blueollie

NCAA predictions, Apple and the Poor…

Swim: 500 easy, 6 x 100 on 2:10 (alt fist/free; 1:53-1:57), 2 x 200 on 4 (3:31, 3:33), drill/swim, count (4 x 25; 22-23 strokes), off strokes.
Not much; just enough.

Posts

Basketball: how did Fivethirtyeight.com do? Ok.

Paul Krugman: talks about the new Apple products which allow for you to be tracked. But it also helps one avoid time wasting line waiting. The principle:

Consider the Varian rule, which says that you can forecast the future by looking at what the rich have today — that is, that what affluent people will want in the future is, in general, something like what only the truly rich can afford right now. Well, one thing that’s very clear if you spend any time around the rich — and one of the very few things that I, who by and large never worry about money, sometimes envy — is that rich people don’t wait in line. They have minions who ensure that there’s a car waiting at the curb, that the maitre-d escorts them straight to their table, that there’s a staff member to hand them their keys and their bags are already in the room.

And it’s fairly obvious how smart wristbands could replicate some of that for the merely affluent. Your reservation app provides the restaurant with the data it needs to recognize your wristband, and maybe causes your table to flash up on your watch, so you don’t mill around at the entrance, you just walk in and sit down (which already happens in Disney World.) You walk straight into the concert or movie you’ve bought tickets for, no need even to have your phone scanned. And I’m sure there’s much more — all kinds of context-specific services that you won’t even have to ask for, because systems that track you know what you’re up to and what you’re about to need.

Poverty One of the biggest divides among my friends is how poverty is viewed. One group (conservatives) see most of it as the result of bad choices made by someone (though they acknowledge that bad things can happen from time to time) whereas others consider it mostly fate (a function of where one was born), with a few outliers here and there who managed to escape it. You see this debate born out in the newspapers; for example, consider the argument over whether or not there should be laws dictating what people getting public aid should be able to do (point, counter point)

One frequently hears the phrase about the poor “being demonized” (here some food stamp recipients are being called “leeches”) and some try to compare public aid programs to tax breaks.

That is “apples and oranges” for the following reason: suppose there is a new law that reduces the effective income tax rate on someone making 1,000,000 a year from, say, 18 percent to 15 percent. That person is still paying 150,000 year in income taxes, whereas it is likely that the public aid recipient is paying 0 (though paying sales taxes, payroll taxes, etc.) Who is contributing more to society, even after the tax break?

Also, consider the following: people are poor due to bad luck (say, untimely accident or being a kid born into it), bad decisions or due to being incompetent and dumb. Though one might have some empathy for those who have terrible luck, no one holds unfortunate people in esteem; who wants to believe that they are one untimely illness, lay off or accident from being just like that? That is too scary to contemplate.

And as far as poor people who make idiotic decisions, surf to the “leeches” post and note that one of the entitled sounding welfare mothers has SIX kids!!!! SIX!!!!

Such stupid, irresponsible behavior is often the rule rather than the exception:

Edin sees in these obstacles to full-time fatherhood a partial explanation for what’s known as “multiple-partner fertility.” Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

Multiple-partner fertility is a formula for unstable families, and it’s really bad for children, which Edin acknowledges in the book. But rather than view “serial dads” as simply irresponsible, Edin suggests that they suffer from unrequited “father thirst,” the desire for the intense experience of being a full-time dad. Consciously or not, they keep trying until they finally sort of get it right, usually with the youngest child, to whom they devote most of their resources at the expense of the older ones.

Yes, many poor people behave in a way that worsens their plight and adds to the public aid rolls. That is undeniable.

Of course, the astute might wonder about “correlation vs. causation”, in that: does poverty cause stupid behavior or is it the other way around? There is some evidence that it is the former.

But none of this makes it easy to sympathize with them; they are the easiest people in the world to look down on.

One of the most difficult things to do is to ask: “ok, where would I be had I been born in different circumstances, or had something bad happen to me?” It is easy to fantasize how one would have overcome but…statistically speaking, reality is different.

No, I am not wealthy but I don’t lack either. My parents weren’t rich but they gave me love, a safe place to live, plenty to eat, fun stuff to do and gave me access to good schools. And I had just enough…well…not really talent but just enough abilities to get the degrees and modest credentials that got me a steady job.

April 11, 2015 - Posted by | basketball, politics, politics/social, poverty, social/political, swimming

2 Comments »

  1. Our parents did do their best for us. I miss them…I miss them a lot.

    Comment by Rose | April 11, 2015 | Reply

    • I can say that they went well beyond “doing right by me” and evidently you can say the same. I miss them too.

      Comment by blueollie | April 11, 2015 | Reply


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