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Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)

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" the bubble was born of a need by lenders to maintain an illusion that (politically mandated)  loans on property, regardless of locations, were “good” loans.  "

 

This is a complete and utter falsehood that goes hand in hand with "poor people caused the housing collapes".  The bubble was caused by law which allowed mortgage backed securities (derivatives) to exist.  This let lenders write paper on anything and have no liability.  In the interim, they made their fees on the paper they wrote, then passed the risk on down the line in the form of these MBS's.

 

That law was just another way to make the real estate market look like a great investment.  The need to do that was born of the CRA.  The law does not need get the political support it needed if not for the idea of pushing real estate values ever higher.

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The rise of the Japanese auto and electronics industries predated the fall of the Soviet Union by 10-20 years.  Their machine tools industry put all of the family-owned machine tool places in Cincinnati out of business in the 1980s.   

 

 

>They said the same thing about Japan 20 years ago

 

Yeah except China has 5-6x the population, most of which speak the same language (huge advantage compared to India), and tons of natural resources.  Totally different situation. 

 

Going forward the US has the advantage of having one language and natural resources, including the ability to export food.  Rolling Stone had a great article in its May 2010 issue about how countries and lone wolf capitalists around the world are buying farming rights in Africa and elsewhere.  China is listed among the countries that will need to import food.

 

China doesn't really have linguistic unity, some of the dialects are in effect different languages. 

 

The thing to remember about China is the government does not want mass prosperity.  It doesn't object to a small middle class, but Chinese governments throughout the millenia have based their very identity on a highly stratified population.  The modern "communists" are no different.  Trying to reform their agriculture risks having what happened to the Soviets take place, even more strongly.

 

China's likely to fragment over the next 50-100 years.  India may as well.

 

If America can get math and science education back in order, we're likely to be the ones making the big breakthroughs in energy storage and transportation.  If we can do that, and reinvigorate our space program, we own the future.

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"That law was just another way to make the real estate market look like a great investment.  The need to do that was born of the CRA. "

 

Now your on the CRA.  Come on man, the code here is weak and obvious. 

 

The CRA had nothing to do with the repeal of Glass Steigal which allowed the banks to bundle derivatives.

 

How about some ACORN for good measure? 

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"That law was just another way to make the real estate market look like a great investment.  The need to do that was born of the CRA. "

 

Now your on the CRA.  Come on man, the code here is weak and obvious. 

 

The CRA had nothing to do with the repeal of Glass Steigal which allowed the banks to bundle derivatives.

 

How about some ACORN for good measure? 

 

Of course it did.  The CRA established an environment where politics, not economics, dictated lending practices.  The repeal of GS was one of the unintended consequences.  It wasn't politically feasible to repeal CRA, but GS was repealable.

 

I was butting heads with ACORN during the mid 80s, I wasn't surprised to see them go down in a flurry of fraud and indictments.

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I was butting heads with ACORN during the mid 80s, I wasn't surprised to see them go down in a flurry of fraud and indictments.

 

If you mean a "flurry of fraudulent indictments" I'm with you.  Otherwise we are in parallel universes.

 

Following the publication of the videos and withdrawal of funding, four different independent investigations by various state and city Attorneys General and the GAO released in 2009 and 2010 cleared ACORN, finding its employees had not engaged in criminal activities and that the organization had managed its federal funding appropriately, and calling the videos deceptively and selectively edited to present the workers in the worst possible light.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_Community_Organizations_for_Reform_Now

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Of course it did.  The CRA established an environment where politics, not economics, dictated lending practices.  The repeal of GS was one of the unintended consequences.  It wasn't politically feasible to repeal CRA, but GS was repealable.

 

 

This is factually just so wrong, but I have a feeling nothing is going to change your mind, so I won't bore you with information. But as a little clue, I point out that there have been hundreds of peer-reviewed and other "heavy" economics articles focusing on the housing bubble, subprime lending, and the foreclosure crisis.  Guess how many seriously entertain the CRA as a material cause? I suppose it's possible economists are all bleeding hearts (though there's evidence to the contrary) so don't ask the tough questions; or maybe there's a widespread government intimidation campaign (no evidence of that).  But I'm going with option C: it's just politically expedient, factually challenged mythology.

 

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If America can get math and science education back in order, we're likely to be the ones making the big breakthroughs in energy storage and transportation.  If we can do that, and reinvigorate our space program, we own the future.

 

Unfortunately, that does not seem likely.  Even the best American schools don't look so hot internationally, despite American satisfaction with those schools.

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/how-would-your-childs-school-rank-against-finland-and-singapore/266057/

 

 

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Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.

 

 

 

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Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.

 

I'm not so sure about that.  The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965, went to some of the most libertarian minded schools in history.  We've discussed this on some Facebook threads, and even my girlfriend (class of '99) is surprised at how lenient things were.  Her post-Columbine sister seems shocked.  Maple Heights High circa 1979 likely had more in common with Summerhill than its 1955 or 2012 equivalents, minus the public nudity of course.  That was the one and only area our dress code seemed to cover.

 

Yet that generation spearheaded the computer revolution. 

 

The keys may not be more discipline or steering, but more individual responsibility and focus on achievement.

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Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.

 

I'm not so sure about that.  The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965, went to some of the most libertarian minded schools in history.  We've discussed this on some Facebook threads, and even my girlfriend (class of '99) is surprised at how lenient things were.  Her post-Columbine sister seems shocked.  Maple Heights High circa 1979 likely had more in common with Summerhill than its 1955 or 2012 equivalents, minus the public nudity of course.  That was the one and only area our dress code seemed to cover.

 

Yet that generation spearheaded the computer revolution. 

 

The keys may not be more discipline or steering, but more individual responsibility and focus on achievement.

 

I believe this as well. I think there's too much rigidity in our education system (reinforced by standardized testing). We're too focused on teaching kids the answers rather than teaching them how to solve problems.

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>"un-American" our schools

 

Yeah except summer break is awesome, or at least it was for those of us who played outside.  We didn't have cable or video games so I was amongst the very last kids to actually go out and root around the woods or go ride bikes every single day, summer after summer.  I remember the year when Nintendo appeared and the kids starting spending most afternoons in their houses.  I imagine it's even worse now with Facebook, with kids venturing out only to take photos to post on their Facebook pages. 

 

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I think summer breaks are a big part of American culture and something that I've seen exchange students jealous of, especially people from Japan.  I think their longest break of the year is only 2-3 weeks. 

 

Meanwhile college spring break is simply absurd.  As if college is actually so tough that you need a week break, but for some reason only in the spring, not the fall.  Sometime I'll scan my Miami Beach photos and post them here.  As in here I mean this thread. 

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Overprotective moms wept with joy at the sight of kids sitting inside transfixed by those pixels. I'm still convinced that nothing makes 50% of moms happier than finding out they had a nerd.

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Meanwhile college spring break is simply absurd.  As if college is actually so tough that you need a week break, but for some reason only in the spring, not the fall.  Sometime I'll scan my Miami Beach photos and post them here.  As in here I mean this thread. 

Well it made more sense before all of these schools moved from quarters to semesters.

 

 

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Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.

 

I'm not so sure about that.  The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965, went to some of the most libertarian minded schools in history.  We've discussed this on some Facebook threads, and even my girlfriend (class of '99) is surprised at how lenient things were.  Her post-Columbine sister seems shocked.  Maple Heights High circa 1979 likely had more in common with Summerhill than its 1955 or 2012 equivalents, minus the public nudity of course.  That was the one and only area our dress code seemed to cover.

 

Yet that generation spearheaded the computer revolution. 

 

The keys may not be more discipline or steering, but more individual responsibility and focus on achievement.

 

I believe this as well. I think there's too much rigidity in our education system (reinforced by standardized testing). We're too focused on teaching kids the answers rather than teaching them how to solve problems.

 

Part of the problem is that testing problems solving skills requires judgement on the part of the assessors. 

 

That said, there needs to be some form of independent assessment that the schools are doing the job they are being paid for.  I'm not sure how we can get away from some sort of standardized testing at this time.

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^ That seems like a properly defined generation. I am sick of being lumped into the same generation with people who were born when I was in college.

 

Interesting.  I'm not sure I completely agree with the Wikipedia description, especially the part that manages to describe our political clout without addressing our leanings.  One of the first nicknames we had that distinguished us from the boomers or Xers was "The Reagan Kids".

 

Cynical?  Yeah.  Mistrust government?  You bet.  We grew up on Vietnam and Watergate.  But a generation with a role in some serious achievements

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The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965...

 

AKA Generation Jones

 

 

Just about every reference I see is that the Baby Boomers were born 1946-1964. Many of those who served in WWII were still having kids well into the 1960s. My Dad just missed serving in WWII (he was 16 when it ended) and I was born in 1967. Not sure what this has to do with the decline of Great Nation, but there it is.

 

To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

 

They arrived at Rome, not in the Empire. 

 

I'd bet trucks have arrived in Washington DC full and left empty for about as long as trucks have existed.

 

Capital's don't produce much of substance.

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To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

 

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

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To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

 

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

 

It's not just the skill set. The supply chain has left the country too.

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To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

 

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

 

It's not just the skill set. The supply chain has left the country too.

 

Rumors of the demise of American manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated.  We simply remain a more consumer-happy country than China and many other export-driven economies, meaning that we simply consume a lot of what we produce here rather than exporting it.

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Disagree. We may have some specialized manufacturing here and there, but the big boys that used to hire hundreds or thousands of employees are getting pretty rare, outside of auto.

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^So are the workers who were willing to take those jobs at a few nickles a day

 

Therein lies the problem.  Why take a job that pays $400 a week when you can get govt check for $350/week to sit on your couch playing video games & eating cheetos

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^So are the workers who were willing to take those jobs at a few nickles a day

 

Therein lies the problem.  Why take a job that pays $400 a week when you can get govt check for $350/week to sit on your couch playing video games & eating cheetos

 

Technically, anyone who can get a job paying $400/week is not ELIGIBLE for a governemnt check for $350/week.  I'm always open to a discussion on how to fix that issue.

 

The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers.  It is that other countries don't have the same type of minimum wage, overtime, and other laws designed to protect the worker which we do.  So the question you really need to ask is why would some "job creator", who inherited the business from his father after getting kicked out of three private schools and two colleges, pay American workers (even at a minimum) when using the Chinese workers allows him to dip cheetos in melted Stilton while driving a new Bugatti on his way to the third country club he joined just for sh!ts and giggles earlier this year?  It's not so much about incentizing the American worker to work, as it is de-incentivizing the "job creator" from creating jobs overseas.

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Yeah somehow this ostensibly christian nation upholds businessmen above all else.  This notion was of course introduced by the titans of industry back in the 1800s. 

 

 

>The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers. 

 

As someone who has worked many restaurant and blue collar odd jobs, most "workers" are quitters.  There's no doubt about that.  There's a whole globe of short-termn, self-defeating thinking that happens in the minds of those characters who dominate the work environments of America's warehouses and restaurant kitchens.  Ask them a question on a smoke break.  They know everything.

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The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers.  It is that other countries don't have the same type of minimum wage, overtime, and other laws designed to protect the worker which we do.  So the question you really need to ask is why would some "job creator", who inherited the business from his father after getting kicked out of three private schools and two colleges, pay American workers (even at a minimum) when using the Chinese workers allows him to dip cheetos in melted Stilton while driving a new Bugatti on his way to the third country club he joined just for sh!ts and giggles earlier this year?  It's not so much about incentizing the American worker to work, as it is de-incentivizing the "job creator" from creating jobs overseas.

 

So what you're proposing is to make America LESS competitive than other countries as a place to do business?  Interesting, please expand on this.

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^So are the workers who were willing to take those jobs at a few nickles a day

 

Therein lies the problem.  Why take a job that pays $400 a week when you can get govt check for $350/week to sit on your couch playing video games & eating cheetos

 

It has already been proven to you that general assistance welfare without working 30 hours a week doesn't exist any more. You can continue to pretend like it does like a child pretends Santa exists but it won't make it true. Ask anybody who works in management at a supermarket, fast food or similar business how it works.

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The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers.  It is that other countries don't have the same type of minimum wage, overtime, and other laws designed to protect the worker which we do.  So the question you really need to ask is why would some "job creator", who inherited the business from his father after getting kicked out of three private schools and two colleges, pay American workers (even at a minimum) when using the Chinese workers allows him to dip cheetos in melted Stilton while driving a new Bugatti on his way to the third country club he joined just for sh!ts and giggles earlier this year?  It's not so much about incentizing the American worker to work, as it is de-incentivizing the "job creator" from creating jobs overseas.

 

So what you're proposing is to make America LESS competitive than other countries as a place to do business?  Interesting, please expand on this.

 

Quite the opposite.  I am proposing making the use of other nations' labor forces less competitive (i.e. more costly than the status quo) for American businesses.

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Im almost finsihed with this book. 

 

Days of Destruction/Days of Revolt

 

In their first book-length collaboration, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (Nation Books, June), Hedges's words and Sacco's pictures form a mosaic portrait of the United States at a low point of economic dysfunction.

 

They document the systematic exploitation of Americans both by corporations and by a government that serves corporate interests first. The authors argue that this arrangement has existed for many decades, but that the economic downturn that began in 2007 has greatly exacerbated its external symptoms.

 

I guess the connection between Sacco and Hedges is that both were war correspondents.  But this book is mostly a good illustration of how the rot hits certain "sacrifice areas" first.  In a way this is akin to the excellent Someplace Like America by Dale Mahardige.

 

My own contribution to this POV of collapse of the US living standards and what happens when you suck out living wages from an economy is this thread about how economic decline hits suburbia here in Dayton...The New Suburban Gothic

 

 

 

 

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The Welfare Queen is a myth.  Payments are actually closer to $400 a month for a single mother with two kids.  Good luck with that.

http://www.makezine.enoughenough.org/queens.html

 

 

So much misinformation in that link you posted, I don't know where to begin.  But since we're on the topic, here's a few universally accepted notions about the cycle of poverty and how to break it:

 

1.  Get a job, any job, and keep it.  Do not quit, do not get fired.  Keep at it, even if it is low pay, low skill.  Even those working at McDonalds learn management structure, customer service, etc.  Even those working as a landscaper learn basic job skills, equipment maintenance.  Any scenario teaches good work habits.

 

2.  Graduate from high school and get some kind of additional education or job training.  It doesn't have to be a bachelors or even an associates, it can be trade school training, some course work at community college, parenting classes, computer training at local library, anything.

 

3. Do not have a child/father a child as a teenager.  Doing so severely increases that person's ability to provide for themselves and their new child.  Single parents, teenage mothers are overwhelmingly the biggest recipients of welfare and this burden continues as the child ages.  Having a child as a teenager greatly restricts a person's ability to complete the first two requirements.

 

Despite these universally accepted steps to breaking the poverty cycle, there is no incentive for young men & women to NOT have a child as teens.  Teenage birth rate in America is among the highest in industrialized nations.  There is no incentive to get a low wage job & stick with it.  And there's no incentive or requirement to graduate high school or get additional schooling.

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^That post goes to prove my point about these people out there who actually buy into the argument that 'baby mama drama' is causing the percieved decline in this country.  I certainly would like to see the statistical evidence that

"teenage mothers are overwhelmingly the biggest recipients of welfare"

 

Let me attempt (in vain, I'm sure) to dispel a few common myths, with the following facts:

 

1.  More whites are on welfare than blacks

2.  1/5 of welfare recipients recieve benefits for less than 7 months.  1/5 recieve benefits for more than 5 years (usually involving some type of diagnosable disability).  The remaining 60% fall somewhere inbetween.  Point being, this whole 'lifetime welfare recipient' talking point is mostly BS

3. Nearly half of all welfare recipients have only one child.  Nearly 75% have either 1 or 2 children.  Only 10% have four or more.

4.  TEENAGE MOTHERS account for 7% of welfare recipients

5.  Half of the welfare recipients who do have children were at one time married to the father.

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Man, it would be really awesome if poor people began to starve an we had to go under martial law to keep them from stealing food and valuables. That will make taxes go down for sure. Then taxpayers will be able to buy that extra candy bar a year that they've been dreaming about.

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The Welfare Queen is a myth.  Payments are actually closer to $400 a month for a single mother with two kids.  Good luck with that.

http://www.makezine.enoughenough.org/queens.html

 

 

So much misinformation in that link you posted, I don't know where to begin.  But since we're on the topic, here's a few universally accepted notions about the cycle of poverty and how to break it:

 

1.  Get a job, any job, and keep it.  Do not quit, do not get fired.  Keep at it, even if it is low pay, low skill.  Even those working at McDonalds learn management structure, customer service, etc.  Even those working as a landscaper learn basic job skills, equipment maintenance.  Any scenario teaches good work habits.

 

2.  Graduate from high school and get some kind of additional education or job training.  It doesn't have to be a bachelors or even an associates, it can be trade school training, some course work at community college, parenting classes, computer training at local library, anything.

 

3. Do not have a child/father a child as a teenager.  Doing so severely increases that person's ability to provide for themselves and their new child.  Single parents, teenage mothers are overwhelmingly the biggest recipients of welfare and this burden continues as the child ages.  Having a child as a teenager greatly restricts a person's ability to complete the first two requirements.

 

Despite these universally accepted steps to breaking the poverty cycle, there is no incentive for young men & women to NOT have a child as teens.  Teenage birth rate in America is among the highest in industrialized nations.  There is no incentive to get a low wage job & stick with it.  And there's no incentive or requirement to graduate high school or get additional schooling.

 

Gottaplan, some of what you say in the beginning of your post is pretty non-controversial and is recognized by our existing "welfare" structure.  For example, the EITC is specifically designed to get people into the workforce, no matter how low paying the job.  No work, no EITC money.  And EITC pays out much, much more in benefits than TANF (the closest thing to a stereotypical "welfare" cash grant program to mothers of dependent children), which has its own work requirements, and which is a shadow of pre 1996 AFDC.  In short, if you think the government sends out checks indefinitely to lots of single mother families, and that there is no incentive to work, even if it were ever true, you're about 20 years out of date. On the policy side, things really have changed. For some summary data, here's a quick read: http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/09/news/economy/welfare-reform/index.htm

 

And FYI, teenage pregnancy has PLUNGED in the US over the past several years (for every ethnic/racial group), so I would guess that there are indeed some disincentives there: http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/aboutteenpreg.htm

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^That post goes to prove my point about these people out there who actually buy into the argument that 'baby mama drama' is causing the percieved decline in this country.  I certainly would like to see the statistical evidence that

"teenage mothers are overwhelmingly the biggest recipients of welfare"

 

Let me attempt (in vain, I'm sure) to dispel a few common myths, with the following facts:

 

1.  More whites are on welfare than blacks

2.  1/5 of welfare recipients recieve benefits for less than 7 months.  1/5 recieve benefits for more than 5 years (usually involving some type of diagnosable disability).  The remaining 60% fall somewhere inbetween.  Point being, this whole 'lifetime welfare recipient' talking point is mostly BS

3. Nearly half of all welfare recipients have only one child.  Nearly 75% have either 1 or 2 children.  Only 10% have four or more.

4.  TEENAGE MOTHERS account for 7% of welfare recipients

5.  Half of the welfare recipients who do have children were at one time married to the father.

 

Let's press on some of those statistics, then:

 

(1) Non-Hispanic whites remain about 63.7% of the population; blacks are 12.6%.  It would be stunning if more blacks than whites were on welfare, since you expressed that statement in absolute terms, not relative ones.

(2) Three or four years is still a long time to be on the dole (especially for a physically and mentally functional person), even if it doesn't get you into the dubious top quintile of welfare recipients (which, as you noted, will likely be dominated by the disabled).

(3) How many welfare recipients are actually childless if 75% have 1 or 2 and another 10% have 4+?  The remaining 15% will be split between those with 3 and those with 0.

(4) The fact that 7% of welfare recipients are teenage mothers doesn't really mean a whole lot to me.  I'd be interested in knowing if those who come into the system as teenage mothers average longer durations on welfare than those who come into the system immediately following divorces or otherwise later in life.  I'd be interested in knowing what percentage of teenagers on welfare are mothers vs. what percentage are childless.  But the 7% stat by itself doesn't prove or disprove very much.

(5) Do you have a cite for this stat?  This is the one stat you cited that seemed by far the least credible to me.  Since 85%+ of welfare recipients have children, that would imply that 43%+ are divorced.

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I propose that we banish the word "welfare" from these discussions.  Just too non-specific to be of much use.  Also, the discussions about who "welfare" recipients are strike me as of very minor significance.  TANF is an incredibly small budgetary item (massively overestimated in size by many people) and a surprisingly small share of poor families, even poor families with children, receive TANF.  I honestly feel like it's 1995 again reading this part of the thread.  Maybe we can discuss acid rain next.

 

EDIT: I should add, I actually find the policy issues very interesting and don't mean to suggest wasting taxpayer money is OK, even if not exactly Pentagon level waste. It's just a weird time warp to see gottaplan's points as if they haven't already been baked in to the country's entire cash income support infrastructure over the past 20 years (though maybe not SNAP).  For conservatives, it's the same way you feel when you see people arguing that machine guns should be illegal.

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That's because they are constantly fed old information by the Republican News-Entertainment Complex. They don't let them know when things change even when it's good news to them.

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^Like how despite recent mass shootings, violent crime is down, down, down since 1990, in large part because the EPA banned lead in 1974.  Crime started dropping immediately as the first wave of "unleaded" kids became "crime age".  The NRA doesn't want you to know that so you buy a gun for your pillow and pay for conceal carry lessons.

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Disagree. We may have some specialized manufacturing here and there, but the big boys that used to hire hundreds or thousands of employees are getting pretty rare, outside of auto.

 

They've split up and they buy a lot of what they used to manufacture themselves.

 

Also, low skill repetitive jobs like assembly have largely moved offshore.

 

A lot of the higher skill tasks, like machining, remain here.

 

We've just merged two plants into one, expanding our business from the two combined.  Three of our biggest customers are Tier One automotive suppliers (one used to be a division rather than a supplier) and all of them do virtually all of their assembly overseas.

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To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

 

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

 

It's not just the skill set. The supply chain has left the country too.

 

Rumors of the demise of American manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated.  We simply remain a more consumer-happy country than China and many other export-driven economies, meaning that we simply consume a lot of what we produce here rather than exporting it.

 

We're a freer country, with a more independent population.  That's why. 

 

The Chinese government does not want more than a small percentage of its population to be prosperous, for cultural reasons.  Like their predecesors, they believe in a small elite supported by great masses.

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To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

 

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

 

It's not just the skill set. The supply chain has left the country too.

 

Rumors of the demise of American manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated.  We simply remain a more consumer-happy country than China and many other export-driven economies, meaning that we simply consume a lot of what we produce here rather than exporting it.

 

We're a freer country, with a more independent population.  That's why. 

 

The Chinese government does not want more than a small percentage of its population to be prosperous, for cultural reasons.  Like their predecesors, they believe in a small elite supported by great masses.

 

No. China is a freer country for corporations that want to pay their workers f$ckall. That's why they export so much crap.

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