Author Topic: Anyone else feel helpless?  (Read 10236 times)

giggles

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
    • Kiva - Change the world with a $25 loan
Anyone else feel helpless?
« on: July 10, 2014, 12:17:47 PM »
Just posted a reply to the Benz/food stamp thread and thought thi was a good new topic -

I feel so helpless when I read articles like that one.  I feel like there is nothing we can to to craft social policy to genuinely help people/lift them out of poverty.  I also work for a popular government agency that is designed to out money, and when I started I thought I was going to have a career helping people truly in need.  Instead I feel jaded and bitter about the mission of the agency.  It sucks! 

I have been refocusing on my family and our MMM goals.  I stopped reading articles that riled me, and see my job as a paycheck with no higher calling.  I don't put much stock/thought into broad social programs, but just remember their impact directly on my income/taxes will be negligible.  How do you guys cope with the anti-mustachian world at large? 

RFAAOATB

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 576
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 01:39:37 PM »
Isn't the point of being a frugal outlier to the world at large to rise above the need for much of the un needed and profit from the gaping holes that exist from not filling them with marketed luxuries?

Of course, I still desire things I haven't thought about before.  For example I could get away with wearing jorts and a T-Shirt at work but I often try to get dress pants, a shirt and tie on.  If I had the wardrobe I might move into suits but that is a very large investment.  So not only is my laundry expenses higher, a few days ago I noticed I don't have a watch.  I want a big gold watch for my work shirts even though there is no practical purpose since I can check the time from my cell phone, computer screen, or desk phone display.

I could easily succumb into buying more and more expensive shoes, watches, ties, shirts, pants, blazers, bespoke suits, hats, umbrellas, and everything else.  God help me if I start having to use dry cleaning.

Social policy is to heavily subsidize and encourage poor people to be on birth control so they do not create more poor people.  Then give them vouchers to Men's Wearhouse and Joseph A Banks so they can feel comfortable dressing nice.  When I was unemployed I would wear my three piece suit to church just to practice being comfortable, even though I realized later I was probably overdressed for interviews.  Letting the temporary or even permanently poor hold on to luxuries they already spent money on can be a focal point for them to get out of poverty.

greaper007

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1129
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 01:49:48 PM »
I think it helps to remember that the problem isn't helping people, the problem is the implementation of that.    Have you thought about leaving your position and striking out on your own?    My wife is a psychologist and runs a consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning for health and human services organizations.    She's often frustrated with her clients but less frustrated than she was with her bosses as an employee.    After a lot of cajoling, they generally also start to follow some of her company's recommendations (that are actually based on evidence).

Now she's making more and doing more rewarding work while still trying to change the world.

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 01:54:37 PM »
Excellent article:

http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2010/09/the_paycheck_cycle.html

TL;DR: People suck at managing their money. Not just poor people. Middle class people, earning 70k+, can barely keep their mortgages. Rich people earning $1m+ losing their homes. The difference is that middle class is generally able to feed their kids no matter what. So, the solutions can't treat the symptoms, they have to treat the causes; furthermore, a solution without considering those who are affected and helpless isn't a solution at all.

giggles

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
    • Kiva - Change the world with a $25 loan
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 02:06:12 PM »
I think about striking out on my own ALL THE TIME!  But I suffer from GGJS aka Good Government Job Syndrome lol. I love the TSP/match, pension, fairly flexible schedule, etc.  but I HATE the two hours spent commuting and burn out.  Feeling it even more now that I have a newborn.  Fear is what really hold me back from leaving.

GrayGhost

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 383
  • Location: USA
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 02:29:56 PM »
Honestly, I try to insulate myself from it as much as possible. I'm very grateful to have found this site and this community, and I have enough hobbies and interests that I can pretty much forget about the financial idiocy practiced by 80+% of the population.

Maybe "fuck the world" isn't a good answer to the question, "How do you want to save the world?" but in practice it's what I tend to do.

Pegasus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 05:44:13 PM »
My view is this.  Anytime the Gov is handing out money, some people will take advantage.  However, we want to use objective criteria, versus relying on subjective opinion of Gov employees on who is deserving -- and understanding that to help those really in need, you have to accept a certain level of fraud.  Not to say we shouldn't try to prevent fraud, but people are smart and they will game any system out there.  (Easy to say if you're not dealing directly with it every day, I suppose).

bikebum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
  • Location: Nor Cal
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2014, 06:38:09 PM »
I just try to live a good life and have lots of fun, and try to encourage others to do it too without being a prig. I think it's important for us to have fun, because if we don't then what's the point?

rocketpj

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 714
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 10:42:30 PM »
My view is this.  Anytime the Gov is handing out money, some people will take advantage.  However, we want to use objective criteria, versus relying on subjective opinion of Gov employees on who is deserving -- and understanding that to help those really in need, you have to accept a certain level of fraud.  Not to say we shouldn't try to prevent fraud, but people are smart and they will game any system out there.  (Easy to say if you're not dealing directly with it every day, I suppose).

Given the events of the past few years and all the outrageous shenanigans on Wall Street, I am not going to spend 5 seconds worrying about some poor schmuck cheating the government out of a few food stamps or maybe a couple extra dollars on their welfare that they weren't technically supposed to get.

All of that is a drop in the ocean compared to the bailouts for the megabanks (too big to fail, so the solution was apparently to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of the people who created the problem).  Actual, clearly criminal behaviour (LIBOR, HSBC) resulting in mere fines and no pause in the bonuses - all of that stuff makes run of the mill welfare fraud basically irrelevant in my eyes.

If someone is going to game the system to get a few extra bucks I'd prefer they didn't, but it is nothing compared to a TARP bailout of banks that basically gamed the system on a large scale.  There really is no comparison - the only difference is that one involved poor people and the other involves the very wealthy (and more importantly, the very connected).

libertarian4321

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1370
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2014, 05:09:13 AM »
My view is this.  Anytime the Gov is handing out money, some people will take advantage.  However, we want to use objective criteria, versus relying on subjective opinion of Gov employees on who is deserving -- and understanding that to help those really in need, you have to accept a certain level of fraud.  Not to say we shouldn't try to prevent fraud, but people are smart and they will game any system out there.  (Easy to say if you're not dealing directly with it every day, I suppose).

Given the events of the past few years and all the outrageous shenanigans on Wall Street, I am not going to spend 5 seconds worrying about some poor schmuck cheating the government out of a few food stamps or maybe a couple extra dollars on their welfare that they weren't technically supposed to get.

All of that is a drop in the ocean compared to the bailouts for the megabanks (too big to fail, so the solution was apparently to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into the pockets of the people who created the problem).  Actual, clearly criminal behaviour (LIBOR, HSBC) resulting in mere fines and no pause in the bonuses - all of that stuff makes run of the mill welfare fraud basically irrelevant in my eyes.

If someone is going to game the system to get a few extra bucks I'd prefer they didn't, but it is nothing compared to a TARP bailout of banks that basically gamed the system on a large scale.  There really is no comparison - the only difference is that one involved poor people and the other involves the very wealthy (and more importantly, the very connected).

Excusing one bad behavior (welfare cheats) by pointing out a worse bad behavior (bail outs and wall street misdeeds), is ridiculous.

BOTH cost us huge amounts of money.  Don't "poo poo" welfare, medicaid, medicare, and similar fraud as if it's "just a few bucks"- some inconsequential triviality.  These cost us BILLIONS every year.

A billion here, a 5 billion there, pretty soon you are talking about real money.  It's not something that should be dismissed. 

And remember, that food stamp cheat is NOT "cheating the government."  The government has no money other than what it takes from honest citizens.  He is CHEATING ALL OF US- because we are the ones who fund "the government."

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13599
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2014, 06:10:53 AM »
http://feedingamerica.org/how-we-fight-hunger/programs-and-services/public-assistance-programs/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/snap-myths-realities.aspx

Quote
- SNAP error rates declined by 57% since FY2000, from 8.91% in FY2000 to a record low of 3.80% in FY2011.[vi] The accuracy rate of 96.2% (FY2011) is an all-time program high and is considerably higher than other major benefit programs, for example - Medicare fee-for-service (91.5%) or Medicare Advantage Part C (88.6%)
Two-thirds of all SNAP payment errors are a result of caseworker error. Nearly one-fifth are underpayments, which occur when eligible participants receive less in benefits than they are eligible to receive
- The national rate of food stamp trafficking declined from about 3.8 cents per dollar of benefits redeemed in 1993 to about 1.3 cent per dollar during the years 2009 to 2011

It would seem that foodstamp fraud at least is not a significant issue.  It might make more sense to focus on caseworker error than spend significant resources chasing very few fraudsters.

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2014, 06:36:53 AM »
I am not going to spend 5 seconds worrying about some poor schmuck cheating the government out of a few food stamps or maybe a couple extra dollars on their welfare that they weren't technically supposed to get.

All of that is a drop in the ocean compared to the bailouts for the megabanks ...

Completely wrong.

The "schmucks" are hitting the government individually for lower amounts but at high volume--Hundreds of thousands of hits annually for a few thousand dollars each in tax return fraud, welfare fraud, and/or Medicaid/Medicare fraud, just to name some of the bigger ones that Libertarian mentioned. However, the white collars--medical providers, tax preparers, accountants, lawyers, etc--are hitting at lower volume but for much higher stakes, i.e. 6-7 digits in fraud for each offense in many situations. Any government agency that disburses money to the general public encounters more fraud than you would imagine possible.

Be careful pointing fingers at a few media-hounded white collars in Manhattan. You can easily find examples of white-collar crime that exceed Enron or any of the bailed out banks (of course, I don't condone any illegal or unethical decisions that were made in any of those situations either). However, the media doesn't win ratings when it portrays the lower classes as criminals. In many cases, that's a significant part of its viewing audience. It wins ratings when it stirs the social class pot and creates emotions. The media audience pulls for the underprivileged, the underdogs, and loves when the favored and privileged few are dethroned.

Ask yourself this question--How much information about fraud, waste, and abuse have I learned on my own that wasn't distributed from the major media sources? For every one of the truly bad guys that you might have seen in the screaming media, think of the rest of the iceberg beneath the surface that the media ignored for its own reasons.

It would seem that foodstamp fraud at least is not a significant issue.  It might make more sense to focus on caseworker error than spend significant resources chasing very few fraudsters.

Wrong here as well.

The use of EBT cards for trafficking is increasing dramatically, but different goals and incentives between state and federal agencies consistently hamper efforts to jumpstart the programs needed for investigation and prosecution. This is especially true for local businesses who can push these cards through their stores. Drive through a lower-income section of a major city, and you will now see signs outside of businesses advertising that they take EBT cards. The EBT cards just make it easier for businesses to get involved in the fraud, not just the individuals. Stats are selection biased because states focus on eligibility rather than fraud. Eligibility IS tied closely to caseworker error. Fraud is not.

shotgunwilly

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 06:59:50 AM »
Honestly, I try to insulate myself from it as much as possible. I'm very grateful to have found this site and this community, and I have enough hobbies and interests that I can pretty much forget about the financial idiocy practiced by 80+% of the population.

Maybe "fuck the world" isn't a good answer to the question, "How do you want to save the world?" but in practice it's what I tend to do.

I pretty much do this too.  And not just to avoid financial illiteracy, to avoid all stupidity.  I reduce my exposure to idiotic behavior, immoral acts, and just pointless negative news.  As MMM says in his blog, "Low Information Diet."  About two years ago I was just out of college and i deleted facebook. It was hard, when EVERYONE was on it, but it was one of the best things I could have ever done.  Also avoiding shit like MTV and TRU tv (ironic how everything on tru tv is fake as shit), and pretty much all tv shows in general today.  I hardly even read headlines anymore.

I pretty much hate how society is, to the point where I could be called cynical. 


ADK_Junkie

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 07:12:39 AM »
Fraud and cheats are a terrible thing across all sectors.  It is human nature to take "advantage" of something.  Most law abiding citizens agree on the morality of not stealing, but laws and punishment are still needed to deter.

It's not just people stealing from the "government", but you see cheats in the business world too... (i.e., taking way too long of a lunch or calling in sick, ... extreme, but surfing the internet at work can be considered stealing time that your employer has paid for).  Sometimes in the private sector, the cheats are found and are reprimanded or fired.  Sometimes, the cheats coast until retirement.

I'm always amazed at how much people will work at not having to work.

Regarding the welfare/medicare vs mega bank cheats, both are wrong.  Welfare and Medicare (Doctors cheating the system here) generally have better success at prosecuting cheats than the IRS and SEC (just see how hard it is to convict for insider trading).  I think all of these gov't agencies are probably underfunded/staffed, and when there are failures it feeds into the Right's argument "It doesn't work, so we should shut it down".

All in all, try to remove yourself from the daily news world since so much of it is sensationalized.  Subscribe to Time magazine, or the Economist like MMM does, to get your dose of world info.

randymarsh

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: Denver
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2014, 07:16:22 AM »
Even if high volume low $ fraud is going on, doesn't it make more sense to use our resources to go after low volume high $ fraud? Seems like that would be a lot easier to investigate and when you bust them, you stop a lot of fraud all at once.


 

randymarsh

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: Denver
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2014, 07:20:23 AM »
Be careful pointing fingers at a few media-hounded white collars in Manhattan. You can easily find examples of white-collar crime that exceed Enron or any of the bailed out banks (of course, I don't condone any illegal or unethical decisions that were made in any of those situations either). However, the media doesn't win ratings when it portrays the lower classes as criminals. In many cases, that's a significant part of its viewing audience. It wins ratings when it stirs the social class pot and creates emotions. The media audience pulls for the underprivileged, the underdogs, and loves when the favored and privileged few are dethroned.


LOL really? I routinely hear how the poor are lazy moochers trying to screw over the hardworking middle class American.

They act as if half the country is at home sitting on their couch watching TV and collecting a 6 figure welfare salary.

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2014, 10:36:03 AM »
Regarding the welfare/medicare vs mega bank cheats, both are wrong.  Welfare and Medicare (Doctors cheating the system here) generally have better success at prosecuting cheats than the IRS and SEC (just see how hard it is to convict for insider trading). 

The issue isn't which agency has the most success. Preventing fraud starts with the allocation of sufficient resources and a targeted directive. Some agencies have the resources but not the will. Others have the will but not the resources. I can identify multiple ways to detect fraud that the private sector has been using for 4-5 years that government agencies still won't use--even with access to more comprehensive data.

LOL really? I routinely hear how the poor are lazy moochers trying to screw over the hardworking middle class American.

They act as if half the country is at home sitting on their couch watching TV and collecting a 6 figure welfare salary.

Sentiment analysis of 14 months of prominent news sources (newspaper/news magazines/news websites--no TV/video media included) in 2012-2013 indicated that "privileged classes" (rich folks/business people, athletes, Hollywood/movies stars, politicians, etc) dominated the lead stories as measured by (1) headline font size, (2) front-page placement, and/or (3) cover by-line. There were some fairly prominent court cases that involved "lower classes," but they were usually sensational due to the alleged crime, not because of the social class of the individual.

Much of what we retain in our memory is due to our perceptions. If we strongly agree or disagree with a statement, a person, or a situation, then that memory retains a stronger presence and does more to shape our perceptions. We tend to form less stringent opinions around ideas that evoke little to no personal response and are more willing to examine and discuss those issues with more objectivity. Personally, findings in my line of work indicates that fraud is systemic across social classes. As a result, my opinion is that fraud prevention programs and laws should be focused on the problem without regard to the politics that point fingers toward any subset of the targeted criminals.

randymarsh

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: Denver
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2014, 05:47:49 PM »
Sentiment analysis of 14 months of prominent news sources (newspaper/news magazines/news websites--no TV/video media included) in 2012-2013 indicated that "privileged classes" (rich folks/business people, athletes, Hollywood/movies stars, politicians, etc) dominated the lead stories as measured by (1) headline font size, (2) front-page placement, and/or (3) cover by-line. There were some fairly prominent court cases that involved "lower classes," but they were usually sensational due to the alleged crime, not because of the social class of the individual.

Personally, findings in my line of work indicates that fraud is systemic across social classes. As a result, my opinion is that fraud prevention programs and laws should be focused on the problem without regard to the politics that point fingers toward any subset of the targeted criminals.

Of course the media writes/talks more about rich people and celebrities. They're often the ones doing exciting things, important things, or plain ridiculous things.

I don't think anyone has suggested that fraud is only committed by the upper classes. We're saying that if 80% of the fraud is done by 20% the people, you should focus on that 20%. Your resources will go further.


darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2014, 10:09:54 PM »
I don't think anyone has suggested that fraud is only committed by the upper classes. We're saying that if 80% of the fraud is done by 20% the people, you should focus on that 20%. Your resources will go further.

In most industries, government included, fraud prevention is not that proportionate. For instance, a Fortune 100 insurance company's special investigation unit might have 20 resources who tackle higher-volume, individual claim level fraud. They are expected to work hundreds of individual cases per month. But the company's major case investigation unit often has half or fewer that many resources who go after medical provider-level fraud. They may only investigate a dozen or so cases in a month. These investigations require more experienced investigators, they require more complex analysis, they take a lot of man hours, and they usually require a higher burden of proof because medical providers are more likely to sue than an individual. Litigation and potential bad press for a portfolio of denied claims is expensive. With more reward (recouped/denied funds) comes more risk, and these companies tend to be conservative when dealing with major cases.

This is also true for most government agencies--IRS/state DOR agencies deny or decrease millions of refunds annually for billions of dollars. That effort dwarfs the amount recouped from bad tax preparers. This holds true for Medicaid/Medicare as well. Furthermore, in banking, insurance, tax, and welfare, 80% of the fraud is NOT done by 20% of the people according to most industry sources. That was my point. That conclusion might seem intuitive, but it's wrong. The "big cats" aren't the only ones raking in the cash. People really don't understand the volume we're talking about--320 million people in the US, and fraudsters are even submitting HUD claims, TANF/SNAP applications, Medicare claims, and tax returns by the millions from overseas. Yes, there are some really big, bad guys out there defrauding for big sums. But for every one of the big, bad guys, there are literally thousands of little bad guys--hundreds of wolves but millions of rats. That's the image that the class-warfare-feeding media rarely portrays in the headlines for business and political reasons.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 10:12:15 PM by darkadams00 »

randymarsh

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Location: Denver
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2014, 11:06:45 PM »
Do you have sources for any of these claims?

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 381
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2014, 08:15:19 PM »
Fraud prevention is my job. In the past ten years, I have completed fraud consulting projects for two of the largest P&C insurers in the US (auto claims fraud), three state governments (DOR/Medicaid fraud), one of the top three banks in the US (international wire fraud), the largest government health agency in the country (Medicare fraud), and several regional and international insurers (auto/health insurance fraud).

Fraud is increasing exponentially in every industry as people become more computer savvy, as companies/gov't agencies push more business online, and as society becomes more anonymous behind the layer of technology. When businesses move operations online and face-to-face contact is no longer necessary, then fraud is understood to just be a cost of doing business. Many companies even keep indicators to show how policies, claims, and transactions originated simply so that data can be included in fraud modeling. Large companies are willing to write off estimated fraud losses because increased new revenue helps to offset those losses. As long as there is sufficient revenue, then no one cares much about the losses. During the 2009 economic downturn, our business expanded five-fold as companies and governments began to look for ways to minimize expenses since revenues were significantly declining. In the past five years, several industries have even joined forces in fraud consortiums and hold annual fraud prevention seminars.

With only two exceptions--one private company, one public company--in my experience, fraud programs target both the individual and the professional. The risky individuals number in the tens of thousands, the risky professionals number in the hundreds unless you're dealing with the federal government. Then the order of magnitude is significantly higher, but even the IRS and GAO releases data, reports, and stories with similar ratios regarding the hits and the fraudulent refund payments avoided/recouped.

austin

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2014, 12:13:43 AM »
Only a minority of people are going to be capable to manage their money and prosper, even among those fortunate enough to have the means to do so. As long as the state is capable and willing to create the social safety net keeping people from hitting the bottom or living in abject poverty it is doing the best it can.

Kaspian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1536
  • Location: Canada
    • My Necronomicon of Badassity
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 01:15:29 PM »
Whether they're wealthy or poor, it always seems difficult not to point out other peoples' complete stupidity based on my own value system.  The things I feel are right, aren't necessarily right.  And besides, you can't fix stupid.  Every day I walk home past the soup kitchen where people are queued up for their free (i.e., government subsidized, volunteer run, with food donated by others) meal.  Every day I can't help but make a mental note that usually the same 75% of people are in line chain smoking (cigarettes cost at least $9 a pack here) and have a takeout Tim Horton's ($1.75) coffee in their hand.  OK, so it' not a Mercedes Benz, but a pack of smokes a day and with takeout coffee means some of those poor are spending more in one day on luxury habits than I'm spending in 4 days on food.  And they're waiting in line for "free" food.  If they didn't smoke or drink takeout coffee, they'd eat as well or better than most of us Mustachians do--with a beautiful $75/week grocery budget.  I can't let it get to me, it's just idiocy.  Not my problem and not my role in life to "fix" others.  And it's also certainly not everyone in that line.  I try to keep that in mind that some folks, even if they're a minority of the minority, actually do need the help.  You have to shrug things off as not your concern.  If you say something about it out loud, people will pounce all over you for being an asshole.  ...Especially if what you are saying is true.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 01:23:54 PM by Kaspian »

EricL

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 944
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2014, 09:23:32 AM »
Yes.  Three months from leaving my career I realized I was not only better off financially than my subordinates, but also my peers and superiors.  In most cases by a wide margin.  Unfortunately in this case all of them are genuinely good people so it bothered me a lot.  I tried to tactfully explain the merits of saving, left Jacobs and Nords' books in strategic locations to be "found", tried to talk about my situation without bragging.  I think I got through to a couple but to what extent I don't know. 

It's frustrating because it seems people are like combination safes that require specific words, conversations, information, deeds, and intimate understanding to bring them around.  It's all got to click and it may be years before they "get it".   Screw it up and they can lock you out indefinitely.  Drills and explosives are a no go.  Unlike combination safes the more force applied equals more resistance from them.  If I was a master psychologist or a Jedi Knight maybe it wouldn't be so hard but I'm not.  Often I'm explaining financial sanity to people who look at me like I'm explaining the General Theory of Relativity.  This is all the more frightening since many of them are smarter than me. 

Kaspian

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1536
  • Location: Canada
    • My Necronomicon of Badassity
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2014, 12:22:29 PM »
Is it possible that the natural instinct of the majority would rather complain than be awesome and fix situations?  I'm actually coming to the conclusion that many would rather not have money (employed or unemployed) and complain about it than be successful.  It's possibly a subconscious preference?   I know they say that gamblers aren't actually addicted to winning, it's the sadness endorphin rush of losing that they become addicted to.   It's a feeling they become accustomed to and eventually seek out.  Crazy.

No Name Guy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
  • Location: Western Washington
Re: Anyone else feel helpless?
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2014, 02:53:07 PM »
I feel like there is nothing we can to to craft social policy to genuinely help people/lift them out of poverty.  I also work for a popular government agency that is designed to out money, and when I started I thought I was going to have a career helping people truly in need.  Instead I feel jaded and bitter about the mission of the agency.  It sucks! 

"The road to hell is paved in good intentions."
A criminal will rob you only once.  A man out to save you will never leave you alone. (paraphrase)

Those that try (not necessarily you there Giggles) to "craft social policy" to help someone, inevitably end up unintentionally crippling those they seek to help, and / or cause massive collateral damage (often times unseen to the crafters of the policy) elsewhere with "unintended consequences".  There are always perverse incentives created - based on your "jaded and bitter" comment, I'm guessing you've probably seen more than a few of them.

There's always those who want to "fix" a problem with yet another round of tweaking "social policy" where the problem to be "fixed" was in fact caused by a preceding round of social policy "fixes".  Rare is the person who says "lets undo that last mistake since we now understand the problems it caused" - nay, instead it's always "layer on another round of fixes" that ALWAYS cause even more problems, which then need their own fixes, with their own problems, which need further fixes, which....in an endless cycle (which is to be expected, since it takes a brave soul to admit their previous "fix" was in fact a mistake).  And those subsequent rounds of "fixes" are always more authoritarian since those who push for these things seemingly never are able to make the supposed fixes good enough to have people willing to do them of their own accord.  If the "fix" is so good, why is it that the powers that be have to stick a gun in everyone's face?  If the fix is great, offer it up as a voluntary program to participate in and people will freely flock to it as they see the obvious benefit of participating.  The true nature (controlling, authoritarian) of those who favor such mandatory "fixes" comes through in their proposed policies. 

Giggles - if you want to help, I'd suggest a different path, go help a person.  Quit trying to "help" society via policy - the magnitude of the problem is too great, you'll cause more problems than you "solve", and it'll overwhelm you (your helpless feeling).  Help one person, then another, and then another, one by one, by one.....you will see the results.  Massive faceless, one size fits all programs (e.g. "crafting social policy") always fail in the end and are inherently based on violence and authoritarian principals.  Success in helping people is in voluntary cooperation of like minded and like motivated people, community, local, small, personal, individualized.  You'll never feel helpless if you use these principals.

Best of luck to you.

One final thing - some people can not be helped.  They live to wallow in their own metaphoric filth.  No matter what you do, they'll find a way to keep on "failing" since that's what they like.  Don't try to lift them up since all they want is to drag you down, where you can't help anyone.  Don't waste your time on such people.  Help only those that actually want to "improve" their situation.