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Welfare And Violence


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#1 phillip1882

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:21 PM


definitely worth watching

#2 Buffy

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:03 PM

Shorter Ann Coulter: "If you don't count the n****rs, we have no crime in America!"

The clip is definitely a (long-winded) example of causation not being the same thing as correlation. Seems he's mostly trying to say that we ought to lock up more blah people, and we're better off if we eliminate government completely.

Unfortunately the number of issues he ignores is dumb-founding. Does poverty drive violence? Hmmm. Personally, I'd like to know, but of course the NRA managed to get laws passed that prohibits the Center for Disease Control from doing any research related to gun violence:

From the mid- 1980s to the mid-1990s, the CDC conducted original, peer-reviewed research into gun violence, including questions such as whether people who had guns in their homes gained protection from the weapons. (The answer, researchers found, was no. Homes with guns had a nearly three times greater risk of homicide and a nearly five times greater risk of suicide than those without, according to a 1993 study in the New England Journal of Medicine.)

But in 1996, the NRA, with the help of Congressional leaders, moved to suppress such information and to block future federal research into gun violence, Rosenberg said.


Of course apparently history shows that the second amendment was really put in the constitution to preserve slavery. And now the white folk are afraid because the slaves have all armed themselves to the teeth.

I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun, :phones:
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#3 phillip1882

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:21 AM

Seems he's mostly trying to say that we ought to lock up more blah people, and we're better off if we eliminate government completely.

i agree with the second statement but not the first. he's definitely in favor of no government and has a lot of videos that go into why,
but as to locking up more people, no where in that video do i get that scene. he more harps on violence related to illegitimate children, which he links to government sponsored welfare.
and he backs that up with a lot of data. Buffy, i mean no offense, i agree correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. however, how much money does the government spend every year on welfare programs, and how successful are they? (how many people growing up in welfare dependent homes manage to get off welfare?)
as to the gun thing. he also has a video on guns if your interested.

#4 Buffy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:58 AM

Oh the entire piece is racist. While presented calmly as cold, hard "facts", the message is "Black people are more prone to violence than white people are. And they're poor because they're lazy."

Conservatives get appoplectic about this, because they're not using derrogatory terms, so obviously they can't be racist.

But it's interesting to note that this technique was advanced as a conscious effort to take advantage of latent racist beliefs in American society, to a great extent by the famed Republican strategist Lee Atwater, who was quoted candidly admitting to the genesis of the technique:

A lot of people are upset over comments made on the radio by the former education secretary and guardian of all things virtuous, Bill Bennett.

A Republican who served in the Reagan cabinet, Mr. Bennett told his listeners: "I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

After making the point that exterminating blacks would be a most effective crime-fighting tool, he quickly added, ''That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.''

When I first heard about Mr. Bennett's comments, I wondered why anyone was surprised. I've come to expect racial effrontery from big shots in the Republican Party. The G.O.P. has happily replaced the Democratic Party as a safe haven for bigotry, racially divisive tactics and strategies and outright anti-black policies. That someone who's been a stalwart of that outfit might muse publicly about the potential benefits of exterminating blacks is not surprising to me at all.

Listen to the late Lee Atwater in a 1981 interview explaining the evolution of the G.O.P.'s Southern strategy:


"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

"And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me -- because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'"


Note of course that what Bill Bennett said is essentially a main thrust of the video. Of course he covers himself using the Atwater technique by immediately following up with "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible" but he's already effectively blown the "dog whistle"--the term now in general use to describe the technique--to get the latent racists to hear "(nudge)(wink) see? I'm one of you. Can't say the N-word, but you know what we want to do...."

Now I'm sure he's got LOTS of data. Ever been to the TruthInGenesis.com site? They've got a bazillion "facts" "proving" that the universe was created in 6 days and that everything about Evolution is wrong. Data selectively presented is meaningless if you ignore the other 90% of the data that refutes your hypothesis.

Since these videos are presented without surrounding criticism, I'd say they make for somewhat dry and long-winded entertainment, but they're hardly convincing if you do bother to question and investigate his points.

SO, you've really just run up against an issue that comes up whenever someone starts a thread of the form:

Interesting video: htpp://youtoob.com/conspiracytheoryoftheweek


So Phillip, what points do you think are convincing? Let's talk about those instead of forcing all of the folks here to sit down and watch this (mostly unwatchable) hour-long screed against government.

Ronald Reagan made his name railing against government as "the Problem", but in actions, he showed the power and value of government. And he raised taxes and the debt limit many more times than all of the Democratic administrations since then. But he also made up a lot of his data, which rallied his allies and earned the disgust of his opponents.

His errors glide past unchallenged. At one point...he alleged that almost half the population gets a free meal from the government each day. No one told him he was crazy. The general message of the American press is that, yes, while it is perfectly true that the emperor has no clothes, nudity is actually very acceptable this year, :phones:
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#5 phillip1882

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:41 PM

Oh the entire piece is racist. While presented calmly as cold, hard "facts", the message is "Black people are more prone to violence than white people are. And they're poor because they're lazy."

what??? i have no idea how you are deriving these points from the video. are we even watching the same video?

Since these videos are presented without surrounding criticism, I'd say they make for somewhat dry and long-winded entertainment, but they're hardly convincing if you do bother to question and investigate his points.

alright then, can you present reliable data that counter acts a specific point he made in the video?

also could you please address my question about how many people get out of welfare?

So Phillip, what points do you think are convincing? Let's talk about those instead of forcing all of the folks here to sit down and watch this (mostly unwatchable) hour-long screed against government.

i think the divorce rate is quite a telling statement about society. also i think he makes a fairly good argument that the welfare state provides an undermining to marriage. if I'm wrong please tell me where. i would like to point out he gets his data from authentic scientifically proven sources. he's not just making it up on the spot. he provides links to all his data so you can verify it.

#6 Buffy

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:25 PM

Nuh uh. You gotta do the heavy lifting here. It's fair use under copyright laws to pick specific bits of his argument and represent his data here. Please do go ahead and do this, and I will respond.

I know you find it convincing. I'd love to try to disabuse you of some of his conclusions (although I know he does more implication here than drawing specific conclusions let alone actually recommending anything), and let you see why it is indeed both racist and short-sighted.

On divorce, my parents were divorced. I've been divorced. A lot of my friends have too. None of have ever been on welfare. The divorce rate is up consistently in all economic groups. Divorce has been increasing steadily since the end of the 19th century, and it's biggest spikes came after WWII (and then dropped dramatically during the 50's and in the 70's when no-fault divorce made it much easier to get divorced. Both of these periods were marked by recessions and political *reductions* in the welfare state. That's a pretty good refutation of any claim that divorce increased due to the "rise of the welfare state"--a phrasing that smells like a weasely way of avoiding being pinned down on what he's actually claiming.

According to recent Commerce Dept. statistics, 55% of people are on Aid to Families with Dependent Children for only 2 years or less and 80% are off after 5 years. Being on welfare sucks. There are no people who resemble Reagan's "Welfare Queen," although it is a revered "fact" of right-wing ideology.

Do you have any reaction at all to the excerpt from the Bob Herbert column I posted above? Do you see examples of that effect in the current political discourse? (Some on the right have claimed that the quote was false or taken out of context, but the actual audio of the interview was recently published by The Nation: it's quite an illuminating piece of history discussing the development of the modern right wing)

I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, :phones:
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#7 phillip1882

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:57 AM

Do you have any reaction at all to the excerpt from the Bob Herbert column I posted above? Do you see examples of that effect in the current political discourse?

i find his statement morally disgusting. and he defiantly deserves our scorn.
yes of course I see that effect. but I hardly see what Stefan Molynuex from the video is saying stems from that. and I find this to be very off topic from what I'm trying to discuss.
I realize your trying to make a point, but I think in this case your making it poorly by quoting unrelated material.

On divorce, my parents were divorced. I've been divorced. A lot of my friends have too. None of have ever been on welfare. The divorce rate is up consistently in all economic groups. Divorce has been increasing steadily since the end of the 19th century, and it's biggest spikes came after WWII (and then dropped dramatically during the 50's and in the 70's when no-fault divorce made it much easier to get divorced.

i tend to agree. the divorce rate is sky high, so " 'till death do us part" has no meaning in society.
look. if your spouse cheats on you or he abuses you, I'm fine with divorce. other than that you should know what you're getting into.

Both of these periods were marked by recessions and political *reductions* in the welfare state. That's a pretty good refutation of any claim that divorce increased due to the "rise of the welfare state"--a phrasing that smells like a weasely way of avoiding being pinned down on what he's actually claiming.

not sure I agree there, with the whole thing. but I'll leave that debate to a later time.

According to recent Commerce Dept. statistics, 55% of people are on Aid to Families with Dependent Children for only 2 years or less and 80% are off after 5 years. Being on welfare sucks. There are no people who resemble Reagan's "Welfare Queen," although it is a revered "fact" of right-wing ideology.

okay thank you. I appreciate you addressing my question directly, and in such a manner here. I will do likewise by quoting the statistics from the video he presents.
on single parenthood and crime:
"Why do African-Americans, with 12.6 percent of the nation’s population, account for 50 percent of the murder victims? Because fatherlessness is most pervasive among blacks."
http://www.noozhawk....se_in_violence/
"The concentration of single-parent families can affect even those with two parents. A study of 4,671 eighth-graders in 10 cities found that students who attended school with a large number of fatherless classmates were more likely to commit crimes, even if they came from intact families themselves."
http://www.theatlant...s-right/307015/
on welfare and crime:
Last year, the Maryland NAACP released a report concluding that "the ready access to a lifetime of welfare and free social service programs is a major contributory factor to the crime problems we face today."
http://welfarereform...e_and_crime.pdf
on welfare and marriage:
At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation.
http://welfarereform...e_and_crime.pdf

http://board.freedom...ms/t/37933.aspx

Edited by phillip1882, 21 January 2013 - 02:00 AM.


#8 Buffy

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

Just a general comment before diving in. All of the links you've included do the same thing as the video: present two statistics that support their argument, and then show no reason why those statistics have anything to do with one another. They don't prove anything by themselves, and the self-serving omission of much more likely causes is glaring to those who don't agree. Obviously those who do agree with the conclusion eat it up, and often repeat it endlessly (see my comment about Michael Tanner below).

on single parenthood and crime:
"Why do African-Americans, with 12.6 percent of the nation’s population, account for 50 percent of the murder victims? Because fatherlessness is most pervasive among blacks."
http://www.noozhawk....se_in_violence/


He's got correlation here, where's the causation? While it's probably a truism that having a two parent household might confer better parenting on unruly children, consider the fact that most large gangs today are *multi-generational*. A dad around who's an OG, creates a situation where the children are much more likely to also join the gang (whether the parents are still married or divorced). It's become a virtually genetic relationship.

Crime is much better correlated to poverty than just about any other statistic. There are so many sources of counter examples to the "divorce causes crime" claim that are available it's really quite absurd to promote it: My daughter's high school is in a very well-to-do neighborhood where the divorce rate is probably about 25%--less than 50% but still substantial. In the last 50 years, the school (roughly 400 students per class) has produced 1 (one) murderer.

If the correlation cited by this and similar articles had any validity at all, you'd see at least several dozen in that time period, unless there's some magical point, say 40% divorce rate where all of a sudden people start shooting each other like crazy.

"The concentration of single-parent families can affect even those with two parents. A study of 4,671 eighth-graders in 10 cities found that students who attended school with a large number of fatherless classmates were more likely to commit crimes, even if they came from intact families themselves."
http://www.theatlant...s-right/307015/


The interesting thing about this point is that it actually *reinforces* the point I just made! Murder isn't really correlated with divorce, so the author needs to try to find some other tied statistic and try to log-roll them.

You know what's correlated with "students who attend school with a large number of fatherless classmates?" Poverty! :o

on welfare and crime:
Last year, the Maryland NAACP released a report concluding that "the ready access to a lifetime of welfare and free social service programs is a major contributory factor to the crime problems we face today."
http://welfarereform...e_and_crime.pdf


I researched this quote, and it was somewhat fascinating. The original document cited (ostensibly from the Maryland NAACP) is nowhere to be found on the internet, and I am trying to obtain it indirectly. But what's odd is that the earliest reference to it is in prepared testimony given by Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute which is a right-wing think tank in Washington funded by the infamous Koch brothers. This is not to say that that association is conclusive as to the veracity of the original quote, but one of the key things you need to be aware of in this kind of research is that the statistics or quotes cited are often lifted out of context or misquoted. The whole idea that an NAACP source would claim that divorce is a *bigger* determinant of violence than poverty--which is what the usage here implies--defies the imagination, but of course to the credulous, makes the conclusion *more* convincing.

What is interesting is that in looking for all references to the original Maryland NAACP study, every single one lifts the paragraph directly out of the original citation by Michael Tanner's testimony, virutally unchanged (although very often uncredited).

Since this is an astonishing claim, and Cato is well known for it's persuasive manipulation of facts to support it's libertarian-anti-government positions, it's hard to even address this one. The fact that the video commits the same plagiarism as all the other references I found make it hard to take it seriously.

And you should find it hard as well.

on welfare and marriage:
At the same time, the evidence of a link between the availability of welfare and out-of-wedlock births is overwhelming. There have been 13 major studies of the relationship between the availability of welfare benefits and out-of-wedlock birth. Of these, 11 found a statistically significant correlation.
http://welfarereform...e_and_crime.pdf

http://board.freedom...ms/t/37933.aspx


Again, the only statement of conclusion here is that they "found a statistically significant correlation" and the response is, but most of these studies were specifically for poor populations, and poverty is a much stronger correlation when you look at all income and class groups.

i tend to agree. the divorce rate is sky high, so " 'till death do us part" has no meaning in society.
look. if your spouse cheats on you or he abuses you, I'm fine with divorce. other than that you should know what you're getting into.

You might want to think about this a bit, and do a bit more research into divorce itself as a phenomena. I know from my personal experience that living with parents who are at war with each other (no matter how well "hidden") is really bad for the kids, and such parents getting divorced often *improves* their lives.

Now obviously having divorced parents is going to be a much more troubling life than having happily married parents. The problem that occurs with studies which show that "children of divorce are less successful/more troubled/have worse relationships" is that virtually none of the studies attempts to differentiate "happy vs. unhappy marriages". What do you think that does to the "statistics?"

I have seen--but cannot locate right now--studies that did try to account for this, and found much closer outcomes between the two groups, thus showing that "staying together for the kids" is actually not "better."

Ask yourself though: do you really see people who "stayed together for the kids" actually producing better kids? In my experience the answer is no, and when Dear Abby asked her readers she got an earful of people who agree. The statistics are less conclusive, but that's the point: there's really no clear cut answer and as with so many things YMMV.

And of course getting from "troubled kids of divorce" to "murderers" is a bit more of a jump.

If divorce has increased by one thousand percent, don't blame the women's movement. Blame the obsolete sex roles on which our marriages were based, :phones:
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#9 phillip1882

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:21 PM

okay, thank you very much Buffy for addressing these claims. I tend to agree poverty is the really key factor that determines violence. divorce in of itself isn't the big factor. But to say it has no affect I think would be misleading.
but I have to wonder if welfare- and I mean here government sponsored welfare, is truly beneficial to society. as a free market guy i tend to err on the side of no. but its hard to judge. I haven't really done research into the topic other than reading economic books, and I think I should.

#10 Eclogite

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:57 AM

but I have to wonder if welfare- and I mean here government sponsored welfare, is truly beneficial to society.

Ultimately the function of government is to ensure the welfare of its citizens in a generic sense. Failure to provide for those in need through conventional welfare (among other means) is an abrogation of responsibility.

#11 Buffy

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:42 PM

:yeahthat: It's right there at the beginning:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Don't know how the founders could have been clearer... :cheer:

Power over a man's subsistence is power over his will, :phones:
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#12 Biochemist

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:22 AM

Of course apparently history shows that the second amendment was really put in the constitution to preserve slavery. And now the white folk are afraid because the slaves have all armed themselves to the teeth.

Please tell me: this was tongue-in-cheek? I assume we recall that a large well-armed country with a large navy tended to arrive and suddenly land troops. That circumstance was of interest to all colonials, not just the southern states. Preserving the right of the states to maintain militias also supported defense of the state, don't you think?

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#13 Biochemist

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:40 AM

On divorce, my parents were divorced. I've been divorced. A lot of my friends have too. None of have ever been on welfare.

Hmmm. Now there is a powerful statistical argument. :)

According to recent Commerce Dept. statistics, 55% of people are on Aid to Families with Dependent Children for only 2 years or less and 80% are off after 5 years. Being on welfare sucks. There are no people who resemble Reagan's "Welfare Queen," although it is a revered "fact" of right-wing ideology.

These number appear roughly correct, but I think they actually apply to AFDC (that is, the program that ended in 1996). I think that TANF is even better than this, but I can't figure out your link. It is dated 2012, but TANF replaces AFDC in 1996. I am a little confused about this data.

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#14 Biochemist

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:51 AM

Do you have any reaction at all to the excerpt from the Bob Herbert column I posted above? Do you see examples of that effect in the current political discourse? (Some on the right have claimed that the quote was false or taken out of context, but the actual audio of the interview was recently published by The Nation: it's quite an illuminating piece of history discussing the development of the modern right wing)

This deserved it own response. I think it is more than a little disingenuous to tie Bob Bennett to Lee Atwater. I think Bob Bennett actually meant what he said: Some policy presriptives are ludicrous, but it does highlight that the end does not justify the means. Bob Bennett is a pretty good (i.e., moral) guy. I think we could find lots of folks on the right that would not make that claim about Lee Atwater.

I am a healthcare guy. I am pretty deep in analytics that relate to cost and quality in large populations. I have occasionally said (to make a point) that if we legislated that no one over 70 could be admitted to an ICU, we would see a dramatic decrease in population cost, and probably not see any significant change in quality outcomes.

This argument in absurdum is only intended to underline that quality metrics are not that good, and achieving them is not the only metric of interest. I think that is exactly what Bob Bennett was doing (I think I saw that interview live). I do NOT think that is what Lee Atwater was talking about.

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#15 Buffy

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 06:44 PM

Hiya Bio! It's been forEVer! How'ya doin'?

Of course apparently history shows that the second amendment was really put in the constitution to preserve slavery. And now the white folk are afraid because the slaves have all armed themselves to the teeth.

Please tell me: this was tongue-in-cheek? I assume we recall that a large well-armed country with a large navy tended to arrive and suddenly land troops. That circumstance was of interest to all colonials, not just the southern states. Preserving the right of the states to maintain militias also supported defense of the state, don't you think?


Nice misdirection! Obviously you did not like the stuff in the link and it's supporting documents.

Of *course* the first convention delegates wanted to prepare for defense, and the fact that many of the delegates were wary of having a standing army meant that an easy majority agreed with the idea of a militia to make the standing army as small as possible, justified both for cost (the government doesn't have to pay them until they're called up) as well as concerns about political influence (the notion of the Army controlling the King as much as the King controls the Army being a well understood problem at that time).

But the point--which is made in the link--is that this could have been a national militia, but "State militias" were needed to get the support of the Southern states who quite explicitly wanted to "preserve the slave patrol militias" that were already in existence.

In fact, today we've moved about as far as we can away from that without violating the Constitution with the way the currently named "National Guard": it is now funded by the DoD, but we keep true to the Constitution's explicit use of the word "State"--not "country" or "national" or "federal"--by giving governor's nominal control to call them up, albeit shared with the President as the Commander in Chief, and somewhat limited because it's dependent on federal funding.

But to deny this bit of history is to wilfully ignore that yes, there's an awful lot of stuff in the Constituion that is racist.

Now in fact you are correct in assuming that I was using hyperbole for effect here, but my intent was to point out that no matter how reasonable the nutjob in the video sounds to receptive audiences, the thing is an hour-long dog whistle to folks with (conscious or unconscious) tendencies to believe that poor people are poor because they're coddled, and they respond positively to remove the coddling because they're not like themselves, a distinction made clearer by the fact that all the data points are cherry picked to reference black/brown/foreign people ("zOMG! GANGS!").


On divorce, my parents were divorced. I've been divorced. A lot of my friends have too. None of have ever been on welfare.

Hmmm. Now there is a powerful statistical argument. :)


Oh my, we know you can identify a disclaimer in an argument. I'll assume that this was tongue-in-cheek based on the smiley.

According to recent Commerce Dept. statistics, 55% of people are on Aid to Families with Dependent Children for only 2 years or less and 80% are off after 5 years. Being on welfare sucks. There are no people who resemble Reagan's "Welfare Queen," although it is a revered "fact" of right-wing ideology.


These number appear roughly correct, but I think they actually apply to AFDC (that is, the program that ended in 1996). I think that TANF is even better than this, but I can't figure out your link. It is dated 2012, but TANF replaces AFDC in 1996. I am a little confused about this data.


[Note to those watching, apropos of his seeming ignorance of the link in the first quote above, this is great evidence that Bio really does click through the links and check them thoroughly: I can attest to his prowess in this respect as being quite admirable...even if he ignores the ones he doesn't like! :) (tongue-firmly-in-cheek)]

Thanks for pointing out TANF: you may regret it though. The statistics under that link are not detailed but they are multiply sourced (including by the way from the conservative CATO institute) and easy to digest. They hide reams of information though. First of all, because of the longevity of AFDC, TANF is known colloquially (and even among policy wonks) under the previous name. Makes it easier when put up comparative data (which this is not). Moreover these statistics include state contributions which brings us to the interesting point within the context of the OP: the big change in TANF is that it shuts off benefits after 5 years. The statistics linked show benefits after 5 years because many states provide them. But the point of the statistics is to show that even with this cap, a clear majority of people making use of this welfare program voluntarily leave it in less than 2 years. And those that use it longer include people who are retired (grandparents raising children is still a common issue among the poor), or are on disability (disability being one of the primary *causes* of poverty means that most such arguments about welfare end up being circular).

So the bottom line is that unless you live in one of the liberal states, TANF ensures there's no cost for Reagan's "Welfare Queen" fantasy. You can thank the evil Bill Clinton for that. :)

Do you have any reaction at all to the excerpt from the Bob Herbert column I posted above? Do you see examples of that effect in the current political discourse? (Some on the right have claimed that the quote was false or taken out of context, but the actual audio of the interview was recently published by The Nation: it's quite an illuminating piece of history discussing the development of the modern right wing)

This deserved it own response. I think it is more than a little disingenuous to tie Bob Bennett to Lee Atwater. I think Bob Bennett actually meant what he said: Some policy presriptives are ludicrous, but it does highlight that the end does not justify the means. Bob Bennett is a pretty good (i.e., moral) guy. I think we could find lots of folks on the right that would not make that claim about Lee Atwater.


That of course is the point of a "dog whistle" dear. And what makes it so awful--something that is the specific point of Bob Herbert's column quoted above--that the technique originated and perfected by Lee Atwater has become so embedded in right-wing thinking that no one--not even black commentators in major newspapers--even notice it much anymore. So folks like Bill Bennett--who one can argue are well toward the "moderate" end of the Republican party spew it while consciously insisting to themselves and others that they don't have a racist bone in their body. I certainly don't think of Bill Bennett as a "racist" in the classic sense of being a card-carrying KKK/Aryan Nation supporter, but his statement nonetheless is a proven, successful mechanism for goading those with latent racist sensibilities to support policy positions (that may actually not be in their own interest):

In 2005, the political scientists Nicholas Valentino and David Sears demonstrated that a Southern man holding conservative positions on issues other than race is no more likely than a conservative Northerner to vote for a Democrat. But when the relevant identifier is anti-black answers to survey questions—like whether one agrees “If blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites”—white Southerners were twice as likely than white Northerners to refuse to vote Democratic. As another political scientist, Thomas Schaller, wrote in his 2006 book Whistling Past Dixie (which naturally quotes the infamous Atwater lines), “Despite the best efforts of Republican spinmeisters...the partisan impact of racial attitudes in the South is stronger today than in the past.”


Bill Bennett actually reminds me of my dad: he used to be a regular moderate Republican, and now mostly due to way too many hours watching the blatant propaganda on Fox News, constantly spouts stuff that makes him sound like a blithering idiot. This is just one of those cases, and there's lots more, but that's off topic....

I am a healthcare guy. I am pretty deep in analytics that relate to cost and quality in large populations. I have occasionally said (to make a point) that if we legislated that no one over 70 could be admitted to an ICU, we would see a dramatic decrease in population cost, and probably not see any significant change in quality outcomes.

This argument in absurdum is only intended to underline that quality metrics are not that good, and achieving them is not the only metric of interest. I think that is exactly what Bob Bennett was doing (I think I saw that interview live). I do NOT think that is what Lee Atwater was talking about.


Well I know quite well that you are a "healthcare insurance guy", which isn't quite the same thing.

Yes your Swiftian proposal would lower healthcare costs, but you don't go to the next step which would be to kill everyone when they hit 70 which would reduce costs drastically since events that cause ICU-after-70 visits usually are preceeded by extensive and futile health maintenance costs.

Hell, we're all gonna die anyway right?

As an aside, this is a popular scifi topic, including Star Trek (TNG 4.22 "Half a Life") as well as the classic Logan's Run, where you only get until 30!

The point of the "death panel" that Sarah Palin and many other right-wing crazies stirred everyone up about was *specifically* about providing people the information to allow them to decide on their own when to stop futile, invasive and *expensive* life prolongation procedures. The strongest opposition to your proposal actually comes from the social conservatives who insist on the sanctity of life and are sure the "guvmint is out to get" them.

Now as to what was actually said by Bill Bennett, I've tracked down the whole quote in context:

CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I've read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn't -- never touches this at all.

BENNETT: Assuming they're all productive citizens?

CALLER: Assuming that they are. Even if only a portion of them were, it would be an enormous amount of revenue.

BENNETT: Maybe, maybe, but we don't know what the costs would be, too. I think as -- abortion disproportionately occur among single women? No.

CALLER: I don't know the exact statistics, but quite a bit are, yeah.

BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don't know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don't know. I mean, it cuts both -- you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well --

CALLER: Well, I don't think that statistic is accurate.

BENNETT: Well, I don't think it is either, I don't think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don't know. But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.


Now the point here is that sure, Bill Bennett was using this as an argument ad absurdum, but the question here is, why did he pick out "black babies"? That was a dog whistle, saying "I have to say I disagree with your stupid idiotic question, but don't worry, I'm still on your side so you should keep listening to my radio show..." Note that while he points out the snark in saying it's a "morally reprehensible thing to do", he's non-snarkily stating as fact "but your crime rate would go down." That's the "(nudge-nudge) See? I'm on your side pal."

What makes it much worse than your claim about offing 70+ year olds in the ICU, is that actually the "true" part he claims probably *isn't*. While blacks are a disproportionately large share of the criminals based on their percentage of the population, the total number of crimes committed by non-blacks is still much larger, and thus this "Modest Proposal" of his would be much smaller than the numbers imagined by all the latent racist minds who were listening to the show. They're all believers in "crime is a black thing." It's a fact to them.

Did he pick out "black babies" unconsciously? I do indeed think he did, but thanks to Lee Atwater, he didn't even have to think about the fact that "it's black people who cause crime" is exactly what a big chunk of his audience was thinking. He kept his nose is totally clean!

Bill Bennett used to be a pretty sane guy. To prove your point about metrics, Bill wanted to test teacher competency in addition to testing students and other factors to support "performance based pay" for teachers. Republicans fighting against "librul" teachers unions and the "Educational Industrial Complex" have conspired to *reduce* data gathering to support the logical argument that standardized student test scores are the *only* measure of teachers required to decide to fire the teachers or turn the schools over to private companies, the old Bill Bennett would have disagreed. Doesn't seem so any more, mostly it seems because he gets paid well not to.

Welcome back! :cheer:

Morality becomes hypocrisy if it means accepting mothers suffering or dying in connection with unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions - and unwanted children living in misery, :phones:
Buffy

#16 SaxonViolence

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 01:37 AM

Fact #1}

Everyone is Racist.

One of the things that a Mind does is correlate Data. Racial Characteristics are part of the Raw Data.

Fact #2}

The Different Races are Different.

It is not a simple matter of Melanin.

Our Society exacerbates some differences, minimizes others, while creating artificial differences that wouldn't exist absent social conditioning.

Meanwhile it is Politikally Inkorrect to seek funding to examine possible inherent differences, since the Party Line is that there are none.

Fact #3}

While I believe that a Black Person is different from me—at least as different as a Bulldog and a Grayhound...

I Like Black People.

I feel that they add a great deal to my life.

I have no Identity Crisis. I don't want to be Black. I don't try to act and speak as Black People do.

I'm definitely not what some call a "Wigger."

However, I have a distinct preference for Black Women. I go to a Black Church and most of my Friends are Black.

{I'm a Verbal Literalist and probably a high-functioning Asperger. Black Folk seem more able to overlook my eccentricities.}

I would not be at all in favor of eliminating, deporting or otherwise disenfranchising Blacks.

Fact #4}

Yes, eventual complete Amalgamation of the two races via Miscegenation is a very real possibility.

It is a shame, but I see no solution that respects our independence as Individuals.



Now as to the Second Amendment and all:

Descartes said: "To Be Is To Do."

Sartre Said: "To Do Is To Be."

Frank Sinatra Said: "Do Be Do Be Do."

But I say: "To Be Armed Is To Be. To Be Unarmed Is To Cease To Matter."

If I were asked to be the Advocate for The Human Race's Worthiness to Exist...

In front of some sort of God-Like Jury, like in some SF or Phantasy Story...

I would exhibit some of Smith and Wesson's revolvers made before the cutbacks in quality that started in the '80s.

I'd have Colt Peacemakers, Pythons and Diamond Backs—as well as 70 Series 1911A1s...

Browning High Powers, Walther PPs, Broomhandle Mausers...

H&R Breaktops and Webley Breaktops.

Some would be engraved. Some would have insets of precious metal or gems. There would be stocks of Mother of Pearl and Ivory, Stag and Horn, Bone and Jade, and Exotic Woods.

Blued, Nickeled or Hard Chromed, they'd all have Bright Finishes.

And like Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead" I'd simply say:

"The Defense Rests."


Saxon Violence

#17 Biochemist

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 06:51 PM

Hiya Bio! It's been forEVer! How'ya doin'?

Thanks for the hello!!

Of *course* the first convention delegates wanted to prepare for defense, and the fact that many of the delegates were wary of having a standing army meant that an easy majority agreed with the idea of a militia to make the standing army as small as possible, justified both for cost (the government doesn't have to pay them until they're called up) as well as concerns about political influence (the notion of the Army controlling the King as much as the King controls the Army being a well understood problem at that time).

I really didn't mean to misdirect; I just disagree. I think the primary issues were federalism and defense. The fact that some southern states had other priorities is relevant, but I don't think it was primary to the documents. The impression I got from your link is that the author was saying it was the primary driver. I just don't think that is the case.

In fact, today we've moved about as far as we can away from that without violating the Constitution with the way the currently named "National Guard": it is now funded by the DoD, but we keep true to the Constitution's explicit use of the word "State"--not "country" or "national" or "federal"--by giving governor's nominal control to call them up, albeit shared with the President as the Commander in Chief, and somewhat limited because it's dependent on federal funding.

Agreed. But I think this supports my point that federalism was pretty key to the Constitution.

But to deny this bit of history is to wilfully ignore that yes, there's an awful lot of stuff in the Constituion that is racist.

I think the fraction of people that were racist was higher then, and it reflected itself in the document, yes.

Oh my, we know you can identify a disclaimer in an argument. I'll assume that this was tongue-in-cheek based on the smiley.

Absorutery....

[Note to those watching, apropos of his seeming ignorance of the link in the first quote above, this is great evidence that Bio really does click through the links and check them thoroughly: I can attest to his prowess in this respect as being quite admirable...even if he ignores the ones he doesn't like! :) (tongue-firmly-in-cheek)]

Oh, your just trying to turn my head with complements. :)

Thanks for pointing out TANF: you may regret it though. The statistics under that link are not detailed but they are multiply sourced (including by the way from the conservative CATO institute) and easy to digest. They hide reams of information though. First of all, because of the longevity of AFDC, TANF is known colloquially (and even among policy wonks) under the previous name. Makes it easier when put up comparative data (which this is not).

This is news to me. I have done a lot of work with TANF in the last 3 years, and I never heard anyone refer to it as AFDC. That is indeed new information. But my actual point was (probably) a little more extreme than yours. I thought those actually were AFDC numbers. That was about the retention of recipients in AFDC (if memory serves) and it is even shorter after the transition to TANF. Not only are there very few multi-generation welfare recipients now, there were very few even in the 1990s. I think we are in violent agreement here.

I certainly don't think of Bill Bennett as a "racist" in the classic sense of being a card-carrying KKK/Aryan Nation supporter, but his statement nonetheless is a proven, successful mechanism for goading those with latent racist sensibilities to support policy positions (that may actually not be in their own interest):

I really don't think that was Bill Bennett's intent.

Well I know quite well that you are a "healthcare insurance guy", which isn't quite the same thing.

I think I would count as both. I am personally a provider (a doctor of pharmacy), and my last 30 years have been roughly evenly divided between payer a provider activities. It is probably slightly weighted toward provider. I have also worked in almost all provider clinical settings (e.g., all parts of hospitals, ambulatory primary care, ambulatory specialty care, home health, in and out-patient pharmacy, and in most ancillaries as well). I happen to also have some experience in population cost and quality analytics (both in terms so depth in tools and depth in the data). I do know something about this.

Yes your Swiftian proposal would lower healthcare costs, but you don't go to the next step which would be to kill everyone when they hit 70 which would reduce costs drastically since events that cause ICU-after-70 visits usually are preceded by extensive and futile health maintenance costs.

Hey I was making a legitimate argument. The point was that a drastic reduction in ICU utilization via an arbitrary rule (no admissions for folks over 70) would probably not show in outcome statistics. This is not only because people over 70 have poor prognoses. It is also because ICU is often unnecessary, and we use it for security. However, it is fair to say that your even-more-extreme eradication of septuagenarians would show in outcomes statistics, so that is not really a fair counterargument in absurdum.

As an aside, this is a popular scifi topic, including Star Trek (TNG 4.22 "Half a Life") as well as the classic Logan's Run, where you only get until 30!

Renew! Renew! Peter Ustinov had a great role in that one. But it still was not as good as the book.

The point of the "death panel" that Sarah Palin and many other right-wing crazies stirred everyone up about was *specifically* about providing people the information to allow them to decide on their own when to stop futile, invasive and *expensive* life prolongation procedures. The strongest opposition to your proposal actually comes from the social conservatives who insist on the sanctity of life and are sure the "guvmint is out to get" them.

Au contraire. The IPAB (patient advisory board) was explicitly modeled on NICE in the UK. This board identifies procedures that are not cost effective. It does not identify procedures that just ineffective. NICE actually has a dollar number for the value of a life year. (I think it is 20k pounds). Ergo, if someone happens to think their life years are worth more than that, tough luck. NHS won't pay for it. And historically, the UK generally has restricted private practice so if NICE says no, you can't get it. This is not just information provision. It is an explicit step toward rationing through federal diktat. Palin was a little more colorful that I would have preferred, but not particularly far off of the mark. Don Berwick (previous CMS head) loved NICE. He was an explicit advocate for that approach.

Now the point here is that sure, Bill Bennett was using this as an argument ad absurdum, but the question here is, why did he pick out "black babies"? That was a dog whistle, saying "I have to say I disagree with your stupid idiotic question, but don't worry, I'm still on your side so you should keep listening to my radio show..."

I am just not willing to ascribe intent on this.

Did he pick out "black babies" unconsciously? I do indeed think he did, but thanks to Lee Atwater, he didn't even have to think about the fact that "it's black people who cause crime" is exactly what a big chunk of his audience was thinking. He kept his nose is totally clean!

This is just a less severe variant of calling conservatives Nazis. I don't think it is justified as a comparison.

Welcome back! :cheer:

My pleasure. Glad to see you are still hanging around here kicking up dust!

Bio

Edited by Biochemist, 02 June 2013 - 06:56 PM.