, nor that style of union fighting back.

Scott Walker blamed the union in Wisconsin and tried to break them. All well and good, but it won’t help if you don’t also change management. Which he wouldn’t. Management, if it has the power, will fire people right and left, but that won’t make people work any more efficiently if the work rules are still inefficient. Is management in Wisconsin going to go after the easy fraud? Even with no union to fight it? I would be very surprised.

People have to want efficiency. They have to want to save money. They may even need to be rewarded for saving money. Then maybe we’d see some efficiency in government. But that’s a compensation change that—even if the union were to allow—I don’t know if management would ask for.

jerv's avatar

@wundayatta My mother worked for the state Department of Employment and Training, and the stories I heard…. lets just say that I know what you mean, and it firms the basis for my skepticism. She originally started that job hoping to make a change, but she was bound by the orders of her superiors.

RocketGuy's avatar

We were on food stamps for a while. Then I got a Pell Grant and Cal Grants to pay for college.

Since graduation, I have been gainfully employed. I amount of taxes I pay each year is equivalent to the total grant and assistance money I have ever received. So far, the govt is running a 20:1 profit off of me.

So I would lean towards “Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.”

Jaxk's avatar

@wundayatta

Changing the culture is difficult in any organization. Private companies go through this all the time with limited success. People resist change and once a culture has been in place for a long time it permeates every aspect of the organization. It does have to be driven from the top but even then it is a difficult and time consuming task (it can take years).

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk So… our nation’s long-running trend towards solipsism and willful ignorance is sticking around for a while?

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

You must have a new word a day calendar.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Heh. Actually, that one has been in my head for many years, but I didn’t have very much call to use it until recently. This election cycle has got me thinking of how to sum up our current cultural status in one word, and that one is on the short list of finalists, along with “Catastrofucked” and “Facepalm”.

wundayatta's avatar

Actually, @Jaxk, I’m very familiar with the difficulties involved in organizational change. It was a major interest of mine in school. It’s funny though, I haven’t kept up with the field and so everything I learned, I learned in 1985 and 1986. It still seems to be pretty much the same.

I think that there are some significant problems in the incentive system in government that makes it extremely hard to motivate the bureaucracy. The main thing is that the bureaucracy will always be there. Hold out for a few years, and the leader will be gone. This is what will happen in Wisconsin, and then both management and the union will bring things back to normal.

There does seem to be a long term trend that govt employees are losing their pensions, so that is saving government money. I think there is a trend that the workforce size is being cut back. That, of course, saves money.

But actually getting people to work smarter? When they know the leader will be gone in four years or eight years? When the orders keep on changing in response to politics in between? There is no incentive to work smart, and I’m not sure there could be one.

Politicians are not generally managers, anyway, and even when they are, they are the wrong kind, like Romney. He’s a bean counter, not a manager, I’m guessing. He knows all the wrong things about motivating people. He’s going to piss off most of the federal government if he gets elected. Everyone will hunker down and do nothing for four years until the people get sick of him, or eight years if there’s another 9/11 type event.

Jaxk's avatar

@wundayatta

Interesting response. You whip back and forth between states and federal so much I got whiplash. Federal employees are growing while state employees are shrinking. States are mostly unionized while federal is not. Both seem to operate in the same fashion so I’m not sure how those parameters have much impact. But both seem to share an inability to let people go. If you can’t get rid of the bad apples, they will continue to rot out the entire barrel. The shear size of government (whether state or federal) complicates the problem immensely.

I’m not sure how you came to any conclusions about Romney but I’ll assume you just don’t like his politics. Being a bean counter doesn’t mean you’re not a good manager and being a good manager doesn’t mean your not a good bean counter. They are not mutually exclusive. And that’s even if I buy into the bean counter theory which I don’t.

One of the attributes of a good manager (I would argue the most important) is the ability to surround yourself with good people. That is the first step in changing the culture. It is a major failure of Obama’s and and a question (at least in my mind) about Romney.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Some would argue that the key to being a successful manager (though not necessarily a good one) is to surround yourself with incompetence to make yourself look better by comparison. Others would argue that it’s to surround yourself with people who don’t want your job. Ambitious and/or competent underlings are a threat to job security.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I’ve been in management for a lot of years and I’ve never seen that work. If you surround your self with incompetence it only makes you look incompetent. And the best way to advance is to hire people that want your job. The harder they work the better you look.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk That depends on where you work. Any decent organization works as you describe, but I’ve encountered quite a few of the other kind that somehow manage to outrun their own stupidity well enough to be considered successful.

Personally, I agree with you. However, our opinion on this matter is not universal, and that is a problem.

RocketGuy's avatar

If a manager hires people smarter than he, and his boss does the same thing, does that make the CEO the dumbest guy in the company?

wundayatta's avatar

My problem with accountants is that there are different ways to influence the bottom line. For accountants, they are agnostic about how to influence the bottom line, so long as it improves. I think that most accountants go for penny wise and pound foolish forms of savings.

So, for example, you have an under performing employee. A, you could sack the employee and try to find someone better. B, you could invest in training the employee and make them better.

If you go for A, you get an immediate improvement in the bottom line, but you have a new, cheaper employee who needs training. Eventually, they turn out to cost a lot more because their productivity is low for a long period of time until they catch up. Plus, they might not work out.

If you invest in the low performing employee (option B), you do incur training costs, but you will get the employee producing better more quickly than a new hire, and you’ll end up ahead of the game, on average.

Romney’s philosophy is to cut companies apart and sell them off. It is not to run a company. It is not to manage people will. He just looks at the short term bottom line. That is the kind of destructive management style that led us into the recent economic turmoil in 2008. If Romney were elected, it is very likely that we’ll see that kind of thinking used to try to get the economy going.

He’ll cut regulations, for example. Which means some people will jump on the opportunities, and maybe we’ll get a quick hit for the economy, but something will go wrong because government is not watching the industry, and we’ll end up worse off than before, because people will have even less trust for industry than they did in 2009.

I think that good managers manage people first. They pay attention to bean counting, of course. But their philosophy is to build a lasting organization, not to render it. Romney would be very bad for the country because he doesn’t understand this. He’s not a long term pragmatist. He’s not principled. He just does whatever he thinks he has to win the election. If he wins, he’ll think up a plan then—maybe—but being one of those businessmen who flies by the seat of his pants, I doubt it.

jerv's avatar

@wundayatta Consider that many voters have bad math skills, short memories, and are short-sighted, that sort of bad management is popular enough to win elections. The reason I often come across as harsh towards Conservatives is partly that I believe in fiscal responsibility; in that regard, the people currently calling themselves Republicans are worse than Democrats! It’s promos that believing in the core principles of the Republican party is the exact reason that I don’t often vote for a Republican.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

Just so I have this straight, you’re voting Democratic because you believe in fiscal responsibility. Is that really your position?

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk As I said, it’s ironic. We both know how irresponsible the Dems are, yet they are still the lesser of two evils there. Kind of sad, actually, but they seem to do better at looking at actual costs and the long-term than those who care only about money and disregard the future as many current Republicans do. If nothing else, they don’t cling to theories that were discredited over a century ago, nor are they quite as hypocritical.

To be fair, it’s a choice between horseshit and bullshit…

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

Let’s see, Bush’s deficit spending was about $600 Billion/yr. Obama’s deficit spending is about $1.2 Trillion/yr. If I’m not mistaken Trillion is bigger than billion. Significantly. Our debt is now more than 100% of GDP, is that the long term costs you mentioned.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I don’t mean to pick on you but tax rates have been lowered 4 times to spur the economy. During the 1920s, 1964, 1983, 2003. Each time the economy has come roaring back to life. Is that the theory that has been totally discredited?

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I refer to “Horse and Sparrow” economics, a.k.a. “Trickle down”. I know that tax cuts can actually increase revenue under certain circumstances, but they can also do more harm than good, so they must be used with care. Part of that “with care” involves making sure that you can keep them low by not overspending, but the rise in unemployment and all has made mandatory spending rise considerably. That is where the non-solar costs also play a role; what use is a robust overall economy if we can’t take care of our citizens, and do we to live in a nation of plenty if it’s the sort of nation where allowing people to starve is considered a virtue?

It’s not that I like the Dems, but more that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Show me am old school Republican who believes that being rewarded for hard work is not merely a privilege for the rich, that feels that government has no more right to interfere in the bedroom than the boardroom, and that believes that all American citizens have equal rights regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status, and I will show you a Republican I could vote for.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

So fiscal responsibility really has nothing to do with it.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Is it fiscally responsible to set up a system that is unsustainable over the long-term?
Is it fiscally responsible to make the books look good now in return for screwing them up later?
Is it fiscally responsible to pass all of our current bills onto our grandchildren and their grandchildren?
Is it fiscally responsible to waste taxpayer money to have government interfere in things that no government should have any say in?

I say it is not.

laureth's avatar

@Nullo wrote, “I have found that when I let myself latch on to the safety net of the cheat codes (particularly invincibility) in my gaming, I become fearful of playing without them. Games that don’t have them I play without fear. I feel that a similar situation is provided by aid.”

I think two of the big mistakes we can make in judging how other people react to situations, is to think that no one is just like you, and that everyone is just like you.

Jaxk's avatar

Sounds like a good case for throwing the Democrats out of power.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I was thinking more along the lines of a case for a third party.

As it stands, they truly are the lesser of two evils. If I felt unsustainable systems that bill future generations and using taxpayer money to turn our nation into a Theocracy were fiscally responsible, I would try to put more Republicans in.

Give me a viable third choice, they will get my vote, and I can sleep easy knowing that I kept a wingnut out of office without putting a moron in.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

Too late, you already voted for Obama.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk How else would I keep McCain/Palin as far from DC as possible? He isn’t the man he was, and she represents what is wrong with the current Republican party. I didn’t vote for Obama; I voted against insanity in a way that wouldn’t divide the anti-insanity vote to where it allowed insanity to be inaugurated.

Show me a third-party candidate that can get enough support to actually win, put them in the 2008 election, and I will get into my TARDIS and change my vote. Until that happens, you just have to face the fact that the Republicans are the ones actually responsible for Obama getting into the White House; I am far, far, far from alone in voting for Obama as a protest as opposed to actually supporting him.

If you want to keep Democrats out then do the free market thing; provide a desirable product and trust consumers to make the right choice. So long as the GOP keeps providing damaged goods and there are no other choices, informed people will go Democrat and it’s the Republican’s fault that that is so. But that would involve Republicans accepting responsiblity for their actions, so I don’t see it changing.

RocketGuy's avatar

Yep, we gotta throw the bums out! The Left is too far left, the Right is too far right. Neither side is willing to compromise for the greater good. In business, they would be FIRED! A third party (Centrist) really needs to be formed.

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