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#152 Jan 04 2013 at 6:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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If we were honest, we'd just end the programs and spend the money on food banks, soup kitchens, meals on wheels, etc. So if someone is actually hungry, they can show up and get a meal any time they want for free. Hell. With the money we'd save, we could probably deliver food directly to people's homes. But of course it would be actual food instead of some method which can be used to obtain food, so there's just not enough ability to abuse it, so it will be rejected out of hand by liberals who really do seem to care more about making things as complicated and obtuse as possible in the name of some cause than they do actually dealing with the problem they claim to care about.

Seems unlikely liberals would have an issue with it as having food available to anyone to get if they were hungry is pretty much definitional socialism. Replace "food" with "healthcare" and I think you can imagine the conservative response to such a program.
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#153gbaji, Posted: Jan 04 2013 at 7:06 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) And yet, it's conservatives who spend their own money donating to soup kitchens and other such programs. The issue is government involvement Smash. You know darn well that even if we eliminated all food stamp programs tomorrow, not one person would starve to death in the US as a result. Food is so abundant, and private sources for those truly in need so readily available that there really is no need for the government to get involved. Liberals push for the government solution, not because it's needed, but because it's a government solution and they've been indoctrinated into the assumption that if we aren't solving a problem with a government program, then we just don't care. Which leads us to invent problems for government to solve, but most liberals don't notice that either.
#154 Jan 04 2013 at 7:09 PM Rating: Default
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Now go to whatever online source and look up the definitions of absolute and and selective. Even a thesaurus. Then provide the link to show that those two words share the same or similar meanings.


Why? I never said the definition of the two words were the same. I said that both words apply to the situation at hand. In exactly the same way that "blue" and "fast" aren't synonyms, but it's quite possible for a car to be both "blue" and "fast".
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#155 Jan 04 2013 at 7:40 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Zymunn wrote:
Now go to whatever online source and look up the definitions of absolute and and selective. Even a thesaurus. Then provide the link to show that those two words share the same or similar meanings.


Why? I never said the definition of the two words were the same. I said that both words apply to the situation at hand. In exactly the same way that "blue" and "fast" aren't synonyms, but it's quite possible for a car to be both "blue" and "fast".


You're right you didn't. What you did was use selective to justify something being absolute. You know how because the car is fast it has to be blue. If it isn't fast it can't be blue.

What he said about not giving money if he chooses has little correlation to the govt taxing you to provide benifits to others. You don't have the choice, unless you work under the table, but to pay.
#156 Jan 04 2013 at 8:03 PM Rating: Default
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Zymunn wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Zymunn wrote:
Now go to whatever online source and look up the definitions of absolute and and selective. Even a thesaurus. Then provide the link to show that those two words share the same or similar meanings.


Why? I never said the definition of the two words were the same. I said that both words apply to the situation at hand. In exactly the same way that "blue" and "fast" aren't synonyms, but it's quite possible for a car to be both "blue" and "fast".


You're right you didn't. What you did was use selective to justify something being absolute. You know how because the car is fast it has to be blue. If it isn't fast it can't be blue.


No. I said:

Quote:
I just find it interesting how you can so selectively apply an absolute argument.


I never said the argument was selective because it was absolute, or absolute because it was selective. Total comprehension fail on your part I guess.

Quote:
What he said about not giving money if he chooses has little correlation to the govt taxing you to provide benifits to others. You don't have the choice, unless you work under the table, but to pay.


Yeah. Welcome to the point. We kinda should have a choice about what our government spends our tax dollars on (and we do, through our representatives). And a good way to make an argument against some form of spending is to ask people if they'd choose to spend their money that way if they had a direct choice. If the answer would be no, then why allow your government to spend your money that way? You're making exactly the same kind of circular (and bizarre) argument I was talking about: That many people have this strange willingness to accept spending by the government in ways and for things they'd never spend money on themselves. As if somehow because the money is laundered through the government, we cease to have any responsibility for how it's spent.
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#157 Jan 04 2013 at 9:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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And yet, it's conservatives who spend their own money donating to soup kitchens and other such programs.

Nope. They spend roughly the same amount of money as everyone else, on average. Weighted for the offsetting benefit of tax deductions, they spend less of their own money donating to charity than liberals. There have been a lot of studies, here's the most recent:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2148033


The issue is government involvement Smash. You know darn well that even if we eliminated all food stamp programs tomorrow, not one person would starve to death in the US as a result.


No, actually I don't know that. People *do* starve to death in the US, but sure, let's stipulate that in the wealthiest nation on the planet, it's not a significant cause of death.


Food is so abundant, and private sources for those truly in need so readily available that there really is no need for the government to get involved.


It's hard to qualify "government involvement". We assume these "sources" are private not for profit ventures that receive not only special tax benefits from the government, buy almost all inclusively direct payments. Deductions to them have tax benefits, etc. In a direct capitalist system without these benefits there's nothing to indicate they would be as available. Nothing at all.


Liberals push for the government solution, not because it's needed, but because it's a government solution and they've been indoctrinated into the assumption that if we aren't solving a problem with a government program, then we just don't care.


Well, it could be indoctrination, or it could be the entire aggregate history of western civilization where massive social problems have *only* ever been solved by the state. It'd be great if Polio or Smallpox has been solved by a merry band of John Galts living in they're secret dirigibles and volcano lairs, but it wasn't. Large problems require large actors, and, yes, central planning. It'd be great if they didn't, if reciprocal altruism ruled the day and those with wealth and privileged acted on their own to help those without, but they don't. It'd be a lovely world if local distributed charitable organizations could provide services for the needy without additional funding and logistical support. They can't. I didn't make it that way, humanity made it that way.


Which leads us to invent problems for government to solve, but most liberals don't notice that either.


OF course we do. Everyone see that, idiot, but you've phrased it wrong. People invent *causes* for terrible things that happen, to the fill the vacuum they feel without them. Then "solutions" to the causes they've invented. Hence, kids shot with guns, let's ban guns. If the kids had been killed with a sword, we'd pass laws against swords. Of course it's not a solution, that's obvious. The benefit is the feeling that something has been done to prevent a similar tragedy. The fact that it won't is completely irrelevant. That's not the point. The point is that humans, generally, can't deal well with randomness. Thus God, thus fate, thus stupid laws. Everything has to have an explanation, even when there is none. Gun control laws wouldn't have prevented Newtown, but they would lower the rate of violent deaths in the US, as they have elsewhere. It's a stupid reason to pass possibly useful laws, which is how it works. The rational reason is never enough.
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#158 Jan 05 2013 at 9:32 AM Rating: Good
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Gbaji wrote:
Liberals push for the government solution, not because it's needed, but because it's a government solution and they've been indoctrinated into the assumption that if we aren't solving a problem with a government program, then we just don't care.


Conservatives somehow believe that there are/will be enough people to cover down on the less fortunate. The best of people aren't the same when dealing with money. CREAM
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#159 Jan 05 2013 at 1:27 PM Rating: Default
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Smasharoo wrote:
It'd be a lovely world if local distributed charitable organizations could provide services for the needy without additional funding and logistical support. They can't. I didn't make it that way, humanity made it that way.


Except for, you know, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.
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You guys keep tossing facts out there like they mean something.


#160 Jan 05 2013 at 2:46 PM Rating: Good
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And they're always pleading for money because people don't donate enough just from the goodness of their hearts.
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#161 Jan 05 2013 at 2:55 PM Rating: Good
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I don't donate money...mostly because I don't think those organizations do what they say they do, to the extent they claim. I remember a while back some Salvation army folk up here got caught sneaking funds into private accounts. I am sure it happens a lot more often these folks just got caught. Its like cancer research and sh*t.

However!
I do donate old clothing and food items. I just don't donate cash.

Edited, Jan 5th 2013 3:55pm by rdmcandie
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#162 Jan 05 2013 at 3:34 PM Rating: Decent
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I only donate to specific people that I know that are actively trying to better themselves. I have limited faith in private organizations. My theory is, if everyone did what I do to an extent, then we wouldn't have much of an emphasis on the aforesaid programs and organizations. The fact that as a people, we do not give or even worse prefer independence rather than dependence, I would feel more comfortable leaving that job to the government.
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#163 Jan 05 2013 at 5:17 PM Rating: Decent
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catwho wrote:
And they're always pleading for money because people don't donate enough just from the goodness of their hearts.

Given the context of the discussion, "additional funding" means government assistance. Of course charitable organizations have to ask for money. It's called "fundraising".
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You guys keep tossing facts out there like they mean something.


#164 Jan 05 2013 at 6:02 PM Rating: Good
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BrownDuck wrote:
catwho wrote:
And they're always pleading for money because people don't donate enough just from the goodness of their hearts.

Given the context of the discussion, "additional funding" means government assistance. Of course charitable organizations have to ask for money. It's called "fundraising".


I'm pretty sure the Salvation Army receives government funding. Red Cross too. It's not all private donations.
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#165 Jan 05 2013 at 7:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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The problem of hunger in America has never been solved solely with private charity. Never, ever. Sure, there was a time when the government wasn't involved, and there were lots of people who just went hungry.

Given that set of facts, the question of "is it, or should it be, a matter for government intervention?" just really depends on the kind of person you are.

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#166 Jan 05 2013 at 7:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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The problem of hunger in America has never been solved solely with private charity. Never, ever. Sure, there was a time when the government wasn't involved, and there were lots of people who just went hungry.

Poppycock. There was never a better time to be a poor person than the late 19th and early 20th century. A full belly and warm bed every night, guaranteed!
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#167 Jan 05 2013 at 10:46 PM Rating: Excellent
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I like the word 'poppycock'. We should all use it more.
#168 Jan 06 2013 at 3:05 PM Rating: Excellent
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BrownDuck wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
It'd be a lovely world if local distributed charitable organizations could provide services for the needy without additional funding and logistical support. They can't. I didn't make it that way, humanity made it that way.


Except for, you know, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.

The US division of the Salvation Army received $384 million in government funding in 2010, which was 10% of its income.

Not sure what the Red Cross numbers are.
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#169 Jan 07 2013 at 7:41 AM Rating: Good
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Nadenu wrote:
I like the word 'poppycock'. We should all use it more.

Belgian Dark Chocolate Poppycock. Smiley: drool

Edited, Jan 7th 2013 2:42pm by Elinda
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#170 Jan 07 2013 at 7:48 AM Rating: Good
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TirithRR wrote:
BrownDuck wrote:
catwho wrote:
And they're always pleading for money because people don't donate enough just from the goodness of their hearts.

Given the context of the discussion, "additional funding" means government assistance. Of course charitable organizations have to ask for money. It's called "fundraising".


I'm pretty sure the Salvation Army receives government funding. Red Cross too. It's not all private donations.

The Salvation Army is a christian organization.

...just saying.
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#171 Jan 07 2013 at 8:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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Except for, you know, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.

http://kmc.redcross.org/faq.html

This Red Cross, right?

The American Red Cross received its first congressional charter in June 1900 and was reincorporated by an act of Congress on January 5, 1905

Christ, you're rock fucking stupid and lazy, aren't you?

This is the same one, right?

http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/08/nation/na-briefs8.S3

The American Red Cross said it will receive $100 million in emergency funding from Congress to replenish its disaster relief reserves, which were depleted as the charity plunged into debt to provide shelter, food and other services during a string of hurricanes this summer.

Next time you think I've posted something that's obviously wrong, punch yourself in the balls and maybe spend 8 seconds checking your response before you make yourself look like a fat idiot. Sorry, I phrased that poorly; reveal yourself to be a fat idiot, again.



Edited, Jan 7th 2013 9:01am by Smasharoo
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#172 Jan 07 2013 at 9:04 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sure, you showed government funding for the Red Cross and Salvation Army but you haven't ruled out "etc" yet, smart guy.
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#173 Jan 07 2013 at 9:07 AM Rating: Excellent
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If we were honest,
Ha.
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#174 Jan 07 2013 at 10:20 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sure, you showed government funding for the Red Cross and Salvation Army but you haven't ruled out "etc" yet, smart guy.

etc is funded purely on the tears of fox news pundits.
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#175 Jan 07 2013 at 11:10 AM Rating: Excellent
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I often see this image blurb on Facebook posted by my wife's relatives over in Red State 'Merica that compares foodstamps to giving food to wild animals. It implies that giving the animals (poor people, many of whom work two or more jobs) food will force them to become dependent on Pepsi and Doritos... you know, as opposed to foraging for acorns and eating the bark off of trees like they should be.
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#176 Jan 07 2013 at 11:47 AM Rating: Excellent
Luxury. When I grew up I would have been thrilled to be able to eat bark. We had to eat cold gravel.
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#177 Jan 07 2013 at 12:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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Elinda wrote:
TirithRR wrote:
BrownDuck wrote:
catwho wrote:
And they're always pleading for money because people don't donate enough just from the goodness of their hearts.

Given the context of the discussion, "additional funding" means government assistance. Of course charitable organizations have to ask for money. It's called "fundraising".


I'm pretty sure the Salvation Army receives government funding. Red Cross too. It's not all private donations.

The Salvation Army is a christian organization.

...just saying.

I believe it's technically a church, in fact.
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#178 Jan 07 2013 at 12:29 PM Rating: Good
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LockeColeMA wrote:
Elinda wrote:
TirithRR wrote:
BrownDuck wrote:
catwho wrote:
And they're always pleading for money because people don't donate enough just from the goodness of their hearts.

Given the context of the discussion, "additional funding" means government assistance. Of course charitable organizations have to ask for money. It's called "fundraising".


I'm pretty sure the Salvation Army receives government funding. Red Cross too. It's not all private donations.

The Salvation Army is a christian organization.

...just saying.

I believe it's technically a church, in fact.


Not an army?
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#179 Jan 07 2013 at 12:49 PM Rating: Excellent
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rdmcandie wrote:
LockeColeMA wrote:
Elinda wrote:
TirithRR wrote:
BrownDuck wrote:
catwho wrote:
And they're always pleading for money because people don't donate enough just from the goodness of their hearts.

Given the context of the discussion, "additional funding" means government assistance. Of course charitable organizations have to ask for money. It's called "fundraising".


I'm pretty sure the Salvation Army receives government funding. Red Cross too. It's not all private donations.

The Salvation Army is a christian organization.

...just saying.

I believe it's technically a church, in fact.


Not an army?

There's a difference?
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#180 Jan 07 2013 at 12:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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Army has a less violent recruitment program.
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#181 Jan 07 2013 at 2:11 PM Rating: Excellent
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I knew a kid once who belonged to a Salvation Army church. Ministers had faux-military ranks so, rather than a priest or pastor, you'd get spiritual guidance from your Sargent. It was a little strange.
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#182 Jan 07 2013 at 2:23 PM Rating: Good
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I knew a kid once who belonged to a Salvation Army church. Ministers had faux-military ranks so, rather than a priest or pastor, you'd get spiritual guidance from your Sargent. It was a little strange.

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#183 Jan 07 2013 at 3:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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Luxury. When I grew up I would have been thrilled to be able to eat bark. We had to eat cold gravel.



Your gravel was chilled? Wow, we had to eat ours at room temperature.
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#184 Jan 07 2013 at 3:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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Lucky bum. We didn't have gravel; had to smash rocks into eatable chunks using nothing but our foreheads I kid you not.
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#185 Jan 07 2013 at 4:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
Lucky bum. We didn't have gravel; had to smash rocks into eatable chunks using nothing but our foreheads I kid you not.


You were living the HIGH LIFE...We only had threeheads, you lucky bastich
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#186 Jan 07 2013 at 4:19 PM Rating: Excellent
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Professor stupidmonkey wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
Lucky bum. We didn't have gravel; had to smash rocks into eatable chunks using nothing but our foreheads I kid you not.


You were living the HIGH LIFE...We only had threeheads, you lucky bastich


The communists forced us to make a 4th one using nothing but our blood sweat and tears.
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#187 Jan 07 2013 at 4:53 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
Professor stupidmonkey wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
Lucky bum. We didn't have gravel; had to smash rocks into eatable chunks using nothing but our foreheads I kid you not.


You were living the HIGH LIFE...We only had threeheads, you lucky bastich


The communists forced us to make a 4th one using nothing but our blood sweat and tears.


You guys got TEARS?! Damn, we had it rougher. Just the blood and the sweat for us.

If anyone caught you crying, then you'd owe more of the first two, y'know, to compensate.
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#188gbaji, Posted: Jan 07 2013 at 5:57 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Again, you're confusing objective with methodology. The problem with food stamps isn't that we're trying to help people obtain food, but that the government is the one deciding who gets how much and what they can do with it. Government's are horrible at those kinds of things. Always have been. As I said earlier, we could take a fraction of the government dollars spent on food stamps and fund private organizations which actually give food to people in need and likely do a better job of actually feeding those who need it and spend less money in the process.
#189 Jan 07 2013 at 6:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
And yet, it's conservatives who spend their own money donating to soup kitchens and other such programs.

Nope. They spend roughly the same amount of money as everyone else, on average.


Let's assume for the moment that's true. It's not, but let's pretend that it is. Um... So conservatives, who are supposedly opposed to helping others spend the same amount as liberals, who are supposedly in favor of helping others? So the worst case here is conservatives are just as charitable as liberals.


Not if you look at it as a percentage of income.


gbaji wrote:
You do realize that most people who "go hungry" in the US, don't do so because of a lack of actual food available to them, but a result of poor choices.


Cite, Please. Or are you just "Realizing" what we should "Understand"?

Edited, Jan 7th 2013 4:14pm by stupidmonkey
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#190 Jan 07 2013 at 8:32 PM Rating: Default
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Professor stupidmonkey wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Smasharoo wrote:
And yet, it's conservatives who spend their own money donating to soup kitchens and other such programs.

Nope. They spend roughly the same amount of money as everyone else, on average.


Let's assume for the moment that's true. It's not, but let's pretend that it is. Um... So conservatives, who are supposedly opposed to helping others spend the same amount as liberals, who are supposedly in favor of helping others? So the worst case here is conservatives are just as charitable as liberals.


Not if you look at it as a percentage of income.


You didn't read the pdf Smash linked did you? Hint: It measures charitable giving as a percentage of income. Want to try again?

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
You do realize that most people who "go hungry" in the US, don't do so because of a lack of actual food available to them, but a result of poor choices.


Cite, Please. Or are you just "Realizing" what we should "Understand"?


Lol. You want a cite for a simple answer to a complex question? Not going to happen. I'm presenting the cliff's notes version. If you want, I'll write 8 paragraphs explaining exactly why I made the statement I made. I suspect you wont bother to read it if I do though.

I'll give you a hint: We have more than enough food and food providing services for everyone who might need it. Thus, if people go hungry, it's because of choices they make. They choose not to go to the local soup kitchen or food bank. They choose to buy non essentials instead of food. They choose to go hungry instead of looking for help even (pride happens all the time). Sometimes, it's even just a child choosing to go to bed hungry instead of eating their vegetables (which btw, counts in our hunger statistics). The reasons and circumstances are many and varied but if you look at the issue for long enough, it's hard to escape arriving at the conclusion I posted.


Why do you think people go hungry in the US? Do you honestly think that there's a large number of people trapped in their homes unable to physically seek or obtain access to the ridiculously numerous sources of assistance out there for people who need food?

Edited, Jan 7th 2013 6:33pm by gbaji
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#191 Jan 07 2013 at 9:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Lol. You want a cite for a simple answer to a complex question? Not going to happen. I'm presenting the cliff's notes version. If you want, I'll write 8 paragraphs explaining exactly why I made the statement I made. I suspect you wont bother to read it if I do though.


With Citations? Or more opinions?

No, what I really want (which I know will never happen) is that you "Realize" that just because you type it, doesn't make it true. And just because you type it three thousand words long doesn't make it any more true.

I'm sure you realize that I am talking about more then this one topic. I hope you understand that.

ETA:

the conclusion to the paper that Smash linked wrote:
Arthur Brooks’ claim about political conservatives being more generous
than political liberals should be treated with skepticism


Edited, Jan 7th 2013 7:56pm by stupidmonkey

Edited, Jan 7th 2013 7:58pm by stupidmonkey

Edited, Jan 7th 2013 8:04pm by stupidmonkey
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#192gbaji, Posted: Jan 07 2013 at 10:28 PM, Rating: Sub-Default, (Expand Post) Again, even if we accept the paper's conclusions (which I don't, and frankly no one should once they read the methodology used). They at best conclude that conservatives donate "as much" as liberals. Which sorta calls into question the idea that liberals somehow care more for others than conservatives do. My original statement to which Smash responded wasn't so much about who donated more to soup kitchens and food banks, but that conservatives do donate to such things. So if conservative opposition to programs like welfare and food stamps was because we just hate helping people less fortunate, then why do this? Even if we accept that they donate the same as liberals, the argument I made still stands.
#193 Jan 07 2013 at 10:32 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
They at best conclude that conservatives donate "as much" as liberals.
Edited, Jan 7th 2013 8:29pm by gbaji


Except of course where they say that the conservatives earned 10% more than the liberals, but only donated 6% more.

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#194 Jan 07 2013 at 10:34 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
But if you pay attention over years of data, and changing funding levels, and changing poverty rates, you'll notice that pretty much no matter how much we spend or don't spend, there's no effect on hunger rates as calculated by the bean counters.


Ah, so anecdotal evidence. Got it.
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#195 Jan 08 2013 at 12:37 AM Rating: Excellent
gbaji wrote:
Logic and reason.
Which you lack, Lexus-boy.
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#196 Jan 08 2013 at 12:47 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Professor stupidmonkey wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Lol. You want a cite for a simple answer to a complex question? Not going to happen. I'm presenting the cliff's notes version. If you want, I'll write 8 paragraphs explaining exactly why I made the statement I made. I suspect you wont bother to read it if I do though.
With Citations? Or more opinions?
Logic and reason.

IT'S ... JUST ... OBVIOUS!!!
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#197 Jan 08 2013 at 1:13 AM Rating: Good
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Logic and reason.


Both which require facts to substantiate, and we all know how you feel about facts.
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#198 Jan 08 2013 at 8:01 PM Rating: Default
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rdmcandie wrote:
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Logic and reason.


Both which require facts to substantiate, and we all know how you feel about facts.


Facts and conclusions are two different things. The problem I run into with many posters on this forum is that I look at data in the world around me, apply my own logic to them, and derive my own conclusions. But most people don't do this. Hell. Most people can't do this. They lack the critical thinking skills required. So instead, they demand "facts", but when they mean facts they mean "conclusions". They want a source they recognize as an authority to tell them what the answer is.

When you ask for a citation for something, you're asking me to provide some source with conclusions similar to my own. But there is no one source of the facts I use to derive my conclusions, so that's a meaningless requirement. But since I'm sure you simply wont believe that I could derive a legitimate conclusion on my own, I'll go ahead and throw you a bone. This is a report collating a number of studies on the interactions between food assistance (primarily food stamp programs) and "food insecurity" (the inability to consistently obtain sufficient food for a healthy life). What you'll notice throughout the report is wording like this:

Quote:
The results have been inconclusive and the authors have warned against drawing causal inferences from their research.


and

Quote:
A thorough 2004 USDA literature review summarized the large body of research showing that food stamp benefits substantially raise food spending, may raise nutrient availability in household food supplies, and cannot be shown to consistently affect individual nutrient intake (8). At the time that review was written, the literature measuring the effect of food stamps on food insecurity and hunger was sparse.


and

Quote:
There is a strong prima facie case that food stamps may alleviate hunger by providing valuable resources to very poor households. However, the main survey items ask about the occurrence of hardship at any time in the preceding 12 mo, whereas food stamp benefits vary widely in amount, arrive only once monthly, and are largely spent during the first several days after acquisition each month (12,13). Hence, the magnitude of the food stamp effect is an important open empirical question.


Hmmmm... I came to the same conclusion, and I didn't need to read what someone else wrote to do it! It's like magic or something.

and

Quote:
The first approach is to control for other observable variables while seeking to measure the effect of FSP participation in a regression model. However, several studies have found that prevalences of food insecurity or hunger remain much higher for participants than for nonparticipants even after including control variables in this fashion (17,18).


and

Quote:
Using data from the Survey of Program Dynamics, Huffman and Jensen found that being food insecure with hunger strongly increased the likelihood of FSP participation but “no evidence that the food assistance reduces food insecurity” (20).


and

Quote:
Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and Survey of Program Dynamics, Ribar and Hamrick found that food stamp use in 1994–5 was associated with lower rates of exit from food insecurity by 1997, and hence their study “provides no evidence that food stamps alleviate food problems,” but they also noted the continued presence of unobservable factors and did not claim to have measured the causal impact of FSP participation (22).


and

Quote:
The authors' most reliable models indicated that food stamps did not affect the probability of being classified as food insecure, although they offered “tentative evidence” that food stamps reduced the level of food insecurity among those who are categorized as food insecure. The authors warned that establishing cause and effect with propensity score matching “might not be possible in some instances, given the magnitude of the selection effects.”


Well that method was definitive! The report goes on, but you hopefully get the point.


The issue we're discussing is way too complex for super simple answers. However, the one pattern that emerges is that there's a whole lot of not much in terms of direct correlation between the actual programs and actual hunger. Some of this is just the nature of the beast. If more people are hungry, more people will apply for food stamps, creating an unfair correlation between food stamps and increased hunger. Attempting to account for this is non-trivial, which is why definitive answers on the subject are not easy to come by. But this does suggest that there's an effect of opportunity costs going on here. The very existence of a food stamp program will affect people's choices (yeah, I said choices again). If you know you'll receive $300/month in food stamps, you take that into account when making spending choices as a whole. So while we can say that someone with absolutely zero income is clearly going to be benefited by receiving assistance, this becomes less apparent when looking at people who are "poor" but still have some income sources and thus spending choices. Assuming we don't intent to just support 100% of everyone's living costs forever, the question we're most looking at should be whether food stamps help or hurt people's future outcomes, not just the immediate condition.


And that's a tricky question. For me, it's a matter of human nature. I mentioned earlier the propensity for people to spend more than they earn. This is incredibly common. Nearly everyone does it. People are bad at budgeting. And it really does just appear as though there's a percentage of people who simply habitually run out of money every month, and will tend to do so no matter how much they have. That these people also tend to be in the lowest income ranges cannot be definitively said to be the cause or effect of this. It might be easy to assume that someone runs out of money every month because they just don't have enough, but there's tons of evidence to suggest that the same people, if given much more money will still spend more than they have (yeah, I'm not going to provide sources for this either. If you disagree, go do your own research). So is the person running out of money because they are poor? Or are they poor because they habitually spend more than they earn? Does this propensity translate into an equally poor work ethic as well? I certainly can't say for sure. While we can't say that hard work and effort always guarantees success, we absolutely can say that lack of effort and hard work increases your odds of failure. How much does the existence of assistance programs feed into this trait? I don't know, but it's hard to imagine that it's a non factor.


Again, I see this as human nature. We all know people who are habitually late. They just always arrive at any event, dinner, family gathering, whatever 15 or 20 minutes late. Do we make the assumption that they're late because they simply don't have enough time to get there? If so, then if we set the time of the event/whatever an hour later, they should arrive on time, right? We all know that doesn't work though. The propensity to be late has nothing to do with actual time, but a habit that one adopts of always adjusting their actions based on the time target in such a way that they get there late. At the risk of playing psychologist, people sabotage their own actions by deliberately waiting too long to start a series of events, such that they're done "just a little bit late". I see spending choices the same way. The person who never quite has enough money to make it through the month usually does so because they make choices to be "just a little short" each month. It's almost like a psychological need. They often use things like pawnshops and payday loans to allow them to do this, while still managing to get by. It's self destructive of course, because they actually reduce the total amount of money they have each month, but it fill some kind of need. Don't ask me to explain why, but the evidence is pretty overwhelming that people do actually feel some need to always be in debt. Just as the habitually late will sabotage themselves to ensure they're late, the habitually financially short do the same thing with money. And so they borrow money at the end of the month to make ends meet, then pay it back (with interest) at the beginning of the month, and then run short and borrow money again. Even if we could somehow erase that debt for them one month, they'd still spend just a bit too much and end out in debt again. It's a habit IMO.

It's because of this observation that I don't think that food stamps really help much. For the absolutely destitute? Sure. But as I've mentioned earlier, someone in that dire a strait benefits more from direct assistance from some charitable organization, not a government food stamp program. It's the eternally working poor who make up the bulk of food stamp distribution, and I'm not convinced it really helps them at all. The evidence would seem to suggest that it just enables them to spend a bit more money each month on other things (possibly quite wasteful things), while still managing to come up "just a little short" at the end of the month. We could likely double their food stamp allotment, and they'd still run out of money for food at the end of the month. I've seen absolutely zero evidence to suggest otherwise. Similarly, if we reduced (or even eliminated in some cases) the food stamp allotment, they'd likely come up just as short. It would simply change what other things they spent money on (for most cases at least). And the need to sacrifice those other things for food might just be the nudge that gets them on the track out of poverty. Again, I'm progressing from the assumption that most people who are poor enough to qualify for food stamps *could* improve their economic condition, but the rate at which a population will do so will increase if they are provided fewer funded benefits (like food stamps) in the first place. I'm not making an ethical assessment of that course of action, but simply stating what I believe to be a clear relationship between the two.


I don't think there's anything wrong with approaching an issue like this based on general observations of human behavior. I think we can all agree that most people strive to do the least amount of effort for the most reward. So it seems logical that the more shallow we make that reward curve, the less effort people will spend traveling it. Add in the propensity of most people to spend more than they earn, and it's not hard to derive a conclusion that programs like food stamps, while perhaps necessary in some cases, will in most cases act to flatten that curve and thus decrease the drive to expend effort to improve one's own condition. People tend to have a hard stopping point in terms of poverty, and they'll sit at that point, almost no matter how much in benefits we provide them. They'll tolerate that low point and spend any excess we provide them on other things that they want, but which they don't need, and which wont help them in the long run. If our objective is to make poor people as comfortable in their poverty as possible, such programs work as intended. If our objective is to help people through difficult times, and then help them out of those difficult times, they don't work nearly so well at all.

But that's just my opinion. You're certainly free to disagree.
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#199 Jan 08 2013 at 8:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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The problem I run into with many posters on this forum is that I look at data in the world around me, apply my own logic to them, and derive my own conclusions


No, that's not the problem.
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#200 Jan 08 2013 at 8:25 PM Rating: Excellent
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Timelordwho wrote:
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The problem I run into with many posters on this forum is that I look at data in the world around me, apply my own logic to them, and derive my own conclusions
No, that's not the problem.

No, no... let's not be knee-jerk to disagree just because it's Gbaji.

If he says the problem is that he's applying his own "logic" to the world around him, I'm inclined to agree with him.
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Timelordwho wrote:
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The problem I run into with many posters on this forum is that I look at data in the world around me, apply my own logic to them, and derive my own conclusions


No, that's not the problem.


It's exactly what I did in this case, and the response was "cite?". Kinda can't provide a citation for my own thoughts and conclusions, can I? I will, however, provide the thought process I'm using to arrive at said conclusion. Which should be better than simply linking to someone else's conclusions. Sadly, most people prefer to blindly accept the opinions of those they've been taught to assume are correct instead.
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