Mitt Romney Reveals His Contempt For Half Of America

Well, 47% of America, to be accurate.

This is a video of Romney, at what he thought was a private, unrecorded fundraiser:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.

And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49, 4–he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich.

I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is to convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.

It’s really tempting to refute all the misleading statements and outright lies in Romney’s statement, but I don’t feel like I’ve got the energy (but see the links below).

So, what do you think?

Personally, I’m not surprised. This is exactly what we lefties have always believed Romney was. I admit it’s gratifying to see it caught on video.

But I’m not sure it’ll make a difference to the election. The vast majority of voters have already made up their minds, and it’s unlikely that any Romney voter will be swayed by this. Even if a Republican watches this video and thinks “chee, what an asshat,” that doesn’t mean that they will or should change their vote. Romney may be an asshat, but he’s the asshat who comes closest to supporting the policies Conservatives prefer.

Hell, I think Obama is, in many ways, contemptible, and I’m still likely to vote for him.1

But that’s just how I think. In the clip above, Romney said that 5-10% of voters might vote for either candidate. (To see more videos from the same Romney speech, see Mother Jones). Will finding out that Romney really is an elitist snob who sneers at ordinary Americans make a difference to that 5-10%? If so, Romney may be sunk; there’s not much time left until the election to recover from a setback.

Oh, and this bit (from the same Romney speech) is rich: he joked that if his dad had “been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.” Because if history teaches us anything, it’s that white people are seldom elected President compared to other races.

Finally, Romney believes that Romney is magic:

My own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.

I’m sure all the Republicans who have criticized Obama for allegedly thinking too much of himself will leap to criticize Romney’s belief that merely electing Mitt Romney will presto! changeo! improve the economy.

Anyhow, some links and quotes:

  1. We Are the 47%: The Lousy Math Behind Romney’s Gaffe
  2. Where Are the 47% of Americans Who Pay No Income Taxes? Nice map here.
  3. Ezra: “Part of the reason so many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes is that Republicans have passed a series of very large tax cuts that wiped out the income-tax liability for many Americans. [...] Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich.”
  4. The Right Is Wrong to Pin Obama’s Edge on Welfare State
  5. Larison: “More than anything else, what makes this video damaging is that it confirms what most Americans already suspect about Romney: he holds at least half the country in contempt, including many of the people that normally vote Republican. It isn’t just that Romney expresses contempt and pity for “anyone who isn’t going to vote for him,” as Barro says. What makes this stand out as exceptionally arrogant is the fact that he clearly has contempt for many of the people who were likely to vote for him.”
  6. “47 Percent” Vs. “Bitter Clinger” Linked mainly because it has the full “bitter clinger” quote, rather than just five words of it.
  7. TNC: “One theme in Chris Hayes book Twilight of The Elites is the notion that an elite cut off from the rest of society actually degrades. It comes to think of itself as intrinsically better than the rest of society, that it’s success is a strict matter of providence. Effectively the elite becomes divorced from reality. What is most jarring about Romney’s comments here is that divorce, that sense that Romney’s grasp of America is so thin, that he believes that half of it is dismissible strictly on the grounds of laziness.”
  8. Economist’s View: Nontaxpayers are Overwhelmingly the Elderly and Students
  9. Jamelle Bouie: “I’m one of those people who believes government has a responsibility to provide health care, food and housing. Like Romney says, I see these as entitlements—the basics that people need to flourish and work toward their potential. And as the wealthiest nation to ever exist, I believe we have an obligation to provide them, so that we can create the space for individual achievement. Romney favors a world where taxes are low and businesses are freed from social obligation. I prefer one where the sick can have care, the poor can have food, and the homeless have shelter. It’s why—at a minimum—I support Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and assistance programs for food and housing.”
  1. Of course, it’s not just how people vote, but how the volunteers doing the Get Out The Vote work react. If this sort of thing reduces enthusiasm for Romney among his base, that could really hurt him. But I think the Conservative base largely agrees with Romney. []
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67 Responses to Mitt Romney Reveals His Contempt For Half Of America

  1. 1
    Penelope Ariel Ponyweather says:

    I’m part of the half that is lazy. The only reason I work is because my parents drilled it into me that not working and taking social benefits is shameful.

    If I won the lotto, I would pursue hobbies or dither around back in college, but I very definitely wouldn’t do the stressful work I’m doing now.

    Most countries are evolving towards a social capitalism model. If you go too far to the other side – the former communist countries are a good example, but also pre-1995 New Zeeland etc. – you also run into problems. Lots of people (like me) don’t want to do real work, and then they don’t.

  2. 2
    Penelope Ariel Ponyweather says:

    As far as Mitt Romney goes, I think he’s a gas bag who had a rich daddy. His wife, who has never even appeared to work and literally had everything handed to her in life, is even worse.

  3. 3
    Martha Joy says:

    This even got on the news in Norway, which is really mostly pro-Obama, as far as we care about your politics.

    I’ve got a question, though. When I read ” And so my job is not to worry about those people.” my impression is that he means “it is not my job as a candidate trying to win an election to care about what these people think so I will focus on the ones that I CAN sway”. I may be missing context and language here, but in and of itself that is not a provocative statement. A candidate has to think about return of investment in terms of what people can be thought to change their voting because of what he says.

    Of course, the rest of what he says is disgusting.

  4. 4
    Copyleft says:

    He’s always been a tycoon and his priority has always been “take care of the rich, screw everybody else.” Was this in doubt somehow?

  5. 5
    Stephen Frug says:

    But I’m not sure it’ll make a difference to the election.

    I must admit that’s my instant bias too. But the counter argument is that Romney came out at once and held a press conference. Which shows that, at least, they’re concerned it will make a difference.

    The vast majority of voters have already made up their minds, and it’s unlikely that any Romney voter will be swayed by this. Even if a Republican watches this video and thinks “chee, what an asshat,” that doesn’t mean that they will or should change their vote.

    But that’s a caricature of the scenario of how it would affect things. Again, not saying it will happen, but if it does happen, it would be more indirect: the gaff will reverberate in the media; the general impression that wavering/low-information/moderate conservative voters get will be that the Romney campaign is a car wreck, that he harbors looney views, etc, that that some chunk of people are gradually led to either not bother to vote, or to vote for someone they see as a “winner”. I don’t think anyone thinks that it’s as direct as voters hears Romney talk shinola, voter changes vote: it’s a slower, harder to track process (if, indeed, it happens. I’m still skeptical (although, I will admit, hopeful.))

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    When I read ” And so my job is not to worry about those people.” my impression is that he means “it is not my job as a candidate trying to win an election to care about what these people think so I will focus on the ones that I CAN sway”.

    I think that’s what he meant, too.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    I’m also quite sure that’s what he meant by the “I’m not concerned ….” statement – he can’t sway those people to vote for him and this is going to be a close election, etc.

    Other than a columnist for The American Prospect, who is Jamelle Bouie that you find his work notable?

    As to the income tax thing – yeah, it’s worthwhile to note that it’s almost impossible to avoid paying taxes entirely – pretty much everyone who spends money is a tax payer. Of course there are a large number of people who collect more money from the government than they pay in taxes. Some provide value for that money (e.g., cops, fire fighters and teachers) and some do not. I suspect that’s your 47%. A couple of changes I’d like to see:

    1) Everyone pays income taxes. I don’t care if the bottom tier is 1 or 2%, but everyone gets some skin in the game. Everyone pays something.
    2) People who get money from the government must provide as much productivity as they can. Now, sure – there are people who are quite elderly or who are ill or disabled to the point that they can do nothing productive. God bless and keep them. But in this technical day and age anyone who can learn to run a keyboard can be productive. Work for your money. Ten people show up to an office to do data entry for the government. One or two of them watch the kids, the rest get typing. That does not include people getting proceeds from programs they and/or their employer paid into (e.g., Social Security, Medicare and unemployment).

  8. 8
    Ben Lehman says:

    RonF: %1 of zero is still zero. Lots of people have, you know, zero income.

    Frankly, if what Republicans want is everyone on welfare to do some sort of menial labor for the state (which, wow, talk about creepy communism) they are free to do so in their states. Given that Republicans are totally dominant in 8 of the top 10 “pay no federal income tax” states (Idaho, Texas, Arkansas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina), and given the new flexibility in federal welfare programs, they could easily implement such programs if they cared to.

    Obviously, they don’t care to. I wonder why?

    yrs–
    –Ben

  9. 9
    chingona says:

    Look at the sentence that comes immediately after “my job is not to worry.”

    And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

    If what he meant is that he would never get them to vote for him, why didn’t he say “I’ll never convince them to vote for me”? Instead, he says he’ll never convince them to take responsibility and care about their lives. Why do you think that’s his next sentence, if all he means is that they won’t vote for him?

  10. 10
    chingona says:

    RonF,

    Do you want to get rid of EITC? It’s considered one of the most successful welfare programs because it incentivizes work and puts more money directly in the hands of poor people. Yet, it’s existence converts many low-income working people into people who don’t pay income taxes. That is, they pay, but then they get more back in their return than they paid in.

  11. 11
    chingona says:

    NPR put together some graphics on who doesn’t pay income taxes. 10 percent are old. Another 13 percent qualify for various tax credits and deductions (EITC, child credit, child care credit, education credit, interest earned on municipal bonds, mortgage, whatever) that cancels out their tax liability. 23 percent are too poor. To be too poor to pay at all, a family of four can’t earn more than $26,400. To get those people to pay 1 or 2 percent of their income in taxes, you’d have to do away with every other credit out there, because if they paid, many of them would qualify for one or more of the various credits. I doubt there is much point in arguing with you about whether these people have “skin in the game.” Everyone I know who has been too poor at one time or another to pay taxes has paid them in the preceding years and went on to pay them again once their situation improved. They had “skin in the game” because the “game” is their lives, which are materially better when they make enough money to end up paying income taxes. And the whole time, they are paying sales taxes and payroll taxes. But if your model is no representation without taxation, I don’t really know what to say. It seems impoverished.

    (It’s probably also worth noting that the number was more like 40 percent before the economic collapse.)

  12. 12
    Denise E says:

    I’m curious how we’re supposed to create paying jobs when we are forcing everyone who doesn’t pay income taxes to work for the government for no pay. And I also wonder where these people are supposed to find the time to get a paying job.

  13. 13
    chingona says:

    My state has a work requirement for people getting food stamps. There are companies that contract with the county to provide the work-requirement jobs. There is something deeply perverse about forcing people who are unemployed in an economy with 8 percent unemployment to work for free for a private company in order to receive food stamps. This program has the Orwellian name of “Making Work Pay.”

  14. 14
    Elusis says:

    Well, when all the jobs for prisoners making license plates at 30 cents an hour are full…

    Great graphic, chingona. I liked this paragraph:

    Benefits for the working poor and children. These include the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit, and the child care tax credit. Because of these special benefits, a family of four (two parents, two children) earning up to $45,775 last year would not have had to pay income taxes, primarily because of special credits for children.

    If I understand my analysis of the Republican “base” correctly, I gather that a good many of the “red state” voters might be part of a family just like the one described above – consider for example a working father, SAH mom, two kids, Dad drives a short-haul truck or manages a Starbuck’s or something.

    I wonder how many Republican voters are part of that 47% and don’t even realize it? Considering that the (white) elderly are considered another portion of the “base,” that 10% segment is looking pretty likely too…

    (Especially given that poll a year or two ago that asked people “have you ever received a government benefit” in which 94% of those who said they never had, in fact actually said “yes” when given a list of programs and asked to indicate their participation. “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” indeed.)

  15. 15
    Hugh says:

    @Penelope – I think you mean pre-1984, not pre-1995. And it’s New Zealand, not New Zeeland.

  16. 16
    mythago says:

    RonF @7, I’ve noticed that when you say “I suspect” or “I have a hunch” or similar, what you really seem to mean is “I’d like this to be true, but I don’t want to actually check if it is in case it’s not.”

    Interesting that you think stay-at-home mothers (and fathers) don’t work and should get their lazy asses in front of a keyboard, though.

    @Elusis: that’s pretty SOP. It’s amazing the mental contortions people will go through to explain why *they* aren’t sucking off the government tit. What they really mean is that, in their mind, welfare leeches are poor, irresponsible, selfish, lazy people (usually of a darker skin hue) and since they are nothing like those people, particularly in terms of attitudes about work, they are not receiving ‘government assistance’. QED.

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    Ben:
    %1 of zero is still zero. Lots of people have, you know, zero income.

    I figured it was obvious that I meant everyone with income pays income taxes.

    chigona:

    So let me get this straight. In EITC, people a) work and b) pay income taxes. Sounds good to me. I don’t see the conflict. Yes, they get more than they pay in. Everyone who gets income gets more than they pay in. So do cops and fire fighters and teachers and Senators, who are also paid by the government. At least they pay something.

    There is something deeply perverse about forcing people who are unemployed in an economy with 8 percent unemployment to work for free for a private company in order to receive food stamps.

    They’re not working for free. They’re working for food stamps.

    Elusis, I had a look at that link you gave. A quote from it:

    Respondents were then asked whether they had availed themselves of any of 21 different federal policies, including Social Security, unemployment insurance, the home-mortgage-interest deduction and student loans.

    Note that my proposition excluded programs you pay into. I specifically excluded SS, unemployment and Medicare. I would also include student loans in that classification as they are paid back. And the home-mortgage-interest deduction is not a government program, it’s a tax deduction. The government does not send me a check every month when I buy a home and get a mortgage.

    Denise E:

    I’m curious how we’re supposed to create paying jobs when we are forcing everyone who doesn’t pay income taxes to work for the government for no pay.

    They’re not working for no pay. They’re working for their welfare/assistance check. That’s pay.

    And I also wonder where these people are supposed to find the time to get a paying job.

    The same way anyone who has a low-paying job working for a private company finds a higher-paying job. They take time outside of working hours (or time off from their regular job) to look for it. Given the nature of the program it would also be useful to permit people a certain number of hours/week for looking for a new job, especially if they are going on an interview (and give evidence of such).

    mythago:

    Interesting that you think stay-at-home mothers (and fathers) don’t work and should get their lazy asses in front of a keyboard, though.

    Interesting that you have managed to interpret what I said to mean that. “Mental contortions” indeed.

  18. 18
    chingona says:

    They’re not working for free. They’re working for food stamps.

    So you think it’s okay for the government to force people to work for no pay for a private company? A private company that would otherwise need to hire paid workers to do the same work? You don’t see anything wrong with that? You don’t think that might contribute in some way to the difficulty that low-education, low-skill workers have finding employment? Employment that might allow them to not need assistance?

  19. 19
    Ruchama says:

    So let me get this straight. In EITC, people a) work and b) pay income taxes. Sounds good to me. I don’t see the conflict. Yes, they get more than they pay in. Everyone who gets income gets more than they pay in.

    I was getting EITC for a while when I was a grad student. I don’t have the exact numbers with me right now, but overall, it worked out to me paying nothing in income tax. A certain amount of money was deducted from my paychecks for income tax, and then, when I got my refund check at the end of the year, I got back everything that had been deducted, plus more. So, for that time, I was part of that 47%. Now I’m not, since I’ve got a job that pays more, and so the check that I get after filing taxes is for less money than the amount that was deducted. (This was a bit of a shock the first year, since I’d been getting around $2000 as my “refund” check each year during grad school, and then, once I had a real job, my refund was only a few hundred dollars.)

  20. 20
    RonF says:

    This is not a foreign concept to America – not even to Democrats.

    This last weekend I and 3 other Scouters took a Troop rock climbing at Devils Lake State Park, Wisconsin. At 0700 Saturday morning we arrived at a parking lot, strapped on anywhere from 30 to 50 pound packs, and climbed up an absurdly rough trail that was about 2/3 mile long and about 600 feet straight up. There were numerous spots where we needed to use both our hands and our feet to traverse the trail. Once we got to the very top we set up the climbing and rappelling ropes that the Scouts, Scouters and parents would use.

    The name of the trail is the CCC trail. That’s as in “Civilian Conservation Corps”, being the people who built it. The Corps is memorialized at the base of the trail by a bronze statue of an idealized worker in that program. These were unemployed young men. The government paid them (some of which they got into their hands, but most of which went directly to their families). Back in the ’30s they arrived in the park, set up some tents, and spent the first couple of weeks building their own barracks. Then they got to work building the trail and other facilities, living in the barracks and getting into town occasionally. I’ve enjoyed their work elsewhere – Starved Rock State Park in Illinois is filled with buildings and trails they built. The original part of the lodge there was built by them out of trees they cut on the premises. It’s absolutely magnificent.

    This program was created and conducted under the administration of that noted heartless conservative who despised poor people, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I see no reason why this shouldn’t be duplicated today.

  21. 21
    chingona says:

    RonF,

    The difference is that they were PAID for their work with MONEY – not in a voucher that can only be spent on one thing and is worth far less than even minimum wage for those hours – AND they were working for the benefit of the public at large, not to enrich a private company.

    Edit: I would LOVE to see us revive the CCC. If we tried to, today’s Republicans would deride it as socialism and expansion of government. Which is what they did then, as well. Plus ca change …

  22. 22
    RonF says:

    Some commentary on what can happen when government gets people dependent on help from it. From the Good Doctor’s Foundation:

    A horse, having a wolf as a powerful and dangerous enemy, lived in constant fear of his life.

    Being driven to desperation, it occurred to him to seek a strong ally. Where upon he approached a man, and offered an alliance pointing out that the wolf was likewise an enemy of the man.

    The man accepted the partnership at once and offered to kill the wolf immediately if his new partner would only cooperate by placing his greater speed at the man’s disposal.

    The horse was willing and allowed the man to place bridle and saddle upon him. The man mounted, hunted down the wolf and killed him.

    The horse joyful and relieved thanked the man and said “Now that our enemy is dead, remove the bridle and saddle and restore my freedom.”

    Whereupon the man laughed loudly and replied “The hell you say. Giddy-up Dobbin!” and applied the spurs with a will.

  23. 23
    nobody.really says:

    Psychology review:

    I’m not sure [Romeny's statement will] make a difference to the election. The vast majority of voters have already made up their minds, and it’s unlikely that any Romney voter will be swayed by this. Even if a Republican watches this video and thinks “chee, what an asshat,” that doesn’t mean that they will or should change their vote. Romney may be an asshat, but he’s the asshat who comes closest to supporting the policies Conservatives prefer.

    I wonder if you’re discounting three psychological phenomena.

    First, people care about identity. They grant the benefit of a doubt to themselves, and to people which whom they identify, while judging others more harshly. George W. Bush presumably gained a lot of support by behaving folksy, speaking clumsily, and parading his fundamentalist Christian credentials.

    Second, people care about peer behavior. For example, if you send people messages about how much electricity they consume, and compare that with how much electricity their neighbors consume, they will tend to conform their consumption toward their neighbor’s level of consumption (both up and down). If you suggest to employees that most of their peers are saving 10% of their income in deferred compensation accounts, they will tend to conform their behavior accordingly.

    Third, people care about credibility. And one of the most credible ways to send a message is to send it to someone OTHER than the target audience, and to be overheard. If I tell my wife how proud I am of Jo’s improvement in math, and Jo overhears me from upstairs, Jo will find my statement more credible than if I had said it to Jo’s face. If a presidential candidate “accidentally” says into an open microphone, “We’re gonna kick those Russians right in the ass,” people get the idea 1) that the president is earthy and authentic, and 2) that he really means to confront the Russians. This message is more credible because it wasn’t presented in a context in which we expect messages to be propaganda.

    Here, Romney just told everybody who doesn’t pay federal income tax that all their peers are voting for Obama – and, by implication, they’d have to be fools not to do likewise. He did so in a context in which Romney appeared to be speaking among confidants, and therefore seemed unguarded and sincere. And undereducated Christian fundamentalists may find it increasingly difficult to identify with Romney – especially if those undereducated Christian fundamentalists find that, in this difficult economy, they didn’t earn enough to pay federal income taxes.

    Add to this the psychological obstacle that people don’t want to associate themselves with losers — and Romney’s polls are not trending well just now – and you could actually see changes in behavior. Maybe not boosting Obama’s numbers, but depressing Romney’s. And, as I noted, those are already depressing for him.

    Admittedly, mythago cites the contrary psychological dynamic:

    It’s amazing the mental contortions people will go through to explain why *they* aren’t sucking off the government tit. What they really mean is that, in their mind, welfare leeches are poor, irresponsible, selfish, lazy people (usually of a darker skin hue) and since they are nothing like those people, particularly in terms of attitudes about work, they are not receiving ‘government assistance’. QED.

    I share mythago’s (and Amp’s?) suspicions that many people will hear Romney’s words as speaking solely about the unworthy OTHERS getting government assistance – not about themselves. This dynamic will mute the effects of the prior dynamics. But by how much? We’ll see on Election Day.

  24. 24
    nobody.really says:

    Some commentary on what can happen when government succeeds in keeping people independent and free:

    A horse, having a wolf as a powerful and dangerous enemy, lived in constant fear of his life. But he also knew that any defensive alliance he entered into would bind his discretion. So he resisted any such alliance, living independently and free until the very day the wolf ate him.

    His funeral was attended by a number of his fellow horses – all, curiously, wearing saddles and bridles.

  25. 25
    nobody.really says:

    If we’re going to have arguments based on libertarian fairy tales, let’s at least use the time-honored ones:

    [After years of battle against foreign enemies], all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
    * * *
    But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel….
    * * *
    He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

    But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

    I Samuel 8: 4-20.

  26. 26
    Penelope Ariel Ponyweather says:

    I’ve seen the following two alternatives to the welfare state; I would really appreciate some feedback as to why they would not work (I’m serious about that):

    1. Offer government-based minimum wage jobs open to anyone and everyone – everywhere – doing projects that just don’t get done: Graffiti removal, picking up trash, boarding up or even demolishing eyesores in the community etc. With security, and maybe with penalties when people throw hissy fits or commit crimes or torts on the job. It could be paid for by eliminating the huge agencies that distribute money on an arbitrary basis to welfare recipients. Continue government payments to persons who are disabled (far less administrative effort – a physician’s certification is required, that’s it).

    2. Simply assess an absolute minimum figure that a person could live on – say $750 per month if you rent a room somewhere and take public transportation (I friggin’ lived on comparably less in my youth) – and pay that figure to every adult American. It could be financed by removing the entire bureaucracy around (sometimes unfairly) distributing certain money to certain people. No more government welfare organizations, cutting billions and billions – if not more. Unemployment insurance could be kept in place.

  27. 27
    Elusis says:

    It’s amazing the mental contortions people will go through to explain why *they* aren’t sucking off the government tit. What they really mean is that, in their mind, welfare leeches are poor, irresponsible, selfish, lazy people (usually of a darker skin hue) and since they are nothing like those people, particularly in terms of attitudes about work, they are not receiving ‘government assistance’. QED.

    Indeed. And don’t forget the “see themselves as victims” racist dogwhistle which reinforces the notion of black people who want a handout because slavery.

    I wonder if people who agree with Romney think 47% of America is black?

    Anyway.

    I’ve been begging for the CCC to be revived since pre-Obama, when the economy tanked under Bush Jr. But it gets handwaved away as socialism, and criticized for expanding the number of government employees.

  28. 28
    nobody.really says:

    1. Offer government-based minimum wage jobs open to anyone and everyone – everywhere – doing projects that just don’t get done: Graffiti removal, picking up trash, boarding up or even demolishing eyesores in the community etc. With security, and maybe with penalties when people throw hissy fits or commit crimes or torts on the job. It could be paid for by eliminating the huge agencies that distribute money on an arbitrary basis to welfare recipients.

    I’m fine with running a jobs program. As I understand it, we resist providing safety nets via jobs programs because they’re more expensive to administer than our other, more limited and targeted, safety net programs. Think about it: Which would you expect to be cheaper — issuing money/credits to a narrow range of people, or administering a jobs program applicable to all unemployed people?

    Clinton “changed welfare as we know it” by limiting its scope and requiring work. Yes, the results looked great – during the longest economic expansion in history. Now that we’re in the biggest economic slump in the past 75 years, the obvious downside is showing.

    Today the majority of “welfare” payments go to poor women with children. What are these lazy layabouts doing with all their free time? Raising children. Would society really be better off getting these people to abandon their kids so that they can spend more time scrubbing graffiti? Recall the umbrage that Republicans expressed regarding the suggestion that Ms. Romney didn’t work for a living; after all, she raised kids! Fair enough, but when it comes time to treat child-rearing as work for purposes of qualifying for various benefits, Republicans see things differently.

    (Similarly, recall the Congressional Budget Office study estimating that ObamaCare would cause the workforce to shrink by 0.5% or so, as people who currently have jobs solely as a means to maintain health insurance would drop out of the labor force. On this basis, the Republicans labeled ObamaCare a “jobs killer.”)

    So here we are.

  29. 29
    nobody.really says:

    2. Simply assess an absolute minimum figure that a person could live on – say $750 per month if you rent a room somewhere and take public transportation (I friggin’ lived on comparably less in my youth) – and pay that figure to every adult American. It could be financed by removing the entire bureaucracy around (sometimes unfairly) distributing certain money to certain people. No more government welfare organizations, cutting billions and billions – if not more. Unemployment insurance could be kept in place.

    Various people have suggested a guaranteed minimum income/Basic Income Guarantee (BIG)/etc. In particular, some libertarians have confronted the idea that people’s freedom is not merely constrained by government, but by other problems, too – problems that government might help alleviate.

    Predictably, these programs have faced resistance from opponents of “big government.” Research (and simple economic theory) shows that, if you increase people’s income in a manner that is unrelated to paid work, people spend less time in the paid workforce. In particular, mothers tend to take more time off to be with their kids. Attendance at school meetings and doctor’s appointments go up, as do the kid’s grades. But because work force participation rates go down, policy makers shriek in horror and declare the programs a failure.

    And if you use a basic income program as a SUBSTITUTE for other safety net programs, you encounter objections on the other side. People have varying degrees of need for assistance; social insurance helps defray those costs throughout society. If you convert social insurance into a uniform payment proposal, then people with especially costly circumstances get screwed.

    But if you like that kind of trade-off, there are many ways to opt into them. One is to simply stop buying insurance. People will experience catastrophic losses in terms of heart attacks, auto accidents, house fires, etc. But the majority of people who adopt that strategy won’t experience such large losses, and will find themselves better off financially. In sum, these strategies have the effect of making the lives of a few unfortunates vastly worse, but making the lives of people who are not unfortunate slightly better. Hence they are dubbed “reverse-Robin-Hood” strategies.

    As a half-way step, you could give up health insurance in favor of a Health Savings Account. In effect, you deposit the money you would have spent on insurance into a tax-advantaged savings account, plus a catastrophic health coverage policy. Any money you don’t spend on health care you get to keep! Again, these policies tend to favor the interests of the people who need health care the least, and tend to sacrifice the interest of people who need health care the most. For whatever reasons, in practice people who sign up for such programs tend to drop out when given the opportunity to return to more traditional insurance.

  30. 30
    mythago says:

    @RonF: SAHPs aren’t earning income, for the most part, have no “skin in the game” as you define such, and can certainly sit in front of a keyboard, right?

    Also, nice special pleading on the CCC. Massive government boondoggles are OK when they do something I like.

  31. 31
    Ampersand says:

    1. Offer government-based minimum wage jobs open to anyone and everyone – everywhere – [...] It could be paid for by eliminating the huge agencies that distribute money on an arbitrary basis to welfare recipients. Continue government payments to persons who are disabled (far less administrative effort – a physician’s certification is required, that’s it).

    2. Simply assess an absolute minimum figure that a person could live on – say $750 per month if you rent a room somewhere and take public transportation (I friggin’ lived on comparably less in my youth) – and pay that figure to every adult American. It could be financed by removing the entire bureaucracy around (sometimes unfairly) distributing certain money to certain people. No more government welfare organizations, cutting billions and billions – if not more. Unemployment insurance could be kept in place.

    I would be strongly in favor either of universal work availability, or (even more so) a Basic Income Guarantee.

    But I think you’re mistaken about how much either one would cost.

    Take the BIG. There are currently about 285,000,000 citizens of the United States. If we pay them each $750 a month, or $9000 a year, that would cost $2.5 trillion dollars annually (rounding down).

    In comparison, we spend about $190 billion a year on welfare (source). So if we pay for a BIG with the savings from cutting out welfare, that would leave us with an annual shortfall in the BIG budget of $2.1 trillion dollars.

    Let’s say that we also eliminate Social Security, reasoning that all those retirees will now be getting their $750 a monthly BIG check instead of a SS check. That adds $750 billion into the pot, so we now have about about a trillion (rounding up), and we’re only short $1.5 trillion.

    We can cut the military’s budget in half, which puts another $350 billion into the BIG pot. Now we’re short 1.15 trillion, which I think we have to pay for by raising taxes.

    I think that many Americans, especially conservatives, have a VASTLY exaggerated idea of how much aid to the poor costs every year. We can’t pay for huge new social programs just by eliminating welfare, alas.

  32. 32
    KellyK says:

    I think #1 is a fantastic idea. I’m totally in favor of work requirements for welfare provided that:

    1. They include childcare (I like Ron’s idea of “watch the kids of the other people in the program” as one of the jobs).

    2. They have a predictable schedule that allows for classes, other work, and job hunting.

    3. The benefits received for the hours worked are equal to the legal minimum wage for the state. No paying people $2 per hour to clean graffiti or do data entry. Since food stamps have limited applicability, they should be valued at less than their dollar amount when calculating this.

    4. If they benefit a private company, the company pays for the work. Again, minimum wage applies.

  33. 33
    nobody.really says:

    Who are the 47% who pay no federal income taxes? Sure, some are poor, some are students, some are elderly, etc. But how many are CORPORATIONS? ‘Cuz, as Romney likes to remind us, corporations are people, too. And plenty of corporations pay no federal income taxes.

    Lousy moochers.

  34. 34
    mythago says:

    @KellyK, of course the problem with those requirements is that if a workplace is a very bad scene, it is very hard – harder than even an average “I need the paycheck” employee – for the recipient to leave.

  35. 35
    chingona says:

    I’m kind of hung-up on the some random people will watch the kids in the corner thing. Given the level of regulations that daycares and daycare workers are subject to – and the government’s liability if a kid is hurt by some random person who was watching her so mom could scrub graffiti – not to mention everything that has been said in the breastfeeding professor thread.

  36. 36
    Elusis says:

    chingona, the children of lazy poor people don’t deserve quality child care provided by educated people who understand child development and early childhood education, in a facility with adequate safety measures and appropriate toys for various ages and stages. They should be grateful to have their kids chucked in a corner with some cleaning supplies and ashtrays to play with, and a person standing over them to make sure they don’t actually rip out fistfuls of each others’ hair.

  37. 37
    Ampersand says:

    This is a digression, but: Has anyone done an empirical study of the benefits of having someone with a particular degree or certification doing child care work, as opposed to someone without a special degree or certification? (Only some states have the latter requirement; in many states, you can legally be a child care worker without any special requirements.)

    I do think it’s a good idea to have some minimal safety standards for any physical location that’s used as a day care (no lead paint, etc). But I’ve known so many genuinely wonderful people who do child-care (mostly babysitters) who are great with children and care a lot, but who don’t have a degree.

    This is something I think right-wingers are correct about: There’s a very real problem of overregulation of professions, in which degree requirements have the effect of driving up prices and keeping people out of some occupations, without providing any real benefit.

  38. 38
    Myca says:

    chingona, the children of lazy poor people don’t deserve quality child care provided by educated people who understand child development and early childhood education, in a facility with adequate safety measures and appropriate toys for various ages and stages.

    All of this reminds me of why all the rhetoric about conservatives being for “equality of opportunity” and liberals being for “equality of outcome” is horseshit.

    If you’re actually in favor of, “equality of opportunity,” you have to be able to explain what programs you favor that will somehow give a kid growing up in poverty equality of opportunity with Tagg Romney. And of course, such a program, if it’s even possible, would be massively expensive, require expanding government, raising taxes, etc.

    So of course, conservatives aren’t in favor of equality of opportunity. What they’re in favor of can be more accurately expressed as, “you’re welcome to try to do your best with the shitty hand life dealt you. Equality!”

    Anatole France summarized this sort of equality as, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

    —Myca

  39. 39
    StraightGrandmother says:

    I think the best comment I read on this topic was from Nancy Pelosi, “Romney should be running for President of the Country Club”

    Work is hard and we were better off as a country before all these Republican Union Busters got voted into office. I read this article on Mother Jones yesterday and thought to myself, “This is bullshit, if there were a Union in there none of this would be happening.” I don’t want to see my teachers busted down to working poor, it is Unions who get workers good wages, not the Corporations.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/columbus-cleveland-ohio-unemployment

    It is absolutely True Romney is for the rich and Obama is for the middle class and the poor. There is nothing wrong with government helping people to latch on that bottom rung of the middle class ladder. Yes many will fail but a lot of them will pull themselves up the ladder.

  40. 40
    chingona says:

    I’m not aware of any studies that compare kids whose care providers have degrees and those who don’t. Personally, I don’t really care about them having degrees (I have my daughter with a home-based babysitter with no degree right now), but I do care that it be someone safe, someone with an affinity for that kind of work. If you’re taking 10 random people on a work crew everyday, I don’t think you can guarantee it.

    And I think most of the regulation of daycare providers concerns safety. Some of it does go overboard. For example, Colorado requires that all kids under 5 take a nap every day, which was a problem when we moved here and my 3 year old already didn’t nap most days. (Talk about a nanny state!) ECE is usually an associate’s degree. I won’t say it’s not a barrier to entry, but it’s not an enormous barrier. Also, most states only regulate child care providers who care for more than X number of kids – often it’s 5. So even in state’s that require a degree, someone taking care of a few kids in her home wouldn’t need one.

  41. 41
    nobody.really says:

    Recall that a certain amount of credentialization is designed to create a sanction for the state. The fact that someone has a driver’s license or a law license does not mean that this person is either a good driver or a good lawyer. But it DOES mean that the state can threaten all drivers and all lawyers to conform to certain minimum standards, under penalty of getting the license revoked.

    Day-care licensure may employ a similar rationale.

  42. 42
    Elusis says:

    I personally don’t care if child care workers have a particular degree. I do care that they understand the importance of well-attuned caregiving, know what types of behavior and correction/discipline are appropriate at particular ages/stages, that they understand what types of play promote cognitive and emotional development, etc. I don’t care if they learned it from a book or a handout or from watching their mom run her daycare or from a child development class at the local community college or what. But I want them to have some basic knowledge of children’s needs and abilities. So no, I don’t want kids regularly watched for long periods by just anybody.

    Here’s some studies:
    Effects of low-quality child care last into adolescence
    A consensus about day care: Quality counts
    Study of early child care and youth development

    As I always tell my PhD human development classes: a major risk for child abuse is adult caregivers who have faulty beliefs about what a child should be capable of at a particular age. The caregiver who sees a 12-month-old throw her food and shriek, and believes the child is doing it to make the caregiver angry or to “misbehave;” or who thinks a three-year-old can understand multi-step instructions, is at risk of acting out of anger and hurting the child. (Yes this is based on research too).

  43. 43
    KellyK says:

    Wow, yeah, good points about the childcare. On thinking it over more, chingona and Elusis are right–bad idea.

    And we’re starting to see why it’s easier to do welfare checks and food stamps…

  44. 44
    StraightGrandmother says:

    Elusis, a major risk for child abuse is adult caregivers who have faulty beliefs about what a child should be capable of at a particular age.

    True, which is why most mothers and fathers seek out experienced childcare providers. Experience is the best teacher.

  45. 45
    RonF says:

    The concept I’m envisioning is that you start with a group of 10 people, put 8 of them to work and have the other two watch their kids at the same location. I’m not talking about trucking the kids across town, dropping them off with random people, and then going somewhere else to work. It’s on-site day care, and the people involved are immediately responsible to each other.

    During the years my kids were not old enough to go to school my wife worked at an athletic club handling membership, accounting, etc. The club had a play room with a staff member assigned to keep an eye on the children of the (almost always female) members who came in during the day to play tennis or work out. My wife took our kids in there to stay while she worked. Essentially she had on-site day care as a benefit of her job. If there was an issue with the caregiver she knew – and if there was an issue that the caregiver had with our kids that said caregiver couldn’t handle, my wife was able to step in and deal with it.

  46. 46
    Ruchama says:

    During the years my kids were not old enough to go to school my wife worked at an athletic club handling membership, accounting, etc. The club had a play room with a staff member assigned to keep an eye on the children of the (almost always female) members who came in during the day to play tennis or work out. My wife took our kids in there to stay while she worked. Essentially she had on-site day care as a benefit of her job.

    Were the kids there all day? Most places I’ve seen like that are set up for handling kids for just an hour or two — they don’t have the preparation and facilities for snacks, naps, diapers, bottles, planned activities, and all the other stuff that kids need for full-day care.

  47. 47
    Ampersand says:

    Thank you for the comment and the links, Elusis. I think that does make a compelling case that we should have some sort of requirements for who can be a child care professional.

  48. 48
    RonF says:

    The members’ kids weren’t. Mine were. Those kinds of things were taken care of. Sometimes when Mom came by to play tennis it was time for their child to take a nap or have something to eat, so they did. The facilities needed would be part of the system.

  49. 49
    RonF says:

    So far I haven’t seen any polling on people’s reaction to Romney’s remarks. Has anyone else? The MSM is jumping all over it calling it a “gaffe” – how many people not in the media echo chamber actually think so?

  50. 50
    mythago says:

    RonF, have you heard of Google?

  51. 51
    Ampersand says:

    If a “gaffe” means when a candidate says something that they later wish they hadn’t said, or had phrased in a different way, then I think this could fairly be called a “gaffe.”

    Romney has clearly walked back some of what he said – for instance, he’s not standing behind his appalling statement that nearly half the American people are lost causes who could never be convinced that “they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” If we can’t say that a remark a politician is afraid of standing behind is a gaffe, then what is a gaffe?

    I doubt there would be any polling on people’s reaction to Romney’s remarks, and if it existed, would it be valid? I mean, any question which specifically cited the remarks would be leading.

    Although there are outliers, in general Obama polled well in the days following the release of the video, but that may not mean anything. For one thing, it’s hard to tell what is the video, what is the tail end of Obama’s post-convention bounce, and what might be some third factor entirely.

    I do think it’s bad for Romney to have to interrupt what his campaign had planned — some sort of rebooting of campaign strategy, apparently — in order to play damage control over this. A presidential campaign’s most limited resource is time.

  52. 52
    mythago says:

    Amp, there has in fact been polling. I’m not going to bother to link to it, because if RonF really wanted an answe to his question he could have ascertained it on about ten seconds. That means that either he doesn’t want to know the answer really, or wants to be able to dismiss any answer not to his liking by dismissing the source.

  53. 53
    Elusis says:

    True, which is why most mothers and fathers seek out experienced childcare providers. Experience is the best teacher.

    Define “most.” Low SES people rarely have a choice of “experienced childcare providers” because they can rarely afford them unless they get a subsidy, which still doesn’t go far.

    And “experience” can be a great teacher, or a terrible one. I sat in the dining room of a multi-generational family where Mom had raised several kids of her own, some of her younger siblings, and was now raising assorted grandchildren. She’d left an 18-month-old to bumble around in the living room unsupervised, grabbing at electronics and lamps and ashtrays, and when we suggested bringing him in with us while we held our family meeting, she said “oh he’s a really bad boy today; he’s just trying to piss us off by doing things he knows make us mad.”

    After this is when my supervisor sat me down with information on child development and child abuse, and we developed a plan for infusing some psychoeducation into our family sessions.

  54. 54
    Elusis says:

    The concept I’m envisioning is that you start with a group of 10 people, put 8 of them to work and have the other two watch their kids at the same location.

    Yes, I got that Ron. Hence my comment at 36. The bed of the truck that transports the graffiti-cleaning materials to the underpass where Mom is assigned today isn’t an appropriate place for child care, buckets and rags aren’t appropriate toys, and “Unemployed person #1262620″ isn’t necessarily an appropriate child minder.

  55. 55
    StraightGrandmother says:

    Elusis

    And “experience” can be a great teacher, or a terrible one.

    True, true, just because people have experienced raising children doesn’t mean they are good at it. However if you as the parent are going to be paying for childcare, it is up to you as the parent to discern the difference between a good experienced childcare provider and a poor experienced childcare provider. I did have a bad one once and had to make a change but it was only once and I figured it out after about 6 months. I have stated in a previous comment that I support childcare subsidies for working poor people. As for me I prefer local neighborhood babysitters over daycare centers. That is just a preference on my part, I do think Daycare centers offer good care also, it is good to have a choice.

  56. 56
    RonF says:

    Elusis:

    The bed of the truck that transports the graffiti-cleaning materials to the underpass where Mom is assigned today isn’t an appropriate place for child care, ….

    Fair enough, but I figure that you don’t assign a single mother to that kind of job.

  57. 57
    mythago says:

    Single mothers are only allowed to work in jobs where it would be feasible to have onsite child care?

  58. 58
    Elusis says:

    And whose money are we spending to build this massive network of on-site daycares? Or are you proposing, RonF, that maybe chucking the kids in the bed of the truck isn’t cool, but plonking them in the broom closet down the hall from the data entry center will work out fine?

    Facilities cost money.

  59. 59
    StraightGrandmother says:

    Elusis, well actually when Wisconsin overhauled it’s welfare system, this was called W2, welfare 2 work, what they did was provide daycare subsidies to welfare recipients, and maybe low income people as well, I’m a little fuzzy but I think it was just welfare recipients. I thought it worked out really well, many many many primarily women opened daycare businesses in their home. You had to get inspected, you had to get training and there was a limit on hw many children you could provide services for. These were typically also welfare recipients who started those home daycare businesses.

    The welfare recipient got very very low cost to them childcare services and free busfare. What they did not get was a free education at our technical schools and State Universities. The thought there was it was unfair to incentivise having children you were not able to support and you get a free education. It was thought to be unfair to all the students who did not have children and they had to work and take out student loans to go to school.

    So in Wisconsin the daycare dilema is already in place if you want to force welfare recipients to go out and do public service work, cleaning our parks etc. The only problem with this idea is the Unions, because in theory the municipalities and counties would use low cost welfare recipients to perform labor that a union worker would normally do.

    So RonF’s idea should be debated on it’s merits and leave childcare out of it, it’s a non factor. As a sidenote to all those home based childcare service providers, there was ay one time a lot of cheating going on, I kind of lost track of it but I assume they put better controls in place to eliminate that. When the State or County is paying there is no shortage of childcare providers.

  60. 60
    mythago says:

    So RonF’s idea should be debated on it’s merits

    It is being debated on its merits. I’m not actually sure what you were trying to say here.

  61. 61
    StraightGrandmother says:

    mythango, oh okay. It seems to me like the discussion took a tact of, this will never work what about the children. There were many comments about that, put them in the back of a pickup, etc. those kinds of comments. I was merely showing how at least in Wisconsin that the system for childcare is already in place so no need to talk about broom closets. Instead talk about RonF’s idea of having recipients of public aid, food stamps or welfare, have them do a little work for the community in exchange.

    So now that you are no longer concerned about childcare are you for or agin RonF’s idea?

  62. 62
    KellyK says:

    StraightGrandmother, daycare subsidies are a great idea, but that’s not what Ron F is recommending as far as childcare. I’d be okay with “your welfare benefits package includes enough of a daycare subsidy to cover the time you’re working for those benefits.” (Ideally it would cover more so you could actually work for money, look for a job, or take classes, but covering the entire time you’re cleaning graffiti or doing data entry would be a bare minimum.) That’s a lot different from “We’ll have whoever’s in your work group watch all six or eight kids, regardless of their willingness or ability in that area.”

    As far as the idea as a whole, I already listed, way back at comment #32, what would have to be included for me to be okay with it as a concept. There are welfare to work programs where recipients essentially make $2 an hour, and I don’t think that’s acceptable.

    Mythago also pointed out that there’s a huge potential for abuse, much more so than the usual employer-employee relationship. There would have to be an awful lot of safeguards and protections in place to keep people from being taken advantage of horribly.

  63. 63
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    The smart thing would probably be to begin by focusing on those people who don’t have young children, which is a small but not insignificant number of folks. Set them up to do public service work, to benefit society. Assuming the program was successful, it would be a good start and would give a reason to develop the far more complex follow-up steps.

    I don’t think that it is necessary to pay folks minimum wage. We have limited public funds, after all. And we may be providing training and experience, which are usually costly and which provide a benefit to the workers. Also, we are trying to give an incentive to LEAVE the program, rather than remain in it.

    The ideal wage would be one which is higher than the welfare earned without work (need to provide some benefits to working) but lower than the minimum wage (to keep costs down and provide incentives to move on.)

  64. 64
    mythago says:

    StraightGrandmother: For or agin what idea? The idea that we should limit single mothers only to jobs where on-site childcare is feasible? That workers should be broken into groups of ten and two of them require to provide childcare for the other eight, presumably at the identical wage? RonF is using, as his model, a business that used part of its customers’ membership fees to hire a childcare worker, presumably to encourage people to become members of that club. That doesn’t quite port smoothly over to the job context.

    As for Wisconsin, I have no idea if or how the model actually worked because you describe it as having a lot of problems.

  65. 65
    KellyK says:

    I don’t think that it is necessary to pay folks minimum wage. We have limited public funds, after all. And we may be providing training and experience, which are usually costly and which provide a benefit to the workers. Also, we are trying to give an incentive to LEAVE the program, rather than remain in it.

    Right, let’s take advantage of people by paying them less than minimum wage (which isn’t a living wage to begin with). We could bring back workhouses while we’re at it.

    The minimum wage is established as a standard below which it’s exploitive to have someone working. It shouldn’t cease to apply just because the person is working as part of a government assistance program.

    Besides, benefits shouldn’t increase based on people being paid minimum wage. The hours they need to work should be based on their existing welfare benefits. Paying minimum wage means less hours, not more benefits, than paying sweatshop wages.

    I could see a reasonable argument for exempting time spent on training from that requirement, but that’s it.

    Additionally, if welfare recipients can do data entry at less than minimum wage, the existing data entry jobs (currently a GS-3 making at least 10 bucks an hour) might go away. That’s not exactly a selling point of that kind of program.

  66. 66
    StraightGrandmother says:

    No Mythago, “

    As for Wisconsin, I have no idea if or how the model actually worked because you describe it as having a lot of problems.”

    I did not describe it as having a LOT of problems you have misunderstood. The initial problems were an overabundance of childcare providers, and there was some overbilling going on but this was caught and corrected.

    Are you for or agin having people work for public aid benefits, and I believe I clearly said we should not factor in childcare arrangements. You are repeating the childcare issue and I had asked you to put that point aside and speak purely on if people should have to work for receiving benefits.

    I am waiting to make up my mind until I hear the arguments for and against.

  67. 67
    mythago says:

    StraightGrandmother, you asked if I was in favor of, or against, RonF’s argument. His argument, as I understood it, was that the childcare issue could be solved by some kind of onsite rotating arrangement. What other argument of his do you think I should be “for or agin”? If you’re talking about people working for public aid benefits, what benefits are we talking about here? “Public aid benefits” is a pretty big category of stuff. I am not in favor of small children having to work in order to benefit from WIC, for example, nor am I in favor of requiring the severely mentally ill to work in order to receive SSDI. I do like the idea of a WPA-style public works project. So as you phrase it, it’s not really a “for or agin” question.