I was just reading about David Brooks, a writer for the NY Times. He states that if all the money we spend on social programs for the poor was just given to the actual poor people, poverty would end. I've always wondered about this, too. Instead of paying all the government workers to send checks to the poor, why can't the "middle man" be eliminated? That would leave more money for the poor. I know what most of you will say - we need those workers to decide who's poor and needy. Couldn't we just go by their tax returns - income and number of dependents?
He said something else that makes a lot of sense to me. Many Christians are opposed to gay marriage, yet those same people, for the most part, believe that heterosexuals should be married in order to have sex. Why don't they want the same thing for gays? Had they rather gays be "living in sin" instead of living in legal, committed relationships?
And it will continue to be that way, habee, as long as you have the bureaucrats with the hand in the till.
Don't you think it would be cheaper to give those on the government dole, a debit card to pay electricity, rent, groceries, etc. rather than send them a check. That way it would be less likely to be abused and the children would benefit more directly.
I don't know about just their pay.
But if we toss the unions in the govt. out we would save at least 50% of our operating expenses of our govt.
Then we would have enough loot to do the job.
So are you proposing that everyone turns in a tax return, and then the government just direct deposits $X into the accounts of everyone under such-and-such income level each year, based on the number of dependents etc.?
This is an odd addition to the first topic... lol. Two polemics for the price of one, eh?
That said, I think that this polemic as written in the question invokes religion, which, as you know, is an interpretive enterprise, and one that is often so completely subjective and even willfully selective the point of raging hypocrisy, that to expect to find any kind of "answer" is unreasonable. Your question has in it an assumption that I'm sure you know Christians don't "assume." You say Christians believe heteros "should be married in order to have sex" to set up your argument, and then you jump to "why don't they want that for gays." The raging disconnect in the question lies right there, because--and remember, you are asking this of Christians-- they believe it's okay for heteros to have sex, because sex is how God made it so humans can procreate. Marriage is the union by which procreation is acceptable. In the eyes of God. Blah blah. Etc.
On the flip side of that, they don't believe gays should have sex at all. 1) Because they think it's gross (their word is "abomination"), and 2) because you can't make babies that way, therefore you aren't procreating in the union of God, etc., blah blah again. So, your question, as posed, has in it a conspicuous absence of acknowledging the real problem, which is that Christians (at least those about whom your question asks) don't see hetero marriage (or sex) as being the same sort of thing as homosexual marriage (or sex). So, your question is, in short, asking why Christians don't think apples are oranges (as defined by their belief set.) You can talk till you are blue in the face, but you will never change their minds, because they have "evidence from God" that proves you are wrong. Why would they listen to you in light of that?
(It's also a conspicuous problem that arises from defining and legislating from the position of sexual behavior rather than of individual beings, but that's a whole new can of worms--you read my Sodomites, Vaginamites and Cockites hub, as I recall, so I won't go on. lol).
I didn't read this entire thread so this might have been covered. I would think that if we didn't pay those government workers then they would be poor as well which would just add to the problem. I also think there is an entire microcosm of our economy set up and dependent on lobbying the decision makers on who receives what and how much and for what reason.
Certainly, giving the money to those that fall below a set threshold would make more sense but remember we probably have more than half our population who would rather the poor and hungry be taken care of by private philanthropy and not the government or our tax dollars.
Personally, I have no problem with a portion of my tax dollars going to those less fortunate, but with reason. Some should be limited especially if they are able bodied and if they are then possibly some govt funded training to better their employment options. Those that are disabled, elderly or no longer able to physically or mentally enter the workforce are the people I am more concerned with.
I know someone will probably chime in and state that most stated do limit the benefits of welfare, but I live in Chicago and know for a fact that there are more people than I care to count that know how to work the system and get through the loopholes of limitations. Welfare is not just in the form of cash or food stamps, it is also in healthcare, subsidized housing and child care and much more.
This is true but then there won't be LESS of an incentive to work. Not calling people who get welfare lazy but take me for example when I was younger I decided not to work and get paid UI while going around and smoking weed.
David Brooks begins from a flawed premise, poverty is merely the lack of material goods. This supposes that poverty is not a product of actions, an idea that is regularly proved false. It supposes that poverty is a permanent condition.
Poverty is a product of choice and action. If one chooses not to be industrious and educated one is more likely to live in poverty. If one chooses immediate physical gratification one is more likely to be poor.
If all wealth was pooled and divided equally among everyone with in a decade most of those who were poor would be poor again and most of those who were wealthy would be headed back toward wealth - since wealth is much more difficult to attain than poverty.
A forced material equality does not produce a wealthy nation. It does however remove all economic incentive to strife. It rewards sloth and punishes industry.
Consequently, Brooks silly recommendation would toss all those bureaucrats and other "safety net" paper pushers into unemployment. It would also increase the drug, alcohol, cigarette and gambling industries. It would make state lotteries even more prosperous. The poor would end up poor again but there would be a booming exploitation industry pop up to absorb those new funds.
To the original comment, if money goes to the poor directly, there will be chaos too, because the modalities for carrying out that will have to be work out first and you can be sure that middle men will still emerge from out of the blue.
We just have to cope with the realities on ground, there will always be poor people around no matter the amount given out to them.
Poverty can't end because it's relative. Someone will always be "in poverty" compared to someone else. There has to be one person in this country who is the most poor.
Also, many people who win the lottery end up bankrupt a few years later. This is because they don't understand how money works. If we just gave everyone all the money, they would have no incentive to spend it wisely.
The premise wrong, the conclusion is wrong, and the claim is merely another "I know what's best for everyone" nincumpoop writing his idiocy. Each human is different, and there will always be someone who makes poor decisions.
This depends on what your personal definition of "poor" is.
To me, poor = homeless.
Giving money away to the homeless would only promote the growth of drug cartels.
They need treatment, not money.
I have written upon this idea much further in my article about how to win the war on drugs.
There are plenty of poor people who aren't drug addicts. As for the homeless, I've never given them money directly, although I've given money to homeless shelters. For giving directly to the homeless, I prefer to give food or clothing.
well then, las vegas is a very "different" place then
And there are plenty who are, which is why throwing money at people will not totally eliminate the problem. Others just lack the skills to turn short term money into long term stability--which is why we have programs to provide guidance and training. Others have mental illness which is why we have programs to help with that. And so on....
Notice how you choose to give them things OTHER than money.
People invest money in different ways. People who end up richer tend to invest in capital structure, and people who end up horribly poor tend to buy things that give immediate satisfaction (in general).
You can't cure poverty because humans are different.
I just voted up your hub. Exactly my thoughts, the "War on Drugs" could better be described as a War against the people!
The War on Drugs should have been ended long ago by the US people. The marijuana at least should be made 100 percent legal and taxed. Prohibition did not work and its stupid to keep locking people up for marijuana. The American people should have long ago demanded an end to the War on Drugs.
We need a war on poverty. With real solutions not more band aid programs.
Legalize drugs and you take the power away from the cartels .
Only from the drug cartels, not from the pharmaceutical or banking or any other business cartels.
And see levels of drug use similar to legal drug and alcohol use with significant consequences to public health and safety. Seems like swapping one sett of problems for another, to me.
But abolish all the petty and not so petty crimes committed to acquire the drugs at the drop of a hat.
And increase all the brawls, road deaths, dumb behavior and domestic crimes carried out under the influence--including now the influence of hallucinogens. Half of one....
You're assuming that legalisation would increase consumption. I suspect that in the long run it would have the opposite effect.
Somebody once said that the sight of middle aged men, dressed in cardigans and slippers and out of their gourds on drugs would instantly put every teenager off drugs for life.
I think use = motivation x availability. I doubt increased availability and lower prices would be completely counterbalanced by loss of the 'sexy dangerous' motivation. In fact I suspect more people would like to do drugs but don't want to break the law, than want to break the law but don't want to do drugs. Bearing in mind we mean *all* drugs here.
You also overlook the fact that many illegal drugs are dangerous because they are contaminated with poisons. Legalising them would render them much safer for the user thus reducing the costs to health services.
Unlike alcohol or nicotine, most drugs, taken in moderation, do not have an effect on the physical well being of the user. No cirrhosis of the liver, no weight gain, no lung damage!
Not necessarily true. In Portugal since drugs are decriminalized the use rate has been steady or declining. It seem if you take away the "forbidden fruit" aspect drugs lose a lot of their charm.
Besides if even just cannabis were legal we could well end the economic crisis since the plant has over 22,000 uses including food- the seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a renewable source of paper, with textile production how many people could be back to work , as a fuel source for cars(hemp oil burns like diesel). Even bio-degradable plastics can be made from this plant. The economical benefits of this 1 plant is just too great for us to keep ignoring it.
One doesn't follow the other, Psyche.
Spain and other Europeans countries have seen a decline in youth use and adult use since legalization.
So it does not follow that legalization equals more abuse.
You are also not talking about legalization. If you want to talk about diversion, misdemeanor and allowing personal use quantities--that is a completely different kettle of weed.
Legalization means you can grow it on your farm, trade it on the stock exchange and sell it on the main street--and I guarantee that would increase both use and abuse.
Perhaps all focus in a conversation on drugs is miss placed. They tend to be a social problem everywhere - regardless of mechanisms employed to mitigate those problems. Why is that? Is a personal individual failing? A psychological/moral/sociological problem not easily amenable to material solutions?
The power of illicit drugs, it appears to me, is in their chemical make up and the nature of neuro-processing in the brain. We, voluntarily, employ a drug to make us feel better. Why is feeling better such a powerful desire that we seek chemistry to satisfy it? Is it a collision between a personal, individual lack and a powerful chemical that alters our relationship with the remainder of society?
I don't have answers, but I do know that the illicit use of powerful chemicals does cripple our better nature.
People might not use more dangerous drugs if they could just smoke a joint every once in a while.
Giving money to people who are ignorant about it's proper power is only throwing good money down the drain. Giving money to the poor/homeless wouldn't end homelessness and creates only a dependent society where there would be no workers, because people would quit their jobs, become homeless and get free money from others.
My hub on How To Help The Homeless outlines a system I am putting into place to lessen the number of homeless and eventually over time create more productive people out of the homeless.
Drug use is illegal in Portugal, it is just not punitively punished if you carry less than 10 days supply, you are targeted for treatment instead. You still lose your drugs and get a slap on the wrist and dealers get the slammer. That is very different from making all recreational drugs completely legal.
I didn't say they were legal. I said they were decriminalized. Biig difference. However, even if just decriminalized how much money do you think that would save in the long run without having to prosecute , house, feed and provide medical care to each and every person that would be incarcerated otherwise?
And this conversation is about what would happen if you "legalize" drugs. Which is why I was suggesting Portugal is not a relevant example.
Making drugs illegal does not imply throwing drug-users in jail. Drug users will cost money regardless of the system and legalities you use give the proportion who become addicts and need intervention.
I suspect illegal drugs mean fewer users consuming more, legal drug mean more users consuming less. The harm profile differ but is one any better than the other?
Gambling versus weed? Alcohol versus meth? About the same IMHO. All that changes is the agency looking after the problems downstream.
Really? Then why is it that a user is arrested every 30 seconds in the U.S. and most of the prisoners now in jail are there for non-violent drug charges (aka the users). This is just a major waste of money.
That is how they do it in the US. It is not the only way to have drugs be illegal--as shown by Portugal (where, as we have establish, drug use is still illegal--just not punitively punished for small amounts)
The answer to having a dumb, counter-productive legal system is not necessary to make everything legal, you could--for example--have a smart effective legal system.
When that happens I will be surprised. However I DON'T think ALL drugs should be made legal. Just the cannabis. The other drugs like meth, heroin, cocaine, etc. should be the ones fought with the war on drugs. The cannabis plant is just too versatile to ignore.
geo, some think that the lesser illegal drugs, such as weed, are a stepping stone, or a gateway to the stronger ones you mention.
What I know about either is little to nothing.
I do not think legalizing any drug that alters ones thinking would be wise. Yes, I know, there are prescription drugs that do that. These, we don't have any say so in this area, so I am not including them in my thinking.
Here is my opinion: 10/12 year old gets a joint from big bro, smokes it, feels a little funny, a week later, big bros supplier sees little brother all hyped up figures he got his from his brother, brothers supplier laces joint with a higher octane dose of the weed, little boy smokes it, gets a bigger funny feeling.........
No. Drugs, even pot, need to be dealt with sternly.
Saying this n that won't solve any problem.
I agree with you totally. The laws are so petty on pot. The answer is to sentence it just as meth or cocaine.
Thia is true when the drugs are illegal. The pusher is trying to increase his sales. If legal the drug would only be sold to those who are of age to buy alcohol. Besides alcohol kills almost 25,000 people a year Just from poisoning, there have been 0 (zero) deaths attributed to cannabis. This fact in itself shows cannabis is SAFER for recreational use.
"What I know about either is little to nothing."
You should have stopped here as this is the only thing you said which has a ring of truth to it.
When people refer to cannabis as a gateway drug this is a lie. What about caffeine or sugar, they also have a psychotropic effect on the brain. Caffeine is nothing but a legal form of speed. The effects of chocolate has also been well documented. Why aren't these drugs illegal too?
Obesity is a really bad problem now for our children. Should we make junk food illegal too?
If you haven't heard there are people out there trying to do just that.
I'll bet it's not those who are overweight!
Being snide solves nothing.
Making fun of someone shows true colors.
Have a blessed day.
In order for his words to be truth for me would mean I am overweight which I am not.
I'll play devils advocate here. Look at a person who is severely obese as a result from overeating. Medical conditions do not apply to this scenario. Have you given it much thought just what that person does in order to get his/her "food fix" for the day?
The same applies to drugs.
I am amazed at what people will say and or do in order to defend something that is so dangerous to ones health. And the sad truth is a simple truth. The user or the obese, are so consumed with their need that they loose sight of the problem.
The truth is we don't get to hear of the results of blood test when a person is pulled over for being high.
The truth is someone who has a stomach that has been destroyed by drug use isn't newsworthy enough to make the front headlines.
Cags, I could write a web full of truths. The problem is, I seem to be a minority. No one cares.
Add to that incarcerating a repeat offender for possession charges creates a more hardened criminal capable of more heinous acts. Instead of having a drug user you receive a full blown criminal.
Why do many people connect homelessness to drug abuse? Many people lost their homes due to predatory practices by lenders, many others because they lost their jobs. The reasons for homelessness are varied, and not always due to drug use. Many private assistance concerns won't help you unless you've got mental or drug problems. In the U.S., we still spend as much on the military as we did during the "cold war", when during the War on Terrorism, we acheived more by measures which didn't rely on "boots on the ground". The fact remains that with the level of affluence in the U.S., that our present situation is self-inflicted. The unwillingness of the rich to lift the less fortunate out of the ditch, indicates that the only ones truly looking out for the poor, is the poor themselves. These things are what can lead to civil war or even revolution. The fate of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette says this VERY LOUDLY. Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.
"He states that if all the money we spend on social programs for the poor was just given to the actual poor people, poverty would end."
What the heck does than mean? Seems to me it already is. What is a social program?
I own my body. No question about it! Whatever I decide to ingest is no business of any person or other entity! As long as I do not harm others I am well within my Rights.
Drug Laws are unjust! Therefore ignoring them is our duty.
To the Government "Get the hell out of my life"!
To me, it's like saying "let the prisoners free to imprison themselves...we would save a bundle"!
Many of the poor are not the sharpest knives in the drawer from mental illness, mental deficiency, immaturity, generational, criminal pasts, family dysfunction or substance abuse. New immigrants are often cheated, robbed and preyed upon by opportunists.
The systems are supposed to help them with counseling, treatment, food, clothing and shelter because they cannot take care of their own business.
Giving them cash would bypass social workers, physicians, counselors, food stamp systems and other systems that are supposed to do much more than hand out cash.
The new poor want to work, beg to work, and wish that they could work. They deserve to have support for the basic necessities of life, but they are capable of making their own decisions as to what to do with the money.
I wish we could tax the heck out of people like Mitt Romney who was a destructive corporate raider who has the nerve to talk about "job creators". He made a profit on every American job that he killed.
Some of his millions could help those who he sent into unemployment.
I don't know...might be wandering off topic, but people who caused the problems and then made profits need to start paying up.
Habee first of all great post. The real problem is administration fees. Some states take a large portion of the money sent to them for administration and that has always bothered me. The US Government spent 79 billion for food stamps in 2010 and the outlook for 2011looks to be much higher. 18 billion was spent by the US Government in 2000. As you can see this is a real problem that is only going to get worse year after year. When you have this much money in play your going to have crooks. Lots of crooks.
The new poor is the ones that really concern me. I work daily with the poor, the homeless, and the hungry and we are now seeing huge amounts of Seniors come in and ask for food. Seniors find themselves faced with the hard decision of buying food or paying utilities. And most Seniors now find themselves with having to pay for their prescription drugs for a portion of each year. This is called a doughnut hole. And unfortunately a lot of seniors fall in the doughnut hole each year.
Every year right here in the USA approximately 8000 people die because they can't buy their medicine or pay for medical care.
Habee the thing that would happen with a lot of people if you gave them a large sum of money is it would be used to buy drugs.
I would like to see centers started nation wide where homeless people could have places to live and they would have to work to feed themselves and provide food for other people who don't have food.
All of the poor are not mental patients. Only a small percentage are now. There were many more when they were turned out of mental homes during the Regan Administration. Many have died or been sent to prison. This was one of the greatest crimes ever done against the American people and no politician was ever made to answer for it. I really think some of the politicians who did this should have been tried for it.
And people don't realize that the American middle class is shrinking away to where you are going to have the poor and the rich. At some point in there you are going to have civil disobedience like the USA has never seen. Our country is at the worse point in our history. If enough people don't wake up and say enough then the USA is going to end as we know it. I see it breaking up just like Russia did. The USA is slowly but surely becoming a third world country.
But the politicians Republicans and Democrats keep the political spin on and keep peoples minds off the important issues facing us. We should as an American people refuse to elect any one from either party including the Tea Party. How any intelligent educated person could vote for any of the so called Tea Party is beyond me.
Listen to them talk for 20 minutes and check out what they say. They are not what America needs. We need politicians that are going to be for changing America back to where the American Dream is alive again. Every American should take to the streets and demand an end to politics as usual. It doesn't work and its never going to. For America to change for the better we are going to have to have radical change.
The old Chinese proverb about give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime applies to this situation. You can't just hand money to the poor. Most often (I realize not always) people are poor because of poor choices. Handing them money does nothing for them in the long term.
Neither does the way our social programs are handled. Just proof you can't throw money at something and fix it. Poverty is just a symptom, not the problem.
But I don't even pretend to have an answer so...
As for the legalizing drugs issue, I can't figure out why marijuana is still illegal. And, quite frankly, with all the education out there about Meth going on from pre-K on, I'd rescind the laws on it and let the heard thin itself. Harsh, yeah, but our prisons are overcrowded with pot smokers and meth makers/users and, because of overcrowding, sex offenders (who CANNOT be rehabilitated - with the exception of the "sex offender" charged with statutory rape because he knocked up his underage girl when he was 19 and she was 15 and Daddy got pissed - another rant for another day), murderers, and violent gang bangers are unleashed on an unwitting society. I'd rather some happy hippie running around than a child rapist.
All I know for certain is that elections are coming up and I'm strongly watching, reading as much as can, and will make educated decisions about my vote not based on party lines, mudslinging, or any other silly crud.
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