welfare money

I just hope all these proud Aryans know that the parts of Germany that have actual Nazi sympathizers are also the shitty, ass-backwards part of Germany that nobody else likes and take a bunch of welfare money

Distinguish Between Avoidance Strategies and Situational Solutions

Something I’ve noticed a bunch in recent political discourse around the UBI, that it strikes me I’ve seen often in other political discourse, and that is also present in how people talk about people in trouble more broadly, is a kind of conflation between strategies by which a wise person can avoid a situation, and solutions for people once in them.

For example, avoidance strategies by which a wise person could avoid bad situations might include arranging to have your infrequently paid welfare/UBI money handled by someone else so you can’t spend it all at once, or buying health insurance while you’re healthy so you can’t end up unable to afford healthcare later while sick.

Whereas typical currently politically used situational solutions for people in a bad situation include emergency payments or food banks or the local government sticking someone with no home in temporary accommodation, or Obamacare-like provisions against insurance considering preexisting conditions and the mandatory purchase of insurance needed to make that not immediately run every insurance company out of business, so sick people can get health insurance. Providing free healthcare is another; one reason I think people are drawn to government “free” services is that they think they are very reliably available situational solutions whatever the market is currently doing.

It is in a sense a bit weird that these things are conflated, because they’re actually actionable by mostly disjoint groups; a person who is wise and currently okay can action the avoidance strategies, but they’re useless to give to a person who’s already in the bad situation; if you squint it could be taken as “when you’re back to being currently okay this is how you can avoid this happening again”, but mostly it is unconstructive to present them to someone presently working out how they can get back to being okay. Conversely, a person who is wise and currently okay might be interested in the existence of situational solutions, to inform risk taking, but doesn’t need them and most of the time is still better off using avoidance strategies.


The obvious connection is that there’s a third group which might be interested in creating both avoidance strategies and situational solutions: People concerned about the existence of other people in bad situations. Both increasing the availability and ease and knowledge of avoidance strategies and offering new situational solutions can reduce the number of people in them, eventually, and insofar as it does so it helps. If you can reduce the number of people getting into the situation down small enough, maybe it isn’t the most effective thing to do to work on situational solutions. From a consequentialist perspective, it’s entirely reasonable to propose ways to make it so more people are successfully executing avoidance strategies.

There’s a second version of this connection, filtered through the moral position (sometimes just implicit unendorsed intuition) that only people who aren’t responsible for their bad situation are morally deserving. From this perspective, which I don’t share, knowing about the present existence of avoidance strategies makes offering situational solutions unnecessary- even if the number of people getting into the bad situation is still high.

This moral position/intuition also suggests if there’s a lack of a viable avoidance strategy and people in the bad situation, it’s an acceptable solution to simply ensure one exists- it doesn’t have to be one that will actually reduce the number of people in the bad situation much, so long as it ensures that eventually everyone in the situation is flagged as morally undeserving.


I would argue three things.

Firstly, that these connections aren’t enough for avoidance strategies and situational solutions to be treated interchangeably, and it is worth keeping track mentally of which you’re suggesting. For most bad situations, there are already people in it who would benefit from a solution they can action. If you’re proposing making avoidance strategies more possible as an alternative to situational solutions, you should evaluate whether you want to assert that the strategies will be good enough that the few people who slip through should be abandoned, or whether proposing them as an addition would be better.

Secondly, that unless you endorse the moral position where only those who didn’t have an avoidance strategy available are morally deserving, the value of an avoidance strategy is only in the extent to which it truly, actually stops people- real, flawed, probably mostly impulsive and not genius people- from getting into the bad situation. If there are lots of people known to be in the situation, pointing out already available avoidance strategies isn’t usually relevant; whatever impact their availability was going to have, it’s already factored in.

If you’re proposing making new ones possible or making existing ones more available (including in the sense of known of, via some concrete campaign or something), estimate what percentage of people currently in the bad situation would have successfully avoided the bad situation as a result; this is the value of what you are doing. If not many people would actually use it, not much impact.

There’s an equivalently true thing about situational solutions, but people, at least in this “shut up and multiply” community, seem to notice it there; for avoidance strategies, people who I don’t think would consciously endorse dividing people into deserving and undeserving don’t seem to intuitively notice they should estimate effectiveness of avoidance strategies. This is another good reason for explicitly noting whether you think your idea will work via keeping people out of bad situations or helping people in them- it’s a necessary step in estimating what the actual impact would be.

Thirdly, epistemic status speculative: I think availability of avoidance strategies functions badly under conditions of competition. If people who skip them can get a market advantage over people who don’t, it can make them de facto unavailable fairly readily. Consider competition over rental prices or wages between people who are and aren’t buying expensive types of insurance. I think the same mechanism that can make it impractical for companies to remain inefficient can make it impractical for humans to not run risks, and there’s probably more irrational humans you’re competing with than irrational companies a company is competing with.

This means I think, especially for the very poor, even if you think there’s something to the idea of moral deserving vs undeserving status, more people in bad situations will be “deserving” than a naive analysis might consider.

How the Peoples Party Prevailed in 2020

Third parties have rarely posed much of a threat to the dominant two parties in America. So how did the People’s Party win the U.S. presidency and a majority of both houses of Congress in 2020?

It started four years before, with the election of 2016.

As you remember, Donald Trump didn’t have enough delegates to become the Republican candidate, so the GOP convention that summer was “brokered” – which meant the Party establishment took control, and nominated the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

Trump tried to incite riots but his “I deserve to be president because I’m the best person in the world!” speech incited universal scorn instead, and he slunk off the national stage (his last words, shouted as he got into his stretch limousine, were “Fu*ck you, America!”)

On the Democratic side, despite a large surge of votes for Bernie Sanders in the final months of the primaries, Hillary Clinton’s stable of wealthy donors and superdelegates put her over the top.

Both Republican and Democratic political establishments breathed palpable sighs of relief, and congratulated themselves on remaining in control of the nation’s politics.

They attributed Trump’s rise to his fanning of bigotry and xenophobia, and Sanders’s popularity to his fueling of left-wing extremism. 

They conveniently ignored the deeper anger in both camps about the arbitrariness and unfairness of the economy, and about a political system rigged in favor of the rich and privileged.

And they shut their eyes to the anti-establishment fury that had welled up among independents, young people, poor and middle-class Democrats, and white working-class Republicans.

So they went back to doing what they had been doing before. Establishment Republicans reverted to their old blather about the virtues of the “free market,” and establishment Democrats returned to their perennial call for “incremental reform.”

And Wall Street, big corporations, and a handful of billionaires resumed pulling the strings of both parties to make sure regulatory agencies didn’t have enough staff to enforce rules, and to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Establishment politicians also arranged to reduce taxes on big corporations and simultaneously increase federal subsidies to them, expand tax loopholes for the wealthy, and cut Social Security and Medicare to pay for it all. (“Sadly, we have no choice,” said the new President, who had staffed the White House and Treasury with Wall Streeters and corporate lobbyists, and filled boards and commissions with corporate executives).

Meanwhile, most Americans continued to lose ground. 

Even before the recession of 2018, most families were earning less than they’d earned in 2000, adjusted for inflation. Businesses continued to shift most employees off their payrolls and into “on demand” contracts so workers had no idea what they’d be earning from week to week. And the ranks of the working poor continued to swell.

At the same time, CEO pay packages grew even larger, Wall Street bonus pools got fatter, and a record number of billionaires were becoming multi-billionaires.

Then, of course, came the recession, along with bank losses requiring another round of bailouts. The Treasury Secretary, a former managing director of Morgan Stanley, expressed shock and outrage, explaining the nation had no choice and vowing to “get tough” on the banks once the crisis was over.

Politics abhors a vacuum. In 2019, the People’s Party filled it.

Its platform called for getting big money out of politics, ending “crony capitalism,” abolishing corporate welfare, stopping the revolving door between government and the private sector, and busting up the big Wall Street banks and corporate monopolies.

The People’s Party also pledged to revoke the Trans Pacific Partnership, hike taxes on the rich to pay for a wage subsidy (a vastly expanded Earned Income Tax Credit) for everyone earning below the median, and raise taxes on corporations that outsource jobs abroad or pay their executives more than 100 times the pay of typical Americans.

Americans rallied to the cause. Millions who called themselves conservatives and Tea Partiers joined with millions who called themselves liberals and progressives against a political establishment that had shown itself incapable of hearing what they had been demanding for years.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Proponents of the welfare state — egalitarians, communitarians, and liberals alike — have misunderstood the implications of their own principles, which in fact support more market-based or libertarian institutional conclusions than most people realize.

As build up for the upcoming smoke and shadow comics, I think the “New Ozai Society” needs an RP Blog.

New Ozai Society post#1

@Zuko, if you’re from the fire nation how come we haven’t seen your birth certificate yet?
#Ozaiforfirelord2015

New Ozai Society post#2

Zuko believes Fire Bending evolved from dragons!  Do you really want someone who believes in SCIENCE spending YOUR tax dollars?
#Ozaiforfirelord2015

New Ozai Society post#3

We may have burned half the world during Sozin’s Comet but Science still cant prove global warming exist!
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#4

@Zuko, everyone knows trickle-down economics actually works. Do you even understand science!? 
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#5

Reblog if you’re rich and and your taxes went up under Fuckup Lord Zuko.
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#6

Zuko stopped the war just so he could slash the defense budget and give the money to welfare sucking homeless drug addicts!
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#7

Zuko’s mom is a face changer and a divorced feminist theater geek.
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#8

Zuko is friends with a vegetarian.  He is obviously a secret air acolyte.
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#9

Zuko’s sister is a schizophrenic bisexual.
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#10

OZAI never illegitimately usurped power from the throne!
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


New Ozai Society post#11

Zuko’s father is a convicted war criminal and child abuser. Do you really want the son of a war criminal/child abuser running OUR country???!!!
#Ozaiforfirelord2015


Anyone else have any ideas?

wtf? What is the difference between spending welfare payment on hobbies than spending your own salary on hobbies? Not everyone is physicaly or mentally able enough for a job. Maybe its different in america and they only give you $10 a month or something but in first world countries us disabled people can get by and have enough for our hobbies with some saving. By saying we cant spend our ‘welfare money’ on dolls you are just trying to exclude disabled people from the hobby and its gross as fuck. 

~Anonymous

Poor people in Kansas aren’t acting poor enough.

Apparently they can’t stop spending their welfare money on tattoos, cruise ships, porn, psychics and ATM withdrawals of more than $25. To end this so-called epidemic, the Republican-controlled legislature has passed a bill restricting how welfare recipients use their public assistance funds.

If you are using welfare money on dolls, fuck you, for wasting my tax dollars on luxurious dolls. Dolls are a luxury. Welfare money is for NECESSITIES. And please don’t say “Oh it’s their money!!1” because they are just mooching off the government and buying pretty barbie dolls.

~Anonymous