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Author Topic: Drug Testing and Food Stamps
kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:

Only when the government backs them up. How much oppression codified with overwhelming force would any rich person have without government protection and enforcement of their regime?

As much as they want. They hire a bunch of private soldiers to oppress whomever they want. Who is going to stop them?
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NobleHunter
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The thing is that making the volleyball game as small as possible can easily result in it being swallowed up in a bigger game that people have even less influence over. Reducing the functionality of government risks government-like private entities moving in to fill the void.
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scifibum
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Recidivism in violent crime may be as much about how crappy we are at rehabilitation as it is about character flaws in the criminals themselves.

Act 2 of this radio program describes an innovative and effective approach to getting criminals onto a better track.
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/555/the-incredible-rarity-of-changing-your-mind

Transcript:
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/555/transcript

quote:
Joe Richmond
Boggan realized that if they could reach just those 17 guys and get them to change, they could really make a dent in the problem. He asked the police for a list of those 17 names. He did his own research and added more names. To get on that list, Boggan said, you basically had to have shot someone.

Next, he put together a team of street outreach workers. All of them were from Richmond. Most had served time in prison themselves. And he sent them out to get to know the guys on the list and deliver this message-- come to a meeting and we will provide you with a lifestyle alternative that could change your life for the good. Boggan had no idea if any of them would come.

The meeting was scheduled three months later. By that time, a couple of guys on the list were dead. One was in jail. Four others weren't interested. But the rest of the guys agreed. 21 guys.

Boggan has a sense of theater. And rather than hold the meeting in one of the neighborhood community centers, he had the men come to City Hall. The meeting took place in a fancy conference room with views of San Francisco across the bay.

Devone Boggan
It's a square table. Great wood. It's a good room. They come in and they have name placards-- their full names, not their street names. Information packets. Things to sign. We wanted them to walk into the room and go, what the heck is this?

Joe Richmond
But it was what Boggan did at the end of that meeting that really got everyone's attention, both inside and outside of that room.

Devone Boggan
I go into my pocket. And I pull out envelopes. And I handed each of the young men envelopes. And I told them to open the envelope. And they did. And they each had $1,000 check. And they didn't believe that it was real.

Joe Richmond
$21,000 in $1,000 checks were given out that day. The message was that changing their lives should be treated like a job. But the money was also a type of marketing strategy, because Boggan wanted the news to spread through the neighborhoods of Richmond. And it did.

There's a lot more to it than giving them money. They work together to set goals and then program workers check up on them constantly - giving them advice, helping them out of small jams. And this works.

quote:
Joe Richmond
Over the past five years, 68 guys have gone through the ONS fellowship program. How did they do? Four are dead. A few others are in prison. But of the 68, 43 have completed their goals and graduated. But even more important than those numbers, the overwhelming majority of the guys who have gone through the program-- whether they graduated or not-- have had no new arrests or charges for gun-related activities. And by majority, I mean 80%, according to a report that's about to be released by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency that studied the ONS program. Criminologists I talked to said anything over 50% would be considered exceptional. You'd expect most of them to fail.

But the numbers that have received the most attention are the ones with dollar signs in front of them. There have been headlines like "paying people not to kill" or just "crime pays." And internet comments like, "So all I have to do is threaten to kill someone and I get free money from the government? How do I sign up for this gravy train?"

In Richmond, there are plenty of straight-A students or valedictorians from poor families who aren't selling drugs, aren't committing crimes, aren't picking up guns. And they're not getting a stipend from the city for reaching their goals. And Sam Vaughn, who's been with the program, working with these guys for years, he understands the criticism.

Sam Vaughn
I get it. I get it. I understand it 100%. I was in prison. Society didn't think I deserved anything. I got a college education in prison. Folks had an issue with that. "I work my ass off and I can't afford to pay for my kids' college, this dude breaks the law and goes in here and gets a free education." I understand. I understand that balance. But once again-- and if you want to call it pragmatism, yeah, that's what it is-- I'm coming home. Who do you want to live next door to you? The dude who got the college education and who was able to get in those classes and was able to get a domestic violence certificate or substance abuse certificate? Folk who are really in there working on themselves? Or the dude who's sitting out on the yard playing dominoes all day and working out? Who do you want coming next door to you?

On the one hand, giving criminals money to join a rehab program because they are criminals: morally outrageous. On the other hand: it works, and is cheaper than warehousing them for life. And future crime victims are saved.

When first time felons get tossed into jails where they simply get more entrenched into a culture of violence and crime, and they aren't given tools and resources to live a different kind of life, they aren't magically better equipped to be productive members of society when they get out. Maybe from a certain moral perspective they should bootstrap themselves out of it, but pragmatically speaking most of them can't. Programs like this one may offend people because these guys don't deserve help. But if we help them anyway, everybody wins.

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Seneca
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quote:


Okay. So we put people in prisons to keep them away from the rest of us. Fair enough. But prison is EXPENSIVE. Far more expensive then welfare.

What is more expensive is letting criminals out of jail to have fresh manhunt, arrests, processing and trials every few years. It's far cheaper to keep them in jail.

quote:
At the end of the day, if someone hasn't eaten in three days, most are going g to take from others in order to eat. Legally or not, violently or not. I can agree with you that addicts doing that are selfish and a drag on society. Acknowledging that that is wrong doesn't change the realities of the situation. For you to say that these people will live or die, and the rest of us will live happily ever after, that strikes me as being just as foolishly idealistic as the worst left winger's daydreams, which you so often rail against.
Wrong. Like Pyrtolin you seem to be confusing freedom with the supposed right to have others take care of you at their expense. That is the opposite of freedom. You attempt to make it sound that not being forced to help others is some kind of control or determination of fate for those who "need help." You couldn't be more wrong. You don't decide people's fate by leaving them alone. That's when they decide their own fate. This common progressive tactic to turn logic on its head and claim freedom means forcing those who produce to provide for those who won't is sick and needs to stop.

quote:
Some people just need help and support to overcome their addictions and/or bad life skills learned from parents just as messed up as they are. Some people will NEVER come out of that messed up state. It is just who they are. The question is, how do we deal with that? Do we help who we can, and let the people who have chosen misery and death go down their road? Or do we help those that we can, reduce the natural crime rate of a population like that, and pull some of them into a better, productive life?
We should let people control their own fates and make their own decisions. If they want to use their freedom to harm others then they will likely lose it. Freedom is the right of people to be left alone to do what they want. This means freedom from being harmed by other private citizens or the government. Some people will fail. Some people will even die. Funny how the liberals seem mostly ok with the recent suicide initiatives that have passed in a few states.

quote:
I'm just curious because, as I said, prison is expensive. People who can't eat will commit crime, and innocents will suffer
All kinds of people commit crime. But I submit that people who feel entitled to free stuff as a lifestyle are more likely to commit crime because when they see something they want the will assume they should have it and take it rather than work for it.
Also, as I said above, it is far more expensive to keep jailing these criminals over and over and processing them through the system rather than just keeping them in. Do you want lower taxes and more money for prisons? Then we need longer sentences and less early release.

quote:
you want to say that this is fine, that your ideals demand that we let things turn out as they may in that situation, then fine. But at least the own up to it. In my opinion, these ideas are no less idealistic and no better then ypur most left wing, pro communist sympathiser. You're both looking at the world as it SHOULD be, rather then how it IS.
Nice try to confuse the issue here and equate freedom with oppression, but you can't. You are attempting to say that because freedom and oppression are both ideas that they are "similar," that's about as silly as saying black and white are similar because they are both colors.
The issue here is freedom. You cannot twist freedom into meaning that people are only free when they are cared for by others at the point of a sword, because then you are forgetting that those others are not free...

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
On the one hand, giving criminals money to join a rehab program because they are criminals: morally outrageous.

What is morally outrageous about that?
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scifibum
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Not to me personally - but people are offended by the idea that you can get access to additional resources by committing crimes.
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kmbboots
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Oh I get that they are offended. I am curious as to how they can categorize their umbrage as moral. I don't thing we should take the notion that it is moral as a given.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Like Pyrtolin you seem to be confusing freedom with the supposed right to have others take care of you at their expense.
I have never claimed that. In fact I advocate just the opposite- to give the people who are in need the resources necessary to take care of themselves at their own expense; to allow everyone else to profit by selling the things needed to fulfil that need. Please stop misrepresenting my position by begging the question here. It is _your_ position that giving people money amounts to stealing from other people not mine.

quote:
This common progressive tactic to turn logic on its head and claim freedom means forcing those who produce to provide for those who won't is sick and needs to stop.
Do you really have so little evidence to back up your ideology that you need to keep resorting to making up false assertions like this instead of actually defending your assertions?

quote:
. But I submit that people who feel entitled to free stuff as a lifestyle are more likely to commit crime because when they see something they want the will assume they should have it and take it rather than work for it.
And when your policies make it impossible for them to work for it, so their only choices are steal or die?

quote:
We should let people control their own fates and make their own decisions.
Exactly. Which is something that they cannot do when they cannot afford to work, eat, or otherwise maintain a productive role in society. You keep paying lip service to that notion, but then turning around and threatening them with death or destitution if they don't behave exactly how you want them to.

quote:
This means freedom from being harmed by other private citizens or the government.
Something they don not have if they are forced to incur, or continue repaying generational debt in order to simply stay alive.

quote:
But I submit that people who feel entitled to free stuff as a lifestyle are more likely to commit crime because when they see something they want the will assume they should have it and take it rather than work for it.
Which is such a vanishingly small segment of the population, unless you condition people by deprivation that that's the only way that they can possible fulfil their needs.

quote:
Also, as I said above, it is far more expensive to keep jailing these criminals over and over and processing them through the system rather than just keeping them in.
Indeed, which is why the private prison industry encourages it. THe more recidivism you see, the more money they make, so why wouldn't they go out of their way to design prisons to be sure that it happens?

quote:
Nice try to confuse the issue here and equate freedom with oppression, but you can't.
You're begging the question again. It is your ideological assertion that your policy preferences would lead to more freedom- one that you keep making over and over, without any evidence to back them up, and in apparent complete ignorance of their historical track record of leading to feudalism.

I, and I'm sure others, here can explain top to bottom how and why our proposal lead to greater freedom, both in a theoretical sense and based on the historical evidence of them doing so. You jump straight from ideological assertions to misrepresenting the arguments of others without providing any support to your positions or even addressing the direct concerns.

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Pyrtolin
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To answer, in bulk, things Seneca has asked:

I'm fully willing to accept that some small subset of people will not, even with supporto, be able to manage their money well, be it due to addiction, laziness, or what have you. My like or dislike of that is irrelevant, because freedom means that they should be free to act in ways that I don't like, with the negative consequence being that they never enjoy more than the baseline standard of living, meanwhile those that aspire to more than the bare minimum will benefit both from the fact that they're spending the money they do get, they're not out committing crimes to get by as they otherwise would be, and they're not competing for luxury goods of which there is a limited supply.

--

I have no problem with people not paying any taxes. OR more to the point- I have no problem with people taking actions to avoid paying income taxes, because the entire point of the taxes should be to put a price on market adverse behavoir and increase the relative reward of investing in productive growth.

--

IF someone said that I could get a basic income passed as long as I agreed to let it by $75/person, I'd take it. The amount is significantly more than their current poverty and median incomes, so, unless it was phased in, I'd expect we'd see a one off price adjustment in the wake of it in the short term, but that would shake itself out quickly enough- especially because the private credit market would effectively absorb much of the shock as people paid off the debts they've been forced to take on and transitioned back to being able to support themselves on their incomes against and not on credit.We'd end up in a much healthier overall economic state that we are now, even if nominal prices would probably be about double for many things.

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DJQuag
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Seneca

We all have ideas of how life and society should be. The real universe just doesn't agree with our ideas, no matter which side if the ideological spectrum you're on.

The bottom line is, we can give out welfare and guarantee that those at the bottom, whether it is their fault or not, can feed themselves and put a roof over their heads. Or, we don't, and they turn to robbery and god knows what else to take care of their needs. That looks like reality to me. And if we say, no, if for whatever reason, if you can't feed yourself and/or your family, then we will have to pay for the police to catch them, and the prisons to feed them and shelter them and keep them sway from the rest of society. We will have to absorb the crime that occurs when these people abuse law abiding citizens in order to survive.

I'm not trying to make a judgement one way or the other here, on the larger segment of society paying for a smaller segment to get by. I'm just saying that, pragmatically, one solution looks to me to be a lot cheaper then the other.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
If you grant that it is possible to produce enough without producing as much as possible, you might consider an economy that produces less but ensures that everyone has enough to be more functional than one that produces more but leaves hundreds of thousands of people in misery.

No question. As it happens we're in a transition period between feudalism and...something else, so while our economic system wasn't based on resource-availability and production capacity, it can start to be based on this, as it must end up being to make any sense. But so long as income remains based on employment and supply/demand market factors any consideration of 'assessing what we've got and how much can afford to go where' will largely be a chisel carving out parts of capitalism to make room for something else. I think the whole thing will be a lot more palatable when the "something else" finally emerges (or it will be a lot worse, depending on who wins).

quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
quote:
Only when the government backs them up. How much oppression codified with overwhelming force would any rich person have without government protection and enforcement of their regime? One of the forms of this is our crony-capitalism system that isn't a free market, but is in reality progressive statists rigging the system for their friends and pet projects and causes and campaign contributors.

I agree. But here's the thing: The U.S. system was supposed to help steer clear of feudalism and oligarchy/monarchy. As expected, oligarchs constantly try to manipulate the system to be more like what it was historically so they can rule again. And yet without the government having teeth they would have their precious feudalism by default. How do you deal with the 'big boys' without having a Bigger Boy to keep them in their place? But the key isn't to avoid having a strong government, I think, but rather to install in it provisions to prevent oligarchs taking control of it. This wouldn't be that hard to do, but in any case it hasn't been done so far.

quote:
The root of my disagreement is is founded on the problem of statists viewing the government as some big volleyball game where they need to to constantly hit back at their opponents with equal measure in their own way. The proper course is to make the game as small as possible so everyone mostly walks away from it and it serves only the most basic functions.
Don't you think it's possible that this volleyball match is a result of populist representation in combination with a party system? I very much doubt one could ever get away from the volleyball game you mention so long as people have only opposing political parties to speak for them. I would suggest the problem here is not only of statist/oligarchs co-opting government, but rather that the current representation and election system is simply set up so that this will be inevitable. Jefferson foresaw it and said he wished there would be no political parties.
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TomDavidson
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I would like to observe that increasing the number of people we imprison indefinitely for breaking the law, or the duration of imprisonment in general, does not seem to be an effective strategy when analyzed statistically. If we are determined that the primary function of prison is to permanently isolate a dangerous individual for the protection of society, it seems to me that turning a very large but otherwise useless state like Texas into a primary prison colony and work camp would be preferable, less expensive, and more easily secure -- unless we actually determine that such lives have no value, in which case prompt execution seems a better option. If we believe the purpose of prison is to foster shame and deterrence, perhaps options like branding, tattooing, or maiming would make more sense and cut down on recidivism. Maintaining the existing form of incarceration and simply trying to make it longer seems like the worst of all possible worlds.

------------

quote:
Jefferson foresaw it and said he wished there would be no political parties.
Hell, Washington saw it and spent his entire farewell address warning Jefferson and Adams not to do it.

[ May 15, 2015, 04:13 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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