[Paleopsych] welfare

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Mon Nov 29 01:48:35 UTC 2004

Two posts: first post, I agree. Creativity is key to making these things 
work. I am not a republican apologist, and am deeply disappointed with 
the republican majority in the congress now. Pork as bad and as deep as 
any chicago democrat ever dreamed of. I am opposed to all sorts of 
welfare, from sugar subsidies that harm domestic candy producers to 
egregious oil depletion allowances and on an on. Bush is a big 
disappointment there.  That's why I am very intrigued by the flat tax 
proposals coming from the libertarians. No tax deductions whatsoever.

This post: absolutely. Unearned income corrupts, extravagant unearned 
income corrupts extravagantly.  Read The Millionaire Next Door which 
contains heart breaking examples of how unearned income ruins children. 
I see it in my own neighborhood. A good friend is heartbroken over how 
he compensated his kids so they didn't have to suffer as he did. But his 
suffering redeemed him. He is a success. The kids are not.

We cannot outlaw trust funds. The money is not mine, so I cannot control 
what happens to it, but people are completely stupid to give their kids 
anything except bare essentials. That's how I raised four splendid 
children, none in therapy, none in jail, none on drugs, blah blah. 
Enough bragging.

Also: In the past year there was an experiment that showed that people 
winning ten dollars on a video game experienced a surge of dopamine 
activity, saying to the brain, "That was great, pay attention." When 
people played the video game, didn't win, but were given ten dollars 
anyway, there was no pleasure center activity. Mother nature wants us to 
work for our supper.

Steve Hovland wrote:

>The other thing your example points to is that
>the unearned income of rich kids is just as
>demoralizing as the unearned income that
>welfare mothers get.
>Are you in favor of abolishing trust fund babies?
>Steve Hovland
>-----Original Message-----
>From:	Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. [SMTP:ljohnson at solution-consulting.com]
>Sent:	Sunday, November 28, 2004 4:19 PM
>To:	The new improved paleopsych list
>Subject:	Re: [Paleopsych] welfare
>   I teach an MBA course on Problem Solving, and use Joe Versus the 
>Volcano to illustrate various problems and their analysis. In the scene 
>"This is a real scene" where Tom Hanks/Joe and Meg Ryan/Angelica are 
>looking out over Los Angeles, Angelica talks of suicide. Joe says that 
>if we do what we are most afraid of doing, our lives work.
>    Angelica: You mean, stop taking my father's money and leave LA?
>    Joe: See! You know what it is you really want to do.
>Angelica's response to Joe illustrates the dilemma of unearned income.
>    Later in the movie, Meg Ryan as Patricia learns that Joe turned down 
>unearned intimacies with her sister, Angelica, and she knows something 
>about Joe from that.
>    But you didn't deal with my point about my own experience in working 
>with those receivintg welfare, and the degrading effects it has. Like 
>Angelica, they thought they had no other choice, until the 
>Clinton-Republican alliance welfare reform of 1994 or 6, and they had to 
>go to work. Unlike your example of people working in degrading 
>conditions, they felt trapped because they were afraid of giving up the 
>dole. People say "Take this job and shove it" all the time, because they 
>see themselves as free. They can work elsewhere. The dole creates an 
>illusion of a lack of freedom.  It is unearned, and one must placate the 
>welfare gods. One's energies are centered around keeping the dole going 
>instead of achieving something, as Joe Banks tells Angelica Graynamore.
>    This clearly is a personal position, one I confess comes from my 
>culture, but one that seems to have borne positive fruit (more people 
>are working post welfare reform). I believe in reducing welfare and 
>creating workfare programs because I believe people are more fully alive 
>and vital when they are producing something valuable to the group. 
>Howard has spoken to this point many times, the delirious joy of the 
>crowd responding to what you do, whether it is to sing or invent a 
>pocket fisherman. Then we are most alive, most energized.
>Michael Christopher wrote:
>>But I still believe welfare does allow a greater
>>degree of freedom than being forced into a work
>>program in which there is little choice of the type of
>>job or employer. Being forced to work most of the day
>>for someone who doesn't treat you well is not freedom.
>But you are free to leave any moment, and many do.
>>Having a safety net that allows you to structure your
>>own time (or at least pick from a broad range of
>>training and employment options) does give a greater
>>degree of freedom. 
>--That sounds like an ideological position, and let's
>Yes, you are correct, it is ideological, based on cultural mores.
>>assume for a moment that it's true (perhaps it's true
>>for some and not others?) Are there ways of having
>>people earn their safety net income, without depriving
>>them of choice and dignity? I've met many people who
>>had gotten used to working for employers who were
>>bullies, and it seemed pretty degrading to them. They
>>were on drugs, unable to plan ahead, etc. So I could
>>make the same argument about a system which has a
>>permanent low-wage class, that you make about the
>>welfare system. 
>>I think it's reasonable to give people options to earn
>>an income. I just worry that forcing people into a job
>>market ignores the psychological impact of such an
>>experiment, just as you worry about the psychological
>>impact of welfare. We have to be humble enough to
>>recognize that it's ALL an experiment, and we're
>>playing with the lives of human beings when we
>>abruptly change the system.
>>Do you Yahoo!? 
>>Read only the mail you want - Yahoo! Mail SpamGuard. 
>>paleopsych mailing list
>>paleopsych at paleopsych.org
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