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Disclaimer:

This is a topic that earns conservatives a bad name.  Or rather, this is a topic that liberals are easily able to use in order to give conservatives a bad name.  This is an unfortunate reality, for IN reality, it is the conservative that gives more to charity than the liberal:

The fact is that self-described “conservatives” in America are more likely to give—and give more money—than self-described “liberals.” In the year 2000, households headed by a conservative gave, on average, 30 percent more dollars to charity than households headed by a liberal. And this discrepancy in monetary donations is not simply an artifact of income differences. On the contrary, liberal families in these data earned an average of 6 percent more per year than conservative families.

So, with that said, let me make it clear that what I describe as policy in no way or manner represents my individual and specific view of the actual person, their plight, human spirit and personal tragedy.

Okay, now, onward.

I caught a Reuters article recently.  Specifically detailing the impact of the recession on our children; our homeless children:

In a report issued earlier this month, the National Center on Family Homelessness, based in Needham, Massachusetts, said 1.6 million children were living on the streets of the United States last year or in shelters, motels and doubled-up with other families.

That marked a 38 percent jump in child homelessness since 2007 and Ellen Bassuk, the center’s president, attributes the increase to fallout from the U.S. recession and a surge in the number of extremely poor households headed by women.

To be sure, we have work to do.  The problems surrounding kids who don’t have hoes is bad.  And getting worse.  I don’t think there’s a soul alive who who disagree that something, anything, has to be done.  But it’s important to acknowledge that the thing, the “anything, is going to come in two forms:

  1. Direct assistance to the displaced families right now.
  2. Actions that will prevent the homeless condition from occurring in the first place.

While noble, I am less interested in the first, as a matter of policy, than I am in the second.  Consider this:

As her mother sat in a homeless shelter in downtown Miami, talking about her economic struggles and loss of faith in the U.S. political system, 3-year-old Aeisha Touray blurted out what sounded like a new slogan for the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

“How dare you!” the girl said abruptly as she nudged a toy car across a conference room table at the Chapman Partnership shelter in Miami’s tough and predominantly black Overtown neighborhood.

There was no telling what Aeisha was thinking as her 32-year-old mother, Nairkahe Touray, spoke of how she burned through her savings and wound up living in a car with five of her eight children earlier this year.

Think of that.  This woman is trying to care for a family of 9 on her own.  Ms. Touray is 32 years old and has 8 children.  In comparison, I had yet to be married at 32.  And now, as a professional married to another professional I have two children.  Without making any judgements as to decisions or life circumstances, as a 32 year old professional, I’m certain that I would have struggled caring for 8 kids.  Even making it to work would be difficult if not impossible.

Again, my interest in the conditions of the poor and homeless in America are more focused on preventing single 32 year-old women from having 8 children.  To put this in perspective, if you were to take ALL families in 2011, the percent of them that have 7 or more members is 2.6%.  When you look at only female householder, the percentage of families with 6 members is 2.8%.  In a perverse fact of life, the problem gets worse as women find themselves raising the family alone.

Certainly I can’t know the journey that Ms. Touray has taken to get to where she is.  Her life could be one of immeasurable bad luck and unbelievable twists of fate that have led her to where she is.  However, I suggest that another theme exists.  One that we can change.

That is, there is a significant portion of our population that makes misinformed and bad decisions that ted to put them in cohort groupings that lead to poor outcomes.  Is it perfectly allowable that a single woman would want to make it on her own and raise a family of 8 children?  Sure, without a doubt.  However, if a trusted friend or sister were to seek your advice on her decision to embark on this path, what might your counsel look like?  Would you caution her?  Might you recommend that she obtain an education?  Perhaps secure income?

Something.

What would you counsel your own daughter to do?

And if THAT answer is different than, “I’d do nothing.  However, I would continue to lavish untold amounts of mine and my neighbor’s money in order to support her.”, then I ask you:

Why aren’t we making YOUR answer policy?  Why aren’t we telling our Ms. Tourays of the world that it’s generally not accepted wisdom to create a condition where you are single with 8 kids?  In fact, why is it so “insulting and disparaging” even to merely suggest such advice?

Some time ago a friend and I were debating politics, life and people.  Wonderful conversations these, some of my most favorite.  Wonderful times.

This friend and I find ourselves at opposite ends of the spectrum.  I enjoy calling myself Libertarian and he Liberal; very Liberal.  And while I agree with his views, mostly, on the tender mercies of the social issues, we are in direct contradiction when it comes to things fiscal, economic or, strangely, on Liberty.

It was the topic of Liberty, actually an extension of what I think Liberty is, just the other night.  And, as so often as these conversations do, they begin rather pleasant and easy going and, unless cared for, degenerate into me in my corner and he in his.  So, this time, I asked that we stop and consider each others claim.

See, I see Liberty being extended to the person.  And, I see personhood being established somewhere between conception and actual live birth.  I’m open to the debate about the when, but really, I don’t think that’s the critical point.  The critical point is that you get someone to acknowledge that life begins sometime before actual birth.

Anyway, we were discussing abortion and I declared that I am pro-Liberty.  That is, before life is established, abortion should be at the discretion of the mother.  And after life is established, abortion is at the discretion of the mother is some cases:

  1. Life or health risk of the mother or the child.
  2. Cases where the mother is the victim of a crime.

As the conversation continued, we moved past this distinction and began exploring the right-wing nuts that refused to listen to any rational thought and held to a “no abortion ever for any reason period” position.  At which point I realized that I thought my friend was debating the wing nuts; not me.

So I asked him, “Given that there are extreme positions on the right – no abortion ever – what is the extreme position on the Left?”

His answer?

“There isn’t one”.

Blink.

Blink.

Now, when debating an individual about a topic and your going in position is that there are extremists, on YOUR side, that you disagree with, it normally sends a signal that you are somewhat moderate.  But when you’re debating partner refuses to acknowledge the same, it sends the signal that they are not; no matter what they claim they are.

Now, to be fair, my friend does not, at least I think does not, claim to be moderate.

Anyway, when faced with this interesting dilemma that extremism only exits on the “other side” I asked him a question that would cause his Liberal tendencies to collide.

“What if the mother decided to abort because the baby was black”?

Or disabled.

Or gay.

Or a girl.

Eugenics, it seemed, was the extreme.

In this case a person has to determine what to defend.  And in this case, the ugly ugly consequences of a genetic means test outranked the ability of a mother to choose.

Now, to be sure, in the specific I agreed with my friend on this.  I would think it horrible if someone decided to abort a child simply based on the fact that she was a she.  However, I am sure that our rational behind that conclusion would be very very different.

And I find THAT fascinating.

Anyway, I was able to make my point.  That there were extremes, on both sides, that we weren’t willing to go.  And just because I happened to add “Or poor” to that list didn’t make me any more vile than, well, anyone else who objects to abortion based on sex.

I like my talk radio.  And I like my North Carolina.  That’s why I listen to local talk whenever I can.  That means on the way TO work and on the way FROM work I get the local liberal talk.  In the morning I get Brad and Britt and the afternoon brings me Allan Handelmman.  Today they BOTH got me going.

First Allan.

It’s well know that the Left feels the best way to remove a bias against a particular group is to take society, group them according to characteristics that match the oppressed group and treat them differently than they do the rest of the population.  I know, I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.  But, ya know…..

Okay, so, today’s group of people that are being exploited by the evil rich capitalists?

Ugly people:

In addition to whatever personal pleasure it gives you, being attractive also helps you earn more money, find a higher-earning spouse (and one who looks better, too!) and get better deals on mortgages. Each of these facts has been demonstrated over the past 20 years by many economists and other researchers. The effects are not small: one study showed that an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks, as assessed by randomly chosen observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed in the top one-third — a lifetime difference, in a typical case, of about $230,000.

There ya have it; a clear cut case of discrimination against a certain group of people.  And what should we do?

A more radical solution may be needed: why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?

Certainly this is more satire?

We actually already do offer such protections in a few places, including in some jurisdictions in California, and in the District of Columbia, where discriminatory treatment based on looks in hiring, promotions, housing and other areas is prohibited. Ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Ugly people could be allowed to seek help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies in overcoming the effects of discrimination. We could even have affirmative-action programs for the ugly.

Come on….there is NO way we could do this:

The mechanics of legislating this kind of protection are not as difficult as you might think. You might argue that people can’t be classified by their looks — that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That aphorism is correct in one sense: if asked who is the most beautiful person in a group of beautiful people, you and I might well have different answers. But when it comes to differentiating classes of attractiveness, we all view beauty similarly: someone whom you consider good-looking will be viewed similarly by most others; someone you consider ugly will be viewed as ugly by most others. In one study, more than half of a group of people were assessed identically by each of two observers using a five-point scale; and very few assessments differed by more than one point.

For purposes of administering a law, we surely could agree on who is truly ugly, perhaps the worst-looking 1 or 2 percent of the population.

Serious?

Economic arguments for protecting the ugly are as strong as those for protecting some groups currently covered by legislation. So why not go ahead and expand protection to the looks-challenged? There’s one legitimate concern. With increasingly tight limits on government resources, expanding rights to yet another protected group would reduce protection for groups that have commanded our legislative and other attention for over 50 years.

You might reasonably disagree and argue for protecting all deserving groups. Either way, you shouldn’t be surprised to see the United States heading toward this new legal frontier.

I’m sure many generations of fathers have felt this.  But I seriously think that my America will have been better than my child’s.  As Sean Patrick says:

And so passes the glory of America.

Ahh, the Inter-loops, such a grand way to identify the hypocrisy of people.

Like here, where we are discussing the Left’s claim that the conservatives are racists. How wonderfully ironic that the inventor of said Inter-loops is caught up in the story.

Here we have a Google search of:

al gore climate talk racism

And the results:

See?  When Al Gore equates climate change skeptics to racism we get 3.3 million hits.

Nice.

But when you narrow your search to just one of the main stream media outlets:

You get 3!

Nice.

Again.

How wonderful to graduate with a degree in journalism.

Long before Barack Obama become President, the Republican party has been accused of being racist.  I guess it’s because conservatives advocate policies that don’t transfer wealth from one group of people to another that’s the cause of this shrill shriek.  In a similar vein, the Left could argue that conservative parents who think it’s a good idea to do your homework could be called “kidists”.  Clearly those parents hate their kids.

However, since Barack Obama IS the President, the case against conservatives being labelled as racists has increased.  It seems that not one single critique of the President or his policies can be leveled without the hammer of race being raised to combat that critique.

The most recent example of this phenomenon is when Rick Perry referred to the debt as a “black-cloud”.  Ed Schultz jumped on the occasion and labeled the man a racist for his racist comments.  Normally I would say that Ed is just an entertainer trying to make a living and using what he can to do so.  However, this isn’t an isolated case, this is systemic, this is premeditated and this is a strategy.

Only look back to Obama’s 2008 campaign when he mentioned that:

“…you know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

He knew it then, he knows it now.  He signaled it then and the folks have followed.

The problem is, fewer and fewer people are buying it:

ONE of the most dispiriting aspects of going through university as a humanities major in the mid 1990s was the insistence on viewing everything—or at least every work of literature—through the prisms of race, class and gender. It turned the pleasurable act of reading into a tawdry little detective game, in which students were expected to ferret out every conceivable shred of “evidence”, plausible or not, for bias on the part of the author, the publisher, society, etc. Offer precocious undergraduates the chance to rail against society’s (read: their parents’) hidden biases and they will surely take it, but these readings were for the most part boring, wrong and trivial.

All of which is by way of saying that I have a great deal of sympathy for Reihan Salam’s argument against reductionism. He begins by giving Ed Schultz a well-deserved raspberry for imputing racist sentiment to Rick Perry’s reference to debt as “a black cloud” (boneheaded as Mr Schultz’s comment may be, it is hard to wholly deplore something that led to such a great Daily Show sketch). “Many on the left are convinced that Perry must in his heart of hearts be a racist,” Mr Salam writes, “and indeed that conservatism itself is rooted in racist sentiments.” Does one even need to say that this is wrong—that conservatism is not, in fact, rooted in racist sentiment? That opposition to a Democratic president, even one who happens to be black, is not inherently racist?

There was a reason, even as a liberal 18 year-old, that I mocked CLA’ers.  CLA is short hand slang for “College of Liberal Arts” at the University of Minnesota.  We attended the Minnesota Institute for Technology.  Rightly so, we reasoned that many of those gaining a degree at the “other school” were really gaining what some people called a degree.

But fun at the expense of silly degree programs aside, the idea that conservatives must be racist because we don’t agree with the prevailing thought mentality of the average Leftist is as silly as those degrees.  The idea that I have to have my ideas and intentions vetted for validity by the likes of  those who build programs that don’t help the people they’re meant to help is absurd.

Sadly, absurd sells.

 

This sums up my view of why the Left is so very critically concerned about the whole warming of the globe:

The solutions proposed by the left aim to leverage this problem to build the economic order they have failed to achieve by other means.

Exactly!

It would be easier to listen to the Liberal solution to this problem if it didn’t sound EXACTLY like the normal meme of taking resources from the evil rich and giving it to the victimized poor.

Now, go read the whole article.

Aside from the very perplexing contradiction of folks on the Left claiming that they are not socialists but then supporting increased taxes on the rich in order to increase transfer payments to the poor, I think that most people on the Left and Right generally agree on some basic things:

  1. Do well in school
  2. Be kind to others
  3. Work hard
  4. Pay for what you take
  5. Return what you borrow

I suspect that I’m not unlike many other Liberal families that teach their kids these basic time tested tenants.  In fact, it’s parenting 101.  Much of it is taught without even being realized, and other, specifically taught on purpose.

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From TaxProf Blog via Instapundit:

The untold story is that redistribution of income is, by and large, not designed to help the poor but to preserve social stability on behalf of the rich (or a portion of them). It’s like Guido Calabresi used to tell his students on the first day of classes at Yale. Are you in favor of high taxes? Yes. Are you in favor of high spending? Yes. Do you want to see your seats at Yale redistributed to people with lower test scores? Silence. Aha, he would say, you just want to redistribute other people’s advantages, not your own.

Freakin’ Liberal Leftists!

 

Ask anyone on the street if they would be willing to see the needy get the medical care they need and the answer is a massive “Hell yeah!”.  But ask them HOW that is to happen and you get a whole bunch of, “Hell, I da’know.”.

And so’s the quandary of the average American.

And so it is, when faced with work, and love, and school and bills and and and…we are willing, almost demanding, that this burden be taken from us and handled by someone else.  The Genesis.   The lightning striking the mud.

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I think it’s important to clear a few things up.  And to explain the difference between personal charity and legislative responsibility.

On a human and personal level I get the fact that someone out of work is struggling.  Most likely with personal value issues, household income issues and perhaps larger life skills and career opportunity issues.

I get that.

And to that extent, I resonate with the personal heart string tugging concept of needing to provide relief.  I absolutely agree that helping when one can is the right thing to do.  Without a doubt.

On the governmental and legislative level I know that the best thing that can be done is to make sure that it is as easy as possible for people  looking for work can match up with people looking for workers.n  In short, for the removal of every possible obstacle.

The juxtaposition of those two very valid and noble positions seems to be taking place in our debate.

The fiscal conservatives want less unemployment benefits to be handed out.  Less as in fewer weeks and less money.  The social  liberals want to increase those benefits.  Increase as in extend benefits and with more money.

And they yell at each other.

But they aren’t arguing about the same topic.  The Left are advocating a position of personal charity.  The Right are advocating a position of economic modeling.  Both are right in their specific context, but that context isn’t the same.

So, I would suggest this:

  • My Liberal friends:  Form a non-profit foundation that provides relief to the unemployed.
  • My Conservative friends: Contribute to said foundation.
  • End government mandated charity.

Remember, there must be an incontrovertible condition for the government to relive a man of the fruits of his labor by threat of sword or gun.  And the simple fact that you feel more comfortable with this man having that man’s property does not meet that condition.