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  #151  
Old 11-04-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Offering my personal 33 years of full time experience trying to do that very thing, and working with and discussing this with MANY similar people, I do not know if such effective methods exist. I am not aware of any (tho I have not studied all such programs in depth.) But I am confident that the methods currently used by SS and VA disability programs do a piss poor job of doing that.
Which, I think, is why the suggestions for universal basic income. Whether this would be so set up as not to leave significant numbers of people even worse off is another question, and certainly one worth asking. But pointing out that such a system would result in some freeloaders isn't IMO that much of an argument against it. Any system that anyone's been able to think of, to the best of my knowledge, at least for societies of more than a few hundred people, results either in some freeloaders, or in some people dying or left stuck in squalor through no fault of their own. Or, of course, both; which seems to be what we've got now.
  #152  
Old 11-04-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Consider it an entitlement, or consider it a necessity, as in, 'without this I'm gonna die, or at best end up out on the street and die there a bit more slowly'?

Of course, it's true that not everyone thinks that people, even in an overall very rich country, have any entitlement to life. Let alone to the pursuit of happiness.
If this were Parliament, I would defer my time to my learned colleague Dinsdale.

Instead, I'll just point out that his post #143 is a superb response to your post, even if it wasn't directed as such.
  #153  
Old 11-04-2019, 03:40 PM
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... Speaking as someone who has been on the program in the past decade and is now on the other side of the cash register serving customers who use those benefits. ... Did I pay Federal Income tax the four years I collected SNAP? No. But I sure as hell paid them before AND I'm back to paying them now. ...
If you don't mind sharing personal details, I'd be interested in hearing your story: how you went from a (federal income) tax-paying member of society to collecting SNAP and back again.
  #154  
Old 11-04-2019, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrenching Spanners View Post
If this were Parliament, I would defer my time to my learned colleague Dinsdale.

Instead, I'll just point out that his post #143 is a superb response to your post, even if it wasn't directed as such.
Ok, so what i gathered from that post 143 is basically that he's saying the system is badly broken and doesnt serve the best interests of those its set up to serve.

So lets fix the system. Right? Or? What? What is the main thrust of that post other than one of despair and do-nothingism? Has tightening or at least comprehensively reviewing the qualifications (or whatever term is appropriate) for what "disabled" means been conducted in recent past? Or the scrutiny for qualifying could be conducted in order to qualify under a new UBI-supplement program?

Clearly $12,000 with no means to improve the circumstances in one's life is not an acceptable living wage. Not one we should let exist in this country. Not when the person living in those means has no independent ability to ever rise up out of them. The disabled people who would simply survive on UBI just as they are simply surviving on disability payments today would be in at best an unimproved circumstance and at worst in a worse circumstance than prior to the UBI. Unless certain allowances are made for their intractable situations which increase their cost of simply surviving.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 11-04-2019 at 03:48 PM.
  #155  
Old 11-04-2019, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimera757 View Post
No. Many people would not get on board with that.

The poor are always getting split into the deserving and undeserving poor. Many people will not be okay with giving such benefits to the "undeserving" poor.
Maybe we could fund them with money extracted from the undeserving rich...

  #156  
Old 11-04-2019, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Which, I think, is why the suggestions for universal basic income. Whether this would be so set up as not to leave significant numbers of people even worse off is another question, and certainly one worth asking. But pointing out that such a system would result in some freeloaders isn't IMO that much of an argument against it. ...
I initially expressed my opinion that UBI was the best solution I could think of. Posts 13, 50.

My recent posts were IRT people suggesting that SOME people - such as the disabled - ought to get UBI + something more. And other people offering what I thought simplistic "solutions." When I noted the difficulties of ascertaining disability, in no way was that a criticism of UBI. I don't know what I wrote to create such confusion.
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Last edited by Dinsdale; 11-04-2019 at 04:06 PM.
  #157  
Old 11-04-2019, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrenching Spanners View Post
If this were Parliament, I would defer my time to my learned colleague Dinsdale.

Instead, I'll just point out that his post #143 is a superb response to your post, even if it wasn't directed as such.
Did you notice my post #145? or notice Dinsdale's post #146? -- you probably hadn't seen my post #151, as that was posted almost simultaneously with yours above.

ETA: speaking of simultaneous posting: Dinsdale, as you agree there's no good way of telling apart people whose disability genuinely means they'd require extra help on top of UBI from those who are freeloading, are you arguing that the people who really can't help it should be left without enough funds to survive on? That seems unlikely, but it's all I can get from your latest post.

Last edited by thorny locust; 11-04-2019 at 04:06 PM.
  #158  
Old 11-04-2019, 04:08 PM
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I'll step out of this discussion. My experience w/ disability benefits has strongly colored my opinions in ways that might likely interfere w/ polite discussion.

I suggest, tho, assessing "the severity of [one's] disability" would likely be a less than straightforward matter. Or, if you know a straightforward way to assess the severity of people alleging migraines, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, PTSD ... - please let me know.
Hey, by restricting the supplement to "medical goods and services" that, to me, seems like it would go some way to discourage gamers of the system. If all they can score out of the deal is some free catheters and some baclofen, i dont think the racket will hold that much appeal to many of the scammers.
  #159  
Old 11-04-2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
...

ETA: speaking of simultaneous posting: Dinsdale, as you agree there's no good way of telling apart people whose disability genuinely means they'd require extra help on top of UBI from those who are freeloading, are you arguing that the people who really can't help it should be left without enough funds to survive on? That seems unlikely, but it's all I can get from your latest post.
You would need to define so many terms in your post. Who are the people who "really can't help it"? I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm really not sure what you mean.

Who are the people who lack "enough funds to survive on"? Are you presuming that they receive any/all of: health care; education; vocational training; housing assistance; food stamps? I never understood UBI proposed as a substitute for all of those. I certainly never suggested as much.

Who are the people who need "extra help on top of UBI"? And what form do you expect this extra help to assume? Without knowing who you mean and why, I'm incapable of expressing an opinion as to whether a system is desirable or workable. I'm not sure there is a huge difference in my mind as to WHY someone is unable to succeed in the economy. Whether they are physically impaired, lazy, had poor role models, unintelligent, ex-cons, etc., ad infinitum. Give them all UBI, and then offer additional services/programs for those who need them and are willing to take advantage of them.

I never used the word "freeloader." For people to use such a loaded term in responding to my post, I think, distorts what I actually said. What is a freeloader? What is disability fraud? I don't know, and I doubt there is a single agreed upon definition.
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  #160  
Old 11-04-2019, 04:44 PM
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I think Dinsdale was expressing the sort of frustration that either leads to or comes from job burn out. Having worked in social services at one time I understand the frustration. Some days you feel like you're trying to bail out the sinking Titanic with a spoon.

Last edited by Broomstick; 11-04-2019 at 04:45 PM.
  #161  
Old 11-04-2019, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
If you don't mind sharing personal details, I'd be interested in hearing your story: how you went from a (federal income) tax-paying member of society to collecting SNAP and back again.
If you are simply curious as to how that might be possible, trauma and disease can put a person out of work for months or even years. For example, a particularly unlucky car accident can leave you temporarily or permanently paralyzed (eg: cervical radiculopathy); chemotherapy can put people out of work for the duration of treatment.

You also have single parents with infant children. The mother may not have maternity pay if she was not working before having the child; she might survive off welfare and child support for at least the initial few months. Or perhaps the mother was the breadwinner of a large family and she died during childbirth.

ETA: Also the scenario where retirees (on welfare) re-enter the workforce when they take custody of grandchildren.

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 11-04-2019 at 04:59 PM.
  #162  
Old 11-04-2019, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale;21954980
Who are the people who need "extra help on top of UBI"? And what form do you expect this extra help to assume? Without knowing who you mean and why, I'm incapable of expressing an opinion as to whether a system is desirable or workable. I'm not sure there is a huge difference in my mind as to WHY someone is unable to succeed in the economy. Whether they are physically impaired, lazy, had poor role models, unintelligent, ex-cons, etc., ad infinitum. Give them all UBI, and then offer additional services/programs for those who need them and are willing to take advantage of them.[/QUOTE




Who are these people who need extra help on top of the UBI? Well, to quote you in this very post:
Give them all UBI, and then offer additional services/programs for those who need them[/Quote]

Whoever it is that is determined to qualify for that assistance. As your post clearly implies.

And **of course** it fucking matters why someone is "unable" to succeed in the economy. Some obstacles can be overcome, some simply cannot. A lazy recipient of a UBI is absolutely capable of bettering his/her life thru a change in lifestyle. Same with the unintelligent, ex-con, etc. Of course, this capability exists to greater or lesser degrees depending on who we're talking about but it *exists* for all of them. UBI has the potential to greatly improve their lives.

A profoundly disabled recipient of a UBI is *incapable* of bettering his/her life by changing lifeztyles/employment status, even if they wanted to with all their heart. UBI provides no potential for quality of life improvement for these people, it only keeps tjem barely treading water.

ETA: i dont know how i mangled the quotes so horribly but i have to just step away now. That first sentence of my post *was not* inside Dinsdales quote box. I dont know how that happened

Last edited by Ambivalid; 11-04-2019 at 05:17 PM.
  #163  
Old 11-04-2019, 05:25 PM
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If you don't mind sharing personal details, I'd be interested in hearing your story: how you went from a (federal income) tax-paying member of society to collecting SNAP and back again.
While I wasn't in the situation as long as Broomstick I'll throw mine out there. I was making >$300K per year and I decided to start a business. My wife was given the choice of being fired from her $100K job or moving to northern Nevada where I would lose the business I just started along with my job so we let her be fired and use the new spare time to have our first child. Three months later oil prices tanked and I lost my job and got to throw myself into the new business as my full time endeavor. Over the next 6 months we depleted our savings and unemployment benefits and shortly after the birth of our kid we were on WIC, SNAP, and Medicade. Fourteen more months of not getting paid at my company, despite the other shareholders promises that I would, I had to quit the business.

It took Mrs. Digger another 4 months to find work that was in another state. She had to move out 2 months before I could because we couldn't afford to front the money for the company to reimburse our move. She commuted 4 hours a day to that job since she was living for free with her sister before we could save enough to move us out and get housing closer to work. I found work 4 months after moving that was part time. We've since grown my part time work into a full time job with two employees and Mrs. Digger changed jobs. Once I grow the company enough to utilize my employees fully we'll be back above $200K again.

So there you go in 5 years our we went from the 1% down below poverty level and back up.
  #164  
Old 11-04-2019, 05:54 PM
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Ok, so what i gathered from that post 143 is basically that he's saying the system is badly broken and doesnt serve the best interests of those its set up to serve.

So lets fix the system. Right? Or? What? What is the main thrust of that post other than one of despair and do-nothingism? Has tightening or at least comprehensively reviewing the qualifications (or whatever term is appropriate) for what "disabled" means been conducted in recent past? Or the scrutiny for qualifying could be conducted in order to qualify under a new UBI-supplement program?

Clearly $12,000 with no means to improve the circumstances in one's life is not an acceptable living wage. Not one we should let exist in this country. Not when the person living in those means has no independent ability to ever rise up out of them. The disabled people who would simply survive on UBI just as they are simply surviving on disability payments today would be in at best an unimproved circumstance and at worst in a worse circumstance than prior to the UBI. Unless certain allowances are made for their intractable situations which increase their cost of simply surviving.
It depends on what problem you're trying to solve. If Universal Basic Income is a safety blanket for all, regardless of need, then it's going to be massively unfair. Sure, some might use it as a guaranteed income while they pursue their entrepreneurial dream, while others use it to allow them to pursue their goal of playing video games all day, and others rely on it for survival. But how are you going to have a universal benefit that doesn't assess need, but is meant to meet needs fairly?

Or maybe there needs to be UBI, plus an additional benefits scheme for the disabled. So that brings back in the whole infrastructure for assessing who is disabled, how to deal with vastly different circumstances of individuals, and how to fairly assess non-obvious disabilities which unfortunately can be exploited for fraud. If a benefit of UBI is savings by eliminating means-testing or disability assessments or reviewing individual cases, then that assessment infrastructure needs to be eliminated. If it's maintained, then you've lost the savings and you're merely paying out more in benefits.
  #165  
Old 11-04-2019, 06:12 PM
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It depends on what problem you're trying to solve. If Universal Basic Income is a safety blanket for all, regardless of need, then it's going to be massively unfair. Sure, some might use it as a guaranteed income while they pursue their entrepreneurial dream, while others use it to allow them to pursue their goal of playing video games all day, and others rely on it for survival. But how are you going to have a universal benefit that doesn't assess need, but is meant to meet needs fairly?

Or maybe there needs to be UBI, plus an additional benefits scheme for the disabled. So that brings back in the whole infrastructure for assessing who is disabled, how to deal with vastly different circumstances of individuals, and how to fairly assess non-obvious disabilities which unfortunately can be exploited for fraud. If a benefit of UBI is savings by eliminating means-testing or disability assessments or reviewing individual cases, then that assessment infrastructure needs to be eliminated. If it's maintained, then you've lost the savings and you're merely paying out more in benefits.
Ok, so i know what you think *won't* work. Do you have any ideas on how to tackle this issue? Or do you not consider it an issue?
  #166  
Old 11-04-2019, 06:16 PM
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Did you notice my post #145? or notice Dinsdale's post #146? -- you probably hadn't seen my post #151, as that was posted almost simultaneously with yours above.
Sure I saw them. I didn't believe they covered the same response I wished to supply. If I need to specify my response, I believe that there are people receiving welfare benefits, including disability benefits, who are gaming the system. I also believe there are a majority of benefits receivers who are honest and accept the benefits they receive, but have no objection to receiving more and would object strenuously to receiving less. If these receivers were offered UBI plus disability benefits, and more than an infinitesimal number refused the additional payments, I think that would be contrary to human nature.
  #167  
Old 11-04-2019, 06:31 PM
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You would need to define so many terms in your post. Who are the people who "really can't help it"? I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm really not sure what you mean.

Who are the people who lack "enough funds to survive on"? Are you presuming that they receive any/all of: health care; education; vocational training; housing assistance; food stamps? I never understood UBI proposed as a substitute for all of those. I certainly never suggested as much.

Who are the people who need "extra help on top of UBI"? And what form do you expect this extra help to assume? Without knowing who you mean and why, I'm incapable of expressing an opinion as to whether a system is desirable or workable.
I don't think I'm up to designing an entire workable system tonight; or even an entire unworkable one.

It's my understanding that some of the UBI proposals do intend it to replace housing assistance, food stamps, and so on. I think that's where Andrew Yang said he'd get much of the money from.

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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
I'm not sure there is a huge difference in my mind as to WHY someone is unable to succeed in the economy. Whether they are physically impaired, lazy, had poor role models, unintelligent, ex-cons, etc., ad infinitum. Give them all UBI, and then offer additional services/programs for those who need them and are willing to take advantage of them. .
I think that answers the question I was asking, though. I still don't understand why you phrased your earlier post the way you did; but I'm not going to worry about it, or to bother trying to get further clarification.
  #168  
Old 11-04-2019, 06:55 PM
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Ok, so i know what you think *won't* work. Do you have any ideas on how to tackle this issue? Or do you not consider it an issue?
Let me clarify what I think won't work. I think Universal Basic Income is a bad idea. I think there's an absolute correlation between productivity and economic strength. I think an economic incentive that allows people to have a basic income while sitting around on their asses or pursuing black market tax-avoidance activities is utterly stupid. I think getting people working is a good concept.

For people with disabilities, my main governmental wish is to eliminate cliff-edge choices. If someone can work 10 hours a week as a floor worker, and has the chance to move up to 20 hours a week as a floor worker/counter worker, then it's stupid to make a person worse off if they can advance themselves. As the gig economy moves online, this will become especially prevalent. A pop-up gig might just need someone to answer the phone or manage social media for a few days. Or, alternatively, spend two hours in room-prep. The idea that someone can achieve a certain amount of income through work, and then suddenly incur a major loss of needed assistance because they've been productive is asinine. So stopping that is my "idea of how to tackle the issue."
  #169  
Old 11-04-2019, 07:32 PM
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So, how are the liberal elite going to reduce the choice in supermarkets and/or increase prices again? And BTW, urban groceries have less choice and higher prices than suburban ones do, and I've never heard the liberal elite consider that as a plus.
So urban supermarkets, where there's a higher floor space cost are smaller than suburban supermarkets where floor space cost is cheaper? Imagine that. It's almost as if business executives are taking costs as a factor in their decision making instead of relying on egalitarian ideals.

BTW, although I'm happy to bash liberal stupidity, isn't this the wrong thread for discussing the liberal elite? This is the one about the social safety net.

Regarding the social safety net, I believe that free market principles are a help, not a hindrance. The main economic factor for lower prices is competition. Food prices in general are low because competition is allowed. If you want to discuss a situation where the market is failing because competition is forbidden, let's discuss the US prescription drug market. There are several Straight Dopers more knowledgeable on this issue than myself. But from what I've read about insulin prices, and prices for several other prescription drugs, oligarchic regulations are interfering with fair market pricing. Rather than the government trying to set some ideal Platonic Ideal price, how about removing all the unfair trade barriers and let the market find a fair price?
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Old 11-04-2019, 08:05 PM
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If you don't mind sharing personal details, I'd be interested in hearing your story: how you went from a (federal income) tax-paying member of society to collecting SNAP and back again.
In 2007 I was working for Blue Cross Blue Shield, assisting medical researchers from making travel arrangements, scheduling meetings with participants on several continents, to retrieving medical documentation from medical libraries.

Also in 2007 the company switched from assistants that made travel arrangements to having employees doing it themselves via web, outsourcing meeting planning/support, and employing a company based in Bangalore, India that would receive e-mailed requests for on-line journal articles and have them in the researchers in box by 8 am the next morning. At which point my services were no longer needed by BCBS and I was laid off. Thus, advancing technology rendered my profession skills superfluous. I was fortunate to leave with a generous severance package of one year's salary.

As I had never in my adult life been unemployed long enough to collect unemployment I initially had great optimism I would soon be back to work, with a windfall in the bank.

It was not to be.

After a month of fruitless job hunting I realized the Great Recession was different to prior recessions I had experienced. Despite a bachelor's degree and 25 year work history with no interruptions I could not even get an interview, much less a job. We had cut back our budget, and unemployment helped, but the money slowly trickled away. My landlord, in an effort to help us out, started employing me first to do maintenance on the building we lived in, then in cleaning up on job sites (he was a general contractor), and finally progressing to doing actual work assisting him with drywall, plumbing, carpentry, roofing, and other projects. Unfortunately, the construction trades were also hard hit and in a year or two he was having trouble finding work for himself and had to let the rest of his crew go, down to using me occasionally when he needed help and could afford to pay me. I did look into getting into an apprenticeship program because, after all, I was now doing work in the trades but was flat out told I was 10 years to old to do so, there was an age limit on entering such programs and I exceeded it. Meanwhile, my self-employed husband was likewise losing customers because people just didn't have the money to spend on items that weren't vital to their existence.

After four years the money ran out. I had stretched one year's salary for three years, then threw in our savings. After four years we were down to a sum of one and a half month's of rent in the bank and no income whatsoever.

And that's why I applied for food stamps. (while still applying for jobs anywhere and everywhere I could). My initial application was a two page form and 20 pages of supporting documentation. I had to resubmit such documentation every 6 months for the four years were on the program.

For the next three years I pieced together rent money by doing odd jobs, scrapping, selling personal possessions (which is not as easy as people assume it will be), and asking relatives for assistance when we were really desperate. I was heartily ashamed as an adult that had been self-supporting for over 20 years, and head earner in the household for 10, when I had to ask my dad to pay our rent but the alternative was to be homeless and lose everything. For about 8 month from 2009 into 2010 I was able to get work from the US Census, which was a godsend although we lost our qualification for SNAP during that time due to the influx of money. After the Census, though, I could reapply for SNAP and it was another year of floundering until I obtained work as a cobbler.

During that year I was required to enter "job assistance" as a now long-term unemployed person (never mind all the part time odd job work I had been doing - I was considered completely unemployed because no one was signing a regular paycheck for me). So I had to report to a "job center" for 25 hours a week so someone could look over my shoulder to make sure I actually was applying for jobs. Which I was. By the way, this ended my work helping out a general contractor since I was now obligated to be at the job center instead of at the work site (because the contractor work was day labor it was not considered a job for the purposes of the benefit programs - I went from making $60-150/week to NOTHING thanks to that!) or lose the money that provided food for us to eat on a regular basis. I was asked if I needed help getting my GED. I pointed out I had a four year degree already. I was asked if I needed drug or alcohol counseling. I said I didn't have a drug problem, would take a piss test on the spot to prove it if it would make them happy, and hadn't had alcohol since 2008 cause I freakin' couldn't afford it and thought food more important. I was asked if I needed child care. I said I was in my late 40's and had never had children, so no. The counselor looked at me, sighed, and said that the system was clearly never set up for the like of me and the other 20 people she'd talked to that day that, like me, had a long stable job history until 2007 when everything went off the rails. Nonetheless, I was still submitting applications. About once a year I'd be asked to come for an interview that would invariably be at least 50 other people all vying for the same job.

Anyhow, I eventually landed a job as a cobbler - on my own initiative, not through the job center - and that worked out well enough... but about 18 months into it the business faltered and the owner decided to "solve" her problems by simply not paying her employees. I attempted to work things out with her, but she stopped answering the phone. I went to the labor board, who found in my favor and the owner told me to fuck off. As she owed me a couple thousand dollars and we were now in debt because we had had no income for four months before I found another cobbler job I felt I had no choice but to sue her for the money. She then told me I was a fool, the court would never take my word over hers, threatened to ruin me, called me and threatened me on the phone (she left voice mails, if you can believe that)... and I won in court. And had to get in line behind the other people who she owed money, starting with the Federal IRS and Indiana Department of Revenue so instead of getting the money up front it dribbled in at $100/month... which immediately reduced our SNAP benefit because it was counted as income so at the end of the month we were no better off. Other than the satisfaction of winning my case and making the bitch pay, which was something, but that didn't really help us financially.

When I went to collect unemployment for that job I was first accused of fraud, because the state had no record of such a company. I was able to prove via pay stubs that I had in fact worked for this person which is what started the state (and later Federal) investigations that lead to the IRS going after the owner. If I had not been able to prove that I could have been fined or even sent to jail, so good thing I had insisted on paperwork. Many of my coworkers had accepted payment under the table/strictly in cash so they were screwed - no proof they had been employed, no legal recourse, no way to collect unemployment. Two of them wound up on the streets.

The second cobbler job was going along until a coworker attempted to physically assault me. Because I refused to go back to a job where my safety was at risk the unemployment folks deemed that I had "quit voluntarily" and I could not collect unemployment. Because I had "quit voluntarily" my SNAP benefits were also in jeopardy and I was given two weeks to get another job or lose our benefits for six months - not just SNAP but also our Medicaid, which we needed to keep my diabetic husband in daily medications. I was told several times that if I had allowed the coworker to actually hurt me I would have not faced these penalties but since I had evaded injury there was not sufficient proof for my side of the story, thus, the "you quit voluntarily" determination. My husband was contacted by a social worker and "advised" that if his wife kept having so many problems keeping a job his best course of action was to divorce me and move out so he could apply for benefits on his own, and a social worker gave him several names of lawyers to facilitate that. I mean, fuck us for trying to stay together and support each other, and fuck me for wanting to get paid and NOT wanting to have my skull cracked open by a steel hammer, right? Let's bust up a stable marriage instead. "Foolishly" my husband and I decided to remain married.

Around that time the State of Indiana had FINALLY come up with a job search program designed for people who had degrees and experience but couldn't fucking find another job. I was in the first group. And you know what? THAT finally helped - not one of us in the initial group finished the program because, finally, we ALL found jobs.

I was hired by my current employer. Initially it was part-time shelf stocking, which I was GLAD to do even if I was enormously overqualified because 1) my prior profession was gone and not coming back and I didn't have a problem starting over at entry level in something new and 2) I was fucking relieved to be working in a place where my paychecks didn't bounce and no one was trying to hurt me.

Within a year I was full time with benefits and a 401(k). I am currently making twice what I did when I started there 5 years ago and am now back to (lower) middle class. And yes, back to paying taxes. I am even starting to make some money again doing freelance work on the side, yay me. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to retire one day.

So... no, I wasn't blowing my money on booze, cigarettes, alcohol or lottery tickets - didn't buy any of those for a decade (and thank Og I've never been a smoker). In addition to looking for work and working when I could get it I also had a large garden and grew most of our vegetables. I bartered for eggs from friends and neighbors with chicken. I went to food pantries. I sold possessions. I asked for help from relatives but a lot of them were losing jobs (my sister who had a master's degree was out of steady work for years, too, and did in fact become homeless after a car accident destroyed her means of transportation and left her oldest brain injured - she spent three months couch surfing before getting a permanent living arrangement again. Again, no drugging, no boozing, just job loss and a catastrophic injury in a family member). By 2010 the ONLY member of my family still employed was my sister with an MD and my dad but only part time - every other adult was no longer working - mom due to disability (officially determined, heart disease and vascular dementia), dad because he cut back on hours because mom needed a caregiver, my other sister due to aforementioned catastrophe, my Dr. Sister's husband's business failed in the bad economy so he was unemployed, my spouse's business had failed in the bad economy so he was unemployed, the niece and nephews were out of work (one of them due to disabling injury).... in 2006 we had ALL been working full time except mom. It was a disaster for the entire family.

I had done everything "right" - I had gotten an education, a stable marriage, a husband with more education than I had, I hadn't had kids we couldn't afford, no expensive vices, unbroken work record, good work record... and it took less than four years to fall from solid middle class and a year's salary in the bank to OMFG we're going to be on the street next month. We we stayed there for SIX FUCKING YEARS. Because in no small part ageism DOES exist, and once your on SNAP or poor or haven't had steady work for awhile you are ASSUMED to be a fuck up and undesirable so the longer it takes you to get a job the less likely you are to be employed.

Again - educated, totally clean legal record, excellent work history, no vices and it took six fucking years to get back to "real tax payer citizen" status.

My sister who lost everything due to an accident and disabled kid? She is STILL living in poverty, STILL on benefits, and both her kids are dead now. Honestly, I'm somewhat surprised she hasn't ended it all, but we've never gotten along and she doesn't really talk to me.

So yeah, it pisses me the fuck off when you insinuate that people who use SNAP or Medicaid are life-long free-loading parasites, lazy, stupid, uneducated, etc. Because I am none of those things, I suffered for years, and I get tired of hearing people such as yourself demean and verbally kick those who are down and out and struggling to claw their way back up the economic ladder. MOST people who use those benefits are like me - something bad happened, and they're trying to pull themselves up and do better. Your constant nattering about how the poor are lazy, stupid, uneducated, breeding, full of vice, etc. DOES NOT HELP. That is CLEARLY how you see every poor person with absolutely no notion that yes, bad luck can and does happen to even the best of people.

So yeah, I AM a little bitter about it all.

Being poor did not make me a bad person. Not being poor does not make me - or you - a good person.
  #171  
Old 11-04-2019, 08:08 PM
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Hey, by restricting the supplement to "medical goods and services" that, to me, seems like it would go some way to discourage gamers of the system. If all they can score out of the deal is some free catheters and some baclofen, i dont think the racket will hold that much appeal to many of the scammers.
You know - asking people to describe the connection between catheters and baclofen, as well as how well they can pronounce the latter, might actually serve as a good initial screening question for separating the truly disabled from the posers...
  #172  
Old 11-05-2019, 03:28 PM
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Let me clarify what I think won't work. I think Universal Basic Income is a bad idea. I think there's an absolute correlation between productivity and economic strength. I think an economic incentive that allows people to have a basic income while sitting around on their asses or pursuing black market tax-avoidance activities is utterly stupid. I think getting people working is a good concept
I'm reading a book that espouses basic income at the moment and (according to the book) there is little evidence of a loss of productivity from basic income trials. But I would obviously have to source the evidence to make that a convincing argument and I don't have time for that right now.

But there are, I think, other points to be made about 'economic strength' and productivity. If a single parent on basic income quits their low-paying job to look after their children is that a net loss for society? That would be a net loss of GDP but everything suggests we would see lower crime rates, better educational and general outcomes for children no longer raised in poverty or with absent parents. What's the value of that? Looking at society purely on economic production terms is fundamentally flawed.

There are also studies that look at the concept of 'mental bandwidth' and poverty. Essentially being poor is such a strain on people's mental capacity that it becomes more difficult for them to make good choices. Is that excusing people's bad choices or understanding that people aren't an island and circumstances have a significant impact on outcomes? I think evidence supports the latter.

And I agree with you that people should be encouraged to work, because it's good for an individual's feeling of self worth and dignity. But encouraged to do work in which they gain some sort of satisfaction, not whatever soul destroying shitty job they need to keep a roof over their head. It's often people being paid well for doing jobs they enjoy telling the poor that work is a moral imperative. Will there be lazy people who sit at home playing video games? Sure. but the proportion will will negligible and it's a price worth paying and we can go after them in other ways that doesn't hurt anyone else. It's not as if those people are going to be super productive economic contributors in any case.

IMO we should put our patriarchal and puritanical 'work to eat' moralising aside and look at the evidence for how to best lift people out of poverty and just do it. The long term benefits of having a happier, more educated populace with less social problems would massively outweigh the short term costs.

Last edited by Baboonanza; 11-05-2019 at 03:32 PM.
  #173  
Old 11-05-2019, 03:59 PM
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Broomstick, thanks for sharing your story. The only thing I'll take issue with in that post is this:

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... Your constant nattering about how the poor are lazy, stupid, uneducated, breeding, full of vice, etc. DOES NOT HELP. That is CLEARLY how you see every poor person with absolutely no notion that yes, bad luck can and does happen to even the best of people. ...
I refute the notion that I "see every poor person" as you describe. I understand that poverty can result from either bad decisions or bad luck (or sometimes a combination of the two).
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Old 11-05-2019, 04:28 PM
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Maybe you refute the notion but that is, in fact, how I see you based upon your posting both in this thread and in the past. You (and several other posters) do seem to start with negative assumptions about poor people based solely on them being poor. If you do not like that assessment perhaps you should review what you have said and consider how it might appear to someone who is struggling to survive

As that sort of bias does, in fact, make it much harder for the poor to get a job or better their situation I must object to it strongly.
  #175  
Old 11-05-2019, 04:31 PM
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And had to get in line behind the other people who she owed money, starting with the Federal IRS and Indiana Department of Revenue so instead of getting the money up front it dribbled in at $100/month... which immediately reduced our SNAP benefit because it was counted as income so at the end of the month we were no better off.
This part is really bad. Is there any candidate who is campaigning to change this policy?
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Old 11-05-2019, 06:17 PM
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This part is really bad. Is there any candidate who is campaigning to change this policy?
Well.... when someone owes about 15 different parties more money in total than their net worth I don't think there's any really great solution.

Under the current rules the Federal IRS could have just taken everything she owned, slapped a lien on her house, and thrown her in jail. So it was already a concession that both the IRS and state department of revenue were willing to work out a deal that allowed other creditors to have a share and allow her to continue working so she had a possibility of (eventually) paying everyone off a little bit to each every month.

As it happens, at a certain point she simply disappeared. Skipped town? Murdered? No one knows. While I did not get the full amount awarded to me I did get everything I was originally owed and a little bit more. So I can live with the results.
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Old 11-05-2019, 06:35 PM
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This part is really bad. Is there any candidate who is campaigning to change this policy?
Now, it occurs to me you were raising an objection not to the payment method but that it reduced our SNAP payments.

No, there is no candidate running on such a platform. I doubt there ever will be. After all, the poor are supposed to be "encouraged" to find work, "encouraged" to earn more money. Even if that induces perverse disincentives.
  #178  
Old 11-05-2019, 08:24 PM
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Now, it occurs to me you were raising an objection not to the payment method but that it reduced our SNAP payments.

No, there is no candidate running on such a platform. I doubt there ever will be. After all, the poor are supposed to be "encouraged" to find work, "encouraged" to earn more money. Even if that induces perverse disincentives.
Yes, this is what I meant. It seems common sense to me that people who need help shouldn't be punished for trying to work. It doesn't even seem that hard to tweak the system to a graduated scale or whatever. Ridiculous that nobody seems to want to do that.

Almost as ridiculous as the fact that people cannot use SNAP benefits to buy a hot rotisserie chicken (which actually angers me every time I see them in the store)
  #179  
Old 11-05-2019, 10:45 PM
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  #180  
Old 11-05-2019, 11:23 PM
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I was just reading a New York Times opinion piece, The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem
By Angus Deaton
Jan. 24, 2018:
Quote:
You might think that the kind of extreme poverty that would concern a global organization like the United Nations has long vanished in this country. Yet the special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, recently made and reported on an investigative tour of the United States...
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/...22533&LangID=E

According to the World Bank, 769 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day in 2013; they are the world’s very poorest. Of these, 3.2 million live in the United States
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/o...ed-states.html
  #181  
Old 11-06-2019, 04:14 AM
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Yes, this is what I meant. It seems common sense to me that people who need help shouldn't be punished for trying to work. It doesn't even seem that hard to tweak the system to a graduated scale or whatever. Ridiculous that nobody seems to want to do that.
It's because of this narrative that poor people are lazy or making bad choices, that's why they're poor, and can't be trusted to make the "proper" choices or to work. The current system is based on the notion that if you just make people miserable enough they'll get off their lazy asses and find a job. Even if there are no jobs to be had, or no jobs they're qualified for, or the're considered too old for the training that would make them qualified, or they're busting their asses looking for work. Just tighten the screws down and a job will appear.

As a result, we get rules that cut benefits immediately if a person gets a raise or windfall (the "windfall" penalty is especially harsh in my opinion).

Quote:
Almost as ridiculous as the fact that people cannot use SNAP benefits to buy a hot rotisserie chicken (which actually angers me every time I see them in the store)
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Why not?
The rule is against hot food. It's to prevent people from using SNAP to eat in restaurants. It was put in place before hot rotisserie chicken was common in grocery stores.
  #182  
Old 11-06-2019, 04:32 AM
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Slightly off topic but I just wondered how many American's today know that President Nixon, that well known leftist, proposed basic income in 1969 and actually got it through the house. If that's not a sign of how much US politics has changed I don't know what is.

Apparently (I don't have primary sources for this) he was persuaded to drop it by one of his right-wing aides by citing the example of Speenhamland as a case where it was tried and was a disaster, though this has now been shown to be wrong (both as an example of basic income and that it was a disaster) and the Royal Comission Report was entirely cooked up.

Last edited by Baboonanza; 11-06-2019 at 04:34 AM.
  #183  
Old 11-06-2019, 08:08 AM
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This part is really bad. Is there any candidate who is campaigning to change this policy?
Graduated programs avoid "benefit cliffs", where you don't lose everything by earning an additional dollar. They do, however, increase implicit marginal tax rates. No program does so in a one-to-one ratio, where an additional $100 earned reduces the benefit by $100, i.e. a 100% implicit marginal tax. However, one can get close by stacking programs. And for SNAP, specifically, earned income is treated more favorably than other income. So with money from a lawsuit, YMMV.

A one-to-one program has the benefit of setting some threshold of what people need* and not giving them any more than that. However, it also removes the incentive to earn just a little bit more. I just can't muster much objection to someone at 151% of the poverty line getting something they don't need* if it means avoiding high implicit marginal rates or a cliff.

*A somewhat arbitrary number IMO

-+-+-+-+-

I was negative about basic income earlier because the proposal was to pay for it, in part, by eliminating SSDI. I do not support this. If you want to tax me more, fine; I can afford it. But I don't want to make the disabled worse off than they are today. I prefer taxes for benefits programs over, say, increasing the minimum wage massively.
  #184  
Old 11-06-2019, 08:40 AM
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It's because of this narrative that poor people are lazy or making bad choices, that's why they're poor, and can't be trusted to make the "proper" choices or to work. ...
I certainly agree with you that not all poor people are poor for the reasons you note. A couple you forgot:
-low intelligence doesn't help. Lacking any other advantages, someone in the bottom quarter of intelligence (but above intellectual disability) will have a harder time in many respects than someone in the top quarter.
-also poor role models. The child born to a substance abuser/abusive/absent/etc parent faces horribly greater challenges.

BUT - (and you knew I had a big but ) - SOME poor people ARE poor because of their lousy choices, and because they would rather put effort into obtaining government subsidies than putting in a solid work week. Often one pays overly for past bad decisions. One felony conviction might fuck your employment options for the rest of your life. We might disagree with what percentage of the poor are lazy and stupid, but some are. And what as a society do we wish to do with them?

The same way I said before about "disabled" people, I prefer a system that does not attempt to distinguish WHY one is disadvantaged. Trying to do so is problematic (as I tried to suggest, unsuccessfully). Later, someone offered the adjective "profound" disability. Is that moving the goal posts from "disability" to "profound disability"? Who gets to determine whether a disability is "profound" or not? Instead, I say pay everyone a basic income without making an assessment (or judgment) of why. AND, allow them health care and vocational training/education resources.

I don't understand how that system "makes the disabled worse." In fact, I contend that the CURRENT system makes the "impaired" worse because, instead of saying that an individual has a challenge that society will help them in overcoming as best possible, it says "Don't even try. You are disabled, and will likely remain so until you die."

People saying that the disabled deserve something more than UBI + health care impress me as the common situation - so typical of humans - where they say, "Yeah, help everyone, but help ME a little more!"

I think it amusing that I am being criticized for being insufficiently compassionate when I'm expressing support for public services FAR exceeding what the US offers today!
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  #185  
Old 11-06-2019, 09:05 AM
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i don't understand how that system "makes the disabled worse."
$12,000 < $30,000
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:20 AM
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$12,000 < $30,000
I don't know what those numbers represent. No recipient of Social Security SSI or (I'm pretty sure) DIB gets $30k a year. VA bens are another matter.
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  #187  
Old 11-06-2019, 10:11 AM
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I don't know what those numbers represent.
Someone earlier was proposing basic income of $12k.
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No recipient of Social Security SSI or (I'm pretty sure) DIB gets $30k a year.
That's not what SSA tells me when I log into my account with them. Log in, click Estimated Benefits on the right, and scroll down to "If you become disabled right now your estimated payment would be:"

Punching
maximum SSDI
into Google suggests it tops out around $34k.

I do not want to eliminate this program to fund a $12k basic income.
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:56 AM
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Someone earlier was proposing basic income of $12k.
That's not what SSA tells me when I log into my account with them. ....
OK - I'll grant that. That was why I added my qualifier ("I'm pretty sure.") I will acknowledge that I was wrong, and that SOME SS DIB recipients make well over $12k. (I stick with my statement that NO SSI recipient makes that.)

Now check what the AVERAGE recipient gets. Haven't checked lately, but I bet it is in the mid-teens.

Let me guess - you make a pretty good buck, right? So I bet your expected disability benefits - as well as future retirement bennies - are near the top of the range.

Let me offer another presumption (which you might not share). Since you have whatever it takes to have been a relatively high-earing individual, you are better situated to adapt to becoming disabled. (Acknowledging that "disability" can take many forms, and be of varying "profundity.")

Also, when discussing issues like this, I think we have to assume a utilitarian, best for the most - approach, rather than what is best for you or any other individual. I think the fact that you personally would be disadvantaged is really irrelevant WRT whether UBI is better for society as a whole.

I assume a similar approach to healthcare. I prefer a system where EVERYONE can get basic health care, even if that means some older folk (whatever their wealth) don't get subsidized organ transplants or other costly treatment. And I don't care how much they feel they "paid into the system." Then, the sticky point is, what do we do w/ the child who is born profoundly disabled such that they will never be independent...

Public policy is tough. Someone's ox generally gets gored. IME, most people are fine w/ that, so long as it isn't THEIRS.
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  #189  
Old 11-06-2019, 12:01 PM
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OK - I'll grant that. That was why I added my qualifier ("I'm pretty sure.") I will acknowledge that I was wrong, and that SOME SS DIB recipients make well over $12k. (I stick with my statement that NO SSI recipient makes that.)

Now check what the AVERAGE recipient gets. Haven't checked lately,
Yes, it's pretty clear at this point that you are writing on a topic without first having done your homework. Not even the barest minimum effort of typing three words into Google.
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I think the fact that you personally would be disadvantaged is really irrelevant WRT whether UBI is better for society as a whole.
And thus your presumptions about me are irrelevant. And I never argued that my personal situation was relevant; I brought it up because you couldn't be bothered to look up SSDI payments prior to posting, and my personal situation means your guesswork was incorrect, as you acknowledge.


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Public policy is tough. Someone's ox generally gets gored. IME, most people are fine w/ that, so long as it isn't THEIRS.
This isn't about my ox. This is about a proposal that takes money from people who can't work and gives it to people who choose not to.

It's not a binary scenario. You can have UBI and leave insurance systems (e.g. unemployment, SSDI) intact, perhaps with benefits reductions. You can tax non-disabled me more. Etc. But I do not support making disabled people worse off.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:18 PM
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I People saying that the disabled deserve something more than UBI + health care impress me as the common situation - so typical of humans - where they say, "Yeah, help everyone, but help ME a little more!"
I'm curious, do you consider a UBI with the addition of a medical supplement for the disabled and chronically ill-one that is restricted to paying for medical supplies and additional costs of living only-to be some sort of hand out that would create an unfair system tilted towards the disabled and sick?
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:20 PM
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This isn't about my ox. This is about a proposal that takes money from people who can't work and gives it to people who choose not to.
This.
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:45 PM
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Yes, it's pretty clear at this point that you are writing on a topic without first having done your homework. Not even the barest minimum effort of typing three words into Google.

...

And thus your presumptions about me are irrelevant.
Man - I LOVE the internet! Enjoy folks.
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  #193  
Old 11-06-2019, 01:02 PM
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More effort spent flouncing than it would have taken to type
maximum SSID
or
average SSID
into Google.
  #194  
Old 11-06-2019, 01:06 PM
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To be clear, the problems i see re the UBI and the disabled *dont* apply to me personally. I actually would personally see a UBI as a positive in my life. It would allow me to pursue full time employment without disqualifying myself from the money i currently receive in disability benefits. However, I also acknowledge that i am on the upper rungs of ability amongst the disabled community. Many are not as fortunate as I am. It is these folks for whom i am advocating.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:14 PM
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Man - I LOVE the internet! Enjoy folks.
How many times are you going to loudly proclaim your exit from this thread?
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:35 PM
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Someone earlier was proposing basic income of $12k.
That's not what SSA tells me when I log into my account with them. Log in, click Estimated Benefits on the right, and scroll down to "If you become disabled right now your estimated payment would be:"

Punching
maximum SSDI
into Google suggests it tops out around $34k.

I do not want to eliminate this program to fund a $12k basic income.
So just to clarify you would support UBI at a $34K payout annually? I don't necessarily agree with that but I'm trying to understand your argument. You have posted a bunch of hard to parse arguments which it makes it hard to tell if we agree or disagree.

Is your goal to ensure that the disabled have no drop in standard of living going forward or that you preferential benefit in disabled over all others or do you just want to maintain the status quo because the current system is perfect.

In theory we are discussing the size and structure of our social safety net and I have no idea what you opinion is.

In this thread the $12K came from two sources primarily Yang's proposal for UBI from his presidential campaign and secondarily from my opinion that a good target for UBI is to ensure that the prototypical family of 4 should not live in poverty.
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:42 PM
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You have posted a bunch of hard to parse arguments which it makes it hard to tell if we agree or disagree.
Cheers on powering through my incoherence.

I can't support or dismiss a plan on a single number. A $34k plan would remove one of my objections (disabled people being worse off). However, I'm not sure how the overall financing works at that level. I'm pretty sure we couldn't implement a $100k plan, and a $1k plan is useless. The middle ground is complicated.

The status quo is not perfect. I believe a plan that makes disabled people worse off is worse than the status quo. Therefore the options to have a better plan than the status quo are: UBI+ (UBI while preserving some insurance programs, not necessarily in their entirety), or leave the current system intact with some fixes based on whatever it is that people are trying to fix.

I'm not beholden to any particular setup and not opposed to UBI. However, I don't know how to make the UBI math work out. That may be to limited creativity on my part.

Re: poverty lines, the HHS thresholds start with $12,490 for an individual and add $4,420 for each addition to the household. Add 50% for SNAP thresholds. USCB has slightly different numbers.
So for a family of four, assuming the kids don't get anything (per AY), it would be set at $13k, so you were close. However, today, that family would still qualify for SNAP if they made $26k. You'd need to bump the UBI to over $19k to get them over today's SNAP threshold. Higher if they have more kids.

And re-looking AY's proposal, it doesn't look like he plans to eliminate SSDI. So if were arguing AY's plan, my objection doesn't stand. If we're arguing to remove all benefits, then it does.
  #198  
Old 11-06-2019, 06:06 PM
Max S. is offline
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I'll read that primer this weekend, thanks.
I have made a dedicated thread in IMHO about Modern Monetary Theory, "Modern Monetary Theory".

~Max
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