Thursday, April 03, 2008

"Poverty is less a matter of having few goods than having lots of problems"

So says a professor and author of The Persistence of Poverty: Why the Economics of the Well-Off Can't Help the Poor in this article from the The Boston Globe (thanks Mike):

Karelis, a professor at George Washington University, has a simpler but far more radical argument to make: traditional economics just doesn't apply to the poor. When we're poor, Karelis argues, our economic worldview is shaped by deprivation, and we see the world around us not in terms of goods to be consumed but as problems to be alleviated. This is where the bee stings come in: A person with one bee sting is highly motivated to get it treated. But a person with multiple bee stings does not have much incentive to get one sting treated, because the others will still throb. The more of a painful or undesirable thing one has (i.e. the poorer one is) the less likely one is to do anything about any one problem. Poverty is less a matter of having few goods than having lots of problems....


Naturally, the answer for this professor of goodwill is to give more tax payer money to the poor with fewer strings attached:

Reducing the number of economic hardships that the poor have to deal with actually make them more, not less, likely to work, just as repairing most of the dents on a car makes the owner more likely to fix the last couple on his own. Simply giving the poor money with no strings attached, rather than using it, as federal and state governments do now, to try to encourage specific behaviors - food stamps to make sure money doesn't get spent on drugs or non-necessities, education grants to encourage schooling, time limits on benefits to encourage recipients to look for work - would be just as effective, and with far less bureaucracy. (One federal measure Karelis particularly likes is the Earned Income Tax Credit, which, by subsidizing work, helps strengthen the "reliever" effect he identifies.)


I really don't buy this strategy for the most part. I do think that people who are poor have a worldview of problems that never end and therefore, feel that they can never tackle it all and feel defeatist. However, in my evaluations of thousands of disability clients, I found that a fair number of claimants (certainly not all, some were in very bad medical situations) tended to have a sense of entitlement, that is, they expected money for nothing and felt offended if they were asked to do anything for the money, even show up for their evaluation!

Whole families would come in, having trained their kids and relatives that applying for benefits was a better alternative than working. Once people get Social Security disability benefits, they rarely get off the rolls and go back to work, and even if they can, there is little incentive. According to Karelis's theory, the alleviation of some of the money problems--at least of the younger claimants--should create more work incentive, not less, but it seems to do just the opposite. Giving people something for nothing just creates more of the same.

66 Comments:

Blogger Larry J said...

Several years ago, I saw a study that took the total of different types of welfare benefits that a typical family might receive and determined the hourly wage they'd need to make to break even. It varied by state, but in many places, a person would need to make over $17 an hour just to break even with what they're getting for not working at all. Since poor job skills is typically one of their problems, the likelihood of them earning that kind of money is slim. Giving them even more money is only going to make it even harder for them to break even and more likely, IMO, to stay on welfare.

Add to that the disincentive that as their earnings do increase, they reach a point where the benefits cut off, sometimes gradually but often completely. For them, the logical decision is to work to earn just below the cutoff point and keep getting welfare. However, that cutoff point really leaves them on the edge of poverty.

I see this with my oldest stepson. He's a single father raising two young children. Between WIC and food stamps, he's getting over $500 a month in food assistance alone. He's finishing an education program (my wife and I are paying for that) and will likely have a job in a couple weeks. However, if he earns more than about $2600 a month gross, everything cuts off completely. We're trying to teach him to break that boundary and maximize his income instead of trying to keep his welfare benefits.

8:35 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Helen, I want to address just your viewpoint. You make it sound like all the poor people are sucking off the government tit. Yes, there is a percentage of people that create an entire income from a combination of social security benefits, disability benefits, welfare, housing benefits, food stamps and WIC. Their sense of entitlement is what drives the income generation. However, there is also a percentage of poor people out there that are working and not making very much money. They aren't receiving government assistance and are barely getting by, or maybe not so much.

8:44 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Cham,

I gave one example of those on social security disability benefits. Nowhere did I say that all people are sucking off the government. That is what the professor of goodwill that I posted about seems to want as a solution to poverty--at least, that is what I gathered from the Globe column. I do agree that there are numbers of people out there who are working but do not have much money.

9:13 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

cham --

Do you actually have a reading comprehension problem?

Dr.H --

I really don't buy this strategy for the most part. ... in my evaluations of thousands of disability clients, I found that a fair number of claimants (certainly not all, some were in very bad medical situations) tended to have a sense of entitlement, ...

9:16 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

cham --

I too needed some assistance when my daughter was 2 and I had lost my job. Fortunately, after only a couple of months, I got another. I called Social Services and told them I no longer required the food stamps. Stunned silence, then OK. The next month I got another packet, so I called again. Another woman and another stunned silence. This time the woman said, "I've never had someone request cancellation." I asked what to do with the stamps and she told me, "Keep them."

That same attitude from two different workers did not come from a plethora of cancellations due to finding employment, you know.

9:22 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Olig:

I know several people that are very poor, have a job and have never asked for assistance from the government. Plenty of them out there.

9:36 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Benjamin Franklin, a wise man, said that the kindest thing we can do for the poor is to make them uncomfortable in their poverty. He went on to note that countries that provide the most for the poor, have the largest number of people in poverty. This is consistent with my observations about human behavior and scientific principles of behavior.

There is a saying in truly impoverished countries, "Let's go to America, where the poor people are fat."

Of course, this does not apply to people who are incapacitated by disabilities. They NEED help, the rest just prefer it to hard work.

Trey

9:52 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Insignificon said...

I was on Social Security Disability for a few years. Even though I was "permanently and totally" disabled, I did in fact get better. It would have been very easy for me to continue to get my benefits for as long as I wanted them. The system would have been very easy to game, I believe. The difference between me and some other folks who might have expected to get benefits forever, regardless of ability to work? Culture. My parents raised me to work for my living, and I was embarrassed to be on the dole, no matter how "entitled" I supposedly was because of my health. The chronically poor are never taught the value of work. Even in the face of hardship, the knowledge that you're taking care of yourself and no one has to help you is more valuable than any amount of free money.

I wish you could have heard the conversation when I called to cancel my benefits because I didn't need the help anymore! The lady was taken aback. Thought I must be crazy. Who knows? Maybe I am. But I'm a crazy person with my self-respect intact. That's something a lot of welfare recipients have never experienced, and it's a shame this guy wants to perpetuate it by making it even easier to beg...and begging is exactly what it is. We'll always need to do something for the poor, but I doubt this guy has the solution. Education and higher, not lower, expectations seem like a better way to go.

10:56 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Quasimodo said...

"...countries that provide the most for the poor, have the largest number of people in poverty."

... perhaps in first world countries but not in the third world, certainly.

10:57 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Larry J said...

There seems to be a certain mindset among part of the population that it's better to spunge off of others as long as possible than it is to work for a living. My wife is a nurse working for a major insurance company. She handles the medical side of worker's compensation claims. They had a speaker at an in-service training session a few months ago that told a joke:

Three handicapped men were moving slowly down a street when Jesus suddenly appeared before them. He said, "My children, you have suffered so much. Here, let me touch you and end your afflictions."

Jesus touched the first man and he was instantly cured. "It's a miracle! Thank you, Jesus!"

Jesus touched the second man and he too was instantly cured. "Thank you, Jesus! I'm pain free for the first time in 20 years!"

Jesus turned to the third man but he yelled out, "Keep away from me, I'm on worker's comp!"

There are many handicapped people out there who are unable to care for themselves and need help. There are also many poor people out there who need help. Helping them is one thing.

There are also others out there who have grown up in the welfare system and whose only goal on life is to get and stay in the system themselves. Some friends of mine who are teachers in the rural South have told me about having students who are from 4th, 5th, and even 6th generation welfare families. They have little or no work ethic and the only reason many of them are in school is because they can't drop out until they're 16. How is giving them even more welfare benefits going to help them learn to support themselves? It sounds like Professor Karelis, while no doubt good intentioned, is naive in the extreme.

11:17 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

cham --

I know several people that are very poor ...

That has what to do with your ignoring Helen's actual statements and acting as if she had blanket condemnation?

11:30 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Olig, if read my first post you will see that I was more concerned about the perception of Helen's words. She implies that disability clients as representative of poor people. But not all the poor are disability clients.

11:38 AM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Simon Kenton said...

A couple of commenters have mentioned the surprise from welfare clerks when they cancelled the benefits they had been receiving. I'd note that there is a large class of bureaucrats whose jobs depend on fostering and maintaining a client class. This is most obvious in Great Britain, where it probably means that any prospects of meaningful reform are now gone. These people don't want you off the dole, because the jobs for the dolers would disappear. Hatch Act or not, they will be lobbying hard against any cutbacks; a sturdy, independent populace is not in their interest, while a whiny group of habituated victims is. Cui bono?

1:29 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Quasimodo wrote: "perhaps in first world countries but not in the third world, certainly."

Your point about the differences between industrialized and poorer nations is apt and a good clarification. I certainly accept it, and bet old Ben would as well.

Well said.

Trey

1:57 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

Glenn Beck was talking about welfare on his show yesterday. He said in some areas of the country about 1 in 4 is using food stamps. His sister used to be a social worker. After seeing people who were abusing the system, such as someone who was getting cable with it, her political views drastically changed.

Perhaps the problem is that government help is no longer considered shameful. I imagine that a lot of poverty is caused by an inability to manage a budget.

2:11 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Middle Class Guy said...

As one who has dealt with generations of people on welfare I found it is the most destructive form of assistance. it does nothing to alleviate poverty, it foments poverty.

Public assistance helped very few. It did what is was designed to do very well; help people survive in poverty.

3:11 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

cham --

"Olig, if read my first post you will see that I was more concerned about the perception of Helen's words."

No cham, that's not it. Here's what you said - "Helen, I want to address just your viewpoint. You make it sound like all the poor people are sucking off the government tit."

If anything, you're expressing that you perceive her viewpoint as such, and I pointed out that you would have to do so by ignoring her qualifiers. No can do. "certainly not all" does not equal "all".

3:49 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Karelis has it all wrong and if he'd live amongst the commoners he'd see the error of his beliefs. I got food stamps for a short time when in my twenties. I quickly realized that the system hindered you from moving up, not help.

Our welfare system works more as a way for Democrats to buy votes than anything else. The sense of entitlement on the part of some is incredible. Check out the lady who's only worked one year out of her 58 years but has a 60 inch flat screen TV in her government paid for apartment.

7:36 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

So if your rich, and you don't work, your an upstanding citizen, but if your poor, and you don't work, your a bum? Is that how it works? Even if the rich man's dad was a drug dealer, and the rich guy inherited his wealth?

There are problems with welfare, but welfare is not the problem. The problem is human progress. We have progressed to the point where we don't need so many to people to work. The work that does need doing, needs to be done by the most intelligent in society. The bag lady can't code worth a crap, and neither can the gang banger.

I think people kind of assumed, that as society progressed, that there would be more and more wealth, and that, therefore, there would be more and more wealthy people, who would not need to work, leaving the poor to do the work.

But it has turned out to be the opposite! Work, itself, has become a valued commodity. It's the poor, now, who cannot find work. Because they are left behind in the intellect race. Society has yet to deal with this issue in any intelligent way.


Given this reality, asking the welfare system to give people a "way up", is just non-sensical! The welfare system is not holding these people back our society, our reality, is. WE DON'T NEED THESE PEOPLE. There is simply no way to make them productive citizens. They just don't have the brains. Is this their fault...are they to blame in some way?

Meanwhile, those who do work, think it's easy, and can't understand those who don't...not realizing, that very soon, they, too, shall be on welfare. We are all one AI advance, one smart robot, away from joblessness. Oh my, what will Homo Superious do then?

Eventually, there will be 12 billion job applicants for the one remaining job.

10:48 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Got peyote?

Trey

10:59 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger MikeT said...

xiaoding,

I disagree. There are very few corporate job categories that require above average intelligence to handle adequately. Management? Puhlease. I'd rather have a high school graduate who successfully ran a McDonalds for several years run the business side of any engineering team that I have to work with than the average MBA. The reason that there aren't many jobs for these people left is because they're getting sent overseas or taken over by illegal immigrants.

Now there is an ugly truth that isn't mentioned in polite company about the poor: the ones receiving benefits shouldn't be allowed to vote. It's a pure, unadulterated conflict of interest. Then again, there seems to be a lot of people who don't expect the poor to give up their self-interest here, but act naively outraged when the oil companies won't give up their self-interest on some of their profits for the public good, so maybe I expect too much.

11:28 PM, April 04, 2008  
Blogger cubanbob said...

Its time to abolish welfare as it is. Any able adult who is on welfare more than 5 years ought to be kicked off and ineligible for 10 years. Adults on welfare unless they are mentally deficient or physically handicapped should not be allowed to collect welfare for more than 2 years. That is more than enough time to get your life sorted out. Why should others pay taxes to support parasites?

2:56 AM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

cubanbob wrote: "Why should others pay taxes to support parasites?"

Because they will vote for your party?

Trey

9:58 AM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Given this reality,...

Just because you think it's reality doesn't mean it is. Lots of schizophrenics do though.

2:15 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger mdchaney said...

Dave Ramsey deals with this about 20 times an hour each afternoon. The difference is that his solution is to get people to treat one sting at a time and see actual progress.

3:12 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Tim said...

None but an honestly ignorant Liberal would be surprised to learn that if you subsidize poverty, you get more of it.

The fully informed Liberal knows that, but that's part of the project to foster dependency upon the wealth-re distributors in the political class.

3:21 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I blogged this very thing a couple of days ago. (But won't steal another "Helenlanche" in the comments!)

I work for a private agency and, most of what folks assume is true. A very high percentage of folks are not in real "need," i.e. dire straits.

But the dependency we created is ours to sustain. I'm almost at the point of giving into the rationale that, difficult and humiliating as some long lines and bureaucracy may be, it seems to be an acceptable lifestyle choice. And all that some people know or understand. And it's mostly comfortable; such as it is for anyone else who works a demeaning office job in a big corp. We've succeeded in making it no big deal.

3:28 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger otpu said...

If you've been stung once you'll probably do something to treat that sting. If you're stung multiple times you're likely to do something more drastic to treat all the stings.

Stung once, curse and put on ointment.

Stung twenty times, see a doctor and move away from the bee's nest.

The purpose of welfare is to give the poor the minimum assistance they need while they work their way out of poverty not make their poverty so comfortable they don't notice they're poor.

otpu

3:38 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Eric said...

If we persist with the notion that employment is the only worthy or honorable life, what are we going to do in a few years when AI and robotics and nanotechnology make work as we know it optional or supurfluous? Will we all become attorneys and musicians, and serenade and sue each other all the live-long day?

4:32 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Actually, since Ted Turner predicted that we're going to be cannibals by @ 2030, I believe there will be quite a shortage of both attorneys and musicians.

5:18 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Jsok said...

Maybe poverty is hard for Karelis to understand because he's so far from it. A foundation executive for a long time, then two do-nothing years as President of Colgate (with $572K of severance pay to walk away), now a "research professor of philosophy" at GWU. (Philosophy of poverty??)

I'll buy his next book if he'll first spend six months dealing face-to-face with poor people. A volunteer stint with the Salvation Army would be excellent; the SA is compassionate but they understand human nature.

5:36 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger SwampWoman said...

Indeed, the mind set is definitely different. There are people that get very angry if they are high school drop outs, have no identifiable skills in reading, writing, pushing a broom or hitting a nail with a hammer, but are insulted if they are offered a job at a wage of less than $20 an hour.

I know. I used to have to try and hire them.

5:50 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Tynan said...

I've hung around with poor people a little bit. You really can see the difference. It's like they're affected by some sort of cultural poison. Most of the just don't have it in them to go and do anything. The level of apathy is so strong, deep, and ingrained that it is honestly slightly disturbing for me to witness it. I guess I've had a very positive upbringing in this respect.

It's quite clear that except for the few who are simply in dire straits and working to get out of it, the vast majority of poor people would only lift themselves into the workforce if placed under *extreme* stress and pain by their situation. I'm talking, daily physical pain due to hunger and cold and discomfort. And of course, we're not willing to do that to them. Nor should we be.

I advocate making it illegal to own certain products while on welfare for more than a, say, 6 months:

-Televisions
-Game systems
-Any kind of alcohol

If they're lucky, boredom might drive some of the welfare recipients to get a job.

Finally, I'd also like to mention the universal welfare plan. As in, the government gives ~$10000 to everyone, every year, regardless of income. This means people won't starve, but also removes the perverse incentive to stay on the dole. It also means that the doling-out bureaucrats will always have a job regardless of how many poor people there are. Finally, it's simpler and more equitable, and less open to fraud in many ways.

6:12 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Actually, since Ted Turner predicted that we're going to be cannibals by @ 2030, I believe there will be quite a shortage of both attorneys and musicians.

Best line of the day!

Meanwhile, as mentioned above, nobody wants to talk about the fraud perpetrated--not by the recipients ---by the government employees and poverty contractors. Government meat subsidies for Head Start? Your kids will never see most of it. It goes home with the "entitled ones" who work in the kitchen. It's the same for all kinds of *wink* government agencies.

If it's in your power to do good, please do what you can. But be wise in your giving, and give to organizations that are in turn, wise in their ministrations to the needy.

6:29 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

the fraud perpetrated--not by the recipients ---by the government employees and poverty contractors.

You'd better believe it. I've had many friends working in welfare offices and other social services. The employees get plenty of "freebies." Plus they routinely re-authorized people for benefits including forging signatures because they're too lazy to drive to the recipient's residence. One re-authorized benefits for a dead person once.

7:03 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

The fraud, after 50 years, still will never, ever be spoken of or investigated. The solidarity of purpose is formidable amongst the con artists in our gov't agencies.

All of the aggrieved classes that have perceived themselves as somehow shut out of life's lottery, have found a far more reliable one by securing government jobs for themselves and their friends.

There's more than enough money to help the truly needy get a brand new start, but the professionally needy stand in line ahead of them, and they in turn, stand in line behind the gov't skimmers.

8:00 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Xiaoding,

Bucky Fuller predicted that long agog. He said it would be an honor to be on a production team.

8:29 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Peter Blogdanovich said...

Eliot Spitzer is showing us the way to full employment for the underclasses.

9:01 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger inmypajamas said...

Public health has the same problems. Like Jsok, I always tell people that if you want to see a liberal turn into a conservative, make them work in a public health clinic for six months.

Just this week, I had a conversation with a chronically unemployed patient with a serious health problem who can't even be bothered to get on Medicaid whine to me about how much she hates "government" health care. When I gently suggested that there are some part-time jobs that provide private medical benefits, she hung up on me. Ironically, the only poor people that I work with that actually appreciate the care they receive are the recently arrived from Mexico. Once they've been here awhile, that entitlement attitude just sets in. If you make it easy, people take it easy.

9:19 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

There are times in my life when my wife and I have had no money. At one point, we ate crackers for a week so we could have enough to buy our baby daughter food. However, even in those times, I never thought of myself as poor, but rather as temporary setbacks. The irony is that I'm a deeply cynical pessimist; my attitude was entire because I'm culturally thoroughly middle-class.

My brother-in-law is a welfare leech; the poster child for everything wrong with the welfare system in this country. He thinks poor.

9:26 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

eric --

"... what are we going to do in a few years when AI and robotics and nanotechnology make work as we know it optional or supurfluous?"

I've been hearing that one for half my life. It's right up there with all our flying cars.

AI is still a long way away and is required for the autonomous robots capable of doing what you're imagining. During that wait you propose what, learning to sponge to get ready? Please be a little more specific in your remedy.

10:33 PM, April 05, 2008  
Blogger a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

A middle aged woman some years ago was on SSI disability. She had been a nurse and went back to work. She had a pulmonary embolus after 6 weeks and had to quit working. She had chosen a health plan that offered a 'unlimited' mental health visits and she was seeing a psychologist for depression. These were 'as medically necessary' however and there was no combination of letters in the English language that could get her more visits than 16 a year apparently. The psychologist would see her for free but she wouldn't go not paying. Social Security continued 'paying her' but at some point notified her that she owed them maybe $12,000 as she had been overpaid; she had made more than $500 in a month, thus cutting off her disability. She had no money to pay storage on her valued items. She was overwhlemed and committed suicide.

12:22 AM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger John said...

Eric,

There really isn't a problem with not working. The problem lies in not working and having other people (and their tax money) support you. Someday (God willing), I will have worked long enough that I will be able to support myself financially for the rest of my life, and yet not work (if I don't want to).

12:28 AM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger John said...

One other notable thing is that many poor people would consider it offensive if you offered them some sort of "charity," whether it be clothing donations, or buying food for them, or whatever... but in truth, welfare is simply government-enforced charity. Government enforced charity deprives the donor of the knowledge and feeling that they are working for the good, and it deprives the recipient of the knowledge that they are surviving because of someone else's goodwill. If welfare were a function of private charities and personal donations, 1) it would be better for the recipient, because they might be motivated by embarrassment to hoist themselves out of poverty; and 2) it would be better for the donors, who could feel a sense of reward for seeing their charity in action, and thus motivate even more charitable deeds.

12:32 AM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger Solaca said...

"poor have a worldview of problems that never end and therefore, feel that they can never tackle it all and feel defeatist."

The question is are they poor because that's worldview, or is that worldview because their poor? In other words, what percentage of people are there who are just genetically predisposed to failing in our society? And how much do we owe these people?

2:49 AM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

solaca --

"Genetically predisposed"?

You're treading nano-ice there. Failure is not something simple, like having freckles or blue eyes. Not even as simple as something more complex, like a familial tendency toward anger.

9:31 AM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger Sloan said...

I have to admit that my perception of the poor, and especially of those on welfare, is colored largely by my experiences, namely: 1) three months spent working in the South Bronx with a church mission team, assisting two (predominantly Jamaican) Baptist churches and renovating tenements for use as cooperative housing programs; and 2) three months spent in Darkley, South Armagh, Northern Ireland, assisting a Christian ministry that also ran a government jobs program for the locals.

In both cases, I saw how years -- sometimes generations -- of government assistance had literally sapped able-bodied people of their willingness and motivation to do for themselves rather than rely on the dole. They had been out of work so long, they could no longer follow through on the simple things that are required for holding down a job: punctuality, proper dress, respectfulness to supervisors, finishing a task to completion in the minimal amount of time, doing it right the first time, etc.

I don't know just what the solution is for this sort of thing, but I'm fairly certain it does NOT involve more government handouts.

10:27 AM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger M. Simon said...

We have jobs programs for the handicapped.

I wonder if seeding some poor in those programs might not shame the poor and show them what truly disadvantaged people can do?

11:32 AM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

As we all know, poverty is an industry in the U.S. It creates jobs. Many bureaucrats are employed by the system, from county through federal layers. Many democrats are elected because of it. Although there are numerous reasons - real and contrived - why people are in the system, it will always be with us. And since it has no idea of how to do anything but self perpetuate (as many seem to have noticed), it will continue to drag down all who are in it, all who administer it, and all who pay for it.

2:21 PM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

My grandpa told me a couple things about money.

1. The bucket the stays full is not always the one you pour more water in, it is the one that has the fewest holes in it.

2. You can shovel money out with a spoon faster than you can bring it in with a shovel.

Very wise, grandpa. RIP.

5:32 PM, April 06, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

There's a pretty good analogy of poverty and taxation on Maggie's Farm from March 26th.

The heading is entitled "Getting Poverty Wrong".

It's worth anyone's time to read the whole post.

6:33 AM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger M. Simon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:21 AM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

m. simon:

Are you on welfare on something?

I'm not going to do everything for you.

10:01 AM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger M. Simon said...

br,

Your stunning lack of courtesy tells me that you are a fool.

I withdraw my link.

You want people to read something important?

Post the link yourself.

10:14 AM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

So, you ARE on welfare. Any wonder why you can't take a joke, or think.

If you'd of read the link, you'd have gotten my joke. And also understood why I didn't add the link myself.

So take your football and go home. I don't care. Most of those in here know how to look up a friggin' web site. No one asked you to do it for them. Now you're pissed at me because you are co-dependent?

12:25 PM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

I think one of President Clinton's positive acts was approving the 2 year cap on welfare.

Peter B: Eliot Spitzer is showing us the way to full employment for the underclasses.

I believe some of them were being paid over $1000 per session.

2:10 PM, April 07, 2008  
Blogger Bugs said...

I think the Ramones said it best:

We're a happy family
We're a happy family
We're a happy family
Me mom and daddy
Sitting here in queens
Eating refried beans
We're in all magazines
Gulpin' down thorazines
We ain't got no friends
Our troubles never end
No christmas cards to send
Daddy likes men
Daddy's telling lies
Baby's eating flies
Mommy's on pills
Baby's got the chills
I'm friends with the president
I'm friends with the pope
We're all making a fortune
Selling daddy's dope


Notice that money doesn't seem to be an issue for this family.

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