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The Carbon Flame War
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 15:37:10 MDT Print View

"I started out poor with no opportunity, other than the opportunities I created for myself."

Who taught you to read?
Who educated the doctors that keep you alive?
Public or private K-12?
Public or private college?
Do your kids go to public schools?
Have you ever taken advantage of tax-breaks, government sponsored business incentives, subsidies, or the likes? How about the companies you work for?

If we extend this just a little bit further...
Would you have had the same chances with a different skin color?
A different last name?
A different gender?
A disability or serious illness?

Now I don't know you well enough to know how you'd answer these questions, so I make only one presumption: somewhere along the way you've had help, and probably a lot of it, direct or indirect. It's why we live in societies.

The idea of the "self-made man" is a delusion in my book.
We all owe a great debt to one another, directly or indirectly; that is why we band together. To reap all the rewards of being a member of a society and then not acknowledge any debt to it or it's members...
I don't know what to say about that.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Re: Re: "The Carbon Flame War" public lands? on 09/29/2010 15:41:01 MDT Print View


I sit working on income tax and sales tax for 2 states.

If everyone was to pay their own way, (for services they need,
like the $14,000 bill I got from the hospital for setting
my son's broken arm), how would public lands be effected
under your system? Would the government have a reason to
own public lands? Or provide services for them?

Would they just be sold to the highest bidder? Then the
free market could set prices for the various uses? Geothermal
wells in Yellowstone, water reservoirs in Yosemite Valley,
sheep ranches in the Sierra?

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 15:43:01 MDT Print View

>It is not just some in the US. The abuse of the system is rampant. When you have intergenrational welfare then the welfare isn't helping. People are being incentivized to not work, not try to find a job, and in fact encouraged to do nothing but milk the system.

As much as I'm frustrated with the government, you have to admit that stuff like this puts them in a tricky situation. Does it look after the citizens, many of which will take advantage of the system, or offer nothing at all, causing various other problems?

The root of many of this country's problems are its very own citizens, not the government. I'm of the opinion that as a whole, our society is incredibly selfish, ignorant, and irresponsible. Yes, that's a gross generalization, but hey, that's my view on things. Only when we can be collectively responsible for our well being as individuals and as a country will things begin to improve. Until then, deeper down we go...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 16:29:14 MDT Print View

> The root of many of this country's problems are its very own citizens, not the
> government. I'm of the opinion that as a whole, our society is incredibly
> selfish, ignorant, and irresponsible.

Careful Travis - you are getting too close to the bone. Or maybe you are cutting into it already.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 16:58:57 MDT Print View

It's OK, Roger. I'm using a UL knife.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 17:06:09 MDT Print View

"The root of many of this country's problems are its very own citizens, not the government. I'm of the opinion that as a whole, our society is incredibly selfish, ignorant, and irresponsible. "

Travis -- reading a few recent posts, methinks you missed out arrogant...

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 17:15:51 MDT Print View

Ben, we can surely throw that one in there!

And, by no means, do I exempt myself from this criticism. I'm a part of this society I criticize, am I not? Though I don't mooch of welfare, I have collected unemployment benefits in the last couple years. I work a seasonal job in which I qualify for these benefits during the off-season. Do I find getting money from the government "satisfactory" enough? Hell no. Though that money certainly is much appreciated, I'd MUCH MUCH rather be making my own way all of the time, even if it means working harder. Hopefully that will change once I get some of my other projects going.

Speaking of a dredge on society:

Edited by T.L. on 09/29/2010 18:38:36 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
zzzz. on 09/29/2010 17:56:06 MDT Print View

"Today in the US, the Tea Party is quickly providing an awaking of individual rights."

I gotta laugh.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 18:43:54 MDT Print View


I taught myself how to read before I started school. I forced my parents to help me learn. My mother preferred that I go outside to play and not bother her. I studied on my own all through school, because my goal was to get out of the environment I lived in, even though my parents told me that it was useless to try. I read dozens of books every month. To be honest, school held me back. I did my homework and then studied things that were not part of the curriculum. My parents told me to forget about college, because they could not afford it. They also told my three younger brothers the same thing. All of us graduated from college, taking a lot longer than the average college student. I attended public grade schools, which my parents paid for through their taxes. The schools were in a poor neighborhood, so they were sub-standard compared to other communities. When I graduated from high school in 1969, I did not know how to use a telephone, because we could not afford one. I left home the day after I graduated from high school, and have been self-sufficient ever since. I grew up in a suburb or L.A., not some rural community. The neighborhood I grew up in was tough. In the 1950's we were already plagued with gangs, although I avoided any personal interaction with them. Crime was around us. Shootings were not uncommon. When I was about 9 the FBI had a huge shoot out just 3 doors down from our house. The next day the sidewalk and street was covered in dried blood.

As a kid I had severe asthma. There was no money for doctors or treatment, and once in a while there was money for a rescue inhaler. I spent many a night, sitting up in my bed propped up with pillows fighting to breath and unable to sleep. Unable to get the medical treatment I needed, when I was about 12, I did my own research. I read an article on how kids might be able to outgrow asthma, and the importance of building up the lungs. So I gave up my beloved sport of baseball, and decided to become a distance runner. 5 years later, the asthma was gone. I had a happy childhood though. I was involved in sports and activities. I ran track and cross country barefooted for two years, because I could not afford shoes. I also collected stamps as a hobby. My parents gave me 35 cents a day for lunch. For 8 years I never ate lunch. I bought and sold stamps. The profit allowed me to build my own collection, which I still have and enjoy. In high school my coaches were concerned about my health, because I was so thin. Sometimes they would try to give me money for food or buy meal a meal, but I was too proud to accept it.

My current family doctor attended a private college (USC), as did my dentist.

Every week I pay myself first. That is, I put money away, so in case of an emergency, I do not have to depend on someone else. For many years I did "without" life's little luxuries so I could handle any almost any situation that would otherwise require assistance. I do not expect anyone to help me, nor would I ask. Should I get a terminal disease, and could not afford treatment; then that is life. No one owes me anything, and there are no guarantees in life. It is my life and I am responsible for my own happiness and well-being.

My kids attended private schools. They went to public colleges, which WE paid for. Part through my taxes, part through my money, and part paid by the kids themselves who worked through college. I could have paid for the kids' portion, but they needed to have some "skin in the game." I think that part was an important part of their college education. I had to work two jobs and run a small business to afford the private schools, even though part of my taxes were going to the public schools I was not using.

When my kids were born, I could only afford major medical insurance. No maternity insurance. I saved my money and paid for the delivery of my kids. Just before my daughter was born, the city required our neighborhood to connect to a new sewer line. The cost to have a contractor do it was all the money I had saved for the delivery. I read up on plumbing, and did the work myself at night in the dark over a period of several weeks. I had no experience doing this kind of work. The city fought me over this, but it met their code.

Yes I would have had the same opportunities with a different color, name, or other. To be honest, when I was a young adult, being a minority opened doors that people like me had to open by results and performance. It was a period of reverse discrimination... although I did not look at it that way. Minorities got most of the college scholarships. Minorities got the government jobs (not that I was interested in one). It was my responsibility to create my own opportunities, and it took me 23 years to earn my Bachelor's degree. That is because unlucky things happened to me at times, or I made poor decisions. I had to learn a trade during this period to meet my obligations, and then complete my education later. My kids attended my college graduation. I was going to college, paying for their private school, and my main job was a mechanic in a gas station during this period, while also running a small business with a few employees. I slept only 4 or 5 hours each night. I could not take a lunch break during the day, because I would fall asleep and be late back to work. So I worked during lunch without overtime.

When I was in my early 20's I had a very rough period. Each day I ate one XLNT Tamale for breakfast and one for dinner. They cost 11 cents each. This was all I had for a couple of months. I could have probably asked my parents for help, or even lived with them. But I chose not too.

Eventually the college degree opened other opportunities for me... but only opened them, I had to perform at a high level to progress.

Through all these times, I have been happy. I also somehow found time for a few epic hiking trips, and have backpacked every year since I was in high school. I think I have had a successful life, without help from anyone.

My wife is also successful, and she is the "wrong" color. We are an inter-racial couple, and I understand better than most about discrimination. White people sometimes discriminate against us, and her race often discriminates against us. But that is not a problem, because ultimately we are judged by who we are, not what color we are. We are the ones who have to cause this change in perception, by our actions and performance. She has never accepted help from anyone either. She has earned her way, although not always easily.

I have always worked for private companies. I have never obtained income through my job or personal life from any government agency. The companies I have worked for do not do business with the government.

They only debt I owe is to the thinkers who lived before me. A few years ago during my company's merit review process, my boss gave me a merit raise and told me he was "taking care of me." I refused the raise. I told him I do not accept charity for anything I have not earned. I told him to only give me a raise if I earned it, and that I expected any raise to be in line with my performance. Eventually I got a raise that was even higher, but I would not accept it until he acknowledged that I had earned it. This is how my brain works.

I believe that in the U.S. poor people are poor by choice. They can change their position in life. Yes, they may have to work harder... much harder than the average person. But it can be done.

All of this is not to brag, or to make myself some sort of hero. Life is tough at times. Today I am now better off than most, but not rich. It has taken decades to get here, and most of those years required 60, 80, 100 hours of work per week. Somehow I have also been able to enjoy leisure time while putting in these kinds of hours. Everything I do is focused on work, family, and enjoying life. I do not waste a minute with anything that is not important to me or productive. A quiet evening with my wife is productive. Going on vacation or hiking is productive. Work is productive. I have earned every dime I have saved. I do not think anyone is entitled to take the fruits of my labor from me, not matter what someone else needs.

The U.S. is a great country. And we do not owe any of its citizens anything, other than their basic human rights. The rest is up to them.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: zzzz. on 09/29/2010 18:50:47 MDT Print View

What exactly does the Tea Party espouse? I'm not sure. I do know and like the part that wants to throw out the scoundrels. The Democrats and Republicans both are rancid. However, I am suspicious of the special interest groups that see the Tea Party as an opportunistic vehicle for gaining office.

Funny when you think about who the real Tea Party members were back when action against tyranny could get you executed. Now it's all about raising funds for commercials against your opponents.

In reality the Tea Party is pretty much those in office now. All seeking to suck the milk from a fat government. Maybe they should be called the Teat Party.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: on 09/29/2010 19:04:13 MDT Print View


I agree.

Most all Tea Partyers have jobs. So they absolutely don't want health care for the poor and unemployed. It's unconstitutional, they decry. But they all seem to like keeping Medicare!!

Basically, methinks the Tea Partyers are simply pigs who got to the front of the government feeding trough -- and don't want to share. They want a smaller government -- meaning a government just enough to cater to them -- and no bigger.

Nothing is as insufferable as seeing a bunch of self righteous pigs talking big on "individualism and self reliance".

Edited by ben2world on 09/29/2010 19:14:03 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 19:13:22 MDT Print View


Fantastic story. If most of the people had your attitude then we'd have very few sucking on the public teat. It would only be those who truly need help. The real needy not those who game the system. Most of us has no problem with helping their neighbor who really needs help.


Business cycles and generational cycles seem to be the true makers and breakers. The so called crisis that we are experiencing now is not close to the Great Depression, the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War. But it sure seems like we are due for something big sooner or later. One thing for sure, it's coming. Prepare.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: zzzz. on 09/29/2010 19:23:16 MDT Print View

Ben: But they all seem to like keeping Medicare!!

That is pretty funny. I saw video of a Tea Party rally. One of the signs said: "KEEP YOUR GOVERNMENT HANDS OFF MY MEDICARE!"

lol - Shows the mentality of some members of the "movement" to bring back freedom or 1776 style government.

Like Medicare once citizens rely on a service, it can not be yanked away without making a bad problem become a terrible situation. With Medicare, stopping rampant fraud would be a good beginning.

Image abolishing social security. Armies of old geezers looting and pizzing in the streets. Oh, it would get ugly.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 19:38:47 MDT Print View

"The U.S. is a great country. And we do not owe any of its citizens anything, other than their basic human rights. The rest is up to them."

Yes, fantastic story, Nick!!

I am curious though... do you abhor government programs because you fear they foster dependence? Or do you simply believe that everyone should fend for himself or herself? Do you give regularly to charity, for example? Again, just curious, and absolutely no need to answer if you don't want to.

Edited by ben2world on 09/29/2010 19:40:14 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 19:41:54 MDT Print View

I'd certainly say yours is a rare story here and I certainly commend you on being responsible.

To be honest, this is too deep a discussion to sit and have over the internet...I'm afraid that however I respond, my tone will be misinterpreted. We'll have to finish it on a snow camping trip soon :) But I guess I can say this:

I've worked for what I have as well, but I've also been the benefactor of so many advantages that others will never have. This world is not a level playing field. I'm not saying it ever can be, but I believe we need to acknowledge the fact that just because one person succeeds- despite their circumstances- does not mean everyone will.
I've had too many experiences that tell me that my life could have gone in a totally different direction all too easily, for reasons completely beyond my control. If hard work alone is what brings rewards in this society, tell that to the masses I see working so hard- harder than most of us on this website do- only to barely get by.

As a teacher I see unseen advantages play out everyday in the classroom.
Granted, some people succeed despite their families and poor schools, but they are a statistical rarity.
I think about the advantages I had as a child: two college-educated parents that stressed reading at a young age. They both had stable jobs and time to help me with school.
Now granted, I still had to do my part, but is it any surprise that I entered school multiple grade levels ahead of many less fortunate peers? Is it any surprise that once a big enough gap is created those that are behind will rarely be able to close it?

"You should have worked harder and saved more" is not an acceptable, humane, or even realistic answer to all of the problems people face. Our systems are far too complex and chaotic to categorize the "winners" and "losers" simply as those who work hard and those that don't....especially in light of the fact that this country has had a legacy of systematic, institutional, and LEGAL (at least in their eyes) discrimination against various groups throughout history.

Edited by xnomanx on 09/29/2010 19:49:14 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 19:42:55 MDT Print View

Let's all answer Ben

I give to charities

I do not mind the concept of government helping those who truly need it

I ABHOR government fraud and waste and those who take advantage of poorly controlled government programs

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 19:45:26 MDT Print View

+1 George

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/29/2010 21:42:50 MDT Print View

Ditto as above.

George -- the issues are valid and serious -- but sadly, the credibility is lacking. I found the picket sign you were referring to -- and added another for good measure. :)

Edited by ben2world on 09/29/2010 21:47:40 MDT.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"The Carbon Flame War" on 09/30/2010 00:45:19 MDT Print View

Benjamin - What's with hurling insults? Why does it come to that?

Who said Tea Partiers don't want healthcare for the poor? How do you know that? What does health care for the poor have to do with opposition to the Affordable Care Act?

And we see this sort of reasoning all the time. Since we have all become accustomed over the last 60 years to paying up to $16,000 annually each to provide for seniors, the disabled and the poor, we should naturally accept a radical expansion of similar programs.

Since the pigs have their Social Security, everyone else can suck eggs. Awfully cynical, Ben.

Wouldn't it be a reasonable opinion to support our current Social Security programs for seniors, the disabled and the poor and oppose an expansion of those programs to everyone?

Edited by davidlutz on 09/30/2010 08:14:39 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: The welfare flame war. on 09/30/2010 00:45:31 MDT Print View

Hi Nick

You have my sincere respect.