Author Topic: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)  (Read 6036 times)

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Offline DeanSheen

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #105 on: December 11, 2012, 10:48:55 AM »
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I was butting heads with ACORN during the mid 80s, I wasn't surprised to see them go down in a flurry of fraud and indictments.

If you mean a "flurry of fraudulent indictments" I'm with you.  Otherwise we are in parallel universes.

Quote
Following the publication of the videos and withdrawal of funding, four different independent investigations by various state and city Attorneys General and the GAO released in 2009 and 2010 cleared ACORN, finding its employees had not engaged in criminal activities and that the organization had managed its federal funding appropriately, and calling the videos deceptively and selectively edited to present the workers in the worst possible light.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_Community_Organizations_for_Reform_Now

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #106 on: December 11, 2012, 12:07:10 PM »
Of course it did.  The CRA established an environment where politics, not economics, dictated lending practices.  The repeal of GS was one of the unintended consequences.  It wasn't politically feasible to repeal CRA, but GS was repealable.


This is factually just so wrong, but I have a feeling nothing is going to change your mind, so I won't bore you with information. But as a little clue, I point out that there have been hundreds of peer-reviewed and other "heavy" economics articles focusing on the housing bubble, subprime lending, and the foreclosure crisis.  Guess how many seriously entertain the CRA as a material cause? I suppose it's possible economists are all bleeding hearts (though there's evidence to the contrary) so don't ask the tough questions; or maybe there's a widespread government intimidation campaign (no evidence of that).  But I'm going with option C: it's just politically expedient, factually challenged mythology.
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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #107 on: December 11, 2012, 12:44:13 PM »
Duh, anything good that happens to poor people or their neighborhoods cripples the economy.

Offline Foraker

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #108 on: December 11, 2012, 01:52:15 PM »
If America can get math and science education back in order, we're likely to be the ones making the big breakthroughs in energy storage and transportation.  If we can do that, and reinvigorate our space program, we own the future.

Unfortunately, that does not seem likely.  Even the best American schools don't look so hot internationally, despite American satisfaction with those schools.
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/12/how-would-your-childs-school-rank-against-finland-and-singapore/266057/


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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #109 on: December 11, 2012, 02:26:31 PM »
Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.



Offline E Rocc

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #110 on: December 12, 2012, 06:08:15 AM »
Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.

I'm not so sure about that.  The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965, went to some of the most libertarian minded schools in history.  We've discussed this on some Facebook threads, and even my girlfriend (class of '99) is surprised at how lenient things were.  Her post-Columbine sister seems shocked.  Maple Heights High circa 1979 likely had more in common with Summerhill than its 1955 or 2012 equivalents, minus the public nudity of course.  That was the one and only area our dress code seemed to cover.

Yet that generation spearheaded the computer revolution. 

The keys may not be more discipline or steering, but more individual responsibility and focus on achievement.
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Offline Quimbob

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #111 on: December 12, 2012, 08:01:30 AM »
More good news from the NIC's GT2030 report
http://gt2030.com/
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Offline AJ93

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #112 on: December 12, 2012, 09:18:49 AM »
Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.

I'm not so sure about that.  The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965, went to some of the most libertarian minded schools in history.  We've discussed this on some Facebook threads, and even my girlfriend (class of '99) is surprised at how lenient things were.  Her post-Columbine sister seems shocked.  Maple Heights High circa 1979 likely had more in common with Summerhill than its 1955 or 2012 equivalents, minus the public nudity of course.  That was the one and only area our dress code seemed to cover.

Yet that generation spearheaded the computer revolution. 

The keys may not be more discipline or steering, but more individual responsibility and focus on achievement.


I believe this as well. I think there's too much rigidity in our education system (reinforced by standardized testing). We're too focused on teaching kids the answers rather than teaching them how to solve problems.
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Offline Jeffery

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #113 on: December 12, 2012, 09:50:04 AM »

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The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965...

AKA Generation Jones



 

Offline natininja

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #114 on: December 12, 2012, 11:23:21 AM »
^ That seems like a properly defined generation. I am sick of being lumped into the same generation with people who were born when I was in college.
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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #115 on: December 12, 2012, 11:53:33 AM »
>"un-American" our schools

Yeah except summer break is awesome, or at least it was for those of us who played outside.  We didn't have cable or video games so I was amongst the very last kids to actually go out and root around the woods or go ride bikes every single day, summer after summer.  I remember the year when Nintendo appeared and the kids starting spending most afternoons in their houses.  I imagine it's even worse now with Facebook, with kids venturing out only to take photos to post on their Facebook pages. 

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #116 on: December 12, 2012, 11:55:44 AM »
I think summer breaks are a big part of American culture and something that I've seen exchange students jealous of, especially people from Japan.  I think their longest break of the year is only 2-3 weeks. 

Meanwhile college spring break is simply absurd.  As if college is actually so tough that you need a week break, but for some reason only in the spring, not the fall.  Sometime I'll scan my Miami Beach photos and post them here.  As in here I mean this thread. 

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #117 on: December 12, 2012, 12:47:05 PM »
Overprotective moms wept with joy at the sight of kids sitting inside transfixed by those pixels. I'm still convinced that nothing makes 50% of moms happier than finding out they had a nerd.

Offline CBC

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #118 on: December 12, 2012, 02:06:53 PM »
Meanwhile college spring break is simply absurd.  As if college is actually so tough that you need a week break, but for some reason only in the spring, not the fall.  Sometime I'll scan my Miami Beach photos and post them here.  As in here I mean this thread. 
Well it made more sense before all of these schools moved from quarters to semesters.

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Offline E Rocc

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #119 on: December 12, 2012, 10:51:51 PM »
Most people would barf when when they found out how "un-American" our schools would have to be for that to happen. Education would become very specialized. Kids wouldn't know anything outside their specialty. And all this "You can be anything you want" stuff would have to go out the window. They'd be steering the kids toward their specialty by 8th grade.

I'm not so sure about that.  The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965, went to some of the most libertarian minded schools in history.  We've discussed this on some Facebook threads, and even my girlfriend (class of '99) is surprised at how lenient things were.  Her post-Columbine sister seems shocked.  Maple Heights High circa 1979 likely had more in common with Summerhill than its 1955 or 2012 equivalents, minus the public nudity of course.  That was the one and only area our dress code seemed to cover.

Yet that generation spearheaded the computer revolution. 

The keys may not be more discipline or steering, but more individual responsibility and focus on achievement.


I believe this as well. I think there's too much rigidity in our education system (reinforced by standardized testing). We're too focused on teaching kids the answers rather than teaching them how to solve problems.

Part of the problem is that testing problems solving skills requires judgement on the part of the assessors. 

That said, there needs to be some form of independent assessment that the schools are doing the job they are being paid for.  I'm not sure how we can get away from some sort of standardized testing at this time.
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Offline E Rocc

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #120 on: December 12, 2012, 10:55:52 PM »
^ That seems like a properly defined generation. I am sick of being lumped into the same generation with people who were born when I was in college.

Interesting.  I'm not sure I completely agree with the Wikipedia description, especially the part that manages to describe our political clout without addressing our leanings.  One of the first nicknames we had that distinguished us from the boomers or Xers was "The Reagan Kids".

Cynical?  Yeah.  Mistrust government?  You bet.  We grew up on Vietnam and Watergate.  But a generation with a role in some serious achievements
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Offline Quimbob

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #121 on: December 16, 2012, 04:59:34 PM »
Will Our Return to Ancient Ideas Doom USA?
Is America Becoming a Pagan Kingdom?
http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/51803
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. - H. L. Mencken

Offline KJP

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #122 on: December 16, 2012, 11:51:48 PM »

Quote
The "cusp" generation between the baby boom and generation X, say those born between 1955 and 1965...

AKA Generation Jones


Just about every reference I see is that the Baby Boomers were born 1946-1964. Many of those who served in WWII were still having kids well into the 1960s. My Dad just missed serving in WWII (he was 16 when it ended) and I was born in 1967. Not sure what this has to do with the decline of Great Nation, but there it is.

To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.
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Offline E Rocc

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #123 on: December 17, 2012, 07:16:54 AM »
To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

They arrived at Rome, not in the Empire. 

I'd bet trucks have arrived in Washington DC full and left empty for about as long as trucks have existed.

Capital's don't produce much of substance.
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Offline gottaplan

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #124 on: December 17, 2012, 08:33:26 AM »
To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

Offline CBC

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #125 on: December 17, 2012, 09:21:28 AM »
To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

It's not just the skill set. The supply chain has left the country too.
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Offline DeanSheen

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #126 on: December 17, 2012, 09:53:18 AM »
Will Our Return to Ancient Ideas Doom USA?
Is America Becoming a Pagan Kingdom?
http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/51803

Damn, the Onion has a new subsidiary I see.

Those poor persecuted Xtians and their theology being corrupted by those who practice what they stole from.


Offline Gramarye

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #127 on: December 17, 2012, 10:32:29 AM »
To bring us back on topic, a statistic I recently watched a program about Ancient Rome where it often referenced that cargo ships almost arrived Rome full and left empty. It makes me think about America's trade deficit and its need to make things and create wealth.

Good point.  I've seen a number of news stories recently about light industrial/manufacturing firms that are unable to fill skilled labor positions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed about making more Apple products here in the US and he said the same - the skill set doesn't exist.  Not sure I buy all that.

It's not just the skill set. The supply chain has left the country too.

Rumors of the demise of American manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated.  We simply remain a more consumer-happy country than China and many other export-driven economies, meaning that we simply consume a lot of what we produce here rather than exporting it.

Offline TBideon

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #128 on: December 17, 2012, 10:46:12 AM »
Disagree. We may have some specialized manufacturing here and there, but the big boys that used to hire hundreds or thousands of employees are getting pretty rare, outside of auto.

Offline Hts121

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #129 on: December 17, 2012, 10:51:35 AM »
^So are the workers who were willing to take those jobs at a few nickles a day
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Offline gottaplan

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #130 on: December 17, 2012, 11:32:04 AM »
^So are the workers who were willing to take those jobs at a few nickles a day

Therein lies the problem.  Why take a job that pays $400 a week when you can get govt check for $350/week to sit on your couch playing video games & eating cheetos

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #131 on: December 17, 2012, 11:34:52 AM »
...or you can make way over $400/wk delivering pizzas. 

Offline Hts121

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #132 on: December 17, 2012, 11:57:20 AM »
^So are the workers who were willing to take those jobs at a few nickles a day

Therein lies the problem.  Why take a job that pays $400 a week when you can get govt check for $350/week to sit on your couch playing video games & eating cheetos

Technically, anyone who can get a job paying $400/week is not ELIGIBLE for a governemnt check for $350/week.  I'm always open to a discussion on how to fix that issue.

The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers.  It is that other countries don't have the same type of minimum wage, overtime, and other laws designed to protect the worker which we do.  So the question you really need to ask is why would some "job creator", who inherited the business from his father after getting kicked out of three private schools and two colleges, pay American workers (even at a minimum) when using the Chinese workers allows him to dip cheetos in melted Stilton while driving a new Bugatti on his way to the third country club he joined just for sh!ts and giggles earlier this year?  It's not so much about incentizing the American worker to work, as it is de-incentivizing the "job creator" from creating jobs overseas.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 11:58:44 AM by Hts121 »
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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #133 on: December 17, 2012, 12:41:40 PM »
Yeah somehow this ostensibly christian nation upholds businessmen above all else.  This notion was of course introduced by the titans of industry back in the 1800s. 


>The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers. 

As someone who has worked many restaurant and blue collar odd jobs, most "workers" are quitters.  There's no doubt about that.  There's a whole globe of short-termn, self-defeating thinking that happens in the minds of those characters who dominate the work environments of America's warehouses and restaurant kitchens.  Ask them a question on a smoke break.  They know everything.

Offline gottaplan

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #134 on: December 17, 2012, 12:43:55 PM »
The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers.  It is that other countries don't have the same type of minimum wage, overtime, and other laws designed to protect the worker which we do.  So the question you really need to ask is why would some "job creator", who inherited the business from his father after getting kicked out of three private schools and two colleges, pay American workers (even at a minimum) when using the Chinese workers allows him to dip cheetos in melted Stilton while driving a new Bugatti on his way to the third country club he joined just for sh!ts and giggles earlier this year?  It's not so much about incentizing the American worker to work, as it is de-incentivizing the "job creator" from creating jobs overseas.

So what you're proposing is to make America LESS competitive than other countries as a place to do business?  Interesting, please expand on this.

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #135 on: December 17, 2012, 12:47:36 PM »
^So are the workers who were willing to take those jobs at a few nickles a day

Therein lies the problem.  Why take a job that pays $400 a week when you can get govt check for $350/week to sit on your couch playing video games & eating cheetos

It has already been proven to you that general assistance welfare without working 30 hours a week doesn't exist any more. You can continue to pretend like it does like a child pretends Santa exists but it won't make it true. Ask anybody who works in management at a supermarket, fast food or similar business how it works.

Offline Hts121

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #136 on: December 17, 2012, 01:12:24 PM »
The real problem is not laziness amongst American workers.  It is that other countries don't have the same type of minimum wage, overtime, and other laws designed to protect the worker which we do.  So the question you really need to ask is why would some "job creator", who inherited the business from his father after getting kicked out of three private schools and two colleges, pay American workers (even at a minimum) when using the Chinese workers allows him to dip cheetos in melted Stilton while driving a new Bugatti on his way to the third country club he joined just for sh!ts and giggles earlier this year?  It's not so much about incentizing the American worker to work, as it is de-incentivizing the "job creator" from creating jobs overseas.

So what you're proposing is to make America LESS competitive than other countries as a place to do business?  Interesting, please expand on this.

Quite the opposite.  I am proposing making the use of other nations' labor forces less competitive (i.e. more costly than the status quo) for American businesses.
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Offline Foraker

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #137 on: December 17, 2012, 01:18:25 PM »
The Welfare Queen is a myth.  Payments are actually closer to $400 a month for a single mother with two kids.  Good luck with that.
http://www.makezine.enoughenough.org/queens.html
 

Offline Jeffery

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #138 on: December 18, 2012, 01:14:26 PM »
Im almost finsihed with this book. 

Days of Destruction/Days of Revolt

In their first book-length collaboration, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (Nation Books, June), Hedges's words and Sacco's pictures form a mosaic portrait of the United States at a low point of economic dysfunction.

They document the systematic exploitation of Americans both by corporations and by a government that serves corporate interests first. The authors argue that this arrangement has existed for many decades, but that the economic downturn that began in 2007 has greatly exacerbated its external symptoms.


I guess the connection between Sacco and Hedges is that both were war correspondents.  But this book is mostly a good illustration of how the rot hits certain "sacrifice areas" first.  In a way this is akin to the excellent Someplace Like America by Dale Mahardige.

My own contribution to this POV of collapse of the US living standards and what happens when you suck out living wages from an economy is this thread about how economic decline hits suburbia here in Dayton...The New Suburban Gothic



« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 01:19:25 PM by Jeffery »

Offline gottaplan

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Re: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation (Commentary)
« Reply #139 on: December 18, 2012, 01:45:27 PM »
The Welfare Queen is a myth.  Payments are actually closer to $400 a month for a single mother with two kids.  Good luck with that.
http://www.makezine.enoughenough.org/queens.html
 

So much misinformation in that link you posted, I don't know where to begin.  But since we're on the topic, here's a few universally accepted notions about the cycle of poverty and how to break it:

1.  Get a job, any job, and keep it.  Do not quit, do not get fired.  Keep at it, even if it is low pay, low skill.  Even those working at McDonalds learn management structure, customer service, etc.  Even those working as a landscaper learn basic job skills, equipment maintenance.  Any scenario teaches good work habits.

2.  Graduate from high school and get some kind of additional education or job training.  It doesn't have to be a bachelors or even an associates, it can be trade school training, some course work at community college, parenting classes, computer training at local library, anything.

3. Do not have a child/father a child as a teenager.  Doing so severely increases that person's ability to provide for themselves and their new child.  Single parents, teenage mothers are overwhelmingly the biggest recipients of welfare and this burden continues as the child ages.  Having a child as a teenager greatly restricts a person's ability to complete the first two requirements.

Despite these universally accepted steps to breaking the poverty cycle, there is no incentive for young men & women to NOT have a child as teens.  Teenage birth rate in America is among the highest in industrialized nations.  There is no incentive to get a low wage job & stick with it.   And there's no incentive or requirement to graduate high school or get additional schooling.

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