Author Topic: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?  (Read 48590 times)

RapmasterD

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #100 on: May 23, 2014, 09:28:59 PM »
What's a poor person? For one, someone who says they are poor. Trust me: I both get and empathize with people who live at or below the poverty line and I get hunger and an inability to pay for shelter, food, clothing....I see it every day. And it really saddens me.

But in THIS case, the POOR element is this person's mindset.

Wayne Dyer: "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

Here's my gift...a free copy of "Think and Grow Rich" LINK: https://ia600209.us.archive.org/6/items/Think_and_Grow_Rich/think-and-grow-rich-napoleon-hill.pdf

Trust me that "rich" has little to do with money -- money is a mere means of exchange. Abundance has everything to do with mindset.

So, my family member who owns a million dollar home, has 3 mill in the bank and travels the world every month is poor because she thinks she is? (true story... She actually refers to herself as "living in poverty").

honeymomma -- That family member is poor in every sense of the word, and I question how much her/his total net worth will grow over time. Your family member needs to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere in Liberty City to get a bit o' perspective. Why Liberty City? I had a rental car break down there many years ago before there were mobile phones. Every pay phone for several city blocks was ripped out and non-functional. I didn't get killed. I did get... a bit o' perspective.

libertarian4321

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #101 on: May 24, 2014, 04:22:51 AM »
I once heard from a reliable source that Walmart prefers to hire greeters with degrees in Philosophy over lesser degrees like Art Appreciation, Modern Dance, Womyn's Studies, or Film.
Ha! Maybe it's because they think those other degrees are more useful, and philosophy graduates are less likely to later find work elsewhere? ;-)

To the contrary: Last time I looked, a bachelors degree in Philosophy was associated with a substantially higher mid career median  income (81k) than, for example, a bachelors degree in information technology (75k) or business management (72k).
Of course, people with bachelors degrees in philosophy very rarely work as philosophers proper but many go on to become lawyers, administrators, public servants, and even physicians.
One could argue that this record of success in life is due to the smarter ones choosing philosophy to start with but I guess some credit has to be given to the subject itself.
In any case, you are more likely to find Walmart employees with philosophy degrees in the corporate office than at the store entrance.

http://www.philosophy.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/documents/WHY_Major_in_Philosophy_leaflet.pdf

The smarter ones choose philosophy?  Really?  From the data you presented, philosophy isn't very competitive salary wise (starting or mid career) with science and engineering.  That is based on 2008 data.  I suspect 2014 data is similar.  And 1981 data (when I started college) was the same (I'm spying a trend here).  Science and engineering, in general, were the best choices.  It seems pretty consistent over the long term- if you want a job that pays well, get your BS in science or engineering.  Or have a damned goof plan for how you are going to turn your nearly useless undergrad Philosophy degree into something lucrative when you grow up.

There is a catch to this, of course.  Science and engineering majors, even at mediocre state schools, tend to be very challenging.  No "easy A's."

I actually know of one guy who went into philosophy.  He got a PhD in Philosopy of Science (it took him FOREVER to finish).  He was an intelligent guy, but nowhere near the top of the heap.  At age 51, he is currently teaching philosophy at a hyphenated-state U.  I think he makes about a $1.25 over minimum wage (I kid, sort of).  The best and brightest all went into engineering, science, and medicine.

Look, if you go into philosophy, or some other soft major, as an undergrad, and plan to use it as a springboard to an advanced degree in something more substantial (law, business, etc), that's great.  But be aware that a BA in Philosophy, by itself, is likely to lead to a job in the fast paced world of "Want fries with that?"

And if you think I'm being harsh, you're right.  I've seen far too many kids, even bright kids, go through 4-years of college getting lame liberal arts degrees (many of which are far more pathetic than philosphy), and finding themselves, for all practical purposes, unemployable after 4-6 years of high cost education.

I guess my point is, if you are graduating from HS, take some time to PLAN, don't just go to college and get a "feel good" degree, then sit there looking stunned when no one wants to hire you at age 22, with your $40,000 Modern Asian Dance Philosophy degree from from East Central Western State U-Cookeville.

Make your plan when you are in High School, not 3 weeks before graduation from good ol' ECWSU-C, after you have run up tens of thousands in debt and have no prospects other than working at the local Walmart.




Jamesqf

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #102 on: May 24, 2014, 11:22:08 AM »
I guess my point is, if you are graduating from HS, take some time to PLAN, don't just go to college and get a "feel good" degree, then sit there looking stunned when no one wants to hire you at age 22, with your $40,000 Modern Asian Dance Philosophy degree from from East Central Western State U-Cookeville.

I have to wonder, though, how many major in Modern Asian Dance Philosophy because they're actually overwhelmingly interested in it, versus those who figure it'll be a bunch of skate courses to take while they pursue their real major - partying!

rmendpara

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #103 on: May 24, 2014, 11:35:41 AM »
An acquaintance is frustrated with life. He graduated from an expensive prestigious school and took out loans to attend it. The course of study was not one that anyone would think would lead to a high pay check.

This person finds himself living in a small apartment, working in a space he doesn't like, and generally feeling trapped by how little money he makes.

He thinks he's making a political statement by complaining because, basically, "Americans need to know that people like me are not having good lives."

One complaint is that so much is taken from his paycheck that he has little left over to spend and has to live with a relative.

All I could see in this situation were the responses you all would give:

Bike to work. Don't drive.
Change jobs. Keep looking until you find something else.
Reduce expenses.

This guy seems to think it's the fault of other people (I am not sure who? The government?) that he took out loans to attend a fancy school and now those loan payments take up most of his paycheck.

What are your thoughts?

The only thing I can think of is that 18 year olds--or even 20 year olds--should not be allowed to get loans for education without some excellent education as to how those loans will affect their future.

I sympathize with his plight. As far as he knew, he was doing the right things. I'm assuming he performed well in high school, good SAT scores, and went to a good college thinking it would lead to a better life. Obviously, society has failed him, and many others like him, by giving him unrealistic expectations about school/life/earnings.

Every day we hear on the news that more loans need to be made available to students, but nothing is mentioned regarding how to educate people to make good decisions. These loans never go away! Many people don't understand this. Ultimately, he has to pay the debt, one way or another. In some ways he is stuck. Going back to school for a better course of study would make him dig an even deeper hole, while continuing along this path he'll never be able to get ahead.

I admit, if that were me, I'd feel like everyone had lied to me (high school teachers/counselors/college admissions/etc). It really is a failure for society, because he will likely never be a productive citizen... at least not in a way that exceeds the direct cost of his loans.

How to fix this problem? Force every kid to take a seminar and pass a basic financial literacy test to prove they understand what it means to take out a loan, how much they'll have to earn to pay it back (at a minimum), and reenforce in big, bold print, "You cannot get rid of these in bankruptcy!"

viper155

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #104 on: May 24, 2014, 12:27:44 PM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

You don't have a right to an affordable education. The only rights you have are clearly spelled out in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. EVERYTHING else is up to the individual. If you partake in "groupthink", like most people do these days, you will fall into the "victim" and "entitlement" trap. With all of our freedoms in this Country and all the information that is available TO ALL, there is no reason whatsoever, except for legitimate disabling circumstances, to prosper and live as you wish in America.
All the rest is laziness, lethargy and bullshit.

netskyblue

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #105 on: May 24, 2014, 12:44:41 PM »
Why should someone be able to study anything they want for free?  Should I be able to eat anything I want for free?  Eating's necessary for life, post-secondary education isn't.  (Not saying I oppose things like food banks... but that's a far cry from walking into the fancy steakhouse and expecting a fine porterhouse for free, just because you want one.)

What if someone just wanted to study and study for the rest of their life, with no intention of making a career out of any of it?  We the people should pay for that?  There were a lot of classes in college I thought might be fun, but that wouldn't get me towards my degree, and thus weren't worth paying for, in my opinion.  If they were free?  Why not?

I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with it if there were some nationwide shortage of X profession, for there to be a limited government subsidy available to train people for that profession, especially if it keeps us from having to outsource it.  But paying for somebody to study whatever they want, just because they want to?  No freakin' way. 

MrsPete

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #106 on: May 24, 2014, 07:57:22 PM »

The upshot:  Your kid and my kid are doing well, and that's great . . . but literally not everyone is capable of doing what they're doing.

Ah yes.  Such is life.
Some kids are going to do better than others, whether it is from persistence, intelligence, a combination of the two.  But I don't see how it is possible to level the playing field.  There will always be people who just *don't get it* and there will be others who don't care.  Tons of kids coming out of college are disappointed in their starting out lifestyle, but they're not delivering the goods.  Not a lot of problem solving skills, not a lot of independence --- I blame helicopter parenting & kids never having to endure any hardship at all until they're facing a low paying career and massive student loans.
For quite a few, the answer is extra time and/or lower expectations.  LOTS of kids are capable of doing well . . . but they aren't going to catch onto things as quickly as the top-of-the-class kids, or they lack the emotional maturity to get going at a young age, or they'll do well -- in a trade, perhaps, but will never make it in a professional job. 

Yes, the helicoptering crew is a part of the problem -- that is very real -- but I see many, many more who are "behind" for the opposite reason:  They haven't received enough parenting.   They don't spend enough time with their parents, don't receive much guidance from their parents, often don't even eat meals together as a family -- and they're just kind of floundering, trying to figure things out on their own.  Those kids are much more numerous than the coddled, over-parented kids. 

MrsPete

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #107 on: May 24, 2014, 08:05:38 PM »
So if someone wants to earn a degree as an art history major and they are truly passionate about it they should just abandon it because the debt will be difficult to pay off or that you propose a system which judges their degree as worthless. It certainly isn't worthless to them.
Ah, but people who earn art history degrees tend to think that they're going to be able to make money from that degree . . . and that is often not true.  In the worst cases, we as a society end up with people who can't fully participate in society and the economy because they're paying back excessive debt and aren't earning enough to support themselves.

A story about a student of mine who's going to study art -- specifically furniture design -- in college:  He said he'd been concerned about being able to make a living with this degree, so he researched it (with Google).  I'm not sure my numbers are correct, but he said that a typical person with this degree earns $50,000-90,000.  So he figures that if those numbers are "typical", a person who really has talent and really works at it could do more -- may be $150,000!  I tried to point out the flaws in this thought process, but he was dead-sure of his facts. 

clifp

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #108 on: May 24, 2014, 10:42:39 PM »
Because it may cause hopeful students to think a bit more about what they want to do with their lives and perhaps avoid racking up debt earning a "degree" that makes it very difficult to pay off that debt.

Actually, given enough time the market should take care of this, too.  Why would someone go $200,000 in debt for a worthless degree?  Common sense should take over at some point.  And thankfully, as MMM has pointed out, there are alternatives to the 4 year degree that are significantly cheaper.

So if someone wants to earn a degree as an art history major and they are truly passionate about it they should just abandon it because the debt will be difficult to pay off or that you propose a system which judges their degree as worthless. It certainly isn't worthless to them. Who are you to decide what is worthless or not? What's common sense in the scenarios of all the people who want to contribute to arts or god forbid not be in STEM or business?

The world is made up of all the different people who have pursued all sorts of different degrees. That should never be restricted for some poorly thought out idea of saving people from themselves. It's not your decision to make, it's not anyone's but the individual making that decision. Don't take that way from them. If they think they made a mistake so what? It has given them an opportunity to learn.

The system works as is right now.

I will say that one of the wealthiest guys I know (houses in Aspen, Honolulu, and San Francisco and tens of millions of investments) got a degree in Chinese art history from an Ivy league school.  It turns out that a white guy who is fluent in Mandarin and has deep understanding of Chinese culture is very valuable resource for companies doing business n China. I don't know for a fact but I bet his parents at times rolled their eyes over his choice of a major.

That said I find it strange that you don't think society has huge interest and I'd argue responsibility from preventing young people from putting themselves deeply in debt that have little hope repaying. The single most important criteria for figuring out if somebody can repay a loan is to assess their current and future income.  The average salaries for petroleum engineers is roughly 3x   that of art history majors, and the unemployment rate for art history major several times higher.  By any lending standard an Engineer major is lower credit risk than an art history major.

My largest bond holding is Sallie Mae bonds, so prior to making the investment I did research in how student loans worked.   A side product of ACA was reducing the government subsidy for private lenders who made student loans, but more importantly in many cases student loans are made directly from Uncle Sam.  While there are plenty of exceptions as general rule, when student default, gets and interest rate reduction, or stretches out payments, banks or Sallie Mae take the first 2% of the loss, with the tax payers picking up the tab for the other 98%.   Since, ACA was passed Uncle Sam general acts as the lender and such we tax payers are on the hook for any default or loan forgiveness.

There is 1.2 trillion in student loans, second only behind mortgage debt. That works out to be $11,000 per household in the US. Unlike in the case of mortgage where the loans were bundled together and sold as mortgage backed securities to investors who took steep losses during the crisis student loan.   I believe that vast majority of student loan is held by the government (aka the taxpayers) or backed by the government.  In any event the people that are responsible for bailing out bad student loans is ourselves.

We can't do anything about bad loans made in the past, but we sure can and should insist on being smarter about lending  in the future.
 

rmendpara

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #109 on: May 24, 2014, 10:44:48 PM »
So if someone wants to earn a degree as an art history major and they are truly passionate about it they should just abandon it because the debt will be difficult to pay off or that you propose a system which judges their degree as worthless. It certainly isn't worthless to them.
Ah, but people who earn art history degrees tend to think that they're going to be able to make money from that degree . . . and that is often not true.  In the worst cases, we as a society end up with people who can't fully participate in society and the economy because they're paying back excessive debt and aren't earning enough to support themselves.

A story about a student of mine who's going to study art -- specifically furniture design -- in college:  He said he'd been concerned about being able to make a living with this degree, so he researched it (with Google).  I'm not sure my numbers are correct, but he said that a typical person with this degree earns $50,000-90,000.  So he figures that if those numbers are "typical", a person who really has talent and really works at it could do more -- may be $150,000!  I tried to point out the flaws in this thought process, but he was dead-sure of his facts.

This is going to sound condescending, but I don't apologize for it. Does he really think he's that special/talented?

Who in their right mind sees an "average" statistic and thinks they are TWICE as talented as average? Does he realize these statistics are probably mid-career stats as well? It means a new hire/entry level may be in the 40-50 range... or maybe even lower.

Too bad... can't educate someone who has the rosy dreamy eyes over something.

blackomen

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #110 on: May 24, 2014, 10:50:31 PM »
It's hard to say..  most can only be determined on a case by case basis but I'd say in more than 50% of the cases, it's the individual's fault or the individual is to blame for most of it.  There are some situations where it's not entirely their fault (i.e. having a rare disease.)

JT

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #111 on: May 25, 2014, 12:47:01 AM »
My Dad was a mechanic when we were growing up.  We were poorer than church mice, yet learnt the values of family, buying second hand, biking/walking, cheap reliable cars and enjoying a simple life.

I'm a Mum now, and have just reached $1M in assets. 

The trick was to be optimistic about improving your lot.  Realise it's in your power to set goals!  And then, work hard to reach those goals, show determination, conquer life's challenges with a happy heart, get up when you're down, set a budget, continue to bike everywhere, continue to buy second hand.

My son (12yo) makes his own lunch and has a paper round, and I'm teaching him about income less expenses equals savings.  When he saves $1000 I'll teach him about shares and we'll buy some with his money.  If he owes me money, he pays it back.  I think Credit Cards are a huge trap, so have recently gone over to a visa debit.   

Poor is not a bad place to start!  But poor is a different place than poor mind set!

libertarian4321

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #112 on: May 25, 2014, 05:04:53 AM »
I guess my point is, if you are graduating from HS, take some time to PLAN, don't just go to college and get a "feel good" degree, then sit there looking stunned when no one wants to hire you at age 22, with your $40,000 Modern Asian Dance Philosophy degree from from East Central Western State U-Cookeville.

I have to wonder, though, how many major in Modern Asian Dance Philosophy because they're actually overwhelmingly interested in it, versus those who figure it'll be a bunch of skate courses to take while they pursue their real major - partying!

Yes, I'm sure there is a lot of this.   A lot of kids think of college as nothing more than 4-years of screwing off.  They take any BS Major and show up for class now and then so they can keep the party going.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 02:49:31 PM by libertarian4321 »

libertarian4321

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #113 on: May 25, 2014, 05:20:28 AM »

I will say that one of the wealthiest guys I know (houses in Aspen, Honolulu, and San Francisco and tens of millions of investments) got a degree in Chinese art history from an Ivy league school.  It turns out that a white guy who is fluent in Mandarin and has deep understanding of Chinese culture is very valuable resource for companies doing business n China. I don't know for a fact but I bet his parents at times rolled their eyes over his choice of a major.

I'm sure we can point to anectdotal evidence of people who screwed off, or took random useless degrees, and ended up doing well, all day long.

Hell, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard.  Michael Dell and  a lot of other successful people dropped out of college.

Two points.  Anyone who got into Harvard, whether Bill Gates or "Chinese art history guy" is probably a few steps ahead of the average college schmuck (to say nothing of the guys who don't even go to college).  These folks have the tools to do well, even if they screw up at first, and don't follow a traditional path.

The chances of success are far lower for Joe Average going to Random State U, and screwing off, or taking a useless degree.

And unfortunately, for every Bill Gates or Michael Dell, there are a thousand Joe Dipstick's tossing frisbees, drinking beer, and majoring in Primitive Latvian Womyn's Music Appreciation (or similar useless degree).

grantmeaname

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #114 on: May 25, 2014, 05:37:30 AM »
Why are you so obsessed with the notion that all young people are assholes who fuck around instead of getting their work done?

marty998

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #115 on: May 25, 2014, 05:57:06 AM »
I figure this is an opportune time to mention the most popular course at my alma mater was "The Psychobiology of Sex, Love and Attraction".

Was it useful? I don't know, because I was too embarrassed to have it on my transcript, so I cancelled my enrolment.

But if it helps a geek or nerdette find love, then I'm prepared to have a part of my taxes fund it, even if it doesn't lend itself to properly training students for gainful employment for the benefit of society.

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #116 on: May 25, 2014, 06:40:51 AM »
So if someone wants to earn a degree as an art history major and they are truly passionate about it they should just abandon it because the debt will be difficult to pay off or that you propose a system which judges their degree as worthless. It certainly isn't worthless to them.
Ah, but people who earn art history degrees tend to think that they're going to be able to make money from that degree . . . and that is often not true.  In the worst cases, we as a society end up with people who can't fully participate in society and the economy because they're paying back excessive debt and aren't earning enough to support themselves.

A story about a student of mine who's going to study art -- specifically furniture design -- in college:  He said he'd been concerned about being able to make a living with this degree, so he researched it (with Google).  I'm not sure my numbers are correct, but he said that a typical person with this degree earns $50,000-90,000.  So he figures that if those numbers are "typical", a person who really has talent and really works at it could do more -- may be $150,000!  I tried to point out the flaws in this thought process, but he was dead-sure of his facts.

So what? We should only fund that which is economically viable? If they're paying back debt and supporting themselves they're participating in the economic framework regardless of degree and the worry is useless. So what if your student wants to get into furniture design? Why is that a problem and why do you automatically assume that he isn't going to fully participate in society? And what does that even mean? You're talking as if there is this huge number of college grads who are living some nomadic subsistence farming existence.

Because it may cause hopeful students to think a bit more about what they want to do with their lives and perhaps avoid racking up debt earning a "degree" that makes it very difficult to pay off that debt.

Actually, given enough time the market should take care of this, too.  Why would someone go $200,000 in debt for a worthless degree?  Common sense should take over at some point.  And thankfully, as MMM has pointed out, there are alternatives to the 4 year degree that are significantly cheaper.

So if someone wants to earn a degree as an art history major and they are truly passionate about it they should just abandon it because the debt will be difficult to pay off or that you propose a system which judges their degree as worthless. It certainly isn't worthless to them. Who are you to decide what is worthless or not? What's common sense in the scenarios of all the people who want to contribute to arts or god forbid not be in STEM or business?

The world is made up of all the different people who have pursued all sorts of different degrees. That should never be restricted for some poorly thought out idea of saving people from themselves. It's not your decision to make, it's not anyone's but the individual making that decision. Don't take that way from them. If they think they made a mistake so what? It has given them an opportunity to learn.

The system works as is right now.

I will say that one of the wealthiest guys I know (houses in Aspen, Honolulu, and San Francisco and tens of millions of investments) got a degree in Chinese art history from an Ivy league school.  It turns out that a white guy who is fluent in Mandarin and has deep understanding of Chinese culture is very valuable resource for companies doing business n China. I don't know for a fact but I bet his parents at times rolled their eyes over his choice of a major.

That said I find it strange that you don't think society has huge interest and I'd argue responsibility from preventing young people from putting themselves deeply in debt that have little hope repaying. The single most important criteria for figuring out if somebody can repay a loan is to assess their current and future income.  The average salaries for petroleum engineers is roughly 3x   that of art history majors, and the unemployment rate for art history major several times higher.  By any lending standard an Engineer major is lower credit risk than an art history major.

My largest bond holding is Sallie Mae bonds, so prior to making the investment I did research in how student loans worked.   A side product of ACA was reducing the government subsidy for private lenders who made student loans, but more importantly in many cases student loans are made directly from Uncle Sam.  While there are plenty of exceptions as general rule, when student default, gets and interest rate reduction, or stretches out payments, banks or Sallie Mae take the first 2% of the loss, with the tax payers picking up the tab for the other 98%.   Since, ACA was passed Uncle Sam general acts as the lender and such we tax payers are on the hook for any default or loan forgiveness.

There is 1.2 trillion in student loans, second only behind mortgage debt. That works out to be $11,000 per household in the US. Unlike in the case of mortgage where the loans were bundled together and sold as mortgage backed securities to investors who took steep losses during the crisis student loan.   I believe that vast majority of student loan is held by the government (aka the taxpayers) or backed by the government.  In any event the people that are responsible for bailing out bad student loans is ourselves.

We can't do anything about bad loans made in the past, but we sure can and should insist on being smarter about lending  in the future.
 

Why don't we actually use facts instead of speculation? Student loans, when put into default, do not automatically fall onto tax payers.

From https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/default -
Quote
What are the consequences of default?

The consequences of default can be severe:

    The entire unpaid balance of your loan and any interest is immediately due and payable.
    You lose eligibility for deferment, forbearance, and repayment plans.
    You lose eligibility for additional federal student aid.
    Your loan account is assigned to a collection agency.
    The loan will be reported as delinquent to credit bureaus, damaging your credit rating. This will affect your ability to buy a car or house or to get a credit card.
    Your federal and state taxes may be withheld through a tax offset. This means that the Internal Revenue Service can take your federal and state tax refund to collect any of your defaulted student loan debt.
    Your student loan debt will increase because of the late fees, additional interest, court costs, collection fees, attorney’s fees, and any other costs associated with the collection process.
    Your employer (at the request of the federal government) can withhold money from your pay and send the money to the government. This process is called wage garnishment.
    The loan holder can take legal action against you, and you may not be able to purchase or sell assets such as real estate.
    Federal employees face the possibility of having 15% of their disposable pay offset by their employer toward repayment of their loan through Federal Salary Offset.
    It will take years to reestablish your credit and recover from default.

Quoting big scary numbers doesn't make it a problem. And nobody has answered my question. Who are you to judge who can take loans out or not? You all seem to assume that students don't have access to this information, that they're not of sound mind when making their decisions. And most of the evidence shows that most people don't default, most people are employed, most people didn't just fuck around getting their degrees, yet all you guys want to focus on is how bad it is to have a bunch of beer swilling liberal arts majors running around unemployed as if it's the next threat to society. WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!! Get over yourselves.

BPA

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #117 on: May 25, 2014, 06:56:56 AM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

+1 

davisgang90

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #118 on: May 25, 2014, 07:19:26 AM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

DoD budget is half of what you proclaimed.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/defense.pdf and accounts for about 20% of the federal budget.  Typical scapegoating free of pesky facts.

libertarian4321

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #119 on: May 25, 2014, 07:35:40 AM »
Why are you so obsessed with the notion that all young people are assholes who fuck around instead of getting their work done?

Not all.  But many.  This ain't exactly new and revolutionary.  When I graduated college 30 years ago, the same was true.  And I'll bet it was true 30 years before that.  Many college students are serious students, with solid academic skills, with clear cut goals, and with plenty of drive and ambition.  These are the folks who will lead us for decades to come- they are the academic elite.

Unfortunately, we have loads and loads of college "students" who meet none of these criteria.  They are, at best, mediocrities.  They go to college because someone told them they should go to college, but have no drive, and no direction.  The best of them skate through college, getting good grades in meaningless and easy courses.  They are likely marginally employable, at best, at graduation. 

The majority screw ups, who probably shouldn't be going to college at all.  Getting mediocre/crappy grades in pointless curriculum's, with nearly ZERO ability to get hired after college (unless you count "Want fries with that?" as "employment.)"

Let's be honest, most kids are NOT college material.  The mere fact that some sub standard community college or State U is willing to let some lazy, slow witted, dim wit attend (for a fee, of course- let's call him "Bubba"), does not mean that Bubba should be going to college.

libertarian4321

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #120 on: May 25, 2014, 07:39:37 AM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

DoD budget is half of what you proclaimed.  http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/defense.pdf and accounts for about 20% of the federal budget.  Typical scapegoating free of pesky facts.

Good catch.  But it's hardly the only flaw in his logic.

Blackadder

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #121 on: May 25, 2014, 08:32:41 AM »
Regarding the discussion on free education, I think it's worthwhile to take a look at models in other countries.

My own country isn't currently doing too shabby economically. And yet, university/college education is basically free of charge. There are restrictions, of course. You can't study forever, and you only get one or two shots at it. Conversely, you even get your cost of living subsidized during your studies if your parents don't earn enough to support your education (50% gift, 50% zero-interest loan). But for that, you have to regularly prove that you're advancing in your studies.

I think there are two main factors that make this different situation possible. One is that in our culture, loans that are not balanced by tangible assets are still pretty uncommon (although they are on the increase). Most credit cards are essentially just fancy debit cards. While you can take out loans to fund your education (COL, that is), it is not very common.

Another factor is the idea how education itself is valued. It is not only regarded as an individual thing that a student does for him/herself, but also as something from which society as a whole benefits. That's why esoteric and economically less directly valuable studies get funded, too, so they can keep educating students for free (needless to say, there are always big struggles about which university gets how much funding). But in the end, society is outfitted with all sorts of weird and uncommon competencies and skills, where you can't predict whether or how society will benefit (economically, culturally or otherwise). And more often than not, it does, actually.

Disclaimer: I'm not from a socialist or collectivist culture. :) Also, probably needless to say, I am not arguing that one culture were better than the other. For example I envy entrepreneurship in the US, and how easy it is to start a company.

Regarding the original posting: That person isn't poor, he's just shit with money. And if he's blaming others, he's at fault. Because the behavior of blaming others instead of changing things is itself a sign for avoiding responsibility, so it's pretty clear who's at fault. Q.E.D. ;-)
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 08:38:02 AM by Blackadder »

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #122 on: May 25, 2014, 10:18:49 AM »
Why should someone be able to study anything they want for free?  Should I be able to eat anything I want for free?  Eating's necessary for life, post-secondary education isn't.  (Not saying I oppose things like food banks... but that's a far cry from walking into the fancy steakhouse and expecting a fine porterhouse for free, just because you want one.)

What if someone just wanted to study and study for the rest of their life, with no intention of making a career out of any of it?  We the people should pay for that?  There were a lot of classes in college I thought might be fun, but that wouldn't get me towards my degree, and thus weren't worth paying for, in my opinion.  If they were free?  Why not?

I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with it if there were some nationwide shortage of X profession, for there to be a limited government subsidy available to train people for that profession, especially if it keeps us from having to outsource it.  But paying for somebody to study whatever they want, just because they want to?  No freakin' way.

Just because someone supports the idea of free education doesn't mean that they support crappy legislation to execute it. You could limit it by years or # of degrees. All of your objections are easily handled by how the system would be setup.

clifp

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #123 on: May 25, 2014, 06:30:49 PM »


Why don't we actually use facts instead of speculation? Student loans, when put into default, do not automatically fall onto tax payers.

From https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/default -
Quote
What are the consequences of default?

Quoting big scary numbers doesn't make it a problem. And nobody has answered my question. Who are you to judge who can take loans out or not? You all seem to assume that students don't have access to this information, that they're not of sound mind when making their decisions. And most of the evidence shows that most people don't default, most people are employed, most people didn't just fuck around getting their degrees, yet all you guys want to focus on is how bad it is to have a bunch of beer swilling liberal arts majors running around unemployed as if it's the next threat to society. WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!! Get over yourselves.

If Mike borrows $100,000 of Federally guarantee students loans and doesn't pay them back, who do you think is ultimately takes the loss, the tooth fairy?.  No it is the taxpayer who ultimately has to pay the bill.  My ex girlfriend, ex husband (an artist ironically) has never paid back a dime of his student loans, and I think next year is eligible for SS, but won't make enough on SS that his SS benefits will be decreased.  I sure he will go to his grave with a six digit student loan debt that will be ultimately never be paid.

Of course most people are employed, and most people pay back their loans.   During the height of the housing crisis 90% of people were still paying their mortgage on time, less than 5% were seriously delinquent on their federal guaranteed loans, and 96% of all houses weren't in foreclosure.

And yet this small number of folks not paying their debt nearly resulted in the complete meltdown of our financial system. In a recent interview Tim Geitneher with Hank Paulson, that we were within 3 days of ATMs in the country no longer working.

This article http://consumerist.com/2014/03/19/as-many-as-1-in-3-student-loans-may-be-delinquent/ puts the number of current delinquent or defaulted student loans at close to 1/3. Now the good news is that student loans are only 1/10 the size 1.2 trillion vs 13 trillion of mortgage but if delinquency rates are 6x as high that is pretty bad problem.

So my concern for the kids, doesn't extend to believing that every kid should be allowed to borrow as much as he wants for whatever major floats his boat.


[Mod Edit: Fixed quote tags.]
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 08:21:15 AM by arebelspy »

grantmeaname

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #124 on: May 26, 2014, 02:45:19 AM »
Quote
If Mike borrows $100,000 of Federally guarantee students loans and doesn't pay them back, who do you think is ultimately takes the loss, the tooth fairy?.  No it is the taxpayer who ultimately has to pay the bill.  My ex girlfriend, ex husband (an artist ironically) has never paid back a dime of his student loans, and I think next year is eligible for SS, but won't make enough on SS that his SS benefits will be decreased.  I sure he will go to his grave with a six digit student loan debt that will be ultimately never be paid.
That's hardly representative. Six figures is the 97th percentile of indebtedness and the average (a year ago, since the NY Fed doesn't have newer statistics) is $15.5k.

Your big scary story overstates the student loan problem, I think. The financial crisis was caused by unregulated, irresponsible trading in derivative securities with notional value dramatically larger than the underlying phenomenon, such that the derivatives introduced unhedged risk rather than hedging the risk produced by a productive economic activity. The solution isn't merely to tighten lending, it's to regulate the dipshits leveraging themselves to the hilts with the derivatives. Provided that traders can't speculate excessively with student loan default derivatives (and I believe they can't, currently), the 11.5% default rate isn't necessarily a problem in itself.

clifp

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #125 on: May 26, 2014, 04:27:20 AM »

That's hardly representative. Six figures is the 97th percentile of indebtedness and the average (a year ago, since the NY Fed doesn't have newer statistics) is $15.5k.

Your big scary story overstates the student loan problem, I think. The financial crisis was caused by unregulated, irresponsible trading in derivative securities with notional value dramatically larger than the underlying phenomenon, such that the derivatives introduced unhedged risk rather than hedging the risk produced by a productive economic activity. The solution isn't merely to tighten lending, it's to regulate the dipshits leveraging themselves to the hilts with the derivatives. Provided that traders can't speculate excessively with student loan default derivatives (and I believe they can't, currently), the 11.5% default rate isn't necessarily a problem in itself.

Well the more recent article I linked to puts the average $29,300 and the NY Time article put it at $23,300, the NY Fed puts it at $24,803 as Q4/2012. So I am not sure where you pulled the figure $15.5K from?

Lets see 11.5% on 1.2 trillion= $138 billion or just over $1,000 per household... If the article is right and the less creditworthy student loan is currently in deferral, and the default rate is anywhere close to 1/3 that's several hundred billion dollar in lost revenue for the federal government over the next decade or so.  Regardless of what ever risk student loan default cause to the financial system that is a significant sum of money.  Certainly of a significant magnitude to start applying some common sense rules to limit young people from getting themselves into more debt than they can reasonably pay off.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #126 on: May 26, 2014, 04:49:58 AM »
Well the more recent article I linked to puts the average $29,300 and the NY Time article put it at $23,300, the NY Fed puts it at $24,803 as Q4/2012. So I am not sure where you pulled the figure $15.5K from?
It's 2/3rds of grads borrow and 1/3 don't, so you take 2/3*$23.3k +1/3*0 and you get about $15.5k - as you'd see if you went to the linked post.

Quote
Lets see 11.5% on 1.2 trillion= $138 billion or just over $1,000 per household... If the article is right and the less creditworthy student loan is currently in deferral, and the default rate is anywhere close to 1/3 that's several hundred billion dollar in lost revenue for the federal government over the next decade or so.
The default rate is 11.5% according to the article. Stop saying it's a third.

Quote
Regardless of what ever risk student loan default cause to the financial system that is a significant sum of money.  Certainly of a significant magnitude to start applying some common sense rules to limit young people from getting themselves into more debt than they can reasonably pay off.
I'm not arguing it's insignificant, I'm arguing you're being disingenuous by using an absolutely exceptional number in your anecdotal argument. It'd be like me talking about how expensive cars are and then saying I have a friend who drives a 7 series. Yes, it's true that cars are expensive, and yes, it's true that I have a friend who drives a 7 series, but that doesn't mean her experience is typical of auto owners. As for common sense: I think it's clear from this thread that there are no common sense rules that the nation can agree on, perhaps with the exception of those already in place.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 04:53:45 AM by grantmeaname »

clifp

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #127 on: May 26, 2014, 05:49:35 AM »
I did go to the linked post.  It is irrelevant how much the folks who didn't borrow owe, they can't default.

But even using your weird math the correct average student debt is 71% * $29,400= $20,870, can we at least agree that when discussing this we should use the most current data available,not a NY Times article using 2011 data.

But none of the averages really matter. Nor does the $100,000 matter is completely irrelevant If you want change it to $1,000 that is fine with me.. 
What matter is the total debt in aggregate of 1.08 trillion. 
Quote
By using the report’s “New Delinquent Balances By Loan Type” graph (click image on the left for full-size), Credit.com was able to conclude that an additional 5% of student loans are 30 or more days delinquent.

So, in total, nearly one-third of the $600 billion in student loans that are currently in repayment mode could be considered delinquent.

 If you read Fed report or the 2012 Fed study on student loan you'll see that Federal reserve, the Consumerist, and I are all adjust the numerator to account for almost 1/2 of the outstanding student loans are in deferment. 11.5% 90 days delinquent, 5% 30-60 days late = 16.5% * 2 = 33%

Even more disturbing is that while the delinquency rates of all other type of times of consumer debt have gone down since 2010 student loans have gone up.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 05:55:41 AM by clifp »

MoneyCat

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #128 on: May 26, 2014, 11:27:33 AM »
I can tell you that one of the biggest problems I faced when I lived in poverty was fear.  People would constantly say "You need to take risks to improve your station in life", but I would avoid anything that wasn't a sure thing, because any mistake had catastrophic consequences, because there was no leeway or cushion for me.  Growing up, my family's income was so low that my father would have to call out of work if one of the children needed a prescription for an ear infection, because he would have to use money he had budgeted for gas for his commute to make the co-pay (and we were extremely lucky to have employer-provided health insurance).  So then he didn't have that day's income after missing work and he'd have to make other cuts, which usually came from the food budget, and we would end up not having as much to eat.  When you constantly live on a financial razor's edge, it messes with you psychologically.  Some people just give up and spend every dime they have as soon as they get it on frivolous crap, because their minds just snap.

John Cheese on Cracked.com has an excellent series on the psychology of poverty, which really might open some people's eyes when they question why poor people behave the way they do.

Jamesqf

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #129 on: May 26, 2014, 11:47:29 AM »
Well the more recent article I linked to puts the average $29,300 and the NY Time article put it at $23,300, the NY Fed puts it at $24,803 as Q4/2012. So I am not sure where you pulled the figure $15.5K from?

Let's say the average is a nice round $25K, just to make things easier.  Then at least half of borrowers owe less than that, no?  In fact, probably a lot more than half own less, because it takes at least 8 of them to balance out the one who borrowed $200K to go to an Ivy League school.

But none of the averages really matter. Nor does the $100,000 matter is completely irrelevant If you want change it to $1,000 that is fine with me.. 
What matter is the total debt in aggregate of 1.08 trillion.

No, what matters is the amount of the debt that's in real risk of default.  I'd argue that most of it isn't.  The majority who borrowed a reasonable amount and used it to get a degree that increased their earnings more than enough to cover the payments aren't really at risk,  though of course they may whine about the payments because they've been sucked into the overspending trap.

anisotropy

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #130 on: May 26, 2014, 12:16:11 PM »
John Cheese on Cracked.com has an excellent series on the psychology of poverty, which really might open some people's eyes when they question why poor people behave the way they do.

In the article, The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor, John Cheese said: "As some of you know, until the last couple of years, I was poor as shit. The first 18 years, I was a kid and couldn't do anything about it. The next 17, I was still a kid and wouldn't do anything about it. I take full responsibility for that, and I don't point a finger at anyone for the way I lived. I dug my own hole. "

That's a man that owns up to his own actions and takes full responsibility. Of course, he could be sarcastic and I am totally reading it wrong.  But wouldn't it be nice if everyone took full responsibilities of their own financial mistakes?

Actually, while we are at it, why stop at financial mistakes, people should be happy that they are poor:

"Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?"
"I think it's very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being helped much by the suffering of the poor people."
                                --- a well respected religious figure of the 20th centery, 1981.

I dont know about you, but I know it's certainly true to an extent.

MrsPete

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #131 on: May 28, 2014, 06:43:11 AM »
So if someone wants to earn a degree as an art history major and they are truly passionate about it they should just abandon it because the debt will be difficult to pay off or that you propose a system which judges their degree as worthless. It certainly isn't worthless to them.
Ah, but people who earn art history degrees tend to think that they're going to be able to make money from that degree . . . and that is often not true.  In the worst cases, we as a society end up with people who can't fully participate in society and the economy because they're paying back excessive debt and aren't earning enough to support themselves.

A story about a student of mine who's going to study art -- specifically furniture design -- in college:  He said he'd been concerned about being able to make a living with this degree, so he researched it (with Google).  I'm not sure my numbers are correct, but he said that a typical person with this degree earns $50,000-90,000.  So he figures that if those numbers are "typical", a person who really has talent and really works at it could do more -- may be $150,000!  I tried to point out the flaws in this thought process, but he was dead-sure of his facts.

This is going to sound condescending, but I don't apologize for it. Does he really think he's that special/talented?

Who in their right mind sees an "average" statistic and thinks they are TWICE as talented as average? Does he realize these statistics are probably mid-career stats as well? It means a new hire/entry level may be in the 40-50 range... or maybe even lower.

Too bad... can't educate someone who has the rosy dreamy eyes over something.
Oh, I don't disagree with you at all, and I tried to point all this out to the student . . . but he wouldn't hear me. 

He's 18 and in the small world of high school he is EASILY the best artist in his graduating class.  Only one other student even comes close.  He cannot conceive that he has a counterpart in every other high school in America who is also super talented, and he cannot believe that this talent won't blossom into big paychecks.  Also, he is hard-working, and he can't believe that won't count for . . . well, everything!  Talent plus hard work, how could he fail?  He genuinely believes this, and nothing will deter him. 


SU

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #132 on: May 28, 2014, 09:17:33 AM »
I'd like to see what people have to say about the following research..which indicates the above quote to be true:
http://theslab.uchicago.edu/anuj/wp-content/uploads/sci.pdf
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/academic/mani/mani_science_976.full.pdf

Ottawa, in case you are still curious about what people have to say about this research - I had dinner at the home of the lead author of the second paper last year, and got teased all the way home because I had fallen in love with her. I mention this because I think it's relevant that she's one of the most gracious, kind and intelligent people I have ever met - I cannot imagine that there is any negative judgement about 'the poor' in her research, and I think that she and her co-authors are making a genuine attempt to understand the issue (and in the academic context 'the poor' is not pejorative). (I also mentioned it because it wasn't something I expected to stumble across in this forum and I nearly coughed up my coffee in delight when I saw it).

These studies are done in developing countries, and 'poor' in that context is a different sort of 'poor' than we see in developed countries, but I think the effect of being poor on cognitive resources also applies - I think that is one reason why consumer protection laws (and enforcement thereof) are so important.

If you enjoy reading papers like these, I'm interested to hear your opinion on this one (sorry it's just a link to the presentation of the paper - the paper itself is only available to subscribers to EJ but I will post a better link later if I can find one):
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/academic/moav/moav_neeman_slides_2013.pdf
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 12:47:17 PM by SU »

Ottawa

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #133 on: May 28, 2014, 10:49:49 AM »
I'd like to see what people have to say about the following research..which indicates the above quote to be true:
http://theslab.uchicago.edu/anuj/wp-content/uploads/sci.pdf
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/academic/mani/mani_science_976.full.pdf

Ottawa, in case you are still curious about what people have to say about this research - I had dinner at the home of the lead author of the second paper last year, and got teased all the way home because I had fallen in love with her. I mention this because I think it's relevant that she's one of the most gracious, kind and intelligent people I have ever met - I cannot imagine that there is any negative judgement about 'the poor' in her research, and that she and her co-authors are making a genuine attempt to understand the issue (and in the academic context 'the poor' is not pejorative). (I also mentioned it because it wasn't something I expected to stumble across in this forum and I nearly coughed up my coffee in delight when I saw it).

These studies are done in developing countries, and 'poor' in that context is a different sort of 'poor' than we see in developed countries, but I think the effect of being poor on cognitive resources also applies - I think that is one reason why consumer protection laws (and enforcement thereof) are so important.

If you enjoy reading papers like these, I'm interested to hear your opinion on this one (sorry it's just a link to the presentation of the paper - the paper itself is only available to subscribers to EJ but I will post a better link later if I can find one):
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/academic/moav/moav_neeman_slides_2013.pdf

Hey thanks SU!  I'll have a look through this...I'm glad you said this:

Quote
I mention this because I think it's relevant that she's one of the most gracious, kind and intelligent people I have ever met - I cannot imagine that there is any negative judgement about 'the poor' in her research, and that she and her co-authors are making a genuine attempt to understand the issue (and in the academic context 'the poor' is not pejorative

Jamesqf

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #134 on: May 28, 2014, 11:39:54 AM »
In the article, The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor, John Cheese said...

Operative word there is 'you'.  Those are stupid habits he developed, and I suppose I can see how other people in similar circumstances might develop the same habits.  But that's not the only way of growing up poor, or the only set of poverty-caused habits you can develop.  I think some of mine, like the classic New England "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" can be pretty smart.

Quote
"Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?"
"I think it's very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being helped much by the suffering of the poor people."
                                --- a well respected religious figure of the 20th centery, 1981.

I dont know about you, but I know it's certainly true to an extent.

Had to look it up to be sure, but as I suspected, Mother Theresa.  Which probably would be #79 or so on my list of top 100 reasons why I'm not a Christian, if I ever went to the trouble of writing it down :-)

But makes a good point in a backhanded way.  I mean, if we didn't have all those suffering poor around, how would people like her ever find a cause in which to express their need for self-abnegation?

SU

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #135 on: May 28, 2014, 12:54:47 PM »
Ottawa I've attached a contraband copy of the paper. You are allowed to let your eyes glaze over section 4, unless you love calculus, in which case you can read it closely...


viper155

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #136 on: May 29, 2014, 11:07:18 AM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

Please read the Constitution. Please! Those are your only rights

lackofstache

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #137 on: May 29, 2014, 02:53:00 PM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

Please read the Constitution. Please! Those are your only rights

My rights as a human aren't dictated by other humans' assumptions about what rights I have as an American. I don't necessarily agree that everyone should get a free college education, but I don't pretend that a few guys that wrote a document get to decide once and for all what rights humans have.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #138 on: May 30, 2014, 01:18:05 AM »
Rights are either laws or opinions. So I guess you're in the camp that "whatever I say is a right is a right", an even more casual and shifting definition than "whatever society codifies as a right is a right"?

Albert

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #139 on: May 30, 2014, 02:21:07 AM »
Why does it have to be about rights and constitution? You could just decide that education in all state schools costs let's say 2,000$ a year and all remaining costs are covered by State and Federal government. There is plenty of money in your country to pay for it.

davisgang90

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #140 on: May 30, 2014, 05:38:46 AM »
Meh, I think he's right. If our nation actually prioritized education, we could make a college education free for every single student in the country. Per this article, it could be done for between $40 and $63 billion. As a comparison, we spend somewhere around $1 trillion (that's 1000 billion) on the military every single year.

However, this is one of those issues where I'm in the minority, including on this forum. Too many folks are inured with the "quit 'yer whining" outlook toward life in this country, which is why we're missing so many safety nets that our fellow citizens in fellow rich countries rightfully take for granted (including the right to an affordable education).

Please read the Constitution. Please! Those are your only rights

My rights as a human aren't dictated by other humans' assumptions about what rights I have as an American. I don't necessarily agree that everyone should get a free college education, but I don't pretend that a few guys that wrote a document get to decide once and for all what rights humans have.
You are absolutely right.  That's why we have consistently amended the constitution over the years.

lackofstache

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #141 on: May 30, 2014, 07:23:51 AM »
Rights are either laws or opinions. So I guess you're in the camp that "whatever I say is a right is a right", an even more casual and shifting definition than "whatever society codifies as a right is a right"?

As davisgang90 says, Constitutions get amended because people and the society of which they are a part change. Laws & rights can change to; thinking that what is a law now is best because it's the law now is silly & shortsided. 

grantmeaname

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #142 on: May 30, 2014, 03:38:15 PM »
I guess my argument wasn't very clear. I'm not saying they can't change or that the law as it exists at any point in time is perfect. What I'm saying is that our society doesn't function the way it does because the space pope bestowed a bunch of inexorable truths on society, it functions because we achieve some sort of consensus and live it out through norms and laws. Rights are just norms and laws. If there are a bunch of people here disagreeing about a topic, it's not very effective to say "well it's a right". What you're really saying is "it's my opinion on society", which we all already knew; if it were truly a value or law that we all held in common, you saying "this is a norm we all share" would be redundant and obvious.

davisgang90

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #143 on: May 31, 2014, 07:14:17 AM »
I guess my argument wasn't very clear. I'm not saying they can't change or that the law as it exists at any point in time is perfect. What I'm saying is that our society doesn't function the way it does because the space pope bestowed a bunch of inexorable truths on society, it functions because we achieve some sort of consensus and live it out through norms and laws. Rights are just norms and laws. If there are a bunch of people here disagreeing about a topic, it's not very effective to say "well it's a right". What you're really saying is "it's my opinion on society", which we all already knew; if it were truly a value or law that we all held in common, you saying "this is a norm we all share" would be redundant and obvious.

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution aren't called the Bill of Norms and Laws.  It is called the Bill of Rights.  So we can quibble about whether they are still accurate today, but we can't argue as to whether they are rights.  By definition they are.  When I say I have the right to free speech under the U.S. constitution, that isn't just my opinion on society.  We can argue about what that right entails, the limits that should or should not be applied to the right, but it remains a right until we either write a new constitution or amend the current one.

MoneyCat

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #144 on: May 31, 2014, 09:51:59 AM »
John Cheese on Cracked.com has an excellent series on the psychology of poverty, which really might open some people's eyes when they question why poor people behave the way they do.

In the article, The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor, John Cheese said: "As some of you know, until the last couple of years, I was poor as shit. The first 18 years, I was a kid and couldn't do anything about it. The next 17, I was still a kid and wouldn't do anything about it. I take full responsibility for that, and I don't point a finger at anyone for the way I lived. I dug my own hole. "

That's a man that owns up to his own actions and takes full responsibility. Of course, he could be sarcastic and I am totally reading it wrong.  But wouldn't it be nice if everyone took full responsibilities of their own financial mistakes?

Actually, while we are at it, why stop at financial mistakes, people should be happy that they are poor:

"Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?"
"I think it's very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being helped much by the suffering of the poor people."
                                --- a well respected religious figure of the 20th centery, 1981.

I dont know about you, but I know it's certainly true to an extent.

John Cheese eventually came to a similar realization that I did:  You can't control the circumstances you are born into, but you can personally do things to improve your life.  It is very difficult to break out of the poverty mindset, especially when the only assistance you have is government assistance that people despise you for taking.  I couldn't help the fact that I was born into a family so poor that we received WIC, for instance, and I began working under-the-table when I was 12 just to survive.  I also couldn't help the fact that my parents had no valuable knowledge about personal finance that they could pass on to me (and so I didn't even know that such knowledge existed, because my high school was busy teaching me stuff like trigonometry that had no bearing on my existence instead of something useful like how to manage a bank account.)

On the plus side, I was blessed with a good intellect and I was born into a world in which the Internet existed, so I could accidentally find my way to free information that would eventually help me break the cycle of poverty.  I was also blessed in that my family valued education, even though they were extremely poor, so unlike most poor people I spent a lot of time learning about things at the library and I had the literacy level of a college senior when I was 10 years old. 

It's very popular these days to blame poor people for being poor, but most people in the USA have extremely easy lives so they can't possibly understand the pressures the poor are under.  Not only do they lack knowledge, but they are taught to despise anything that would improve their intellects.  They are taught that they have to spend absolutely everything they have as soon as they get it, before it magically disappears.  When they accept help so they can learn to improve their lives, they are hated for it.  They desperately seek social status because of the hate directed toward them, so their priorities get skewed and they waste money instead of working to improve their station in life.  They accept broken families as normal instead of understanding how broken families perpetuate poverty, because they have never known anything else.

Poverty is not easy to escape from and I should know because I managed to do it.

And, by the way, taking one quote out of context from a Catholic saint does not invalidate an entire faith.  Christianity over the centuries has been a force for Good throughout the world.  Catholic Charities, for example, provides billions of dollars worth of assistance to the needy every year.  Catholic monasteries preserved the knowledge of the Roman Empire during the Dark Ages, so we didn't lose thousands of years of literature and scientific study.  Of course, there are around 2 billion Christians in the world, so there will always be Christians who do bad things, but saying that all Christianity is bad because of atrocities is like saying that all Americans are horrible because of the Japanese internment during WWII, the practice of slavery until 1865, and the genocide of Native Americans from the 1700s-1800s.  It's just a ludicrous thing to say.

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #145 on: May 31, 2014, 10:14:22 AM »
Why are people whining about a $25,000 student loan debt balance?  I've even seen a number of comments in the media about how that's like debt slavery! That's not a huge burden.   After all, the median new car price is around $32,000 and they get paid off in 7 years or less....

matchewed

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #146 on: May 31, 2014, 10:29:45 AM »
Why are people whining about a $25,000 student loan debt balance?  I've even seen a number of comments in the media about how that's like debt slavery! That's not a huge burden.   After all, the median new car price is around $32,000 and they get paid off in 7 years or less....

It's the crisis du jour. All you need is a sense of outrage, mix in a dash of glossing over the details, a dollop false equivalency to a known scary time, and one teaspoon of hastily cobbled together solutions which would generate more problems; put it in the oven at 350F for thirty minutes and voila a good ol' fashioned American Crisis. Let it sit for a while before serving and the crust will thicken.

Don't worry when the next "not a problem" (baby boomers all retiring, autonomous cars, China) rears its head, it'll be forgotten.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #147 on: May 31, 2014, 12:26:39 PM »
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution aren't called the Bill of Norms and Laws.  It is called the Bill of Rights.  So we can quibble about whether they are still accurate today, but we can't argue as to whether they are rights.  By definition they are.  When I say I have the right to free speech under the U.S. constitution, that isn't just my opinion on society.  We can argue about what that right entails, the limits that should or should not be applied to the right, but it remains a right until we either write a new constitution or amend the current one.
Yeah, no shit. The constitution is law, and so the rights in the constitution fall into the "laws" category of the two kinds of rights. FFS.

davisgang90

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #148 on: June 03, 2014, 04:02:41 AM »
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution aren't called the Bill of Norms and Laws.  It is called the Bill of Rights.  So we can quibble about whether they are still accurate today, but we can't argue as to whether they are rights.  By definition they are.  When I say I have the right to free speech under the U.S. constitution, that isn't just my opinion on society.  We can argue about what that right entails, the limits that should or should not be applied to the right, but it remains a right until we either write a new constitution or amend the current one.
Yeah, no shit. The constitution is law, and so the rights in the constitution fall into the "laws" category of the two kinds of rights. FFS.
Yeah, FFS your argument remains unclear. 

Argyle

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Re: Is Being Poor Anyone's Fault?
« Reply #149 on: June 03, 2014, 04:15:09 AM »
I think $32,000 of debt for a new car is equally burdensome and insane.  We've just become hardened to it because the automotive companies want us to accept it as "the way things are."