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In response to:

A Personal Note on Inequality

lee362 Wrote: Mar 08, 2014 8:47 AM
I too am a libertarian but I do think your observations are inaccurate for the subset of people at the bottom of the socioeconomic heap. I went to a nice Connecticut school in a community where blacks and Jews were not allowed to live (by covenants) and even Roman Catholics were suspect, I was probably the poorest kid in the school. Over time I have done very well economically thanks to hard work and talent and some luck but in the process I have been desperately poor when I was paying for college and graduate school and under apprenticeship. So for years I lived in hovels with cockroaches and rats in decrepit buildings in crime-ridden slums and got to know a lot of neighbors. Most of these neighbors were trapped in poverty and saw no way out of it. They rode in taxis while I walked because the govt paid for transportation and they chased their spouses out of the house because govt inspectors would take away their few benefits if a man was found, etc., etc. They were too frightened of losing their govt handouts to do anything that might improve their long-term prospects of success. I tried to talk to some of them about making better decisions but I was dismissed, "It's easy for you because you're going someplace else but we're stuck here forever." And I was probably poorer than most of them. Those of us with good value systems often underestimate the barriers to mobility for the neediest people in our society. I don't have good answers to the problem but I do know that poverty truly cannot be overcome by people who are chronically addicted to immediate gratification and have been convinced that this is the correct or even the only way to live. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
Vladwe is correct and it is even worse than he says. The only place where Russians actually dominate (in spite of Stalin's starvation of native Ukrainians and the forced resettlement of much of the country with generally unwilling Russians) is the Crimea which was forcibly stolen from the Tatars who were forcibly relocated to central Asia. They have been joyfully trickling back to their homeland since the fall of the Soviets and now form a small but decidedly anti-Russian minority in the Crimea.. Yes, Russia wants the Crimea -- nice beaches, warm weather, beautiful landscapes -- called the "Gem" of the Soviet Union -- as well as good access to the Black Sea and hence the Mediterranean and the rest of the world. But giving the thief his loot, even if he has held title to it for decades, is not justice. I would not argue for intervention -- we already meddle too much in too many places -- but we justifiably may express moral outrage over the continuing depredations of an imperialistic and inhumane regime in Russia. And we are obliged to use moral suasion to convince the Russians to back off -- worldwide condemnation might work as it worked to convince colonial powers to leave Africa, the UK to leave India, and apartheidists .and slavers to go into new lines of business. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
In response to:

Why We Lost The War On Poverty

lee362 Wrote: Feb 08, 2014 10:07 AM
Excellent essay. I'll try it out on my progressive friends. I doubt it will work -- they are usually immune to facts and prefer their ideological misconceptions -- but I am making headway with a few of them. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
From what I've read of the science, the last three statement groups listed in the article are untrue. It seems wrong for our government to force corporations to say things that are either untrue or, at least, arguably untrue. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
In response to:

Politics and Minimum Wage

lee362 Wrote: Jan 07, 2014 10:10 PM
Outstanding essay. I'm forwarding it to my pro-minimum-wage Economics Professor friend at Hofstra. We've been having this verbal battle for years but he is reluctant to read your book or accept the racial implications of the policies he advocates. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
Mish: Unfortunately, Charles Murray several years back made a proposal for a basic income stipend ("In Our Hands"). Murray calls himself a libertarian and, for the most part, he does espouse libertarian ideas for libertarian reasons. Of course the book was criticized by most thoughtful libertarians and Murray himself is not altogether happy with his proposal but, for those who do not understand libertarian values and perspectives, it is more or less fair to say that some libertarians have endorsed the idea. I don't endorse the idea but I do understand how a libertarian might feel compelled to compromise on the issue of a safety net for the poor in order to achieve a less coercive social structure. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
Thanks! I had already been using the database but didn't know about one of the features you pointed out. I've been collecting stories of obamacare victims and debunking pro-obamacare stories for my series of weekly columns, published privately for the last three years. This site has been useful for debunking since, while there are many cheap plans, they typically care high deductibles, high co-insurance payments, and extremely limited provider networks. Keep up the good work, Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
In response to:

A Minority View

lee362 Wrote: Aug 28, 2013 8:26 AM
Dr. Williams: I think you are wrong not to attend the training. At the various similar training sessions I have been required to attend, I found some indoctrination but I also found out a lot about the laws that govern these things -- the true purpose of these sessions is not to promote a political agenda but to inform employees of their legal responsibilities so that the organization does not incur expensive lawsuits. In addition, I discovered a lot about other people's perceptions. That can be an eye-opener for anyone. Finally, I had many chances to promote a more individualistic approach to workplace relations. And I did have a positive impact on other attendees as well as the trainers in several cases. I respect you and read your words carefully but I do think you err in this decision. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
As I was teaching my 6-9 year grandsons and their friends some basic algebra for our Sunday Academics Hour recently, they sometimes reached wrong answers because their arithmetic facts are a bit iffy. I still praised them when their methodology was sound. Using this specific example, what does multiplication mean? For starters I have the kids draw 3 rows and 4 columns of smiley faces and count them to get twelve smiley faces. But if the toddler is too young to draw the smiley faces in neat rows and columns, they might inadvertently miss one and get eleven. I would still praise the process and urge the kid to be more careful about lining up his rows and columns for future computations. This curriculum person is 100% right -- process is much more important than the rote memorization of arithmetic facts. Because our schools have put so much emphasis on rote arithmetic (and rote geometry, algebra, trig, and calculus), we have created generations of math-phobic students who never see the beauty and logic of math. They will all eventually use arithmetic facts often enough to get to accurate answers (and billion dollar structural calculations are seldom wrong since they are always checked by multiple people and have built in safety factors for each structural member) but, in the meantime, teaching them the logic and processes of mathematics will give them a better foundation for tackling differential equations, statics, non-Euclidean geometries, and physics that are so important to science and technology professionals. And this is not a matter of installing false self-esteem in kids -- it is simply giving them confidence that they can tackle math. One needs to tell them both what they have done correctly and what they did not do correctly. Lee Nason, Engineer New Bedford, Massachusetts
In response to:

You Have to Buy Auto Insurance? Bolshoi!

lee362 Wrote: Jul 31, 2013 12:20 PM
Your argument is stronger than you think -- a vehicle owner driving on public streets does not need to buy auto insurance in at least one state (New Hampshire) and several other states allow vehicle owners to post cash bonds in lieu of carrying auto insurance. Sorry for the delay in posting this but I've been out of the country for several weeks and did not have internet access. Lee Nason New Bedford, Massachusetts
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