Sharing the Wealth (or not)

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by ScottXeno, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. ScottXeno

    ScottXeno It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 10, 2008
    I live in a city that is rampant with homelessness, and today on the train, as I was going home from work, an interesting situation presented itself.

    There is this young man, who is maybe around my age, 25-28, who is clearly homeless. He is on the train just about every day, begging for change, and today something interesting happened as he walked from row to row begging for change. Most people said no, one or two said yes, and as he was getting ready to get off the train so he could get on the next one and repeat the process, another homeless man also on the train shook his head in disdain and said "Can't even spare a quarter can they?"

    The kid said "I know. The other day a man said he was a millionaire, but he couldn't even give me a quarter." The other man said "What a world, no one can share the wealth."

    I sat there and considered the situation. Now, that millionaire did not wake up one day with a million dollars. Odds are, unless he inherited it, he worked really hard for that money. Most of us do work hard for the money we make, I know I don't ever come home feeling anything less than exhausted when I get off work, so I bust my ass every single day for that paycheck. This kid was young, generally healthy, and could probably get a job at McDonald's or something easily enough. So should people feel obligated to support these people who do not work? I know some of the homeless guys that stand on the corners are old vets (this is the States, btw), from the Vietnam Era, and these guys are so fucked in the head that they probably couldn't do anything else even if they wanted to, though there are programs to help them. The ones I am really talking about are the ones like this kid, the ones who just seem to not want to work, just want others to support them.

    Personally, I don't know all of their situations, but there are a lot of resources out there for these guys, but a lot of them come off as though they just don't care, don't want to work, and have given up on themselves. I don't know if I want to support that, because the more people just give in and give them change or money or whatever, the more we say that that sort of thing is okay.

    Anyway, it was just interesting, and I was curious about what other people thought/felt about that issue.
  2. fedaykin

    fedaykin Vault Fossil

    Jul 15, 2007
    Are you sure you mean that? Because you seem to be taking as a premise that these people really are mostly slackers, yet you just said that you don't know all of their situations.
  3. ScottXeno

    ScottXeno It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 10, 2008
    Yes, I know exactly what I said. I said that I do not want to support homelessness, no matter what their situation is. There are programs that offer aide, I nearly needed help from one of them myself, so I know they exist in this city. There are missions where they can get cleaned up, fresh clothes, and help with finding a job, there are programs that will help them find housing, ect. And they all know where they are. Some of them do choose to accept help from these places, but many more simply do not.
  4. Infernaeus

    Infernaeus First time out of the vault

    Nov 23, 2008
    They don't want to work or steal for their money? Then just starve the mother fuckers. Soon they'll all be dead and we'll solve the homeless problem.

    I once asked a libertarian man his thoughts on poverty and he pretty much just said that.
  5. Bal-Sagoth

    Bal-Sagoth Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Nov 1, 2008
    Provided they can pass the physical test and get a pre set ASVAB score I say throw them in the army but limit them to only a select few jobs. You could even go so far as to waive High school drop outs through but I also must stress they should be limited to a VERY low choice of MOS.

    To make a long story short: Make the homeless fight our wars.

    It would be a decent living and get some of them on their feet. If they are mentally and physically capable to join the military but they choose not to I say fuck em and let them freeze.

    Obviously this does not apply to the ones who are not able bodied/to old/bat shit insane but my post is not in regard to them.

    edit: On an unrelated side note when I do give money to charity it almost always is an organization that is for vets/homeless vets. So I am not completely unsympathetic to the issue.

    second edit: However if drugs,crime,drunken stupidity, etc is to blame I honestly cannot feel any remorse for them and could care less.
  6. M-26-7

    M-26-7 Still Mildly Glowing

    Jul 20, 2008
    Kick the shit out of the homeless; they are looters and destroy good men like Hank Rearden. But the real crooks are the liberals in Washington who won't strike down income tax.
  7. CloudlessDruid

    CloudlessDruid Not a Soviet Droid Orderite

    Oct 11, 2008
    Here where I live, Brazil, there was a poll, and looks like 60% of the homeless people are in this condition by their own choice. Lets make clear that homeless people are not equal to bandits, criminals and burglars, who usually aren't doing this because they want to, but because their social condition and all these things. (This, here in Brazil. Of course, most of the criminals here are people from slangs who have no chance to get decent jobs and a productive life outside the "crime world" ). For me, it look like most part of these homeless people are people who just gave up of life. Probably, most of them are ex- fathers, ex-husbands, ex-sons, who probably began to have problems with alcohol, drugs, with theirs families, with theirs jobs, I dunno. The only thing I know is that life, here in Brazil, there in US, in North Korea, anywhere, sometimes can be pretty rough, so some people with less "inner power" (?) aren't able to live the reality, and they prefer to just waste their lifes doing nothing, just living (if you really can call that of life) outside the society. They live in our cities, they sleep in our streets, they eat the food that we produce, but they don't make part of it.

    So I think it is really hard to judge these people, because, how you said, we don't know what happened in their lifes, why they just gave up.
    BUT, how this is their choice to live this life, so it is OUR choice to don't give money to them. I don't see why we should feel guilty to don't give them money, after all, we live in a democracy, it is my choice to help homeless persons, or not.

    Hell, whatever, hope you understood what I tried to say after all. It is hard to say your opinions in some language that is not your birth language.
  8. ceacar99

    ceacar99 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 11, 2008
    one thing that few people actually understand in the difference between capitalism and socialism is the distinct issue of who is supposed to help the poor, the homeless and those who are unable to meet their basic needs.

    a long time ago the richest man in the nation wrote a book called "the gospel of wealth", his name was andrew carnage. he worked his way up from nothingness to owning the largest personal fortune of his time. the thing that set him apart from all the other business leaders of the time was not the scale of his fortune, but the scale of how much he gave.

    andrew carnage shed 90% of his fortune by the time he died. he didnt spend that money on himself, but rather he invested in the future of his nation and that action at least in my opinion is why our nation really bloomed into a superpower. he funded countless programs however his most famous acts were things such as making the modern public library possible in every corner of the nation and the founding of numerous places of culture such as the famous carnage hall.

    you see, i am of the opinion that we shouldnt have to rely on the damned stupid government to help with its bureaucracy, impracticality and the fact that it will take the excessive cost out of a lot more pockets that might not be in a good position to support such a project. i'm of the classical school of capitalism that believes that the business leaders need to take responsibility and behave with stewardship towards the environment around them and that includes the people.

    basically i say yes we should help them. YES they are mostly homeless by their own choice, however its stupid to say "well they are dead broke because of their own actions" when you dont even realize what drove them to that state. some got hooked on drugs(which is why i support the death penalty to all people who sell drugs illegally), there were those who tried at something and collapsed so much in terms of business or work that they wound up on the streets and there are those whom a massive shock to the mind drove them to that state and of course just a few plain ol bums. you have NO idea wht happened in their life so its not your place to judge them. if your doing well for yourself be a decent human being and give em a couple quarters when they come by. after all...

    human beings have hard enough life without other human beings making things more difficult for each other
  9. ScottXeno

    ScottXeno It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 10, 2008
    Let me reiterate my position. I am not against helping the homeless. First of all, most of those missions or groups that are out there to help them are not government or government funded groups, they are groups started up by men and women with the expressed desire to help them, and I am all for that, and more than willing to donate food, clothing, and money to that sort of thing.

    What I am talking about is giving them money on the street, so they can continue to live that way. It, as a society, says, "Hey, it's perfectly fine to mooch off another persons hard earned living, we'll take care of you, do nothing all day except sit in a park with a cup and stare at people as they walk by, hoping they will give you some money." I'm not talking about making it more difficult for them either, or even being cruel. What I am talking about is not continuing the cycle. He wants people to give up what they have so he can continue to live on the street day in and day out, doing nothing except begging other people for change, and then probably shooting up or getting wasted. Yeah, life is hard. Yeah, life aint fair. That was something my father taught me at an early age, and we came from a poverty stricken home, so I am not some well off person shooting off at the mouth about this. I grew up so poor that my mother once pulled a pair of pants out of the dumpster that had gotten a tear in them and been thrown out. She sewed it up and said they'd work fine. But you know what, we could have just as easily been on the street, but we never were. My father worked his ass off to keep food on the table and a roof over our head, these people just want to be lazy all day and have someone else provide them a shelter to live in, someone else pay for their clothing, for their food, for whatever. If they want help, it's not going to be me handing them fifty cents in change.
  10. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    Sharing the wealth or redistributing wealth? Are you asking if whether we as a society should redistribute?

    The truth is that all governments redistribute wealth or opportunities to accumulate wealth. Where you have significant imbalances in wealth, you create an imbalance for people to have opportunities.

    A couple years back I was teaching a course on business communications. The students there made an argument for Rolls Royce that they should invest in small jets because it was more convenient for business execs to fly on private jets and avoid all the complications of commercial flight?

    I thought- what the fuck kind of logic is that? But that's a reflection of that imbalance.

    Consider other differences- Richer families, send kids to better schools, who get a better education and more opportunities. Poor kids get stuck in public schools that are in decline, get fewer opportunities and often fail to live up to their potential. Do you wish to live in a society where every gets an fair chance or where the rich are rewarded for inheriting wealth?

    Fair enough, a lot of folks work hard to make what they do. Some work for companies, others create their own businesses. But when you have wealth concentrated in a smaller class of wealthy, then you also have fewer opportunities to earn wealth by the many.

    The question is not whether government should redistribute wealth. Governments inherently redistribute wealth- if through economic policy, than by outsource contracts, through its social policies, through its purchases of goods. Had it not been for the government's willingness to buy American cars, then American auto industry would no longer exist. Investment in NASA is probably less about science then subsidizing research in high technology.

    When you talk about redistribution of wealth, you also talk about subsidizing people. Sure, some folks are going to panhandle on subways. Others will live off welfare checks, and other will find ways to cheat the system. But then, if you redistribute wealth to the rich, you'll have some who use that wealth to influence politicans into giving them better contracts (No bid?), you'll have them lobbying for policies that support their material interests, and you'll have all sorts policy recommendations in which the wealthy stay wealthy and the poor stay poor.

    What society do you wish to live in? YOu can have a government that supports economic growth but the benefits are generated by the few, or a government that supports economic growth where the benefits are shared by the many.

    Brazil- for instance, is a country that suffers rampant inequality. The folks that live in favelas (slums) are in part a consequence of the significant economic challenges Brazil had in the 1970s, but also, many are farmers who suffered droughts and migrated to the cities to find jobs. The Brazilian economy couldn't keep up with the need to find jobs, and most of the people created squattor communities in the hills. Sadly, these folks live with virtually no state supported services and are frequently terrorized by the cops. YOu can't blame the cops to much- they are paid way below the cost of living.

    But in Brazil- the level of inequality has gotten so broad that you also have teachers, clerks, and factory workers living in these slums- because the cost of living in Rio and Sao Paolo is more than it costs to live in cities in the US, yet the people make a fraction of what an American makes. Given that, is it a surprise that crime is what it is.

    ANd that's a kicker- where you have high income inequality, you have two things-

    (1) You have higher crime rates. This is true throughout Latin America and most of the world. In its most extreme, it begins to look like Africa- another region where income inequality is extreme. Inequality in the US is already very high, the difference is that most Americans make enough money to get by. In Africa, the poor suffer starvation, in America they face obesity (because of limited dietary choices).

    One thing for sure, the higher the inequality, there will be more people who will panhandle, and its a short jump between asking for your money and asking for your money with a knife at your throat.

    (2) The second factor comes from the high end of the income heirarchy. Those at the top get to abuse the system. They get easier regulation, less government control, more opportunity to get what they want (more wealth) while the government looks the other way. This is found in the US not only with financial deregulation (which led to our current meltdown) but also with relatively easy regulatory rules on things like the environment as well as food and drug regulation.

    Honestly, the last time that the US had such a high rate of economic inequality.... was right before the Wall Street Crash in 1929 that led to ten years of global depression. So why are we surprised that our economy is melting?

    At the same time the period of US industrial growth- the 1950s- had our lowest levels of income inequality.

    As for letting government take care of things- you might as well be waiting for Godot until that happens. Seriously, these are the same guys who try to prevent law suits to pay for the damage they do, who lie about the waste they dump, who sell substances that addict users and they call it medicine? You trust business owners? Are you out of your fucking mind.

    Business is about profit- about getting wealth out of your pocket into theirs. Expecting them to be socially responsible or trusting the market- that's more Bush/Reagan policies- that got us into this fucking mess.

    So that's the question. It might piss you off to give a couple of bucks to a guy who is panhandling. But think about this in a bigger picture. What happens in a society where opportunities are so slanted that more people begin to pan handle.

    Yes, there are a lot of people who struggle to get what they got. But most of us seize our opportunities from the environment we live in- and the more even the playing field, the fewer panhandlers you are like to see. Because begging for a dollar- sucks.

    As for knowing where a person comes from. My wife asks me about that. Some folks are going to use what money you offer for drugs, alcohol or other bullshit. Some might use it for a meal. But since you don't know what they will use it for, how do you know they won't put it to good use.

    Charity is part of being a good Christian and a decent human being- so give the fellow a buck- one buck a day is my rule. No questions asked. And why? Because you might need to pan handle one day, and then you's want some one to show you a bit of compassion.
  11. Eyenixon

    Eyenixon Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 11, 2008
    Consider the fact that no one wants to hire homeless people and then the "get a job" solution doesn't seem quite so simple.
  12. Snackpack

    Snackpack It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 4, 2008
    Great Idea! Oh wait, governments have been having the destitute fight their wars since the beginning of the game. Nice try though.


    When you're homeless what do you fill out as your address and phone number to be reached at when you fill out a job application? Say you get lucky and get a job at McD's paying you 7 bucks an hour. Where do you go from there? If you're living somewhere with a subway system, rents will undoubtedly be exorbitant. How does someone alone in a major city afford first months rent + security deposit? Even if one managed that, is minimum wage enough? I could work 80+ hours a week at minimum wage and still not be able to afford my (relatively cheap by NY standards) apartment, let alone utilities.

    My point is it's easy to get apathetic when you're looking at a situation like that. Some people may be able to claw there way back up from it, but even an iron will won't guarantee you'll get off the streets.

    I agree, the homeless need more help than your 50 cents, but then again 50 cents can give someone in a hard spot just a little bit of comfort. It's good karma too. If you're concerned they're going to spend the money on booze/drugs, how about give them a sandwich. Or the winter coat you don't wear anymore?
  13. Bal-Sagoth

    Bal-Sagoth Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Nov 1, 2008
    Clearly they are not doing a good enough job as I have personally seen many able bodied homeless men who would make upstanding cannon fodder.

    I would wager many of these individuals are high school drop outs however, hence the needing to drop the GED requirement for enlistment.

    Tried enlisting in the military without finishing high school or getting a GED lately? Yeah good luck with that one buddy.
  14. [PCE]el_Prez

    [PCE]el_Prez Vault Fossil

    Apr 25, 2003

    Education is a huge problem. But inequality is not the problem. Public schools get the job done. The problem is not schools - the problems are legislature (i.e. "No child left behind") and societal attitudes towards education.

    If you think about it - It really doesn't take much for a poor person to break through into middle class. If they get decent grades in school higher education is easily attainable. Most lower class kids will qualify for a good amount of financial aid. More than enough to attend a college they are accepted to. Most places have incredibly affordable community colleges in which you can transfer to a 4 year university and only have to pay a high tuition cost (which one could possible avoid with scholarships or financial aid) for your last two years.

    The reason why many poor students don't follow this easy roadmap to middle class success:
    1. They don't fully understand or realize the simplicity of the process
    2. They don't understand the magnitude in which higher education can alter their lives
    3. They have circumstances that cripple them for success (lousy parents, drug problems, legal trouble, etc.)

    The biggest problems in education is students lack of motivation. It really doesn't take much for a poor kid to rise up, put in the work, and make a successful life for himself.
  15. Roflcore

    Roflcore Mildly Dipped

    Nov 2, 2008
    You do realize their are not enough jobs for all the people and in the future this will become even be worse?!
  16. Herbert West

    Herbert West First time out of the vault

    Nov 24, 2008
    I, for one, live more or less by the old norse etchical standards on this one. Your wealth is yours, you have worked for it/been given it by the Aesir/Vanir, and you should stick to it. Of course, I make a few exceptions, I know a bum who was is a very educated man (was a university teacher before wife kicked him out - but that is another topic- ), and I give him my change when I see him.

    As for the rest: well, we have a cold winter coming.
  17. Patton89

    Patton89 Vault Dweller

    Nov 21, 2008
    I personally think that, the system, should help the poor by taxating the ones who are more fortunate. In Finland, yes, there are homeless, but in most cases they have severe cases of alcoholism or other social problems.

    Social welfare system gives EVEN jobless people ability to survive. Sure there are some problems, but i can say that ill gladly live with the ones we have. I don't want there to be many homeless people or people who can't buy food. Or go to high school, here you just pay the books and thats pretty much it. And not everyone can afford to pay for higher education.
    So it should be as free as it can be. And the "poor people are just lazy" doesn't work in real life, it just sounds and feels wrong.

    I really just can't understand the american mentality, IF we all are equal, shouldn't our society strive towards it , no matter the cost or price ?
  18. cratchety ol joe

    cratchety ol joe Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Sep 2, 2008
    Sad though it may be, and please understand I don't like what I'm about to say...

    we as humans disobey law 1 of Darwin. According to which "only the strong survive". Taken literally this means that things such as free healthcare / social benefits and any other aid 'given' to people is helping the weak survive,

    As a basic rule only the healthier / stronger (richer?) should actually survive in this world.

    As Humans though we have a moral obligation and such things as human rights. We are in fact destroying our own species, without allowing the weaker parts to die out and each day attempting to help the less fortunate we dilute the strength of our species and of course the inerrant growth of the species is beginning to exceed the possible openings for things like jobs, homes, food. Soon Be it through economic disaster, global natural disaster or a rather intense and brutal war, the human race NEEDS to loose numbers, basically a kull.

    Sure its not nice, but we are strangling our own capability for continued existence, and especially exceeding a continuation of existence within a capitalist majority society. I'm no great economist nor do I understand the greater deeper social sways of the global society, however I can see that our human species is facing a struggle. Think of the homeless as the part of the iceberg that can be seen... there is a lot more that cannot.

    So as for 'should we take care of the homeless' I think it would be irresponsible for our our greater interest to aid them.

    (by the way, I don't mean to sound elitist, I'm definitely one of the number that would be disallowed a continued beneficial existence as my own life is somewhat plagued and I'm definitely counted among the probably countless that rely on the help of others to get bay day to day, though thankfully I have support enough that I get to live in a house and eat each day.)

    grammar and a small apology for rant.
  19. Patton89

    Patton89 Vault Dweller

    Nov 21, 2008
    Social darwinism is not worth anything, and i can't simply ignore the problems of society and say "they deserve it, they are weak".
    This is the main problem i have understanding Americans, they have created gang problems and high crime with their social darwinism. Social darwinism might work in theory, but it simply CANNOT be applied to society, because the problems can be solved without it. all it requires is EFFICIENT social aid, give work to people, educate people etc. That way we don't have to become mindless robots. If we apply social darwinism to some part,we have to apply it everywhere. Just leave the sick to the bears and wolves to kill. Don't help car accident victims, they deserve it. Otherwise theres no logic in the logic of social darwinism. It simply cannot work. What would than separate us from computers ? or criminals ? Simply acting on the belief that its for the "greater good" will lead to madness.
  20. Bal-Sagoth

    Bal-Sagoth Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Nov 1, 2008
    I am not agreeing or disagreeing but I would like for you to answer me one thing.

    What gives you (or anyone else for that matter) the right to decide that a certain group of people should have to pay higher taxes simply because they are successful?