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BS: Benefits/Welfare.

akenaton 09 Oct 03 - 09:12 PM
hesperis 09 Oct 03 - 09:15 PM
akenaton 09 Oct 03 - 09:24 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 09 Oct 03 - 09:25 PM
akenaton 09 Oct 03 - 09:33 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 09 Oct 03 - 09:40 PM
Bobert 09 Oct 03 - 11:05 PM
LadyJean 09 Oct 03 - 11:09 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Oct 03 - 11:15 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Oct 03 - 11:25 PM
Kaleea 09 Oct 03 - 11:31 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Oct 03 - 11:39 PM
Amos 10 Oct 03 - 12:28 AM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 12:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 08:43 AM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Oct 03 - 09:04 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 09:43 AM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 10:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 10:30 AM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 11:21 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 11:54 AM
Amos 10 Oct 03 - 12:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 12:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 12:37 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 01:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 01:31 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 01:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 01:45 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 01:53 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 02:01 PM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 02:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 02:36 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 02:51 PM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 03:09 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 03:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,Marta 10 Oct 03 - 04:58 PM
jacqui c 10 Oct 03 - 05:30 PM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 05:45 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 06:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 06:17 PM
akenaton 10 Oct 03 - 06:20 PM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 06:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 07:02 PM
akenaton 10 Oct 03 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,petr 10 Oct 03 - 07:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 08:08 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 08:15 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Oct 03 - 08:28 PM
Don Firth 10 Oct 03 - 08:33 PM
John Hardly 10 Oct 03 - 09:15 PM
Forum Lurker 10 Oct 03 - 10:06 PM
katlaughing 10 Oct 03 - 11:13 PM
Bobert 10 Oct 03 - 11:29 PM
Peg 10 Oct 03 - 11:36 PM
katlaughing 11 Oct 03 - 12:02 AM
Rosebrook 11 Oct 03 - 03:09 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 03 - 06:10 AM
akenaton 11 Oct 03 - 02:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 03 - 04:13 PM
akenaton 11 Oct 03 - 05:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 03 - 06:03 PM
Bobert 11 Oct 03 - 07:48 PM
katlaughing 11 Oct 03 - 08:39 PM
GUEST,Wolfgang 12 Oct 03 - 05:56 AM
Bobert 12 Oct 03 - 11:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 03 - 12:10 PM
Art Thieme 12 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM
Art Thieme 12 Oct 03 - 12:57 PM
Don Firth 12 Oct 03 - 02:35 PM
John Hardly 12 Oct 03 - 03:12 PM
Forum Lurker 12 Oct 03 - 04:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM
Bobert 12 Oct 03 - 06:58 PM
akenaton 12 Oct 03 - 07:03 PM
katlaughing 12 Oct 03 - 07:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 03 - 08:36 PM
Bobert 12 Oct 03 - 09:49 PM
Greg F. 12 Oct 03 - 10:26 PM
Forum Lurker 12 Oct 03 - 10:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 06:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 06:46 AM
Bobert 13 Oct 03 - 08:05 AM
Don Firth 13 Oct 03 - 01:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 02:04 PM
John Hardly 13 Oct 03 - 02:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 03 - 03:39 PM
katlaughing 13 Oct 03 - 04:06 PM
Bobert 13 Oct 03 - 08:06 PM
Forum Lurker 14 Oct 03 - 12:58 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Oct 03 - 05:45 AM
GUEST 14 Oct 03 - 02:23 PM
John Hardly 14 Oct 03 - 02:41 PM
Forum Lurker 14 Oct 03 - 04:18 PM
katlaughing 14 Oct 03 - 04:40 PM
John Hardly 14 Oct 03 - 05:28 PM
akenaton 14 Oct 03 - 05:57 PM
Bobert 14 Oct 03 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,booter 15 Oct 03 - 08:02 AM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Oct 03 - 08:50 AM
katlaughing 15 Oct 03 - 10:05 AM
GUEST 15 Oct 03 - 10:32 AM
Mickey191 15 Oct 03 - 10:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Oct 03 - 10:49 AM
GUEST,Marta 15 Oct 03 - 04:54 PM
akenaton 15 Oct 03 - 05:44 PM
Bobert 15 Oct 03 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,petr 15 Oct 03 - 09:11 PM
Bobert 15 Oct 03 - 09:55 PM
Don Firth 15 Oct 03 - 11:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Oct 03 - 06:36 AM
Bobert 16 Oct 03 - 08:42 AM
GUEST,petr 16 Oct 03 - 12:43 PM
Don Firth 16 Oct 03 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Marta 16 Oct 03 - 03:57 PM
akenaton 16 Oct 03 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Ely at mom's 16 Oct 03 - 08:04 PM
Ebbie 29 Oct 03 - 09:08 PM
Forum Lurker 29 Oct 03 - 09:53 PM
Ebbie 30 Oct 03 - 03:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 03 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,Bluesman 19 Nov 11 - 03:11 AM
redhorse 19 Nov 11 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 07 Apr 13 - 07:48 AM
banjoman 07 Apr 13 - 07:49 AM
Bonzo3legs 07 Apr 13 - 10:25 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Apr 13 - 11:34 AM
banjoman 09 Apr 13 - 11:42 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 13 - 12:31 PM
akenaton 09 Apr 13 - 03:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 13 - 04:33 AM
akenaton 10 Apr 13 - 11:55 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 10 Apr 13 - 02:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 13 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Frug 10 Apr 13 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Frug 10 Apr 13 - 07:04 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Apr 13 - 10:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Apr 13 - 10:26 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Apr 13 - 12:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 13 - 04:11 AM

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Subject: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 09:12 PM

Having listened to friends complaining bitterly about Benefit/Welfare fraud,it occured to me that the benefit system is not a cunning ploy thought up by socialists to bring down "the economic system",but actually ,a tool to allow that system to keep spluttering along.
Without Benefits/welfare,anarchy would surely prevail.
Not a bad thing in my opinion...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: hesperis
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 09:15 PM

without the benefits, there would be a lot of realy desperate people. They're desperate enough ON benefits... and desperate people are dangerous to the status quo.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 09:24 PM

It seems to be the case, that for years the socialists ,myself included, have been supporting a policy that helps to to keep in existence a system we all want to see the back of.
Isn't politics a devious business....


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 09:25 PM

I do short term contract work, in various trades, ie semi-skilled labour, wharehouse-man [sorry it's wharehouseperson nowadays!}, slaughterline, proces operator or whatever


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 09:33 PM

Hi john Sorry i couldn't reply to you on chat....I couldn't get the hang of it ,so I gave up. Hope your doing OK...


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 09:40 PM

I seemed to have got cut off.
I will try again tomorow.

akemnaton-wereabouts in the UK are yoi?
Hull is the best place in the UYK, [best place in tge werrld anyway]
and every were else is rubbish.john


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 11:05 PM

Well, here in the US, we have "Welfare Reform" translated into meanin' that any woman whoes husband has deserted the family has to get up at 5:00 in the mornin', get on a bus 5 or 6 days aweek and go to a job that pays minimum wage ($5.25 an hour) and pay child care before rent, 'er food, 'er____________..... Anyone want to change places with this woman?

Ya' see, back during the day of Clinton, the right wing got this legislation passed that limits welfare benefits to 2 years and then you're done. Get a job. Pick Boss Hog's cotten if ya have to but get a dangted job and shut the heck up! We don't want to hear no crap out of you... Just get yer sorry ass out in the cotten fields...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: LadyJean
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 11:09 PM

A friend of mine lives in a resort town. From October to May work is scarce, and locals get by on unemployment. Take away the benefits, and hotel maids, cooks, store clerks, laundromat staff, etc. are going to leave the town. No more town, no more resort. Thus does our government subsidize the tourist industry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 11:15 PM

Bobert, there was a discussion on Diane Rehm on NPR this morning about where many of those women have gone. Seems there has been a huge increase in the sex trade since welfare was cut off so unceremoniously. Pimps are outnumbering drug dealers in some communities now, apparently.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 11:25 PM

akenaton -
if you look into history you will see that - even in recent history where we even have surviving documentary film - if enough starving men get together, things turn nasty.

So what famous US General disobeyed Presidental orders and shot up and burnt the camp of the ex-WW1 soldiers just trying to get the small amount of money that they had been promised?


Also the 1930's really frightened teh rich - with the large number of men on the streets in soup-lines, things looked bad in the daily film-news clips.

The Political juggling trick is to guess just how little you have to pay while accusing them of being "spongers" - the Autralian Govt has added the neat trick of legally (well, according to the law of the land - set up by the Government!) fudging the unemployment figures by doing neat tricks as

I've had my payment delayed or cuttoff wrongfully without any reason given about seven or 8 times since 1996. And the cute trick is that Centrelink then tells any politician that you complain to, that they can't tell the politicians the reason because of "The Privacy Act".

I wrote some Stuff "What a Friend we have in Johnny", that mentions some of this.

An aussie took a can of petrol and matches into a Centrelink office here a while ago, and made much excitement.

Standing in line in the office can be quite stressful, even for us in line: regularly, some one freaks out and starts swearing and cursing...

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Kaleea
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 11:31 PM

I was a caseworker in Phoenix when the so-called "welfare reform" took effect. I saw elderly couples who could not pay for their prescriptions or their living expenses lose their food stamps. If you were maxing out your credit cards paying your bills while you had no income, then you were automatically considered suspect because nobody can pay their bills if they have no income--& you would have to prove who gave you the $$ you paid the bills with & for what purposes (even when no one gave you $$--duh!) or else you were tossed aside, & got no benefits because obviously you had money you were'nt reporting--at least according to Congress, anyway. People who were attempting to get a foster child of 3 yrs registered to receive medical care for the child who had a serious disease were tossed a big curve & told they were on their own when our new 'puter programs pointed out that the child's social security number was evidently being used by 6 different adults at 6 different jobs--& that they were on their own to go to the Soc Sec office to clean up the problem. Etc., Etc., Etc. When does it all end?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Oct 03 - 11:39 PM

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=63557

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Amos
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:28 AM

Robin:: That link won't work -- the destination URL is listed by the title of the thread instead of its number.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:44 AM

In some states if one is evicted for not paying their rent, they are automatically disqualified for emergency shelter funds, no matter the reason why they couldn't pay their rent.

We need a revolt in this country. With a billions dollars per week being spent on military conquests, it is sickening that even one person in this country is without a decent wage, decent place to live, healthcare and elder age security.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 07:28 AM

It always puzzles me, why are so many people who are comfortably off so mean when it comes to this kind of thing? Face to face I'm sure many of them they are decent enough and generous enough. (Though the old saying "It's the poor that helps the poor" is still true enough, as I've found any time I've been it collecting for charity.)Is it that people need to have someone say "Thank you" to them personally, as a kind of instant reward?

Or is it that once you accept that hard times can hit anyone without it being their fault, it gets a bit frightening looking into an uncertain future, and it feels more comfortable to assume that people only get hard times because they are lazy and good for nothing?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:43 AM

It isn't a perfect world.

You get more of the behavior that you subsidize. It isn't as simple as WANTING to help. At some point you actually have to decide if you are, indeed, helping.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 09:04 AM

Sorry, I got it back-asswards...

What a Friend we have in Johnny

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 09:43 AM

So if actually helping would mean spending more money, but maybe in a slightly different way, these people would vote for that, John Hardly? Somehow that's never the impression I get. (I'm talking UK here, but from what I've read and seen, US as well.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 10:12 AM

No, McGrath, that's the standard line from the conservatives in this country, i.e. if we "subsidise" mothers who stay home with their pre-school children etc., then we will get more no-good for nothing freeloading women getting knocked up so they can collect those oh-so-generous (not!) welfare checks. Nevermind that she can only make minimum wage and can't pay for decent child care. Nevermind the double messages she hears from society, i.e. "if you were a decent mom you'd be home with your children/why aren't you out working, supporting your family?" It wouldn't matter to the Cons. how the money was spent, not on education or anything else, they don't care. An "idle" mom or other person on welfare MUST be lazy and dependent and not care a bit about bettering themselves. Much better to spend ONE BILLION per week on miltary conquests.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 10:23 AM

Always strikes me that the bottom line for anyone who is pro-life includes being opposed to anything that makes it harder for a woman who is on her own to look after her children , starting with a guarantee of an adequate income if she stays home, and good child-care, if she thinks going to work is a better idea.

Anyone who says they are pro-life and doesn't support things like that is, in my view, a liar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 10:30 AM

If people are paid when not productive, where does the productivity come from that supports them?

If people are paid when not productive, what is their incentive to be productive?

Can a person's feelings of self-worth really survive a non-productive life?

To what degree is poverty a result of lifestyle choices?

If you took all the money in the USA, liquidated all assets, and distributed all the proceeds equally, and unemployed everyone equally, would we all be equally rich or equally poor?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:21 AM

What is your definition of productive, John? If it is by a monetary standard only, then I fail and yet, I have only been on welfare once in my life. You guessed it, it was for one year when I was a newly divorced mother of two young children, going to school for that one year. When I got a job after completing my courses, welfare offered to help out with childcare for three months only, then reneged on their promise. That really made me want to go out and get knocked up and keep on getting those welfare checks, oh yeah, for sure! It was awfully discouraging getting slapped down a the system that supposedly was there to help one get on one's feet.

What kind of "productivity" test would you measure this person by: developmentally challenged, has MS, and young child. Receives social security and lives in subsidised housing. Landlord violates state regs about keeping the place up, housing authorities withhold rent, renter gets evicted, now homeless, for failure to pay rent. Housing authorities admit their mistake, refusal of emergency shelter funding is in appeal. Meanwhile, the person trhough no fault of their own is homeless, struggling to be "productive." What kind of country are we to treat each other in such a fashion, again, while we spend One Billion per week on military conquests?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:54 AM

"Anyone who says they are pro-life and doesn't support things like that is, in my view, a liar. And of course I'd say just the same of anyone who said they were pro-choice but wanted to limit real choice by restricting benefits.

Most of the time, if people are paid when they aren't able to be productive, the money to pay for that comes from when they are able to be productive.

"Can a person's feelings of self-worth really survive a non-productive life?" A lot of wealthy people have always seemed to manage to cope with that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Amos
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:15 PM

Productivity of some sort is the basis of all morale, IMHO -- but there is nothing about raising a child well that excludesa it as productive activity. I can't think of a more valuable product than a living, sane human being!

As for the wealthy when you look in to iot you usually find the money came from production somewhere down the line; and for those who inherited it, they often are equipped with some kind of mission -- chariotable, artistic or some such -- and if not they end up flaming neurotic.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:36 PM

There probably is a human need to produce something that is in some way.

However people who are able to meet this need through their paid work are fortunate, and probably not that common. For many people, the paid, but useless or even harmful, work they do to get by, gets in the way of their producing anything worth producing.

That's one of the good things about getting into our kinds of music.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 12:37 PM

There probably is a human need to produce something that is in some way worth producing - beautiful or useful, for example.

However people who are able to meet this need through their paid work are fortunate, and probably not that common. For many people, the paid, but useless or even harmful, work they do to get by, gets in the way of their producing anything worth producing.

That's one of the good things about getting into our kinds of music.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 01:02 PM

Neither conservative nor liberal disagree much about welfare for the truly disabled -- maybe about the details of how to manage it, but not the philosophical underpinnings.

So, unless we WANT to argue red herrings, what we are arguing over is welfare given to the capable.

What you described here:
"...welfare offered to help out with childcare for three months only, then reneged on their promise. That really made me want to go out and get knocked up and keep on getting those welfare checks, oh yeah, for sure! It was awfully discouraging getting slapped down a the system that supposedly was there to help one get on one's feet."

...doesn't seem to argue against my point as much as reinforce it -- the implication being, you are describing a system that did not provide. Had it provided, your choices may have been different. If it had provided childcare and a check for an indefinite period, what would have been the necessity to get off of it?

Should welfare provide a comfortable lifestyle?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 01:31 PM

"...what would have been the necessity to get off of it?" Necessity isn't the only thing that decides what people do. A society where it did would be essentially, I suggest, a slave society.

The bottom line is ensuring that there is a decent life for the children as well as the mother. In some cases that is going to be best provided by her staying home, and in some by her going out to fulltime work or education, ánd in others some combination. And the person who is in a best position to make that decision is likely going to be the mother herself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 01:39 PM

"And the person who is in a best position to make that decision is likely going to be the mother herself."

Why?

Hasn't she already, to some extent, showed herself less than capable of the kind of desision making that would have kept her our of this circumstance in the first place?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 01:45 PM

You mean she decided not to have an abortion, John?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 01:53 PM

touche'

Deft turn of discussion but that wasn't part of your previously stated options.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 02:01 PM

If millions of woman have suffered because our governments' and society's mis-handling of their predicament, should we NOT correct the problem (because it might be hard to do so) so that subsequent millions of women don't have to suffer the same fate?

It's great when we make the right desisions and judgements in a timely manner. It just doesn't always happen that way. Ever had a relationship that you utterly mishandled because you didn't do the right thing at the right time -- and then the other person in the relationship escalated what should have been dealt with properly in the first place......

....but then you don't deal with now escalated, worse problem because now, not only is it still hard to deal with, but now you are complicitous in having mishandled it in the first place and allowing the thing to escalate.

Do you ever ultimately DEAL with it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 02:26 PM

No, John, the point was it made me feel as though there was no use in trying to be self-sufficient because of the lack of promised support. I don't know why people continue to think there is some kind of fun or joy in trying to raise a family on what welfare pays. Ask anyone who is on welfare how happy they are or how much fun they are having. Ask them if they choose/chose to live that way on purpose.

As to whether a woman is in that situation through her own fault, maybe sometimes but usually NOT. Usually it has a LOT to do with partners who have abandoned, couldn't cope, were abusive, etc. most times an unforseen circumstance. Also, it is still a sad fact that woman cannot earn as much as their male counterparts. When I completed my course at college employers were still legally able to choose to hire a man over a woman just because SHE might get pregnant and not last long as an employee! Talk about discrimination!

If society does not help its poorest and does nothing to show them a way out of poverty, then that society as a whole is poorer, for the treament of the lowest reflects right back to those who would begrudge a morsel of bread. America is not mighty, beautiful, grand, nor the leading nation in the world as long as we are without healthcare for all, childcare for all, and equality in wages, etc. for women.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 02:36 PM

"that wasn't part of your previously stated options"

Wasn't it? Look at my post at 10.23 . It's pretty clearly indicated in that.

I believe that a major, probably the major, factor in causing women to opt for abortion in both our countries, are these kinds of pressures.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 02:51 PM

"I believe that a major, probably the major, factor in causing women to opt for abortion in both our countries, are these kinds of pressures."

That may be the number two reason but I think pregnancy is the number one.

I'm not sure women are worse off health-care wise, or any other wise here in America.

I'm not sure welfare is "Show(ing) them a way out of poverty". That's the whole crux of this discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 03:09 PM

I said, If society does not help its poorest and does nothing to show them a way out of poverty. I did NOT say that welfare was "Show(ing) them a way out of poverty."

If the Cons. really cared about mothers and children, really were "Focused on the Family" we would have a country which pays mothers and/or fathers a living wage to stay home with their children until they start school; we would have more employers who offer on-site childcare and/or shared work hours, making sure one parent can be home when the kids get off from school; we'd have free preventative medical care for all and more education aabout and availability of birth control methods. BUT, unless the family is white, with both parents present, and upper middle-class and above, the Cons. don't give a damn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 03:39 PM

but we aren't a society that put our heads together and collectively decided to pay anyone a wage, living or otherwise. The market did that and, though we may be able to jockey around a bit with it, we may be able to take from earners from the open market and pay for non-participants, it won't be until markets decide that this is economic good sense (and to some extent they are deciding that) that one should expect business to do so. To force them to do so takes away the base of productivity upon which all depend.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 04:24 PM

Markets should be our servants, not our masters.

If the pattern of distribution that "the markets" decide doesn't help us live together better, then "the markets" have to change. Markets operate within a set of parameters,and these parameters are not laid down in Holy Writ. They are a human invention, and human inventions generally need to be adjusted before they work right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Marta
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 04:58 PM

hey akenaton, I note you started this and have left us to it !

I agree with you. The welfare state has provided a safety net without which we might have had a serious uprising in the Uk. Clever ploy !


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: jacqui c
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 05:30 PM

I was on benefits for a number of years back in the 70s, after my husband left me for another woman and my children were one and four years old. It was very much a hand to mouth existence with no luxuries. On the estate I lived on there were a number of women in the same sort of position and I looked at the fact that, with teenage children, some of them were still reliant on the state and showed no sign of thinking about what they would do once the children were grown up and they were no longer eligible for benefits. As a result, once my youngest was in school I started studying, did A and O levels and trained as a teacher. For various reasons I didn't go into teaching but the qualification got me into the firm that I still work for today. I could no more stay on benefits any longer than was absolutely necessary than jump off a cliff.

The problem is that it is the feckless and ill prepared ones who make the headlines and are held up as examples of the ills of 'welfare'. There are a lot of people out there who have no option at some point or other in their lives than to rely on the state, but who fight tooth and nail to get back to supporting themselves as fast as possible. self respect demands it of most. I do get angry at the ones who see welfare as a 'right' and state that they 'can't afford' to work. But we will always have these people and that is no reason to penalise those in need who will, at some point, make the effort. If I had not been supported by the state when I was doing my A and O levels I would not have had the opportunity to progress to higher education and to become a fully productive member of the working population for the past 24 years. I know that there are many others out there who are doing or have done the same thing - they just ain't interesting enough for the media to spotlight them, unlike the 'lazy and feckless' types who do get their fifteen minutes of fame.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 05:45 PM

Thank you, jacqui, well said!

John, one last note, we, as a society, did get together, in a way, and decide on a minimum wage; have done for many years. Also, I really don't know how anyone could be classified as a "non-participant" unless they are totally self-sufficient with absolutely no need to interact for anything from the rest of society and its markets.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 06:02 PM

non-participant=non-working


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 06:17 PM

The trouble is people, often sensible and well-intentioned people, are seduced by the anecdotes presented by hacks, working for proprietors who have an agenda of trying to present people on benefits as scroungers, for some peculiar political reason of their own.

If you grab a few selected cases together you can cobble them together into a narrative that tells you anything you want it to. There are free loaders, there are saints, there are hard cases, there are soft options...It's wrong to rely on gossip when reaching conclusions about these kind of issues. And that's what is done all the time.

Basically, the consensus we've reached, that democracies have worked out, and which I believe makes sense, is that, on balance it is best for decisions to be made by people directly affected, rather than having them made by supposedly wiser and better informed people on their behalf.

It' squite true that, all too often it doesn't work out right - but experience seems to have shown that doing it the clever way works out even worse. And that applies when it comes to people on benefit, every bit as much as for the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 06:20 PM

Hi Marta ...good to hear from you again...As you rightly say I started this discussion....In an effort to get at the truth ,and once again ,facts seem to be getting in the way..In my opinion, our governmentsdont give a shit abouthow people feel about themselves ...or getting them out of poverty . It seems nowadays ,there is always going to be a large section of society which is going to be "unproductive", for a variety of reasons.
To keep this mass fed, watered and quiet,the government are prepared to spend billions of our money on benefits.
This ploy is sure to fail, as the lump grows bigger and thepool of money smaller.Add to this the demands being put on the Health service, the retirement pension problem related to people living longer,ect,ect, ect,and its obvious we are on a down ward spiral,to which our capitalist system has no answer.
Whats coming next?    Tune in 2013 to find out.....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 06:49 PM

if someone is buying goods and services they are a participant, no matter where their income is from, imo


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 07:02 PM

Once again, why do comfortable people get so mean about this kind of stuff? And I'm using "mean" in the English snese - tight-fisted, ungenerous.

Not in that American sense where "mean" is used for being tough and rugged and all that stuff. Scrooge-mean, not Clint Eastwood-mean.

"...I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there... If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 07:11 PM

Mcgrath ...What do you mean.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 07:53 PM

the fact is that someone has to pay for it, I dont mind paying taxes for a safety net system that will help people get back on their feet,
but those who are capable of work and choose not to should be made to work for it or cutoff.
I knew people even in high school whose main goal was to work long enough to collect unemployment benefits.

I knew a couple of welfare mothers (one decided to get pregnant while traveling in Japan - and came back to canada to live on welfare - she just wanted a child) It wasnt until the child was 10 that she decided that to get out of the welfare trap and work. Shes quite proud of it.
but basically they chose to have children because they wanted kids - not welfare.

lately one vancouver councillor said that people who panhandle are actually working in their own way - which prompted another councillor to say that those who break into cars and houses are also working.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:08 PM

I think it's fairly clear what I meant - and that last post reinforces it.

Things don't really change much over the years. The details change, and the rationalisations change, and the disguises change.

But thank God, in some parts of the world, though thoings are far from perfect, and we even still have those kind of attitudes expressed from time to time, and there are people who hold them, they are not within reach of the levers of power. And I hope they never will be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:15 PM

you're showing a rather "either/or" point of view there MofH, aren't you? Because one might content that generosity does not equate with "help" , you sign them off as "mean". And their anecdotal evidence is discounted by your omniscience? *grin*


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:28 PM

There's all kinds of shades of grey, true enough.But there are times when the grey shades into black.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:33 PM

Well . . . yeah, okay. John Hardly, I used to say a lot of the kind of things you have written above when I was going through my Ayn Rand phase, but I've seen a bit of real life since then. It sounds good in theory, but it fails to pass the test where real people and real situations are concerned. Most poor people are not poor because they are unproductive. And most rich people are not rich because they are productive. Can you give me a rational explanation for why someone like Kenneth Lay got the kind of salary and bonuses he got when he did what he did to so many people? The current business fashion is for CEOs to lay a whole bunches of people off in the name of corporate efficiency, for which they get multi-million dollar bonuses. The people they lay off often wind up living in their cars or under a bridge somewhere. Then, after the wearying effort of laying people off, closing factories, and moving manufacturing facilites overseas to take advantage of cheap labor, the CEO takes his bonus and rests up by hopping the Concord to Europe and sunning himself on the Riviera. Capitalism at its finest!

Sheila, a woman I know, was deserted by her husband and left with two kids. Not trained for anything (married just out of high school), she wound up on welfare. She hated it. Her monthly stipend was barely sufficient to feed her and the kids. She talked to her welfare worker about getting some kind of training so she could become self-sufficient, but they wouldn't approve funds for tuition. So she checked out a business course at a local vocational school that offered a placement service, then tried to accumulate enough money to pay the tuition for the course by doing housework in the neighborhood--dusting, cleaning, making beds, sometimes cooking, scullery work, just about anything to earn a few dollars for tuition. She wasn't trying to keep it a secret from the welfare department. She thought she was doing the right thing and that they would actually approve of her trying to get off welfare and becoming self-sufficient. But no! When they found out she was earning money, they made her account for what she had earned, and then deducted that amount from her next month's welfare check. They locked her into the system! She was trying to be "productive," but they wouldn't let her! This is not an isolated case. It's typical.

There is a station wagon that is often parked across from the local Lutheran church. A woman and a pre-schooler live in the station wagon. She got laid off when the company she worked for moved overseas, couldn't find another job (Seattle's unemployment rate is pretty high right now), and when her unemployment ran out, she had to move out of her apartment because she couldn't afford the rent. She is working. At the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. Minimum wage. Monthly rent on even a studio apartment in the city would take all of her net pay, and no way in hell could she pay first and last month's rent plus a damage deposit. Where is the woman's husband? His National Guard unit was activated and he's in Iraq. Between what he earns while bringing democracy to Iraq and what she earns at Colonel Chicken, she still can't afford an apartment. When Johnny comes marching home, hooroo, he'll find that he and his family are living out of the glove compartment of their ten-year-old Subaru. Nor is this an isolated case. There are hundreds of people like her in this one city alone.

I could fill several pages with the stories of people I know personally who are hard working, productive people--when given the chance. But they find themselves deprived of the ability to be productive through no fault of their own. Whose fault then? The government and the business leaders. But to say "the government and the business leaders" is redundant. They are one and the same. These people I speak of are the serfs in the new feudal system governed by an aristocracy of greed. Welcome to the domestic side of "The New American Century."

A truly civilized nation is best known by how well it takes care of its citizens. All of its citizens, especially those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to take care of themselves. This country does a great job of making things very cushy for those who, by many orders of magnitude, don't need to be taken care of.

John, when I hear people toss off the kind of glib dismissals of real people that you do, it kinda makes my blood boil. Look around you!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 09:15 PM

Don, I'm not saying there is a set ratio that determines wealth and work. We all know people wealthier than we are that work no harder, and hard workers who profit little (I, as a potter, fall in the latter category).

And I'm not saying that welfare is unnecessary.

What I am saying is that it is easily corruptable (for so many reasons--f'rinstance the very first point of this thread -- that it is used to keep politicians in power), and it is fighting the natural tendencies of mankind in order to succeed.

And I am also saying we have lived for quite a while now thinking that the safety net should be big enough to save us from our bad decisions and destructive lifestyles -- in part because we think welfare best when given with no judgement -- in a society that holds us to no moral or behavioral accountability except what is legal.

And envy of the wealthy doesn't help the poor. Hate the wealthy all you want, but hatred seems to me to build barriers...and make success seem even less achievable.

Of course, maybe I can one day be wise too after I've "...seen a bit of real life"


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 10:06 PM

A properly designed welfare system does not "fight the natural tendencies for mankind in order to succeed." If a welfare system provides guaranteed necessities, and only necessities, for all, then there will still be a strong motivation to gain luxuries. Our capitalist society has seen to it that very few are content on only what they need. Certainly an important part should be to ensure that everyone has some useful job skills, and encourage self-sufficiency, but in this recession and similar events, there still needs to be a net for those who simply can't find a job. There just aren't enough to go around.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:13 PM



What I am saying is that it is easily corruptable (for so many reasons--f'rinstance the very first point of this thread -- that it is used to keep politicians in power), and it is fighting the natural tendencies of mankind in order to succeed.


Could say the same of power and wealth, as Don has pointed out in the instance of Kenneth Lay.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:29 PM

Screw productivity. This is the US of A where our jobs these days are just to consume as much stuff as we have stolen off other folks! Right? No mixin' word here. We aren't comin' up with jobs to produce much of anything... Our job is to just gobble and gobble all this stolen stuff.... Like, any arguments here?

Didn't think so...

Okay, that being a given, why not a guarenteed national income? Hmmmmm? Takes care of poverty and keeps Americans doing what that do best. Consume!....

I'm noe being flip here.... Think about it....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Peg
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 11:36 PM

I think anyone who has never been on welfare or other form of public assistance (food stamps, subsidized housing, etc.) is ill-equipped to criticize those who have found themselves in that position. Western culture glorifies those who can screw the system and make a fast buck, but not where welfare or these other services are concerned. It carries a humiliating stigma. I know a number of people (myself included) who are several paychecks away from being on the street, if not for friends or family who would take them in...but not everyone has that or feels they could ask for that help. It's embarrassing to admit you've failed to provide for yourself and family. Some prefer the anonymous assistance of the state to the emotionally-charged baggage of living in Mom's basement or sleeping on a friend's couch. But even those with secure homes and jobs may lack medical coverage,   and would lose their homes if illness or injury struck suddenly, or if faced with some other catastrophic expense. Our fair country is full of people who do not have health insurance who would not know where to go for free care. This is an outrage. There are single parents who can barely feed their kids even while working full time. This is an outrage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 12:02 AM

And, there are many who wouldn't qualify for that free health care, if they did know where to go, Peg. I know of several people who are working at so-called decent jobs with no benefits, one paycheck away from poverty, who cannot get any kind of assistance, for anything. That is an outrage, too. We absolutely have to get some kind of universal health care in this country.

Don, thanks for your last posting. Well said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Rosebrook
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 03:09 AM

My livelihood is as an Instructor in a Job Training Program for participants who are (hopefully) transitioning from welfare to the workplace. It's a work simulation program, and I work daily with an ever-changing population of up to 25 individuals.

Many of the folks I work with are facing huge barriers, i.e. their own lack of education and training, lack of reliable child care and transportation, a possible history of drug / alcohol addiction, incarceration, mental illness, domestic violence, physical or learning disabilities, low cognitive skills, etc. I work with some people who have multiple barriers.

I have learned some things that are irrefutable to me: welfare recipients are as diverse as any other group of people. You cannot "clump them" all together, or have a "typical" stereotype image of a welfare recipient. I've worked with people who have incredible internal motivation to succeed, no matter what hiccups they face in their paths. I've also worked with highly manipulative people who know exactly how to "work the system".

One previous poster remarked about productivity. I have learned that for the majority of the people I instruct, the act of learning to work - participating in work itself increases their sense of self-worth and confidence. And for too many people in my program, that has been lost somewhere along the way. Welfare recipients are mandated to participate in my program. It's part of the welfare reform act. So often people come into the program with a defensive attitude. I have learned that this is usually masking fear and self-doubt. I see incredible turn-arounds in attitude once participants get into the program and start doing the work - meeting the expectations - participating as a co-worker. Either this happens, or typically they flake out of the program.

If they fail to participate in these "work attached" activities, they face a disqualification process where their benefits are reduced incrementally.   

Lastly, I have also learned that timing is everything in successfully transitioning from welfare to self-sufficiency. For what it's worth...
~Rose


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 06:10 AM

It's possible to provide support for people in hard times in ways that are not helpful, and can give rise to other problems, that's true enough. That's been done often enough - the workhouse system was a clear historical example.

So when people call for changes in the way things are done, that doesn't necessarily imply that the people calling for the changes are mean or uncaring.   What does imply that is when it becomes clear that a central motive in this is a desire to take money away from the poor and let it stay with the comfortably off.

Hatred of the rich? It seems to me that, in the system that has been described here and elsewhere, a key element is hatred of the poor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 02:46 PM

From reading all the thoughts expressed on the thread,It seems that most of us are in agreement that the Welfare/Benefit system ,although introduced by well meaning people,with the best of motives,has indeed become a tool of the state.    If this is the case,"welfare fraud" would seem to be a legitimate response to state manipulation. After all isnt it every man or woman for themselves in this glorious free enterprise society.
But wait...Do not governments of the exterme left also use subsidies and benefits and blatant propaganda to keep their subjects in poverty
The fault as ever, lies in the powerful manipulating the weak through any political system left or right..
Forget politics ....Learn to love....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 04:13 PM

Here's Willliam Morris writing about "Equality". Beautiful looking page, even aside from the things he wrote.

For example:

There is no legal arbitrary obstacle to a labourer raising himself into the privileged class, and this fact is the safety-valve to our society of inequality, which without it would at once explode in mere violence. But this safety-valve is the creation of the ideal of commercial society which puts forward the acquirement of riches as the one aim of life; i.e., bids every man struggle to attain a position of social usefulness as the reward of labour: which means in plain terms that our society ignores all society but that of club law:

That those shall take who have the power

And those shall keep who can.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 05:56 PM

McGrath.. I would be interested to read the page by William Morris.
You seem to have left the wrong link on your previous post.
Could you please try to set the link again.Thanks...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 06:03 PM

You're right there - I brok ethe basic rule, always check your links on preview before submittinng.

Here's the right one: William Morris on Equality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 07:48 PM

So a "Guarentted National Income" didn't go over too well? Why, the heck, not? Would end poverty. Would cut down on crime. Heck, it would be a bargain...

And I'm not speaking just as some idealistic lunny (which I may be...) but as someone who as worked as a jailhouse teacher (3 years), a drug rehab couselor (3 years) and a social worker working exclusively with folks recieving public assistence (10 years).

A guarenteed national income which put 100% of Americans above the poverty line is affordable and moral. It is prohuman and, in the end, a darned good investment on out population...

Public assostence, as it is today, is downright mean spirited and antihuman and only perpetuates the system....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 08:39 PM

Bobert, I'm with you on that!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Wolfgang
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 05:56 AM

And if there seems to be not enough money, we always can print more of it easily.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 11:58 AM

There's plenty of dough to go around without having to print up any, Wolfie. It's just being horded in the wrong places, which when the multiplying factor is taken into account, lowers our GNP...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 12:10 PM

I've never heard an argument against a Basic National Income which actually stands up. I suppose there are some unpleasant low-paid jobs which they'd have problems filling, so it'd start to cost more to get them done if they needed to be done. But that is the same kind of argument that gets put up against minimum wage legislation, for what it's worth, which isn't too much.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 12:49 PM

After spending everything we had for medical bills---and we did have insurance--Our spenddown now is designed to keep us poor so we can get P.A. to pay for my wife's needed treatments each month. No Medicare for her. My Social Security Disability provides Medicare for me only now. Because of her ongoing illness, she never worked enough "quarters" to get on Medicare --even though disabled. It's a system that never allows you to get ahead and/or keep anything anyone might like to donate. It necessitates that you stay destitute to stay "insured?".   Purchasing insurance again would be an imposibility because of ALL the preexisting conditions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 12:57 PM

GOOD PEOPLE, that is simply REAL LIFE in my previous post. Just the way things are---the way they come down---and the way they are set up here in the USA in this modern year of 2003. And 68 billion will go to rebuild Iraq after we were the earthquake that destroyed them in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 02:35 PM

It's not a matter of envying or hating the wealthy. Heck, I wouldn't mind being wealthy myself. I can think of a lot of things I would like to do if I had more money than I have. I can also think of a lot of things I would like to do if I had more money than I need. But I fail to see any rational point in accumulating more money and possessions than one can use in a lifetime, and continuing to acquire more that one can possibly use in a googolplex of lifetimes. Especially when this kind of pathological lust for acquisition involves the disruption and sometimes the destruction of the lives of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of others. Maximizing the corporation's "bottom line" by laying people off and moving facilities overseas is one of the more popular ways of earning multi-million dollar bonuses and establishing that one's executive skills are worth those multimillion dollar annual salaries, perks, and stock options. But don't forget: all those unemployed people are part of the bottom line, too.

Point to ponder:— when all of the wealth is finally in the hands of the multi-national corporations and/or stashed away in the Swiss bank accounts of the corporate executives (and, of course, their political puppets) and the rest of us are broke, unemployed, and homeless—who's going to buy the goods and services the corporations produce? Hmm? Eh?

I think this pathological acquisitiveness is a national sickness, and it's not just some peculiar little cultural quirk that has occurred by happenstance. Nor is it limited to corporate executives and their political stooges. Almost all Americans have it to one degree or another. It's been gradually drummed into us since the moment of our birth. It's core is the idea, promulgated by corporations, their advertising agencies, and the politicians who pave the way for them, that America is a nation of consumers. The main conduit for this kind of brain-washing is the media. The vast majority of Americans watch two, three, maybe four hours of television per day, and every eight minutes or so, whatever they're watching is interrupted by a string of sales pitches for the newer, faster, more powerful SUV, the latest fashion ensemble from the Gap, teeth whitening strips, Preparation H to take care of the problem they acquired by sitting for hours in front of the television set, and Zoloft to alleviate the depression they feel because their lives are so bloody pointless. Every eight minutes.

If Ed McMahon every got up off his butt and gave me the ten million dollars he keeps promising me, I don't really think it would make that much difference in our lives. We have a 1999 Toyota Corolla. It has about 10,000 miles on it, which shows you how much we drive. It's a nice little car, and we'd keep it till it starts needing a lot of repairs. I might turn us into a two-car family by getting a van with a wheelchair lift and hand controls (about $35,000) so that I can go more places, but that's about the only major purchase I can think of. We might eat out more, and yes, we'd hire a maid service to come in once a week (Barbara loathes vacuuming). I'd put a wad of it into solid, stable savings where it could earn a bit (not the stock market, which, these days, is often like flushing it down the toilet, thanks to the aforementioned corporate greed and corruption) and assure us of a secure future. And then I would start making some carefully targeted donations.

All Sheila (mentioned in my former post above) needed was a couple hundred dollars for vocational school tuition. I would have been nice to be able to give her that. But Sheila was never a free-loader. She probably would have insisted on regarding it at a loan and paying it back. That would be okay, too. But it would have been nice to be able to do it, whichever way.

We have a neighbor whose garage is right next to ours (where the Corolla sleeps). Two years ago they had a Lexus sedan. Last year they had a Volvo SUV. A few days ago, I noticed that they now have a new Mercedes SUV. Huge thing! When they moved into their apartment in the building next door, they had the whole thing redecorated. The oak floorboards ran east and west—or was it north and south? Anyway, they didn't like it that way, so they had them pulled up and rotated ninety degrees. Cost a bundle! I don't get it. But someone told me it had something to do with the fact that he's into feng shui. He's in the import-export business. China. Their kids go to private schools. No messy mingling with the peasants. Nice to have lots of money, I guess. Especially when you don't have a care in the world. . . .

This is a sick country. And most of its population is pretty sick, too.

And when I think about it, sometimes I don't feel to well myself. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 03:12 PM

Nicely said, Don,

And though I see the same things about what seems to be unecessary opulence, while you say "tomato" I say "tomato"...

I remember an epiphany of sorts (no, not the guitar) that I had several years ago (see, I am old enough to have seen a little bit of real life --even if not enough yet to acquire wisdom *tweak, tweak*).

I was visiting the Biltmore estate outside of Ashville NC. After walking through what seemed to be endless rooms of incredible art and craft, representing millions of dollars, I started to think to myself, "What in the name of God could anyone need with so MUCH?!".

Then, of a sudden, the craftsman/businessman in me popped his needy little head up over my other shoulder and said......"wow, what else could have employed this level of craftsmanship? -- allowed this many craftsmen to profit from work done in such a manner that was both the pinnacle of human craftsmanship (something I hold in high esteme -- and think it a GOOD part of humanity), and yet so improbable as a thing to be able to sell among the masses?"

We can poo-poo the refinement that we choose not to have -- or can't afford, and surely there is a balance to be had wherein we aren't meant to live in caves (much as I might have enjoyed the porn-lite, junk anthropolgy of Jean M. Auel).

As a craftsman though, I think the arts elevate us -- make us better humans, improve life. What you suggest -- subsistant living, well, I'm also just selfish enough to not want to have to give up my life as a potter to take on what "meaningful" work may be left in your world view.

And that doesn't even touch on technical achievement and excellence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 04:39 PM

There's a very good argument against a basic guaranteed income: money can be spent on a myriad of non-subsistence items, and frequently is in the worse cases of welfare. Guaranteed free housing, food, and clothing, on the other hand, has the advantage of being harder to exchange for drugs (I don't believe that a majority of welfare recipients spend most of their checks on such, but a significant minority do). It's also easier to avoid corruption in a purely governmental program than a government-funded but privately run system, as a basic living stipend would be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM

It seems pretty clear that most people spending significant amounts of money on things that are bad for us acquire that money as wages and salaries. So would it be better if everyone was paid in the form of housing, food and clothig to stop them doing that kind of thing?

I seem to remember that at one time a system involving this this was tried in the United States for quite a sizeable proportion of the population. And that kind of argument was in fact one of those used to justify the continuation of the "peculiar institution" of slavery.

There are other ways to try to improve us morally and stop us being corrupted. To divert whatever system exists for eliminating poverty into trying to achieve this selectively is to try to make it do too many things at once.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 06:58 PM

Druggies trade their food stamps fir drugs, F.L.... Or if you provide them housin' will figure out how to trade it for drugs... 'Er bus tokens, or.......

Nah, we have to get beyond this master/slave mentality where rich folks think that poor folks are stupid. They aren't. They are quite inventive and creative to be able to live with virtually nuthin'...

No, we have to have educational and vocational programs to go along with a guarenteed national income and push toward franchising folks and *habilitatin'* where is is needed and *rehabilitatin* where that isx needed. We need a big ol' Job Corps, similar to the W.P.A. and get our intastructual deficiencies taken care of. This will porived a snse of worth for the folks who participate. That sanse of worth is the one thing that the current system does not address. Far worse, it works against a sense of worth. And we wonder why inner city kids don't give a darn about their lives or the lives of others...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 07:03 PM

In my last message ,I mentioned in a lighthearted way, that "welfare fraud" might be justifiable in certain circumstances.So far "no comment " from Catters....Perhaps performing folk music is making a profit at last...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 07:38 PM

Art, I may be wrong, I don't have enough quarters to qualify for SSDI. I was told, though, that if Rog was on it, I could also then be eligible. I don't know if that helps you or not, and you've probably figured all of the angles from everywhichway, but I offer it for what it might be worth.:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 08:36 PM

Of course "welfare fraud" is justifiable in certain cases. Does anyone dispute that? Saying categorically that it must always be wrong is like saying that in all circumstances stealing is wrong. Life isn't that simple,and never has been.

But that's another topic entirely, and it'd be a mistake in my view to drift this thread away into discussing it, when it is so easy to start a new one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 09:49 PM

"Welfare fraud" is so insigficant that it's nothing more than a joke (lie) played by the right wing. "Yeah, them women show up at the welfare office in their Cadilacs, don't they Bubba?"

"Sure do..."

Another rith winged "Big Lie". They're r4eal good at 'em, ya' know...

Well, what lots of folks don't knoe is that when someone applies for public assistence they are assigned an "eligibility" worker and a "case" worker and the case worker make3sx home visits. Lots of 'em... Now in my 10 years of being a case worker (social worker), during which I mangaed cases of well over 2000 folks, I never had one case of fraud. I didn't see and Cadilacs. What I saw was abject poverty and human suffering. What I saw was a lot of old folks livin' in garages in alleys with a wood stove fir heat and cooking. What I saw was a lot of folks who were mentally ill who lived in various "home for adults" where their entire $300 a month SSI checks went to the caring old ladies who ran them homes... No Caddies... Waht I saw were balck folks living in homes with dirt floors down in Fulton Bottom without electricity or indoor plumbing. No Caddies...

Welfare fraud never existed! No where! Just another right wing Big Lie, which they have gotten down to an art!

I'd like Bubba to live on public assistence for 6 months...

No, forget Bubba, make that Dubya....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Greg F.
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 10:26 PM

And then, as opposed to the phantom welfare fraud, there's the Ken Lay type of fraud, which IS real and which DOES cost taxpayers billions upon of dollars.

But you don't hear people whining on about corporate fraud. Too easy to kick the poor, look the other way, and hope one day YOU can grow up to be the rich corporate crook.

Ain't that America.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 12 Oct 03 - 10:35 PM

Bobert- Many, perhaps most, people on welfare are simply victims of circumstances, who are at least the equals of the middle class. However, there are certainly people on welfare who use this money for drugs, alcohol, or even perfectly acceptable luxuries that aren't what they need. My objection to a monetary universal welfare was that it was more open to abuse, both by the recipients and the (private) providers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 06:29 AM

But why would it be any more open to "abuse" than any other sort of income? It's not practical, trying to kill too many birds with one stone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 06:46 AM

Here's a site talking about what would be implied in a basic income for all, pros and cons: PAX CHRISTI


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 08:05 AM

Thought provoking, McGrath. And certainly a good starting point for discussion purposes. The political climate is not right today but if US corporations continue shipping jobs overseas at the current rate, it shouldn't be too long before this issue comes into focus.

And, F.L., while I understand what you are saying, we can't take liberty and freedom away in exchange. Sopme people, no matter how just a society is created, will make bad decisions and do stupid things. All we can do is try to educate folks better. We are failing badly at that and when coupled with poverty its no wonder that we have so many messed up people.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 01:54 PM

No one doubts the importance to the civilized world of the good that can be done with large accumulations of wealth. "Patron of the Arts" is a time-honored position in society, and it takes money to be this kind of benefactor. Historically, this was well understood. In Renaissance Italy, the talents of artists such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and scores of others might have never seen the light of day had it not been for commissions from the Medici, the d'Este, and the Vatican (never noted for it's poverty). Many people in this country loathed those whom they regarded as "robber barons," like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford, yet the Rockefeller Foundation funds various worthwhile projects to this day, Carnegie endowed a system of public libraries all over the country, and Ford was smart enough to be sure to pay his workers a living wage. He understood something that modern corporate heads apparently do not: he wanted his employees to have enough money to be able to afford to buy the automobiles they produced.

Locally, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (I think his marrying Melinda was a good thing. She seems to have humanized him) is funding medical research among other things, and one of Bill's associates, Paul Allen, funded and built the "Experience Music Project" at the Seattle Center. Weird building, excellent resource. The Benaroya family made a fortune in real estate, and within recent years they, too, have been spreading the wealth around with good affect. Seattle has a truly world-class symphony orchestra, but until now, it had to share facilities with Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Scheduling nightmares! Now, its home is the brand new Benaroya Hall, enclosing a large concert hall and a smaller recital hall, both acoustically state-of-the-art. In the meantime, someone else with substantial wealth has financed the renovation of the aging Opera House, improving the already good acoustics and making it more suitable for opera and ballet productions. Seattle Opera is the fourth largest opera company in the country, and Pacific Northwest Ballet is a major contender for world class. Seattle is a great place for music and theater arts, thanks to people who have large accumulations of wealth and who are willing to think beyond their own constrained circle. But these projects didn't just benefit the arts. They provided jobs for thousands of people in the construction business, not to mention the office staffs, stage hands, etc., needed to run these facilities. Without infusions of private money, this just wouldn't happen.

Media mogul Ted Turner has been spreading his money around as well. On a television interview a couple of years ago, with my own ears I heard him say, "I have three billion dollars. Who needs that much money?" He went on to outline all the good one could do with it, should one be sufficiently observant, aware of need, and open-handed enough to be willing to part with some of it, and he took his fellow multi-millionaires and billionaires to task for their lack of social conscience, short-sighted greed, and general miserliness.

No, I have no objection to great accumulations of wealth. What I object to is when this wealth is accumulated at the cost of rendering thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people jobless, homeless, and miserable.

Many people seem to be under the impression that FDR ended the Depression in the Thirties by getting us into World War II (that may have been one of Bush's rationales for getting us into the current mess), but that isn't true. The Depression, initially caused by wild Wall Street speculation, inflated profit figures, and corporate corruption (sound familiar?) was pretty well over with before we got into the War. It was ended by FDR's initiation of a series of job-creating federal "alphabet soup" programs such as the Works Projects Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and many others. Instead of cutting taxes on the rich with the forlorn hope of some of those tax moneys being used to start new businesses and maybe put the unemployed back to work, these government programs put people to work directly. Some people (e.g., Westbrook Pegler) screamed about socialism, but these programs did put people to work building projects (roads, bridges, conservation projects, and many other things) that we are still reaping benefits from today. By the way, setting up the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress was one of FDR's government funded projects. And—it was FDR who started the Social Security program.

But demagogues and their political stooges are too hung up on their own agendas to look at the lessons of history. Besides, that might be flirting with something that looks like socialism! Oh, horrors!!

(Back during my Ayn Rand phase, I never thought I would be talking like this. But live and learn.)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 02:04 PM

The most important way that art can be subsidised is by making it possible for artists to have the time and the opportunity to create it. A modest income they can rely on, and a place to live and work in.

And I believe that the best and the greatest art is in fact public art.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 02:25 PM

MofH,
That is a formula for "Art about Art" not for "Art". In my opinion as a working artist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 03:39 PM

You mean "a modest income they can rely on, and a place to live and work in" John?

It's the way most patrons used to do it at one time. It would have helped Mozart, for example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 04:06 PM

It is and has helped my brother, McGrath, and none the worse for it. It's more of a poverty level income than modest, but, for the first time in his life, he feels completely free to work, as Mozart, composing great symphonies, concertoes, etc. precisely because he does not have to worry about how to pay the rent, what to buy food with, etc. It has also given his family (siblings, etc.) great relief from the stress of worrying about him and trying to help him financially.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Oct 03 - 08:06 PM

Well, I think we can all agree on one thing: Artists will work cheap! Yeah, there are plenty of artists out there who just require the basics. Nuthin extravigant. Just the basics. Might of fact, most folks is purdy much like that.... Just the basics: food, housing, transportation, health care and materials needed to produce their art. But this society can't evn come up with those basics. Sad commentary on the times in which we live where so much wealth is corraled by so few folks....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 12:58 AM

McGrath-Welfare is more open to abuse than earned income because earned income usually ceases when self-destructive habits like alcoholism or other drug addictions take over. Cash income is more open to abuse than directly provided services because dealers are more likely to accept cash for drugs than they are canned soups or a bed.

I agree that the government should provide for the basic necessities of all citizens. I simply think that the idea of direct provision of these services, rather than simply handing out cash, should be explored.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 05:45 AM

It's true enough that heavy drug use of one sort or another can interfere with employment earnings - but in any case benefits don't pay for much of a habit. Serious drug users get their money in other ways, frequently very socially destrictive ways. This is just one of the ways in which the "war on drugs" damages everybody.

Sorting out the drug problems of society isn't going to be significantly furthered by leaning on people living on benefits. Insofar as doing this increases pressures on people living on the edge and on their growing children, it could well make things worse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 02:23 PM

I would just like to ask a question. Who has the RIGHt to the benevolence of the community at large ? How do we decide if anyone does and if so, who ? I do not mind supporting the needy I hate supporting generations of the needy. I find it a very difficult thing, who is needy, who is habitual ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 02:41 PM

"It is and has helped my brother"

What is "it", kat?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 04:18 PM

GUEST of 2:23 PM-The society has the obligation to support its members; that's what makes it a society. Anyone who needs help should recieve that help, within reason, and certainly it is reasonable to provide necessities to those who, due to either disability or the fluctuations of our "free-market" economy, cannot provide for themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 04:40 PM

"It" is in reference to McGrath's It's the way most patrons used to do it at one time. It would have helped Mozart, for example. Meaning "it," a governement subsidy, essentially, is helping my brother, as an artist. He receives SSI, being over 65 and in the next-to-nothing income bracket.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: John Hardly
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 05:28 PM

oh. So the subsidy has nothing to do with his being an artist? And actually it is part of a plan of which all are participants (except the amish) :^)


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 05:57 PM

You still dont get it....Start looking at the benefit system as a tool of the powerful,who want to preserve the status quo.
Stop complaining about benefits and benefit fraud and think of the condition your wonderful economic system would be in if they were scrapped......AKE.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Oct 03 - 07:45 PM

Starting with Corporate Welfare....

Man, that alone would provide a decent standard of living for, ahhhh, the rest of the population...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,booter
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 08:02 AM

Why does our welfare system extend to the rest of the world. 87 Billion for Iraq will cost the average US family approx $1,000.00. Does the so called leader of the US not believe that charity begins at home. I question Bush's blood for oil program. And that IS what it IS. As a Vietnam Veteran...this fiasco scares me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 08:50 AM

It always seems to me that generally anyone who says "Charity begins at home" they mean "Charity ends at home".


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 10:05 AM

Well, McGrath, it has to start somewhere. If we cannot take care of our own first, how in the world can we hope to take care of anyone else? I am NOT saying we should not help others, but I do think the shrub's agenda is way out of balance and the US does need to take care of its own in a better way. I think the shurb et alia are acting under the gross misconception, i.e. not in the "real" world, that all Americans are well off enough to afford the kind of spending he's done in Iraq.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 10:32 AM

earlier I raised the issue of who has a right to community benevolence. I agree with forum lurker that we are obliged to assist those in need. But are we obliged to assist those who see benefits as a right or as an income supplement program.
   I think there is much abuse of the system and the abuse robs everyone, especially the needy. I am always confused by this because I know people need help..how do we determine who they are ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Mickey191
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 10:36 AM

A Priest was arrested last week in one of the N.Y. city borroughs, for making threatening phone calls to another priest. When the police arrested him he had, among many disgusting items, $100,000. in cash. He said it was his 401K plan for his retirement. He didn't want to have collect welfare in his old age, so he'd been dipping into the collection plate for years. Isn't that special?

I wonder how many people, thru hardship, gave a weekly contribution to the Church, I also wonder how the hell they feel now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 10:49 AM

"Charity only begins at home" would maybe have a better ring to it.

And the money being recycled via Iraq to Bush's spnsors at home who are creaming off the contracts don't count as any kind of charity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Marta
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 04:54 PM

Akenaton; I get it !

We pay a little bit in taxes every month so that a lot of people can be kept on the poverty line, and will be called upon to work if us richer folks require them to do so. Meanwhile rich folks pay relatively little in taxes and often invest their profits in other countries, but nobody complains about them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 05:44 PM

Thank Christ for Christmas Marta,I thoght I was all alone among these Yanks ,and then you come riding in at the heid o the cavalry
Its good to have a friend ,even if its a Glesca Keelie
            Best Wishes Ake..


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 07:45 PM

Well, McGrath, you've hit the nail square on the head... Yep, it it very much a system that rewards Bush's supporters financially while drastically reducing the money availbale for domestic programs. Then one day, Bush and Co. will have all the money, the American worker will be out of work and Bush will just throw up his hands and say, "Hey, sorry pal, we're broke!"

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 09:11 PM

I have no problem with helping out those who need it.
I do however with those who choose to live that way and theres plenty that do.
The simple argument against a basic guaranteed income is that enough people collecting it without working doesnt leave many who will pay for it. (and dont forget that most of the western economies are heavily in debt from past overspending -)
and here in canada there isnt a huge amount spent on the military.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 09:55 PM

Heck, petr, we got a guy making $140M a year runnin' the New York Stock Exchange, which makes about $750,000 a day worked, then you got folks wakin' up at 4:00 in the mornin', getting in their cars and commutin' 70 miles to to do construction work for $100 a day. Go figure!?!?!?!?!......

Then you have folks who have lost their cushy $100 a day jobs and can't find other cushy $100 a day jobs and are now gettin' unemployment at about $50 a day.... Problem is that their rent is $1000 a month?!?!?!?!?..... Hmmmmmmm??????...........

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Oct 03 - 11:38 PM

$100.00 a day! Not bad! Not bad at all! Except on the occasional evenings when I was concertizing, I've never earned that much in any one day. The last job I worked (technical writer for the Bonneville Power Association) I made about $85.00 a day gross (before deductions).

The minimum wage in Washington State right now is $7.01 per hour. On January 1st, 2004, Washington's minimum wage will go up to $7.16 per hour, making it the highest minimum wage in the country. Counting it up on my fingers and toes, that works out to $57.20 per eight-hour day, $286.00 per five-day week. That's $14,872.00 per year. That divides up into about $1240.00 per month. All those figures are before taxes and deductions, incidentally.

A cursory inspection of the current real estate listings in Seattle show that it is pretty difficult to find an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment in greater Seattle (i.e., including a sampling of some lower cost suburban areas) for under around $750.00 per month. $1,000 to $2,500 and up are not that difficult to find.

I've been told that Seattle is considered kinda pricy. But I also understand that it's nowhere near as pricy as some.

This probably accounts for a lot of the people who are employed, but are still sleeping in their cars—if they still have cars.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 06:36 AM

A modest basic income still leaves plenty of motivation to earn enough money to allow you to get the things you otherwise couldn't afford. And there are often other rewards for work as well, over and above the money.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bobert
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 08:42 AM

Well, Don, 'round these parts (Washington, D.C. area) most folks can find work that will pay 'em $100 a day. But the average rents are so high that after payin' the rent yer broke! All one is doing is workin' to keep the landlord fat... In Loudoun County, Va., the average rent is around $1800 a month... There are lots of folks livin' in their cars... And these are the folks who can't get laons to purchase houses and if they could, there ain't no affordable housing to be found.... The average price for a home is pushing $300,000 in the D.C. area! Crazy...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 12:43 PM

France just had an actors strike, mainly because most of the work is for 2-3 months in the summer and the rest of the year they collect unemployment benefits (what, they havent heard of waiting on tables?)
the main opposition came from other Unions whose members are the ones that pay into the system and dont have luxury of taking most of the year off.
sure its obscene that the guy in the stock exchange makes millions -
(none of which is taxpayer money, by the way)
(I run a company and I personally think that corporations should be styled after the cooperatives - with certain rules ie. the highest paid employee get no more than say 5 times the salary of the lowest, etc, - but thats beside the point.) Incidentally I make pretty much the same as the rest of my employees.

I totally disagree with Mcgraths comments above 'A modest basic income still leaves plenty of motivation to earn enough money..'
looking at first nations people in Canada, its only when theyve been given control over their own affairs that they improve their lives-
decades of govt. basic income and housing has done the opposite to their motivation.
Saudi Arabia is a perfect example of such a welfare state, 70% of the work is done either by skilled foreign workers that the Saudis cant do, and the rest by unskilled foreigners that Saudis dont want do to.
where does that leave the rest of the population?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 02:07 PM

. . . and dont have luxury of taking most of the year off.

Not too realistic.

A good friend of mine (and a fine singer of folk songs) was a teacher. He was constantly running into people who would say something like, "Gee, it must be really great to be a teacher. You get a three-month vacation every summer."

My friend said that considering the minuscule salaries that teachers get, it was more like a three-month layoff every year.

Maybe he could have been a teacher during the school year and an actor during the summer months. . . .

I agree with McGrath. One can always find instances here and there of people, or even certain groups of people, skating by on whatever dole they might receive, but oftentimes, if you look into their circumstances and past experiences, you can easily discover that because of barriers put before them by government and by society, there isn't a lot else they can do. Calling on my own my experiences, most people I know who are receiving unemployment insurance are avidly looking for jobs, those who are working for minimum wage are looking for better jobs, and everyone I've ever met who was on welfare hated it.

No, I take that back. There is one woman of my acquaintance who is very happy about her monthly check. She also lives in subsidized housing (she pays 30% of her income), most of her medical bills are taken care of by Medicare (less deductions and co-pays), and her monthly check comes from Social Security Disability Insurance (about $600 a month). She is developmentally disabled and is simply unable to work. Her monthly stipend is barely enough to cover her basic expenses, and were it not for her having lunch three times a week at a local church's free lunch program, she wouldn't eat very well. Her one luxury is an old 13" television set that someone gave her. I, for one, don't begrudge her one penny of her monthly stipend. It should be more.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Marta
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 03:57 PM

I was brought up in the era of scroungers. You know why ? Cos Thatcher and her mates cast us aside and we had no opportunities. So while I did go out to work for minimum wages I have loads of pals that gave up and they have done very little work in their lives. They were meant to follow that path. It was no accident.

I hate all that " I bettered myself talk". I didn't " better myself". I haven't changed, but I moved abroad and I have had opportunities that I would never have had as a daft wee Glasgow lassie. If I had stayed in Glasgow I would no doubt be one of those "scroungers" because the best jobs my mates can get are call centre jobs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 04:23 PM

Well said Marta......Hit the nail right on the head.....
         You're a cracker when you're angry...Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Ely at mom's
Date: 16 Oct 03 - 08:04 PM

I agree with McGrath, too. At least in the materialistic US of A, there is ALWAYS something else that we think we need that makes us want to earn more. The problem with low-paying jobs--and mine is among them--is that I have to work so many hours to make what little I do that I'm literally too tired to do anything else. I need to go back to school but if I take days off for class (my boss doesn't let us do half-days) then I can't get by, and if I don't, I work so many hours I can't make it to labs, tutorial sessions, etc.

I make well above the minimum wage, and Houston is not an expensive area (especially for a big city), and I am not a profligate spender, but I still can't afford my own place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Ebbie
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 09:08 PM

A guaranteed basic income for everyone wouldn't necessarily do what it was designed to do. Say that each household received $20000 annually, meant to provide housing, food and childcare, freeing up the adults to go out to work to better their lifestyle.

I suspect that very quickly an inflationary spiral would spin everything into chaos. There seems to be a rule that one's income at certain trades and in certain unions must be X amount of dollars higher than that of others. For instance, a union worker who makes $40.00 per hour will probably not be happy at the notion that someone "non-productive" is getting the equivalent of $10.00 an hour and will demand renegotiation of their contract. The same thing with the person who is now making minimum wage- that too would have to be ramped upward.

Eventually the guaranteed income might provide housing, when it's available, and not much else. If you get $25 a day guaranteed to you but the $25 buys only a package of hamburger with no buns... It doesn't seem that there would be an end to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 29 Oct 03 - 09:53 PM

If everyone gets 200000 annually, not just the unemployed, that may ameliorate the problem. If the $40/hour you get is earmarked for luxuries, you've got a lot of luxuries, which is a strong motivator in our society.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 03:07 PM

Forum Lurker, I hope you don't think that I suggested $200000?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 03 - 03:41 PM

Funny the difference a nought can make, when it looks like just a nothing.

The concept of a basic income would be that it applied to everyone, not just to unemployed people. That's mean the differential was built in to start with. So in the case Ebbie mentioned, the person getting $40 dollars and hour would be getting $40 plus the $10 an hour the unemployed person was getting.

There would be an inflation effect - but it should be a one-off, rather than continuing. Rather the way the shift to decimal currency here had a one-off inflation effect. And the basic income would need to be inflation-proofed in any case.

If some time a scheme along these lines can get tried out somewhere, it'll be very interesting to see how it works out. Mind, I suspect that all hell would break loose with sanctions and all. If it worked out well a lot of people and organisations would feel very threatened by it - "the danger of a good example" - so they'd feel obligated to ensure that it didn't work out well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Bluesman
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 03:11 AM

Some good news to start the weekend off. Doctors will no longer be able to issue sick notes for workers who are on long-term leave from their jobs.

The Government review has recommended that family GPs still certify up to four weeks of absence but employers will be able to refer those off sick for longer than this to an independent panel of doctors.

The review rightly suggests setting up a service to help those on sick leave find more appropriate jobs.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), around 140 million working days are lost to sickness absence each year.
While most people return to work, every year 300,000 people drop out of work onto health-related state benefits.

This places an economic burden on employers, taxpayers and the individuals themselves.
DWP says each year employers spend around £9bn on sick pay, while health-related benefits cost taxpayers £13bn.
Reforms are expected within the benefit system and to the Employment and Support Allowance.

Earlier this year the Government asked Dame Carol Black and David Frost to lead a review of sickness absence in Great Britain, to examine if long-term sickness absence could be reduced to prevent people from dropping needlessly out of the labour market.

If all the recommendations are accepted it could save £400m a year for employers and £300m a year for the Government, while boosting economic output by over £1bn a year.

The economy loses £15bn in lost economic output each year due to sickness absence.

Once the government has dealt with this shower, they will look at benefits given to the "teen mum brigade" young women who deliberately touch their toes for some irresponsible layabout in order to get a free party house and an over generous weekly handout for their flock of fatherless brats commonly referred to by them as "beer tokens".


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: redhorse
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 08:20 AM

"independent" as in Atos, presumably


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 07 Apr 13 - 07:48 AM

Fascinating old debate. Notwithstanding the polarised opinion above which I am sure was designed to be provocative, the original thrust of this thread adds potty to nasty.

Welfare is a mark of civilisation seeing the overall benefits of group altruism. Whether it is a tool of oppression depends on how mentally disturbed you are when you push such tosh in debate. Funny thing paranoia. .

It can be used as a tool but it isn't a tool per se. It is a bit of an insult for those relying onbenefits to say they are indulging in some big brother population control. For most, it is the thing that keeps them alive. High brow debate over sinister ideology is almost as bad as the misguided targeting this government is aiming.   Quiet man indeed. ..


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: banjoman
Date: 07 Apr 13 - 07:49 AM

I certainly dont salute him or his cronies. Please get your facts right before making rubbish statements.
Its a fact that almost 3/4 of the welfare budget is paid to pensioners and people who are in work. Most pensioners have contributed over a life time to provide some support in old age. What is National Insurance if it cant do that?
This government is currently giving the most wealthy in this society a huge pay rise thro tax reduction. I ask is that fair.
It has long been a Tory principle to blame the weakest in society for all our ills. It was the Tory Bankers who brought this country to its knees.
I suggest you look up the meaning of the word Tory - it means Robber/Thief -- enough said


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Apr 13 - 10:25 AM

And the definition of a Labour government - builder of the largest deficit and debt in history. Of course these benefit scroungers must be weeded out. Most have never worked or made any effort to find work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Apr 13 - 11:34 AM

Figures show that 31% of the population is claiming either Disability Living Allowance, incapacity benefit or Motorbilty. All of these people are now being reassessed and by 2014, the number of false claimants will be weeded out.

Hmmm. Well I'm one of those false claimants who've been weeded out (don't worry, my appeal is in). I virtually had to come downstairs on my backside to get to my computer to respond to this. My leg pains are so severe that I'm desperately trying to get myself fast-tracked for the back surgery I'm already on the waiting list for. Perhaps you'd better dig a little deeper into reality before you post such rubbish. While you're at it, tell us what you think of call-me-Dave's inability to fix the annual £120 billion tax avoidance by wealthy people and major corporations who use accountants to put their affairs offshore, etc., or of the millionaires' tax cut that has come in this week.

Incidentally, you do not "claim" Motability (note spelling). You opt to commute your higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance into a car lease. That is a benefit obtained only by severely disabled people. Motability is not, as often portrayed by its critics, a scheme to give disabled people "free cars".


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: banjoman
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 11:42 AM

Well said Steve - I paid national insurance and taxes for over 50 years and only claimed unemployment benefit for a short while after my job was declared redundant. (I blame Thatcher for that as I was at the time a full time union official) I now, approaching 70, have no guilt about claiming DLA and driving my Motability Car as I believe I have more than paid for them. I would gladly swap my pain and discomfort (and the car) with some of those who call me a scrounger, in exchange for their good health and a job which I could go to every day.
I have no doubt that there are a small number of benefit cheats, but suggest that no matter what system was introduced the situation would be the same..
In the 1960's I worked for the National Assistance Board which then became the Ministry of Social Security, and could write a book on how devious, and clever, a small minority of those people were in working the system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 12:31 PM

There are indeed some freeloaders in society who, in bonzo's words " have never worked or made any effort to find work". Most of them are at the top end of society. People of welfare benefits are ovewhelmingly pensioners or people in low paid employment.

Unemployed people are predominently people who have worked and been paid off, together with people with real disabilities whch make paid work impossible. The vast majority of those who have never worked are young people who have been unable to find employment, typically after spending time on compulsory unpaid placements.

The facts are simple enough, but need a minimal effort to find out. The lies are even simpler enough, and laid out every day by those who want s to believe them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Apr 13 - 03:21 PM

People need some stimulation in life.....life on benefits is very baqd for your health.

Just take a look at the people who turn up on "reality TV"...and their kids.
Our population is being systematically dumbed down by the media and subsidised by a Capitalist govt in the cheapest way possible.
Big brother really IS the TV in the corner and the financial squeeze is on.....we have become so weak and compliant that they can do with us what they will, while they give us "equality and rights" tied up in a lovely pink bow.....we dont really deserve any better...do we?


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 04:33 AM

Yet again the suggestion that typical benefits are paid to people who are skiving off. But most people receiving benefits are in fact either in low paid work, or unable to work because of their circumstances, mostly because of real disabilities.

They've decided on a level of cuts they wish to impose, specifically a massive percentage of cuts on help for people with disabilities, in advance of knowing what the actual circumstances are. The result isn't going to be people going out to work and their lives getting better. It's going to be their continuing to be forced to live on benefits, but in greater poverty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: akenaton
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 11:55 AM

As long as our worth is weighed in pounds and pence we will never know happiness or fulfillment in life.
We still expect to be cared for from cradle to grave, even when the money has gone EAST.

Did we really think the "good times" could last for ever.....do we have anything to think with?
I despair of what we have given our kids, a worthless glitzy culture,
celebrity lifestyles to aspire to, family and tribe wrecked and replaced by a media driven sexual circus.
Do you think making people a few pounds a week better off is going to fix that?
You know they give with one hand and take with the other.

Grrrr......Sorry Mr McG


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 02:27 PM

Some interesting reading for those who think benefit fraud is not prevalent enough to be worth pursuing.

The page on prosecutions is an eye opener.

So is the conclusion.

And yes! Equally important is first to hunt down and jail Tax Evaders, and then to remove the loopholes that make legal Tax Avoidance possible, so that Avoiders too may be jailed if they don't stop as soon as the law changes.

Unfortunately, there is no way currently to prosecute anyone taking advantage of a legal loophole.

What is absolurely indefensible is to blame either the rich or the poor exclusively. A thief is a thief, and all need to be dealt with equally, and severely.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 04:44 PM

The official figures included in that demonstrate that the level of fraud is proportionately pretty small. The "cautious adjustments" suggested which are claimed to indicate they are significantly larger appear to be picked out of the air - notably "25%" of disability payment claims" are asserted to be fraudulent. "National Fraud Initiative" sounds like a pretty accurate term for people makinb up figures in that way.

And of course there is no attempt to balance these against the claims which don't get made because people are ignorant or ashamed, or the cases where claims are turned down wrongly.

As for tax fiddles - legal loopholes are only there because the laws are written that way. Artificial schemes which are clearly only there to save tax are tolerated - the onus for proving they are justifiable for other reasons ought to lie with the people using such schemes, not the other way round. And any attempt to set up such schemes should be prosecuted and penalised as a criminal conspiracy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 05:32 PM

Difficult to give any credence to a site which has no authorship nor any indication of where those figures come from .... not convincing looks like one of those we hate everyone sites !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 10 Apr 13 - 07:04 PM

Just a snippet but a well written, attributed and referenced piece on one particular aspect of the welfare debate. kinda puts the other one in the shade I feel.

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/immigration_and_benefits-28846


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 10:41 AM

Small thefts should be ignored while people with a real need go short eh?

As long as the rich get a good bashing!

As to the ridiculous comment about tax avoidance schemes, until they are made illegal, they cannot be prosecuted.

That's the LAW, like it or not, and without an act of Parliament, or a change in the tax structure it will remain so.

The government should, in fact must, change either law or system as a matter of urgency, but until they do, they cannot prosecute, except in cases of evasion.

But don't tell me that they shouldn't go after the bottom end thieves as well, because that is a growing problem.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 10:26 AM

Of course they have to be made illegal before they can be prosecuted. That's why the priority is to change the law to make them illegal, which should have been done long ago. It is reasonable to be suspicious about why that is the case.

Doing stuff about the far far smaller problem of benefit fiddling is not top priority. It's used as a way of diverting attention from sorting out the big players. That's not a way of saying things like that should be ignored, but they shouldn't be blown out of proportion. The evidence is that the level of fraud is surprisingly low - and the proportion of cases where the appeal process show that an accusation of fraud was wrong is surprisingly high.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 12:28 PM

I suggest you do a little more research McG, with particular reference to the number of cases of multiple false identity cases involving not thousands, but millions of pounds fiddled. This is an organised crime situation swimming just below the surface of what are a mix of a few small fiddles and many genuine claims, and it's reaching epidemic proportions in some areas.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 04:11 AM

But that's not where the focus of media attention is - or I suspect of the work of the people employed to crack down on fraud. And that isn't the kind of thing that is targetted in the advertising campaigns, or in stuff like this.


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