NZ Green Party
Doing a stretch in the safety net

United States Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is getting a pasting for his comment:

…I’m not concerned about the very poor; we have a safety net there.

Over on Denise Roche’s minimum wage thread here at frogblog, commenter dbuckley recalls for us just what that “safety net” actually is:

Yeah… but… you have that wonderful safety net system that looks after people who fail to achieve the American Dream and fall on hard times.

I just can’t quite remember its name….

ah yes…

it’s coming…

Yes!

Jail.

I guess it’s pretty much the same here, and will become more so as the children of the Mother Of All Budgets reach adulthood and become increasingly engaged with the Corrections Department.

9 thoughts on “Doing a stretch in the safety net

  1. Its nice punchy rhetoric from dbuckley to say that jail is the safety net for people who fail in life, but its not reality.

    Jail is for theives, robbers, murderers, vandals, and those who endanger others. For people who fail we give them hundreds of dollars a week, free medical, educate and feed and clothe their kids, pay for the consumer electronics….

    (Although with the dependence that our faliked welfare state creates in its victims (and which many on the left want to perpetuate) it does take a special kind of person to escape either)

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  2. Not in life, Mr Curmudgeon, but in America.

    Don’t confuse “the American Way” with the rest of the world; the Americans do many things differently from the rest of the world. Some good, some bad.

    There is nowhere quite like America where you can “make it”. Watching Billy Connolly on telly last night reminded me of what the USA “feels” like, and just how much I wished I was born in the USA rather than just being an occasional visitor. But this morning reality set in, looking out at the sheep, and I am thankful for where I am. And that when I was without a job for a little while, there was a bit of help to keep the food on the table and the bills paid.

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  3. There is nowhere quite like America where you can “make it”

    Nor anywhere where failure is not just a momentary lapse but a legacy you leave your kids, and your grandkids…

    … I don’t think you quite “get” the reality of what America fails to provide, or the very real problem that it no longer is a land of “opportunity” to do much of anything for most of the population. For someone who is bright, got a decent start and finished University there is a shot. Anyone else might as well eat a bullet…

    http://moneyland.time.com/2012/01/05/the-loss-of-upward-mobility-in-the-u-s/

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/02/opinion/la-oe-mcmanus-twous-20110102

    http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/EMP%20American%20Dream%20Report.pdf

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-downward-path-of-upward-mobility/2011/11/09/gIQAegpS6M_story.html

    Now I know I’ve written about this before. I also know that it is a significant part of why my family is here in NZ rather than back in greater Disneyland. The people in the US are, very significantly, deluded about what is happening….

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/09/25/poll-wealth-distribution-similar-sweden/

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  4. The best safety net is the one you create yourself rather than rely on others to catch your fall.

    If only people made better decisions in life and had the drive and enthusiasm to succeed to some degree then we wouldnt see alot of the poverty we see today much of which is self inflicted, and not helped when the nanny welfare state just reinforces the behaviour.

    The advice we need to be giving is

    - Get a job, any job
    - Upskill (read, volunteer, get a mentor, do courses, do something)
    - Make sacrifices
    - Accept help but dont sit idle waiting for it

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  5. Nor anywhere where failure is not just a momentary lapse but a legacy you leave your kids, and your grandkids…

    Is that not the point I’ve been making? Isn’t that the gist of this thread?

    America is a land of extremes. A place where one can get the best possible healthcare on the planet. Yet it is not universally available, so on average America’s health care is less good than ours. The best education is in the states. But so are many of the illiterate.

    In context, all this bullshit about equality is just that. The people are pissed because they have no homes, no jobs, and no sign of matters getting any better. So the have nots look at the haves and feel hard done by. When they were haves, and had jobs, and even some hope, they didn’t really care.

    What has happened is a structural change, and millions of Americans have gone from valued citizens to the unwanted, and don’t like it much. There is not going to be a return to how things were a few years ago. Leastways not any time soon. Get used to it.

    Perhaps when Sam Walton offered Americans a different set of shopping choices these Americans should have looked further than then end of their noses. Perhaps they should have cared when their community facilities started disintegrating. Anyone who accepted a mortgage that they knew they shouldn’t have been offered deserves most of what they get. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Choices have consequences. This stuff doesn’t happen without a reason.

    But at the same time as all that bad stuff is happening, every day people become millionaires. There is nowhere quite like America where you can “make it”

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  6. I don’t think it is the same point you were making DB, because you then wished you were born in the USA. Which is I think, not the opportunity you really think it is.

    Certainly it WAS… back in my youth it was pretty good… the GINI was down around 36-38 and the country was really quite wealthy… and the dollar was tied to something real… and a poor person could get a decent education anyway.

    Not.any.more.

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  7. The extreme disparities of wealth are real enough… but that isn’t a good thing unless there is mobility, and at this point, the Europeans have greater upward mobility than someone in the USA.

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  8. USA first gave us the WAR ON DRUGS as a way to lock up, those from minority groups & lower socio-economic back-grounds (who are the VICTIMS of these ‘crimes’ ?)..
    NOW they are pouring millions into private prisons as a way to keep the Police & Corrections staff ‘gainfully employed’
    BEWARE the same tactics being introduced here !!

    This Govt. seem to be moving the same way.. OH DEAR

    Kia-ora

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  9. BJ – Back when I wished I was (cue the music) Born…. in the USA it was, as you note, like it is now. I think the USA (then) and I would have been a good match for each other, and think I would have done well.

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