July 10, 2007

Giuliani: "The effort to try and make marijuana available for medical uses is really a way to legalize it."

He takes a tough position:
"You can accomplish everything you want to accomplish with things other than marijuana, probably better. There are pain medications much superior to marijuana," he said.

"We'd be much better off telling people the truth. Marijuana adds nothing to the array of legal medications and prescription medications that are available for pain relief."
I think he's right. But perhaps marijuana should be legalized, not just for people who can portray themselves as sick enough, but for any adult. Of course, he can hardly say that.

And he's got this on health care:
"If you try to do socialized medicine, a la Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama or Michael Moore, you're going to end up with a disaster," he said.

He urged voters to press other candidates for specifics and to move beyond lofty language.

"We tried that before. We tried that with the `War on Poverty' and we tried that with welfare. Look what happened. We tried a simplistic solution and look what happened. We locked people into poverty. It was a tragedy."
I do enjoy the straight talk.

205 comments:

1 – 200 of 205   Newer›   Newest»
Doyle said...

Rudy wants specifics on universal health care plans? John Edwards' is available on his website.

There is no reference to health care among Rudy's "12 Commitments to the American People," and none of those commitments contain any specific policy proposals.

For some real straight talk, check out his "commitment" on abortion:

Rudy Giuliani supports reasonable restrictions on abortion such as parental notification with a judicial bypass and a ban on partial birth abortion – except when the life of the mother is at stake. He’s proud that adoptions increased 66% while abortions decreased over 16% in New York City when he was Mayor. But Rudy understands that this is a deeply personal moral dilemma, and people of good conscience can disagree respectfully.

Anthony said...

"Marijuana adds nothing to the array of legal medications and prescription medications that are available for pain relief."

Actually, I would rephrase that to "Marijuana adds no clinically demonstrable benefit to the array of legal medications and prescription medications that are available for a number of symptoms."

But he's right, "medication" has nothing to do with "medical marijuana".

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

"If you try to do socialized medicine, a la Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama or Michael Moore..."

Is Giuliani really stupid enough to think Michael Moore is (or was) in the Senate and is running for President?

Ann, since you enjoy Rudy's "straight talk," will you ask him (when you get a chance to speak with him) why the poverty rate in the United States decreased so dramatically during the LBJ years and has increased since Bush became president? Also, if you will, ask him what his plan for dealing with poverty is. As he points out, it's important for voters to "press ... candidates for specifics and to move beyond lofty language."

I look forward to hearing some "straight talk" from Giuliani; it will be a nice change.

Jim Hu said...

I thought that medical marijuana was not just for pain. It's also considered an anti-emetic.

In any case, I don't know that I'd ever say that something adds nothing to the array of available medications for anything. People respond differently to medications.

chickenlittle said...

Nice sounding bites, but Rudy needs to say what he might do to control costs. Also, comparing socialized healthcare to the War on Poverty could just as well be extended to the War on Terror, or the War on Evil for that matter. Doing nothing on these "big problems" has Burkean consequences. Good men must do something.
As for Edwards' proposals, what does he propose doing about those who refuse to participate in any insurance, no matter how affordable?
I propose moving to higher deductables coupled with rolling healthsaving accounts.

dick said...

With regard to LBJ, if you pick your standards right you can make them say whatever you want. If you define what you want to say is poverty, then you can show that poverty went up or down during your administration.

It is like the misery index that Kerry tried on. He cherry-picked the statistics and could then prove his point. However when you looked at all the statistics, his point disappeared in the dust. Same with what you are trying on here.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"why the poverty rate in the United States decreased so dramatically during the LBJ years and has increased since Bush became president? "

Because it hasn't.

Saul said...

I'm sure there are various reasons that medical marijuana is being pushed. However, I am aware of numerous cancer patients, including physicians, who have had great results with medical marijuana. Given that someone is receiving chemo-therapy, allowing them to smoke some pot is innocuous.

The war on drugs has been a collosal failure and has probably inspired more people to abuse drugs, and more awful drugs, such as metamphetamine. That Venuzuala is heavily profiting from cocaine is not a positive effect either.

I think we'd be much better served legalizing drug use, with some limitations, and using the money for incarceration and enforcement on education and treatment.

Luckyoldson said...

anybody here know anybody wih aids?

ask them about marijuana...and whether it has medicinal and pain management purposes.

400,000 americans die every year from tobacco, estimates of up to 8,000,000 worldwide...and we're concerned with pot?

dave™© said...

Glad to see the Blithering Misogynist Idiot showing her true colors at last.

Giuliani? Yeah, he's a winner, babe.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

dick wrote:

With regard to LBJ, if you pick your standards right you can make them say whatever you want. If you define what you want to say is poverty, then you can show that poverty went up or down during your administration.

Why don't you take this issue up with the US Census Bureau? I'm sure they'll be fascinated to hear your little "theory" that they are trying to make LBJ look good by fiddling with poverty level definitions.

If I wasn't making a special effort to be more polite in my comments, I'd say your response is exceedingly lame.

Luckyoldson said...

Another, well-informed slant on our health policies:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first U.S. surgeon general appointed by President George W. Bush accused the administration on Tuesday of political interference and muzzling him on key issues like embryonic stem cell research.

"Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation's top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee.

"The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party," Carmona added.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

dust bunny queen wrote:

Because it hasn't.

What do you know that the U.S. Census Bureau doesn't?

Based on what I've seen so far in this thread, it appears science denial has been replaced by reality denial.

Luckyoldson said...

dick & bunny,
the poverty rate has most certainly increased since bush came into office.

U.S. Census Bureau, Aug. 2005, Tables B-1 and B-2:

The poverty rate has risen each year since 2001, with 12.7 percent of the population now living in poverty.

African-American poverty has risen from 22.7 percent in 2001 to 24.7 percent in 2004, and child poverty has gone from 16.3 percent in 2001 to 17.8 percent (1.3 million children under the age of 18).

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried

Lucky, add Carmona to the list of ex-Bush administration officials who've said essentially the same thing.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Lucky,

Thanks for taking a facts based approach to discussing poverty rates, but I have a gut feeling that dust bunny queen and dick aren't going to be impressed.

AJ Lynch said...

Guiliani is honest- pot is not the best medicine. And the Calif horde just thinks this opens the door a crack to full legalization.

I told my sister just yesterday that if they had balls in Calif, they would push for full legalization and not this piddling on the margins tactic.

That said, I support legalizing most drugs since the current laws just make too many criminals. I wonder how candid Rudy could be re broadn legalization of drugs? He has to know the war on drugs is a waste of time and money.

lurker2209 said...

The problem without medical marijuana is that it's a highly inconvienient method of taking a drug for the majority of people who don't actually like smoking joints or using a bong. There's very little evidence of it's clinical usefulness, but that's because the government has so many restrictions on scientists who actually want to study marijuana. It's possible we would be well on our way to having a safe convienient cocktail of chemicals isolate from marijuana in testing or on the market now if it weren't for the effective ban on research.

Doyle said...

He has to know the war on drugs is a waste of time and money.

You might think so, but he's famous for "zero tolerance" or the "broken windows" approach to petty crime. To Rudy, drug possession crimes present valuable opportunities to whisk unsightly black people off the streets.

Synova said...

Because we know that black people do drugs so much more than white ones.

Synova said...

I don't know what anti-emetic is but I'd always heard medical marijuana associated with nausea and appetite.

Not pain.

Gahrie said...

1) Marijuana is a pain reliever, anti-emetic and does stimulate the appetite in those undergoing chemotherapy. It is also very effective when used to treat glaucoma.

2) Why haven't we learned our lesson from prohibition? Making alcohol illegal did not stop people from drinking, it merely created a criminal underground to supply it. Re-legalizing alcohol drove the criminals out of the alcohol business, and did not end the world as we know it. Making drugs illegal (Yes, all of them were once legal in the U.S.) has merely repeated history, and we know have a criminal underground supplying drugs, with all of the attendent problems that creates. To paraphrase, legalizing drugs is not preferred, but it's better than all the other options.

Albatross said...

Lucky: "400,000 americans die every year from tobacco, estimates of up to 8,000,000 worldwide...and we're concerned with pot?"

Wouldn't you be? At least the field of origin for legal tobaccos can tracked, and we know the companies that grow them. Can you be absolutely sure where your pot came from?

Perhaps the answer is to legalize marijuana completely. At least then we would know the growers, and they could be taken to task if their products ever harmed anyone.

AJD said...

"Straight talk"?!

Only if you think that saying nothing with an authoritative tone is straight talk.

I know. You do here all the time. No wonder you like it!

But really A-House, what is Rudy's health plan? Let the poor and uninsured suffer, since a government program might not work perfectly?

He has no plan.

How elegant!

Fascinating that this is considered "straight talk" by someone who fancies herself as intelligent.

Hey said...

Synova: there's this thing called google, a firm you must be aware of to comment here. Anti-emetic = treatment for vomiting and nausea. Try to use the google before announcing your ignorance.

Marijuana is a better pain reliever for many patients because it isn't a pill and because it combines an analgesic effect with an appetite enhancer. Strong pain medications like opiates have very unpleasant effects on the g-i tract as do many of the drugs that treat cancer and HIV/Aids. These patients also frequently have difficulties swallowing as part of their symptom profile.

This statement, while superior to nearly every other statement on healthcare out there, follows along the ignorance of those who oppose "me-too" drugs. The larger the pharmacopia the better, because each patient has a different set of symptoms, medical history, and personal priorities that make certain symptoms and side-effects more important than others. Cox-2 inhibitors can be too dangerous for many patients but can be the drug of choice for others, just as we allow late stage patients access to riskier drugs.

All drugs should be legal, but marijuana has a very good argument for at least being available legally (many drugs are available as prescriptions under certain limited circumstances, hence why most are actually controlled substances rather than completely illegal). It's current status stems from racial and class prejudice of the 20s and 30s combined with inertia and the horrid incentives of the War on (some) Drugs.

Synova said...

Hey, maybe I don't have a big stick up my rear and am not so insecure that I care much about appearing ignorant.

As it is I *didn't* know the word. I was being honest in presenting what I remembered about how medical uses of marijuana were presented.

Had I googled and pretended that this is what I remembered about it I would be lying. Or if I googled it and said what sick people usually smoked pot for, I'd be making a different point altogether than the one I meant to make, which was what a regular person not really paying that much attention is likely to know about it.

I comment here often enough that people can judge if I'm generally intelligent or usually stupid. I doubt that anyone I respect figures that everyone should know everything or should bother to hide the things that they don't know.

Do you hide what you don't know?

chickenlittle said...

Hey,

"All drugs should be legal"

That's nonsense even taken in context because then we'd just fight over what a "drug" is. We'd literally have to reinvent the FDA because chemists would invent and market next to anything (personally I'd love to see the utility arguments for some the newer compositions of matter: a better buzz, a more enhanced buzz).
I suspect you're just pissed off about the morality of drug laws rather than legal issues.

BTW, guess which flavor of trial lawyer would be hurting if all drugs and their effects on people were legal.
Maybe John Edwards should weigh in here.

chickenlittle said...

Hey,

"All drugs should be legal"

That's nonsense even taken in context because then we'd just fight over what a "drug" is. We'd literally have to reinvent the FDA because chemists would invent and market next to anything (personally I'd love to see the utility arguments for some the newer compositions of matter: a better buzz, an enhanced buzz).
I suspect you're just pissed off about the morality of drug laws rather than the legality.

BTW, guess which flavor of trial lawyer would be hurting if all drugs and their effects on people were legal.
Maybe John Edwards should weigh in here.

Revenant said...

Rudy wants specifics on universal health care plans? John Edwards' is available on his website.

And it is entirely lacking in specifics. There's no mention of what procedures will or won't be covered, how much it will cost, or how we're going to pay for it.

He says he'll achieve it by:

(A): Forcing businesses to help pay (translation: wages go down, unemployment goes up, prices for goods rise)

(B): Expanding government health care (translation: spending more)

(C): Giving tax credits (translation: cutting taxes)

(D): Taking "innovative steps" to contain costs (translation: he has no idea how to contain costs)

(E): Creating "regional markets" for insurance (which already exist and do not contain costs).

In summary: he plans to force everyone to pay for coverage (without saying how much they'll pay or what they'll get for it), increase spending, cut taxes, and make up the difference using magical techniques he's not ready to share with the unwashed masses just yet.

Maybe next he'll reveal he has a Secret Plan to Win the War in Iraq. Oh wait -- he's got one of those too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Doyle For some real straight talk, check out his "commitment" on abortion:

What part of that seems confusing to you Doyle? A teen has to get parental permission for a piercing so getting one for an abortion doesn't seem too unreasonable.

Are you bothered adoptions increased and abortions went down or are you advocating an opposite trend?

As for health care, you can probably bank on a complete expansion of the current Medicare system to cover everyone within the decade. The reason will be not to cover the uninsured but rather because businesses, particularly small business will be crushed by rising health costs.

Essentially you'll see a modified single payer system similar to what France has with the Fed picking up most of the tab leaving the beneficiary with a 10 -20% out of pocket. The infrastructure is already in place with CMS so it wouldn't take much change to simply add the rest of the population to the rolls.

The health insurance industry will naturally take it in the shorts with most of them out of business save for the bigger ones who will be providing supplemental insurance. Taxes will naturally increase dramatically to cover 300 million people and things will probably go smooth for the first 5 years. Once the kinks are worked out and CMS negotiates fees with providers, within 20 years we'll be importing our medical staff from India and Asia as it the economic incentives just won't be there for Americans.

It's pretty much inevitable. Resistance is futile. (You can almost hear Hillary saying that :-)

Revenant said...

But really A-House, what is Rudy's health plan? Let the poor and uninsured suffer, since a government program might not work perfectly?

"Let people pay for their own health" sounds like a fine plan to me. I've been without insurance during my life too, and I wasn't arrogant enough to demand that somebody else pay my bills.

You need to explain the connection between the phrases "I can't afford it" and "You need to buy it for me", because they aren't obvious to non-leftists.

chickenlittle said...

HD:
"within 20 years we'll be importing our medical staff from India and Asia"

India IS in Asia

;)

downtownlad said...

It's irrelevant what Rudy thinks.

Rudy lived with faggots. Enough said.

rhhardin said...

The effort to try and make marijuana available

Not one person is three realizes that that's hendiadys.

AJ Lynch said...

Revenent said:

"And it (Edwards's plan)is entirely lacking in specifics. There's no mention of what procedures will or won't be covered, how much it will cost, or how we're going to pay for it."

Thanks Rev- you saved me the time and energy of telling Doyle the same thing.

Doyle...saying you will expand Medicaid and make all people "get" insurance is not a specific plan. And why did balless Mr. Edwards avoid the use of the word "pay" or "buy" and instead use the word "get". No balls that is why- even has to dispatch his wife to wrassle that tough bully Coulter.

joe said...

Pot is a pretty innocuous drug compared to alcohol. You can argue forever whether studies establish its effectiveness as a medication compared to other drugs, but if it helps some poor souls fighting cancer, it should be available to them. This Reefer Madness view of pot is pretty ridiculous in the 21st C. I may have to rethink my support of Rudy to some degree.

AJ Lynch said...

Dtl said:

"It's irrelevant what Rudy thinks.
Rudy lived with faggots. Enough said. "

That sounds exactly like if someone were trying to sound like the one-note recording you are.

Revenant said...

This Reefer Madness view of pot is pretty ridiculous in the 21st C.

Most people realize that now. The problem is that support for marijuana is pretty soft, because most people have no need for it and don't *expect* to have any need for it. Few people expect to get serious cancer or glaucoma. In contrast, opposition to medical marijuana, while a minority position, tends to be an extremely VEHEMENT, "oh my God, think of the CHILDREN" voting bloc that stretches across party lines and will crucify anyone who even THINKS about legalizing drugs. That's why medical marijuana tends to get enacted by public initiative rather than by politicians -- any politician who supports use of "illegal" drugs for ANY reason immediately risks losing anywhere from a quarter to half of the people who previously supported him, and in exchange gains a handful of grateful cancer patients and a large number of people who are kinda happy about what he did but not enough to overcome their anger about his vote on that new basketball court for the local high school.

That's why people who should (and I suspect do) know better still bang the Reefer Madness drug -- nobody ever lost an election by being too anti-drugs.

B said...

Let's be careful with the "poverty rate" discussions, shall we:

Luckyoldson quoted US Census Bureau tables for 2005, the latest available.

But again, statistics partially told reveal only part of the story.

There needs to be serious reconsideration of the poverty threshhold that the government uses to determine the poverty rate.


Even the Census Bureau recognizes flaws in the overinflation of the poverty threshold:

When the poverty measure was developed,food expenditures represented about one-third of after-tax income for the typical family, so the food-plan amount was multiplied by three to establish the poverty line. Since then, food expenditures have fallen to about one-seventh of total expenditures (and are apparently still declining). Furthermore, spending patterns in general have changed because the costs of various items have changed at different rates. In addition, the threshold has not been corrected for past overadjustments for inflation in the 1970s (especially for overstatements of the cost for home ownership). For example, in 2002, correcting for past overadjustments for inflation would have reduced the poverty rate by about 11 percent, from 12.1 percent to 10.8 percent, resulting in nearly 4 million fewer people in poverty.

I have a growing middle class income, and yet, in Southern California, my wife and I could not afford a home for 20 years. . .

. . . Yet during the poverty-producing" Bush years:

46% of those in the Census Bureau poverty statistics OWN THEIR OWN HOMES, and 58% of those poverty homeowners OWN THEIR HOMES FREE AND CLEAR, WITH SUBSTANTIAL EQUITY, which are among many assets not counted in determining someone's poverty status. That is the highest poverty homeownership rate on record - thank you President Bush.

In fact, reclassifying just those "poverty poor" over 65 who own their homes outright - which could be turned into income producing annuities - would remove 900,000 elderly from the poverty rolls alone.


More people in poverty in the US today, my ass.



* Census Bureau statistics

Gahrie said...

Let people pay for their own health" sounds like a fine plan to me. I've been without insurance during my life too, and I wasn't arrogant enough to demand that somebody else pay my bills.

Most people who don't have health insurance can afford it, but choose not to buy it.

Many of the poor who truly can't afford it, don't take advantage of programs to give it to them. Here in California the state will provide health insurance to every child, but they can't get people to sign up for it.

Invisible Man said...

b

The funny thing about statistics is that they can be dangerous in the hands of the ignorant. House ownership in Spain is over 80%, yet Spain's poverty rate is near 25% which would make your theory on the inverse correlation between home ownership and poverty levels pure bunk. A country like Sweden with its much higher rate of people who rent, has significantly lower poverty rates than we do. I'd bet that the people who earned their PHD's in Economics might have a slightly better understanding than you do about determining the proper poverty statistics.

Cedarford said...

Government only f*cks up things, so we should never go down that road with health care and we should liberate other things the gov't always does badly to the genius of private enterprise

Uh huh. I'm sure the Coast Guard functions would work far better if it was disbanded and rescue duties reassigned to brilliant private contractors who would either work for FEMA bosses or directly charge citizens for rescue services. And we should ignore that every other industrialized nation has somehow figured out how to use it's government to administer it's health care system in a way that covers everyone, costs about 50% less than what the US pays per capita, with better life expectancies and LESS hospital error and infection rates.

We can't afford it

As things stand now, the long-term affordability of the out of control health care costs in America dwarf the fiscal problems of the "commie-socialist" nations of Europe and Asia. The sorry truth is that the "genius of private enterprise" has failed and government MUST step in to get American costs under control and more in line with what our competitors like Germany, S Korea, India, France pay. Nor can we expect private American companies to compete globally saddled with footing health care - which they now have concluded must go to less and less workers - active or retirees - for the Firms to survive against their global competitors.

We need to crack down on illegal drugs, not allow creeping legalization!

Amazing how many people that say that are Open Border whores to corporate interests, Latinos, Jewish progressives, the Catholic Church that want no secure borders, no fence, no interdiction of trucks, cars, or people running across with backpacks full of ...what??? Coke, ecstasy pills, plutonium?? We don't know what exactly is smuggled.

For all their stern words about cracking down on illegal drugs - whores like Bush, Giuliani, McCain, Hillary, and Obama are perfectly happy with bales of it, plus illegals pouring across our unguarded borders.

Other amazing new, exciting drugs can substitute for marijuana's positive effects in terminal cancer patients, other long-term chronic disease!!

The only thing amazing is the bill the taxpayers and families have to pay.

A "marijuana bill" of 80 bucks a month?
Or doctor's fees for supervision plus a pharmacologia of prescription medicine costs of painkiller, laxative, anti-nausea, appetite stimulating, anti-depressant costing 600 to 3,000 a month?
(Big Pharma is in the business of figuring out how to take inexpensive treatments - change them (with huge gov't R&D work and subsidies done at universities ahead of them swooping in), then patent them, brand them - into "exciting new drugs" that cost 40-95% more than analogous drugs cost in other countries.)

TMink said...

Well, I agree that much of the medical marijuana push is really a legalization attempt. And I know that using it is a medical aid to a few people.

But if it were lealized and taxed as it should be, there would be a LOT more money to support healthcare. Taxes could be cut due to less prison space needed and less money wasted on enforcement and PSAs. The tax on the pot could be used to subsidize emergency room care and wellness programs.

You would need less farm supports as well. It could save the family farm if you made the restrictions for growing in an intelligent fashion.

That is the real opportunity. And nobody will talk about it.

Trey

Bruce Hayden said...

I am one who seriously questions the federal ban on medical marijuana w/o yet accepting full legization. I find it almost criminal that the federal government seems to do anything it possibly can to forstall any serious study of the therapudic effects of the drug. This is esp. egregious I think, given that most of the opiates are available by prescription.

That said, I also think that long term marijuana use seems to have serious side effects. But that is really irrelevant here, since in most cases, medical marijuana is prescribed for cases where the long run is irrelevant. When someone is dying of cancer, the effects of the drug 30 years down the road are irrelevant - and note that there are a number of legal over the counter regulated drugs that have much worse long term effects.

B said...

Invisible Man,

What's to understand?

The Census Bureau is full of phd's who belivevthat the poverty threshold is ridiculous.

But it's not science and its associated phd's, my confused friend, that determines the poverty threshold (I seriously doubt you read the supporting statistics before knee-jerking off your comments).

It's Congress. The political arm.
And in America, when ownership of assets is not included in poverty statistics, that's not science - that's evil.

We spent $60 billion, not counting Medicare - on entitlement programs in 2005 for people that qualified for the poverty threshold level. 285 BILIION on Medicare for those same people, tens of thousands of whom have assets in excess of half million dollars.

Anyone not concerned about that is a fool.

John Stodder said...

The war on drugs is a loathesome hypocrisy with tragic results for hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

But what I want to zero in on is Guiliani's statement that "Marijuana adds nothing to the array of legal medications and prescription medications that are available for pain relief."

He might be right, but the follow-up question is: Why is the DEA prosecuting doctors who prescribe those "legal medications" for pain relief? There is no standard dosage for these medications, and through titration, a person in severe pain can tolerate high levels of opiates.

Doctors who want to approach their patients' pain aggressively, however, are deterred from doing so because they have no assurance that the DEA won't step in and make an ill-informed judgment about how much medicine is appropriate.

The DEA's standard seems to be, "Can we say boogidi boogidi to a jury about this doctor and get a conviction? Can we characterize a dose as unusually large? Can we string together enough anecdotes to make this doctor look irresponsible?"

So, fine, Rudy. Take the conventional frowny-face position that all politicians take with respect to medical marijuana. But don't use the mere existence of other pain meds to support your case. Help people who need them, get them.

rebel said...

I agree with Althouse and like the way Rudy speaks. His straight talk is honest and easy to undersand.

Ideally, I would like to see him be a stronger social conservative but I do believe who would be an excellent president and keep us safe.

Pogo said...

I'm with stodder. These are just chemicals. Either they are successful in reaching the intended effect, or they are not. We have very few pain medicines, surprisingly. Some people are actually allergic to narcotics, or simply do not tolerate them. Then they are left with very limited choices, such as Fentanyl or gabapentin, which are have their own problems.

There is no scientific reason to limt access to certain chemicals over others. Any limits are purely cultural. THC, the active ingredient in pot, might in fact be a useful adjunct in medical care. Given the paucity of pain med families available, I suspect it might be worthwhile.

But many of those pushing for its legalization want it available for non-medical reasons, to be sure; a back-door effort. So the discussion is dishonest from the start. Weed-heads versus anti-weedists. Not about medicine or science at all.

But this is nothing new. We are culturally squeamish about certain things, and clearly not ready to discuss this yet.

Hey said...

Yes all drugs should be legal. Posessing a substance shouldn't be a crime.

Selling a substance as effective for a certain symptom is something rather different. It's legal to posess and sell baking powder. Selling baking powder claiming that it will make you high or cure your cancer is illegal.

So, yes it should be legal to posess or sell all substances, though with restrictions on the amount for those substances useful or necessary for the manufacture of explosives, biological weapons, or nuclear devices. Don't make effectiveness claims that you can't backup.

I don't use drugs - don't trust some random pill or powder and can't inhale. Prohibition of easily manufactiureable items is ineffective and creates too much crime, whether it is alcohol, drugs, or handguns.

John Stodder said...

I will admit to hoping Guiliani's election as president would bring about a "Nixon-to-China" surprise on the war on drugs. If Guiliani looked honestly at what our government is doing and told the public that it's a failure, a fraud and a tragedy, he could get away with it in a way that Clinton or Obama surely could not.

Sloanasaurus said...

The sorry truth is that the "genius of private enterprise" has failed and government MUST step in to get American costs under control and more in line with what our competitors like Germany, S Korea, India, France pay.

Cedar, I think you are wrong on this. If people start getting priced out of affordable health care, then there will be an excess demand that someone will find a way to provide. Minute clinics are a good example of this. If people start going to minute clinics because it is cheaper and more convenient, the bigger providers will have to start competing and they will find a way to provide the same and better service at less cost.

If the government ran health care there would be no competition and health care would get worse and worse with no end in site.

AlphaLiberal said...

I think pot should be legalized. It's a plant, for Pete's sake and people hurt no-one smoking it.

As far as his predictions about disaster if we reform the health care system, it's nothing unusual. Conservatives play the Chicken little routine anytime a new change comes along.

Air bags? Impossible, too costly and would never work. Any pollution control that's come down the pike, the same argument.

You could write a book with the examples. It's really a formula.

(And, Ann, glad you like the straight talk! ;)

Sloanasaurus said...

People who support legalizing marijuana are people with no kids, or people with kids who are now adults and had the benefit of growing up in a society where drugs could not be purchase legally.

If you have a kid who is say going into middle school. You don't want legal drugs. What fool would want them.

Wade Garrett said...

Sloanasaurus - Alcohol and cigarettes are legal, and their health effects are at least as bad as those of marijuana. Let's say you've got a kid going into middle school. Aren't you glad that cigarettes and alcohol have age requirements? Why wouldn't the same work for marijuana?

I've always said no to drugs, but I do drink beer. Some people prefer marijuana to alcohol, its two different roads to the same destination. Who's to say one is healthier than the other? Who, other than some legislators 40 years ago when people believed movies like "Reefer Madness" to be literally true?

peter hoh said...

John Stodder, I wish I could believe that Giuliani could pull a "Nixon goes to China" on the War of Drugs. During the primaries, let's see if he zigs on anything when everyone expects him to zag. The only time he seemed to demonstrate a bit of this was when he decided not to try to claim a recent conversion to the Pro-Life camp. Of course, that would have required a massive amount of BS and bluster, and I don't think that even Giuliani could have pulled that off.

Synova said...

I have kids.

I'm not a crusader about it but legalized pot would be fine with me.

I've never once tried pot.

Never once smoked a cigarette.

Only once drank enough to get a buzz.

I expect my children not to smoke tobacco despite it's legality. I expect my children to drink in extreme moderation, now and later, despite the legality of alcohol.

I would expect them not to smoke pot if it were illegal or if it were legal.

It's *harmful* to our society that we've mistaken "legal" for "good for you." The two things have nothing in common. It's harmful to our society that we've mistaken "illegal" for "bad for you."

The result is babies crying "Why did Daddy State let me do this if it was bad for me? Waaaa!"

It's interesting to go someplace where just about any vice is available and see which people carry their virtue and control on the inside and which people behave only because someone else makes the rules for them.

Too many jims said...

B said...
Yet during the poverty-producing" Bush years:

46% of those in the Census Bureau poverty statistics OWN THEIR OWN HOMES, . . . That is the highest poverty homeownership rate on record - thank you President Bush.


I will admit that I was skeptical of the 46% number at first. I think that it comes from the 2001 American Housing Survey. (That report was cited in this Heritage report which referenced the 46% figure.) If you got the 46% figure from another place, please let me know.

So, yes, 46% of those below the poverty line apparently did own their homes during te Bush administration. The American Housing Survey is reported every two years in odd number years and apparently the 2001 figure for homeownership among those below the poverty line was the high water mark.

But before we go "thanking" President Bush (setting aside how much credit any President deserves for such performance) let's keep a few things in mind. 1) The survey is conducted every two years, it is possible that if the survey had been conducted in 2000 the percent of homeownership among those in poverty would have exceeded the 2001 figure. 2)The figure was for 2001, most people who are supportive of President Bush's economic policies refer to this period as the "Clinton Recession"; so if Clinton is responsible for the recession, he must be responsible for the high rate of home-ownership among those in poverty, no? 3)The 2003 (43.4%) and 2005 (42.65%) American Housing Surveys show that percentage of homeownership among those in poverty has declned to point where it is lower than it was in the 1999 survey (44%) and only slightly higher than it was in the 1997 survey (42.09%)

and 58% of those poverty homeowners OWN THEIR HOMES FREE AND CLEAR, WITH SUBSTANTIAL EQUITY, which are among many assets not counted in determining someone's poverty status.

Can you please provide a source fot the 58% figure? According to information I found, for all homeowners (see table "MORTGAGE STATUS AND REFINANCING ACTIVITY OF HOMEOWNERS, 2005), approximately 24.8 million own homes outright while approximately 50.1 million have some sort of mortgage. This means that among all homeowners approximately 33% own their homes "free and clear".

John Stodder said...

People who support legalizing marijuana are people with no kids...

In addition to the point made about how, somehow, most of our kids make it to adulthood in a country where alcohol is legal, my proposed alternative to the ineffective war on drugs would be to focus some of the now-wasted resources on the real issues: preventing and curing addiction, preventing DUI and protecting kids.

Abandoning the war on drugs doesn't mean ignoring the real problems drugs cause. It means trying to address them more effectively and compassionately.

Internet Ronin said...

The DEA's standard seems to be, "Can we say boogidi boogidi to a jury about this doctor and get a conviction? Can we characterize a dose as unusually large? Can we string together enough anecdotes to make this doctor look irresponsible?"

Yep. SOP for them.

Sloanasaurus said...

Let's say you've got a kid going into middle school. Aren't you glad that cigarettes and alcohol have age requirements? Why wouldn't the same work for marijuana?

You make a good point. In fact I have never seen anyone high on marijuana bashing someones face in.

I certainly don't think we should ban tobacco and alcohol, I enjoy them myself. However, maybe its a good think to just keep those. Why add more drugs to the pot.

Michael said...

Doyle: There is no reference to health care among Rudy's "12 Commitments to the American People," and none of those commitments contain any specific policy proposals.

The federal government is granted the power to lay and collect taxes for specific things, but paying for health care, socialist or otherwise, isn't among them.

blake said...

Sloan,

Well, because prohibiting them is such a disastrous failure. That's why you'd add more drugs to the mix.

Hey, it could be a two-fer: By decriminalize adult use, we could crack down on those peddling to minors.

Seems reasonable.

I did hear Rudy "zig" as far as health insurance goes. He suggested something a lot more concrete than I've heard elsewhere (by making health insurance not "free money" to those who have jobs with zero-co-pay as a benefit).

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

B wrote:

More people in poverty in the US today, my ass.

I'm going to pass on the invitation to discuss your ass; I'd prefer to stick with a less substantial topic like poverty.

In my post about poverty, I mentioned poverty rates, not the number of people living in poverty. However, it's a simple matter to look at those numbers (from the US Census Bureau, 2006):

YEAR | NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN POVERTY
----------------------------------
2000 | 278,944
2001 | 281,475
2002 | 285,317
2003 | 287,699
2004 | 290,617
2005 | 293,135

This isn't a surprise. Even in years when the poverty rate has decreased, the number of people living in poverty has increased. For example, when Clinton took office, the poverty rate was 14.8%; when he left office, the poverty rate had dropped to 11.3%, but the number of people living in poverty had increased from 256,549 to 278,944.

In the last 50 years, the number of people living in poverty has increased every year.

So B, in conclusion, more people in the U.S. are living in poverty than ever before. And the poverty rate has increased since Bush became president.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

B,

Since you've mentioned concern about Census Bureau methodology in compiling poverty statistics, I refer you to the poverty rates calculated using the National Academy of Sciences recommendations for changing the poverty measure.

At the US Census Bureau website, you will find a table for the NAS based poverty rates from 1999 to 2005. In the table, 12 different measures of poverty rate are calculated. Each of these measures show that the poverty rate has increased since Bush became president.

Let me repeat this finding for the sake of clarity:

As calculated using the "official measure", the poverty rate has increased since 2000. Using twelve different poverty measures proposed by the National Academy of Sciences, the poverty rate has increased since 2000 according to each of the 12 NAS measures.

I hope this puts an end to the nonsense of citing home ownership statistics to try to refute US Census Bureau poverty figures.

LoafingOaf said...

People who support legalizing marijuana are people with no kids.... If you have a kid who is say going into middle school. You don't want legal drugs. What fool would want them.

Well, it's pretty damn easy for kids to buy bags of weed right now.

I support legalizing marijuana because I like marijuana and don't see how it's harming anyone when I smoke it.

Like someone else said, it's a friggin' plant. How can a plant be illegal in a free country? But I understand puritanism is powerful in America.

The fact that marijuana is helpful to cancer patients, AIDS patients, glacoma patients, and so on, makes it all the more immoral that it's illegal. I'd feel like an evil f*ck telling someone with a severe illness he/she can't smoke a joint if he/she would feel better from smoking one. There's no legit reason for stopping them from smoking marijuana. But then there's no legit reason for stoppng me from smoking up just to have a good time.

I appreciate Giuliani can't say anything other than a hard line anti-marijuana position in a campaign, but I hope that wasn't part of what Althouse was referring to as "straight talk".

B said...

too many jims: I will seek the supporting evidence on the 58% figure. You are correct on the Housing survey years and Clinton/Bush - which still does not negate the point I am trying to make -(let's add Cyrus here):

The current definition of poverty threshold used by the Census Bureau - and the alternatives proposed by the NAS - are:

Worthless. Dung.



All current official poverty threshold definitions being used- including the alternatives proffered by the NAS - are based on 2 main criteria:

1) annual income - surveyed, not actually IRS verifiable, and often understated

and

2) a person's position in or out of a "family" - now there's a definition that everyone agrees on today, right?

Not allowing assets such as homeownership or business equity to be a major part of a poverty definition is insane.

INSANE.


An example of the government's stupidity: allowing someone's basic needs to be partially met by government subsidies and then not counting that value as a part of "income" for example, skews the poverty threshold. The NAS alternative measure only accounts for part of those subsidy values, and even that joke reduces the rate by around 1%. And that is hundreds of thousands of people that just left poverty - overnight! And you know there's more than that.

In simple terms a family could have all of it's food needs provided for by government subsidies and therefore spend the money on something else - meaning they are less poor than others they are matched with on the poverty line.


Therefore, I don't give a rat's ass - maybe you prefer a rat's to mine - about the official number or official rate of poverty in America, because it's bogus. Irrelevant. Outdated.

You don't have a better definition than I do of poverty in America, because neither of us has a grasp on what the definition should be in 2007. Certainly none of those proferred so far by the NAS will fit a realistic bill.

But I do know that unless the threshold definition is drastically changed to reflect today's society, then it is basically useless to make the statement that the poverty rate went up or down in, say, the last 4 years. It has no real world meaning - only liberal heart fluffies.

Some may live in an ivory tower, but in the real world out here we know who is actually poor and who is not by a reasonable look at their situation. The government (and most liberals), relying on a 40 year old concept of poverty figurin' that has no relevance to today's America, has no clue.


Again, respectfully, my ass.

B said...

Cyrus,

I do thank you for the info about the NAS figures. They are here:

www.census.gov/hhes/www/povmeas/tables.html


Also, interestingly in this report:

Calculation of Alternative Poverty Measures 2004

the government debates how to revise the survey of poverty, but they start with the same flawed premise, building off annual income alone, still using an outdated measurement base.

Don't these eggheads have any real world experience?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

It's not clear to me why Giuliani regards the "War on Poverty" a "tragedy." Perhaps he should have provided some of the "specifics" that he urges us to demand from other candidates.

Here are a few facts about the "War on Poverty:

In 1964, the US poverty rate was 19% (according to the US Census Bureau. The historical US poverty rate averages prior to this are estimated at 20-25% (according to the Census Bureau). When LBJ left office, the poverty rate had dropped to 12.8%, and has remained well below pre-1964 historical US averages ever since. How is this a tragedy?

If Giuliani judges the War on Poverty to be a "tragedy," then surely he must think the War in Iraq is a miserable failure. When Giuliani says:

We tried a simplistic solution and look what happened.

he could (and probably should) be talking about the War on Terror. (Remember, the War on Poverty at least led to lower poverty rates; the War on Terror has, so far, led to higher terrorism rates.)

Although Giuliani urges voters to "press other candidates for specifics," he seems awfully short on specifics himself. Of course, hypocrisy from presidential candidates is nothing new, but it hardly qualifies as "straight talk."

Paco Wové said...

C. P., you grabbed the wrong column for your data.

(Numbers in 1,000's)
Year | Total Pop. | In poverty |  %
2005 | 293,135 | 36,950 | 12.6
2004 | 290,617 | 37,040 | 12.7
2003 | 287,699 | 35,861 | 12.5
2002 | 285,317 | 34,570 | 12.1
2001 | 281,475 | 32,907 | 11.7
2000 | 278,944 | 31,581 | 11.3

What's also interesting is to look at poverty rates since, say, 1990:

2005 | 12.6
2004 | 12.7
2003 | 12.5
2002 | 12.1
2001 | 11.7
2000 | 11.3
1999 | 11.9
1998 | 12.7
1997 | 13.3
1996 | 13.7
1995 | 13.8
1994 | 14.5
1993 | 15.1
1992 | 14.8
1991 | 14.2
1990 | 13.5

So rates are higher than they were in 2000, yet below where they were for most of the 1990's.

B said...

Again, Cyrus,

The War on Poverty had some initial effect - like Brown V. Board of Ed - and certainly admirable goals.

But our world has changed so drastically that the old measurements don't work anymore.

Which is probably true of the War on Terror, a new war type which we have never fought before. Perhaps our measurements of success are still tied to the old measurements that belong to another era . . .

Pogo said...

Dronabinol (Marinol®), an analog of THC, can currently be prescribed as an atiemetic for chemotherapy or AIDS, or as an appetite stimulant (in AIDS or dementia).

However, it takes over an hour for Dronabinol to work, while smoked or vaporized cannabis is effective almost immediately.

It is also only one among tens of cannabinoids in marijuana. The efficacy of those remaining compnonents is unclear.

This remains a cultural and not a medical or scientific question. There is a valid concern about the negative effects of regular marijuana use. And it seems doubtful to me that legalizing it is possible in the same era in which we are outlawing cigarettes, trans-fats, and even sleepiness (at least while driving or babysitting). Not to mention how freaked we get by driving with any alcohol in our bloodstream.

Plus, what company, now operating extra-legally, would jump in and manufacure legal pot when the tobacco companies are being put out of business by lawsuits and attorneys general? Seems easier to me to operate just as they are.

We might instead decriminalize related offenses, the blind eye approach usually given to prostitution as a form of soft regulation. I just can't see any company stupid enough to stick thier neck out for the trial attorneys to slice. They'd have to be high.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

B,

Thank you for your thoughtful, polite response. Unfortunately, I don't agree with much of it.

For example, although there are indeed some problems in calculating a meaningful poverty rate, the problems you mention relate to calculating absolute rates. These problems are minimized, however, when we compare poverty rates over a short time period as I did in comparing poverty rates in 2000 with those in 2005.

Also, I think the NAS proposals are reasonably good first attempts at addressing many of the problems you identify in the current calculation of the "official" poverty rate. And contrary to what you wrote, the NAS poverty measures yield higher (not lower) poverty rates.

An interesting fact from the recent Human Poverty Index report is that, among the top twenty countries in HPI, the United States ranks last in the percentage of population below 50% of median adjusted household disposable income (17%). In addition, the United States ranks last in probability at birth of surviving to age 60 (11.8%), and third to last in percentage of people lacking functional literacy skills (22%).

I wonder if we could get some "straight talk" from Giuliani on how he intends to produce improvement in these areas.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

paco,

Thank you very much for the correction.

The interesting part of the series you posted is the trend. If you look at the poverty rate figures since 1976, you'll see that they follow a similar pattern, qualitatively, to federal deficits (i.e., ballooning during the early 80s, declining in the 90s, and rising again recently. To the extent that we look at poverty rates as a function of public policy (and I'm not sure that this is what you were doing), we should be comparing trends, not numbers. In other words, we should be concerned about recent poverty rate increases rather than applauding that the poverty rate is much lower than it was in 1959. As with analysis of unemployment figures or federal deficits, progress with poverty rates should be measured relative to a meaningful starting point.

Pogo said...

Cyrus,
The problem is that the definition of "poverty" is not static, but dependent on parameters that vary with and are relative to the income of others.

As such, there is no such identifiable thing as "poverty" in the US today, at least not the poverty that had been understood for centuries, the grinding hand-to-mouth existence extant in African nations and other third world countries.

By today's numbers, a vast majority of Americans were in poverty, from 1700 and well into the 1940s. But they themselves did not define it as such.

Modern "poverty" statistics are of questionable utility. When obesity is a major problem among the "poor", it begs credulity.

In reality, actual living standards for low-income Americans have risen considerably over time. "In 1972-73, for example, just 42 percent of the bottom fifth of American households owned a car; in 2003, almost three-quarters of "poverty households" had one. By 2001, only 6 percent of "poverty households" lived in "crowded" homes (more than one person per room) - down from 26 percent in 1970. By 2003, the fraction of poverty households with central air-conditioning (45 percent) was much higher than the 1980 level for the non-poor (29 percent)."*

You are welcome to believe reported poverty statistics. I don't. They lie as only statistics can.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

B wrote:

Perhaps our measurements of success are still tied to the old measurements that belong to another era . . .

Yes, maybe so. In any case, you've already offered far more "straight talk" on this subject than Rudy. Any interest in running for President?

David53 said...

Cyrus,

Just curious, do the poverty statistics you quote include our 11 million plus illegal aliens? I would assume most of them live below the poverty level as we define it, but in fact their standard of living is far higher than where they came from.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

You are welcome to believe reported poverty statistics. I don't. They lie as only statistics can.

Pogo, let's say for the moment that I accept your assertion that poverty measurements as they are now taken, are meaningless. What do you suggest we replace them with? Or is it your position here that we need not try to estimate poverty in our society?

Why do you dismiss the NAS recommended poverty measures out of hand? And do you really believe, as you imply, that poverty definitions should not change with time?

Also, as a doctor, you well know that obesity often reflects a poor diet. There are recent studies that show a link between obesity and poverty. Poverty often leads to poor nutrition and poor nutrition to obesity. Your line of reasoning here suggests that you believe people must be going hungry to qualify as "living in poverty."

The truth is that other countries have significantly lower poverty rates than the United States. The fact poverty "standards" are revised each year in reassessing poverty rates doesn't change the fact that a higher percentage of our population is in poverty now than in 2000. It also doesn't change the fact that a higher percentage of our population is in poverty compared to many other nations in Europe.

Is this a critical issue to Americans? Probably not. Is this an issue that Giuliani is prepared to address as a matter of public policy? Highly doubtful.

Roger said...

as one of the commentators noted above, until poverty figures measure wealth versus income, they will not be particularly useful. Poverty rates arent a particularly useful measurer of much, and in fact, the variation in rates doesnt appear to be statistically significant (although I have not done a chi square calculation to test that assertion). Just because something trends up or down, does NOT mean that trend is significant. The statistics in the census tables are "raw" statistics; they have to be tested using standard statistical techniques before they have any real use (other than supporting anecdotal assertions.)

Roger said...

Cyrus raises an excellent point with respect to the role of poverty and its link to obesity. Poverty--or more generally lower socio-economic status--tends to be the common factor in a many of life's bad outcomes. Thus the fact that by whatever measure approximately ten percent of the American population is "in poverty," and that ten percent suffers more than their share of bad outcomes because of it.

The larger question, of course, is WHY are they in poverty. And regretably, science offers no clear cut answers. It could be they their poverty status correlates with their ability to function in society; their mental health; their IQ, or any other number of measures. Treating poverty by wealth transfer is probably NOT going to fix the underlying problem.

On a totally different tangent: the word "link" can be highly misleading to the lay public. Media reports often talk about the "link" between A and B; but that usage displays a considerable amount of statical ignorance. Unless you read the underlying study, you will never know that, in fact, what these studies tend to do is identify correlations between variables. The word "link" to a lay person, suggest causality; stastistically speaking, correlation is NOT causality.

Fen said...

Alpha: I think pot should be legalized. It's a plant, for Pete's sake and people hurt no-one smoking it.

Opium. China.

The claim that drug abuse hurts no-one is incredibly naive.

Fen said...

Treating poverty by wealth transfer is probably NOT going to fix the underlying problem.

Exactly. A significant amount of poverty is due to bad habits. When our poor riot, do they steal food or flatscreen tvs?

Pogo said...

Re: "What do you suggest we replace them with? "
It would be more useful to define poverty by a fixed measure that would apply to difference societies in different eras. I suspect this would entirely eliminate poverty in the US.

What I think you are trying to elicit is the number of people in the lowest quartile or quintile of national income. But there will always be such a group, regardless of how wealthy a nation becomes. The only way this could be eliminated is by a communist system, but even then the nomenklatura will exist, keeping the highest goods for itself.

There is the argument that severe relative differences in wealth are a destabilizing influence on society, and that government intervention is therefore required. I dispute that, but I understand the discussion.

Current "poverty" statistics don't help in that regard, as many people like myself dismiss such numbers as mere political gerrymandering, because they see "the poor" for themselves, and they simply don't look poor. While you might like to focus efforts on "fixing" those in lower socio-economic levels, there is little evidence that government intervention is useful in that regard.

In fact, there will always be a lower socio-economic status. I would think it more useful to raise the entire national income so that even the lowest rungs are quite rich, comparative to the past and other nations.

Hence my favoring of the only mechanism known to accomplish this, capitalism.

Gahrie said...

I've said it before, and I will say it again. The poor in the United States today have a higher standard of living than 95% (or more) of all the people who have ever lived. They have a higher standard of living than any of the Pharohs of Egypt or Emperors of China. They have a higher standard of living than the elite in many countries, and lastly they have a higher standard of living than the rich in the United States fifty years ago.

I agree with pogo - the concept of poverty is arbitrary and ever changing.

The key is to look at the cause of such a rapid and sustained rise in the quality of life of everyone in the U.S. (and in most places around the world) over the last 100 years. The answer is capitalism and free markets.

Central economic planning and collectivism of various strains have resulted in much of the misery around the world in the last 100 years.

Fen said...

Agree with both Pogo and Gahrie above. Having served in Somolia, its really hard to get worked up about the "poor" in the US.

AlphaLiberal said...

Fen, I'm talking about pot smoking. It does less damage to the body than alcohol, which is terribly destructive to bodies and society.

IF you're referring to the damage inflicted by the black market, well that's the result of the laws, not the hootch. See "prohibition."

AlphaLiberal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlphaLiberal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlphaLiberal said...

Anyway, I came to post this observation:

It would be great to have Giuliani as the Repub nominee. I can see the commercials now:
"If you liked George Bush, you'll love Rudy Giuliani."

News yesterday was that Giuliani signed up Norman Podhertz, Iraq Fiasco Architect. He's also got the whore john Sen David Vitter on his campaign.

He's like the Velcro (TM) candidate. He's great!

(need more coffee!)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Roger said:
WHY are they in poverty. And regretably, science offers no clear cut answers.

For starters, you can look to education. You can tie a direct correlation to high school drop-outs to poverty and incarceration. Toss in teen pregnancy with those who inevitably will be a single mom with zero skills (the easy availability of birth control and abortion notwithstanding) and you’re probably about halfway there to your answer.

Pogo said...

Hoosier's right.

Daniel Moynihan, George Will, Ben Stein and others have summarized the rules to avoid poverty as follows:

1. Graduate from high school (attend, and pay attention)
2. Don't have a baby until you are married
3. Don't marry while you are a teenager
4. Don't get involved in drugs and alcohol
5. Don’t engage in criminal activity.
6. Take any job.

Fen said...

Alpha: Fen, I'm talking about pot smoking. It does less damage to the body than alcohol, which is terribly destructive to bodies and society.

But you misunderstand the dangers ANY drug abuse does to society. Thats why China & Opium are relevant. And using alcohol as a justification for legalization is unwise: we have enough problems with drunk driving and alcohol abuse, and you want to add another drug into the mix?

IF you're referring to the damage inflicted by the black market, well that's the result of the laws, not the hootch. See "prohibition."

No, I'm referring to the damage a "mere plant" did to Chineese society. Research it. Imagine crack houses alternating down your street.

As for prohibition, instead of focusing on the black marker coruption, research the causes that led to the movement - demands from wives and children that their husbands/fathers were addicted and sqaundering the rent money on whiskey.

Overall, this may be more of a Libertarian question. I smoke weed and drink wine. Occasionally. I would like to continue, but a large segment of society cannot indulge with excess. So the government moves in to say that since some can't control their addictions, all of us must stop using. Where would you draw the line?

hdhouse said...

Pogo said...
"Modern "poverty" statistics are of questionable utility. When obesity is a major problem among the "poor", it begs credulity."

Then you know nothing about the cost of food, the ingredients in "cheaper" food and above all dietary issues that are linked to income.

How about you come back when you just do a minimal of google searching on the subject. Otherwise, stop spouting the neo-GOP party line for a change.

Fen said...

HD, you're talking about proper nutrition. Pogo is speaking to starvation. You really should get out into the 3rd World sometime.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo,

You've missed the number one rule for avoiding poverty...

Don't be born into poverty.

Fen said...

Don't be born into poverty.

Better: Don't be born into a fatherless household [thanks welfare pimps]

Pogo said...

Re: "Don't be born into poverty."

True in many countries but not the US, thankfully.

My mom's father and my Dad were born poor, but did fine themselves. There are innumerable stories of people coming to the US and making a fortine (that is in fact why they came in the first place). Oprah was born into poverty. Michael Jackson, too.

So Cyrus, unlike in other societies where class at birth determines one's life trajectory, that is simply untrue. It has some correlation, to be sure, but there is an enormous amount of economic mobility in the US.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger said...

Pogo's post reminds me of yet another reason why poverty figures are difficult to use: census data does not look at inter-quintile mobility among individuals. You can not assume, for example, that the individuals in the lowest quintile are the same individuals that were in that quintile at the last census.

Luckyoldson said...

fen,
are you actually trying to compare pot to opium?

dumb.

Luckyoldson said...

i love the way the wingnuts here whine about how horrible opium is for china...when the crop in afghanistan has increased by 65% since we went into iraq.

where do you suppose that opium ends up?

Fen said...

Lucky: fen, are you actually trying to compare pot to opium? dumb

No Lucky, its your question thats "dumb". Alpha imlpied that a mere plants were harmless: It's a plant, for Pete's sake. Opium is also a plant.

Please try to keep up.

Pogo said...

I love the way LOS changes the subject when his arguments are deficient.

P.S. I still will not date you, LOS, so don't ask. Most people got over hair-pulling to demonstrate affection by fourth grade.

Fen said...

Lucjy: i love the way the wingnuts here whine about how horrible opium is for china

Idiot. I was talking about how horrible opium was for China. Look it up. Try living in a society where your local economy is in shards - you can't find or purchase raw goods because the working class has escaped into an alternate reality.

You have much experience with alternate realities Lucky. Should be an easy one for you.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie,

No offense, but I see no value whatsoever in comparing the impoverished of today with those of hundreds of years ago. The poor today are required to function in modern day society, so to suggest that their access to "conveniences" (like running water and toilets, car and phones, etc...) means they aren't living in poverty is silly.

IMO, the notion that there is some absolute definition of poverty is bizarre. Perhaps you and Pogo are equating starvation with poverty, but I suspect most people don't define poverty that way.

Also, your claim that the definition of poverty is "arbitrary" and ever changing is strange. Yes, the definition of poverty changes relative to societal standards. No, the definition of poverty isn't arbitrary. There are many measures of poverty in use throughout the world, and although they may not be precise measures, they are certainly not arbitrary or meaningless.

From my point of view, the measures of poverty in current use are a little like measuring horses in "hands" as originally practiced. Given the variability in the size of a human hand, measurements based on hands will not be precise, but they aren't meaningless either.

When people cannot afford many of the basic resources and tools that their fellow citizens enjoy, something akin to poverty exists. Since poverty persists in the United States, the suggestion that capitalism and free markets are the solution is clearly wrong. Since poverty rates are relatively low in places like Norway, Denmark, and Finland, the idea that centralized economic planning is simply a source of misery is also incorrect.

I think the general tone of the responses I'm seeing about poverty here suggests that I'm right about the level of concern a majority of Americans have about poverty--little to none.

Luckyoldson said...

fen,
really? they're BOTH plants?

so...what does that mean, fen?

other than both being a "plant," what is your point of comparison?

"abuse?"

abuse ANYTHING and you can create big problems.

*any comment about the afghanistan crop?

TMink said...

The poor in other countries want to come to America where "the poor people are fat."

And the statistics about the causes of poverty are rock solid and covered very well in Pogo's post about the Stein, Will et al. data.

We know the causes of poverty. When will the "civil rights" crowd like the NAACP start promoting ending poverty by avoiding those 6 poverty predictors? Sometime after they stop blaming whitey for their problems.

Trey

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

So Cyrus, unlike in other societies where class at birth determines one's life trajectory, that is simply untrue. It has some correlation, to be sure, but there is an enormous amount of economic mobility in the US.

To be fair, I didn't write that being born into poverty causes a life of poverty. (In that regard, I ask all to heed Roger's reminder that "correlation is NOT causality.") What I identified in my statement is the importance of economic circumstance at birth in determining poverty.

For example, you mention the following five "rules" in avoiding poverty:

1. Graduate from high school (attend, and pay attention)
2. Don't have a baby until you are married
3. Don't marry while you are a teenager
4. Don't get involved in drugs and alcohol
5. Don’t engage in criminal activity.


Yet, you don't seem to realize that those who are born into poverty are far more likely than others to break any or all of those five rules. And yes, it even happens in the United States!

Please don't misread this. I'm not saying that being born into poverty guarantees a life of poverty. It simply makes it more likely, statistically.

Finally, if you will Pogo, tell me what the persistence rate for poverty is in the United States (i.e., what percentage of those who are born into poverty lead adult lives in poverty).

Roger said...

Cyrus: I do agree most people in the united states generally arent concerned about poverty. If they were, the Edwards campaign would be doing a lot better. I am not sure I agree that the fact that we have poverty and capitalism is proof the capitalism doesnt work. If we drop the value laden term poverty, and replace it with lowest quintile of income, the fact that income is not uniform is not proof that capitalism doesnt work. Capitalism never posited equality of income; in fact, just the opposite.

The scandinavian countries are frequently cited as exemplars, but the major issue in dealing with scandanavian countries is (up until recently) their remarkable homogeniety of population: white and Lutheran with a strong collectivist ethic. The test of those European societies will be how they assimilate their ever increasing immigrant population who arent white and lutheran. My guess it, it wont be easy for either the immigrants nor the host countries.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think the general tone of the responses I'm seeing about poverty here suggests that I'm right about the level of concern a majority of Americans have about poverty--little to none.

Cyrus

I don't think that is the case at all. The issue that I and I think others have is that poverty is not solely the result of 'bad luck' but rather largely due to bad choices made.

You continually refer to the poverty rates in Norway, Denmark and Finland and I would ask what is their rate of high school (equivalent) drop out rate and teen pregnancy rate? Do you agree that dropping out of school and getting pregnant at 16 pretty much stack the poverty odds in your favor?

Perhaps your perceived lack of concern by the majority stems more from a belief that a good chunk of poverty is self inflicted rather than a result of pulling the short straw of economic opportunity.

Pogo said...

"Since poverty persists in the United States..."
Again, a problem of definition, but you act as if it were a given that 'poverty persists'. It is not a given, so you cannot rest the remainder of your point on that.

"...the suggestion that capitalism and free markets are the solution is clearly wrong."
Rather conclusory when you have offered no evidence against them.

"Since poverty rates are relatively low in places like Norway, Denmark, and Finland..."
Again, a definitional problem, because


...a study by a Swedish research organization, Timbro, which compared the gross domestic products of the 15 European Union members (before the 2004 expansion) with those of the 50 American states and the District of Columbia. (Norway, not being a member of the union, was not included.)

After adjusting the figures for the different purchasing powers of the dollar and euro, the only European country whose economic output per person was greater than the United States average was the tiny tax haven of Luxembourg, which ranked third, just behind Delaware and slightly ahead of Connecticut.

The next European country on the list was Ireland, down at 41st place out of 66; Sweden was 14th from the bottom (after Alabama), followed by Oklahoma, and then Britain, France, Finland, Germany and Italy. The bottom three spots on the list went to Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Alternatively, the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi. In short, while Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than Americans, Timbro's statistics suggest otherwise. So did a paper by a Swedish economics writer, Johan Norberg.

Luckyoldson said...

trey,
when did you get on the nutty pogo train?

when one is born into poverty it's rather difficult to adhere to the right wing "experts" you sight...who, by the way...are all white.

also...pogo: fen compares opium to pot...there is no comparison, except for the fact that they both plants...period.

considering, as fen says; opium had a horrible impact on china...do YOU have anything to say about the afghanistan crop increasing as it has...you, know, since we went into iraq?

Roger said...

Here's a really good, readable summary of issues surrounding poverty by your Census Department: Readable and raises all of the issues we laiety have touched on above (this has been a really good discussion--thanks to all the participants for being civil, informed, and respectful): http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/povdynam/pov9394.html

Fen said...

Roger Cyrus Pogo et al:

Excellent discussion. Please continue and ignore the troll.

Roger said...

From the Census report I cited above (please excuse the cherry picked quoting):

"Although the similarity in these estimates of the number of poor and poverty rates may suggest to some that poverty is a chronic condition, the reality is quite different: The chronic poverty rate was only one-third of the average monthly rate of 1994. Specifically, only 5.3 percent were poor for all 24 months of 1993 and 1994, compared with the 15.4 percent average monthly poverty rate of 1994."

This is NOT to say that a persistent rate of 5% is a good thing--I subscribe to FDR's "freedom from want" aphorism. But it does place the discussion of poverty in a different perspective.

Luckyoldson said...

fen,
you're such a chickenshit.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

TMink wrote:

When will the "civil rights" crowd like the NAACP start promoting ending poverty by avoiding those 6 poverty predictors? Sometime after they stop blaming whitey for their problems.

Trey, I think you are on dangerous ground here. Do you really believe that the NAACP doesn't want to end poverty for blacks? Do you believe that it's possible that they come at the problem of poverty from a different point of view and therefore see a different solution?

Do you know the rate of persistence of poverty in America? If so, do you understand how, statistically, blacks are more likely to live in poverty simply because they were born into poverty?

Do you believe that black workers are now paid uniformly as well as their white counterparts? Do you believe that the educational opportunities of those who grow up in poverty are as great as those grow up in wealthy families? Do you believe the poor are disadvantaged in the job market?

Do you believe the interests of the poor are under-represented in politics? Do you believe that blacks are under-represented in positions of power in our society? If so, why? Is it because blacks are less intelligent? Less skilled? Lazy? Is it possible that the disadvantages of being born into poverty make it more difficult (but not impossible) to achieve financial success?

I hope you will think about this. In my opinion, blaming the NAACP for poverty is no different than what you describe as "blaming whitey."

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Hoosier,

Excellent point. If you will, tell me what the high school dropout rate is

(a) nationally, and
(b) among those living in poverty.

I suspect the high school dropout rate will be far higher among those living in poverty.

Also, the same reasoning applies to teen pregnancy, teen crime, etc...

I think anyone looking at the poverty avoidance rules listed by Pogo will find a strong correlation between poverty and breaking one or more of the rules.

I hope someone will look into this and post what they find. If someone proves my hypothesis wrong, I will gladly acknowlege it.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo,

Two quick comments...

1. I haven't claimed to know what the poverty persistence rate is. I've seen a rate quoted before (and as I recall, it's very high), but I can't find the source and I don't want to post a number without a source that can be checked by others. In any case, I'm making a statistical argument, as I mentioned previously. I'm not saying that being born into poverty guarantees a life of poverty; rather, growing up in poverty makes it more likely that a child will live of poverty as an adult.

2. I don't understand the connection between low poverty rates in Norway, Denmark, Finland, etc... and your reference to a study of GDP adjusted for purchasing power. How does a study of relative GDP adjusted by purchasing power make poverty rates in Europe a definitional problem? (Remember, the statistic used in the HPI study is percentage of the population below 50% of the median household disposable income. This is basically a crude income disparity measure at the low end of the economic scale.)

Pogo said...

According to the Urban Institute:
"[S]tudies of relative mobility have produced remarkably consistent results, with regard to both the degree of mobility and the extent of changes in mobility over time. Mobility in the United States is substantial according to this evidence. Large proportions of the population move into a new income quintile, with estimates ranging from about 25 to 40 percent in a single year. As one would expect, the mobility rate is even higher over longer periods: about 45 percent over a 5-year period and about 60 percent over both 9-year and 17-year periods."

Another Urban Institute report contains an this item from a 1992 Treasury Department study on mobility during the 1980s, during which "the rich got richer and the poor got poorer":

"The Treasury study uses income tax return data between 1979 and 1988, tracking the adjusted gross income of a group of households that paid income taxes in all ten years examined. The study finds that 86 percent of individuals who were in the bottom quintile in 1979 had moved up by 1988. An individual in the bottom quintile in 1979, in fact, was more likely in 1988 to be found in the top quintile than in the bottom one."

I agree there are problems in mobility here. The rapidly rising cost of education is partly to blame. But that cost is not due to capitalism, but mercantilism or monopolism.

Roger said...

Cyrus: based on that Census study I linked to above, the poverty persistence rate appears to be about one third of the poverty rate (although that data only looked at a two year period).

Pogo said...

Defining poverty as "percentage of the population below 50% of the median household disposable income" favors poorer nations with socialist policies, whereas comparing the countries to each other shows that Sweden and Denmark have less income inequalities, but their people are on the whole actually poorer than most people in the US.

Luckyoldson said...

are any of the people here...discussing "poverty"...of black?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Roger wrote:

The scandinavian countries are frequently cited as exemplars, but the major issue in dealing with scandanavian countries is (up until recently) their remarkable homogeniety of population: white and Lutheran with a strong collectivist ethic.

Yes, this is very true. However, from the HPI survey, France, Germany and Britain (among other countries) also have low poverty rates compared to the US.

To be clear, I'm not blaming capitalism for the higher rate of poverty in the US, nor am I crediting socialism with the lower rates in Europe. I'm merely presenting evidence to counter what I consider a simplistic explanation based on the claim of the inherent virtues of capitalism and the great evil of socialism.

For the record, I'm interested in practical solutions to political problems. I don't care if it comes from the left or the right, as long as it works. Unfortunately, the left and the right in the US seem more interested in securing what's best for the left and the right, respectively, than in what's best for the country.

Until the Democrats and Republicans convince me they can deliver good government, I'll continue to avoid any party affiliation. If either party fields a good candidate, I'll support him. If neither party fields a good candidate, I'll vote for someone else. I refuse to let the Democrats and Republicans define elections as either/or propositions. I'm holding out for something better.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Lucky,

If you're asking if I'm black, the answer is yes.

Roger said...

Wow Cyrus: I always assumed you were the Persian founder of a venerable detective agency! :)

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo,

I'm going to look for the persistence of poverty statistics when I get back later today. I'll post them here in a few hours.

In the meantime, I found in my files a London School of Economics study that shows that among British youth in the 1980s, those who grew up in poverty were four times more likely to live in poverty as adults.

Admittedly, British society is different from American society, but as you can see, the persistence of poverty is not insignificant.

Luckyoldson said...

cyrus,
hence; the substance of your postings.

i always get a kick out of a bunch of white people discussing race and poverty.

i grew up up st. louis, lived in the inner city until i was about 15 and over the years have had many informative and enlightening conversations regarding race and poverty...and there is a distinct difference in people's take on why people are poor.

from my personal experience, pogo's list, compiled by wealthy white men...is fairly standard.

it's just another rendition of the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" mantra.

unfortunately, some people don't have boots.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Two points I haven't seen discussed yet on teh poverty issue:

One- statistically speaking if we have a standard bell curve won't we always have set percentages that will be above and below teh median, including the upper and lower 1,2 and 3 percentiles?

So, statisically speaking, teh poor will always be with us, as we will always have a lower percentile.

Now the problem is where do we draw the to createw a "Poverty Zone"? Do we base it on income, assets or a combination of the two?

I find it hard to classify someone as living in poverty when they own their own home with central air, a car or two and a cable enhanced color TV.

Perhaps we need more of a world view to classify who is in poverty, and based on the standard of living for the lowest half of the world's population set a line that would more accurately set a poverty limit.

Second, maybe poverty is a moving line because our standard of living is also a moving line. What was the standard for high class living a hundred and twenty years ago would be poverty line today (no TV, no indoor bathroom. no fresh fruit in the winter), even what was standard middle class in 1964 would be poverty today (no A/C, one car, three bedrooms for 4 kids).

B said...

luckyoldson,

(checkin' in during lunch - glad to see it's still going)

I grew up for 5 years of my youth in Kansas City (MO) and I do understand urban vs. suburban attitudes towards poverty.

I do realize that many do not have "boots" - and many deserve a helping hand.

But the "one size fits all" that government programs always turn out to be demand trade offs that are often counterproductive to the admirable goal of what is attempting to be achieved.

The most obvious example is the increase in single mother homes in the black community during the "War on Poverty" Welfare years. Was welfare - public subsidies for people at a determined income level - a bad idea? Not necessarily. But the effect of subsidies flowing more easily to a "single parent" family had the negative effect of aiding in the increase of single black mothers raising their children without fathers. It was not the CAUSE of single parent homes, mind you - but it helped increase that statistic. A negative trade off for a commendable idea.

Can government play a more efficient and targeted role in eliminating poverty?

Frankly my dear, I don't have much hope.

Luckyoldson said...

Poverty level designation: Family consisting of...

1 $10,210
2 13,690
3 17,170
4 20,650
5 24,130
6 27,610
7 31,090
8 34,570

Luckyoldson said...

b,
i agree.

B said...

an ed red,

you wrote:

Two points I haven't seen discussed yet on teh poverty issue: . . . Now the problem is where do we draw the to createw a "Poverty Zone"? Do we base it on income, assets or a combination of the two?

Ahem, I refer you to my post above at 6:13 am (4:13 am out here on the left coast - it's an early morning)

Luckyoldson said...

Speaking of "leadership"...

Since the President announced his plan to escalate the war in Iraq:

590 U.S. soldiers have died and 3,575 have been wounded in Iraq since January 10, 2007.

Of the wounded, 1,672 suffer injuries too severe to return to duty.

At least 13,463 civilians and members of the Iraqi Security Forces have died since January 2007.

Nearly 11,000 people have been killed or wounded in multiple fatality bombings.

*And all for the low, low price of...60 Billion Dollars.

B said...

As I mentioned in my post above to luckyoldson, I don't have much hope for the government finding realistic solutions to poverty - heck, we can't as a county agree on what "poverty" in America actually is.

My wife and I give to 2 organizations - one religious, one secular - that feed, clothe, and provide temporary homes for poor people in our area. I don't say that to point out how "noble" we are - my faith teaches to "not do your offerings before men" - but to simply say that while we can only make a small difference, but we can do something.

I'm certain that many or most of the Althouse regulars do something similar, because I get the feeling from their writings that they are more "activist" in their compassion than most of the population. I still don't know the "big solution", though.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

B:

I saw your comment, but my position is that no consensus has been reached (either here or anywhere else that I am aware of) of what constitutes a poverty level. I find it incredible that no matter what my household owns, as long as we make less than a nationally set income level I can be living in poverty.

And Lucky, your stats bear this out. $34,570 (for a family of 8) would not rent a cardboard box in ‘frisco or LA, yet would provide a very nice living in some rural parts of the country. Is this because the rural areas are more poverty stricken, or because they have a more attainable cost of living? I think the later.

Gahrie said...

Cyrus:

1)Also, your claim that the definition of poverty is "arbitrary" and ever changing is strange. Yes, the definition of poverty changes relative to societal standards.

But don't you see what this means? As everyone in society has their standards of living improved, the definition of what poverty means is changed so that some people are still called poor, regardless of the fact that their lives are materially better. Poverty is arbitrary precisely because it's meaning changes from time to time and place to place. You agree that poverty in the U.S. today is not the same thing as poverty in other places or times. So what is the usefullness of the designation?

2)When people cannot afford many of the basic resources and tools that their fellow citizens enjoy, something akin to poverty exists

What basic resources can the poor in the US not afford? Food? Clothing? Housing? Healthcare? No one is going without these today, and those who cannot provide these for themselves are given them by the government. What tools? Education is free. Job training provided by the government is free. What does "akin to poverty" mean?

3)Since poverty persists in the United States, the suggestion that capitalism and free markets are the solution is clearly wrong. Since poverty rates are relatively low in places like Norway, Denmark, and Finland, the idea that centralized economic planning is simply a source of misery is also incorrect.

The first part of your statement is a logical fallacy. Even you admit that as standards of living rise, the definition of poverty changes. Poverty will always persist in the US, because as the poor get richer, we change the meaning of what poor is. By defintion there will always be a lowest quintile of economic performance.

If you look at standard of living rather than the ever-changing term poverty, capitalism and free markets are far and above the source of improvement in people's lives. Everywhere and everytime that capitalism and free markets are instituted, the standard of living for everybody is raised.

However, when you look at command economies, socialist or communist, the standard of living stagnates or regresses for the vast majority of people. For a perfect modern day example look at the history of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. Or Argentina. Whwen Argentina is capitalist, she is prosperous. When she has a command economy, she stagnates or regresses.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If you will, tell me what the high school dropout rate is

(a) nationally, and
(b) among those living in poverty.


Just a quickie Google had this NPR article with accompayning study.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5300726

In 2004, around 22% of 18-24 year olds did not have a high school degree or GED equivalent. The PDF file in the link has additional data on the earnings gap on dropouts vs those with high school and post high school degrees.

I suspect the high school dropout rate will be far higher among those living in poverty. Also, the same reasoning applies to teen pregnancy, teen crime, etc...

I’ll concede that it more than likely is the case. The issue then is how do you keep them in school? Granted, being born into poverty stacks the odds against you but what are the solutions to keeping kids in school and reducing teen pregnancy? I don’t think we don’t disagree on the causes so much as we appear to be at odds over accountability. Regardless of whether one is born into poverty, at some point, the individual must take some responsibility for their situation and staying in school and not having a kid at 16 or 17 are the first major steps. The state isn’t going to chain them to their desks and start a sterilization program so it does fall to the individual. Simply dumping more money is not the answer unless there is a corresponding effort on the part of recipient to use it wisely.
There is a saying that you can’t legislate morality and I’ll go a step further that you can’t buy good behavior either.

Pogo said...

Re: "you can’t buy good behavior either"

The persistence of poverty from one generation to the next is real can be blamed on the parents (or lack of them) and immediate cultural milieu (or lack of it). Moynihan blamed the welfare system itself for fostering such failures.

The inability to defer gratification is evident when the importance of school is not high (or is even denigrated), girls become unwed mothers, juveniles marry young, take drugs, commit crimes, or can't hold down a job.

Such factors in success, contra LOS, aren't exclusive to "whites", and why someone would think blacks or any group cannot perform thus is unclear.

Luckyoldson said...

gahrie says: "What basic resources can the poor in the US not afford? Food? Clothing? Housing? Healthcare? No one is going without these today, and those who cannot provide these for themselves are given them by the government."

really?

well, then what's the problem?

everybody's fine.

Roger said...

precisely, lucky: that is what some of us are arguing, and that, IMO, is why redressing "poverty " never gets much traction as an election issue--at least among the Ds and Rs.

rishi said...

Please Ms.Althouse, Rudy Giuliani is anything but a straight shooter.

Revenant said...

The sorry truth is that the "genius of private enterprise" has failed

Um, Cedarford, we're not USING private enterprise in the United States. We're using a horribly mangled mess of government bureaucracies, heavily-regulated corporations, and arcane tax loopholes. People who point out that health costs rise every year tend to overlook the fact that government involvement in health care has ALSO increased every year. Every year or two we're sold another package of regulations, taxes, and government programs that promise to "control health care costs", and every year they rise again.

Gahrie said...

Luckyoldson:

(sorry everyone..I know I'm feeding a troll, but I can't help myself)

What would a success in the war on poverty look like?

We both believe that the government is involved in a war on poverty. I believe that the war can never be won, because of human nature and ever chganging standards and goals. You eveidently believe that victory can be achieved if we try harder or use different tactics.

So what would victory look like? How do we achieve a system that has no lowest quintile?

How about as an experiment we give everyone a million dollars. But what happens when some people squander their money? And what about everyone who has more than a million dollars? Wouldn't we just change the definition of poverty to be everyone who only has a million dollars?

Revenant said...

Yes, the definition of poverty changes relative to societal standards.

If poverty is nothing more than a socially-defined construct, Cyrus, there's no reason to care about it.

Peter said...

". . perhaps marijuana should be legalized, not just for people who can portray themselves as sick enough, but for any adult. Of course, he can hardly say that."

Because he can hardly engage in anything resembling "straight talk."

AJ Lynch said...

Hoosier Daddy:

According to this US Census link, 87% of those 20-24 years old have a high school diploma or more. I was a bit surprised it was that high but was not surprised that NPR may have been overstating the crisis in education. NPR's methodology (perhaps) is they included 18 year olds and many of those are still in their senior year.

http://www.census.gov/population
/www/socdemo/education
/cps2006.html

Synova said...

Poverty rates are like the new definition of hunger which includes "food insecurity."

It doesn't matter if you've got food to eat if you were insecure about it.

(Having lived in the PI with neighbors who truly lived day to day and hand to mouth, I am not impressed.)

Synova said...

And quite amazingly... poor people in the Philippines aren't fat.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie,

Before I catch up with other posts, I want to address something you've been discussing. You mention eliminating the lowest quintile at least twice. Statistically this is not possible. In a distribution of incomes, there will always be a lowest quintile.

What can be done, for instance, is to change where the average income for the lowest quintile sits relative to the median income. Let me give you an example of this...

Lets say that our population consists of five people. We define an income of 10K or lower as poverty since in our hypothetical example, this income means you can't afford health insurance and reliable transportation. Now, say the distribution of incomes is 50K, 40K, 30K, 20K and 10K. This gives us one person living in poverty. If instead the income distribution is 45K, 40K, 30K, 20K and 15K, the median income and average income are unchanged, but in this population no one lives in poverty. However, there still is a bottom quintile.

Redneck,

As you visualize it, the distribution of incomes is a bell-shaped curve. You are right that there is always a bottom fraction, but poverty isn't defined as a particular bottom segment of the population (see example above, for example, where the poverty level is a fixed income). Even in cases in which the poverty level is defined relative to the median, poverty can be eliminated statistically by making the bell curve very steep and narrow (i.e., pinching the ends in toward the median).

So, in answer to your question, no, the shape of the income distribution curve does not imply, theoretically, that there will always be a segment of the population living in poverty.

I hope this helps clarify any confusing statistical points.

Pogo said...

Re: "We define an income of 10K or lower as poverty..."

The problem with your example is twofold:

1) The definition of "poverty" gets redefined whenever incomes change; it does not stay static. That's the point many of us were trying to make. And if poverty is so elastically defined, it has no real meaning at all.

2) Such a coerced 'redistribution' makes a huge assumption that is not true: it assumes a certain income in total and presumes that forcing incomes into a narrower bell would have no impact on the very generation of wealth required to be "distributed". This is entirely false.

Whenever this has been attempted, incomes and total wealth fall.

Gahrie said...

Cyrus:

I have never said the bottom quintile can be eliminated. The fact that it can't is my point.

My point is that there will always be a bottom quintile, and this quintile will always be considered poor as compared to the other four, no matter how high its standard of living is.

As to your example:

We define an income of 10K or lower as poverty since in our hypothetical example, this income means you can't afford health insurance and reliable transportation. Now, say the distribution of incomes is 50K, 40K, 30K, 20K and 10K. This gives us one person living in poverty. If instead the income distribution is 45K, 40K, 30K, 20K and 15K, the median income and average income are unchanged, but in this population no one lives in poverty. However, there still is a bottom quintile.

You example makes sense except for one pertinent fact. Just as soon as we confiscate that $5 thousand from the rich and give it to the poor, the government will then determine that the poverty level is now $15 thousand dollars. (This is in fact exactly what has happened during the last 40 years of the war on poverty)

Poverty is not an objective standard concerning standard of living, but a subjective standard comparing relative wealth. It is a licence for income redistribution pure and simple.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Roger wrote:

Wow Cyrus: I always assumed you were the Persian founder of a venerable detective agency! :)

LOL! Almost right.

I took this name in honor of a kid I played Legion ball with. He was slow, pudgy, had a noodle for an arm, and like John Kruk (my first baseball hero), he ran the bases like a skunk--hunched over and with a wobble in his backside. But he could sure hit, and better still, he could make me laugh for hours with his stories of growing up on a pig farm in Missouri.

I've lost touch with him, sadly, but I hope that wherever he is, he's doing well. Maybe one day I'll get an email from him asking me to stop ruining his reputation with my comments on the Althouse blog.

Oh, and for the record, I should admit that my mother is a Norwegian-American from Eau Claire, WI, so I exaggerated by half.

AlphaLiberal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AlphaLiberal said...

Party down, Fen.

In the case of marijuana more harm is done to families and society by the laws and penalties than by people using the plant.

I admit to being more conflicted on the harder stuff, especially the stuff (meth, ugh) with the hooks it sinks into people. But, I do accept the argument that we can limit the damage overall with treatment and Drug Courts instead of incarceration.

Consider, also, that drug laws are used more against minorities than whites.

AJ Lynch said...

Hoosier:

Here is another link showing 82% grad rate even including some 18 year-olds. Interestingly, it is from the same organization (NCES) that NPR based its story on. Guess it is more proof NPR fleshed out the story then sought data that would support it.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007
/dropout05/figures
/figure_03.asp

Luckyoldson said...

there are about 750,000 marijuana related arrests every year and about that many people in jail for such offenses today...many of which are for no more than possessing the drug itself.

think of the money being spent on this nonsense and the dramatic effect such arrests have on our prison systems and the families of those arrested.

Luckyoldson said...

alpha says: "Consider, also, that drug laws are used more against minorities than whites."

according to federal guidelines, it takes 5 ounces of "powder" cocaine to illicit the same kind of prison term as a single gram of "rock" cocaine.

now why do you suppose that is??

let's take a guess...

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie and Pogo,

I think you misunderstood my example. I was addressing statistical questions, not issues of income redistribution or standards of poverty.

One of the reasons I presented the example is this question from Gahrie:

How do we achieve a system that has no lowest quintile?

The way this question was phrased led me not to realize that Gahrie meant this as a rhetorical question. My mistake.

However, for the reasons I stated previously, it makes no sense to have a static definition of poverty. Poverty necessarily needs to be measured against the demands and norms of society. This doesn't make poverty measurements meaningless, however. They are reasonably good for gauging short term changes in poverty and for comparing poverty rates in different places.

AJ Lynch said...

I think Gahrie's question was meant to get us to consider if we are at the point where there is little or no long-term real poverty.

For example, when most everyone has and therefore can afford a cell phone.

Or many of us elect to spend $4-$5 per day for a pack of smokes and other such non-essentials like $50 on fake nails maybe once a month or one $200 tattoo per year. And there are many other examples of not-cheap non-essentials on which Americans spend their money.

Have we reached the point where we consider scrapping all social programs and just give everyone a monthly check with which they can pay for "individual essentials"?

It would have to be funded thru the income tax system but it seems more effective and efficient to me because we can stop the endless wrangling about the need for more and more govt programs.

Hell Philly is spending millions to give WIFI internet and computers to the low income! Let's just put the poor back in charge of their own lives so we can move onto other important stuff.

But remember we can't save everyone.

Revenant said...

ccording to federal guidelines, it takes 5 ounces of "powder" cocaine to illicit the same kind of prison term as a single gram of "rock" cocaine. now why do you suppose that is??

Because Len Bias overdosed on rock cocaine.

Which, in turn, touched off the usual mainstream media campaign wherein reason is discarded and public hysteria is encouraged to help sell newspapers and TV ad spots. Not a day passed without a scary new editorial, front-page article, or broadcast special on the danger of "crack".

Which led the Democratic House of Representatives and Republican Senate to approve, a few months later, a law mandating that "rock" cocaine crimes be treated as 100 times worse than other cocaine crimes, and Ronald Reagan to sign it.

The disparity remains on the books because nobody really cares enough about bad things happening to crackheads to do something about their unfair treatment. The Supreme Court will be examining the disparity later this year.

AJ Lynch said...

"Because Len Bias overdosed on rock cocaine." Wow I remember that news about the #2 draft pick- it was the most shocking drug death I have ever heard. Forgot it was what 25 years ago Rev.

Thanks for the real background Rev on why the crimes are differentiated. Crazy how urban legends spring up that it is racially motivated.

I pray Len Bias is resting in peace - his family and friends were of course devastated by his young demise.

Luckyoldson said...

According to federal guidelines, it takes 5 ounces of "powder" cocaine to illicit the same kind of prison term as a single gram of "rock" cocaine. now why do you suppose that is??

rev says that's..."Because Len Bias overdosed on rock cocaine."

you-have-got-to-be-kidding.

first of all, i've never read anything relating to len bias doing crack cocaine...only large quantities of "cocaine"...which would certainly point to the "powder variety," not crack.

oh, and he died 21 years ago...and you think the federal guidelines are based one that one occurrence...and has nothing whatsoever to do with inner city blacks being the most predominant users of crack?

get your head out...

Luckyoldson said...

aj,
you actually buy rev's reasoning???

duh.

Revenant said...

Some US census trivia:

There are, according to 35.4 million American citizens without health insurance.

25 million of them have household incomes in excess of $20,000 per year. 12 million have household incomes in excess of $50,000 per year. 3 million of them, astonishingly, have household incomes in excess of $100,000 per year.

The number of US citizens (native or naturalized) below the poverty line, without health coverage: less than 9 million.

So let's all have a nice little reality check. The push for nationalized health care isn't about helping "the American poor", because the vast majority of people without insurance either ARE NOT POOR or ARE NOT AMERICAN. This is about giving handouts to foreigners (roughly 1/4 the uninsured) and to people who for the most part *could* buy insurance, but have other financial priorities (another 1/2 of the uninsured).

If you want to propose a program to help uninsured poor Americans, by all means do so. But don't pretend that it is something Americans as a whole actually *need*, because it isn't.

One final note: the covered outnumber the uncovered by a huge margin in every income category except "no income". Among households with incomes from $1 to $20,000, for example, the ratio is 7:2.

Luckyoldson said...

rev,
45,000,000

Revenant said...

you actually buy rev's reasoning???

So far I'm the only person who has offered any explanation at all, Lucky. If you don't like it, suggest an alternative.

I'm guessing it will be either "racism!" or "poor people use crack!". Which raises the question: why did the Democratic Party of 1986 hate poor people and racial minorities?

Revenant said...

45,000,000

Pay attention, little brain -- I said the count of uninsured American citizens was 35.4 million.

The total uninsured is, indeed, 44.8 million -- but 9.4 million of them are foreign nationals. In simpler terms, while there are 44.8 million uninsured human beings currently living in America, there is no reason for the government to give even the tiniest shit about the health-insurance status of 9.4 million of them. That's why I was talking about the remaining 35.4 million who are arguably owed something by the American government.

You can build your own tables of census data here.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Here is another link showing 82% grad rate even including some 18 year-olds.

AJ

Thanks for the updates. I did a quickie Google as I didn't have much time for a more thorough research. I will defer to the Bureau figures of course.

Just to clarify, the point I was making with respect to poverty rates was the correlation between poverty and high school dropout rates. My links were to try and support the contention that the two are close related, teen pregnancy being a close second.

Cyrus makes the point, with which I don't disagree, that being born into poverty also stacks the odds in favor of staying in poverty. I will agree but I think where we come to odds is how is it dealt with.

Wealth re-distribution does not solve the problem but simply masks the symptoms. The idea is not to simply provide economic sustenance to the impoverished but to create conditions which allow them to become self reliant. That is I think where we disagree. There will always be a segment of the population that will simply feed off a government handout and do or aspire to nothing more. Others may need more 'encouragement' and some will take any opportunity afforded to them.

Luckyoldson said...

rev,
you have no idea of how many are, or are not legal.

Luckyoldson said...

rev,
as for len bias, nobody knew much about cracker cocaine back then, but we sure do now.,..so why not explain why the laws haven't been cha

Luckyoldson said...

rev,
continued...

why haven't the laws been changed to address the overt unfairness of the law?

think it might have something to do with WHO IT IS that does most of the crack?

overall...whitey does most of the cocaine...but the blacks suffer the consequences.

Luckyoldson said...

rev,
you have insurance, don't you?

are you able to pay for it...or...does your employer?

B said...

Luckyoldson,

Trust me Luckman - and you know the answer to this - If your employer is paying for your insurance, YOU are paying for your insurance. It is always part of a compensation package, a shell game that moves some of the paycheck into a benefit.

But what's your point?

Luckyoldson said...

bdp,
i don't know where you work, but my experience is that insurance is a perk or benefit for taking the job...and my employer never played a "shell game."

why not tell your employer you want to pay for your own insurance and see what it costs.

family of 4...$800-1,200 a month.

give it a shot. .

AJ Lynch said...

Rev is right.

Out of 45 million uninsured, 12 million are foreign born and almost 10 million of those are NOT citizens. So only 35 million of 45 million uninsured are citizens. And a bunch of them make more than $50K per year.

I have posted about this before on Althouse so Lucky you are on your own. Since I figure Lucky is a smart young lady and can find the data herself you beeyatch!

Revenant said...

you have no idea of how many are, or are not legal.

I didn't say I did, little brain. What I said is that -- according to the US census -- 9.4 million of them are noncitizens. Whether they came here legally or illegally, the US government is not responsible for their health. The can get the hell out if they don't like the health care here, and go live in Canada or Cuba or one of those other nations Michael Moore tells us have awesome health care.

The American government has zero obligation to give handouts to anyone who isn't a citizen of this country.

Revenant said...

why haven't the laws been changed to address the overt unfairness of the law?

I already answered that question in my first post on the subject:

The disparity remains on the books because nobody really cares enough about bad things happening to crackheads to do something about their unfair treatment.

There's no Crackhead Lobby. There's no National Crack Association. There's no Crackhead Anti-Defamation League. There's no National Association for the Advancement of Crack Smokers. The average American hears "people who smoke crack get bigger sentences than people who snort cocaine" and their first thought isn't "how unfair for the crackheads" -- it is "so don't smoke crack, shit-for-brains!".

I agree that the law's unfair. The whole drug war's unfair, but since most people aren't druggies I don't expect them to start caring anytime soon.

think it might have something to do with WHO IT IS that does most of the crack?

White people, you mean?

Most of the people *selling* crack are black or hispanic, but most of the consumers aren't. As for the crack dealers themselves, the fact that the crack market is vastly more violent than most of the other drug markets (the death rate is something like 7% per year just among the dealers) is ample reason to worry more about it than we worry about, say, pot, LSD, or powder cocaine.

Revenant said...

you have insurance, don't you? are you able to pay for it...or...does your employer?

I pay my employer for it out of my salary. We are given a number of different options and pick the one we want; the appropriate fees are then deducted from our paychecks.

Of course, any educated and intelligent person is already aware that there's no real difference between "my employer pays for it for me" and "I pay for it". So far as your employer is concerned it all goes under "compensation".

Revenant said...

family of 4...$800-1,200 a month.

Blue Cross plans in San Diego for a family of 4 (35m/35f/10m/3f) start at $210 monthly for the whole family, with decent, low/no deductable PPOs in the $200s and $300s.

You don't get anywhere near the $800+ range unless you go for the high-end HMOs with lots of services, low copays, and no deductables. There are perfectly adequate plans available in the $200s and $300s.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Re: the persistence of poverty

The study I was referring to is

"American Exceptionalism in a New Light: A Comparison of Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the Nordic Countries, the United Kingdom and the United States," Jantti, et al, January 2006.

The paper can be downloaded here.

Among the findings, there is this, from the abstract:

...in the U.S. [there is] a particularly high likelihood that sons of the poorest fathers will remain in the lowest earnings quintile.

In a moment, I will post some of the key statistical findings in Tables 1-15 that I highlighted in a previous reading.

For those with a subscription to the Economist, I refer you to the article entitled " Social mobility is surprisingly high in Europe" from the May 25, 2006 issue.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

This is from the conclusion of Jantti et al:

The main driver of the difference in the pattern of male intergenerational mobility in the U.S. from that of each of the other countries in our study is the low mobility out of the lowest quintile group in the United States. Indeed, it is very noticeable that while for all of the other countries persistence is particularly high in the upper tails of the distribution, in the U.S. this is reversed - with a particularly high likelihood that sons of the poorest fathers in the U.S. will remain in the lowest earnings quintile. We view this as a challenge to the popular notion of an “American exceptionalism” in economic mobility. Indeed, the combination of a high probability of American sons of the poorest fifth of fathers remaining in the lowest quintile group, the lower probability of “rags-to-riches” (poorest to richest) and slightly lower probability of “riches-to-rags” (richest to poorest), places the notion of American exceptionalism in a new light. The U.S., or at least the population of young U.S. men, seems to be distinguished from other countries by having greater low-income persistence, rather than less, having fewer very large positional changes across generations, rather than more, and possibly having a greater persistence of high income, rather than less.

Gahrie said...

A new report released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau,
using seven different measures of poverty, concludes that being poor in
America is a transitory condition for many and a chronic condition for a
smaller percentage of the population. According to the report's author,
Mary Naifeh, "Most people who experience poverty generally escape it
within a few months."



http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/cb98-136.html

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

And here is a short summary by Nathan Newman:

One of the stated defenses of cutbacks in aid to poor families in the last decade in the US was the idea that welfare spending traps families in poverty from generation to generation. But new studies, as detailed in this week's Economist magazine show that countries with MORE spending on the poor have LESS persistent poverty than in the US.

Contrary to many Americans' self-image, there is less social mobility from generation to generation in the United States than in supposedly class-bound Europe--and the European states like Sweden and Norway with the highest welfare spending also had the most people born in poverty becoming middle class when they grew up.

Around three-quarters of sons born into the poorest fifth of the population in Nordic countries in the late 1950s had moved out of that category by the time they were in their early 40s. In contrast, only just over half of American men born at the bottom later moved up. This is another respect in which Britain is more like the Nordics than like America: some 70% of its poorest sons escaped from poverty within a generation...

The obvious explanation for greater mobility in the Nordic countries is their tax and welfare systems, which (especially when compared with America's) deliberately try to help the children of the poor to do better than their parents...to the extent that redistribution is an explanation, it implies the opposite: that social mobility is a product of high public spending, a bit like the low incidence of poverty or longer life expectancy (on both of which Europe also does better than America).

The other advantage for the poor in Nordic countries seems to be a better education system that provides a more equal education for the poor compared to the United States.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie,

Do you realize that you are citing a press release from 1998?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie,

I suggest you read the report that forms the basis of the press release you cite. You can find the report
here.

The quote you provide (in the cited press release) inaccurately summarizes the report conclusions.

Gahrie said...

Yes I realize I am quoting a press release from 1998. Are you aware you are quoting a study using numbers from as far back as 1974?

I have looked at your study, and it fails to account for the differing economic history of the countries provided. The economies of the nations in the study are vastly different, and in particular the economy of the UK has undergone major changes in the period studied. From what I can tell most of the paper is devoted to details of how they screwed with the numbers concering age cohorts and income to try and make them comparable.

I also am fairly confident that if the study concerned standard of living rather than income, the results would have been rather different.

Gahrie said...

The data from the 1998 study I cited.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/povdynam/pov93t4.html

In summary, after four months, slightly more than half of those in poverty in the first month were still in poverty. After eight months, the number was down to a third. After a year, a quarter were still in poverty, and after two years, around twelve percent.
The median amount of time spent in poverty was 4.5 months.

This table proves the utility of the six prasctices discussed earlier in the thread.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/povdynam/pov93t3.html

The population that spent the most time in poverty were multiple children in a single mother's household.

Gahrie said...

I'll leave this thread with this summary:

The definition and standards of poverty change over time.

Poverty does not correlate with quality of life.

Poverty is not persistent in the vast majority of cases.

Poverty does correlate with behavior.

There will always be a lowest quintile of income, so there will always be a group of people who are poor compared to everyone else.

The confiscation of wealth from the rich and giving it to the poor does not eliminate poverty.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie wrote:

Yes I realize I am quoting a press release from 1998. Are you aware you are quoting a study using numbers from as far back as 1974?

Yes, Gahrie, I'm aware the poverty numbers from the study I cited go back to 1974. The reason for this is that the study involves comparing poverty across two generations. In order to do this, data from at least 25 years ago is required.

It's hard for me to believe you looked at the study if you don't understand this basic point.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Gahrie wrote:

The data from the 1998 study I cited...

The part of the 1998 study from which you (exclusively) cite looks at what is called "short term poverty." A significantly larger portion of the population qualifies under this definition, and obviously these people exit and enter poverty on the time scale of months rather than years.

What we have been discussing here are those who live in long term poverty. In particular, we've been discussing how childhood poverty correlates with poverty in adulthood. Your citation of a report that looks at people who live on the margins of poverty (short term poverty) seems to me to be highly irrelevant. However, if there is a logical connection to the topic under discussion, please share it with us.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

I'll leave this thread with this summary:

The definition and standards of poverty change over time.


As they should. Unlike in the middle ages, indoor toilets are no longer considered a luxury item.

Poverty does not correlate with quality of life.

Actually, it does. Poorer people tend to have a lower quality of life, at least as "quality of life" is conventionally measured.

Poverty is not persistent in the vast majority of cases.

Incorrect. The study I cited of long term poverty states

...in the U.S. [there is] a particularly high likelihood that sons of the poorest fathers will remain in the lowest earnings quintile.

This contradicts your claim.

Poverty does correlate with behavior.

This is nonsense. What you mean to say, I assume, is that poverty correlates with poor education, teenage pregnancy, drug use, etc...
The problem here is that you are implying that certain "behaviors" result in poverty, whereas others may claim that poverty results in these "behaviors." If both claims are correct, then it must be true that there is a feedback mechanism driving persistent poverty.

There will always be a lowest quintile of income, so there will always be a group of people who are poor compared to everyone else.

Yes, but poverty is NOT measured simply as being poorer than average. This is a fallacy that you continue to repeat.

The confiscation of wealth from the rich and giving it to the poor does not eliminate poverty.

According to the report I cited, government spending to improve education for the poor does help to reduce poverty.

I'm sorry that I find your summary so inadequate. However, you seem to be denying the existence of poverty--a view I find out of touch with reality--so it is not surprising that you don't see a problem to be solved.

B said...

Cyrus,

Just so that we are not at odds here, please describe what you believe a person living in poverty in America is like: what they are missing consistently that is a problem in their lives; common points that everyone in poverty might experience. I'm not trying to trap you with a "well then, what about . . ." type of response from me. I just want to know how you see someone living in poverty in America today, at this moment. You may have different ideas that I have not considered.

I'm not certain that income as the primary determinate is a true factor (I know, that point has been made so much of already above). I just want to know if there are points upon which we can all - or at least most of us - agree on that determine when someone is in definite need of consistent basic subsistence assistance from others.

TMink said...

Cyrus, you asked me some excellent questions, sorry it has taken me so long to get to them.

I blame the NAACP for their focus. They are focusing on blame rather than recovery. In the latest release I read, Bond was griping about Bush and the war. That is not the problem to be looking at.

50 years ago the NAACP was a thriving organization. Their focus was on equal opportunity and education. Both were needed, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made a decent start. Since that time, the NAACP and other civil rights organizations have drifted from an agenda of opportunity to an agenda of victimization.

The causes of poverty were based on statistical analysis. They apply across race and culture. Some simple (but certainly not easy) choices can help pull a family out of poverty. It often takes more than one generation, so real leadership is desperately needed.

Staying sober, waiting to marry, having children after marriage, staying married, getting all the schooling you can, taking any job while you look for a better one, these choices make huge differences.

The NAACP no longer speaks about any of these issues. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, nadda. Bill Cosby has, and boy did he catch it!

I do not think that people of African heritage are in any way inferior. I do think that they have been bamboozled, run amok, flim flammed, swindled. And this has happened by people who have their trust and know better.

Al Sharpton was James Brown's road manager. The great JB has a very pertinent song: I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door, I'll Get It Myself.)

I don't want nobody
To give me nothing
Open up the door
I'll get it myself

Don't give me denegration
Give me true communication
Don't give me sorrow
I want equal opportunity
To live tomorrow

Give me schools
And give me better books
So I can read about myself
And gain my truly looks

Some of us try
As hard as we can
We don't want no sympathy
We just wanna be a man

We got talents we can use
On our side of town
Let's get our heads together
And get it up from the ground

When some of us make money
People hear about our people

Got to get myself together
So many things I've got to do
So many things I've got to do
I don't no help from you
Tell everybody, body else
All of these things, baby
I'll do it myself

Kids get that education
And don't you take no more
Cause we gonna get
This thing together
You got to carry the bell

I don't want nobody
To give me nothing
Open up the door
Open up the door

Wise words. Too bad Al either forgot them or is ignoring them.

Trey

Revenant said...

The problem here is that you are implying that certain "behaviors" result in poverty, whereas others may claim that poverty results in these "behaviors."

Poverty obviously doesn't cause anyone to become pregnant, since abstinence is free. Poverty might cause a person to drop out of school, if the family needed the kid to work a full-time job to put food on the table. It is a statistical fact that that is not why most people drop out of high school.

On the other hand, dropping out of high school indisputably *does* cause poverty, for the simple reason that the jobs a person can get without a high school diploma do not pay very well. Similarly, getting pregnant while in high school indisputably *does* cause poverty, both because it increases dropout rates and because it makes getting and holding a job much harder (plus, of course, it significantly raises cost of living expenses).

There is no reason why the average poor teenager cannot stay childless and earn a diploma. And, indeed, most do -- which is one of the reasons why most people move off the poverty rolls after a few years. The chronic poor tend to be people with other problems -- mental illness, poor impulse control, addictions, lack of intelligence, or some combination of one or more of those things.

Those are traits which cause poverty... and, for that matter, teen pregnancy and dropping out of school.

Thorley Winston said...

Someone asked about Rudy Giuliani’s specific proposals regarding health care:

What I would do is change the whole model that we have for health insurance in this country.

The problem with our health insurance is, it's government and employer-dominated. People don't make individual choices. It's your health. You should own your health insurance.

We should be giving you a major tax deduction, $15,000 for a family, so you can buy your own health insurance. If you buy health insurance for $8,000 or $9,000, you'll save $5,000 or $6,000 in tax- free money.

Then we should have a health savings account, in which you can put some money aside to pay for your ordinary medical expenses.

Health insurance should become like homeowners insurance or like car insurance. You don't cover everything on your homeowners policy. If you have a slight accident in your house, if you need to refill your oil with your car, you don't cover that with insurance. But that is covered in many of the insurance policies, because they're government-dominated and they're employer-dominated.

What the Democrats suggested on this stage two nights ago was socialized medicine. There was a man in California who said to me, "When we make health insurance free, just wait and see how expensive it will become."

And the reality is that we need a free market. We need 100 million Americans making different decisions. It will bring down the cost of health insurance. It will bring down the cost of prescription medicines.

Free-market principles are the only things that reduce costs and improve quality. Socialized medicine will ruin medicine in the United States.

Thorley Winston said...

Oh and Rudy Giuliani did actually include health care as one of his 12 Commitments to the American People:

“7) I will give Americans more control over their health care with affordable and portable free-market solutions.

We can improve the quality of health care while decreasing costs through increased competition. Solutions can include reforming the tax treatment of health care, expanding portable health-savings accounts, encouraging state-by-state innovations, and reforming the legal system.”

Kev said...

"Exactly. A significant amount of poverty is due to bad habits. When our poor riot, do they steal food or flatscreen tvs?"

Precisely. And before fighting any "war" on poverty, it helps to know the "enemy." People who are poor because of disability, illness, etc., can receive help from the government, and I'm sure few people would object. People who are poor because of their own poor choices? Umm, no.

"I think anyone looking at the poverty avoidance rules listed by Pogo will find a strong correlation between poverty and breaking one or more of the rules."

That's right on the money as well. And any government money/energy devoted to people who are "poor by choice" should be aimed at keeping them from breaking those rules, not forcing everyone else to subsidize their poor choices. Sometimes, it really is about choices...

B said...

Wow,

after reading this entire thread - particularly the parts on "poverty" -
I have come to the conclusion . .

B said...

--

that the next time there is a national discussion on poverty, tha the Althouse Commenters should be called before Congress to discuss it.

I'll bet we could get hashed out in a coupla days.

B said...

--

I'm thinking that

"Althouse Commenters"

would be a cool name for a band.

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