Your Criticism of My Holocaust Analogy Is Like Yet ANOTHER Holocaust

138 Responses

  1. Bruce Coulson says:

    Having had a close family member be a victim of the atmosphere of an actual 'witch hunt' in the United States (the McCarthy/HUAC anti-communist crusade in the 50s, which cost many people their jobs from anonymous accusations) comparing 'all of you are making fun of me! I'm being oppressed!' to 'you've been accused of speaking ill of important people; you're going to jail' or even 'We're firing you because of an anonymous complaint, which we're not going to admit we got, and you won't be hired anywhere else because everyone 'knows' why you were fired' is ludicrous.

  2. Peter H says:

    Ken,

    Your censorious bullying has gone too far this time.

    First, you went after the invoice fraudsters, and I did not speak out – because I am not an invoice fraudster.

    Next you went after the defamation threateners, and I did not speak out – because I am not a defamation threatener.

    Then you went after the copyright trolls, and I did not speak out – because I am not a copyright troll.

    Now you go after the absurd holocaust analogizers, and there is no one left to speak out for me.

  3. Ken White says:

    I like you Peter H. You are not a pony.

  4. Andy says:

    You're very clever, young man, but it's Holocausts all the way down.

  5. PonyAdvocate says:

    the IRS's despicable targeting of ideologically incorrect groups

    Important if true. I believe, however, that there is more to this particular story than is related in the linked article. Generally, I have found National Review, and especially the NRO subset, often to be a not entirely reliable source.

  6. Dan says:

    2000: Nothing will ever be as bad as the Holocaust.

    2004: Bush is LITERALLY Hitler.

    2012: OBAMA IS LITERALLY HITLER!

    2014: EVERYTHING BAD IS EXACTLY AS BAD AS THE HOLOCAUST AND IF YOU SUGGEST OTHERWISE YOU'RE WORSE THAN HITLER.

  7. Derailleur says:

    I have a friend in Phoenix who has been subjected to exactly the kind of police harassment linked to in the yelp review link. Fortunately, the cop emailed the (extremely poorly written) threat to her, and a local T.V. station has taken notice. While I'm sure the cop will be not even be disciplined, if the station runs the story once complete, it will also highlight the company she originally criticized online. I don't pretend that we'll ever end or even slow this type of official harassment, but more light is better than none.

  8. I was Anonymous says:

    Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

  9. Ken White says:

    Derailleur, do you have a link to that?

  10. Peter H says:

    How dare you deny my inner pony! You are wrong and you are libel!

  11. Derailleur says:

    @Ken Not yet. The station has just started their investigation into both the company she criticized and the cop/police department in question. I need to email my friend and see how that is going. If you mean the original critical post, I'm not sure where she posted it, it may have been craigslist (where she found the company in the first place). She's taken down FB posts and such to avoid further harassment from the company she criticized.

  12. Sinij says:

    Ken, but hurt inside when I get criticized for my stupidity is very real! The government should protect me from social consequences of stupid things I say!

  13. Joel says:

    "That's why I, as a defender of free speech, am going to keep calling out and ridiculing your Kristallnacht analogies, even if you think that's another Kristallnacht."

    When you've got a persecution complex, it's Kristallnachts all the way down.

  14. Jeff says:

    Query: think he knows what Kristalnacht acutally was?

    Not that I like Chris Matthews, who as far as I'm concerned, is a misogynist piece of crap, but it reminds me of when he tore Kevin James a new one for knowing what Neville Chamberlain actually did.

  15. EH says:

    Is it bad taste to think of Perkins suffering a "Kristallnaught?"

  16. John Kindley says:

    I agree wholly with this post, although a couple of the examples of phrases that tend to conflate speech with violence made me reflect on my own use of these phrases and affirm their propriety in the context I used them. I recently described myself as being subject to an "inquisition." But what I had in mind in that instance is that I was in fact being questioned as to what could accurately be described as my lack of "faith." (Not to mention that in this instance the questioner was in fact a State employee, and that the answers I gave could have tangible consequences for me imposed by the State.) Also, if memory serves me correctly I may have indulged in the hyperbolic use of the word "lynch mob." Or perhaps I only used the word "bandwagon." If the former, the latter is the aspect of the former I had in mind and wished to evoke.

  17. Quite Possibly A Cat says:

    While I agree with the thrust of your argument, in this specific case its not correct. We at the New World Order are planning a purge of the rich, who aren't part of the chosen Elite. Its still probably a bad idea to compare violence driven by hate to violence driven by a desire for world domination. :)

  18. Igor says:

    If you can't take the heat, stay the hell out of the kitchen!

    Wusses.

  19. John Cain says:

    As if on cue, here's Glenn Reynolds saying that speech is violence.

  20. barry says:

    Is autogodwinization a thing now?

  21. SIV says:

    War on metaphor.

  22. Ed says:

    I've always wondered this, and forgive me as I'm guessing this has been discussed in prior comments, but what recourse is there for minority groups when there happens not to be social consequences for particularly bad speech about that particular group?

    For example, Jews in Germany in the 40's, gays, etc.? Is there a threshold where the prevailing attitudes, hence speech, are universally bad enough, and the group powerless enough, that it merits specific legislative action against this kind of speech? I realize this is likely anathema to most free speech advocates (and I would consider myself one), but am trying to suss out the boundaries of such.

    And if legislative action is not the answer, then what if anything is? Telling said minority group to "suck it up" doesn't feel like much of an answer.

    I can imagine at least 2 responses to this being:
    a) "sucking it up" isn't so bad as long as the majority aren't breaking any laws against the minority group
    b) legislating speech will not change a majority's attitudes towards that minority group anyways

    I still raise the question whether speech laws could, in extreme and narrow cases, be used to protect some minority groups.

    (again, I don't pretend to have answers, but am expressing doubts about limitless speech beyond the "fire!" example that's constantly overused)

  23. SIV says:

    @Bruce Coulson

    an actual 'witch hunt'

    The HUAC hearings were a metaphoric "witch hunt" (perhaps a literal inquisition?). An "actual" witch hunt in 20th century America would be the "satanic panic" prosecutions of the 1980s.

  24. EH says:

    Ed, what you are missing is that minority status is not just a matter of numbers, but a function of power as well. Neither a royal family nor a federal government is a minority.

  25. matguy says:

    I think the tipping point of an actual witch hunt is someone getting burned at the stake. While the blind following of anonymous accusations can be a crucial part of the idea of a witch hunt, the brutal loss of life is an important point that seems to get lost in the analogy. Which, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is the main point of the article here.

    Loss of job is bad, but it's still not quite the same as a fiery death.

  26. Jacob H says:

    @matguy

    I think going to jail is sufficient, as that is a brutal loss of (years of your) life. I agree with SIV that the Satanic Panic of the 80's is a good example. Does anyone know if there were any death sentences that came out of that panic?

  27. En Passant says:

    People — mostly African-Americans — were actually lynched by mobs in this country less than a century ago.

    Less than four score and one years ago. Minor nit, no criticism intended. But that small chronological difference means that literal lynchings happened within the childhood of some still living.

  28. Christina says:

    Can I ask you to reconsider the widespread use of the term "butthurt" in your writings in light of your essay above?

  29. Ken White says:

    Christinia, I am not offended by the request, nor do I think less of you for making it. I hold you in high regard as I have since 1987. However, I have considered the argument that the word is inherently offensive, and seeing how it is used and defined, I disagree and am not inclined to stop. I do not believe, in normal usage, it can reasonably taken as a homophobic slur. I recognize some will disagree and will accept the social consequences for my decision.

  30. En Passant says:

    matguy Jan 30, 2014 @12:09 pm:

    I think the tipping point of an actual witch hunt is someone getting burned at the stake. …

    Loss of job is bad, but it's still not quite the same as a fiery death.

    Not all of those convicted of witchcraft in 1692-1693 Salem were executed, and none were burned at the stake. Those unfortunates condemned to death were hanged or pressed.

  31. Christina says:

    I don't think of it as homophobic, because of course there is no butthurt in consensual anal sex (homosex. or heterosex.). Butthurt is about violent sexual assault, which is why I thought it matched your examples above and was worth a callout. I'm still here reading, because ditto :-) I just picture it as a red-hot spanked a$$.

  32. John Kindley says:

    I've never pictured butthurt as a red-hot spanked a$$. Now, I'm afraid, I will.

  33. Bruce Coulson says:

    @ SIV

    Agreed; although the blacklist wasn't by strict definition a 'witch hunt' the effects were pretty dire (although not state-sanctioned loss of life dire).

    The 'blacklist' involved extra-legal (although accepted) punishments for those deemed to be guilty. And the victims had no legal recourse, in most cases. The 'Satanic Panic' involved state mandated punishments, where legal measures proved ineffective for the victims. Which was definitely worse for the targets.

    In both cases, actual harm resulted from what was said; as opposed to hurt feelings. Which merely reinforces the point that comparing speech that merely injures ego to speech which results in measurable damage is a false comparison.

  34. Dion starfire says:

    @Ed legislation to protect a minority almost always comes after that minority has gained sufficient power to protect themselves without legislation.

    Historically, an oppressed group will gain social acceptance (and condemnation of it's "oppressors") before it's able to achieve legal protection. If you think about it, that's basically an inherent feature of democracy.

    If you're really interested in the issue, check out "Kindly Inquisitors" by Jonathan Rauch. It supposedly offers some interesting insights on the censorship vs. 'protect the weak' debate. (I haven't read it, just seen some speeches by, and interviews with the author, and heard Penn Jillette recommend it many times)

  35. KronWeld says:

    Well, I've never considered "butthurt" as a homophobic slur, and I am gay. Nor have I thought of it as a violent sexual assault. I've just thought of it as a way to point out how ridiculous some one was over their hurt feelings on being called out as a jerk.

  36. Ken White says:

    That's my interpretation KronWeld.

    Christina's point of view was entitled to my respect because Christina does not openly make fun of me here for what a train wreck I was in college.

  37. I was Anonymous says:

    @KronWeld,

    Me neither. I always interpreted it (when I needed to) as "he just got kicked in the butt, and now it hurts".

  38. Lagaya1 says:

    I am so jealous of your ability to organize and express your thoughts. I love/hate you!

  39. matguy says:

    I stand corrected on the witch hunt deaths, and I do concede to jailing being perfectly applicable to a witch hunt label.

    I am afraid that I didn't catch the "Satanic panic" reference, I would certainly say that in all ways that counts as a witch hunt.

  40. Xenocles says:

    Certainly the analogy is inapt, there is no actual violence being done. Yet I find myself pausing to wonder how Germans prepared themselves for Kristallnacht and all that followed, and thinking that the sort of talk we are seeing now is probably always part of the process. It is by no means inevitable that one follows the other, which is a big part of why I would reflexively oppose any official sanctioning of such speech (either sort being discussed here). But surely at some level we need to stop and think about what is developing around us.

    As I get older I am finding myself increasingly reluctant to add to the amount of ill will in the world, even in the cases of those who deserve it (relative to the mean, of course – arguably we all deserve it). So take this comment in that light as well.

  41. Marconi Darwin says:

    Xenocles • Jan 30, 2014 @2:42 pm

    But surely at some level we need to stop and think about what is developing around us.

    You mean that this might not be like the Holocaust and more like the Bolshevik revolution, only this time, the Head Communist has on his side, an army of czars?

  42. Rick C says:

    So what do we call it then, when (say) OWS people actually smash the windows of storefronts like (say) the Oakland Men's Wearhouse (or the anarchist rioting at G8 meetings)? Is that actually a mini-Kristallnacht? Or just nihilism, or is it somewhere in between?

  43. J@m3z Aitch says:

    The liberals aren't encouraging violence, but they are promoting personal vilification and the abuse of government power to punish political opponents.

    As a libertarian I have little sympathy for either side here, but conservatives being all self-righteously aghast at liberals stealing their tactics is always good for a chuckle.

  44. EH says:

    Rick C: When you refer to "OWS people," are you including undercover police?

  45. Jon says:

    @Jacob H: Yes, the West Memphis 3 (well, 1 of them) got death sentences. Admittedly, early 90's, but still part of the 80's Satanic Panic.

  46. Dox47 says:

    I will defend my own personal variant, 'digital lynch mob', under very specific circumstances. I don't use that term to denote a group of people attacking someone for an ill considered remark, but rather for large groups who've collectively decided upon an accused person's guilt without any critical thinking, who are loudly calling for dire punishment for said person. The George Zimmerman trial would be the arch example of when I would apply the term.

  47. Nat Gertler says:

    "Loss of job is bad, but it's still not quite the same as a fiery death."

    When viewed in economic terms, the loss of the job is the true cost of the fiery death. The Salem Witch Trials were horrific, as their fallout put a serious crimp in the local besom industry, and cost the careers of all the local newt eyeballers.

  48. AlphaCentauri says:
    People — mostly African-Americans — were actually lynched by mobs in this country less than a century ago.

    Less than four score and one years ago. Minor nit, no criticism intended. But that small chronological difference means that literal lynchings happened within the childhood of some still living.

    Emmett Till was killed in 1955, and James Byrd, Jr. in 1998. Which raises (but does not beg) the question, where do you draw the line between a lynching and a common murder? If lynching has to be an extrajudicial community-supported execution, many killings by cops might qualify today. If it has to be done specifically to intimidate ethnic minorities, any random bunch of disaffected losers can do it.

    And then there is the issue that horrific lynchings are no longer dismissed by the press as an acceptable way to keep minority groups subservient, so there is good reason for people who are carrying out lynchings today to avoid publicity. So there are many cases where the family feels a young Black man was hanged in order to intimidate the Black community, but the police label it a suicide. Or people may feel a murder of a transsexual was a hate crime but the police write it off as robbery-related.

  49. Marconi Darwin says:

    Rick C • Jan 30, 2014 @3:13 pm

    So what do we call it then, when (say) OWS people actually smash the windows of storefronts like (say) the Oakland Men's Wearhouse (or the anarchist rioting at G8 meetings)?

    Criminal destruction of property by people allegedly representing OWS. Likewise, the rioters at G8 meetings are to be called criminals, allegedly dedicated to anarchy.

  50. Xenocles says:

    "When viewed in economic terms, the loss of the job is the true cost of the fiery death. The Salem Witch Trials were horrific, as their fallout put a serious crimp in the local besom industry, and cost the careers of all the local newt eyeballers."

    Yes, but on the whole it was a very good year for the undertaker.

  51. Edward says:

    There is a fine line. The comments by Tom Perkins were galactically stupid. However, there is also the idea that meeting any idea or speech with scorn or ridicule really halts speech as well. Free speech isn't just limited to government – it's also an ideal and a value. Online conversations can be annoyingly free from free speech, in that every conversation just leads to personal insults, as if these "social costs" are somehow valuable instead of a sign that the speaker is a shitty human being.

  52. Sami says:

    To me, butthurt also has connotations of "because you just got spanked". Just sayin'.

    With regard to comparisons to McCarthyism: I think a valid criterion for judging whether a situation is comparable amounts to, "Can your life be ruined by the consequences not of your actions, but simply of suspicion of your beliefs or those of people you know?"

    As for the idea that somehow it's violent oppression to call someone out for being a dick… no. Just no. Harden up, princess.

  53. Nebris says:

    "Really Mr Perkins, the correct historical analogy would be Le Ancien Régime."

  54. Jacob H says:

    @Jon
    I did know that, and I should have been more clear in my question; what I should have asked was whether any death sentences were carried out as a result of the Satanic Panic. Thanks for the response though

    @Dox
    A guy beat you to that idea, but he calls it a "Distributed Internet Reputational Attack," or DIRA for short

    @En Passant

    Those unfortunates condemned to death were hanged or pressed.

    Oh, so now you're against freedom of the press? (too soon?)

  55. StrangeInAStrangerLand says:

    Couldn't agree more with the post, but one thing had me confused. I took at a look at the table in the NRO article you linked to. It seems to me it supports at least two hypothesis.

    H1: The IRS engaged in a targeted and biased investigation campaign.
    H2: The left wing and right wing groups showed different levels of cooperation to the investigators, and adherence to the laws in question.

    Assuming your tagging of the NRO link represents your opinion you seem to strongly support the first hypothesis. I wanted to understand what led you to that conclusion?

  56. Scott Adams has a counterpoint on his blog which I think is worth reading.

    I'm not usually impressed by Mr. Adams' arguments, partly because he once made fun of my name but mostly because they're not usually very sound. :-) But I think he may have a point here.

    The short version: Tom Perkins claim was not that the rich are currently being treated in a way analogous to the Holocaust, but rather that (a) they are being vilified in a way reminiscent of the lead up to the Holocaust; and (b) this could lead to actual violence (at some point in the future) in a manner similar to that of the Holocaust.

  57. Jacob H says:

    @Harry
    That is an interesting article, but I think it fails in a couple ways: First, the current "vilification" of the rich notably doesn't include the type of legal discrimination that was present against the Jews in Nazi/preNazi Germany, and in the Jim Crow south. Adams glosses over this by just lumping all the criticism of Perkins together and saying "see, all of this criticism just proves his point". When it's nothing more than criticism, no official or semi-official persecution, it's ridiculous to see that as evidence that we are on a path towards violence. Come back and talk to me when you have to wear a special insignia, Mr. Adams, that identifies you as rich when you are out in public.

    And secondly, I would put the odds of this current ill feeling escalating into violence – even over decades – at a much lower % than the one Adams throws out there – 5%! that seems absurdly high – Adams is saying that there is a 1-in-20 chance of organized violence against the rich, on a scale comparable with even a small pogrom?! I guess if you try to include in your count criminal action by anarchists and vandals, then maybe… But that wouldn't be a fair comparison, and even then 5% sounds way too high.

    When was the last time you heard about even an isolated incident of a rich guy getting targeted physically simply because he was rich, not for any personal reason?

  58. Rick C says:

    people allegedly representing OWS

    I like that. It's amazing how all the rapes, crapping on police cars, vandalism, destruction of property, etc., etc., etc., was never actually by OWS people, but a random collection of criminals who just wandered by to slander the poor, innocent OWSers.

  59. David C Jones says:

    Wow, Ken. My first thought was I couldn't have said it better myself. Then I realized what I really meant was I couldn't have said it even close to as well as you said it. Well spoken, sir. I agree!

  60. En Passant says:

    AlphaCentauri Jan 30, 2014 @4:46 pm:

    Emmett Till was killed in 1955, and James Byrd, Jr. in 1998. Which raises (but does not beg) the question, where do you draw the line between a lynching and a common murder? If lynching has to be an extrajudicial community-supported execution, many killings by cops might qualify today. If it has to be done specifically to intimidate ethnic minorities, any random bunch of disaffected losers can do it.

    Good point.

    I used a narrow criterion: that the victim was legally accused of a crime and arrested, then taken from jail by a mob, far more than one or two murderers. That was the 1933 San Jose lynching that I cited. A mob of thousands dragged Jack Holmes and Harold Thurmond from the San Jose jail, tortured and murdered them. Oddly enough, they were not black but white, and one was quite wealthy.

    Emmett Till was never arrested or charged with a crime, but taken from his home by two men. James Byrd was offered a ride by three men. Both were tortured then murdered. But it stretches the meaning of "mob" to call their murderers a "lynch mob".

    I suppose one could cite Justice Thomas' use of the term "lynching" metaphorically to support the mob criterion, if 100 is sufficient population for a mob. He referred to his Senate confirmation hearings in 1991 as a "high tech lynching".

  61. En Passant says:

    Jacob H Jan 30, 2014 @7:42 pm:

    Oh, so now you're against freedom of the press? (too soon?)

    The Salem witch trials were a full kangaroo court press.

  62. Jacob H says:

    @Rick C
    Right, just like those racist signs you see at tea party rallies are never representative either…

    what group does like to own their bad apples?

    PS also…rapes? Are you sure you aren't thinking of Tahrir square?

  63. Dox47 says:

    @Jacob H:

    How does my usage of 'digital lynch mob' to describe a group that's jumped to a conclusion sans evidence and is demanding punishment have anything to do with Charles Carreon and his delusions? I made no mention of anyone's reputation, merely the mob and the rush to judgment.

  64. Jacob H says:

    @Dox
    I mean that as a gentle ribbing, not a direct attack. As for what they have to do with each other, just the obvious; that CC would claim to be a victim of what you are describing (wrongly). Doesn't he even use that same phrase "digital lynch mob"…? I can't stomach his website long enough to confirm this, though.

  65. AlphaCentauri says:

    I used a narrow criterion: that the victim was legally accused of a crime and arrested, then taken from jail by a mob, far more than one or two murderers.

    I think that definition is too narrow. The Ku Klux Klan operated by going to people's houses and dragging them out and murdering them for such crimes as registering to vote. Those murders are also referred to as lynchings, and they are more representative of the secretive crimes that resulted in "strange fruit" appearing the next morning.

  66. G. Filotto says:

    I dunno. I understand Ken's stance is also a reflection of a certain level of cultural paradigm. I can't verbalise my objections coherently yet (probably due to my personal life being a fucking mess right now and my brain being a bit scrambled) but I don't completely agree with the absolute freedom of speech. My sense of it is that some recourse to duelling/retraction should be allowed, but with modifications for inequalities of physical force/violence (the duel could be a chess game say). But the main point is that the cultural paradox of American law is not, necessarily, or in my opinion at least, preferable to any other, including possibly that of feudal Japan.

  67. Seerak says:

    First, the current "vilification" of the rich notably doesn't include the type of legal discrimination that was present against the Jews in Nazi/preNazi Germany, and in the Jim Crow south.

    Who is saying there is? Perkins didn't. The point was that the potential is there, not the actual. An acorn is not an oak tree, but its genetic roadmap won't lead anywhere else, given the chance.

    When it's nothing more than criticism, no official or semi-official persecution, it's ridiculous to see that as evidence that we are on a path towards violence.

    So you're telling me that nothing Hitler or the Nazis said or did would have tipped you off to what was afoot, until March 24, 1933?

    Why bother keeping fire extinguishers around, I don't smell any smoke!

    Come back and talk to me when you have to wear a special insignia, Mr. Adams, that identifies you as rich when you are out in public.

    Because of course, a future totalitarian movement will helpfully follow the exact same pattern as the prior one so you can detect it. You know, just like flu viruses always present the same surface proteins and never change them up.

    Looking for and detecting early cultural signs and trends that *could* lead to bad ends is not ridiculous in the slightest. Pointing out that certain trends can lead to certain ends – i.e. saying that we are on a "path to violence" – is not to say that we will necessarily arrive there. There's all kinds of things that can happen; people can smarten up, they can simply fail to follow through, or (hopefully) be deflected by principled opposition.

    But to be that opposition, you have to be able to detect and engage them before they get to the Enabling Act. In light of the cost of dealing with such things after versus before, we absolutely should work to anticipate being on paths to bad places.

    ""To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head."

    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html

    At least we have the benefit of their history to learn from…. if we bother.

  68. John Kindley says:

    Here's the most significant difference: The Jew couldn't stop being a Jew. He was targeted for what he was. The rich can be easily "converted," voluntarily or involuntarily, to relative poverty. He's targeted for what he has.

    Only in few instances would I expect the general insurrection to lead to confiscation of life over and above confiscation of property.

  69. Jamie R says:

    I don't understand why the comparison is always to the holocaust. Wouldn't the French or Russian Revolutions, or the failed revolutions of 1848, be better analogies? The Holocaust was directed as much against poor Eastern European Jews, Roma, Socialists, homosexuals, and the disabled as against rich German Jews; surely even a crazy person like Perkins doesn't think he's on the same side as German Socialists.

  70. piperTom says:

    WSJ: "The liberals aren't encouraging violence, but they are promoting … the abuse of government power…"

    Government exercises its power thru violence. (If you doubt it, just imagine how people would behave toward government if there were no possibility of cops showing up.) Ken focuses his energy entirely on the part of the quote that I elided, but as Bruce Coulson pointed out, direct abuse of power does happen. Tom Perkins has a high profile, so the risk of IRS audit or undue prosecutorial attention is reduced, but that is the "abuse of power" being considered.

    Sure, the analogy with Kristallnacht is overwrought, and I don't doubt that the rich are -on average- advantaged by the current crony capitalist system. That doesn't excuse liberals who, with their tax code in hand, shout "rob them, rob them, and rob them even more!"

  71. Xmas says:

    I mean, it's not like "Black Bloc" is a thing. It's not like union protesters show up at the houses of corporate executives and government officials. I mean, seriously, there's no undercurrent of violence in left wing organizations that people need to fear.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tu_D8SFYck

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyjvWTfcnvA&list=PL79DAA067DCA956A8

    The fear that those that use violence to fight the power of the state will continue to use violence after they get into power is totally irrational.

  72. Dictatortot says:

    Ken's post is completely on the money, far as it goes. But like some other posters, I get a nagging feeling that Perkins isn't totally NOT onto something, and that some of our fellow posters are being too dismissive by half.

    Maybe it comes down to this: Perkins isn't going to get sent to a camp, get lynched, have his life savings confiscated, or anything of the sort … but there seems to be a non-trivial number of his fellow citizens who would be on board with such things if they were only feasible. There'll never be a Perkins-directed Kristallnacht … but mark my words: if the laws of reality bent and there actually ever were one, mirabile visu, one or two regular posters on this very blog would try to lawyer away the idea that any injustice was done, while privately hankering after more news of the same.

    Of course, there probably aren't enough such partisans to ordinarily pose a threat, much less abrogate Perkins's protections under rule of law … but not few enough that any ordinary human being could be comfortable with it. And though Perkins is a wealthy and powerful human being, he's a human being nonetheless.

    If that's the problem, it was tactically foolish to air his discomfort, and doubly so to couch it in such easily refuted terms. His big mistake was acting as if some of his fellow Americans' wishes could realistically translate into action. But he's not wrong to intuit that the wishes themselves point to a canker in our body politic, and maybe even to something unsustainable about it in the long term.

  73. Xenocles says:

    Slightly OT, and absolutely not intended as a "why don't you write about this," but Radley Balko linked to a particularly execrable editorial on free speech today, including our favorite trope about the crowded theater: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/30/should-neo-nazis-be-allowed-free-speech.html

  74. babaganusz says:

    PS also…rapes? Are you sure you aren't thinking of Tahrir square?

    quite possibly thinking of one of Breitbart's last asinine grandstandings. (because rape that happens beyond the fringe of 24-hour crowds of public protest against [laundry list that just happens to castigate the political furnaces the late 'bulldog' loved to stoke] doesn't warrant lurching around screaming rebuke. or something.)

    to intuit that the wishes themselves point to a canker in our body politic, and maybe even to something unsustainable about it in the long term

    yes, perhaps this 'intuition' is providing valuable first-time insight to someone somewhere. if only it were easy to believe that from here he will attempt to find common cause with… i dunno, anyone who isn't rich, or obsessed with getting rich, or coddling the rich.

    some of our fellow posters are being too dismissive by half.

    yes, i call it "pretending there are merely two utterly distinct sides to the argument like most lazy thinkers", have yet to discover a site of more than a half dozen total participants where such things don't happen, and contend that that is a/the 'canker in our body politic'.

  75. babaganusz says:

    I don't doubt that the rich are -on average- advantaged by the current crony capitalist system.

    it's almost as though you would point to a compelling lamentation of the 'disadvantaged rich' somewhere, somewhen, if you could.

  76. John Kindley says:

    "one or two regular posters on this very blog would try to lawyer away the idea that any injustice was done"

    I happen to be a lawyer, but it's still gratifying to see you legitimize the "canker in our body politic" by suggesting it has something to do with "law."

    Perkins's property is State property, which he holds as a fief from the State, as a reward for being a "good citizen." Dispel the illusion of the State, and the underlying war of all against all will be exposed. (In which case we can nevertheless expect understandings, coalitions, alliances, confederacies, as sovereigns have long found it in their interest to arrange.)

    Property is not sacred. "Why here again put the fault on others as if they were robbing us, while we ourselves do bear the fault in leaving the others unrobbed? The poor are to blame for there being rich men." – Max Stirner

  77. stillnotking says:

    Not to get all "Johnny hit me first" about this, but it was the left who started the speech-is-violence equivocation, with restrictive campus speech codes and (in countries other than the US) hate speech laws. The right concluded, unreasonably but not unpredictably, that they needed to fight fire with fire. The linked letter was, in fact, copying the anti-hate-speech rhetoric of the left almost perfectly.

    There was a time when "liberal" was virtually synonymous with pro-free-speech, but that hasn't been true for a long time now. I see conservatives and libertarians standing up for it much more often, actually.

  78. albert says:

    Mr. Perkins is confused.

    Super-rich Americans are now hiring small mercenary 'armies' to protect them from the Unwashed Masses, just as they have done in Brazil for decades. (Kidnapping and ransom are cottage industries in the favelas,). The Occupy Movement was a joke. 'Demonstrations' are now carefully controlled by the police, and if 'necessary', the National Guard. At the risk of scaring him further, I invite him to sit down and discuss my experiences during the 1967 riots in Detroit, or the history of Korean student protests.

    Since our Government is a corporatocracy, and the MSM is controlled by the same super rich, I don't see any cause for concern by the One Percenters. As long as they have control, they'll be fine. But, by all means, study history, so you'll know just how hard too push, before you get pushed back :)

    So grow a pair, Tom, and stop whining; you can always stay in one of your offshore vacation homes if things get too hot here.

    Footnote: Always check background before responding. I didn't. Read Thomas Perkins wiki page; it's really interesting (e.g. the Danielle Steel connection). At 82, you'd think he would have learned _something_ by now.

    P.S. Lest anyone disagree with my assessment of the US political landscape, I invite them to read Naomi Wolfs Fascist America, in 10 easy steps (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment)
    Some of her points are remarkably prescient, and none have been rolled back. If anything, they have been enhanced.

    I gotta go…

  79. piperTom says:

    John Kindley: "Dispel the illusion of the State, and the underlying war of all against all will be exposed."

    I suppose we should thank you for the confession. You do not speak for "all" of course, but surely you do speak for the subset known as John Kindley and the only thing keeping you from warring on the rest of us is fear of The State. Some of us co-operate with others for the prospect of a safe and prosperous society.

    P.S. Max Stirner was an asshat

  80. John Kindley says:

    I used to think Max Stirner was an asshat too, until I actually read him. Engels called him "the peaceful enemy of all constraint," which might suggest there's more than meets the eye in the talk of the war of all against all.

  81. c andrew says:

    John,
    You may have missed it but there is one celebrity leftist that has called for the life of the rich over and above their property. Of course the critical wealth line that she advocates is well to the north of her own net worth.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/10/01/roseanne_barr_behead_bankers_rich_who_wont_give_up_wealth.html

    In circumstances like these, one can only hope that such advocates become victims of their own proposed/enacted policies. For instance, if the Deming Thugs tripped and fell on a 6 foot iron spike by means of rectal insertion, I'd consider that to be karmic gold.

  82. John Kindley says:

    I didn't watch the video but it appears that Barr is referring not to the rich in general but to the bankers specifically. Of course THEIR heads have got to roll. There's no getting around that.

    There's a sense in which Stirner is profoundly "conservative" while at the same time radical as hell. Look up what he had to say about the "founder of Christianity." It's just about the best damned thing I've ever read.

  83. rob says:

    Perkins comparison was over the top, but there are real issues with both the response to Perkin's comments and the ongoing protests against the Google'ers in San Fran. There have been windows broken on the buses, angry confrontations between protesters and guys just trying to go to work, repeated cries to steal property from the google'ers, misguided complaints that they are taking all of the good stuff, as well as cries to drive them out of town. When this sort of harassment (some call it protest) goes on against a particular religion or racial group, people speak out against it. Because it is going on against tech employees, should it be acceptable?

    BTW, I do think that there needs to be some sort of reform to reduce the sheer number of the ultra-rich (like too many awards for offshoring jobs and not enough actual trade protection); I am also convinced that the google'ers are being used a strawman for political gain.

  84. neverjaunty says:

    Yes, there are real issues with the economic inequality in San Francisco, people's reactions to it, how the wealthy are behaving, and how to address these problems. Perkins could have said something thoughtful about this. He didn't. Anyone concerned about the rising anger and vandalism shouldn't be making excuses for Perkins and trying to say "yeah, but what he REALLY meant was…" or "but he DID highlight an important problem…." Instead, they should be calling him out for hindering thoughtful conversation and making the problem worse.

    As for whether he could really have had a point about the rich, let's not forget that one of the things that gave him the vapors was the San Francisco Chronicle (hardly a mouthpiece for the radical left) making fun of his ex-wife's eccentricities. Nobody has been throwing bricks at her windows or setting her shrubbery on fire. But to Perkins, poking fun at local celebrities = centuries of antisemitism manifesting as state-approved mobs.

    Oh, and there's his not-so-subtle dogwhistle about the Jews-are-all-rich stereotype.

  85. babaganusz says:

    neverjaunty – spot ON.

  86. CJK Fossman says:

    @c andrew

    Deming Thugs? As in W. Edwards Deming?

    WTF are you writing about?

  87. AlphaCentauri says:

    @c andrew

    Deming Thugs? As in W. Edwards Deming?

    WTF are you writing about?

    subtle reference to not-subtle thuggery:

    http://www.popehat.com/2013/11/07/what-is-the-quantum-of-proof-necessary-for-police-to-rape-and-torture-you-in-new-mexico/

  88. albert says:

    I wasn't aware of physical violence being used against the Googlers. I also find it hard to believe that any of Googles One-Percenters ride the bus to work.

    As for those San Francisco-ites, "Boo Hoo, I'm poor and I can't take it anymore."
    GROW UP!

    EVERY city in the US has income inequality, expensive housing, high taxes, etc. etc. What makes you special? Nothing!

    Keep acting on this sort of propaganda, and the results are predictable: You will end up in jail, and some of you doubtless charged with felonies. Our problems are deep-rooted and endemic, and they can't be solved by breaking windows and harassing people. Googles worker bees may be well paid, but those kind of folks would be good to have on your side, don't you think?

    Who are the instigators of this movement?

    I gotta go…

  89. neverjaunty says:

    albert, if, as you say, every city in the US has high income inequality and expensive housing, then the question becomes, when are people in those other cities going to start picking up bricks and blockading buses?

    But I think you do know what makes this "special", and that is a combination of San Francisco now being the least affordable city in the country (suck it, Manhattan!) with a veritable parade of ass-showing by the local techerati. Whining about one's $4000 apartment in Noe Valley is singularly unimpressive to people who don't make $4000 in an entire month, especially if they were forced out of that apartment in Noe Valley through landlord system-gaming so that Whiner McGooglepants could live across the street from his favorite tapas bar.

    But then, you admit you were completely uninformed about the circumstances of the bus blockades, so.

  90. albert says:

    @neverjaunty

    I don't see what "veritable parade of ass-showing" has to do with it.

    As for "landlord system-gaming", do you have references for illegal landlord activity?

    Landlords need only raise rent to increase rental income, and they can legally ask for any rental fees they want; it's their right.

    Granted, even peaceful, non-violent demonstrations attract trouble makers, but there are ways for organizers to handle this. If these are ad hoc protests, then they are doomed, as I pointed out. Affordable housing and rent-control programs exist, or can be created. It's a difficult task, but not impossible.

    I urge all protesters to find folks who can help them with 'top-down' strategies.

    There's a time for violent protests, but that time has not yet come. Only when all other avenues are exhausted will that be necessary, but I fear that we will be living in a (totally) fascist state by then, and it will be too late….

    I gotta go…

  91. neverjaunty says:

    @albert, on the list of things you didn't know about the unrest in San Francisco, we can add that two of your proposed solutions – rent control and affordable housing programs – already exist there. Oh, and under those rent control (really, rent stabilization) laws, the annual amount by which a landlord may raise the rent, and the reasons under which a tenant may lawfully be evicted, are limited. (That is, your assertion that a landlord "can legally ask for any rental fees they want" is, for that portion of the rental market, flat-out wrong.)

    So we have a situation where landlords have a strong financial incentive to force tenants out of rent-stabilized units, legally or otherwise, because in between tenants the landlord can raise the rent. (Who cares if you can only raise Techdude Appwriter's rent 1.6% this year when he's already paying $3K for a studio?) As for the market overall, rising prices are pushing long-term residents out of the city, or into truly terrible housing.

    And add to this resentment the rather idiotic and public behavior of some of the tech-wealthy in recent days – calling themselves the "working class" and sneering at the poor, sticking taxpayers with a chunk of the cost of putting on a yacht race – well, it's not difficult to see why people are getting cranky. Calling them "whiners" and offering dumb solutions is not likely to cool anyone's tempers.

  92. albert says:

    @neverjaunty

    I understand how rent control works.

    You have not provided any examples of illegal actions by landlords.

    1.6%/year doesn't seem unreasonable, in fact, it seems low.

    "idiotic and public behavior" ? The "idiotic behavior" seems to be the realm of the window breakers and harassers.

    Now I see where you're coming from, you're one of the 'victims'. Good luck with your protest activities. Your arguments are illogical and will fall on deaf ears. Perhaps I'll read them in court records someday.

    I gotta go…

  93. Jacob H says:

    I understand how rent control works

    Obviously not, or you wouldn't have claimed that landlords can charge whatever they want in rent.

    1.6%/year doesn't seem unreasonable, in fact, it seems low

    No one said it was unreasonable. The potentially immoral behavior referenced was trying to force out a tenant on a pretext so that the rent could be raised 500% in between tenants.

    You have not provided any examples of illegal actions by landlords.

    Why should he? He never alleged any "illegal action," in fact he phrased it as "system-gaming," which is exploiting loopholes in the law, while following the letter of the law.

    "idiotic and public behavior" ? The "idiotic behavior" seems to be the realm of the window breakers and harassers.

    Both sides of a conflict can be idiotic, you know. Those things he was describing do indeed seem to be idiotic (I would actually use the phrase tone-deaf). It's possible to point that out without endorsing window-breaking.

    Now I see where you're coming from, you're one of the 'victims'. Good luck with your protest activities. Your arguments are illogical and will fall on deaf ears. Perhaps I'll read them in court records someday.

    Oh, and now we all see where you are coming from. Instinctive, knee-jerk defense of the rich (they'll be fine without it), to the point where you can't be bothered to do more than skim the posts of the person you are "responding" to. Pure economic Panglossianism. Not to mention the clumsy ad hominem tacked on at the end…

    I gotta go…

    Sign-off catchphrase needs work

  94. Jacob H says:

    There's a time for violent protests, but that time has not yet come. Only when all other avenues are exhausted will that be necessary, but I fear that we will be living in a (totally) fascist state by then, and it will be too late….

    Make up your mind; violence only becomes "necessary" after it is futile?? Then how would it be "necessary"? That makes no sense

  95. Jacob H says:

    It's too early for violence, and after it's too early, it will be too late. Got it.

  96. Dictatortot says:

    Call me naïve, but I'd have thought that in a debate like this, Strategy 101 would involve speaking & making things look as if the Tom Perkinses out there had LESS of a point, not more of one.

  97. Don Kenner (@DonKenner) says:

    I read this piece and all the comments and I still don't see what is so wrong with Tom Perkins' analogy. We demonize the productive, non-parasitical rich every day in this country, often implying that whatever violence falls upon them is richly deserved.

    And the system is not "rigged" for the rich. It is rigged for government (who are often rich), crony capitalists (those who pander to government) and the grasping mob, who want others to pay for their stuff.

    Every productive person who makes a decent income is in the crosshairs.

  98. Jacob H says:

    And the system is not "rigged" for the rich. It is rigged for government (who are often rich), crony capitalists (those who pander to government) and the grasping mob, who want others to pay for their stuff.

    Hear that, working mothers on food stamps? The system is rigged in your favor!

  99. AlphaCentauri says:

    Wealthy corporate stockholders and fund managers want the maximum profit on their investments, and they want it this quarter, by any means necessary, regardless of long term impact on the community or on the corporation itself. So corporations want to be able to pay the lowest wages they can, even if they are too low to sustain a family. They use foreign labor when possible. For service jobs, they expect taxpayers to subsidize their low-wage employees with food stamps and earned income credits.

    Don't blame poorly educated women for not wanting to die childless just because they have little chance of making over $12/hour, no matter how long they stay at a job. And don't blame them for having those children young when the male:female ratio becomes dramatically skewed in adulthood due to the high rate of murder and incarceration of males. Their choices make perfect sense for people whose lives are all sticks and no carrots.

    So yeah, I'm not very sympathetic to rich people who are feeling resentment. There's something called "philanthropy" that people find useful when all their money doesn't make them happy.

  100. Black Betty says:

    If all that speech is pernicious, then what word would you use to define labeling Libertarians and Tea Partiers as racists, extremists and terrorists?

  101. Xennady says:

    "Hear that, working mothers on food stamps? The system is rigged in your favor!"

    It damn well isn't rigged in favor of working mothers not on food stamps who strive to pay their own grocery bills instead of expecting other people to pay them.

    To pay them at gunpoint, because that's just how the government rolls.

    To the great benefit of "working mothers on food stamps."

    Obviously I agree with Don Kenner, mostly.

  102. Xennady says:

    "Don't blame poorly educated women" (snip)

    I will blame them, because I am not a fan of slavery. When some people expect other people to labor to support them then I take them as the rough equivalent of the plantation owners of the antebellum south- and my sympathy disappears.

    Thing is, the rich people set that system up. My take is that the present political class has roughly the same attitude as the political culture of the antebellum south- complete with the same trade policies and contempt for anyone who isn't wealthy- and they feel really good about themselves because they like the gunpoint charity of the welfare state.

    So my sympathy for the rich is lacking, too.

  103. neverjaunty says:

    @Don Kenner, do you believe that "the rich" excludes "crony capitalists", and that the rich do not rely on, rig, or seek to have their stuff paid for by the government? Like Perkins, you appear to follow a secular version of Calvinism, where wealth is a sign of God's favor and membership in the Elect, such that being rich is a marker of virtue and being poor is an indication of low moral character, greed and envy. No wonder the entire thread makes no sense to you; it would be impossible for it to penetrate the shield of your faith in The Market, formerly referred to as God in more spiritual times.

    @Xennady, what an odd false dilemma, where no mothers who receive government food aid (EBT, WIC) have paid employment, and all mothers with paid employment eschew all forms of government subsidy.

  104. AlphaCentauri says:

    @Xennady, you don't seem to have a grasp of how hard people in service jobs are working for how little money. If salaries were driven by market forces and everyone had the same opportunities for education, a career practicing law would pay a lower hourly rate than a career cleaning toilets all night, because fewer people would be willing to do the latter. By tying public education funding to property taxes, the system ensures there will always be a class of people who don't have any other choice and who therefore can be paid less money.

    Those of us in the Baby Boom grew up in large families with mothers who didn't hold paid employment, yet our families had a good standard of living on a single worker's salary. And that worker was less likely to have a college education. It's not unreasonable for a woman today to expect to make enough money to support herself and children, too. But to the effect that women are achieving parity with men in salaries, to a large extent it is because men have lost ground, too.

    The rich aren't supporting social welfare programs because it makes them feel good. They are the ultimate recipients of a lot of that taxpayer-funded largesse. They are being provided wage-subsidized employees at taxpayer expense. And they avoid the unpleasantness of labor riots.

  105. Xennady says:

    AlphaCentauri,

    I completely agree with part of your comment:

    "The rich aren't supporting social welfare programs because it makes them feel good. They are the ultimate recipients of a lot of that taxpayer-funded largesse. They are being provided wage-subsidized employees at taxpayer expense. And they avoid the unpleasantness of labor riots."

    In my view it necessarily follows from this conclusion that the rich will have a warm and wonderful view of the so-called safety net, since it puts so much money in their pocket. Plus, they will do their best- using any means at their disposal- to attack and defame anyone who doesn't share their view, and who is thus threatening their pocketbook. And since the real money in the US is extracted from the middle class by the regime, the rich are essentially using the grasping mob to win elections for them, by promising that mob an endless cornucopia of free stuff, thus guaranteeing rich-friendly policies remain in force.

    Believing that, when I saw that comment attacking Don Kenner for noticing reality, attempting to use obviously loaded emotional terms against him- gosh. I didn't suddenly well up with sympathy for welfare recipients who expect me to pay their grocery bill. I figured I was looking at the result of endless propaganda in favor of policies that benefit the rich as much as the welfare recipient- all against the interests of people who work for a living, often for less money than that received by those saintly mothers on food stamps.

    With all that in mind, I hence disagree with the rest of your comment.

    "@Xennady, you don't seem to have a grasp of how hard people in service jobs are working for how little money."

    Having done that sort of job, I know all about it.

    "If salaries were driven by market forces (snip), a career practicing law would pay a lower hourly rate than a career cleaning toilets all night, because fewer people would be willing to do the latter."

    No offense, but this is wrong. (I partially agree with your view about educational opportunities, but probably not for the reasons you imply). There are vast numbers of people willing to clean toilets- far more than can become lawyers, for a variety of reasons- and there are equally vast numbers willing to do other unskilled tasks, too.

    This has gotten too rambling and long, so I'll cut it short. Again, I'm not a fan of slavery- and not being a slave I owe nothing to welfare mothers- no matter how much they think I owe them.

  106. Xennady says:

    neverjaunty,

    I attempted to comment in such a way as to avoid responses such as yours.

    Obviously I failed to make myself clear.

    Hence, my long response to AlphaCentauri. Please consider it a response to you as well, if you care.

  107. Jacob H says:

    @Xen

    And my point was only this:

    Whether or not you feel that the "grasping mob" deserves to receive public assistance (you obviously don't, and that fine), it's ridiculous to claim that the system is "rigged" in their favor, as Don Kenner did.

    As you put it in your comment, the system is rigged in favor of those who exploit the grasping mob for power, not the mob itself:

    the rich are essentially using the grasping mob to win elections for them, by promising that mob an endless cornucopia of free stuff, thus guaranteeing rich-friendly policies remain in force.

    That's a much different thing, and that was the point of my comment: to say that the system is rigged in favor of some working mom is just wrong.

  108. Rob says:

    @alpha, really?

    " If salaries were driven by market forces and everyone had the same opportunities for education, a career practicing law would pay a lower hourly rate than a career cleaning toilets all night"

    Umm, you are saying that a job that takes 5 minutes of instruction would pay more than one that needs multiple years of college to become proficient if everyone had the same education opportunities.

    Really, so if everyone had the chance to go to law school, cleaning toilets would pay more than lawyer'ing?

    It does not work that way.

  109. AlphaCentauri says:

    IANAL, but I did not consider my years of education some torture I had to endure in order to make more money. I enjoyed school, and I enjoy my career. You would have to pay me a hell of a lot of money to give that up to clean toilets for the rest of my working life.

    all against the interests of people who work for a living, often for less money than that received by those saintly mothers on food stamps.

    You're still missing the point — most food stamp recipients DO work for a living, and they work very hard.

  110. Xennady says:

    @Jacob H

    I should probably just quit while I'm behind on this, but I'd like to take another crack at explaining why I would say the system is rigged in favor of welfare recipients. Feel free to laugh as I clumsily stumble about again.

    Anyway, if you're someone looking for work who is ineligible for welfare benefits or unwilling to accept them, then you're still in the same labor market as the person with their living expenses met by transfer payments.

    If you're happy to make a living from your mailbox- then no problem. You've got it made.

    If you're not- tough. Your wages drop too, because other people are quite happy to work- or at least able to accept working- for far less money than their living expenses, because their living expenses are already met by Uncle Sugar.

    I don't think I'm making a crazy assertion to say that a strong belief of traditional American culture was that accepting government assistance was a sign of failure and something to be avoided.

    So if you have traditional American values, believing the dole is a sign of failure, then you're screwed.

    You have to accept welfare, or starve. Or perhaps live in your parents basement, never have children, etc.

    Hence, I would say the system is in fact biased in favor of welfare recipients, ceteris paribus.

  111. Xennady says:

    "You're still missing the point — most food stamp recipients DO work for a living, and they work very hard."

    No offense, but I have a very strong suspicion that this is bulls**t.

    I live in the US, and I know other people who do, too.

    We talk.

    I've heard quite too many stories about food stamp recipients and I flat out don't accept that they mostly work very hard.

    From what I've heard and seen most don't work at all and they like it that way.

    Feel free to disagree.

  112. AlphaCentauri says:

    "You're still missing the point — most food stamp recipients DO work for a living, and they work very hard."

    No offense, but I have a very strong suspicion that this is bulls**t.

    I live in the US, and I know other people who do, too.

    We talk.

    How many of those people you talk to actually receive food stamps? (Shoot, how many people who have to accept food stamps could tolerate talking to you?) I talk to people, too.

    From what I've heard and seen most don't work at all and they like it that way.

    Feel free to disagree.

    Let me Google that for you.

    Most food stamp recipients are children or elderly. But we'll pretend you're only talking about working-age adults.

    There is a summary of statistics here:
    http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3894

    One might expect that during the recession, the percentage of households with at least one wage earner would decrease, simply because more people are out of work. But in fact, it rose. People were still working, but they were either getting fewer hours or getting hired at new jobs that paid less money.
    http://www.cbpp.org/images/cms/1-29-13fa-f3.jpg

    And regarding people who just want to stay home and collect food stamps because it is easier than working:

    The need for food assistance is already greater than SNAP can fill.

    SNAP benefits don’t last most participants the whole month. 90% of SNAP benefits are redeemed by the third week of the month, and 58% of food bank clients currently receiving SNAP benefits turn to food banks for assistance at least 6 months out of the year.
    The average monthly SNAP benefit per person is $133.85, or less than $1.50 per person, per meal.
    Only 57% of food insecure individuals are income-eligible for SNAP, and 26% are not income-eligible for any federal food assistance…

    … SNAP already has strict time-limits for unemployed workers. Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) may only receive 3 months of SNAP benefits during any 3 year period, unless they are working in a qualifying job training program.
    The SNAP benefit formula is structured to provide a strong work incentive – for every additional dollar a SNAP participant earns, their benefits decline by about 24 to 36 cents, not a full dollar, so participants have a strong incentive to find work, work longer hours, or seek better-paying employment…

    …Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for SNAP. Additionally, there is already a strict waiting period for documented immigrants. Documented adult immigrants (those with a greencard) are subject to a five-year waiting period before they are eligible for SNAP.
    Noncitizens make up a very small portion of SNAP participants – only 4% of participants are noncitizens (documented immigrants or refugees).

    From http://feedingamerica.org/how-we-fight-hunger/programs-and-services/public-assistance-programs/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/snap-myths-realities.aspx

  113. babaganusz says:

    AlphaC, kudos for sticking to what little substance can be gleaned from X's expressly declining to quit while behind, and not engaging over the threadbare Slavery-Analog(TM) talking point.

  114. Jacob H says:

    @Xen,
    Let me tell you a story:

    Once upon a time, there was a small city that discovered an unusually high concentration of meteorites in the hills around town. Now, meteorites are extremely valuable, due to their rarity, and the land they were on was communally owned by every town resident, so naturally the town rejoiced! They decided to elect some people to oversee the recovery of these meteorites. The citizens of this town agreed to let the overseers of the meteorites use the money to re-invest in the town; roads, bridges, and the like.

    Some town residents objected to this, especially the poorer residents. "We'd prefer to just have the cash, thank you very much," they said. Eventually, they were convinced to agree, but only after the town assured them that if they ever got into really dire straits, financially, the town would relent and give them some of the dividends from the meteorite mine. The poorer citizens of Mtown grudgingly agreed, and all was well.

    After a few generations, however, cracks began to appear. Citizens started noticing that the overseers of the mine weren't bringing in as much money as they should have been. They were selling the meteorites for not very much money, to people who were friends of friends of cousins of theirs. They were also selling them the rights to come out and collect the meteorites themselves. "This just makes economic sense," they said, "because think of all the economic activity these guys are generating, coming into town and mining out all our resources! Most of them take all the coins they get back in change at the coffee shop, and put them directly into the tip jar!". Oddly, most of the overseers got really good jobs with these guys after they retired, which they seemed to do at a pretty early age.

    Simultaneously, the poorer residents of Mtown were noticing that they were being given a pretty hard time when they tried to avail themselves of the deal they had made. They would fall on harder times than usual, and go to the town to get their mine dividend. But instead of graciously being given their own money, they were ridiculed for being so lazy! They were drug tested, they were interrogated about how diligently they were looking for work. They were degraded for not taking a job far below their qualification. They were told "We're using the mine revenue for public works! You benefit from those public works! Why, just last year we built two brand new opera houses! Don't come around here looking for a handout!"

    Well, naturally this didn't sit so well with the town residents, especially the poor ones. (And for some reason, there seemed to be more poor than ever. The ones who weren't poor thought that was because laziness was on the rise, and that a lot of poor people was a good thing anyway, because then more people would have something to aspire to). So anyway, more and more residents started pushing for the town to just divvy the money up equally between everyone – after all, they all owned it equally. The people who liked building new opera houses objected to this, of course – they cried "How lazy are you people! Now you want a guaranteed income!? For doing nothing??"

    "We own those resources, too! Just give us our portion, and we'll be on our way," they said. The Deus ex Machina descended upon the town leaders, and they agreed.

    They took all the revenue from their natural resources, and all the revenue from the leases they had sold. They took all the revenue from their sale of the public bandwidth, and the sale of fishing rights, and so on, and they dispersed it equally. They were able to do away with the complicated and stigmatizing "welfare" programs that were widely hated (although for different reasons).

    On the whole, everyone was a lot happier. There was no disincentive to work – nobody lost their dividend if they got a job or a raise. People demanded the resources and leases be sold for a higher price, and this actually reduced consumption a bit, cooling the town. A few complained that people were getting "something for nothing," but most accepted that people were just earning interest on their inheritance, an inheritance owned by every citizen and stored in the ground in the form of resources.

    A few even pointed out that this is not all that original, that Alaska employs a similar system – just for oil, not other resources.

    Support a natural resources dividend! It's your money, use it when you need it! You now have the "J.G. Wentworth" jingle stuck in your head!

  115. Xennady says:

    Jacob H,

    Pardon me but I don't think the United States is Iraq.

    That is, the country doesn't simply pump wealth out of the ground, after not much effort, to be sold to foreigners at a vast profit.

    The present regime is spending vastly more than it collects in taxes- which you appear to believe is only a small portion of what should be disbursed to the citizenry.

    Sure. But math disagrees. And I just have to note that welfare recipients aren't drug tested anywhere so far as I know- and I do know that efforts to drug test them in various jurisdictions have been nixed by various courts.

    So no, I don't agree that the vast swarms of welfare recipients are simply demanding what they are owed, somehow.

  116. Xennady says:

    babaganusz,

    I've seen several comments of yours which were too incoherent to be comprehensible for anyone outside of your head to understand.

    So I'd like to congratulate you for finally making a comment that made enough sense for me to respond. Pat yourself on the back.

    Anyway. I've never seen anyone else describe the present American system of governance as quasi-slavery. Perhaps I just don't spend enough time at freerepublic. But when I am forced at gunpoint to pay the grocery bills- and rent, and medical expenses, and tuition of people not myself- gosh. Slavery-Analog (TM) comes to mind.

    Yeah, call me crazy. But- yet again- when I am forced at gunpoint by the regime to labor to support other people- yeah, slavery, I'm thinking of it.

    I recall the description Abraham Lincoln used to describe this- roughly, and I'm not going to bother with google to find the exact reference- slavery was I work, and you eat.

    That's modern American life- millions of Americans labor, so that others can eat.

    I object- just like Abraham Lincoln did, long ago.

  117. Xennady says:

    AlphaCentauri,

    I apologize for not responding before now, but I was out of town. And I appreciate and respect that you took time to find those links.

    But- you knew that was coming, right?- I remain rather unmoved.

    I know that a lot of the increase in food stamp and other welfare program usage is simply because the recent economic collapse.

    But.

    1) Your links are from groups working to put a happy face on welfare dependency. I think that a bad thing. Propaganda, I do not trust it.

    2) I've seen or been told of too many examples of welfare fraud to believe in the idea that people taking government money are just saintly folks down on their luck. Many anecdotes redacted.

    3) It's still a bad thing, because math. The country simply can't support a hundred million recipients of governments transfer payments.

    It just can't.

    Alas.

  118. babaganusz says:

    one man's propaganda is another man's coleslaw, sunshine.

  119. Xennady says:

    Babaganusz,

    Back to incoherence.

    Good luck with that.

  120. wolfefan says:

    Hello Xennady –

    Lots of states do drug testing – I suspect you're just not talking to enough people! :) Here's a link:

    http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/drug-testing-and public-assistance.aspx

    Best…

  121. AlphaCentauri says:

    You are free to try to convince voters that it's in their best interest to vote against social safety net programs because you believe you could pay less in taxes without those programs than you would have to pay in increased cost of goods and services due to the need to pay more for labor to provide living wages. If lots of the stuff you buy is imported or made by undocumented immigrants, and if your parents don't require nursing home care, and the people who come to your local hospital are all adequately insured, that may well be true.

    Of course, since the federal government won't be telling businesses to raise their wages, the only way wages would rise to subsistence levels would be for enough people to starve to death to reduce the pool of job applicants enough to induce businesses to pay higher wages.

    You seem to assume that the poor will sit by quietly and watch their children starve without doing anything that will require tax dollars to control the rioting. And even if they can't afford the guns they have a right to own, you're assuming the police and the military will come to your side to protect you and your assets from rioters — even though those personnel aren't particularly highly paid themselves, and even though those with large families/ill parents would also be losing their support:
    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/07/13/dod-5000-military-families-losing-food-stamps.html

    My family is in the US because the government of England decided that the starving people in Ireland should rely on private charities for food, and those charities often required Catholics to convert to a protestant faith to receive food. When that influx of Irish Catholics immigrants in the US began voting, they felt that government should serve the people, that if its people are starving, that becomes the government's business, and that it is not adequate to rely on charities that pick and choose the people they feel are deserving. (And being Catholics, they didn't use birth control, and now their descendants are a large voting bloc, because math.)

    If you have a better way to ensure that no one who is working will starve, and that people who are unable to work will not starve, no one is defending the current system as perfect. But if you haven't the imagination to see the predictable consequences of simply eliminating those programs, no one is going to take you seriously.

  122. Xennady says:

    http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/drug-testing-and-public-assistance.aspx

    @wolfefan,

    Thanks, and I hope you don't think my screedy rant that follows is aimed at you. But my brief perusal of that link tells me that many states have passed laws to drug test welfare recipients, but none has succeeded in actually enforcing them because they are blocked by the courts.

    "On December 31, 2013, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven permanently halted enforcement of Florida's 2011 drug testing law saying it violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches."

    I love it. So apparently there's no constitutional protection against the government recording every phone call made and every text message sent in the United States- but attempt to drug test welfare recipients and OMG suddenly then the Constitution happens. Anyway, I figure that's what will happen to any state law that would actually lead to any actual drug testing of any actual welfare recipient. The law will get thrown out by the courts.

    And then there's Missouri.

    "Missouri passed HB 73 requiring the department to require a urine drug test for all applicants and recipients of TANF for whom they have reasonable cause to believe based on screening that they are engaged in illegal use."

    Oh. So if the welfare case worker wants to get the welfare recipient tested then I suppose it might actually happen. Sure.

    But this seems like a law that is written to be open for abuse- like those drug war asset confiscation laws. I can see it now- the hot milf welfare mama gets told to either get busy with her welfare case worker- or she'll get drug tested and thrown out onto the street.

    It seems to me this is actually worse than no drug testing at all. In my view once upon a time the law was like a wall. It was rather clear what was legal and what wasn't, and people pretty much knew where they stood. Now, the law is like a funhouse maze, complete with locked doors that open for a special few, different entrances and exits depending on who you are, etc. And if you know the guy at the ticket stand he'll give you a map telling you how to avoid getting trapped- but if he doesn't like you watch out. He can really screw you over if you're not careful.

    In this instance the petty bureaucrats of the welfare office have been handed enormous power over the welfare recipients- power they would not have if every welfare recipient was simply drug tested as a matter of course. Either they'd be drug free and one side of that wall. Or not, and they'd be on the other. But no since the law is a maze better hope you don't annoy that guy at the ticket stand. He can get you thrown out on the street if you piss him off. Or her, etc.

    End result, I bet essentially no drug testing will happen as a result of this law. And I suspect this sort of toothless but bureaucrat-empowering statute is what will eventually be put in place in every state that is about to have their meaningful drug testing requirements blocked by the courts.

    And when the public complains about being forced at gunpoint to labor so that welfare recipients can get stoned we'll all be told about the steely laws that requires drug testing for welfare recipients that are already on the books.

    This will fool no one, since people tend to believe their lying eyes before they'll believe lying government officials.

    Damn, I'm cynical.

  123. Jacob H says:

    They really did drug test all welfare recipients in Florida! Here, let's take another look at the quote you provided:

    "On December 31, 2013, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven permanently halted enforcement of Florida's 2011 drug testing law saying it violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches

    Sooo…for part of 2011, and all of 2012 & 2013, that law was in effect, and all recipients of assistance were drug tested. So despite your claim that none of these laws were enforced, that's simply not true!

    Interesting detail – the results of those drug tests that they were able to do for those 2-odd years? Lower drug use than the general population. Of course, that's not really surprising, because drugs cost money, and by definition welfare recipients have little money to spare.

    The icing on the cake? The state paid for the negative drug tests, adding massively to the cost of these welfare programs in FL. And by the state of FL, I of course mean the taxpayers of FL. So how would that be a financially responsible policy again?

  124. Jacob H says:

    BTW, lets not pretend that one adverse court ruling is going to put laws like this to bed forever. ALEC (a lobbying group that writes model legislation and promotes it) is already on a road show to lots of other states pushing a FL-style drug testing law. That's probably the source of that MO one, too.

    Maybe they get eventually struck down if passed, but that's by no means assured or immediate!

  125. AlphaCentauri says:

    The icing on the cake? The state paid for the negative drug tests, adding massively to the cost of these welfare programs in FL. And by the state of FL, I of course mean the taxpayers of FL. So how would that be a financially responsible policy again?

    In the world of "I talk to people and they've told me about MILF welfare mamas defrauding the system," it doesn't matter how small the percentage of positives are. They just need one case to use in their anecdotes to reassure one another that if they just follow certain rules, their homes will never burn, their towns will never be hit by tornadoes, their jobs will never be terminated, their children will never develop catastrophic illness, their parents will never require 24 hour care, and they will never have to worry about needing government assistance themselves. Because math.

  126. Xennady says:

    AlphaCentauri,

    You're making a swarm of assumptions about what I believe and what I wish to do. I suppose your assumptions simply follow from what I've written and I must own up- but you're taking what I've said much too far.

    For example, I do not advocate abolishing the "safety net." I simply do not accept the warm and wonderful praises bestowed upon "working mothers on food stamps."

    I am intensely tired of being told what to think, because sympathy.

    Anyway, I'm running out of time to comment today so I'm just going to cut-n-paste, to make it slightly quicker.

    "You are free to try to convince voters that it's in their best interest to vote against social safety net programs because you believe you could pay less in taxes without those programs than you would have to pay in increased cost of goods and services due to the need to pay more for labor to provide living wages. If lots of the stuff you buy is imported or made by undocumented immigrants, and if your parents don't require nursing home care, and the people who come to your local hospital are all adequately insured, that may well be true."

    It doesn't matter if (and when) voters vote against the welfare state because the political class just hearts them welfare baby mamas and their swarmy votes in favor of the political class and its preferred policies. Note my comment above, about drug testing. The Constitution only matters when it can be used to block policies preferred by the public but opposed by the political class. And I'd much rather pay higher costs for goods and services, etc, then have those extra costs extracted from me via taxation anyway. Know why? Consent. I can choose when and whether I want to voluntarily consume a good or service but taxes are taxes. Again, and I think I've already mentioned this, but when I am forced at gunpoint by the regime to work to support others I consider that rather too close to slavery for my taste.

    "Of course, since the federal government won't be telling businesses to raise their wages, the only way wages would rise to subsistence levels would be for enough people to starve to death to reduce the pool of job applicants enough to induce businesses to pay higher wages."

    Or perhaps the regime could notice that there are seven billion people on this planet, run by governments that are looking to make their nations richer and more powerful, and do the same here. That is, instead of believing that the US is the global hegemon, responsible for masking the world prosperous, requiring that regime to throw the American people under the globalist bus. I'd love to ramble on about this topic for a few thousand more words, but I'm running out of time.

    "You seem to assume that the poor will sit by quietly and watch their children starve without doing anything that will require tax dollars to control the rioting. "

    So, in other words I'd better pay up, or those saintly welfare mothers are going to come after me. Sympathy, I'm not feeling it. What you're describing isn't a safety net. It's an extortion racket.

    "And even if they can't afford the guns they have a right to own, you're assuming the police and the military will come to your side to protect you and your assets from rioters — even though those personnel aren't particularly highly paid themselves, and even though those with large families/ill parents would also be losing their support:"

    So you believe the police and army are going to join a swarm of welfare recipients rioting because- why, exactly? Is it because the Revolution will finally be at hand? You know- the one where the workers finally unite to overthrow their capitalist oppressors?

    Is that it? Because it sure seems like that's what you're getting at. And in that case I sort of wonder if people who join the military for hard, dangerous work for low pay have as much sympathy as you do for the welfare extortion racket you describe. I suspect not.

    "My family is in the US because the government of England decided that the starving people in Ireland should rely on private charities for food, and those charities often required Catholics to convert to a protestant faith to receive food. When that influx of Irish Catholics immigrants in the US began voting, they felt that government should serve the people, that if its people are starving, that becomes the government's business, and that it is not adequate to rely on charities that pick and choose the people they feel are deserving. (And being Catholics, they didn't use birth control, and now their descendants are a large voting bloc, because math.) "

    You are aware that when mass Irish immigration took place during the Famine there was essentially no welfare state "safety net" of any kind, right?

    "If you have a better way to ensure that no one who is working will starve, and that people who are unable to work will not starve, no one is defending the current system as perfect. But if you haven't the imagination to see the predictable consequences of simply eliminating those programs, no one is going to take you seriously."

    Again, I don't advocate eliminating these programs, for reasons you've noted. But also again, the country can't go on with a hundred million people living off the welfare state. Eventually, math is going to win.

    Sympathy won't matter.

  127. Xennady says:

    AlphaCentauri,

    I'm out of time for this- but you read my mention of the milf welfare mother and you took my usage of that as an attack on her??

    I find this a stunning lack of reading comprehension on your part- but I have to go.

  128. AlphaCentauri says:

    My reading comprehension is fine. Do you think "hot MILF welfare mama" is a compliment? Should a woman who has had children feel gratitude that you meet her standards of fuckability? Do you understand that using the term "MILF" (other than as a joking compliment to a close friend) is dehumanizing at best, and rape-y at worst?

    You aren't getting the basic idea that we are talking about human beings, individuals who cannot be lumped into a group and condemned because other people are committing fraud or taking drugs.

  129. babaganusz says:

    But if you haven't the imagination to see the predictable consequences of simply eliminating those programs, no one is going to take you seriously.

    the lack of imagination was already excruciatingly apparent, but I suspect he's (a) blithely smug about 'the other side' not taking him seriously and (b) comforted that there's still a big handful of folks out there willing to entertain, and put dollars/votes behind, the same notions (whether or not they take him seriously).

  130. Xennady says:

    Jacob H,

    Thanks for that link about blockquote tags.

    Sooo…for part of 2011, and all of 2012 & 2013, that law was in effect, and all recipients of assistance were drug tested. So despite your claim that none of these laws were enforced, that's simply not true!

    Interesting detail – the results of those drug tests that they were able to do for those 2-odd years? Lower drug use than the general population. Of course, that's not really surprising, because drugs cost money, and by definition welfare recipients have little money to spare.

    The icing on the cake? The state paid for the negative drug tests, adding massively to the cost of these welfare programs in FL. And by the state of FL, I of course mean the taxpayers of FL. So how would that be a financially responsible policy again?

    Wonderful! So for two-odd years Florida was able to drug test welfare recipients.

    I stand corrected, except for the rest of my long comment about the matter. Of course plenty of that was simply my opinion, so there's that.

    But I'm a bit curious. Since the general population isn't drug tested just how do you know welfare recipient drug use was lower than that of the general population?

    Plus, it just seems odd to me that people who for all practical purposes desire and advocate for endless and bottomless welfare programs to suddenly object to drug testing because of the money spent.

    And no, I don't believe that drug testing adds massively to the cost of welfare programs. Approximately three seconds of searching on Amazon using the search term "drug test" yields 28,296 results including one that will test for ten different drugs at the stunning cost of $3.40.

    However- and yes, I understand that you will disagree- I simply think it a matter of principle that people receiving taxpayer money to meet their living expenses should expect to have to follow a few rules that people who aren't living off taxpayer money don't. So I'd be in favor drug testing welfare recipients even if was much more expensive.

  131. Xennady says:

    My reading comprehension is fine. Do you think "hot MILF welfare mama" is a compliment? Should a woman who has had children feel gratitude that you meet her standards of fuckability? Do you understand that using the term "MILF" (other than as a joking compliment to a close friend) is dehumanizing at best, and rape-y at worst?

    You aren't getting the basic idea that we are talking about human beings, individuals who cannot be lumped into a group and condemned because other people are committing fraud or taking drugs.

    I love how you zoomed in on that tiny part of a long comment, not noticing the context, to accuse me of being all rape-y.

    So 1) either you display a stunning lack of reading comprehension 2) or you are being deliberately obtuse, because you don't really have any good response to what I wrote, but want me to feel like I must defend myself because I used the term "milf" to refer to a totally hypothetical potential victim of abuse made possible by a law I said I opposed.

    Look, a shiny thing- no, I'm not falling for it.

    Plus, it's ironic that you condemn me for supposedly not noticing that welfare recipients are people too, and can't be lumped together, etc- when my original reason for commenting was because I was irritated by this lumping of welfare recipients into a group:

    "Hear that, working mothers on food stamps? The system is rigged in your favor!"

    If you can't lump welfare recipients in with drug abusers- which I think is a ridiculous way to describe drug testing, considering that enormous numbers of people work at jobs that also require them to be subject to drug testing- then it seems to me you also can't lump them in with those saintly working mothers on foodstamps, either.

    But I've prattled on about all that, already.

  132. Xennady says:

    the lack of imagination was already excruciatingly apparent, but I suspect he's (a) blithely smug about 'the other side' not taking him seriously and (b) comforted that there's still a big handful of folks out there willing to entertain, and put dollars/votes behind, the same notions (whether or not they take him seriously).

    Yay! I'm sooo proud of you!!

    You've now managed to make two- that is, 2- comments attempting to attack me that are comprehensible enough for me to understand something of the point I assume you are trying to make.

    Yay!!

    I suppose I could complain that you don't appear to have read what I wrote or else you would have noticed that I'd responded to what AlphaCentauri had said, roughly ten- that is, 10- hours before your comment with this:

    Again, I don't advocate eliminating these programs, for reasons you've noted. But also again, the country can't go on with a hundred million people living off the welfare state. Eventually, math is going to win.

    Or I could note that you don't seem to have noticed basic items of English grammar- such as how the first word in a sentence should be capitalized- but I know I make similar idiotic mistakes, too.

    But no, I won't. Instead, I'll say that a) I don't care what "the other side" thinks, because I spend time commenting upon the internet because it amuses me, not to make "the other side" take me seriously b) and I'm not comforted by anything I see on the internet, because the side you presume I belong to seems to me to be about as dumbassedly deluded as you are.

    But in their defense at least they can be coherent on a regular basis.

    You?

    Keep working on it.

    I know you can do it!!

  133. Jacob H says:

    But I'm a bit curious. Since the general population isn't drug tested just how do you know welfare recipient drug use was lower than that of the general population?

    The drug use levels of different drugs is a known quantity, state to state, country to country. They estimate this (very accurately) by looking at arrest numbers, anonymous surveys, seized shipments, and so on. If you are really interested, I'm sure you could find precise answers if you looked about everything they look at to calculate drug use levels, but suffice to say, they do it quite accurately and as a matter of course. It's probably somewhat similar to how they calculate TV ratings, but I'm not a demographer so what do I know.

    And no, I don't believe that drug testing adds massively to the cost of welfare programs. Approximately three seconds of searching on Amazon using the search term "drug test" yields 28,296 results including one that will test for ten different drugs at the stunning cost of $3.40.

    Ah, if only government worked that way. You don't have to believe it, but it did, in fact, cost FL a ton of money to do these tests. Google it and see for yourself.

  134. wolfefan says:

    Hello Xennady –

    Here's a link to a salon article about the costs of some of these programs. The article certainly has a point of view that you may disregard but the information itself seems germane and has links to a variety of sources.

    link

  135. Xennady says:

    wolfefan,

    I was going to give Jacob H. the last word, because I've said my piece, and I figured he may well have been right about the cost, etc.

    But that Salon article you linked- well. From it:

    During the past year, the state of Utah has spent over $30,000 giving drug tests to welfare recipients.

    $30,000? $30,000?? That's the vast expense of drug testing?? Again, I'm puzzled why people who demand an endless and bottomless welfare state object so strenuously to a rounding error in the total cost of these programs.

    Florida is especially important because Gov. Rick Scott owned a $62 million stake in Soltanic Corp., a chain of urgent care centers that, among other things, specializes in confidential drug testing.

    But wait:

    Scott’s company didn’t bid on the contract to conduct the state tests.

    Then why mention him at all???

    The answer can be found in the social stigma against poverty and the political capital that can be gained by exploiting it.

    No, there is no stigma against poverty. There is stigma against making your living from a mailbox at the expense of others.

    It’s true, people on welfare use drugs. But so do people from every socioeconomic level. People on welfare also receive taxpayer money. But so do people from every socioeconomic level. If the goal is to stop people from potentially using taxpayer money to purchase illegal substances then we should apply these programs to every person receiving government funds.

    It appears the author doesn't see a difference between money obtained by working at a job and money obtained by receiving welfare benefits that appear in your mailbox without any effort required from you at all. Noted.

    It means testing veterans, police officers and firefighters.

    I'm not sure why the author wants to drug test veterans, unless he believes veterans still get a paycheck after leaving military service. But my understanding is that police officers and firefighters are subject to drug testing, as are serving members of the military. As are vast numbers of people working at a myriad of other jobs in the United States.

    This is because none of these other groups have the stigma of poverty attached to them

    That's because they can buy their own reefer, with the money they earn, from working at their jobs.

    As a result, legislators heap unfair, ineffective policies on those in poverty simply to court public favor by playing to their prejudices.

    Unfair. Hmmm. So per Salon it's fair that many millions of workers are subject to random drug testing but welfare recipients are not. And when legislators act to change that they're simply acting on the prejudices of the public. Odd definition of fairness, I'd say.

    The welfare queen, cashing government checks, smoking drugs and living the life of luxury, continues to be a useful myth when it comes to winning votes.

    Useful myth, my anus. Many anecdotes redacted. Interesting that this Salon writer makes broad assertions about the vile nature of the portion of the American public who are not receiving welfare benefits- but assumes welfare recipients are saintly folks deserving of every benefit of the doubt.

    And as more of these policies, whose support is borne by an unfounded disdain for the poor, are enacted, the humanity of those living in poverty is further eroded as the chasm between the haves and the have-nots grows even wider.

    Oh, the humanity!! 1) Any disdain isn't aimed at "the poor." It's aimed at the portion of "the poor" who score welfare benefits- often taxed away from people who take home less than that received by those saintly welfare recipients, which those saintly welfare recipients get by just having a mailbox. 2) The humanity of those living in poverty- wait. Often welfare recipients- more anecdotes redacted- live in nice houses with their rent paid by the state, while the working poor live in crappy apartments they can barely afford- personal anecdote redacted. Sort of. 3) Ironically when I first clicked on the Salon link I got served up an ad for Cadillac. Yeah, the chasm. Salon's on it, baby, in a Cadillac. Because Salon readers care, and have compassion, and stuff.

    The people who qualify for TANF — or any form of government assistance — shouldn’t be expected to sacrifice their rights because of their level of need.

    Hey, just pretend they have a job and need to do what many millions of Americans have to do for that job- pee in a cup. Then you will understand, Salon.

    If Michigan’s proposal is signed into law, let’s just hope it can be applied evenly to all those leeching off of taxpayers’ hard-earned money — and that Gov. Rick Snyder will be the first in line to take a test.

    Wait- who's leeching off taxpayers' hard earned money? Are welfare recipients now leeches?! Or is it just those loathsome wage-slaves who have to do various menial tasks in exchange for money the leeches?

    Wolfefan, thanks for reminding me why I normally don't waste my time reading Salon.

  136. Ahkbar says:

    It appears the author doesn't see a difference between money obtained by working at a job and money obtained by receiving welfare benefits that appear in your mailbox without any effort required from you at all. Noted.

    Just my assumption, but my thought is that the author is referring to things such as tax credits (mortgage interest, child tax credit, health care deduction, student aid, etc). One might even argue SS and Medicare/Medicaid could be considered as well.

    I would have to search for the specific data, but if I recall correctly there was a report that indicated that the bulk of what is considered entitlement spending is delivered to the middle class.

  137. Xennady says:

    Just my assumption, but my thought is that the author is referring to things such as tax credits (mortgage interest, child tax credit, health care deduction, student aid, etc). One might even argue SS and Medicare/Medicaid could be considered as well.

    Oh, I'm sure he was. I take this as an attempt to claim that everybody takes money from Uncle Sugar, so therefore people who complain about welfare recipients are merely voicing an unjust prejudice.

    Thing is, if you have a mortgage interest deduction, etc, you are getting a reduction in the amount of taxes you've paid, not free money.

    I would have to search for the specific data, but if I recall correctly there was a report that indicated that the bulk of what is considered entitlement spending is delivered to the middle class.

    Yes, those middle class leeches. How dare they look askance at saintly working mothers on foodstamps!!

    I've read the same sort of reports. I suppose if you count a mortgage interest deductions and that sort of thing as entitlement spending then certainly the majority of welfare spending goes to middle class.

    Social security and medicare-sure. But these programs weren't sold as welfare, and everyone with a job pays taxes to be eligible for them.

    Have to go.