Character Flaws

What are the characteristics of a good team? A team helps weaker members become stronger but weaker members have the responsibility to improve and do their best. Team members earn their positions. They are not given them. Better players compensate for the poorer players, but poorer players defer to the better ones. People on the team are not equal, but they all have a role. Everybody works to improve the team. Nobody has a right to do nothing.

Society is like a team. It is wrong to forget our responsibilities to others. It is also wrong to fail to demand others fulfill their responsibilities to us. Things work best when everyone is getting something and everyone is giving something. Exchange is the key to self respect. No matter how poor, a person should contribute to his own and society's upkeep. He has no right to expect anything of anyone unless he is willing to give something and it is a sign of disrespect to give and expect nothing in return.

I am not talking necessarily about money or things. Being grateful something even the poorest can and should give. The inability to feel true gratitude is a serious character flaw and it hurts everyone.

Re society, cooperation and cohesion:

Scientific American has a good article telling why the threat of punishment is the key to cooperation. Don't let the title fool you. With the THREAT of punishment, cooperation increases and punishment is generally not needed. It also talks about people seeking "justice" not the highest payout. They punish the wrongdoers even thought it initially costs them money.

Also look at the links.

Posted by Jack at April 6, 2006 11:03 PM
Comments
Comment #138626
He has no right to expect anything of anyone unless he is willing to give something …
OK, I agree with that part.
and it is a sign of disrespect to give and expect nothing in return.
Huh? I’m not sure I understand that. When we give, we should always expect something in return. Not always. At least, not in a material sense. And, I don’t understand how it shows disrespect? Was that really what you meant to write? Or, do you mean it is proper to expect gratitude and thanks ? Maybe.
The inability to feel true gratitude is a serious character flaw and it hurts everyone.
Yes it is. Children can be this way sometimes, but if they grow up right, they often realize it later, and their gratitude and thanks is only delayed. Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2006 12:03 AM
Comment #138627

Now, here is a serious character flaw that too many Americans have, and it is threatening the future and security of the nation:

laziness

Most people, naturally, seek security and prosperity with the least amount of effort and pain, but some (cheaters) resort to unethical or illegal methods. The root problem is laziness, which leads to a lack of Education, which creates an environment ripe for Corruption, which leads to a lack of Transparency, which and creates opportunities for self gain, and a lack of Accountability (i.e. a lack of consequences). Hence, there is no Responsibility, and Power amplifies the problem.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #138632

Hey Jack,

All a lot of poor people want is a fair shake. Give them a job and they’ll take it. That’s how we dug ourselves out of the depression.

How, in your opinion, are poor people ingratious? Give us some examples.

Posted by: Max at April 7, 2006 12:56 AM
Comment #138633
Huh? I’m not sure I understand that. When we give, we should always expect something in return. Not always. At least, not in a material sense. And, I don’t understand how it shows disrespect? Was that really what you meant to write? Or, do you mean it is proper to expect gratitude and thanks ? Maybe.

perhaps it is because “Exchange is the key to self respect” and “Being grateful something even the poorest can and should give”

If I understand correctly, Jack is talking about society being about mutual exchanges and teamwork, not charity and dependence. The disrespect would come from the benefactor failing to expect from the benefacte the relationship which he expects with the rest of the team, treating him as though he is substandard, a dead weight with nothing to contribute to the team, a perpetual charity case, and completely unworthy of a shred of self-respect and dignity as a team member. In other words, exchange is what makes you part of the team and not simply a lower being to be pitied.

But I guess I shouldn’t be putting words in Jack’s mouth. Good night.

Posted by: Amani at April 7, 2006 12:57 AM
Comment #138639

I think Jack is saying the poor are freeloaders who got poor just to get the benefits Liberals wastefully added into the Law. Cause you know… things like Food Stamps and Relief for Single Mothers just create the very things they help.

Posted by: Aldous at April 7, 2006 1:29 AM
Comment #138656

some people capitalize and some people are dependent on tha syztem!!!!!!!

Posted by: pedro at April 7, 2006 4:32 AM
Comment #138661

This is why we have a segment of our society that will forever claim victim…
…and the new citizens in our society will be better off- because they get out and work for their American Dream instead of waiting for someone else to give it to them.

Posted by: bug at April 7, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #138662

In principle, you are correct, but in practice, when you’re doing all you can to keep afloat, doing things for other people and society can seem a luxury one can ill afford, or that other do not really deserve.

One big problem is the portrayal of the poor, especially the urban poor, in the media. Most of these people are decent folks, yet they get lumped in with all the gangstas, murders and car thieves. Racial profiling doesn’t help.

It also doesn’t help that many conservatives treat the poor in general as if they’re simply folks who are bad with money, who earned their penury through moral weakness. They don’t recognize that one can be born into that situation, and that difficulties can get in the way that only the strongest of individuals can surmount.

The importance of recognizing this is that with the current “deserved poor” attitude, the undeserved poor, who have done their best to fight their situation, will feel little loyalty to those who make it a sin to be poor.

I guess I would say that there needs to be an addition to this: the better off in this country need to do away with their elitist attitudes about wealth. The Human character and the world’s circumstances allow there to be many reasons why people are rich. Not all of these people are rich because of a surplus of moral character. Some, even, are rich because of a lack of it. We must also understand that greed can be itself a moral failing, whose fulfillment causes harm to others.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 7, 2006 7:53 AM
Comment #138663

Jack
I have to disagree with your statement that it’s a sign of disrespect to give and not expect anything in return. I believe that it actually shows a genuine generous and benevolent spirit.
I don’t know if you have kids or not but I can tell you that as a parent I never expected my kids to give anything in return for what I gave them. I did it because I love them and wanted to give them not only what they needed but also some things they wanted. Sure it was nice when they showed appreciation for what they received. But that wasn’t my motive behind giving them things.
What can you expect to get from someone that’s lost everything they have in a disaster of some kind? If your giving to them with the idea of receiving back your doing it for the wrong reason. Even if they never show gratitude for the help they receive we should all be willing to help our fellow man when something like that happens.
I do agree though that everyone should contribute to their own well being. I don’t believe that anyone that’s physically and mentally able should expect other to take care of them.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 7, 2006 8:00 AM
Comment #138664

Jack,

If America would accurately portray poverty as the plight of white America (Before you all freak out, remember that the group hit hardest by poverty is the largest segment of our population)and that would be white girls/women, we would most likely get corporate America to act and help eradicate poverty.(Now freak out)

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at April 7, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #138670

Amani

You said it better than I did. Thanks.

Aldous

No. Some of the poor and some of the rich are freeloaders. In fact, I have noticed a remarkable similarity of attitudes among the hereditary rich and the perpetually poor. Neither feels much responsibility to society. Both think everyone else owes them something. And each has an exaggerated sense of self esteem without the mitigating virtue of self respect.

Stephen

The best way to help the poor or anyone else it to make them part of the team and require something of them. I have managed decent sized staffs of people, some of whom were less than enthusiastic about their work. I have heard the excuses and their problems. I always tell them that I just don’t care about what they can’t do. All I want to know is what they can do. It usually works and some of them become very good workers. I have only had to fire a couple over the years. That BTW is also a moral imperative. If you don’t get rid of the really bad guys, you are insulting the good ones.

Ron

We I talk about something in return, I am not necessarily talking about something for the giver. If I treat you well, I expect you to also treat others well. It also goes to the character of the recipient. When I sit under a shade tree that someone planted 100 years ago, there is no way I can give anything to my long dead benefactor. But I can appreciate what he did and maybe plant a little tree of my own.

Andre

Poverty is cultural. We attack it with economic tools that are now outdated. In 1930, we had people who were poor for structural reasons. All they needed was a small investment to make them solvent. There are few people of that sort left in America (except recent immigrants from poor and oppressed places). The programs of the New Deal, GI Bill etc worked well. We helped the honest poor out of poverty. Now anyone who is poor LONG TERM has a culture of poverty. That is why he stays poor in our affluent country. There are very few exceptions. We need to change that, but that is anathema to most people who are not into judging others and helping them change their ways.

If you want to reduce poverty, attack the culture of poverty.

BTW - some of my (white) relatives are afficted with that culture. I have seen its destructive value system close up and how the hostility, and feeling of entitlement holds people down. I have also seen how you can just say no to it and become not poor (although maybe not rich).

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2006 9:09 AM
Comment #138683

Adulous,
“I think Jack is saying the poor are freeloaders who got poor just to get the benefits Liberals wastefully added into the Law. Cause you know… things like Food Stamps and Relief for Single Mothers just create the very things they help.”

Just look at New Orleans; there were second, even third generation welfare recipients there. They might not of “got” poor intentionally, but they certainly couldn’t “get” out of that rut either.

Posted by: rahdigly at April 7, 2006 9:47 AM
Comment #138684

Jack-
Your diagnosis of structural poverty is overly optimistic. Poverty can be geographic. A person born in West Virginia or along the border can face considerable hardships in surviving, much less becoming upwardly mobile. I think conservatives still regard upward mobility in terms of the earlier part of the Twentieth Century, when being undereducated and poor was not the liability to getting around and moving up to the middle class at least that it once was. Times have changed. Getting good jobs requires a college education, sometimes even multiple degrees. Products and services cost more. Wage growth has stagnated, and even those who manage to get a basic paying job are forced to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.

Too much emphasis has been put on serving the interests of the supposed winners of the system. Even if their character deserves credit for their achievements, they are not the people we need to favor with our help. A society that helps those who have already helped themselves is one that is wasting the aid it gives to its citizens.

We need to acknowledge that some people do well just to get by, and that character is not the primary issue in poverty.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 7, 2006 9:47 AM
Comment #138690

Stephen

If you live where there are no jobs, it is a good idea to move. We cannot make every location in our country prosperous. We can give that chance to every person, however.

I am not saying in this post that we should not help the poor. On the contrary, I am saying we should help them EFFECTIVELY.

West Virginia is a good example. Part of the State (the panhandle) are doing very well. But when you look at history, those parts of the state have done well since before the Civil War. Some parts are so isolated that when the creeks rise, you still can’t get there. They will never support a large and prosperous population. You can invest all you want and it will NEVER work.

There are places you cannot make a prosperous life. Sometimes technological changes alter those places, but you can’t do it artificially.

But the culture of poverty is the problem. Some people do things that keep them poor. And they keep on doing it. Often if the state gives them money, they get even worse because their bad habits are subsidized.

If you want to fight poverty, fight the culture of poverty. Don’t give it money to maintain the stupid lifestyles.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2006 10:00 AM
Comment #138692

I initially had the same reaction to “it is a sign of disrespect to give and expect nothing in return.” as others who responded. What could Jack possibly mean by that!

That started me thinking about what an expectation is, and how it is different from a requirement. An expectation is a response to a given situation that is mutual and shows gratitude. If someone says “Thank you!”, the expected response is “Your welcome!”. Expectation allows for freedom. You are not required to respond to “Thank you!”, but gratitude and common courtesy tells us we should respond with “Your welcome!”.

Requirement on the other hand takes away that freedom and places a penalty on the lack of a response. Failure to repay a debt results in penalties.

It is not wrong to expect a response to an act of kindness, provided that the expectations are not unattainable or become a requirement. Expectations allow people to determine value systems and determine if the people around them are people that hold the same values.

Posted by: Brian at April 7, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #138713

Jack,

You’re welcome.

Posted by: Amani at April 7, 2006 11:10 AM
Comment #138717

If you are giving with an expectation, you are not giving, you are making an exchange. Sorry, that’s my Catholic upbringing coming in to play.

Jack, I agree that some places are more economically viable than others. It reminds me of the joke by the late Sam Kinison who said that the way to end poverty was to take all the starving people and bring them to where the food is.

The solution is far more complicated, of course. You can’t just drop the population of Chad or rural West Virginia in LA or NY or Phoenix. Lack of education, skills and acculturation would remain a problem.

The influx of evacuees from Katrina into Houston clearly demonstrates this.

Changing cultural issues is not about “getting tough”. Part of the solution is fixing what we contribute - removing the proverbial log from our own eye first. Today’s MSNBC reports the difficulties that remain for African American men.

Making matters worse, a forthcoming book, which includes a study of nearly 1500 private employers in New York City, found that black job applicants with no criminal records were no more likely to get a job than white applicants who were just out of prison.

Jack, I’ll accept your view when our hands are clean and when the disabled, elderly and single mothers (and their children) do not make up the majority of the poor. Unfortunately they do, and their numbers are growing.

When someone working at minimum wage needs to work 87 hours per week to afford basic housing, we have a problem.

We have a problem when the highest rate of job growth is occurring in industries that employ large numbers of people earning the minimum wage.

Fix this, and then tell me that being chronically poor is a character flaw.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 11:30 AM
Comment #138719

correction, Sam Kinision was joking about how to end hunger, not poverty.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #138720

and thank you for the interesting discussion.

Posted by: Amani at April 7, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #138721

CPAdams,

Well said.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at April 7, 2006 11:35 AM
Comment #138749

“You can’t just drop the population of Chad or rural West Virginia in LA, NY or Phoenix. Lack of education, skills, and acculturation would remain a problem.”

Wrong. Take it from somebody from one of WV’s traditionally poorest counties. I could have a job and be self supporting in any of those cities within a month or two.

It is also worth noting that West Virginia exports skilled people to all corners of the nation and world. Many of the less skilled West Virginians could also survive quite nicely in those environments because of a sudden increase in job opportunities.

Awww nevermind I’ll never overcome these stereotypes. I guess its time to stop wearing shoes and start making welfare babies. I reckon I’d better start chewing tobacco and stop brushing my teeth.

Speaking of character, how is its possible that WV could have one of the nations lowest crime rates and be one of the poorest?

By the way CPAdams you really did hit the nail on the head with the final three sentences in you 11:30 am post.

Posted by: darren159 at April 7, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #138759

darren159,

my apologies, I was using West Virginia because it had been mentioned in a previous post. Maybe I should have used New Orleans or the South Bronx or rural Mississippi, but I used what came to mind.

My point was, taking a predominantly poor and uneducated community (from within the US or outside the US), it takes more than moving them into an area with plenty to break the cycle of poverty. Their problems don’t remain attached to the land, they travel with the person.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #138762

Sorry darren,

I just read my post and noticed it was not responsive.

Jack said,

If you live where there are no jobs, it is a good idea to move. We cannot make every location in our country prosperous. We can give that chance to every person, however.

I am not saying in this post that we should not help the poor. On the contrary, I am saying we should help them EFFECTIVELY.

West Virginia is a good example. Part of the State (the panhandle) are doing very well. But when you look at history, those parts of the state have done well since before the Civil War. Some parts are so isolated that when the creeks rise, you still cant get there. They will never support a large and prosperous population. You can invest all you want and it will NEVER work.

There are places you cannot make a prosperous life. Sometimes technological changes alter those places, but you can’t do it artificially.

But the culture of poverty is the problem. Some people do things that keep them poor. And they keep on doing it. Often if the state gives them money, they get even worse because their bad habits are subsidized.

If you want to fight poverty, fight the culture of poverty. Don’t give it money to maintain the stupid lifestyles.

I was talking about moving the entire population, not just some of the people. You can’t eliminate history in a day for everyone, only for those who are already prepared.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 12:48 PM
Comment #138763

CPA

Our hands will never be completely clean.

I am not religious so I don’t know about the kingdom of heaven thing for good deeds, but here on earth mutal obligation is the glue that holds society together.

There are different kinds of poor. Some people pass through poverty. They can be helped by money and opporunity. Others take up permanent residence. They can be helped by a change in behavior only - theirs. This may not be just, but it is the way it is.

As for your groups, some of it is long term bad planning. A single mother with childen. Maybe the father died. More likely not. That is a problem of behavior. Elderly. Maybe they lost their home and their life savings in a volcano eruption. More likely they didn’t save when they were young. A behavior problem. Truly disabled are a different story. But many disabled can work.

As for minimum wage - nobody should work for minimum wage after their first job. If they do, they should consider moving on.

Being poor is not a natural condition in our rich society and it is not radomly distributed. Anybody can be poor, but to stay poor you have to be either badly disabled, very unlucky, or cooperating with poverty.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #138764

CPA,

Just a question on your algorhythim for affordable housing. Am I doing the math right if I come up with $1500 a month? If so, is that what you believe that affordable housing really costs? My mortgage is almost that much.

Posted by: Rob at April 7, 2006 12:54 PM
Comment #138771

Scientific American has a good article telling why the threat of punishment is the key to cooperation. Don’t let the title fool you. With the THREAT of punishment, cooperation increases and punishment is generally not needed. It also talks about people seeking “justice” not the highest payout. They punish the wrongdoers even thought it initially costs them money.

Also look at the links.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #138783

“laziness


Most people, naturally, seek security and prosperity with the least amount of effort and pain, but some (cheaters) resort to unethical or illegal methods. The root problem is laziness, which leads to a lack of Education, which creates an environment ripe for Corruption, which leads to a lack of Transparency, which and creates opportunities for self gain, and a lack of Accountability (i.e. a lack of consequences). Hence, there is no Responsibility, and Power amplifies the problem.”

D.A.N.

I got two great poster children for you. Delay and Rove.

The truth is in the middle and it would just be great if both sides found the humility to look at this possibility. The welfare system will have abusers but it cannot be scrapped beacause it does help those who genuinely work on improving their economic situation.

To claim that the system traps people into a life of dependance ignores the tens of thousands of people that pass through the system and go on to better lives.

On the other hand, abusers should be found and punished as criminals. The system needs to be perfected to account for these abusers. But to claim that the Democratic party has a vested interest in maintaining a pool of welfare recipients might have merit if these folks actually voted. But you know that they don’t.


Posted by: Roman at April 7, 2006 1:27 PM
Comment #138789

so Jack,

regarding the elderly and the single mothers (many of whom are teen-agers)…what I gather you to be saying is that because of their “behavioral” problems we ditch them? It’s their fault, they got themselves into this mess….tough!

I think that temporary assistance to the teen-age and young mothers may be enough to get them over a rough spot in life, but the elderly likely can’t go out and find a good paying job. By the way, your analysis of poor elderly missed a large problem….healthcare. They may have saved what they felt would be plenty of cash to tide them through retirement to find themselves spending it away on healthcare decade after decade.

I agree with you that there is a certain portion of the poor population that attacking the culture would certainly help….but what portion is that? 25%? 50%? 75%? The way you talk its more like 99%.

A lot of folks have called me crazy for suggesting this but I think anyone that does have to rely on public funding should be drug tested (at least for explicit drugs). This may help identify some of the cultural problems we have with “some” percentage of the poor.

Just my thoughts…

Posted by: Tom L at April 7, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #138800

“With the THREAT of punishment, cooperation increases and punishment is generally not needed.”

What a total and fanciful opposition to the reality that our prisons are overflowing, literally overflowing to the extent of turning out criminals before their time to make room for the new ones.

Incredible! Literally.

Republicans and Democrats alike love this team analogy. Why, because it fits so neatly with their view that in order for them to win, the rest of the country must lose. Welcome to the NPL, National Political League of competitive political sports.

With such assumptions underwriting the basic structures of our political and government systems, is it any wonder the American people are fed up with political parties and the “team players” they elevate to high office?

Not even Republicans are happy with their coach Bush. Let alone the absent love of Democrats for Sen. Kerry. Neither was fit to be our national leader, but both were very capable of diminshing the nation by playing the role of team coach. Our team wins, yours loses, along with the rest of the country who won’t choose sides but want America and her future to win.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #138801

I can tell you this much…

The author was born within a system that allowed him to grow and gain and attain, but…

He did not choose his parents or his genetic make-up

He did choose the method of his birth, the nation he was born in or the environment in which he thrived

He did not choose the level of intelligence, nor the skills, talents or charisma that has become a part of who he is

All of that happened by chance, and chance could have placed him in Chad or the Sudan or as an Arab under Serbian dictatorship or, etc. etc.

If he’d been born into a welfare family in Brooklyn, NY, with no imagination, ambition or inate intelligence, he’d be sucking at the trough too. We, as a nation must realize that there are those among us who lack the essentials, and that we either help them along or get our guns, because they are not going away. And, starving them to death is not a good answer.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 7, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #138805

CPAdams
Being poor isn’t a character flaw. It’s an economic condition. Using being poor as an excuse to not work or steal is a character flaw.
We have a whole heap of poor folks here in South Georgia. Most of them work and don’t steal. The ones that won’t work and or steal are the ones with the problem.
Anyone that steals has a character flaw weather they’re rich or poor. The other day we caught a women that has a $54,000 a year job stealing a 69 cent candy in the store. Now there’s a character flaw.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 7, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #138808

Jack
I get your drift.
When I treat someone well I hope they’ll treat others the same. However I don’t really expect it. Particularly the way things are today with the give me attitude of a whole heap of folks out there.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 7, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #138810

Rob,

my mortgage is higher too. That number comes from the National Low Income Housing Commission. It’s a calculation of how many hours someone making minimum wage would have to work each week to afford the fair market rent for a 2BR apartment in Wisconsin ($647 per month).

FYI, the most affordable state is Oregon, where 72 hours are required(it helps that in OR the minimum wage is above $5.15). In California it takes 132 hours per week to make rent (also above $5.15).

Jack,

Being poor is not a natural condition in our rich society and it is not radomly distributed. Anybody can be poor, but to stay poor you have to be either badly disabled, very unlucky, or cooperating with poverty.

Jack, you are so right!

Our society has become wealthier, but our society’s wealth peaked during the Clinton administration.

The way I’m calculating wealth is not net assets or income, but how few people are living in poverty. If Bill Gates and his friends have an extra trillion dollars but poverty hasn’t declined, I don’t consider our society wealthier.

In 1959, 22.4 percent of the population lived in poverty. That breaks down as 18.1 percent of the white population and 55.1 percent of the black population (we weren’t tracking other groups then).

At the peak of the Clinton years, our overall number was 11.3 percent - 7.4 percent for white, 24.7 black, 21.9 hispanic.

That’s a great leap forward in half a century. In fact, poverty declined almost equally among whites (-59%) and blacks (-55%).

Jack,

you are absolutely, undeniably 100% right - poverty is not randomly distributed.

It is heavily concentrated in the black and brown populations.

You are right, poverty is not a natural condition in our society -

unless you are brown or black.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #138814

Ron,

I agree - poverty is not a character flaw.

My issue is that Jack’s followups to his veiled post shows that he thinks chronic poverty is character flaw - if your folks were poor and you are too, it’s your fault you didn’t learn how to make money.

This is not a new position for Jack. It’s a chronic complaint of his. It borders on being a character flaw…

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #138820

Marysdude,

great post! I agree, one’s experiences color their view of life (no pun intended).

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 2:39 PM
Comment #138823

Tom L

We don’t ditch them. We help them, but we also make it clear that their behavior is what got them in trouble. We don’t let them use the abuse excuse and we tell them that they need to cooperate. Welfare reform, BTW, does some of this and that is why it worked.

CPA

Race is important for historical reasons, but some of that history is the attitudes it created. Think of that Congresswoman who jumped to the racist defense when she hit the cop. What kind of mindset does it take? How might that affect you on a job?

I am white, but I grew up poor. My father had a bad attitude and when I tried to get ahead, he would tell me to forget about it because those kinds of things were only for rich kids. Fortunately, I knew he was wrong. If I had believed him, his prophecy would have become self-fulfilling. The same happens with race. And some people in our society enable that error.

Black immigrants to the U.S. have higher incomes than native born American whites. Jamaicans do well in America. It is not race, or at least not race alone that explains these differences.

And when you talk about brown, whom do you mean. Indians and Pakistanis (who are very brown) are very successful. Arab Americans make more than the median income. So do many Asian groups.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #138834

Jack,

When I said brown, I meant hispanics. I’m sure you understood that, because it was pretty clear in context.

Race is important for historical reasons, but some of that history is the attitudes it created.

I don’t know how to have a rational discussion with you Jack.

In 1940, 87% of blacks lived below the poverty line. The more than 60% of black women were employed as household servants. Black median income was below the poverty line.

But the culture of poverty is the problem. Some people do things that keep them poor. And they keep on doing it. Often if the state gives them money, they get even worse because their bad habits are subsidized.

Congratulations, Jack. By your definition, a substantial number of African Americans, since they are all descended from multigenerationally poor people (slaves), have a character flaw.

What is remarkable is that you can’t get that your “blaming the poor for their poverty” is an argument that sounds bigoted, especially if you are white and Republican.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #138858

What the truth sounds like doesn’t matter and generations of problems can be broken by free choice. I never said everyone started out with an equal chance. But people can make it. And they can make it better if they don’t accept the baggage of things that happened before they were born.

It is not helpful to anyone to have low expectations. That is the more bigoted point of view. I believe everyone can and should learn and that almost everyone can and should be successful.

What happened in 1940 happened in 1940. In 1940, some of my relatives were being murdered by Nazis. The occupiers made the higher education of my relatives illegal and punishable by death. And not just the death of the person who did it, but also his whole family. Life is tough all over. If you look backward, you stay backward.

And yes, I understood what you meant by brown, but I didn’t choose to play the racist game and use color as a proxy for recent immigrant status and geographical concentration.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #138862

NO, Jack, if you look backward you learn to avoid the mistakes of the past. Get with the program …
Man, folks in this column sure are intent on burying the past aren’t they. No wonder their party keeps repeating the mistakes of the past with abandon..

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 7, 2006 5:09 PM
Comment #138863

CPA,

I’m confused again, $600 rent requires 116 hours of work or about 67% of a monthly salary on a normal 40 hour work week. Now, I’m not saying that I would want to live on that, but I can’t figure out the 83 hour work week metric. Do you have a link to a site that explains it?

Posted by: Rob at April 7, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #138865

Jack,

some of my relatives faced the same fate, so get off that high horse.

I’m not talking about low expectations. Going from 87% poverty to a 25% poverty rate is a dramatic accomplishment in the black community. I’m saying that it was accomplished in spite of white society dragging its feet on equality.

My first post was about real bigotry that takes place today, where a black man with no criminal record is hired at the same rate as a white man with a criminal record.

I’m saying the poverty issue outside of white society is different and looking for more solutions is the answer, rather than saying it’s a cultural problem.

My father had a bad attitude and when I tried to get ahead, he would tell me to forget about it because those kinds of things were only for rich kids. Fortunately, I knew he was wrong.

Jack, a question without rhetoric: how did you know he was wrong? Where did this sense of hope gain its strength from? There had to be some source telling you that you could succeed.

What if no one told you could succeed? What if you grew up expecting to be dead or in prison before 30? What if most of your friends expected this?

There are issues. “Get over it” just means this problem doesn’t concern you, which contradicts your “team” post.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #138866

Rob,

no problem. Here is the main link
and here is the
wisconsin data. What they are saying is that to pay the $647 monthly rent when you make $5.70 per hour (min. wage in WI), you need to work 87 hours per week to do it. I think they are assuming that a typical month has 4.3-4.4 weeks in it.

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #138867

Once again, the wisconsin data

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 5:44 PM
Comment #138869

Yes, moving somewhere else, by itself, sure seems to solve the problem, doesn’t it? unemployment rate for Katrina evacuees is over 30 perecent

Posted by: CPAdams at April 7, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #138873

So this is the conservative response to what’s going down in this country??? Poor people suck. We tax the rich too much?

Your party is a one or two trick pony at best. Unfortunately, I’m not impressed with even the one or two things you do profess to believe. You slimed your way into office, slimed your way into a ruinous war, and now you’re trying to convince us we can slime our way out of this mess.

If after everything we’ve seen the last six years you haven’t come to your sense and stopped being a knee-jerk Republican I don’t know what can help you.

Posted by: Max at April 7, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #138875

Thanks CPA, I got what I was looking for.

“Affordable” rents represent the generally accepted standard of spending not more than 30% of income on housing costs.

This standard seems a bit antiquated to me. I’ve heard of professionals in the Bay Area being willing to plop down well over 50% of their income to become home owners. While not my idea of a safe investment, doing so for rent doesn’t seem too bad. The data also assumes only one income, so on two incomes, to meet the standard the household only needs to put in about 3 hours of overtime a piece. All in all it doesn’t seem too bad. Again, not something I want to do, but with no other option being available, it is much more doable than portrayed in your post above, isn’t it?

Posted by: Rob at April 7, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #138882

Sounds like you’re talking about non-citizens. Poor folks are americans too. Remember ONE NATION under…liberty. That’s the problem with republicans. They see themselves, the rich…and then there’s those other people that don’t mean all that much. Your party is so going to fall in the next congressional election. Go crawl under the little tax shelter you slithered out from.

Posted by: George Junior at April 7, 2006 6:56 PM
Comment #138883

You can be very rich lots of money property and yet be moraly and personaly poor judgement wise! And poor judgement is not restrickted to republicans nor democrats!Let he or she whom is with out guilt cast the first stone!Presedent bush would probably do fine with out the knife being stuck in his back and a crown of thorns on his head.The responsabilty for 300 million americans is tuffer than a bottle of tylanol.But just think if 150 million of us dead while someone judgment poor says i can do better after the fact clue the 150 million dead could care less there dead already!Things can change after the next election when george hands his thorney crown over to another fool with the knife in his/her back for both parties to say we can do better! Can we?

Posted by: allen stephens at April 7, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #138892

Huh? Did you finish High School…take civics? Do you know the difference between GW and JC? Do you have spell check? The difference between JC and GW is that JC didn’t put the “crown of thorns on his head. The way you compare the two is absolutely frightening. Well, the only threat you are is at the poll booth. Spare the biblical babble. This guy is what he was 6 years ago: a privileged underachiever with questionable morals. Some of us didn’t need hindsight. Some saw the big mistake electing this fool would be…some just voted for him because they were cheering for the underdog…poor Fredo Busch. Some people get their misunderstanding of the bible mixed up with their mis-understanding of what our forefathers were trying to accomplish. Catch this stone. Maybe you can check out “Hooked on Phonics”.

Posted by: GW at April 7, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #138893

david remer was right we must not forget the past, cpadams i dont really think jack was on a high horse,on other posts people have talked about the nazis. one time i replied yes i was aware of them quite well, half of my family was killed by them in holland , i was using mostly facts and some emotion, the responses where incredible, from the right( were you personally affected by that?) or dont hang on to the past.) from the left (why you selfish martyr you! )(or get off the high horse) like a-z in the usa or azusa, meanwhile the problems get worse and more extreme the country is more divided today than i ever recall. except possibly the vietnam era.why is it the only time we really address problems it is because of a major war or depression or a calamity and usually that’s just temporary .the founders set it up and did a good job they gave us the tools and power and the rights (almost all the rights)!we can amend the constitution. we sent a man on the moon almost forty years ago! but we cant agree or work on some of simplest problems facing us today.

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 7, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #138912

CPA

We should help poor people. I say that several times in this post. How do we help them? Does it help if we just let them continue the habits that made them poor, even if those habits are based in a former reality?

How did I know he was wrong? I am not sure. It just didn’t make sense because the U.S. is not like that. Maybe I was lucky not to have some liberal teacher feeling sorry for me and telling me that failure was not my fault.

Your Katrina data proves one of my points. Let me lay out both, so that they are not confused.

There are places where almost nobody be successful. People who want to do better must leave. This is what happens when a poor immigrant who couldn’t make it at home comes to our land of opportunity. This is a situation where traditional government throwing of money may help.

There are people who have bad habits and poor attitudes. Even when in places where conditions are good, they will not prosper unless they change. Many of the New Orleans people were this sort. So even when they come to a place where opportunities are plentiful, it doesn’t help.

Race is something you are bringing up. I think these pathologies apply to all races and so do the success stories.

Re the high horse

My only point is that everybody in the world can point to some really bad thing that happened in the past. Whole countries have managed to change their fates in a generation. If you blame your problems on something that didn’t happen to you years ago, you are mistaken. I don’t make that kind of excuse and I don’t accept it in others.

We evidently have a difference in philosophy. I try to learn from the past, but I live in the future. Try it.

Posted by: Jack at April 7, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #138924

No i do not have spell check.But theres a point when someone is making eforts to help people.Uless you have walked in there shoes or face condimnation under every condition.Now im not insulting any one person but you have just proved my point.Needless to say we cant all be perfict like you if you do not understand the greed of political ethics oh well

Posted by: allen stephens at April 7, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #139096

I’ll say it again. That’s what the Framers of the Constitution meant by “promote the general welfare.”

Not that the government is responsible for meeting everyone’s basic needs, but rather to create a system of government and a framework where every citizen has the same opportunities to provide for themselves.

Jefferson saw the dangers of some future Congress misinterpreting the Framer’s conception of promoting the general welfare.

The danger, Jefferson said, was “that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”

Like the evil of creating a welfare state where people are encouraged to fail rather than succeed.

Posted by: slowthinker at April 8, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #139123

The comments on this thread seem to be debating equality of results VS equality of opportunity. Even if it were possible to guarantee equality of results, it is not desirable. Giving the same rewards to everyone removes any incentive to work for success. Furthermore, if all the wealth was distributed equally amoung the US citizens, within ten years there would be vast disparities in personal wealth due to the way different people manage their resources. Some people are f**kups and some people can build an empire with a piece of string and some used gum. No amount of social engineering can change an individual’s basic worth. And frankly most social engineers couldn’t manage a McDonalds.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 8, 2006 3:45 PM
Comment #139182

Lets clear somthing up gw is not JC THE NAME JESUS WAS NOT EVEN MINTIONED IN MY EARLYER SUMATION!But your right jesus did not put the crown of thorns on his own head!the romans whom put him on the cross did!And not every one on welfare wants to be there however there are those few whom abuse the system.But there are those whom worked there whole life payed there taxes raised there children only to have fate or ill health and a croked sociel security system deny them till they have lost every thing they hold dear.And lets look at the polotics of vet-nam it was a democrat named J.K. whom got us in there and linden johonson whom kept us there! AND JOHN KERRY WAS AND STILL IS A COWARD AND TRATOR and yes nixon had watergate but he kept his word he brought us home.And do you think bringing or troops home now is goin to stop this mess cause if you do your stupid it would make the killing fields look like a cake walk!And that would be only a warm up for the future and the end of our nation!but there would be no welfare and no insults cause that would cary the death penelty.One important fact you dont bite the hand that feeds you.

Posted by: allen stephens at April 8, 2006 6:54 PM
Comment #139290

>>One important fact you dont bite the hand that feeds you.

Posted by: allen stephens at April 8, 2006 06:54 PM

allen,

Huh???

Posted by: Marysdude at April 9, 2006 2:44 AM
Comment #139400

These protesters are just that granted they are more peacful so fare.But id like to make another point when you have children born in the united states with parents whom are here against the law the are breaking the laws of the land in other ways(child abuse) the parents knew when they came here that they could face deportation leaving the child to limbo or foster care but are they not useing that child(as a political tool)and this may sound cruel but if the u.s. said hey if you come here wrongfuly and have your child here for that reason(the child should not be made a citizen)useing a child as a tool is abuse of said child!Now many come here for work and they work harder than many others for less pay and that in its self causes conflicts! now the folks that employs these people at a lower wage is trying to put more jingel in there pocket and could care less how it efects the regular american work force level the playing field.and say hey equal pay for equal work and its just like the gender rule any female working the same job as a male counterpart should receve same pay.Its just like sayin if you mr bussnes man you got to pay the same that would stop so much ileagel hiring and poverty and sweat shops!Whats wrong with sayin hey you seators and congresmen go on two week vacation and leave important isues in imbo and two weeks of protest well seems some needs to stay on the job till the work is finished!

Posted by: allen stephens at April 9, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #141140

Here’s a few with unmistakalbe character flaws:
Ken Lay (ENRON)
Bernard Ebbers (WorldCOM)
David Myers (WorldCOM)
Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco)
Mark H. Swartz (Tyco)
John Rigas (Aldelphia)
Timothy Rigas (Aldelphia)
Scott Sullivan (WorldCOM)
Burford Yates (WolrdCOM)
Jeff Skilling (ENRON)
Andrew Fastow (ENRON)
Lea Fastow (ENRON)
Samuel D. Waksal (ImClone Systems)
David Duncan (Arthur Andersen)
E. Kirk Shelton (Cendant)
Ben Glisan Jr. (ENRON)
Dan Boyle (ENRON)
Weston Smith (HealthSouth)
Aaron Beam (HealthSouth)
U.S. Congress

Thanks a lot ya’ll !

Posted by: d.a.n at April 17, 2006 12:01 AM
Comment #141149

The puppeteers and their puppets.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 17, 2006 12:33 AM
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