Author Topic: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash  (Read 25522 times)

SwordGuy

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #50 on: April 15, 2017, 01:20:39 PM »
Regarding poverty: I work with families in poverty ranging from homelessness to those living on government assistance. In most cases, the poverty is generational, so I come in as one of the many teaching the young generation that there are choices. The teenagers I work with are not at fault for their poverty: it's the parents' mental illness, debilitating health problems, sudden death, incarceration, abandonment, or deportation that have made things harder. A large percentage get jobs while in high school, not to save for school as I had the luxury to do, but to help pay for rent, groceries, and other necessities for the family.

If I didn't believe there was a way out, I wouldn't work with this population. But blame does zero good. Neither does judging from a distance.

Spend some time with the very poor and listen. From your relative comfort, think calmly about the choices those individuals can make and the resources they can take advantage of. Then be a compassionate guide and sounding board once that relationship of trust has been built.

That's good advice.

I'm hoping to partner with some local organization after I FIRE next spring.   I would like to have poor kids help me renovate houses.  I can pay them to do the work (and learn by doing), and they can help me with stuff I can't do easily by myself.

While I'm at it I can teach them a different way to think about money, wealth, working, schooling and status.  Partly by example and partly by telling stories.

If I do it right they'll end up with marketable trade skills, a solid job reference to use with colleges or employers, and the right attitude and skills to succeed in life.  If not, well, I tried.

If everyone taught just one person (plus their kids) how to do this, our country would start to become a very different place in a decade.   A much better place.

LalsConstant

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #51 on: April 15, 2017, 03:13:50 PM »
The trouble is, everyone talks past each other on this.

There are a relative few who cannot do for themselves:  examples include severe autism, narcolepsy, nerve damage or disorders, blindness and/or deafness, chronic pain, etc. which can all cause a person to be reasonably said to be unable to economically achieve anything more than poverty.

I don't think anyone has any real opposition to the idea a post-industrial economy can support such people in comfort and dignity without sacrificing anything but excess.  We may disagree on the particular form of remuneration and dispensation, but that is academic except to a few very obstinate people who absolutely insist on a perfect political system.  In other words, even a fairly hardcore anti-welfare state individual like myself wouldn't spend his precious time and energy arguing against a welfare system which actually benefited those individuals who clearly cannot be counted on to be economically viable entities.

Yet at the same time, we all know exceptions to all of the examples I listed.  Temple Grandin, Stevie Wonder and a coworker of mine with MS did just fine for themselves despite their inherent inescapable problems.

It's to be expected.  Life is not fair, some people are intelligent and attractive and good entrepreneurs and figurative ‹bermensches Personfied, and there's people like me with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  Toss of the dice.  In the middle are people who are uneven, whose strengths may be unaffected by their weaknesses and so on and so forth, every possible permutation is inevitable.

The point emerges presently:

While it's nearly impossible to really quantify the exact percentage of the population which truly cannot help itself, it seems diffused through cultural values and biases that humanity has collectively realized this is a very small sliver of the population, especially given today's adaptive technologies and the shift away from actual work.  And even within the categories we might use to consider people invalids, there's too many people who aren't "invalids" at all, but who are rather simply handicapped individuals.

This is why state welfare programs which must, by design necessity, dispense benefits to anyone who can "tick a box", can, will and must create perverse incentives.  When money becomes available to students who have a certain disorder, the number of students diagnosed with that disorder suddenly swells.  When money becomes available to be sexually irresponsible, people will be sexually irresponsible.  When you can take out all the student loans you want to spend four years chugging beer and smoking weed while studying underwater basket weaving, you wind up with an unemployable college graduate saddled with insurmountable debt.

State welfare will always create categorical incentives, and categorical decision making is not incremental decision making (which weighs other costs against the benefit being extended holistically and reasonably), and it will always breed perversity.

We have got to the point where this is enough perversity, and by no means does the perversity have to be universal or widespread it simply has to sway the actions of a plurality of individuals to make bad decisions en masse, that it is perceived that the probability of a person being in poverty because they are enabled by the sociopolitical landscape to refuse to make better personal decisions is unacceptably high, and you get a great deal of rhetoric against people of lower socioeconomic status which paints with too broad of a brush because the whole situation is so complex that it is difficult to articulate exactly what is wrong, even if it is understood implicitly.

This is a problem because the fashion of our times is against intellectual charity in favor of the culture of virtue signalling (which requires a benighted adversary).  Thus there is no communication on the issue, and any creativity, energy or intelligence which could actually be spent restructuring the social, legal and economic framework in such a way as to systematically discourage decisions which lead to poverty while making allowances for the truly hapless is instead wasted arguing and scoring psychic points for one's own ego.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #52 on: April 15, 2017, 05:34:53 PM »
Regarding poverty: I work with families in poverty ranging from homelessness to those living on government assistance. In most cases, the poverty is generational, so I come in as one of the many teaching the young generation that there are choices. The teenagers I work with are not at fault for their poverty: it's the parents' mental illness, debilitating health problems, sudden death, incarceration, abandonment, or deportation that have made things harder. A large percentage get jobs while in high school, not to save for school as I had the luxury to do, but to help pay for rent, groceries, and other necessities for the family.

If I didn't believe there was a way out, I wouldn't work with this population. But blame does zero good. Neither does judging from a distance.

Spend some time with the very poor and listen. From your relative comfort, think calmly about the choices those individuals can make and the resources they can take advantage of. Then be a compassionate guide and sounding board once that relationship of trust has been built.

That's good advice.

I'm hoping to partner with some local organization after I FIRE next spring.   I would like to have poor kids help me renovate houses.  I can pay them to do the work (and learn by doing), and they can help me with stuff I can't do easily by myself.

While I'm at it I can teach them a different way to think about money, wealth, working, schooling and status.  Partly by example and partly by telling stories.

If I do it right they'll end up with marketable trade skills, a solid job reference to use with colleges or employers, and the right attitude and skills to succeed in life.  If not, well, I tried.

If everyone taught just one person (plus their kids) how to do this, our country would start to become a very different place in a decade.   A much better place.

I have the same belief in practical trade credentials through community colleges. One of the things I'm doing right now is discreetly keeping my ear to the ground to find out whether any of the non-leeches in my daughter's extended family is worth putting through a CDL, a phlebotomy license, or a sterile instrument tech credential. The tech credential can earn the holder $18-25 an hour in my LCOL city, and it requires only four credit hours over a 16-week period (like one college course with a lab), plus a national exam on standards. In terms of bang for the buck, it's phenomenal. There's usually a waiting list to get into the course, but it turns a bright minimum wage earner into a triple-minimum-wage earner.

Whether or not the person you're trying to train accepts the knowledge isn't entirely up to you: if one of the kids is an addict, for example, you're wasting your time until he or she sobers up.

There are also vast groups of people who believe in doing the absolute minimum necessary to get by in order to spend more time on leisure activities, but they don't believe in getting skills to achieve that dollar goal faster. They do only what they have to do to keep from getting fired. I'm screening those out because they won't be bothered to attend class.

Hargrove

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #53 on: April 15, 2017, 06:41:59 PM »
There are choices people can make that will increase or decrease the chance of getting out of poverty. The more good choices that people make and the fewer bad choices they make, the greater the odds they get out of poverty.  The more bad choices and the fewer good choices, the less likely they will get out of poverty.

You basically posted that you're going out of your way to give opportunities for people who poorly understood their choices or else didn't have many choices to make.

And that's awesome.

I am at a loss, however, as to how this leads to your sarcasm about the "uncaring rich." Do you believe you represent all rich people with your outreach, or just that you get lumped in with people who don't do this and that's unfair?

It can't possibly be fair to people with money to hear they're "just exploiting everyone." It also can't possibly be fair to people without money to hear they're just mooching and making bad choices.

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But the first thing to do as a society is to stop making excuses for bad choices.  A bad choice is a bad choice.   Don't make it unless you want to make your life harder for yourself.   Teach people what the good choices are (and help them follow those options).   Teach them what the bad choices are (and don't help them follow those options).

You're not just talking about "not making excuses." What you're talking about is far nobler: assuming the responsibility to teach because you can and others can't. There is a stark difference between someone having an inner monologue mocking a homeless person and what it is that you're doing.

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And telling people who are just speaking the truth that they must be clueless about poverty because they disagree with you is wrong. Some of us have been poor.  That's why we know things that helped us get out of poverty from first hand knowledge.

You know things that helped you. It may be a leap to assume much farther than that depending on each person's situation. There is a real and pervasive self-centered narrative that "I can do x, so can anybody" which conveniently wipes clean the hands of anyone ignoring the problem of poverty. If you feel you were the recipient of some of the fury over this, I could certainly see why that would upset you, but that's because you have made significant efforts yourself. Other posts have literally described not helping out of a mere suspicion the needy person wasn't worth it. You aren't really surprized that that sort of behavior makes sympathetic people angry...?

What breaks the cycle is what you're doing - actually taking a role. You have skills, power, and the ability to teach, and you're doing it, and you certainly don't have to. I really hope you get to meet a few dozen people whose lives are changed to find someone who will roll the dice on them.

SwordGuy

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #54 on: April 15, 2017, 07:31:38 PM »
There are choices people can make that will increase or decrease the chance of getting out of poverty. The more good choices that people make and the fewer bad choices they make, the greater the odds they get out of poverty.  The more bad choices and the fewer good choices, the less likely they will get out of poverty.

You basically posted that you're going out of your way to give opportunities for people who poorly understood their choices or else didn't have many choices to make.

And that's awesome.

I am at a loss, however, as to how this leads to your sarcasm about the "uncaring rich." Do you believe you represent all rich people with your outreach, or just that you get lumped in with people who don't do this and that's unfair?

It can't possibly be fair to people with money to hear they're "just exploiting everyone." It also can't possibly be fair to people without money to hear they're just mooching and making bad choices.

Some wealthy people exploit others to get rich.  Others help others to also get rich.   There's good and bad.
Some poor people are wonderful, hard-working, caring people who just got a bad break.  Others are lazy scum.  There's good and bad.

I try to work with people as they are instead of assuming things about them due to the amount of money they have.
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But the first thing to do as a society is to stop making excuses for bad choices.  A bad choice is a bad choice.   Don't make it unless you want to make your life harder for yourself.   Teach people what the good choices are (and help them follow those options).   Teach them what the bad choices are (and don't help them follow those options).

You're not just talking about "not making excuses." What you're talking about is far nobler: assuming the responsibility to teach because you can and others can't. There is a stark difference between someone having an inner monologue mocking a homeless person and what it is that you're doing.

Quote
And telling people who are just speaking the truth that they must be clueless about poverty because they disagree with you is wrong. Some of us have been poor.  That's why we know things that helped us get out of poverty from first hand knowledge.

You know things that helped you. It may be a leap to assume much farther than that depending on each person's situation. There is a real and pervasive self-centered narrative that "I can do x, so can anybody" which conveniently wipes clean the hands of anyone ignoring the problem of poverty. If you feel you were the recipient of some of the fury over this, I could certainly see why that would upset you, but that's because you have made significant efforts yourself. Other posts have literally described not helping out of a mere suspicion the needy person wasn't worth it. You aren't really surprized that that sort of behavior makes sympathetic people angry...?

What breaks the cycle is what you're doing - actually taking a role. You have skills, power, and the ability to teach, and you're doing it, and you certainly don't have to. I really hope you get to meet a few dozen people whose lives are changed to find someone who will roll the dice on them.

First of all,  I suggest you go back and carefully read my earlier post on this thread at https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/building-wealth-on-minimum-wage-triggers-backlash/msg1514030/#msg1514030.   You'll find I'm already aware of the particular "logic" flaw you're mentioning.

My wife and I crafted a path out of poverty that took into account our skillsets, resources, interests, abilities, and whatever luck (random luck or earned luck) that came our way.   (Earned luck is when you take the time to prepare for a set of opportunities and how to recognize them, and then find that opportunity.)  Random luck is just pure luck.

That exact path would not work for everyone (or even a statistically significant group of people).  But, and these are the two truly important points to understand:

(1) Different portions of our plan would help different people, so there's still benefits for them to learn what we did, and
(2) Even more importantly, there is a way of looking at the world and acting within it that helps people develop and refine a plan that will likely work for them. 

Once you learn how to think right, and then act upon that thinking, the odds of success go way up.   

Part of "thinking right" is a quest to figure out what will work for one's self and one's family.    The other part, of course, is to successfully motivate oneself and one's family to go do that.

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #55 on: April 15, 2017, 07:48:42 PM »
I just don't get why people get so offended when people say that poor people are not helpless. Obviously, there are definitely circumstances that are nearly impossible to escape. However, we're clearly not talking about the exceptions to the rule.

I still hold that the vast majority of people that are poor are poor because of bad choices. Whether it was poor parenting, being raised by a single mother, living in a bad neighborhood, or whatever, they still made the bad choices. I understand it certainly lessens the odds. I would know. I was raised by a single mother, and my only friends were drug dealers and two of my best friends ended up being murderers. So I didn't grow up in the best environment. And it definitely stunted me. But, at some point, feeling sorry for yourself, and not having an inner drive, just doesn't cut it anymore.

If you want to make something of yourself, you have to make sacrifices, and work hard. Now, I'm not one of those people that think you can do ANYTHING you want to (on topics like that, I like to defer to Mike Rowe), but there is absolutely zero reason why you should be poor for an entire 80 years in this country. It's inexcusable for anyone with an ounce of hard work in their blood.

Out of all of the things I've seen homeless people and beggars do, applying for a job is not one of them. Hell, they should be applying en masse for trade apprenticeships. The trades are severely lacking in skilled labor. So long as you can get a GED and pass a drug test, you pretty much have a $20/hr. job for 5 years (and then double or more).

SwordGuy

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #56 on: April 15, 2017, 09:55:59 PM »
I just don't get why people get so offended when people say that poor people are not helpless. Obviously, there are definitely circumstances that are nearly impossible to escape. However, we're clearly not talking about the exceptions to the rule.

Boy, howdy, do you have that right.  But a whole lot of people get REALLY offended if you suggest that a good number of poor folks just need to know what to do and how to do it, and things will generally work out for them.

Others need some temporary help to implement the strategies above, which most Americans are willing to pay taxes for.

For those who are truly helpless, we need to provide more help.

Hargrove

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #57 on: April 16, 2017, 09:00:26 AM »
First of all,  I suggest you go back and carefully read my earlier post on this thread... You'll find I'm already aware of the particular "logic" flaw you're mentioning.

Lol.

We're not really disagreeing about anything here. We're basically just enthusiastically sharing our (biggest) exasperations from opposite angles. You're most appalled more people don't take opportunities or cultivate motivation; I'm most appalled more people don't offer opportunities or understand hardship. All are needed to solve the problem, and we seem to agree that bashing the desperate is either cruel or useless (or both).

I have seen people work really hard to get a job who were finally offered one, then scheduled 15 minutes short of breaks or benefits and half the time they were promised. Unable to make ends meet, they went to get another one, and were lied to about its location because the hiring manager had none of their shit together. Both jobs weren't enough. They strung together yet another one in the list after paying 500 bucks for a cert that was in "high demand." They were offered 30+ hours of work before the cert at a decent wage, got it, then got almost four hours of work. If this person had a car or housing problem, homelessness would have been around the corner, which would have been a kick in the teeth for someone busting their ass to get jobs.

The part-time and/or gig economy is toxic for everyone stuck taking "whatever they can get." I don't hope anyone thinks the situation is hopeless or fails to realize motivation is necessary to escape it - I just hope conversations like these talk about good companies AND good workers. Employment is racing to the bottom, and companies are not often doing what your company is. I was a hiring manager - I have dealt with plenty of winners who appeared to have applied because their mothers made them (whose mothers also called out for them), who could not convince themselves (nevermind me) they were even interested in the job. I've helped prosecute theft and seen people throw away higher pay for a new spot, some place no one knew the employee lied about everything and refused to work. And I have no doubt they'll get what's coming to them, but tremendous doubt that everyone who needs a shot will get one (instead of get taken advantage of).

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #58 on: April 16, 2017, 09:40:35 AM »
I don't know what part-time/gig economy you're referring to. It's not the one I live in. If people can't find a full-time job, and desperately need one, I implore them to come to WV. There are unskilled, full-time jobs literally all over the place. The ONLY reason they're unfilled is because people here would rather sneak around and do meth than apply for jobs.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #59 on: April 16, 2017, 10:25:08 AM »
I don't know what part-time/gig economy you're referring to. It's not the one I live in. If people can't find a full-time job, and desperately need one, I implore them to come to WV. There are unskilled, full-time jobs literally all over the place. The ONLY reason they're unfilled is because people here would rather sneak around and do meth than apply for jobs.

It's a regional phenomenon that is confined primarily to the low-skilled job economy in parts of the country that are struggling economically. It can only exist in areas with a struggling private sector, where profit margins are extremely thin, there's no strong manufacturing base, and there's a sizable underclass full of marginally employable people. The vast majority of the entry level jobs are in service and retail. Finally-- and this is very important-- the state laws must be slanted very heavily in favor of the employer.

When I say "slanted" I mean that the net result of employment law makes it easy for employers to jerk their employees around. Such laws are put into place by "business friendly" legislators who really, truly, honestly believe that making life easy for business creates more jobs and better quality jobs. Yet the laws in combination with other existing laws have some unintended consequences. For example, the state may have "at will" employment in which a person can be fired or let go with minimal notice regardless of reason. Or, they may have a law that allows a union to force all employees of a union company to join as a condition of employment. The law may also permit things like non-compete clauses in even the most menial jobs such as juice counter employees: a person working at a Keva juice counter cannot seek or accept employment with a competitor for at least two years after leaving the job, so as to protect the "valuable intellectual property" of the corporation that hires them. This is at the sort of job where training is minimal (a day or two at most) and the "valuable intellectual property" consists of a recipe list showing which ingredients to throw into the blender. The result is an economy where the cost-to-exchange for an employee is extremely high, but the cost-to-exchange for an employer of unskilled people is negligible. When combined with an artificially high minimum wage, there's a perverse incentive for employers to hire only part-time labor that temporarily gets close to full-time hours when the busy season hits.

In a depressed regional economy, only public sector employees, old money, and the most elite or successful private sector employees have a lot of money to spend year-round. There are surges in the retail and service sector around Black Friday, Christmas, tax return season, and tourist season if there is one and if tourism forms a significant part of the local economy. For unskilled workers, employment is highly seasonal, and in the off season people must be either laid off or have their hours cut back. An outdoor amusement park in a temperate climate, for example, cannot operate in six inches of snow. It will have surges of business during the summer but only weekend traffic during spring and autumn school season, and during the winter it will be closed altogether such that the only people needed to run the place will be a couple administrators and a minimalist groundskeeping and repair staff.

The result of a couple generations of this kind of economy is there's not going to be much in the way of a middle class. A lot of work opportunity tends to exist, but there isn't much money to pay for the work to be done. So employers tend to hire only what they need. During the slack seasons, people simply can't count on much in terms of hours.

Small businesses that exist in an economy like this tend to have a core group of people-- chiefly the owner and his or her family and friends-- who receive most of the available hours during the slow season. Everyone else bickers over the leftover scraps. It's an environment conducive to blatant nepotism.

For many living in such an economy, there are some possible solutions. One might become an entrepreneur who does the dishing-out of hours, instead of an employee who seeks the hours. One might get into a high-pressure retail job where business is booming year-round, or one might seek out higher education and credentials that allow for year-round employment in a field such as medicine. Each of these strategies has some barriers to entry that anyone on this board can easily identify-- barriers that are surmountable to people on the right side of the bell curve with respect to skills, existing resources, connections, opportunities, or learning abilities. For the left side of the bell curve, not only do they lack bootstraps but they just aren't quite tough enough or bright enough to design, build, and use new ones. With a little nudge, however, there are some individuals who can get into a steady employment-based lifestyle and then mostly coast. There are folks who can live happily on the income from delivering mail or giving out allergy injections.

Now, what SwordGuy and his wife are doing, and what I'm doing but in a different way, involves identifying individuals in a rough economic situation due to being from the left side of the bell curve as described in the previous paragraph, and adding some skills, opportunities and connections to allow them to gain year-round economic security for themselves and their families. The left side of the bell curve has a lot of individuals in it, and many of them are connected to other individuals with some habits that preclude wealth accumulation or even healthy living. So we've learned from experience that just throwing resources at them creates some perverse incentives. The hypothesis in this experiment-- please correct me if I'm wrong, any of my fellow experimenters-- is that creating a painter, a phlebotomist, or a bus driver out of someone whose options would otherwise be limited to burger flipping or cleaning hotel rooms will allow that individual to snag a job that provides benefits such as health care and steady full-time employment, and improve his or her immediate family's economic prospects.

Boxing up a truckload of underclass persons and shipping them to WV without this essential preparation wouldn't do WV any favors.

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #60 on: April 16, 2017, 10:58:11 AM »

Boxing up a truckload of underclass persons and shipping them to WV without this essential preparation wouldn't do WV any favors.
I agree. But, at the end of the day, while people can choose to help poor people, it's not their obligation. It still takes effort on the part of the poor people.

I'm not quite sure I'm making myself clear. You shouldn't aspire to be a cashier. But it's better than being homeless.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #61 on: April 16, 2017, 11:57:38 AM »

Boxing up a truckload of underclass persons and shipping them to WV without this essential preparation wouldn't do WV any favors.
I agree. But, at the end of the day, while people can choose to help poor people, it's not their obligation. It still takes effort on the part of the poor people.

I'm not quite sure I'm making myself clear. You shouldn't aspire to be a cashier. But it's better than being homeless.

You're 100% right; to a normal human being it's a no-brainer. Any of us, given only those two options, would most likely pick cashier work.

The thing is, in underclass communities there's another option.

For some people, instead of choosing between homelessness and cashier work, the "better" path is to have someone else be the cashier, pay the bills and provide accommodation and food, and generally be the adult. That lets the individual get his or her needs met while contributing nothing but his or her presence. I'm not talking about the homemaker in a breadwinner/homemaker dyad (homemakers work their butts off and greatly benefit their families in a way that doesn't involve earning an outside income). I'm talking about someone who contributes nothing to the family or community except their presence and possibly the contribution of DNA to the next generation.

In a normal family, the option of living that way doesn't exist. In a highly dysfunctional family, it does. In fact it's considered normal and to many people *that* option is the no-brainer.

Dysfunctional living isn't confined to poor families; it's just a lot more visible from the outside. But a person to whom it is normal will never see the cashier-or-homeless choice as an actual binary choice, or believe that those are the only two options.

You and I most likely don't see this third path because it either wasn't part of our world, it wasn't available to *us* as individuals, or we don't take it seriously. When people do in large numbers, that's when you get a problem big enough to wreck social safety nets.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2017, 02:20:41 PM by TheGrimSqueaker »

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #62 on: April 17, 2017, 08:19:59 AM »
The trades are severely lacking in skilled labor. So long as you can get a GED and pass a drug test, you pretty much have a $20/hr. job for 5 years (and then double or more).

Absolutely true, however staying away from drugs isn't something that can be expected of a committed user: it's a thing that can make someone unemployable in the midst of plenty. Same thing goes for functional illiteracy or innumeracy; if a person with a mild learning difficulty doesn't get through high school the conventional way they're pretty much toast.

Just Joe

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #63 on: April 17, 2017, 09:10:48 AM »
Funny coincidence. I just saw an old beggar that I hadn't seen in about a year or so. Back at it again, same spot. Sign was saying he needed the money for Easter. Made eye contact, felt zero sympathy.

I should've asked him what how he'd spend $50 if I gave it to him. This would have been a pretty damn good answer:

-Go the the haircut place just down the road, and spend $20 on a good haircut and shaving
-Go to Goodwill (just down the road as well), and buy some low-end clothes for $20.
-Go to Planet Fitness (also just down the road), and buy a membership for $10. Take a shower
-Go to McDonald's, IHOP, the 2 gas stations, and Shop n' Save, and apply (all right down the road, all hiring right now)

But, we know damn well he wouldn't have done any of those things, so I kept my mouth shut.

There could be more to the story but I saw a beggar on the off-ramp nearest my house as I bicycled to work on Sat. Looking for handouts. Within 500 ft were three help wanted signs...

For the folks living in shelters looking for jobs: get a PO box at the post office and handle job applications using that. I believe I've seen strip malls with businesses that have mailboxes and shipping services?

Or use the street address of the homeless shelter but not the name of the shelter. Speak with the shelter manager to ensure this is allowed. I have no idea what other shelters are like but our town's shelter has an excellent rep with people I've talked to. They actually help people.

Another option: make a friend and use their mailing address for applications. No, they can't apply for a loan and use my address but they can use my address for the job application.

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #64 on: April 17, 2017, 09:15:18 AM »
The worst beggars I've seen lived in south Florida when I lived there. I'm not exaggerating when I say that 90% of the beggars I saw were frauds, and I often saw them entering their VERY expensive cars (that put my mom's brand new Chrysler 300 [before they were drug dealer cars] to shame).

Laura33

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #65 on: April 17, 2017, 09:21:57 AM »
I think there is an elephant in this particular room that hasn't yet been mentioned:  incarceration.  In the vast majority of places, you can get a minimum wage job if you have a GED and pass a drug test *and pass a criminal background check.*  DOJ estimates that almost 30% of African American men and 16% of Hispanic men will be incarcerated in their lifetime; for men overall, the figure is 9%.  See https://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/Llgsfp.pdf.  I think it is safe to assume that these figures are disproportionately higher in the lower-income brackets. 

I live near a major city with a permanent underclass.  Drugs and gangs are prevalent, kids -- and I mean kids -- join for protection, or because that's who they see has money, maybe they start to deal, maybe they start to use; eventually they get arrested, and eventually, they get an adult record.  Now you get out of prison, maybe you even got clean and want to fly right.  But with that adult record, no one will hire you even for $10/hr -- now the only jobs that are open and waiting for you are right back where you came from.  So you start with one mistake -- a mistake you may even have made at 9 or 10, before you had a chance to know better -- and it takes you down a path that is very, very hard to escape. 

I think the other issue that is hard for most of us to understand is the power of the social ties.  In a world where money is scarce, social capital is everything.  So when you make money, you are expected to share it with those who don't; when you don't have it, in turn, you can stay on someone's couch, share food, and basically provide what you can.  You have kids, someone else watches them so you can cover your shift; you watch someone else's for theirs, or Grandma or unemployed Auntie watches everyone's.  So it's not always an intuitive choice for someone who grew up in that world to leave behind their entire safety net in favor of a $10/hr job in a strange town -- they may not have it great, but they generally have a roof over their head and something to eat, and if they have a record, that job is probably just a pipe dream anyway.  Which is why you end up with that permanent underclass, because everyone stays put, even though the only jobs are those in the underground economy, because that's where they have people who will look out for them.

Doesn't mean everyone is stuck, doesn't mean you shouldn't do what you can, doesn't mean it isn't frustrating when people make stupid decisions and shoot themselves in the foot.  But it's also not just laziness or lack of initiative.  People like my kids, they get second and third and fourth chances, because we are UMC, educated, and white.  You take a kid my son's age and put him down on a corner, he may be off and running the wrong way before he even has the executive function to recognize that it's the wrong way.  There is just way, way less margin of error for that kid.

SwordGuy

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #66 on: April 17, 2017, 09:47:04 AM »
I would argue that less than 0.00001% of all people dealing drugs do not know that (a) dealing drugs is illegal and (b) can get them into trouble with the law.

Choices have consequences.

Bad choices generally have bad consequences.

Good choices generally have good consequences.

So, let's stop making excuses and start to break the cycle.     Warning, though, that may require doing things that will really upset folks.   Because tossing money at dysfunctional people does not, as we all know, fix them.  It just lets them be dysfunctional with more money.

Hargrove

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #67 on: April 17, 2017, 04:15:04 PM »
I'm really confused.

"Let's start to break the cycle. Warning - may really upset folks."

Oh? What are you doing?

"I'm offering people chances who don't usually get chances."

Um. Not upset, here. Hi. Still think that's awesome. You're already addressing the concern many have about the uneven playing field by leveling some of it yourself. But it seems that anyone talking about it makes you tell them choices have consequences for some reason. Still think what you're doing is great. Still not upset. Can't imagine who would be upset.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 04:59:05 PM by Hargrove »

human

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #68 on: April 17, 2017, 05:15:08 PM »
Weird I didn't realize kids chose their parents and their parents professions . . .

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #69 on: April 17, 2017, 07:15:15 PM »
I'm really confused.

"Let's start to break the cycle. Warning - may really upset folks."

Oh? What are you doing?

"I'm offering people chances who don't usually get chances."

Um. Not upset, here. Hi. Still think that's awesome. You're already addressing the concern many have about the uneven playing field by leveling some of it yourself. But it seems that anyone talking about it makes you tell them choices have consequences for some reason. Still think what you're doing is great. Still not upset. Can't imagine who would be upset.

If the experiment goes the way mine's going, I predict that he's going to piss off loads of people and become a very unpopular guy in certain circles. He's going to upset everyone he says "no" to in order to say "yes" to the individuals he cherry-picks as being worth teaching or helping.

By that, I mean people he doesn't identify as being worth hiring due to their obvious lack of work ethic, substance abuse, reliability problems, or other things that are "not their fault". I also mean the people who think they ought to just be given resources such as one of the rental houses, or the people he has to fire due to subsequent sloth, dishonesty, or inattention to quality. Likewise the know-it-alls who decide he's dishonest or incompetent simply because he wants things done in a specific way, and the people who are angry because the amount he pays them is less than union scale for a person with credentials and experience.

Since SwordGuy and his wife are "rich", as in retired with an extra property to renovate that they don't live in, some of the people they employ may be angry because they're earning less than they want from an employer who "can afford" to pay more.

Anyone who's ever been an employer has noticed that there are some people who are just plain butt-hurt no matter what. The worst are the ones you have to let go because their actions have consequences.

Another source of anger and criticism will come from the Social Justice Warriors who are terminally offended that SwordGuy is requiring people to *work* and produce something of value in exchange for money. To some, only legitimate charity is the kind that's given unconditionally and unreservedly, without any regard for whether the recipient "deserves" it or earns it. So long as the recipient is poor, he or she is entitled to the product of SwordGuy's labor, without having to give anything of like value in exchange. (Yes, people who believe this actually exist and don't starve to death.)

Finally, I expect some righteous fury from other people who are just as well positioned financially as SwordGuy but who are unwilling to personally do what it takes to make a difference to anyone who isn't a family member or a friend. The suggestion that we all breathe the same air, and that those of us who accumulate wealth do indeed benefit from living in a society where a child's future isn't solely dependent on his or her parents' wealth and occupation, sits badly with some.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 07:24:29 PM by TheGrimSqueaker »

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #70 on: April 17, 2017, 07:22:43 PM »
Weird I didn't realize kids chose their parents and their parents professions . . .
Nope. But they can choose their own professions. No excuses.

SwordGuy

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #71 on: April 17, 2017, 07:33:22 PM »
TheGrimSqueaker raises some very good points.

The way we're finding people now doesn't raise those issues because there's no outside group of folks looking at our choices.   I don't bring up the subject unless the person has already convinced me they're worth it.

If we work with a group of folks to funnel candidates to us, those problems might crop up.  Since we'll be retired (not quite yet, 1 year to go!), we won't HAVE to do a damn thing unless we want to.   We can tell them to sod off and walk away.   FU money has its uses.

The people who are the biggest problem in this situation are those who feel the poor are helpless and don't want to ever expect anything useful out of them.   Excuse-making for other people's bad choices is apparently very popular.

I don't want to make people apoplectic on both sides of this fence, so I won't go into details on my prescription.  I can honestly say that typical conservatives and typical liberals would have a hissy fit on different parts of it.   I know this because, well, I've encountered it too often before.




Hargrove

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #72 on: April 17, 2017, 07:58:13 PM »
If the experiment goes the way mine's going, I predict that he's going to piss off loads of people and become a very unpopular guy in certain circles. He's going to upset everyone he says "no" to in order to say "yes" to the individuals he cherry-picks as being worth teaching or helping... since SwordGuy and his wife are "rich", as in retired with an extra property to renovate that they don't live in, some of the people they employ may be angry because they're earning less than they want from an employer who "can afford" to pay more... anyone who's ever been an employer has noticed that there are some people who are just plain butt-hurt no matter what. The worst are the ones you have to let go because their actions have consequences.

None of this is really a consequence of "breaking the cycle." You're just saying some people are petty.

I don't know any "social justice warriors" at all who are offended by working and producing something of value. Not even supporters of UBI are "offended" by work. As for charity, charity given "unconditionally and unreservedly" is... charity. It's not a special subsection of charity. It does not lead to any entitlement. To be charity, it can't be an entitlement.

I also seriously doubt there are many other rich people waiting to yell at SwordGuy for doing this, either, but aisle crossing (or perceived aisle crossing) is now forbidden, so even this conversation comes preloaded with an awful lot of (sometimes very weird) assumptions.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #73 on: April 17, 2017, 08:47:40 PM »
Some people have bad luck. But when bad luck strikes every month like clockwork, there's usually something else going on.

Inaya

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #74 on: April 18, 2017, 07:26:14 AM »
I don't know any "social justice warriors" at all who are offended by working and producing something of value. Not even supporters of UBI are "offended" by work. As for charity, charity given "unconditionally and unreservedly" is... charity. It's not a special subsection of charity. It does not lead to any entitlement. To be charity, it can't be an entitlement.
There are those who would scream that you're "exploiting them" by offering them money to do some task.

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #75 on: April 18, 2017, 07:28:08 AM »

I don't know any "social justice warriors" at all who are offended by working and producing something of value.
Where do you live? Genuinely curious. Go to CA, MA, or NYC. You'll see them by the thousands.

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #76 on: April 18, 2017, 07:56:50 AM »
This all really boils down to an understandable, but still logically fallacious, false dilemma (or dichotomy, if you will).
According to research, most people would rightly agree with each of these statements:

#1: we have structural issues in our economy that increase the wealth gap and reduce opportunities for people to elevate themselves from poverty.
#2: many people fail to take advantage of known methods that could increase their odds of a better life.

An argument in favor of either statement is too often mistaken for a counterargument to the other, and the ensuing misguided rage undercuts the odds of a healthy and productive discussion. Every conversation should be informed by the knowledge of that tendency, in order to recognize and defuse the mistaken counterattacks.


zephyr911

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #77 on: April 18, 2017, 08:00:26 AM »
Go to CA, MA, or NYC. You'll see [people offended by working and producing something of value] by the thousands.

I realize hyperbole is a time-honored tradition, but is this helpful?

I like to think of this as a community where people realize not all differences in values or worldview signify deep-seated character flaws....

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #78 on: April 18, 2017, 08:06:42 AM »
Go to CA, MA, or NYC. You'll see [people offended by working and producing something of value] by the thousands.

I realize hyperbole is a time-honored tradition, but is this helpful?

I like to think of this as a community where people realize not all differences in values or worldview signify deep-seated character flaws....
Thats not hyperbole. I've spent a good amount of time both living and visiting those states. It truly is not hyperbole.

zephyr911

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #79 on: April 18, 2017, 08:10:04 AM »
Thats not hyperbole. I've spent a good amount of time both living and visiting those states. It truly is not hyperbole.
And SJWs there are offended by work and productivity? I must have missed that in my time also living and visiting there. It boggles the mind that you're saying this in all seriousness.

It would be one thing to say they don't value those things enough. It's another to claim they're actually opposed.

GhostSaver

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #80 on: April 18, 2017, 08:14:39 AM »
Maybe the values held by the people of MA, CA, and NYC are actually the values that produce economic activity and worth? If the rest of our nation were as productive as those regions, we would be much wealthier and higher-income. Maybe people who live elsewhere and aspire to economic success should try to figure out what the denizens of Boston and San Francisco are doing that makes them so much more prosperous than the denizens of Alabama. Just my $0.02.

Just Joe

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #81 on: April 18, 2017, 08:19:14 AM »
Ayn Rand mention in 3... 2... 1...

(maybe not...)

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #82 on: April 18, 2017, 09:14:41 AM »
If the experiment goes the way mine's going, I predict that he's going to piss off loads of people and become a very unpopular guy in certain circles. He's going to upset everyone he says "no" to in order to say "yes" to the individuals he cherry-picks as being worth teaching or helping... since SwordGuy and his wife are "rich", as in retired with an extra property to renovate that they don't live in, some of the people they employ may be angry because they're earning less than they want from an employer who "can afford" to pay more... anyone who's ever been an employer has noticed that there are some people who are just plain butt-hurt no matter what. The worst are the ones you have to let go because their actions have consequences.

None of this is really a consequence of "breaking the cycle." You're just saying some people are petty.

It's not petty to see somebody else break out of the cycle of poverty, not get the same opportunity yourself, and be vocally annoyed about it. For such an individual, it's a survival issue.

Being passed over for an opportunity sucks no matter who you are. It leads to the same feeling of frustration experienced by "white male" students who come from a difficult family situation and who don't experience the stereotypical privilege they'd have had if their families were wealthier. While struggling to put themselves through college, they see a plethora of scholarships available to women, minorities, and people with disabilities. But they themselves aren't eligible. So yes, there's going to be some frustrated people, and you'd better bet that some of the frustration is going to be directed against whoever is providing the opportunity.

SwordGuy and other people engaged in poverty rectification experiments can't help everyone. It's logistically impossible.

Quote
I don't know any "social justice warriors" at all who are offended by working and producing something of value. Not even supporters of UBI are "offended" by work.

Instead of recalling college conversations from the distant past, I'm going to use an example from my own city.

There's a local homeless shelter called Joy Junction that routinely gets flak for requiring that the people who stay there be either actively looking for employment or performing some kind of labor in exchange for a place to sleep. The labor might be cleaning up in the kitchen, sweeping the floor, or working a desk. Every time there's a newspaper article that mentions them (and they're the biggest shelter in the city, the only one that accepts whole families, so they're mentioned often) the trolls come out in force. A few of the local reporters are likewise critical of the policy.

So far as I know, none of the critics are stepping forward to offer any of the homeless families shelter in their own personal dwellings labor-free. Nor are they organizing food drives or other initiatives to provide resources to those who refuse to work. They generally confine themselves to bleating about how other people "ought" to spend their resources.

Quote
As for charity, charity given "unconditionally and unreservedly" is... charity. It's not a special subsection of charity. It does not lead to any entitlement. To be charity, it can't be an entitlement.

Giving unconditionally and unreservedly is one possible way to do charity. However it is not the only legitimate form of charity. Habitat for Humanity, for example, requires all the recipients of their houses to help build them. There's subsequently a series of mortgage payments. The house isn't an unconditional gift. Yet it seems to me HfH is definitely a charity in every sense of the word.

If by "an entitlement" you mean that charity can't be mandatory like a tax, with legal penalties for not doing it, I agree with you there. Once people are forced to contribute it becomes wealth redistribution.

If you mean a situation where the recipient of charity begins to feel entitled to it, that can be a form of dependency, but it doesn't change the essentially charitable nature of the transaction on the giver's end.

Quote
I also seriously doubt there are many other rich people waiting to yell at SwordGuy for doing this, either, but aisle crossing (or perceived aisle crossing) is now forbidden, so even this conversation comes preloaded with an awful lot of (sometimes very weird) assumptions.

How  much contact have you had with wealthy individuals who have no problem giving heavily to campaign contributions but that have no charitable venture?

Mezzie

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #83 on: April 18, 2017, 09:16:49 AM »
Go to CA, MA, or NYC. You'll see [people offended by working and producing something of value] by the thousands.

I realize hyperbole is a time-honored tradition, but is this helpful?

I like to think of this as a community where people realize not all differences in values or worldview signify deep-seated character flaws....
Thats not hyperbole. I've spent a good amount of time both living and visiting those states. It truly is not hyperbole.

I'm a CA "social justice warrior" as you put it, and one my social group's biggest pushes is to help people get work (especially those with a history of incarceration). I certainly haven't met anyone offended by the idea of helping people become productive and self-sufficient. But just because that's the ideal goal doesn't mean I'm going to stop with the handouts, either. Not everyone is in a situation where they can work or get hired; recognizing that doesn't mean the former is offensive.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #84 on: April 18, 2017, 09:41:13 AM »
Go to CA, MA, or NYC. You'll see [people offended by working and producing something of value] by the thousands.

I realize hyperbole is a time-honored tradition, but is this helpful?

I like to think of this as a community where people realize not all differences in values or worldview signify deep-seated character flaws....
Thats not hyperbole. I've spent a good amount of time both living and visiting those states. It truly is not hyperbole.

I'm a CA "social justice warrior" as you put it, and one my social group's biggest pushes is to help people get work (especially those with a history of incarceration). I certainly haven't met anyone offended by the idea of helping people become productive and self-sufficient. But just because that's the ideal goal doesn't mean I'm going to stop with the handouts, either. Not everyone is in a situation where they can work or get hired; recognizing that doesn't mean the former is offensive.

I'll answer because I'm the one who introduced the Social Justice Warriors as a group of people that contains some individuals who are frequent critics of work-centric aid. A couple posts back I provided evidence that I wasn't using a straw-man argument.

Your willingness to not be offended by the fact there are other paths up the mountain do set you aside from the kind of SJW I originally described. The kind of person I described, who does not acknowledge the other paths up the mountain, is invariably not actually involved in a hands-on charitable venture. Their involvement, if any, is limited to writing checks... and frankly they seldom even do that. It's easier to throw stones at someone else than to pick stones up and build something useful out of them.

High fives for working on a very difficult task. Recent incarcerated felons are hard to house and employ, and that's a known factor that contributes to recidivism.

I have a logistics question for you, if you don't mind. For the newly released people who can't find work, have you had any success in getting them long-term support from family members or close friends? Or does a repeat offender's patterns of conduct make them too much of a liability? The executive director of the homeless shelter I mentioned a few posts back is a fan of family based placement. But he acknowledges that his strategy has its limits and doesn't work for the long-term addicts or the people with a history of abusing family members.

Edited to add: Laura33 has already identified incarceration as one of several barriers to employment, and shown evidence that it is correlated with generational poverty.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 09:44:30 AM by TheGrimSqueaker »

mm1970

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #85 on: April 18, 2017, 10:00:49 AM »

Boxing up a truckload of underclass persons and shipping them to WV without this essential preparation wouldn't do WV any favors.
I agree. But, at the end of the day, while people can choose to help poor people, it's not their obligation. It still takes effort on the part of the poor people.

I'm not quite sure I'm making myself clear. You shouldn't aspire to be a cashier. But it's better than being homeless.

Why not though?  I mean, I have a friend who was a cashier, started college (art history), switched to chemistry, ended up as an engineer.  But she was making $24 an hour as a cashier.

I only ask because of this - someone needs to be the cashier.  And when I was a kid, it was a decent job.  There was nothing shameful about it.  It required skills (knowing how to run the register), interpersonal skills, and the ability to count change and cash out at the end of the day.  It came with health insurance.  It was a good, solid job.  It would not allow you to live high on the hog, but two jobs like that in a family put you solidly into the middle class.  Though maybe on the lower end.

I'm not sure if society has changed, or if it's just that I've moved from a rural area to a suburban area - but suddenly I am often surrounded by people who make disparaging comments about these types of jobs.  That they are a "stepping stone" and "not intended for adults to support a family" and ...???  Since when?  I mean, really?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #86 on: April 18, 2017, 10:03:51 AM »
Your willingness to not be offended by the fact there are other paths up the mountain do set you aside from the kind of SJW I originally described. The kind of person I described, who does not acknowledge the other paths up the mountain, is invariably not actually involved in a hands-on charitable venture. Their involvement, if any, is limited to writing checks... and frankly they seldom even do that. It's easier to throw stones at someone else than to pick stones up and build something useful out of them.
To me, the SJW is largely internet-based person who upvotes upworthy.com and Occupy Democrats posts on Facebook, shows up at a march or two. They don't write checks because they don't have money to spare.

mm1970

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #87 on: April 18, 2017, 10:04:42 AM »
Weird I didn't realize kids chose their parents and their parents professions . . .
Nope. But they can choose their own professions. No excuses.
Can they though?  Not really.  If you look at the statistics.

People who "bootstrap" are outliers.

Not everyone can be an engineer.  A doctor.  A lawyer.  An accountant. 

There's nothing shameful in that.

There are kids at my son's school that are homeless.  "Oh, but you can be a doctor!" 
Yeah okay.  Elementary, JH, high school, college and med school when you are homeless.

Or the kids who age out of foster care.  "You can be anything".  With no family.

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #88 on: April 18, 2017, 10:10:17 AM »

Boxing up a truckload of underclass persons and shipping them to WV without this essential preparation wouldn't do WV any favors.
I agree. But, at the end of the day, while people can choose to help poor people, it's not their obligation. It still takes effort on the part of the poor people.

I'm not quite sure I'm making myself clear. You shouldn't aspire to be a cashier. But it's better than being homeless.

Why not though?  I mean, I have a friend who was a cashier, started college (art history), switched to chemistry, ended up as an engineer.  But she was making $24 an hour as a cashier.

I only ask because of this - someone needs to be the cashier.  And when I was a kid, it was a decent job.  There was nothing shameful about it.  It required skills (knowing how to run the register), interpersonal skills, and the ability to count change and cash out at the end of the day.  It came with health insurance.  It was a good, solid job.  It would not allow you to live high on the hog, but two jobs like that in a family put you solidly into the middle class.  Though maybe on the lower end.

I'm not sure if society has changed, or if it's just that I've moved from a rural area to a suburban area - but suddenly I am often surrounded by people who make disparaging comments about these types of jobs.  That they are a "stepping stone" and "not intended for adults to support a family" and ...???  Since when?  I mean, really?
I'd like to see where cashiers make $24/hr. Can you say easiest paycheck I will ever get?

Prairie Stash

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #89 on: April 18, 2017, 10:33:38 AM »
Life is tough. Getting ahead is harder. You're guaranteed to remain at the bottom rung if you take the attitude that it can't be done. How is saying that they can't be anything helping?

In my life I met a few people who assumed I couldn't move upwards; one teacher stood out. He assumed a kid like me could never go anywhere but the next menial wage job and told me so. If I had listened to his condescension I would have missed moving upwards. The biggest key to upwards mobility is hope, you need to give it a try and hope you make it. All this ugly talk about how people at the bottom can't go upwards isn't helpful, you're perpetuating the cycle.

Instead of looking for reasons people are in poverty, try posting about how to get out; like the original article attempted to do. There are a million stories for why people are in poverty, we can go through them all or start looking for solutions. The message about becoming anything should be true for every child, instead of busting my chops for trying to make it reality; how about you pitch in and make it reality?

My quality of life went up quite a bit when I hit University, Student loans (after tuition, todays dollars) of $1100/month to live off seemed a fortune (I saved money in those days, it was more than I needed). For some kids the college route is easier than their previous lifestyle. Don't keep repeating the BS about not being able to attend post secondary if you're poor, the biggest obstacle isn't money, its overcoming the mindset that you cant attend...because you're poor. My brother originally skipped post secondary precisely because he believed the crap people told him, that poor kids can't go onwards. After 8 years he followed my lead and made his way out, its weird that his little brother had to be his example. Now he's well off, I wonder where he would be if my parents had stopped having children before they had me?

For a lot of kids being poor is a mindset, getting them to change their views is hard when people constantly defend it as a valid POV. Although a lot of kids will never make it out of poverty, I'll never discourage the few that do make it out.

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #90 on: April 18, 2017, 11:59:40 AM »
I'm not sure if society has changed, or if it's just that I've moved from a rural area to a suburban area - but suddenly I am often surrounded by people who make disparaging comments about these types of jobs.  That they are a "stepping stone" and "not intended for adults to support a family" and ...???  Since when?  I mean, really?

I'd say the mid to late 1980's, beginning in industrialized urban areas and spreading outward as time passed. That was when the franchise model of business really caught on, so that simplifying jobs as much as possible so as to hire the cheapest possible labor available became the Thing To Do. It was also when the labor movement started to self destruct.

People watching the trend started pushing their kids toward knowledge based ("college" type) jobs instead of factory or labor work, because they didn't see a future in it long-term. I don't think most people saw a distinction between highly skilled trade-type work and unskilled labor, and when they saw franchises and chain stores spanking the pants off of the Mom-and-Pop businesses that couldn't have looked like a safe bet either.

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #91 on: April 18, 2017, 12:11:58 PM »
I'm not sure if society has changed, or if it's just that I've moved from a rural area to a suburban area - but suddenly I am often surrounded by people who make disparaging comments about these types of jobs.  That they are a "stepping stone" and "not intended for adults to support a family" and ...???  Since when?  I mean, really?
People watching the trend started pushing their kids toward knowledge based ("college" type) jobs instead of factory or labor work, because they didn't see a future in it long-term. I don't think most people saw a distinction between highly skilled trade-type work and unskilled labor, and when they saw franchises and chain stores spanking the pants off of the Mom-and-Pop businesses that couldn't have looked like a safe bet either.
Add to this the fact that '80s and early '90s kids were raised to the refrain of "all you need to succeed is a college degree--any college degree." Which eventually morphed into "a college degree is the ONLY viable option--you'll fail without it."

mm1970

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #92 on: April 18, 2017, 12:13:44 PM »
I'm not sure if society has changed, or if it's just that I've moved from a rural area to a suburban area - but suddenly I am often surrounded by people who make disparaging comments about these types of jobs.  That they are a "stepping stone" and "not intended for adults to support a family" and ...???  Since when?  I mean, really?

I'd say the mid to late 1980's, beginning in industrialized urban areas and spreading outward as time passed. That was when the franchise model of business really caught on, so that simplifying jobs as much as possible so as to hire the cheapest possible labor available became the Thing To Do. It was also when the labor movement started to self destruct.

People watching the trend started pushing their kids toward knowledge based ("college" type) jobs instead of factory or labor work, because they didn't see a future in it long-term. I don't think most people saw a distinction between highly skilled trade-type work and unskilled labor, and when they saw franchises and chain stores spanking the pants off of the Mom-and-Pop businesses that couldn't have looked like a safe bet either.
The timing certainly makes sense, because my time in that industry (part time jobs) was mid to late 1980s.


mm1970

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #93 on: April 18, 2017, 12:25:45 PM »
Life is tough. Getting ahead is harder. You're guaranteed to remain at the bottom rung if you take the attitude that it can't be done. How is saying that they can't be anything helping?

In my life I met a few people who assumed I couldn't move upwards; one teacher stood out. He assumed a kid like me could never go anywhere but the next menial wage job and told me so. If I had listened to his condescension I would have missed moving upwards. The biggest key to upwards mobility is hope, you need to give it a try and hope you make it. All this ugly talk about how people at the bottom can't go upwards isn't helpful, you're perpetuating the cycle.

Instead of looking for reasons people are in poverty, try posting about how to get out; like the original article attempted to do. There are a million stories for why people are in poverty, we can go through them all or start looking for solutions. The message about becoming anything should be true for every child, instead of busting my chops for trying to make it reality; how about you pitch in and make it reality?

My quality of life went up quite a bit when I hit University, Student loans (after tuition, todays dollars) of $1100/month to live off seemed a fortune (I saved money in those days, it was more than I needed). For some kids the college route is easier than their previous lifestyle. Don't keep repeating the BS about not being able to attend post secondary if you're poor, the biggest obstacle isn't money, its overcoming the mindset that you cant attend...because you're poor. My brother originally skipped post secondary precisely because he believed the crap people told him, that poor kids can't go onwards. After 8 years he followed my lead and made his way out, its weird that his little brother had to be his example. Now he's well off, I wonder where he would be if my parents had stopped having children before they had me?

For a lot of kids being poor is a mindset, getting them to change their views is hard when people constantly defend it as a valid POV. Although a lot of kids will never make it out of poverty, I'll never discourage the few that do make it out.
How is telling them to "go to college" helping?  I mean, that's a HUGE push in our elementary school.  They start talking about it in kindergarten.

In a school with homeless kids.  50% English learner.  70% on free and reduced price lunch.  "Everyone must be college ready!"

- No discussion of how to pay for college
- No discussion of cost/ benefit analysis for specific degrees
- No discussion of familial support (so, a lot of our demographic are Mexican, and they generally do not support college.  As my friend, who is Mexican explains it - this is common in 1st/ 2nd generation):
1. Mom is at home, not allowed to drive.  Very patriarchal.  So...no ability to get involved at the school
2. School and grades are not always emphasized
3. When old enough to work, you have to work.  Doesn't matter if you are still in high school. And when you are 18, if you aren't contributing financially, get out.

It doesn't mean it can't happen (hey, I'm 1st gen college graduate from a poor family, and my dad did NOT think girls should go to college).  But I wasn't homeless, and my  mother had the sense to divorce my dad before I graduated hs.  So we had no money, but at least I was allowed to GO.  And my mom sent me care packages of ramen noodles.  And she drove 2 hours to pick me up at the end of each semester.  I cannot imagine what it would have been like with zero family support.  Zero.

But recognizing that the hill to climb is just, frankly, fucking high for a LOT of kids - so high it's insurmountable - is not a bad thing. 

It *doesn't* mean we don't try and teach kids to work hard, find a job, pay their bills, be financially responsible.

It *does* mean we don't look down on people who don't "succeed" in a high paying, college-level job when not ONLY did they not start on 3rd base, they had to swim 2 miles to shore and hike through the jungle to even find the dugout.


I don't think it's odd that you went first and your brother followed.  I went first and I'm the 8th of 9.  But - there wasn't money.  My older sisters didn't decide to forgo college "because they didn't belong there".  They couldn't afford it, and my father would not allow them to go.  It's the same trend for all of my cousins.  The older ones didn't go, the younger ones did.  Even with my aunts and uncles - the youngest uncle was able to go to trade school, because by then they had money.  My two youngest cousins have PhD's in science.  Their oldest siblings have HS diplomas (though one of them has a brother who joined the military and used the GI bill to get a degree eventually.)

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #94 on: April 18, 2017, 01:14:17 PM »
How is telling them to "go to college" helping?  I mean, that's a HUGE push in our elementary school.  They start talking about it in kindergarten.

In a school with homeless kids.  50% English learner.  70% on free and reduced price lunch.  "Everyone must be college ready!"

- No discussion of how to pay for college
- No discussion of cost/ benefit analysis for specific degrees
- No discussion of familial support (so, a lot of our demographic are Mexican, and they generally do not support college.  As my friend, who is Mexican explains it - this is common in 1st/ 2nd generation):
1. Mom is at home, not allowed to drive.  Very patriarchal.  So...no ability to get involved at the school
2. School and grades are not always emphasized
3. When old enough to work, you have to work.  Doesn't matter if you are still in high school. And when you are 18, if you aren't contributing financially, get out.

It doesn't mean it can't happen (hey, I'm 1st gen college graduate from a poor family, and my dad did NOT think girls should go to college).  But I wasn't homeless, and my  mother had the sense to divorce my dad before I graduated hs.  So we had no money, but at least I was allowed to GO.  And my mom sent me care packages of ramen noodles.  And she drove 2 hours to pick me up at the end of each semester.  I cannot imagine what it would have been like with zero family support.  Zero.

But recognizing that the hill to climb is just, frankly, fucking high for a LOT of kids - so high it's insurmountable - is not a bad thing. 

It *doesn't* mean we don't try and teach kids to work hard, find a job, pay their bills, be financially responsible.

It *does* mean we don't look down on people who don't "succeed" in a high paying, college-level job when not ONLY did they not start on 3rd base, they had to swim 2 miles to shore and hike through the jungle to even find the dugout.


I don't think it's odd that you went first and your brother followed.  I went first and I'm the 8th of 9.  But - there wasn't money.  My older sisters didn't decide to forgo college "because they didn't belong there".  They couldn't afford it, and my father would not allow them to go.  It's the same trend for all of my cousins.  The older ones didn't go, the younger ones did.  Even with my aunts and uncles - the youngest uncle was able to go to trade school, because by then they had money.  My two youngest cousins have PhD's in science.  Their oldest siblings have HS diplomas (though one of them has a brother who joined the military and used the GI bill to get a degree eventually.)
The push to go to College - its not just a push for college; its a push to finish High School. 100% (approximately) of high school dropouts don't go to college. The first step to college if finishing HS. Pretty much all HS dropouts have it tougher than those who finish, its almost impossible to get ahead if you don't finish HS.

How to Pay for College - I didn't know how either and almost skipped applying; I ended up appliying just to prove I could get in out of spiteful pride. It was only after I applied that the University sent me a "Student Loan" application. Before that I had never heard of such a thing, yeah, poor people can be ignorant (aimed at myself) sometimes. The solution is to teach kids, something as basic as a student loan is a foreign language when you're poor.

Family support? What is that? lots of us have zero support, it sucks. What sucks more is continuing that lifestyle though. I don't need to imagine what it would be like, it sucks and there's lots of problems for the rest of your life. You're points 1, and 3 all applied to me (school was an hour long bus ride each way). Work started at 13, I left home at 17. These are my basics, I have experience.


"But recognizing that the hill to climb is just, frankly, fucking high for a LOT of kids - so high it's insurmountable - is not a bad thing." Read that back and then picture yourself telling one of those kids that they'll never be able to climb the hill; you're a good person and probably can't imagine it. Saying its insurmountable is accepting that it can't be changed and is actually harmful. What good comes of that statement? Does it help kids to tell them their situation is insurmountable? Has it helped you in the past to have people tell you that you can't succeed?


If you want out of that lifestyle of poverty; you have to do something different. Continuing the path of your parents means you will be poor. Saying it can't be done means it won't be done, you maintain the status quo.

I don't see the need to emphasize how hard it is for poor people, poor people already are well aware. What's lacking is the way  out; how do you propose to get kids a better life? I propose constant encouragement, advice and teaching. A healthy dose of leading by example doesn't hurt, being a role model can certainly help if people find out they can relate.

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #95 on: April 18, 2017, 01:39:31 PM »
I don't think it's odd that you went first and your brother followed.  I went first and I'm the 8th of 9.  But - there wasn't money.  My older sisters didn't decide to forgo college "because they didn't belong there".  They couldn't afford it, and my father would not allow them to go.  It's the same trend for all of my cousins.  The older ones didn't go, the younger ones did.  Even with my aunts and uncles - the youngest uncle was able to go to trade school, because by then they had money.  My two youngest cousins have PhD's in science.  Their oldest siblings have HS diplomas (though one of them has a brother who joined the military and used the GI bill to get a degree eventually.)
Maybe in the USA "Couldn't afford" is a thing. Here in Canada we have Student loans, if you're from a poor family you get 100% tuition and living expenses paid for; currently that's $14,000/year for my provincial university (equivalent to a State U), of that $1000/month is to live off. I'll emphasize this point; my Family didn't have money for school, I did, or rather the loans officer provided. At age 17 I was able to get loans and take matters into my own hands, if I failed it wasn't a big deal, I was already poor so what if I owed loans too?

I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who can't "afford" school. I've met people with middle class backgrounds whose parents wouldn't pay the required amount the student loans prescribed; their solution was to wait two years.  I did have one friend who started school at 20, he actually followed that route. Most people never go back though, its easier to say they couldn't afford it. Its a sort of half truth, they would rather say it was affordability than the real reason; they didn't want to go. I've met so many parents going to school, on full loans, that I seldom believe that excuse either, we get subsidized daycare for students.

I found out, after university, that one of my Uncles also had loans in the 70's, my grandparents had no money either, yet he also managed a trade school (2 year). The lack of money stems back generations, the excuse also goes back but may not have been as true as an outsider would believe.

If any of this sounds judgmental, that on your perspective.  We all should be applauding anyone that can help figure a path out of the mire, the son who took the GI route certainly sounded ambitious and didn't require anybody but himself to make it. What's the primary reason your sisters didn't attend college and how come both didn't apply to you?
1) They couldn't afford it, and
2) my father would not allow them to go

Personally, I bet it was your father's discouragement more than anything. Discouragement is a major obstacle. 

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #96 on: April 18, 2017, 02:16:44 PM »
Maybe in the USA "Couldn't afford" is a thing. Here in Canada we have Student loans, <snip>

State-side, student loans work very differently. I haven't lived in Alberta these last 19 years, however I remember that Canadian student loans had the following characteristics:

* Maximum dollar amounts
* Zero interest until six months after graduation
* Backed by the government and not offered through private means such as banks, but administered by banks such as CIBC, and
* Available to high school graduates age 16 and up (that number may be up to 17 now) whose parents' income falls within a specific range
* Available to students aged 20 and over without regard to parental income or assets
* The school must be accredited

US student loans are of two types: federal, and private. For private student loans there are no rules in particular; it's a free-for-all except the loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.

US federal loans have the following characteristics:
* Some loans are "subsidized" meaning interest does not accrue until graduation, but most are "unsubsidized", meaning interest continues to accrue during the course of study
* Payments are deferred until six months after graduation but that doesn't stop interest from building up
* The subsidized loans max out at an amount that is enough to pay for one two-semester year at a state school if a student lives on campus (which is often mandatory for freshmen; it's a way universities make money off their real estate). However, undergraduate degree programs in the USA take four to five years. Five years is increasingly common due to the full year of mandatory remedial-level courses required for people who did not learn how to write paragraphs or multiply fractions in grade school.
* Parental income is included in all calculations until the student is 24 years of age, and subsidized loans are withheld from people whose parents earn "too much" even if the parents are not helping pay for the education

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #97 on: April 18, 2017, 02:49:28 PM »
Maybe in the USA "Couldn't afford" is a thing. Here in Canada we have Student loans, <snip>

State-side, student loans work very differently. I haven't lived in Alberta these last 19 years, however I remember that Canadian student loans had the following characteristics:

* Maximum dollar amounts
* Zero interest until six months after graduation
* Backed by the government and not offered through private means such as banks, but administered by banks such as CIBC, and
* Available to high school graduates age 16 and up (that number may be up to 17 now) whose parents' income falls within a specific range
* Available to students aged 20 and over without regard to parental income or assets
* The school must be accredited

US student loans are of two types: federal, and private. For private student loans there are no rules in particular; it's a free-for-all except the loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.

US federal loans have the following characteristics:
* Some loans are "subsidized" meaning interest does not accrue until graduation, but most are "unsubsidized", meaning interest continues to accrue during the course of study
* Payments are deferred until six months after graduation but that doesn't stop interest from building up
* The subsidized loans max out at an amount that is enough to pay for one two-semester year at a state school if a student lives on campus (which is often mandatory for freshmen; it's a way universities make money off their real estate). However, undergraduate degree programs in the USA take four to five years. Five years is increasingly common due to the full year of mandatory remedial-level courses required for people who did not learn how to write paragraphs or multiply fractions in grade school.
* Parental income is included in all calculations until the student is 24 years of age, and subsidized loans are withheld from people whose parents earn "too much" even if the parents are not helping pay for the education
This is a tangent, thank you to GS for the help. You got the major points spot on, the minor points don't change the fundamental analysis.

In Canada, Interest starts the day you convocation, payments start 6 months later, that sounds identical to subsidized loans. Some, not all, provinces will pay the interest for the first 6 months.

In Canada most people face a cap on the total loan size i.e. Alberta has a $75,000 lifetime loan total for a bachelor degree. This indirectly also puts a timeline on how long you can be in school.

Subsidized are the equivalent of National Student loans, Private loans are Bank Loans in Canada (yes, we have those too). Canada is lacking the unsubsidized government loan, that's the domain of the banks.

From my viewpoint and by the rules, poor people get full loans in the USA. My definition of poor is such that your parents would be under the income threshold. You can have other thresholds, we can add more people in, but that's the one we can all agree to start with I'm sure.

Apparently homeless children, orphans, poor people all get up to 6 years (150% of the program length) of subsidized loans in the USA. Its tough but loans are there, if you can turn your life around from that starting point they are the equivalent of a lottery ticket.

The major difference seems the 24 years old vs. 2 years of independence, Canada makes it easier to get out from under your parents earlier.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 03:03:15 PM by Prairie Stash »

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #98 on: April 18, 2017, 03:25:08 PM »
The major difference seems the 24 years old vs. 2 years of independence, Canada makes it easier to get out from under your parents earlier.

Thanks for the update on the other issues; some things have indeed changed since I left and of course there's variation between provinces.

I also recall lower tuition rates, hefty provincial subsidies (some better than others), better and more consistent scholarships (I recall the Rutherford as having been useful for getting rid of a term's worth of tuition, although it might have changed), and no requirement to purchase the university's health insurance plan (or provide proof of private health insurance) for people who are on the provincial plan.

Is it possible to discharge student loan debt in Canada through bankruptcy?

mm1970

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Re: Building Wealth On Minimum Wage Triggers Backlash
« Reply #99 on: April 18, 2017, 03:37:53 PM »
Quote
From my viewpoint and by the rules, poor people get full loans in the USA. My definition of poor is such that your parents would be under the income threshold. You can have other thresholds, we can add more people in, but that's the one we can all agree to start with I'm sure.

But, well, they don't.

My father's discouragement?  It mattered.  Why?  He refused to turn in any financial paperwork.  The man was retired (in his 60s), living on a few hundred bucks of Social security.  But because he didn't fill out the FORMS my loans were calculated and they just threw in an "estimated amount" there.

That I had to make up with unsub loans.

(FWIW, my mother's contribution was set at $0, and mine was $300.  My father's was set at $2000, money I had to make up myself every year.  Which I did by getting jobs and joining the military.)

Even being poor required substantial unsubsidized loans.

It's probably even worse for the middle class who aren't eligible for much in financial aid, but whose parents don't make enough to pay for college.  Not my demographic.

I know *one* guy who got full financial aid. I mean, I thought I was pretty poor.  He had a couple of extra siblings (I was one of the youngest, which worked against me as far as that goes).  And I visited his house once. The house "shower" was basically a pipe in the basement and an open drain.  That's what it takes to get a full scholarship.

Locally, we've got a foundation that has started to offer 2 years free at the community college.  I think this is an awesome benefit.  I wish I knew "the answer" to solve everything.  My current town, the rural area I grew up in - similar problems, way different demographics.  Not enough jobs and the ones that exist don't pay enough to live.