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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:01 PM   #101
jnpy!$4g3cwk
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Yes, you are correct. We did raise taxes to pay for the debt. But we also cut spending dramatically immediately after the war. Since we really don't have a peacetime dividend this time, are you open to cutting spending to get us to 20% of GDP from 25%?
I will give you an unqualified "yes, but" on that.

If we take Social Security out, as a separate self-financed portion, and we are mainly looking at Defense, Science/Medicine (NSF/NASA/NOAA/DoE/NIH etc) an other small departments, the numbers could be lower yet. Here's the "but":

Except for Medicare/Medicaid+other medical care. That is the elephant in the room. The art of Medicine is a victim of its own success, people are living longer and using Medicine more, and, we don't seem to have an agreed upon method to wed smoothly what is necessarily both public and private.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:16 PM   #102
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The class envy and total lack of understanding of how the economy actually works by the people on this forum would be funny if it were not also the same misunderstanding that the rest of America seems to have.

Th Federal government CANNOT stimulate the economy by spending tax dollars on infrastructure projects.

Wake up people.
Weren't you one of the ones making the claim that Romney would win and the polls were wrong? You'll forgive me if I do not consider you an expert on things. People here do not have class envy. I have seen no examples of that. I certainly do not have it either. However, when more and more money ends up at the top, you have an unbalanced system and not a healthy sustainable economy.

And just why do you think infrastructure projects do not stimulate the economy? First off you have the actual people working on the project. Then you have all the suppliers of things like concrete, nails, paint, etc etc. benefiting from it. Then you have all the businesses that all those workers can spend their paycheck at from diners to cleaners to the local movie theatre. And then the workers at THOSE businesses also have jobs and money to spend. If it is a thing like a road or train line, then business will come in and set up shop along those lines. Run down areas can be renovated with new growth. So I do not see how you can say that infrastructure projects do not stimulate things. History (and common sense) prove that to be false.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:30 PM   #103
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Or cancels out the power of the other group by stalling, sabotaging, filibustering, and nothing ever gets done.

Most countries get by with just a single parliament equivalent of the US congress. They tell you in advance what they're gonna do. Then they do it, unobstructed. If it doesn't work, you vote for the other guys in the next election. Having three different bodies guarding each other just seems paranoid... what're they gonna do? Trash the place?
Parliamentary democracies also vote themselves out of existence from time to time and do other strange things with their power. I think the three branch system protects against violation of the constitution. The other option is democracy by referendum and not sure that works very well either.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:38 PM   #104
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Here's the current budget spending by category. The innovation portion of it probably lives in the other category. We can cut quite a bit of the rest which is primarily warfare and welfare spending. Cut the military budget in half, get out of policing the world, and let states deal with the entitlements.

I could agree with you idea to cut defense spending. But in order to cut welfare, you'd have to propose solutions for dealing with the poor besides simply ignoring them or expecting private charity to pick up all the slack.

Do you have solutions in mind?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:57 PM   #105
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I could agree with you idea to cut defense spending. But in order to cut welfare, you'd have to propose solutions for dealing with the poor besides simply ignoring them or expecting private charity to pick up all the slack.

Do you have solutions in mind?
I like Ron Paul's approach. Cut the military budget in half and end the wars. Use the proceeds to pay for the current entitlement system for the ones we've committed the current system to. Then slowly let the young opt out of all entitlements and let them keep their payroll taxes.

I'm not heartless but you have to agree that the war on poverty has done nothing to stop poverty after spending billions. The answer is not to spend more! Just like the war on drugs or the war on terror. They have been created to support a bureaucracy and lobbyists' interests and do very little to solve the real problem.

----------

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I will give you an unqualified "yes, but" on that.

If we take Social Security out, as a separate self-financed portion, and we are mainly looking at Defense, Science/Medicine (NSF/NASA/NOAA/DoE/NIH etc) an other small departments, the numbers could be lower yet. Here's the "but":

Except for Medicare/Medicaid+other medical care. That is the elephant in the room. The art of Medicine is a victim of its own success, people are living longer and using Medicine more, and, we don't seem to have an agreed upon method to wed smoothly what is necessarily both public and private.
You can't take it out. Since the difference is being paid out of the general budget. If we as a society decide we need to support the poor, the old, the children, and health care for all then let's finance it completely with taxes so we don't have to borrow or print to pay for it.

That means much higher taxes on not just the rich but on the middle class too. Then we'll see how much we really want these programs. My guess is there will be a generational backlash.

We are getting our cake and eating it too by lying to ourselves how much government really costs by hiding it in borrowing and printing which just mortgages our children's future.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:04 PM   #106
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Seriously confused by your examples there.

Ford was founded on making cars more efficiently. There was a demand for horseless carriages, but they were not mass produced. Ford and the Model T was an innovation in production techniques to meet demand.
Henry Ford is an example of a patriotic and socially responsible entrepreneur whose business idea was inexpensive mass produced goods coupled with high wages for workers. He paid double what the other manufacturers did, and anyone who stayed for more than six months was entered into a profit sharing program.

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Ford was a pioneer of "welfare capitalism", designed to improve the lot of his workers and especially to reduce the heavy turnover that had many departments hiring 300 men per year to fill 100 slots. Efficiency meant hiring and keeping the best workers.
Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage ($120 today), which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers. A Cleveland, Ohio newspaper editorialized that the announcement "shot like a blinding rocket through the dark clouds of the present industrial depression." The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant turnover of employees, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs. Ford announced his $5-per-day program on January 5, 1914, raising the minimum daily pay from $2.34 to $5 for qualifying workers.
He put America on wheels, created lots of well-paid jobs and of course became extremely wealthy in the process, and deservedly so. Win-win-win. His name shouldn't be used in any sentence involving today's human filth on Wall Street, vulture capitalists whose only goal is to harvest the crap out of the world for themselves.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:05 PM   #107
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I'm not heartless but you have to agree that the war on poverty has done nothing to stop poverty after spending billions.
I haven't seen anything that stopped poverty. But that doesn't mean I believe we should simply give up and let people suffer.

Have you read about English Poor Laws? Indigence and vagrancy have been around for centuries. They are a part of the human social condition.

You can try to minimize it. But you can't stop it.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:21 PM   #108
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I haven't seen anything that stopped poverty. But that doesn't mean I believe we should simply give up and let people suffer.

Have you read about English Poor Laws? Indigence and vagrancy have been around for centuries. They are a part of the human social condition.

You can try to minimize it. But you can't stop it.
Let me correct my point. I think the war on poverty has wasted billions and actually made things worse for the poor.

I think a better approach would be to let local governments and charities help solve this problem. Not the federal government.

----------

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Henry Ford is an example of a patriotic and socially responsible entrepreneur whose business idea was inexpensive mass produced goods coupled with high wages for workers. He paid double what the other manufacturers did, and anyone who stayed for more than six months was entered into a profit sharing program.



He put America on wheels, created lots of well-paid jobs and of course became extremely wealthy in the process, and deservedly so. Win-win-win. His name shouldn't be used in any sentence involving today's human filth on Wall Street, vulture capitalists whose only goal is to harvest the crap out of the world for themselves.
Thank you. We should be celebrating entrepreneurs like Ford and Steve Jobs instead of demonizing them. If you want to get rid of Wall Street vultures, let's get rid of the Federal Reserve (the source of their easy money) and stop bailing them out when they screw up.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:23 PM   #109
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I think a better approach would be to let local governments and charities help solve this problem. Not the federal government.
State and local governments are in charge of welfare. The federal government may provide funding, but the programs are set up and administered locally.

Your wish has been granted.

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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:33 PM   #110
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I haven't seen anything that stopped poverty. But that doesn't mean I believe we should simply give up and let people suffer.

Have you read about English Poor Laws? Indigence and vagrancy have been around for centuries. They are a part of the human social condition.

You can try to minimize it. But you can't stop it.
Correct, you can't stop it, but you can do a lot more about it without crashing the economy. Handouts to the poor don't disappear into black holes in space. They're quicker to spend than most, and it goes right back into the system again.

According to UN's Human Poverty Index, the country that is most successful at fighting poverty is Sweden. Some key numbers in a USA/Sweden comparison...

Population below median income
Sweden 6.5%
USA 17%

Probability at birth of not surviving to age 60
Sweden 6.7%
USA 11.6%

People lacking functional literacy skills
Sweden 7.5%
USA 20%

Those two issues go hand in hand with poverty -- illiteracy and poor health. See, if you don't take care of the poor they drop to a level of complete uselessness and then you have to hire literate, skilled workers from abroad to fill the gaps. People like me; I grew up poor and learned English in a Swedish public school (and I think you understand me perfectly, yes?), went to public college and public university and now I'm part of the upper middle class.

Last edited by stridemat; Nov 11, 2012 at 04:17 AM. Reason: Removed OT part of post
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:41 PM   #111
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State and local governments are in charge of welfare. The federal government may provide funding, but the programs are set up and administered locally.

Your wish has been granted.

Not really. The Feds dictate how the states have to deliver the services and they have very little say in how it's done. They are just the delivery vehicle. If you really want this to be done centrally, let the Feds collect the taxes and send them back via block grants. That would get rid of most of the bureaucracy too.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 05:48 PM   #112
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This is quite amusing. Some guy named Kenny made this graphic on happyplace.com showing the Republicans won 9 out the 10 least educated states while the Democrats won 10 out of the 10 states with the highest level of education.
Ironically all the information was supplied via Fox News.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-...ucated-states/

Thumb resize.

http://www.happyplace.com/19076/elec...oted-for-obama

The GOP Is finished unless they move back to the centre.

Last edited by balamw; Nov 10, 2012 at 06:26 PM. Reason: TIMG
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:01 PM   #113
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Demand is insatiable. Just ask any 3 year old. Everyone wants everything at all times. Even the poor, even those not in the US.
Yes, demand in the most vague and all encompassing meaning is insatiable. Demand for specific products and services, which is what we are talking about and what business owners are worried about, is not. Sure, there is demand for air but that didn't help SEGA move enough hardware to warrant staying in the home console business. Is there an insatiable demand for traveling by rail? 8-track players? Silent movies? Is Coke primarily concerned about the insatiable demand for water or the demand for water that it controls and sells?

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The problem is that you need money to get what you demand. Where does one get that money? You have to work for it. Unless you're starting a company or opening a business (supply!), you're probably going to have to get a job. Who hires you? Some business owner will give you a job because they have taken the chance to open a business or invent something new. Where does the business man get the money to create that business? He borrows it. From whom? The banks who get money from savers.
How many people do you think decide to start a business with the goal of no one paying for their products or services (no sponsors, no advertisers, no customers, no donors, no income of any kind)? Anyone ever opened up a store and not wanted customers to walk through the door? Of course the relationship between business and customer is symbiotic but I doubt anyone has started a business based on the premise that no one will want what the business is offering.

Go back a few thousand years when people spent 90% of their time cultivating their own food and you'll see that they had tools, clothing, shelter and scatterings of art. All without the existence of businesses/merchants. Once a civilization gets to a point where there is surplus food and water then a barter system emerges and someone that didn't like farming (wasn't good at it or whatever) could make tools. Farmers need tools and this could could make tools superior in quality to home-made ones and trade those tools for food. If a drought hits though and the farmer no longer has a surplus of food for trade then the tool maker no longer has any business (it doesn't matter how much better his tools are than home made tools). Things are certainly more complicated now but the ability for businesses to exist and grow still hinges on customers paying for the goods and services being offered.

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If government spending created demand and wealth, Zimbabwe would be the richest country in the world.
And if corporate profits created jobs we'd be up to our ears in jobs in America. I never said government spending directly creates demand and wealth. I'm just disagreeing with you that the wealthy are the engine that creates jobs.

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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
Let me correct my point. I think the war on poverty has wasted billions and actually made things worse for the poor.

I think a better approach would be to let local governments and charities help solve this problem. Not the federal government.
The problem is that they can't meet the demand. An impoverished area will not have the tax base to to support itself nor will it have the private donation base to sustain local charities, shelters, missions, food banks, etc., either. Talk to anyone that works in social services and you'll hear story after story about people that used to give to food banks and Good Will are now shopping at food banks and Good Will. As the middle class continues to crumble the strain on social safety nets increases at the same time as the resources coming in decreases. When the people that used to give help are now themselves in need of help it's a death spiral unless there is outside intervention.

I think a lot of this could be avoided if the private sector stepped up but the private sector's main concern is profit for share holders.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:02 PM   #114
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You can't take it out.
Sure I can. It would look the same if it were CalPERS or STRS or some other pension system. You don't seem to like any kind of pension system. Maybe you will in 50 years.

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Since the difference is being paid out of the general budget.
SS is separate, and it has an enormous surplus at the moment.

Quote:
If we as a society decide we need to support the poor, the old, the children, and health care for all then let's finance it completely with taxes so we don't have to borrow or print to pay for it.
Agree 100%.

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That means much higher taxes on not just the rich but on the middle class too. Then we'll see how much we really want these programs. My guess is there will be a generational backlash.
In other words, my generation is living too long

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We are getting our cake and eating it too by lying to ourselves how much government really costs by hiding it in borrowing and printing which just mortgages our children's future.
SS can be tweaked and it will still work.

I don't think that is true of Medicare.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:05 PM   #115
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This is quite amusing. Some guy named Kenny made this graphic on happynews.com showing the Republicans won 9 out the 10 least educated states while the Democrats won 10 out of the 10 states with the highest level of education.
I find it particularly amusing because it mirrors my country. The map has the same color pattern, the big urban regions along the coast are blue, the less populated areas in the middle and the south are red, the education levels match... but the funky part is this: Here, blue means right and red means left. In Sweden the liberals are the right-wing, the guys who favor social liberalism AND fiscal conservatism/free market capitalism. Red represents the left, the social democrats who are all about big government, handouts, the usual. It just goes to show that educated high-income people in the big cities are drawn to liberalism, but as for the small town blue collar folks, you can sell them any damn ideology you want -- socialism, communism, or in the US, the GOP bundle on the opposite end of the spectrum.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:29 PM   #116
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Thank you. We should be celebrating entrepreneurs like Ford and Steve Jobs instead of demonizing them. If you want to get rid of Wall Street vultures, let's get rid of the Federal Reserve (the source of their easy money) and stop bailing them out when they screw up.
Well... Jobs wasn't exactly a vulture capitalist but I wouldn't put him in the same league as Ford and the "welfare capitalism" he pioneered. He mass produced inexpensive cars that everyone could afford (and whenever he managed to reduce production costs he passed the savings on to the customers by lowering prices), and in doing so he put America on wheels; he created lots of American jobs and paid generous wages. Steve Jobs created jobs in China where underpaid workers mass produced expensive goods with insane profit margins that went straight into Apple's gargantuan war chest. he would've merrily fired every American Apple employee if he found others who could do the exact same job for less money. That's nothing like Ford's "welfare capitalism"... that's just standard 21st century capitalism.
Ford: Pay as much as possible, charge as little as possible, support America.
Jobs: Pay as little as possible, charge as much as possible, support Apple's stockholders.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:20 PM   #117
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Not really. The Feds dictate how the states have to deliver the services and they have very little say in how it's done. They are just the delivery vehicle.
Sorry to keep repeating myself ... but source please.

I'm not just going to take your word for it.


Edit: This doesn't sound like "dictating" to me ...

Quote:
Types of Welfare Available

The type and amount of aid available to individuals and dependent children varies from state to state. When the Federal Government gave control back to the states there was no longer one source and one set of requirements. Most states offer basic aid such as health care, food stamps, child care assistance, unemployment, cash aid, and housing assistance.

http://www.welfareinfo.org

Last edited by citizenzen; Nov 10, 2012 at 07:32 PM.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:37 PM   #118
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Sorry to keep repeating myself ... but source please.

I'm not just going to take your word for it.


Edit: This doesn't sound like "dictating" to me ...
This is a big issue as many governors have complained that they want to manage the program without the Federal restrictions.

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

" Unlike Medicare, which is solely a federal program, Medicaid is a joint federal-state program. Each state operates its own Medicaid system, but this system must conform to federal guidelines in order for the state to receive matching funds and grants. "
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:39 PM   #119
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This is a big issue as many governors have complained that they want to manage the program without the Federal restrictions.
Should I be suspicious at all because I thought we were talking about welfare and now you switch to Medicaid?

Can you address the question regarding state control of welfare distribution?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:48 PM   #120
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In other words, my generation is living too long
Soylent Green FTW?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:30 PM   #121
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Should I be suspicious at all because I thought we were talking about welfare and now you switch to Medicaid?

Can you address the question regarding state control of welfare distribution?
Both programs are similar. They have federal restrictions to get access to funds. They are not run completely at the states discretion.

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

"In 1996, under the Bill Clinton administration, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which gave more control of the welfare system to the states though there are basic requirements the states need to meet with regards to welfare services."

The point I'm making is that the federal government started these programs and uses a carrot and stick approach to control how the states deliver the services. There have been reforms but states don't have the necessary freedoms to run the program the way they want. In fact, welfare and Medicaid expenses continue to be a larger part of the states budget hurting other necessary services. Governors have asked for exemptions so they can control the growth of the programs.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:54 PM   #122
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Well... Jobs wasn't exactly a vulture capitalist but I wouldn't put him in the same league as Ford and the "welfare capitalism" he pioneered. He mass produced inexpensive cars that everyone could afford (and whenever he managed to reduce production costs he passed the savings on to the customers by lowering prices), and in doing so he put America on wheels; he created lots of American jobs and paid generous wages. Steve Jobs created jobs in China where underpaid workers mass produced expensive goods with insane profit margins that went straight into Apple's gargantuan war chest. he would've merrily fired every American Apple employee if he found others who could do the exact same job for less money. That's nothing like Ford's "welfare capitalism"... that's just standard 21st century capitalism.
Ford: Pay as much as possible, charge as little as possible, support America.
Jobs: Pay as little as possible, charge as much as possible, support Apple's stockholders.
Apple obviously has enough money now to do whatever the heck they want, but when Apple moved manufacturing from the US to China it was a survival move spearheaded by the recently hired Tim Cook (who moved Apple to a Just In Time inventory management style resembling Dell's approach). Apple had about 2% marketshare and Dell was leading a race to the bottom in the computer sector so it would have been difficult for Apple to keep up with out something changing.

I guess my overall point being, if Apple didn't hit the rough patch in the 90's then they might not have moved manufacturing overseas.

Costco and Jim Sinegal are good, modern examples of how you can lead a very successful company without fleecing your employees.

Jim Sinegal: Costco CEO Focuses on Employees
Quote:
Pushing low prices, though, isn't what really sets Sinegal apart. He also has a habit, which sometimes irks stockholders and almost certainly annoys his competitors, of taking excellent care of his employees. Eighty-six percent of them get healthcare and benefits, even though half are part-timers, and the average wage is $19 an hour. And Costco hasn't had any layoffs in the recession. Why such generosity?

"It's really pretty simple. It's good business. When you hire good people, and you provide good jobs and good wages and a career, good things are going to happen," Sinegal says. "We try to give a message of quality in everything that we do, and we think that that starts with the people. It doesn't do much good to have a quality image, whether it's with the facility or whether it's with the merchandise, if you don't have real quality people taking care of your customers."
.
.
.
Sinegal, meanwhile, is clearly pleased that he's made his career here—and not just because of his salary (which, at $350,000, is at the low end for the head of a $70 billion company). "I just love it.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 08:55 PM   #123
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They are not run completely at the states discretion.
I never claimed they were.

And I'm not trying to claim our system is perfect.

All I am suggesting is that poverty and vagrancy is and has been a societal problem for centuries ... and I suspect as long as societies themselves have existed.

A certain proportion of a population will never (willingly or unwillingly) follow the rules of that society and contribute to it. How society chooses to handle that segment of the population is a compelling question. And the corollary of how we can minimize the number of people attracted to that lifestyle with the handouts given by the government or private charities is a valid question.

IMO, there is no easy answer. And I prefer to err on the side of being more generous than less when it comes to government care of the poor and indigent. But, by all means, present any ideas you may have on the matter. I will try to keep an open mind about the issue.

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Old Nov 10, 2012, 09:04 PM   #124
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how about all those red states who wanted to leave the union before, leave now.
they can have their own little untied states.
That way, all that federal money the blue states give to them, can go towards those who actually have earned it.

See how much they miss welfare then.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 09:15 PM   #125
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I never claimed they were.

And I'm not trying to claim our system is perfect.

All I am suggesting is that poverty and vagrancy is and has been a society problem for centuries ... and I suspect as long as societies themselves have existed.

A certain proportion of a population will never (willingly or unwillingly) follow the rules of that society and contribute to it. How society chooses to handle that segment of the population is a compelling question. And the corollary of how we can minimize the number of people attracted to that lifestyle with the handouts given by the government or private charities is a valid question.

IMO, there is no easy answer. And I prefer to err on the side of being more generous than less when it comes to government care of the poor and indigent. But, by all means, present any ideas you may have on the matter. I will try to keep an open mind about the issue.
I am wanting to be generous as well but we have to do intelligently. My principal objections are that is too centralized, too bureaucratic, too expensive, ripe for fraud and vastly underfunded.

I'd like to see the federal government just focus on taxing and sending the funds to the states. They are good at that. But no one size fits all and we should remove the federal bureaucracy and overhead associated with it.

Let the states run the program based on the funds available so they don't run ever increasing budget deficits.

Many of these programs are open ended and ripe for fraud.

http://news.investors.com/business/0...nder-obama.htm

Do we really have that many newly disabled workers?
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