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Soda for Food Stamps

#1 Jan 22 2013 at 4:42 PM Rating: Default
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Friar Bijou wrote:
Point being, no matter you rhetoric on "striving for a better life/job" some just won't...ever.


Sure. And fewer will if you give them an easy choice like working the system for benefits. So is it better to provide easy access to benefits for those you've already concluded will not succeed no matter how hard they try if the cost is for many more people to fail to reach their potential because they foolishly fall into the trap of easy entitlements? If we assume the first group cannot possibly succeed then we don't do them any favors in terms of long term outcomes by handing them things. We do, however, significantly harm the second group.

I put myself in the "do no harm" category on that one. I'd rather risk failing to provide for someone who utterly cannot provide for himself than risk causing a harmful outcome to someone else.

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What you consider a "starter job" (McD's, Wal-Mart, etc) is the best these folk will ever achieve.


While I'm sure that may be true in some cases, I think you have far less faith in your fellow man and their ability to improve and advance than I do. I think a **** of a lot of people who think "I can't do it" actually could, if they were given the encouragement to do so. Certainly making it easy for them to not even try is not helping them at all.

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If they are paid a living wage, they won't need government assistance, now will they?


That's yet another argument though. There's no such things as paying a "living wage". It's an illusion sold to people who don't understand economics. The minimum wage is based on the relative value of the things produced by minimum wage labor to other things produced within the economy. Period. It does not matter what arbitrary dollar number you assign to it. If tomorrow you raise the minimum wage from $8.00/hour to $20.00/hour, then costs will rise to make $20.00 buy what $8.00 did before.

The only way to increase the real wages of a worker is for the output of the workers labor to be more valued to others in the market. And the best way for that to happen (from an individual standpoint) is through time and experience (and training/whatever). It's a good thing for minimum wage to pay as little as possible. I know that seems counterintuitive, but it's true.

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So, yeah. If any given job will pay enough for food shelter clothing and health care then, yes, I'm all for no government assistance, too.


All jobs? So the high school kid working part time at the local burger barn should earn enough money to pay for his own home, food, clothing, health insurance, transportation, etc? Again, while this may seem counterintuitive to most people, if your lowest wages are not lower than that need to pay entirely for a home, food, clothing, etc, then you actually make it harder for those who need to be able to pay for their own homes, food, clothing, etc to do so.

Here's an example which illustrates why: Let's assume a business is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has 3 people on each shift. This gives us a total of 252 hours of labor that has to be paid. Let's assume that the profits on the store sales allow for an average pay of $8/hour ($2016/week in this case). Let's also assume that we're currently employing 10 part time students and 2 full time shift leaders/managers. So the breakdown is 80 hours for my managers and the remaining 172 hours for my part time students (average of 17.2 hours a week each). If minimum wage is $5/hour then we can pay the 10 students $5/hour each, for a total of (5*172) $860/week. This leaves us (2016-860) $1156 to divvy up among the remaining 80 hours, which works out to $14.45/hour for my two managers.

What this allows me to do is hire a couple of single moms, who are more responsible than the typical high school or college student (and will stick around longer) and pay them a "living wage". In this case, each of my two store managers are making about $30k/year. Not bad at all for managing at a small business, right? And the students are making far less than they can live on by themselves (17.2 hours/week average at $5/hour works out to $4500/year). But they're students. This is temporary labor. They'll move on (nearly all of them will).

What happens if we raise the minimum wage to $8/hour? Everyone makes $8/hour. The employer can no longer afford to pay his managers more. The students, most of whom this is just beer money, make more of it. But those who really needed a better paying job no longer have it. Raise minimum wage enough and you completely drown out the "unskilled professional" labor market.

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ETA: I don't think you enjoy seeing people suffer. I think you just don't care at all.


I do care. I care enough to look at what solutions actually work versus those that simplistically appear to do so (but don't actually work at all). I care enough to look at social statistics and realize that a whole lot of the recipients of our social spending don't ever seem to improve their lives. I look at studies like the one I linked to earlier showing not only no correlation between food stamps and decreased food insecurity but in fact an *increase* in food insecurity associated with food stamps. I look at what the actual outcomes are, not what the social engineers tell us they should be. And I notice the difference between the "should be" and the "actually are".

I care about the actual results. You care about appearing to care by following along with a politically correct solution. Doesn't matter that those solutions often don't work and that they sometimes cause more harm than good. You're in a crowd of people who all assume that "caring" equals agreeing with and supporting those specific solutions. So you all clap yourselves on the back for how much you "care", and never once notice that the people you care so much about seem to be worse off each year. And if you do happen to notice, it never occurs to you that maybe what you're doing to show you care isn't actually helping them.


Caring isn't enough. Doing the right thing matters even more. I don't believe that most of our social spending is the right thing. And that has nothing to do with me not caring. Quite the opposite. If I didn't care, I wouldn't bother to argue the point.
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