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By gzt (Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:30:58 PM EST) gzt, two men enter, bust a deal, climate change, disability, veterans (all tags)
we still aren't doing anything. government is full of bastards.

An interesting reflection on federal disability programs: Informative. I hadn't ever really made the connection between the fact that the states chip in if you're on welfare, but not if you're on disability, so they have an incentive to find a way to get you on disability.

I know it's alternet, but here's an interesting article (somewhat liberally biased): I'm mostly interested in stealing stuff from this quote:

If markets actually worked in practice the way that they do in the simplest of textbook examples, GOP plans to radically slash government spending might not be so problematic. But realworld markets not only go into crippling crises, like the Great Depression or its still-enduring younger brother, they also fail to meet important human needs. Indeed, as conservative German economist  Adolph Wagner noted in the late 19th century, the wealthier a nation becomes, the more it turns to non-market governmnet spending to meet needs that markets simply fail to meet. This observation was made well before the widespread rise of mass democratic government in the 20th century which underlay the rise of the modern welfare throuhgout the Western world. Thus, the practice of state spending to enhance the general welfare has deep historical and empirical foundations, and the sort of endless cutting that GOP now demands is nothing short of a suicidal policy for any would-be modern nation-state. The US already spends far less in the way of government social spending than most other advanced industrial nations - 16 percent of GDP compared to 20 percent for Norway, Britain and the Netherlands, 25 percent for Germany and Finland, 26 percent for Austria, Belgium and Denmark, 27 percent for Sweden and 28 percent for France,  according to the OECD - and GOP plans would slash current spending significantly below where we are today.

The wife gets back in town tomorrow. Woo. And school starts again on Monday. Ugh.

And here's an article from The Economist about how poorly veterans are getting served by the VA: Not mentioned in this article, but I believe it was discussed on NPR, is the problem of the large number of veterans getting out with a less-than-honorable discharge. They are ineligible for benefits. But often the circumstances for their discharge were related to mental problems accrued during their service. eg somebody has PTSD, starts drinking because of that, they're in the states but still in the military, maybe they start beating their wife or maybe they get a DUI and as a result they get discharged. And now they can't get help for their condition when they're the sort most in need of help.

Bust a deal, face the wheel.

< Nobody thinks about the family of a henchman | So Lamb has texted me several times >
climate change | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)
Climate change by Herring (2.00 / 0) #1 Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 07:43:30 PM EST
One issue, not sure if it's so much in the US, but in the UK is that newspapers still print articles by idiots claiming to have refuted it. While these are clearly bollocks, the newspapers in question never print the rebuttals.

It's not so much that the government is full of bastards but that so many people would rather not believe and, confirmation bias being what it is, only pick up on what they want to. To be honest, I think it's far too late. Thank fuck I live on a hill and not in London.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Far too late for what? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 08:44:21 PM EST
4C? maybe, depends on whether or not we act now and the permafrost doesn't melt. 2C? probably too late, but that's the official target to aim for - and which we're behind on hitting. we're at .8C and, if CO2 levels went down to 2000 levels, we'd still warm .5C making us hit 1.3C, and we're not at 2000 levels and we're still going up.

unfortunately, permafrost might happen before 2C (there are indications it might be happening now, at .8C), in which case there is no way to stop 4C or worse.

4C is a nightmarish hell scenario, by the way.

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We have to leave a lot of carbon in the ground by LoppEar (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:23:55 AM EST
I think we have to keep talking about 2C vs 4C because as you say the latter is hellish. But I inwardly am pretty defeated about 4C, as we've seen the inability to move anything wrt global policy, and a lot of that carbon will be used in the next 30 years based on policy (or lack of policy) now.

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question: at 4C, by the mariner (4.00 / 0) #5 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 02:47:18 AM EST
will dinosaurs reemerge and renew their dominion of the earth?

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most likely by gzt (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:06:55 AM EST
the reptilians will be able to show their true shapes when the temperature gets warm enough

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IMHO, it's over by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:26:10 AM EST
We might as well refocus the discussion on how we're going to deal with the effects.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
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it's never over by gzt (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:41:43 AM EST
no matter how bad of a trajectory we're on, it's important to cut carbon emissions. drastically. or the effects will be worse to manage. defeatism just leads to worse outcomes.

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Uncle Ted was right. Say it with me: by nathan (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:17:36 PM EST
"The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race."

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Maybe I am defeatist... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:42:21 PM EST
My guess is that carbon emissions won't stop until what little carbon is left in the ground is too expensive to use.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
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well... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:08:48 AM EST
probability of an asteroid or supervolcano: very low
things you can do to  make it better: almost none

probability of catastrophic sea rise: pretty good, unfortunately
things you can do to make it better: get on a hill

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even a slight revision... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #14 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 01:23:54 PM EST
...would put global warming at a much greater risk.

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(Comment Deleted) by ks1178 (2.00 / 0) #9 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:13:52 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by ks1178

% of GDP Spent by a Gov't by ks1178 (2.00 / 0) #10 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:17:36 PM EST
That stat is completely misleading and nearly meaningless in the context of the argument that cutting gov't spending is a bad thing. (To some degree I agree with the argument that drastic cutting of gov't spending can lead to other problems but I'm going to ignore that for now) .

First, I'm almost positive he didn't mean GDP. maybe he means Gov't budget. But I haven't actually read the article. But if you're going to use these stats as part of your argument, make sure you're using the correct measures (not that we should ever let facts get in the way of a good argument).

Second, Gov't Spending is part of GDP.

GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)

So, the US Govt currently has a GDP of $15 trillion.

And if the US Govt is spending 16% of our GDP on Social Care* then we are currently spending $2.4 trillion** on social care.

Also, since gov't spending is part of GDP, increasing Gov't spending also increases the GDP, so it's misleading to directly correlate % of GDP that a specific gov't spends to % of GDP that a different specific gov't spends. 

* I find this unlikely. Maybe 16% of the US Budget is spent on social care.  

** only 6 other countries in the world even have a total GDP of 2.4 trillion or more. So is his argument that the US is bad, because we only spend more on social care than most countries gross domestically?

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It's a common stat by lm (4.00 / 1) #11 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:34:25 PM EST
Social Expenditure Database:

By some estimates, the actual percentage of GDP is higher.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
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the gdp number is probably about right. by the mariner (4.00 / 2) #13 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 01:01:42 PM EST
"social spending" would include medicare/medicaid and social security, which together are something like 45% of total spending.

if you think of it this way, it sounds like a lot, but that's where the cleverness of the conservative argument lies: the large outlay of social spending that essentially everyone benefits from, except millionaires who don't need it, makes it sound like the american taxpayer is some unbelievably charitable superman giving away a fifth to a third of his earnings to the unworthy masses. in fact, he is funding a pension system for taxpayers (including himself), a collection of half-measures to make american health care provision seem humane, plus research into omgwtf weapon and surveillance systems, radically beyond what anyone in the world who hasn't hacked a us defense contractor's computer systems has.

so now that the angry taxpayer thinks his money goes to single mothers, foreign aid, and drug rehabilitation, you just have to beat the drum about welfare queens etc. throw in some stuff about the professor at florida wtf regional state community college expelling a mormon for not stomping on jesus and you got yourself a winning coalition for the 90s and early 00s.

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I'm still not sure by ks1178 (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 04:44:13 AM EST
There's still a few things I'm confused on.

From a quick google, I found the following breakdown of the USD GDP and what the parts were that made that up for 2012

$807 billion of the Gov't spending was in National Defense. So are they saying all other spending (both National as well as state and local) is for Social Spending? that's a pretty broad definition of social spending. And sicne it's Gov't spending they are focusing on, this does not include private spending on social services (which after looking at some of the real numbers, maybe accounts for 16% of our GDP as the private health industry is a huge part of our economy) but that's not Gov't spending.

My other issue is why looking at spending as a perecentage of GDP is a useful metric to use for comparisons to other countries. As a large part of GDP is based on the economy. If a country has a huge increase in the economy (let's say they find new natural resources and begin to extract and sell them) their GDP will increase dramatically, but if they don't increase social spending (and why should they if their previous spending was sufficient) that % will drop drastically. Now, maybe if the countries in mention have similar numbers as far as population, and GDP, then if we cancel out those variables it becomes potentially useful.

But I still think this is a case of people just cherry picking random statistics and providing their own meaning to them. But possibly I'm just missing something.

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Re: disability by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 12:51:35 PM EST
States may have an incentive to get people off the state welfare roles and onto the federal disability roles. But individuals who want to live in poverty have a greater incentive, e.g. recertification of disability once every 5 years vs. constantly looking for new work to count as unemployed.

But the larger problem, IMO, are the perverse incentives that keep truly disabled people on the disability roles.  As but one example, a quadriplegic who needs assistance getting into and out of bed will have that need financed by Medicaid if (a) he or she is on disability benefits and (b) does not work and is not married to someone who works. But if this person were to get hired somewhere, he or she would lose disability benefits including the attendant care. Consequently, the only way for this quadriplegic to be assured that he or she is able to go to bed at night is to remain on federal disability.

Many, perhaps most, European nations pay for such attendant care for disabled people. This allows them to seek out employment just like everyone else. But in the US, the system encourages disabled people to not even try to work.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
"disability rolls" by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:07:13 PM EST
You're welcome.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

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climate change | 18 comments (18 topical, 0 hidden)