The Poor Get Richer

The poor seem to be getting richer and richer in the New York Times editorial pages...

Debra, a single mother who works in health care administration, is one of millions of Americans who do their jobs, believe in paying their bills and are still facing the threat of losing their home. Debra ... bought a home in the East New York section of Brooklyn for more than $600,000 in 2006. The house has plenty of room for herself, for her son and for tenants. ...

At Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, Debra found some relief. They gave her $1,650 from The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund for her mortgage and utility bills. But her payment plan is unsustainable. Catholic ... Debra is still waiting for a workout that she can afford, hoping to stay in her home. “I wanted my son to have a home, a place to live. This is the legacy I have for him,” she said.

Won't you donate to the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, so that Debra doesn't have to move into a house she can afford?

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JFC, people!  If you can't afford a house, DON'T BUY IT!  I'd LOVE to have a 5,000 sq ft hasienda with an indoor pool, wine cellar (I don't drink that much wine, but it'd be cool to have a wine cellar!), and 3-car heated garage (for my one simple car and lots of junk that ultimately gets stored in a garage), but my income restricted me to a very nice yet inexpensive townhouse in a nice part of town. 

If the Catholics want to pour money down that drain, let them.  Instead, I would recommend their setting money aside for their child-raper settlements.

I'd recommend all religious institutions do that, actually.

but hey... let's go bash the catholics, why don't we?

The problem, as always, is a fundamentally conservative one. This culture where everyone feels like they must buy a house to be 'socially acceptable.'

Millionaires get made fun of for renting in NYC. No kidding.

Catholic Bashing

Yeah - that was probably a bit over the top....

My desire for owning was not driven by social acceptability, including the "you still rent?" stare anybody over 35 gets.  It stemmed more from my deep down hatred of moving, coupled with the desire for roots.  I know that, barring a financial disaster (like, when would THAT ever happen?), I will have that place that is my home for the next 5-20 years.  Plus, I know that my monthly costs will be somewhat steady over that time.  Renting, you can be at the whim of your landlord, especially if that landlord changes.

I still stand by my words about only buying what you can afford.  A $600k house is not necessarily unaffordable to some.  But buying a $600k house without KNOWING you can make the payments at any time is rediculous.

it is new york city.

(not that I'm defending the lady, she was clearly an investor).

I'm sure that what is a huge home here, is someplace tiny there.

(and I know that you didn't really mean to bash Catholics. but they must be really sick of always being referenced. ;-)

poor getting richer

We've got problems like this at both ends of the economic spectrum.  Government does too much to help those who don't deserve it, both rich and poor.  While our tax dollars are going to bail out the incompetent fools who made a mess of Wall St., financial industry executives are using that money to pay themselves $70 billion worth of bonuses.

Well said!

 just ask Cheney and friends... watch for more indictments...

the ed. linked makes a good case for higher taxes in the USA

          ".....America’s tax take is nearly the lowest in the industrial world. Federal, state and local tax collections amount to just more than 25.5 percent of the nation’s economic output. The Finnish government collects 48.8 percent. As a result, the United States spends less on social programs than virtually every other rich industrial country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development."

this makes sense to me, but I expext  most readers here would disagree.

the editorial that you have block quoted is here:


Taxes should be LESS not more

You are a socialist if you think govt should be 50% of the GDP. That's absurdly high and beyond unnecesary. It would destroy the fabric, nature and the prosperity of this country.

BTW, the idea that we 'spend less on social programs' is absolute and utter rubbish.

If you think about it, they are not accounting for  our higher GDP (due in part to not taxing  everyone to death) and nor accounting for private expenditures (which are less crowded out) for the same functions.

Freedom works. Socialism is a prescription for poverty.


50% of GDP

I heartily agree that the government doesn't need half of my income, but MY income is usually used up by the end of the month with rent, food, gas to get to work and home, and car insurance.  I live from month to month as do most Americans.  We certainly can cut the military budget by 70% without effecting my needs to protect the country.  As an ex-military officer I know that the Army literally pisses through money on tons of useless and duplicated crap.  Money means NOTHING to the military since they don't have to come up with it, only tell Congress that they can't do their jobs without more and more every year.  It's really a load of bullshit! 

Corporations that have squandered fortunes on executive salaries should have to stand on their own and not get bailouts.  Fuck them!  GM is one of the world's biggest jokes, paying huge salaries and bonuses and then claiming they need a bailout.  Hell, they haven't paid federal income taxes in sixty years, without also taking income tax credits for retooling and business expenses.  I pay for my own gas, my own car and my own lunch.  When businesses get to write all that off it is WELFARE!  Screw them and the lawmakers that gave them all those tax breaks.

freedom only works for the RICH

our health care system would be utterly unaffordable for poorer countries. which is everyone else.

Policy through comparison?

What, we should shoot for the economic policies of those other relatively wealthy countries with lower economic growth, lower incomes and higher long-term unemployment, despite the fact that we've been effectively subsidizing their defense since FDR was president?

considering that our economic growth hasn't been

actually positive since the Clintons were in office (Bush's economic expansion was merely financial trickery, as we're seeing now)...

I think you might want to revise your estimations.

Our economic growth is mainly a function of our different culture -- one that puts more emphasis (and status) on innovation.

Got evidence?

I'll consider revising my statements when I see compelling evidence that contradicts them.  I'll wait.

umm... what in particular. don't want to go to all the bother

only to figure out you only wanted half of what I just posted (and as I just posted things running in two diametrically opposite directions, it's probable that you only want one).

Evidence for all your factual claims is nice, but...

Specifically, why all US economic growth under Bush has all been one big financial trick, and why that puts us at lower growth than other relatively wealthy industrial countries.

5.3% gdp

but what that fails to account for is the orgy of corporate debt -- 1% interest rates mean essentially free money. Which is VERY BAD.

If you need me to go on, I can pull more sources -- but I trust that you will find this factual enough (I consider my other claim -- about the cultural differences, to be on more shaky ground, but that's because I only have a small amout of research to quote).

Going by that logic for a second...

... when is the last time we actually had economic growth?

Or, should we reject some parts of that logic, since (despite my reservations about excessive debt) growth built on borrowed money is not merely a "financial trick"?

As for the 5.3% of GDP comment, that just means that profits have not increased as a share of GDP.  So what?  That doesn't say anything about the growth of GDP over that time.

Like the .com Boom

Under Clinton.

classic economic theory

... growth comes from increases in productivity. Those haven't happened since Clinton was in office, and not the last year or two even then.

This idea that the economy will always grow, stocks will always go up, and there is no risk was idiotic from the get go, but find me a conservative over thirty who doesn't have a 401k...

I guess when I look at my 401K

And see that with all the contributions I maxed out in in the late 80's and early 90's when the DJ was less than 5,000 I'm still way ahead, not including company matching and immediate tax savings, I should be . . .upset? People should only be in stocks in their 401K's if they are long term. I'm happy to have the opportunity to put more money in while the market is down. It won't stay this low for the next 20 years!!!!

it's not whether you're ahead right now...

it's whether you're ahead of other investments and inflation.

8% growth rate expected is what freaking kills me.

enjoy your retirement, and I hope your house doesn't have mosquitos next door.

Its where you will be at retirement

And most importantly if you can keep up with inflation after retirement.

And as long as I can get pyrethrium for my mosquito misting system, I won't have to worry.

true enough.

I think you will find that on average, pensions work better than 401ks for the employee, and a lot worse for the employer. There's a reason wall street calls 401k's "dumb money"

Except for all the

Except for all the underfunded pensions, who's going to pick up the dime on that.

umm... there basically are no pensions anymore

If they do come back, yes I would like to see some actual regulations about setting money aside and not spending it.

Do your research

Do your research dude...

Local and state governments...

Nearly 20 million employees and 7 million retirees and dependents of state and local governments—including school teachers, police, firefighters, and other public servants—are promised pensions.


Recently, new government accounting standards were issued, calling for the reporting of liabilities for future retiree health liabilities. The extent of these liabilities nationwide is not yet known, but some predict they will be very large, exceeding $1 trillion dollars nationwide in present value terms.


Although many experts consider a funded ratio of about 80 percent or better to be sound for government pensions, the percentage of pension plans with funded ratios below 80 percent has increased in recent years. Available data show that 58 percent of 65 large pension plans were funded to that level in 2006, a decrease since 2000 when about 90 percent of plans were so funded. A few plans are persistently and significantly underfunded, and although members of these plans may not be at risk of losing benefits in the near term, the unfunded liabilities will have to be made up in the future. Finally, a number of governments reported not contributing enough to reduce unfunded liabilities. Low contributions raise concerns about the future funded status, and may shift costs to future generations.

Union pension plans...

A large part of the difference between union plans and employer plans appears to be a tendency towards low contributions among union plans. In 2005, the latest full year of data available, collectively bargained pension plans were more poorly funded than their non-union counterparts.  Large plans, those with 100 or more participants, strongly showed this pattern. While 36.5 percent of nonunion plans were fully funded,1 only 19 percent of union plans met this criterion.The Pension Protection Act of 2006 considers funds underfunded, but not “at-risk,” if they are at least 80 percent fund ed. While nearly 90 percent of non-union plans met the funding threshold of 80 percent, only about 60 percent of union plans were not “at-risk.” Among collectively
bargained pensions, around 11 percent were only 65 percent funded, low enough to put the larger national plans in the heavily-penalized “critical”
category. Only two percent of non-union plans were in this condition.

When do we get to bail them out...

Oh isn't this an interesting tidbit too.

Our analysis finds that pension plans for the officers and staffs of unions were much better funded than those for the rank-and-file.


mnmod = liar

 "As a result, the United States spends less on social programs than virtually every other rich industrial country, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development."

Bull freaking hocky.  The government spent more than $2.7 trillion for social programs in 2006 alone.  That amount is nearly 8 times larger than Germany's annual budget, almost ten times that of Canada's.  

Breakdown of combined government spending by function:




United States Federal, State,
and Local Government Spending
Fiscal Year 2006 [3]
Function Amount
(billion) Percent
GDP Overall government spending Federal, State, Local $4,704.1 36.1 Spending by major government function Pensions $747.1 5.7 Health Care $783.8 6.0 Education $786.8 6.0 Defense $622.2 4.8 Welfare $411.4 3.2 Interest $312.3 2.4



mnmod not a liar but only shares small part of conservative

viewpoint.  My quote was from a different editorial that was originally linked in Jon's post.

not sure why Jon linked this, I guess as more examples that charity does a poor job  strengthening social safety net in the US.  and is sort of related to blockquote example  of how ridiculous it is to use charity to help someone stay in a $600,000 home they can't afford. From charitable giveing editorial:

      "....A study last year of 8,000 gifts of $1 million or more to 4,000 nonprofits found that 44 percent went to higher education, 16 percent to medical institutions and 12 percent to arts and cultural organizations. Only 5 percent were dedicated to social service groups. .....

.....In any event, social needs, like those health clinics, are not about charity. They are a necessity. America needs a government that can and will pay for them"

Since reading next right (still haven't found any other righty blogs I like) I have become more aware of wasteful government spending and found myself agreeing with much of George Will's column today.

I think opposing corporate welfatre/socialism is an area of common ground between progressives and conservative. Wouldn't it be cool if grassroots from both sides could work towards decreasing amount of wasteful gov't spending.

What I support is fair taxes for wise spending/investment -especially social safety net and towards equalizing opportunity  with support for good schools and college tuition assistance.



Corrected link

My quote was from a different editorial that was originally linked in Jon's post.

Yeah, I'd accidentally linked another NYT editorial about charity that I'd considered commenting on in relation to the current editorial.  I ultimately decided not to, but accidentally embedded the wrong link here.  I fixed that, which is why you see the new link.

Conservative claptrap

2.7 trillion in Social Programs??  Hogwash.


Oh yeah, I see you;ve included Social Security and Medicare payments in. 

Huh??  You CAN'T include those, they have already been funded!!  It is the Federal Government payout of the monies it has borrowed from the SS Fund for years, you dolt.

And where are the funds that

And where are the funds that will be paid out next year, or 12 years from now when even more baby boomers are going to retire?

If you don't currently have the money to pay the debts you are currently committed to, it is a debt.

I see you aren't going to come to the rescue.

I can't wait to see the Democrats on the edge of that precipce saying, OMG there's a crisis, social security/medicare/medicaid need to be bailed out too, why didn't anyone warn us.


If you look at the report by the trustees of the SS fund, the actuarial tables are fashioned using assumptions for future economic growth that range from weak to strong.

ALL of the scenarios say the fund will be running at a SURPLUS for decades to come.  There IS no precipice, unless you close your eyes and pretend there is one to force a bailout.

And that's just what they

And that's just what they were sayin' a wee couple of years ago about Freddie and Fannie, and the housing market...

Oh, it'll just grow, no need to worry 'bout it.

you do read

the mess that greenspan made, don't you?

they was republican, sir. deregulators deserve to be shot, at this point.

Dear Obama,

Please save me from your voters.




Who's going to save Obama from his voters?

When they figure out that you can't cut taxes for 95% of Americans while saving corporations that should be allowed to go bankrupt?

I'm sure the Obamacrats will have contentigency plan.

I mean if the primary system in this election could be skewed to get the GOP to nominate a loser like McCain, I'm sure they can figure out a way to get the stupid party to do it again in 2012.

Why do I get the feeling?

Obama isn't in office yet but he's already on a contngency plan?

Leave Iraq? Nah.

Cut taxes? Nah

Universal health care? Not his year, maybe in 2010 . . .

you lie

Nice way to edit the article.

It talks about rental income in the article. It's an investment gone bad.

How can want to punish people for trying to improve their lives in a system that allowed loans to go through that were not qualified. It's both a system and an education issue.

You should not lie. It's not good for your karma.

Yeah, and hid the lie by providing the link.

Moron. The point is its a $600,000 home and the woman is seeking charitable donations to stay in it. And build equity. She obviously has taken on too much debt.

You can't read

I said nothing about punishing people.

Your are right

You just said that people who charties want to help (voluntarily) are okay to mock.

Why don't you mock the CEO's of the banks. They are the people you deserve it.

Is this what you guys call compassionate convservatism?

Its a breach of trust

for a charity to give money to people in homes that are worth $600,000.

See, most people wouldn't view this woman as "needy" because she has many other paths she could take to solvency before asking for charity.

When I give money to charity tor "needy" people, I'm thinking of people who are out of options and have asked for help. Not someone whose half milllion dollar real estate investment isn't working out.

These types of situations will cause people to donate less, and hurt people who are really in need.

  You just said that people


You just said that people who charties want to help (voluntarily) are okay to mock.

Again, that is not what I wrote.  Please try to respond to what I've written, not what you imagine I meant to write.  I pointed out that the New York Times "Neediest" Cases Fund was holding up a person as an example of "struggle" because she couldn't quite afford a $600,000 mortgage payment.

Bear in mind, this is the NY Times editorial board that earlier attacked private charity, saying the government should remove tax deducations or take control of how it is allocated, because private charity wasn't sufficiently "democratic" and tended to spend money on superfluous things, rather than real need. 

Is this what you guys call compassionate convservatism?

If you wish to argue with a cartoon, do so elsewhere.  I'm not a conservative, and I hold no brief for "compassionate conservatism."   That's the sort of thing you might have tried to figure out before opining.


I'm so confused. I read the next right thinking I am getting

insight into the conservative viewpoint.  What, if any, political label do you identify with?  I thought the political right was somewhat synonomous with conservative, all of which I understand vaguely at best .

"Compassionate Conservative" v. "Conservative"

"Compassionate conservatism" is not the same as traditional "conservatism." Many here (representing the right) find the "compassionate conservative" label to be undesirable and standing in opposition to what they deem to be truly "conservative." "Compassionate conservative" was a label that GW Bush used in his 2000 campaign. If you stick around, you'll notice lots of people here disagreeing with much of what Bush did as president in the name of "compassionate conservatism."

Are all Democrats liberals? 

Are all Democrats liberals?  Are all Democrats progressives?  Are blue dog Democrats the same as California Democrats?

There are as many flavors of Republicanism, as there are ice cream.  There are certainly broad camps that can be demarcated, but I'm not going to try and do that.

Because Bush called himself a Compassionate Conservative, other Republicans took on the conservative mantel, whether it was deserved or not.  They thought they could boost their popularity if the rebranded themselves.  However, they failed because the did not act conservative.

Political viewpoint

I am libertarian.

no wonder no one respects the right blogs

It's because you manipulate the truth to feed your narrative.

The reason the left blogs are respected, is despite theiir partisan nature, they base their arguments in facts, not half truths.

Sara Palin's son is her grandson!!!

Yeah redlaker. Left wing blogs and the facts go togther like peas and carrots!

Jackass. Why don't you go spend time on your left wing blogs instead of infecting this one with your stupid comments?