General Question

janbb's avatar

How can we structure society so as to take care of the basic needs of people?

Asked by janbb (44242 points ) December 12th, 2013

This is a loaded question and an outgrowth of the communism question. And a result of my trying to think judiciously after some discussions with Republicans or libertarians. I’m not trying to promote the idea of equal access to wealth – although I might want to – but can we agree that an attempt should be made that no one starve, not receive medical care or be homeless in a rich country? Maybe that is too big a leap. If we are shooting for those goals, how can we achieve them? Or do we just not give a shit about fairness in society? Is it just dog eat dog, as it were?

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78 Answers

JimTurner's avatar

By allowing each person to work to the best of their abilities and insuring that they are properly educated.

rojo's avatar

set up an autonomous collective.

rojo's avatar

In which the executive officer of the day must have a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs and a two-thirds majority in the case of…..

Jaxk's avatar

If you look at the basic tenet of communism you will see the problem. To each according to their needs, from each according to their ability. You can’t just use half and give everybody what they need, they must contribute as well. By force if history is any gauge.

Coloma's avatar

Sadly, I have no answers, all I do know is that yes, it is a “dog eat dog” situation and I am one that has been completely wiped out with this economic downturn.
Middle aged people are being hit very hard, losing everything, age discrimination in employment, health issues. It sucks.
What’s happening is more and more people are opting out, as in suicide, because of the hopelessness of trying to rebuild on the cusp of “retirement” years.

We need more communal and collective housing arrangements and a reasonable living wage put in place, however this could be done.
By 2050 the senior population of those over age 65 will reach an all time, staggering, high of 86.5 million seniors. The worst IS yet to come, hopefully I will be out of this mess long before that. lol
I am turning 54 this month, have led a quality life and am completely flat lined at this time with little hope of ever recovering, let alone retiring.

It’s a pretty pathetic situation when one spends a lifetime being a model citizen, worker, contributor, only to find themselves entering late middle age and old age without a pot to piss in.
In my county widowed and divorced woman over the age of 60 lead the way in poverty, I’m about to join the ranks.

janbb's avatar

@Jaxk No problem with that; but you have to set up the mechanism by which people can contribute their labor.

rojo's avatar

On a more serious note, are we not reaching the point where we no longer need a representative democracy? With technology could we not begin to realize a direct democracy where everyones input does not have to go through the filter of a Ted Cruz or John Cornyn and gets deleted if you do not agree with them?

rojo's avatar

Actually deleted it is not the right term; ignored is probably a better description.

glacial's avatar

Ensuring that everyone has equal access to quality healthcare and education is the very least that must be done. This puts everyone on equal footing, and gives them the freedom to make their own choices about what they want to do or be.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Everyone will have their own take. Understand that I am usually called a liberal by my more conservative friends. I will throw out some extreme answers that might offend. Let me apologize now. I’m sorry.
My take on the solution might not be for everyone but as an engineer here is how I see it.
Goal: To reduce the number of people living in poverty.
Timeline: One generation.
Allocated funds: Est $10,000 per case.
Discussion: High percentage of people born into poverty remain there and have children that remain in poverty thus repeating the cycle.
Approach: Reduce the number of individuals in poverty by breaking the cycle. Do not permit reproduction if more than 60% of living expenses are supplied by the state.
(Note: The percentage might be adjusted to other levels, e.g. 70%, but for the purposes of this discussion we will assume 60% and define that level as “State supported”.
State supported individuals must follow specific rules to remain State supported.
If a state supported female becomes pregnant the male donor must be identified or all services will be cut off. The male will be held responsible for costs. If the male is unable to offer proof of support capability, the child must be aborted at the state’s cost.
Birth control will be provided free of charge to all individuals.
Drug use will be prohibited and shall be a cause for losing state support. Random drug testing shall be a requirement for obtaining state support .
Education and minimal course work is a further requirement for remaining on State support. Classes will cover, health, finances, computer usage, etc. .
Predicted Results: With fewer children more females will be able to obtain and complete education.
More educated females will enter the work force.
More males will become role models for children.
Fewer babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome, fewer crack babies, fewer abused children.
Fewer children born into poverty.
As the generation ages there will be fewer unemployed individuals thereby reducing unemployment and increasing the employment ratio.
Fewer unemployed individuals will result in lower crime rates.
———————-
I think you get the idea. I have already ranted about fat cat pig individuals taking more than they can ever use. I would tax them based upon their carbon footprint and CO2 production. But that is a different discussion.

OK I will duck now…

janbb's avatar

@glacial Of course there are always the questions of intelligence and innate ability and how they play in to fair treatment as well.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy It sounds a lit like Ebenezer Scrooge’s approach but an interesting scientific take.

Jaxk's avatar

@janbb

We do. It’s called a job. Unfortunately, we are making it easier and easier to entitlements and harder and harder to create jobs. The workforce participation rate leveled off in the 90s and has plummeted over the past 5 years. There is no sign of this turning around. Frankly the idea that we can just give more people more free stuff and it will create jobs, isn’t working. The idea that we can make it more expensive to do business here, that we should be punishing business, likewise, isn’t working. The idea that we can allow millions of uneducated workers to immigrate into the workforce isn’t working.

Frankly it is time to encourage business growth and get our economy moving again. Instead we continue to kill the Golden Goose and feel smug about doing it. Economic growth is the answer to our current woes. Communism and social Justice only serve to make us all poor.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The fund is a good idea, but the main problem is that you can’t FORCE people to CARE.

There are rich people on every political party and we hear about them avoiding taxes all the time, getting caught, etc… Until each and every one of us cares about each other’s welfare, it will remain dog eat dog.

So any of you that have any ideas on how to soften a hard and selfish heart, please tell us.

ETpro's avatar

I think the problems with communism are not the result of the, “To each according to their needs, from each according to their ability.” idea is that it’s rarely been tried. What we saw in Russia, China, North Korea and Cuba is absolute Statism substituting for religion. North Korea and China carried it the furthest, with Mao in China and Kim Il-sung being venerated as living (now dead) gods. Each country really just copied the worst aspects of total free-market capitalism (concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a very small number of families) but instead of letting competition for productivity and contribution to society decide the winners, they let family relationships, cronyism and political intrigue pick the winners. Far from everyone sharing equally, the workers were the animals of animal farm and the party leaders were the pigs. Remember, “All animals are equal, but pigs are more equal than others.” as George Orwell quipped in Animal Farm.

The Bible mentions the early Christian community in Acts 2: “42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Also, virtually all hunter gather tribes worked along these lines. Most of us want to do something. We want to contribute to our own well-being and to increase the common good. But the Apostle Paul noted in 2 Thessalonians 3: “6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”

The best system seems to be a mix of social welfare that includes job training and education for all who are able bodied and of sound mind, but ill prepared to work; assistance for those who are so mentally of physically challenged they cannot work; a real living wage for all who do work; and a system of increasing rewards for high productivity, creativity, and making a real contribution to society.

It’s no good to tell a shoe-less beggar to pull himself up by his bootstraps. He doesn’t have any boots. But we also want to ensure that featherbedding never pays as well as dedicated labor and creative innovation. I think we can eliminate the current growing American nightmare of wealth inequality and in fact we have to do that is we are to keep alive the American Dream. Massive wealth disparity like Haiti saw under Papa Doc and then Bébé Doc Duvalier is every bit as crushing to the dreams and hopes of the masses as the communist party’s stranglehold on power is for ordinary North Koreans.

Either extreme is odious, and we’re slipping ever closer to the model Haiti represents.

glacial's avatar

@KNOWITALL Obviously you can’t legislate caring, but you can legislate taxes. Close loopholes, and force the wealthy to pay the taxes they are already meant to be paying, and the amount of money available to go to necessary social programs will vastly increase. And hey, maybe increase the tax rates so they’re where they were 20 years ago or so, and you might be able to do some real good in the US. All that’s needed is the political will to get it done.

JimTurner's avatar

@janbb This is a very good answer. You get it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@glacial Not to get political (because I’m not in the mood at all) but the two major parties always disagree on where to draw that line, who should be paying the most, etc…

Personally, I pay school taxes with no kids in school, no kids period. Not cool.

You get a tax break for charity donations which is bs, take that away, people lie about that all the time and corporations use that, too. Charity is charity, not for what you get back in return.

You get a tax break for having kids, take that away, we’re overpopulated.

I could go on and on, but it’s bs. One check for $800 turns into $520 after taxes, it’s crazy.

zenvelo's avatar

Compassionate Capitalism.

Essentially, the current economic system in the US but with some over arching principals:
1. A safety net for those who need it. (Despite a continuing rant from some that this makes people lazy, nobody really enjoys living at a subsistence level.)
2. Tax rates based on the ability to pay, above a base tax exempt income level that allows people to eat and have shelter and health care.
3. elimination of profit from the health care system. Health care needs to be considered a right, and health care accounting needs to be open and transparent and applied the same to all, so that cost control can be performed.
4. Elimination of much of the deductions and exemptions and special income treatments in the tax system. For instance, a 401 K will get taxed at your current income tax rate when you withdraw funds. Why then should an equally long term capital gain get a break and only taxed 15%?
5. elimination of subsidies to corporations. The biennial farm bill is nothing more than a conglomeration of special subsidies and exemptions and credits. Get rid of them all, allow free market capitalism to influence what is grown and reaped. My only caution would be heavy taxes on anything GMO.
6. Elimination of money in the electoral process. Money has poisoned politics in the US to the point where it does not work right.

glacial's avatar

@KNOWITALL It’s not that crazy if along with that pay cut, you get free healthcare and free education (not just for your kids – you were a child once, don’t forget).

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL: “Personally, I pay school taxes with no kids in school, no kids period. Not cool.”

This is something I hear quite often, and it’s puzzling. Do people think of taxes as a purchase or something? Only if you had kids in school would you be willing to pay for the public school in your town? This isn’t my understanding of how it works – or should work.

You benefit from the fact there are schools for your neighbor’s kids to go to. Those people benefit from the fact that they don’t have to shoulder the entire burden of paying for their kids to be educated. What’s the alternative? We do away with public schools and only those that can afford $10k per year, per kid can send their kids to a private school?

I pay taxes too (and from what I gather, I pay a ton more $ in taxes). But I am employed and yet I pay for unemployment benefits for those without a job. Is that fair? Yes it is. I may (will) use unemployment benefits some day. And it benefits me that my neighbors are not going to rob me to feed their kids because they have no job.

It sounds like you’re opposed to the concept of taxation completely. Am I correct?

ninjacolin's avatar

What about tours of public service? So, you can be a mega wealthy privately paid doctor, lawyer, inventor or grocer, or whatever for 11 months of the year but 1 month per year belongs to the public (and let’s say you have options as to how you would like to serve the public for that month). Everyone performs paid community service for a fair portion of their lives. Would that work?

janbb's avatar

@ninjacolin Sounds like an excellent idea!

rojo's avatar

What about filling political positions with a pool system of eligible citizens such as that used for jury duty. You have to do it for “x” amount of time for a decent amount of money and after you have fulfilled your civic duty, someone else gets a go at it. In the past people have mentioned that the person might not be qualified to serve a particular position but that is true even with the system of election. You have to take someones word for it that they can be governor or mayor or whatever. And, you would have the ability to opt out if you felt that you would be unable to fulfill the responsibilities of office.

ninjacolin's avatar

There’s an excellent point made in this video about a herd of elephants putting effort into moving more slowly to accommodate the disabled members. A truly relieving concept to consider. Do give it a watch.

glacial's avatar

@ninjacolin That’s how you end up with the Army Corps of Engineers, whose make-work projects include devastating the Everglades for no apparent reason.

DWW25921's avatar

“How can we structure society so as to take care of the basic needs of people?”

Create a business friendly environment so people will have decent jobs.

tom_g's avatar

@DWW25921: “Create a business friendly environment so people will have decent jobs.”

Can you provide an example of a place or time where this was the case so I can check it out?

DWW25921's avatar

@tom_g Yeah… I know. Just trying to be optimistic man!

rojo's avatar

@DWW25921.
A business friendly environment addresses the needs of business, not people. What you are suggesting is just another form of trickle-down economics which, in my opinion, has already been shown to be a failure. Perhaps it is time to look at people as something other that a commodity or tool to exploit.
Perhaps it is time we looked at the old paradigm and revised it. What is a good job? What does it mean to have a decent job? What does this have to do with having a decent life? Society has changed and continues to do so and at some point the consumer driven model will come to an end; there are only finite resources and that means that eventually things run out. Perhaps we are at that point now. Perhaps the reason there do not seem to be as many jobs is not through a lack of supply but the lack of demand. Perhaps people have maxed out. Perhaps we should consider reducing the work week to thirty hours so that more people can be gainfully employed? What about twenty hour work weeks then we could put twice as many people to work. There are many questions out there that we, as a society, need to address that a pat answer like “Create a business friendly environment so people will have decent jobs.” does not even begin to cover.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The structured society you envision does not, nor never will, exist. Everyone has tried, a thousand different ways, and it just doesn’t work. Free enterprise (or dog-eat-dog) is the system the USA was founded on. Everything else is a form of communism, which we were taught is the ultimate evil. I don’t know about that, but I do know that a society that takes care of everyone doesn’t work. Too many people would just as soon not contribute, not try, not care, as long as their basic needs are being met. And there are never enough hard working individuals to provide for the teeming masses that would rather not.

DWW25921's avatar

@rojo Of course there’s more to it. I realize that. I wrote down the first thing that came to my mind. Is communism better? Pure communism has failed in every country it’s been tried in. If we were to use the Chinese model, integrating a certain amount of capitalism that may work. There really isn’t a model that works for everyone all the time. I figured jobs and access to them would be the closest…

LuckyGuy's avatar

Is anyone here still speaking to me?
I will add something else. I would tax the heck out of chinese imports and open plants here that are staffed by the low wage earners getting State support. A recipient would be required to satisfactorily work a minimum of 8 hours per week to remain in the program.
Walmart would have to start buying toaster ovens and light bulbs from US factories staffed by those people without jobs.

Everyone should be paid for work. ...And its corollary:
No one should ever get paid to do nothing.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s a somewhat redundant question, isn’t it? After all, the entire purpose of “society” is to enable human functioning in groups large and small, and the basic functions that we all want (need) to achieve are the “basic human necessities”, followed by luxuries that we depend on so much that we consider them to be necessities as well.

We all need food, water, shelter. We usually also want some kind of companionship (elevated to “need” in enough that it may often be considered an essential element of survival). In order to improve our capacity to provide these things, we’ve decided that “education” is also a need, and so, voila, it is. Ditto medical care, cable television, roads, energy and fuel, etc.

Once the basic necessity of “water” is met, for example, then of course we want it in some indefinite (high) volume sufficient for any needs we can imagine, filtered and without pathogens and poisons, delivered via indoor plumbing at sufficient pressure, alternating hot / warm / cold, and adequately drained away from our homes. That’s a lot of additional “necessities” that have been added to “water”.

Society already exists to provide necessities, and to improve the basic “water” as in our example, to add more and more refinements. Look how “food” has translated into “choice of well-stocked supermarkets, great restaurants, cooking shows on television, and pot-luck dinners for various and sundry reasons”.

Society works great to provide more and more choices in these things at ever-lowering cost and ever-increasing quality. But “society” doesn’t do that because the populace is ordered to; it does that because willing suppliers (people) find or create jobs to meet demand from willing customers (other people) and voluntary exchanges are made that further the interests of both parties.

I’d say that the best way to “improve” this would be to get out of the way and let people go on doing that.
——
Of course, aside from the rosy picture painted above, there are problems. Some people as “customers” don’t want to make the necessary exchanges to “suppliers” and try to steal what they want. Some people feel that they have nothing to exchange – which may at times be true.

Perhaps the better question is: “How can we take care of those few who can’t or won’t take care of themselves?” I’m tired of those who attempt to create – and enforce! – society to rules that they perceive as “the best for all” (while conveniently exempting themselves and their friends from the rules) because of outliers. That’s how we’ve gotten into the mess we’re in.

DWW25921's avatar

@LuckyGuy “No one should ever get paid to do nothing.” AMEN brother

This idea of rewarding laziness with a check is beyond foolish. I’ve been out of work for over 2 years and have 2 businesses and several irons in the fire on the side. My bills get paid and I get no check. “Taking care of people” sounds all well and good but the reality is we are a society that enables folks to lie, cheat and take advantage of a broken system. I could probably get a check if I asked but I’d rather take care of me. Your welcome taxpayers.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@DWW26921 Don’t forget the “Everyone should be paid for work.”

Too many people are working poor – getting wages that barely cover their transportation. No wonder it is not worth working. Minimum wage needs to go up. How can anyone justify paying the top dog at Home Depot $400M for his retirement. Seriously?! You meant $200M wasn’t enough?!?! How much of a difference in their employees’ lives would that money make? Maybe with that extra $100 an employee could buy the car battery so they could get to work on time. But no,.... That over-stuffed suit took the money and laid off over 1000 staff. Shame.
On the other side of the coin, if someone is staying home getting Section 8 housing there should never, ever, be a piece of trash on the curb or lawn in front. I know it is not yours. Tough! Clean it up.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@luckyguy I think you might be on to something, there. I know that I have some low-paid hard workers in my family that would bust their butt to get some state subsidy so that they could at least have the basic necessities. And I also have some unemployed family members that would jump at the chance to work in a factory, or anywhere. And I know many who choose to sit at home and collect money for nothing. Right now, the Utah legislature is busy passing a bill to give themselves a big raise, from $105,000 a year to $155,000 a year. What a corrupt mess! I think we are too far up shit creek to fix our system at this point.

Kropotkin's avatar

@zenvelo “Compassionate Capitalism” is like a vegetarian tiger.

DWW25921's avatar

@LuckyGuy I know this first hand. If I had a job (full time min wage) I would be making less money than I am now. My online stores including Ebay, Zazzle and Redbubble coupled with odd jobs and setting up my flea market brings me vastly more than minimum wage. I’m not a leech on society, I provide several services that are often utilized. In fact, my flea market has owed taxes for the last 2 years. That’s fine with me.

DWW25921's avatar

I think people have more opportunities than they are aware of. There are legitimate online businesses that cost nothing and improve money making capabilities. Fluther is a good example of this as they have their own Zazzle store that costs nothing to set up that they advertise on the site here. That’s a really creative and frankly awesome idea! Personally I think they should expand it a little and add more products but whatever works for them I reckon is fine.

Instead of relying on the state why don’t people really search and look in to all available options? They may just be better off!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@DWW25921 Why don’t some people search? Because some people can’t afford internet or a phone or don’t know how to do it. They are worried about making their rent or utility payments. They don’t have time or the financial cushion to take off and try something different. They don’t have the support system some of us enjoy. They are likely unwed, supporting 2 kids, no family support , working like a dog just to stay alive.

On the other hand if something is free, it has no value. Everyone should do something to get and maintain state support.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I see difficulties arising from the “business friendly” solutions to our accelerating equity problems. First of all, things are already far too business friendly. And by business, I don’t mean the restaurant on the corner or your neighborhood mechanic. The U.S. chamber of commerce would prefer for us to believe that there is no discernible difference between General Electric and your local shoe repair shop. The reason there are no jobs being created, is simply that corporations have seen to it through corruption of government that there are easier and more profitable ways of making money than investing in ventures that generate jobs. Plain and simple.

YARNLADY's avatar

Probably a benevolent dictatorship would work best, where the rulers truly have the best interest of the people in their actions, and everyone agrees to follow their rule.

DWW25921's avatar

@LuckyGuy That’s actually the sinking ship that I started out in. My online stuff started at the public library. I asked lots of questions and the folks there were very helpful. I had to walk there because I didn’t have a car at the time. I walked around and got a few steady odd jobs. I didn’t have excuses and I don’t endorse people that do. At the time, I was caring for a friends kid because I was better off than their parents. Life is tough, deal with it or wither away under a bridge. I’d rather deal with it.

longgone's avatar

@LuckyGuy Your idea made me think. It does have some merits, but there’s a few things I found worrying:

Reduce the number of individuals in poverty by _breaking the cycle._
Makes sense.

Do not permit reproduction if more than 60% of living expenses are supplied by the state.
Essentially, this is punishing people who were born into poverty. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’d worry about civil wars, actually.

The male will be held responsible for costs.
I assume it’s vice-versa if the male is being supported?

If the male is unable to offer proof of support capability, the child must be aborted at the state’s cost.
That could get expensive.

Birth control will be provided free of charge to all individuals.
This I like.

Drug use will be prohibited and shall be a cause for losing state support. Random drug testing shall be a requirement for obtaining state support.
Fine, but what do we do with all the drug addicts who have then lost state support? Let them die on the street?

Education and minimal course work is a further requirement for remaining on State support. Classes will cover, health, finances, computer usage, etc.
Good idea. I’d like those topics introduced in schools, too. (As long as we can add childcare and stress relief).

Predicted Results: With fewer children more females will be able to obtain and complete education.
Hm…fewer, yes. I would bet there will still be a high number of people who fall through the cracks, because they don’t want to learn. Can’t force them.

More educated females will enter the work force.
Probably.

Fewer babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome, fewer crack babies, fewer abused children.
Not sure.

Fewer children born into poverty.
Maybe.

EDIT: I just realized I hadn’t answered the question.

I think, for society to change, we would have to start with the children. I suggest breaking the cycle of poverty, like @LuckyGuy says. I wouldn’t try this from a (purely) legislative angle, though. What I would do is create homes away from home. They could be called schools, but they would vastly differ from schools today. The thing is, no-one has convinced me a six-year-old wants to stay at home with his parents all day, when there is a place full of other kids, caring adults, meals, fun, and learning not too far away. I may sound naive. I may be naive, I don’t know. But I think kids want to get out of the hell-hole some of them have to call home. And for most of these kids, that positive influence would be enough.

I’m not talking about a day school. This would be a place where kids could stay the night, if they feel like it. And yes, it would be horribly expensive.

I will go away to think some more.

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

Call me a dreamer, but “humanity” must have a shift in consciousness so that we view each other as one people, one planet. If we want for others what we want for ourselves no one will be left behind. We can all have a home, people who love us and access to whatever life improvements we might need.

Do I think this will happen? Not in my lifetime. And there is no government in the world that can truly make us love others as we love ourselves, to want for all what we want for ourselves.

We are all inhabitants of one world, flying through space on a whirling orb, together forever.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

First, all of the old collectivist systems were a mess and could never work in reality. Laissez-faire capitalism is just as flawed. What we need is compromise with rigid checks and balances. We need a constitutional republic where the wealth gap is much smaller yet those with initiative can enjoy some of the fruits of their labor. We need it to be cheap and easy to provide for the less fortunate but less so if they are able but not willing to contribute to society.
There will never be a utopia but we can probably approximate one fairly well. Especially if we limit individual power over our institutions and over others. Keeping any and all power structures in check is key.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I live in the richest school district in my area. Any money I save on taxes goes to real live people in need not govt.

flo's avatar

Only people who are willing to donate their organs will recieve donated organs.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@longgone Lurve for taking the time to think about it and taking my message as I intended: thought starters.
The items we fully agree upon are not worth discussing (Obviously – we agree) I will only answer where we differ. (Darn it! I noticed your comments under mine are no longer emphasized. I will put my replies in emphasis font. I hope it does not get too confusing.

Before we start I want to stress that I feel if an individual is being paid by someone, the individual must follow their rules. I am paid (well, I might add) to do things for my employer. I am also required to live a certain way. I must be able to pee into a cup whenever they want. I cannot be intoxicated. If I can’t agree to their rules they can and will stop paying me. That is not being punished. That is a contract.

Here is the second main point. Since, oh about forever, we know what causes pregnancies. In 99.9x of cases a male sticks something into the female and stuff happens. Both parties know this can happen. If they don’t then at least one party should be charged with statutory rape, sent to prison and the baby aborted.

OK now to the differences.

You wrote:

Do not permit reproduction if more than 60% of living expenses are supplied by the state.
Essentially, this is punishing people who were born into poverty. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’d worry about civil wars, actually.
It is not a punishment. It is a temporary restriction until they are off State support. This would be written into the contract if they expect to receive money from the State. The state will pay for the abortion. 3 maximum.

The male will be held responsible for costs.
I assume it’s vice-versa if the male is being supported?
Sure. But in this community 78% of black females are single moms! Incredible! You can check the numbers for your community. What happened to the guys making the sperm injection? They need to be held accountable. When a child is born, we know the mother. We don’t often know “whodababydaddy” Watch the Maury show once if you don’t know what I’m talking about. It will make you sick. If the female can’t/won’t ID the donor the payments wil stop.
If the male is unable to offer proof of support capability, the child must be aborted at the state’s cost.
That could get expensive.
The expense for a State funded abortion would be much lower than the expense to society for one childbirth and a whole lot lower cost that the expenses for a child in poverty and potentially in crime.

Drug use will be prohibited and shall be a cause for losing state support. Random drug testing shall be a requirement for obtaining state support.
Fine, but what do we do with all the drug addicts who have then lost state support? Let them die on the street?
I would suspend payment for 2 months minimum. Half of the suspended payments would be spent on weekly random testing. The other half would be banked for the individual when they are clean for 60 days. That would be a strong incentive to straighten up.
Re: your “die on the street” comment. Do you know why there are not many homeless people around here? Because it is freaking cold and we have lots of snow. Every year, and I do mean every year, they find elderly people dead on the sidewalks in front of their homes because they fell in the snow while getting the newspaper or mail and froze to death. Horrible. Those people were hard working individuals who were trying to take care of themselves. The individual who takes State money and injects or snorts it has made a personal choice to break the contract he made with the State.

Education and minimal course work is a further requirement for remaining on State support. Classes will cover, health, finances, computer usage, etc.
Good idea. I’d like those topics introduced in schools, too. (As long as we can add childcare and stress relief).
I agree about the childcare for those in the system already. I do not condone retroactive abortion.
Predicted Results: With fewer children more females will be able to obtain and complete education.
Hm…fewer, yes. I would bet there will still be a high number of people who fall through the cracks, because they don’t want to learn. Can’t force them.
“Can’t force them.” Right. But they can force themselves if they see it is necessary to continue to collect the check.

Fewer babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome, fewer crack babies, fewer abused children.
Not sure.
“Not sure”. I say Absolutely sure! I spent a minute looking for numbers 1 in 6 pbabies born in poverty in Philadelphia in 1989 test positive for cocaine. Interesting follow up study . At age 4 the crack pabies had an IQ of 79.0 while the unexpose kids had an IQ of 81.9. So poverty was significant too. Can our socity afford mofe IQ 80 children?. Is that the best place to spend precious resources?

Fewer children born into poverty.
Maybe.
_Definitely. More abortions. More (permanent) birth control. _

EDIT: I just realized I hadn’t answered the question.
You answered the question beautifully. Lurve! You thought about it and contributed.

For society to change, we would have to start with the children. I suggest could be called schools, but they would vastly differ from schools today. The thing is, no-one has convinced me a six-year-old wants to stay at home with his parents all day, when there is a place full of other kids, caring adults, meals, fun, and learning not too far away. I may sound naive. I may be naive, I don’t know. But I think kids want to get out of the hell-hole some of them have to call home. And for most of these kids, that positive influence would be enough.

I’m not talking about a day school. This would be a place where kids could stay the night, if they feel like it. And yes, it would be horribly expensive.
Expensive. Cheaper and more permanent if a long term plan is in place.

I will think about it
Me too.

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL: “I live in the richest school district in my area. Any money I save on taxes goes to real live people in need not govt.”

Not sure if that was in response to me or not. What do you mean about saving money on taxes?

Let’s make it more specific. I have paid $4,289 in property taxes this year. In return, I live in a decent, safe town with police, fire, good roads, trash and recycling services, a youth center, an amazing library, and great public schools for my 3 kids. If I were to pay for private school for all 3 kids, that would $36k/yr (minimum).

It sounds like you are opposed to the fact that part of your taxes contribute to public schools. Specifically, how much of your tax dollars go towards the public schools in your town? I’m sure there is a way to find out. What if it was 1/5 of your total taxes? How much would that be, and is that not worth paying in order to have a public school system so that the kids in your town can attend school?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g Our town is fairly wealthy, minus two trailer parks that probably supply more children than the rest of the entire town. The parents are drawing checks, selling meds and drinking and use the schools as babysitters. Sound harsh, it’s very sad and a lot of us try to help those kids because it’s not their fault.

All I’m saying is that I prefer lower taxes so I can help real people who need it for a fact as opposed to broken government assistance programs.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Arrrgh! I see my reference did not attach. My fault.
Here it is. Poverty hurts kids more than being born to moms on cocaine

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LuckyGuy Good but short article, I noticed the same thing in my schools, we all did about the same. Although the homelife has a psychological affect I think, most of my cracky friends were very mature from taking care of their parents.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@KNOWITALL What would you like to have for government? Educated People? When you pay your taxes, you are paying to educate the people who will run your country later; the mechanics, the politicians, the doctors, the grocers, the bartenders. Do you want them STUPID? Maybe there is no one in school in your town who came from your womb, but believe me, you have a vested intrest in how well the schools educate the kids. Teachers pay for supplies for their classrooms from their own piddly small pay so they can teach the kids. Mostly, those kids are not their own offspring. They have to just hope that the teachers their own kids have are just as dedicated as they are.
You give to real people do you? When was the last time you walked into a school with an armload of pencils, paper, backpacks, or a fruit basket for an exhausted educator?
I am seeing lots of real ideas here, some good, some strange, but what I see from you is a lot of whining about making your contribution to the part of society which most legitimately needs help.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers Did you not gain knowledge from my saying I live in the richest school district in my area? They don’t need more new tracks and more new computers. Fruit basket? How about giving a poor child some decent shoes and coats, that’s more my style, geesh.

If you think I’m whining, at least know that I pay my share of taxes, pay my own medical bills and still help real people, not teachers, just normal people who can’t afford to eat, so if that’s not good enough, up yours sucka. ;)

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I gained no knowledge whatsoever from anything you said, @KNOWITALL. You have done lots of upping everybody’s, but you haven’t made a point. I think you don’t know the first detail about schools in your neighborhood. I think you sit cozy in your neighborhood thinking your universe is three square blocks, and whatever is beyond that somebody else should take care of, quietly, so you won’t be bothered by it. Teachers ARE real people, and parents, and some parents are poor but teach their kids and spend time with them and do for them whatever they are able and could sometimes use a little help. Schools are super important to the functioning of our nation, our future, our families.
Not giving birth doesn’t give you a pass on social responsibility. I bet all those little barefoot kids in your perfect school neighborhood really appreciate your cast off shoes.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers Oh for goodness sakes, go toss a banana at a teacher then, I bet that’ll help (sarcasm.) I don’t pass on social responsiblity by any stretch of the imagination, so don’t presume fool.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Let me just interject here. I am all for education to get higher paying jobs, but the world also needs ditch diggers, lunch ladies, janitors, clerks, and etc., etc. If everyone had their way, we would all have Ph.D.‘s and then what? Would we import less educated people from another country to do all the grunt work. It still needs to be done. We can’t function without all of those people.

glacial's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt “If everyone had their way, we would all have Ph.D.‘s”

Not one person is advocating for this. What people like me do want is for people to be given the choice. If a person wants to dig a ditch, that’s totally cool – he’ll probably make more than I do, and never have his work follow him home. But he shouldn’t have to dig a ditch if he would rather have done a PhD, just because he was born too poor to have the choice.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@glacial A lot of us have the choice but sometimes we choose not to get huge loans that we’ll be paying off for the next twenty years.

@Jonesn4burgers Sorry. :(

glacial's avatar

@KNOWITALL But that’s what I’m talking about alleviating. If education were made free to those who want to choose it (and by the way, that means choosing to do the work to get those degrees, they don’t just appear, poof), then the prospect of crippling loans would not exist as a deterrent.

CWOTUS's avatar

“If everyone had their way, we would all have Ph.D.‘s”
....Not one person is advocating for this.

Boy, I sure do. There is absolutely no reason – none at all – why lunch ladies, hospital orderlies, ditch diggers, janitors and clerks shouldn’t be well educated. It’s a complete fallacy to think that those people, because they have chosen professions and occupations that we call “menial” (because it means that they use their hands) should be uneducated. Unless you like for them to be your slaves.

glacial's avatar

@CWOTUS I know a lot of people who have stopped at a BSc or MSc and chosen not to get a PhD because they don’t want one. I know others who started a PhD and then gave up, deciding it wasn’t for them. Seriously, it’s not possible to get a PhD if you don’t want it. This doesn’t make them slaves – nor does it make them uneducated.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

@KNOWITALL me too. :) I tried to PM you, but my wifi ditched and I just now am able to get back.
Did I miss anything anybody?! LOL
You know, @janbb, you have really opened a can of worms here. When I first clicked on to this Q, I was expecting to write a reply. There were already quite a few replies with some very responsible ideas. It is easy to see everyone has those things about which they are passionate. This is what we can expect to find in a freedom loving, democratic nation. there are some good ideas here, some represented quite well. However, the population has grown to the point that there are inumerable opinions about an expansive list of issues. I’m having renewed respect and admiration for the poor schmucks who try to represent us in DC.

janbb's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers I am very glad I asked the question this way – despite @CWOTUS‘s disparagement. I am tired of the old them vs us mentality we exhibit here and in the country and wish we could start looking in a fresh way at the problems in our society. But I do agree, everyone has a different take on issues and it must be damn hard for even the well-meaning to try to govern.

CWOTUS's avatar

If I had one prayer in life it would be to be saved from “the well-meaning” in government. Give me someone who understands that government is a hammer, not a violin.

janbb's avatar

(Can you put Willow on please?)

CWOTUS's avatar

@glacial, I don’t care a whit about “credentials”; I don’t have a BA or BS, myself. But I’m not “uneducated” – and I’ve seen the product of many with “credentials” who are completely lacking any sense of how the world works or “wisdom” in any form.

Willow agrees with me completely.

glacial's avatar

@CWOTUS Then why do you want everyone to have a PhD?

If you were trying to make a joke there, I can’t find it.

CWOTUS's avatar

I could have been clearer, I suppose. The argument that I was responding to was about “more education”, and the rejoinder was the first mention of “degrees”. I wasn’t joking; I’m completely in favor of more and more education for everyone – myself included – whether it leads to degrees and credentials or not.

There’s no reason why ditch diggers and janitors can’t be as well educated as anyone, and every reason why they should be. It wasn’t a joke.

janbb's avatar

Frodo says Willow has some ‘splainin’ to do.

CWOTUS's avatar

Just so we’re clear, @janbb, the reason I don’t like the thrust of the question is that it assumes that society actually needs “to be structured” by people who supposedly have the power to do that. Or that it could benefit from that application of power. (And of those people, those who are dead certain that they’re “well-meaning” are the most dangerous of the lot. They should be shot as soon as they step up on the soapbox.) I don’t think that society requires “structure”; it’s a mostly voluntary and unplanned result of human interaction.

If you had asked about the need for or organization of specific institutions, city or regional planning (in terms of the layout of infrastructure or even government organization), or aspects of society such as transportation and energy production and distribution, then there is loads that we could talk about.

But the thrust of the question still seems to be about “how do we change everyone else’s behavior in order to help [whichever out-group you’d care to mention]”. I think it’s a terrible idea to think that way. Not that it’s a bad idea to help those who can’t or won’t help themselves, but to re-make society using force – and never mistake that force, violence or the threat of force and violence are required – to make people change the non-harmful ways or actions that they’d prefer to do.

“Society” is peaceful, voluntary and non-violent. Government is the antithesis of all of those.

Now, if you were asking “which behaviors of your own could you or would you modify” to enable the change you want, that’s also a fine question. That’s a question that I’ve answered in the real world, too, even apart from working for a living, paying my taxes and not hurting others.

glacial's avatar

@CWOTUS Mmkay. Then we are in complete agreement. I don’t believe education and menial (or rather, manual) jobs are mutually exclusive, by any means.

janbb's avatar

@CWOTUS So much to think about and argue with but I have a party to prepare for tonight so I will defer to another time.

I will say that we are all members of society – or so I believe – so I think changes have to be made individually and collectively. Otherwise, let’s hear it for Cave 79 and screw the rest of you.

mattbrowne's avatar

Teach people how to feel the honor of paying more taxes if they can afford it.

snowberry's avatar

@mattbrowne How about teaching people to feel the honor of paying taxes even though they can’t afford it? ;D

longgone's avatar

@LuckyGuy Thank you for the reply. I didn’t have the time to answer before, but here’s my thoughts:

“Before we start I want to stress that I feel if an individual is being paid by someone, the individual must follow their rules.That is not being punished. That is a contract.”

Yes. To enter into a contract, though, both parties must be aware of their future obligations. State support is not necessarily something people agree to receive, they could be forced by circumstances.

“At least one party should be charged with statutory rape, sent to prison and the baby aborted.”

I agree with you on principal, but we will have to let the future mothers decide whether they want their child aborted, right?

“It is not a punishment. It is a temporary restriction until they are off State support. This would be written into the contract if they expect to receive money from the State.”

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s a punishment. It matters whether it feels like one, and I assure you, to many people, it will. So…riots.

“The state will pay for the abortion. 3 maximum.”

What happens after the third?

“You can check the numbers for your community.”

I live in Germany, so things are probably very different. I know we have 15% of our children grow up with a single mom, whereas only one % grow up with only their dad.

“What happened to the guys making the sperm injection? They need to be held accountable.”

Now that you’ve explained where your coming from, I agree completely. I wasn’t sure what you were saying before.

“The expense for a State funded abortion would be much lower than the expense to society for one childbirth and a whole lot lower cost that the expenses for a child in poverty and potentially in crime.”

Yep. That occurred to me, too. I hadn’t thought it through, I guess.

“I would suspend payment for 2 months minimum. Half of the suspended payments would be spent on weekly random testing. The other half would be banked for the individual when they are clean for 60 days. That would be a strong incentive to straighten up.”

Interesting idea. I still say we will have lots of deaths during those sixty days. If addictions were cured by the promise of money, everything would be a lot easier.

“Do you know why there are not many homeless people around here?”

Just as a point of interest: Where do you live?

“Horrible.”

Definitely.

“The individual who takes State money and injects or snorts it has made a personal choice to break the contract he made with the State.”

I disagree. I think there is a story to make us weep behind practically every drug-related death.

“I agree about the childcare for those in the system already. I do not condone retroactive abortion.”

I’m not sure I get what you’re saying here.

“They can force themselves if they see it is necessary to continue to collect the check.”

In Germany, there are all sorts of hoops to jump through for those who receive state-support. Writing numerous job applications, for example. Typically, they will find a job for a couple of weeks, lose it, and be right back on state support. The amount of money and time needed to keep track of all these people is spent in an amazingly poor way.

“So poverty was significant too.”

If you accept this causality. I don’t think children of poor parents are necessarily abused. Instead, I say the causes of the parents’ financial situation are also the root of their (lack of) parenting, their alcohol abuse and their drug use. Poverty, IMO, is not the real issue.

“You answered the question beautifully. Lurve! You thought about it and contributed.”

Thank you.

“Expensive. Cheaper and more permanent if a long term plan is in place.”

I guess basically, we are in agreement that things shouldn’t stay as they are now. For you, poverty is (one of) the main problem/s. This is what the question is about, too, I think.
In my opinion, what’s wrong with the world can’t be changed by everyone having a job. I think children need to grow up happy. Happy adults won’t want to hurt others, they will find a field to be productive in, and they will raise more happy humans. One cause of a child’s unhappiness might be his moms’s drinking. Another cause might be his dad not having a job. But it’s also possible for a kid to own a pony, and still turn into a frustrated adult. Maybe his parents weren’t there for him, always busy with work. Maybe dad was home with him all day long, but never hugged him. Counts as a basic need for me…

Thanks for the talk, I’m enjoying this!

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