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HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream? 8/28

Home Forums Events Film Events HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream? 8/28

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  • #510155

    peter
    Participant

    [i]What should those who have experienced inequality, a loss of confidence, and psychologically debilitating circumstances do?[/i]

    This is an excellent, and difficult, question.

    I don’t know the answer, but “just work hard, LOL” isn’t it (Todd). Neither is it to extend welfare/unemployment indefinitely.

    There’s a path down the middle resulting in greater prosperity for everyone. Maybe it involves a culture change (Jon). How do you get that ball rolling, though?

    These are complex issues that nations and individuals have wrested with for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I don’t think we’re going to solve it on a messageboard, but the discussion has been provocative.

    #510156

    ToddAnders
    Blocked

    Wrong, the answer IS hard work. It is NOT let’s just wait by the mailbox to get our check. What Jon does not address is how much competition people are going to soon feel from the GLOBAL economy. There are a huge number of people who can and do work from anywhere in the world. And guess what follows them? Those W2 taxes that these entitlement programs are looking for. We are slowing becoming a nation of babies; whine and cry about everything that doesn’t happen with ease. Life is hard. Life is hard work. Look, people will make it, if they have to. Remember, just a few hundred years ago, people arrived here with nothing. And made it. Before then, my ancestors, Cherokee Indians made it too.

    Every once in a while I do see hope. Several years ago while living in the Short North a young black male knocked on my door. He was selling magazines, and you could tell he was hustling. Now, normally I slam my door faster than they can smile, but he had the magic. And guess what, I purchased some subscriptions that I didn’t need. That was 12 years ago. I gave him my email address and over the years we kept in touch. Just got an email from him last year. He is now one of the top sales people at NCR, living better than he ever could dream. Not because of some lifelong handout. But because of him and his determination and here come those awful words, HARD WORK.

    #510157
    hugh59
    hugh59
    Participant

    Some people take everything that “the system” is doing for the poor for granted when they say the poor are justified in gaming the system. This country spends enormous amounts on entitlements to help the poor; they discount this or ignore this.

    One problem our country has (and the problem that it seems this film wants to address) is that these very large and expensive programs are wasteful and ineffective. The problem is not that successful Americans do not want to help the poor; the problem is that these programs have evolved into bureaucracies that often seem to be more interested in serving the needs of the bureaucrats and less interested in serving the needs of the poor.

    So, it is not right to blame Americans or our society for this situation. We should blame the bureaucrats and the political leaders who enable those bureaucrats.

    #510158

    DavidF
    Participant

    Sadly, this thread would have been current 30, 50 or 100 years ago. The demonization of the poor has been around since time immemorial. There are always going to be those who are deluded as to the nature of society. The top few have always parasitically fed off of those below them.

    It has nothing to do with hard work. The vast majority of Americans work hard (in fact, the last stats I saw showed we work longer hours than any other developed country) and end up with little to show for it. Yet there is this constant theme that somehow our “work ethic” is eroding. Find me a single stat that shows we are working less hard than any previous generation. It doesn’t exist.

    This is a complicated issue that every society wrestles with and there are no simple answers, but of course if you recognize that, then it becomes difficult to feel morally superior to those who have less than you and where’s the fun in that?

    #510159

    Twixlen
    Participant

    DavidF said:
    Sadly, this thread would have been current 30, 50 or 100 years ago. The demonization of the poor has been around since time immemorial. There are always going to be those who are deluded as to the nature of society. The top few have always parasitically fed off of those below them.

    [b]It has nothing to do with hard work. The vast majority of Americans work hard (in fact, the last stats I saw showed we work longer hours than any other developed country) and end up with little to show for it. Yet there is this constant theme that somehow our “work ethic” is eroding. Find me a single stat that shows we are working less hard than any previous generation. It doesn’t exist.[/b]

    This is a complicated issue that every society wrestles with and there are no simple answers, but of course if you recognize that, then it becomes difficult to feel morally superior to those who have less than you and where’s the fun in that?

    +1 – For every person that “works hard” (denying all those lucky breaks)and “makes it,” there are (hundreds of) thousands who work just as hard, will always work hard, and still be poor. Not everyone is born with the same abilities, the same brain power; beyond that, the people you’re born to nearly rule the outcome of your life. Of course there are exceptions – but they are pretty dang rare.

    I’ve had friends in social work and there isn’t one kind of person who finds themselves in the system. Solidly middle class people, who own their own businesses, can find themselves on social welfare if they’re unlucky enough to have a kid that requires a lot of medical services. This country isn’t kind to the sick – unless you’re pretty well off, financially. As the income gap has widened, so has the disparity in education, in available health care, in affordable housing.

    #510160
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    DavidF said:
    Find me a single stat that shows we are working less hard than any previous generation.

    How about that there are less people working?

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000/

    [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/VF3ZN.jpg[/IMG]

    Or that SSI disability has become the new unemployment.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204296804577121392750460030.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

    #510161
    hugh59
    hugh59
    Participant

    DavidF said:
    Sadly, this thread would have been current 30, 50 or 100 years ago. The demonization of the poor has been around since time immemorial. There are always going to be those who are deluded as to the nature of society. The top few have always parasitically fed off of those below them.

    It has nothing to do with hard work. The vast majority of Americans work hard (in fact, the last stats I saw showed we work longer hours than any other developed country) and end up with little to show for it. Yet there is this constant theme that somehow our “work ethic” is eroding. Find me a single stat that shows we are working less hard than any previous generation. It doesn’t exist.

    This is a complicated issue that every society wrestles with and there are no simple answers, but of course if you recognize that, then it becomes difficult to feel morally superior to those who have less than you and where’s the fun in that?

    DavidF, most of us are working hard. Some of us are disabled and unable to support ourselves. Some of us make very bad choices and get ourselves into situations where we cannot support ourselves. Some of us do not want to support ourselves and feel that we are justified at demanding others to support us. Some of the latter group complains that the quality of the support they receive is not good enough.

    I get it that some people are criticizing everyone receiving public assistance; this is wrong. But there are a lot of people out there who continue to make bad choices and then demand that society pay to support them. Some of the people doing this paying are also poor and disadvantaged. I worked as a hearing officer for child support and I saw thousands of cases a year where women with no skills and no means of support were having 4, 5, or 6 children fathered by men who had no interest in being fathers. These women knew that the system would pay to support them and their children.

    There was a time when a person’s choice in a mate was a life or death decision. Chose the wrong mate and you and your children would die hungry in the cold. Now, they do not worry. They can mate with anyone they want assured that conscientious people will pay to support them.

    #510162

    peter
    Participant

    [i]There was a time when a person’s choice in a mate was a life or death decision. Chose the wrong mate and you and your children would die hungry in the cold. Now, they do not worry. They can mate with anyone they want assured that conscientious people will pay to support them.[/i]

    Wow.

    #510163

    DavidF
    Participant

    hugh59 said:
    DavidF, most of us are working hard. Some of us are disabled and unable to support ourselves. Some of us make very bad choices and get ourselves into situations where we cannot support ourselves. Some of us do not want to support ourselves and feel that we are justified at demanding others to support us. Some of the latter group complains that the quality of the support they receive is not good enough.

    I get it that some people are criticizing everyone receiving public assistance; this is wrong. But there are a lot of people out there who continue to make bad choices and then demand that society pay to support them. Some of the people doing this paying are also poor and disadvantaged. I worked as a hearing officer for child support and I saw thousands of cases a year where women with no skills and no means of support were having 4, 5, or 6 children fathered by men who had no interest in being fathers. These women knew that the system would pay to support them and their children.

    There was a time when a person’s choice in a mate was a life or death decision. Chose the wrong mate and you and your children would die hungry in the cold. Now, they do not worry. They can mate with anyone they want assured that conscientious people will pay to support them.

    And there are wealthy who abuse their positions to do great evil in the world. Guess we should tear down all the rich people to prevent the outliers eh?

    #510164
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    DavidF said:
    And there are wealthy who abuse their positions to do great evil in the world. Guess we should tear down all the rich people to prevent the outliers eh?

    That’s exactly what I’ve read you as wanting.

    #510165
    hugh59
    hugh59
    Participant

    peter said:
    [i]There was a time when a person’s choice in a mate was a life or death decision. Chose the wrong mate and you and your children would die hungry in the cold. Now, they do not worry. They can mate with anyone they want assured that conscientious people will pay to support them.[/i]

    Wow.

    I do not want people dying hungry in the cold. I do not want to be part of a system that ignores people in need. I volunteer with a social justice organization. I also volunteer at the food bank and at a soup kitchen. But what do we do when we have people with very antisocial behavior?

    #510166
    hugh59
    hugh59
    Participant

    DavidF said:
    And there are wealthy who abuse their positions to do great evil in the world. Guess we should tear down all the rich people to prevent the outliers eh?

    Yes, some people at the top are engaging in antisocial behavior too. Antisocial in a different way, but bad just the same.

    #510167

    Pablo
    Participant

    Interesting how this thread about a film on corporate welfare has turned to attacking Reagan’s welfare queens.

    #510168

    Polis
    Participant

    Just to touch on how to measure how much we work:

    Click to access intl_gdp_capita_gdp_hour.pdf

    You can see in 3a. and 3b. that our GDP per hour worked has increased over the past few decades. The chart is in USD 2010 values, so we produce much more now than in the past.

    However, in 7a. and 7b. you can see that the hours per employed person worked has actually decreased. So we work less and produce more (yay technology).

    In table 8, you can see our percentage of population employed hovered around 48% between 1990 and 2005, with the percentage slipping between 2005-2010. (Look at Singapore, who has 60% of their population employed!)

    I would say it is rather difficult to claim that each employee works less or more “hard” now than in the past when we produce more despite working less hours per employee.

    #510169

    Twixlen
    Participant

    hugh59 said:
    I worked as a hearing officer for child support and I saw thousands of cases a year where women with no skills and no means of support were having 4, 5, or 6 children fathered by men who had no interest in being fathers. These women knew that the system would pay to support them and their children.

    There was a time when a person’s choice in a mate was a life or death decision. Chose the wrong mate and you and your children would die hungry in the cold. Now, they do not worry. They can mate with anyone they want assured that conscientious people will pay to support them.

    While these women knew that the system was there for them, do you really believe they were living the lives they wanted, for themselves or for their kids? Do you think if they had easy access to contraception – and the education to understand how it worked – that they wouldn’t have made different choices?

    This is a pretty damn insulting thing to say.

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