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raku 1
Women in the south and midwest are reading this post and making a :-/ face.
Posted by raku on December 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
jnmend 2
It's really a question of whether or not you want to drag the south kicking and screaming into the modern era.

As much as I'd love to sit back on my legal weed and gay marriage and tell the south to fuck itself, that would be an insanely selfish desire that would ignore the plight of those who have it the worst.

Sorry, but that lack of empathy isn't good for liberalism.
Posted by jnmend on December 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 3
A transit issue came up recently on Seattle Transit Blog about this. We give seniors steep discounts on transit, while just being old doesn't mean you're poor - often the opposite is true. But federal rules require bus systems to have at least a 50% discount for the elderly.

Strong federal rules can be bad for innovation. I'm fine with a big federal government - to handle functions that make no sense to reproduce 50 times (money, military, social security, health care, etc.). But I'm less thrilled with a strong federal government that doesn't allow states to do their own thing.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on December 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 4
Federalism is an idea about how best to organize different jurisdictions of government. There is nothing intrinsically libertarian or anti-libertarian about it, as the vastly different discussions over slavery, integration, abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, and marijuana illustrate.

"Principled federalism" is stupid.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on December 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 5
(this may be a repost - my previous comment disappeared?)

A transit issue came up recently on Seattle Transit Blog about this. We give seniors steep discounts on transit, while just being old doesn't mean you're poor - often the opposite is true. But federal rules require bus systems to have at least a 50% discount for the elderly.

Strong federal rules can be bad for innovation. I'm fine with a big federal government - to handle functions that make no sense to reproduce 50 times (money, military, social security, health care, etc.). But I'm less thrilled with a strong federal government that doesn't allow states to do their own thing.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on December 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
@2 nukes work.

That or massive repeats of Sandy-level storms which we will see before 2020.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
I don't think the pot issue should be framed as one about states rights. It seems fairly clear that the feds have the legal authority to regulate the pot trade within a state as it is pretty clearly a trade that would impact other states and therefore fall under their authority to regulate interstate commerce. But just because they can do it does not mean that they have to. I think it makes more sense to frame it in these terms.
Posted by Rhizome on December 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
fletc3her 8
I don't know of anybody who is *opposed* to states rights. But in terms of strategy there are times when it makes sense to work at the state level and times when it makes sense to work at the federal level. Marriage equality provides a great case study for this strategy can play out when wielded by both sides.

And of course the right wingers aren't actually *for* states rights unless it suits their overall purpose. DOMA is an affront to each state's right to have its marriage records recognized with full faith and credit in other states. Anti-Obamacare proposals would allow federal rules to override all states ability to regulate insurance within their borders.
Posted by fletc3her on December 13, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Oh just stop being an asshole #3.

Right now.

A larger percent of the elderly live in poverty, than other age groups. The select group who take public transit -- among whom those who can't afford a car -- probably a an even higher percent in poverty, as well.

Also: the elderly don't have decades in front of them in which they can earn more money, which you do.

So quit your bellyaching, asshole.

I'll bet you don't give up your seat in the front to the old lady with a walker, either.


Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Fnarf 10
I can't believe Friedersdorf has been looking at the same Federal Government or the same states as I have.

Slavery? What about the next hundred years after that? "STATES' RIGHTS" MEANS SEGREGATION. It has no other meaning. That's where the slogan came from, and that's what it has been used for since Reconstruction. There are no instances when the phrase has been or can be used in a non-segregationist context.

Now, of course, it's not cool to explicitly use the word "segregation", but the concept of white male supremacy and white male preference is still there. "States' Rights" is the linguistic wink to that George Wallace/Strom Thurmond past, which is still the operative way of the South (and significant parts of the Mountain West and Appalachia).

You can try to coopt the phrase but you will fail. You won't have any better luck than if you hear that other word that used to be used with impunity on the floor of the US Senate: "nigger". "States' Rights" means the same thing.

If you think you can preserve your marriage victory and your pot victory with the phrase "States' Rights", you're out of your mind. You're supporting your rights with the political tool that will condemn the rights of millions of others in those states that have been playing this game for a hundred years longer than you have -- states that will have you for lunch if you give them that opening.
Posted by Fnarf on December 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 11
We're either a single country, the United States, or we're not. Which is it? Fuck states' rights. I don't want different laws affecting me simply because I'm traveling through a state that's part of the same fucking country as the state I live in.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 12
States rights are great for well off white males. So in so far as some liberals are white males with money, states rights is a winner. Except that rich white males who are liberals must, by definition, care about people besides themselves. Minorities. People without money.

So. Nice try. But not so much. States rights are whitey's bag, always have been.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 13, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 13
@9: Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays.

Damn Judy, he was just using that as an example of how unbending federal rules can be problematic in some instances. In this instance, giving discounts to people based solely on age, when there are other, more pressing factors to be considered.

Here's a hint: if you call somebody an asshole three times without them doing anything or saying anything to you, you are probably the asshole in the situation.

I mean, do you really think Engineer Matt was advocating for higher transit costs for seniors?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on December 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 14
And. And telling gays they have to cross state lines to get their full civil rights is no better than telling blacks suffering under Jim Crow laws to just move. Seriously misses the point of why we have a Bill of Rights.

A patchwork of gay marriage states is nice; better than nothing. But it only underscores the lack of full civil rights in the United States for gays. And that requires a Federal solution.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 15
There's no such thing as "states' right." The Supreme Court did away with that silly concept about 80 years ago. Anyone, whether on the left or right, who thinks otherwise is deluded.

But hey, the world is going to end a week from tomorrow anyway, so I don't care. Fuck it.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on December 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Fnarf 16
@9, I think if you look at the numbers the age group with by far the largest number of people in poverty is the very young, not the very old. The average wealth of retired people in the US is higher than any other age group. Certainly there are large numbers of poor elderly people but also a lot of well-off ones, and there are infinitely more services and subsidies for the elderly than for infants.
Posted by Fnarf on December 13, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
#13 "A case of the Mondays" -- could you be any more patronizing?

As for #3, he posted twice his belief that little old ladies should be screwed out of 50 cents or a dollar, along with the lie that they're greedy old bags.

It's that sort "Let Them Eat Catfood" talk that's fueling the battle bots set on cutting Social Security and Medicare which will make his -- and your -- retirement that much more insecure.

Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
I also wonder if states rights would be an interesting direction to move government services in, including the bulk of taxes. If red states think assistance/welfare/"entitlement" programs and taxes are no good despite the fact that they're the ones benefiting the most from them, break it down to the state level. Blue states can have higher taxes and better services, and the red states can see how that works out for them. Not only would the red states be happy (for a time) to get exactly what they say they want, the blue states' services would improve because they'd actually get 100% of the money they put in instead of subsidizing states that supposedly don't even want the services.

Posted by beef rallard on December 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
I've looked at the numbers #9, and when you add in healthcare costs, the elderly are the more poverty stricken age group.

Again, unlike younger age groups, without any decades in which they can earn more income.

My 89 year old father, for instance -- with both Medicare and a supplemental policy he pays for, nearly driven to bankruptcy, until we got him signed up for V.A. health benefits.

Just another greedy almst 90 year old motherfucker, who should have gone out and gotten himself a job, I guess.

Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Fnarf 20
Some links: "While poverty was once far more prevalent among the elderly than among other age groups, today's elderly have a poverty rate similar to that of working-age adults and much lower than that of children."

Fourteen million American children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level, which is $22,050 a year for a family of four. The number of children living in poverty increased by 21 percent between 2000 and 2008 [...] Forty-one percent of the nation’s children – more than 29 million in 2008 – live in low-income families."
Posted by Fnarf on December 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Fnarf 21
@19, no one is calling your father greedy. But by your own standards, your anecdotal argument is mistaken. Adding in health care costs makes the disparity greater, not smaller. Note that your father has access to THREE different healthcare options, two of which (Medicare and the VA) are government programs. In contrast, the age group with BY FAR the highest uninsured rate is children. Something like eight million children in the US have no health insurance at all.

Note also that children growing up in poverty are very unlikely to be "earning more income" in the coming decades. In fact, most of them are unlikely to hold living-wage jobs for any length of time at all.

Your family's situation is unfortunate, but I don't think you grasp the precariousness of the real poor in the US -- particularly people of color (35% of black children live in poverty; perhaps twice that percentage in low-income families).
Posted by Fnarf on December 13, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Elderly Poverty Jumps According To Census Bureau

once medical care and other costs of living are factored in, the number of people 65 and older living in poverty jumps to 16.1 percent,

...The official poverty rate for all groups rose in 2009 to 14.3 percent

What the numbers show is that rather than Social Security benefits being too generous, they are too meager to keep one in six old folks out of poverty.

..."Our rolls are swelling. There are more and more people on our rolls, there are more and more people in need of our services," said Enid Borden, CEO of the Meals on Wheels Association of America, which delivers meals every day to a million people over 60. "The other side these numbers don't tell is the fact that seniors in this country are going hungry. How can we let that happen?"

...benefits have plateaued and the reduction of the poverty rate stalled out. Engelhardt and Gruber calculated that every ten percent decline in benefits would lead to a 7.3 percent increase in elderly poverty.

..Yet cuts are on the table, despite the robust state of the program's finances, which can cover full benefits through 2037 and boasts a surplus trust fund of $2.6 trillion as of this fall.…

Keep up the Scrooge act, and in time, you too can dine on cat food.…

Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 23

I'm rich enough that I don't benefit from any social welfare services. I support them because I care about other people, and want to live in a just society. (I want the poor to stay fresh and healthy to feed them to great Cthulhu, natch.)

So why would I settle for good social programs only in my state and not let it bother me that I'm letting people in need in other states go to hell?

If my attitude were "I've got mine, fuck you", then I'd be a Republican clamoring for my tax cut.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
@23, I hear you, but the sentiment isn't so much, "fuck you, I've got mine" as "I tried to give you social programs and you screamed in my face that you don't, so fuck you, I want to live where they exist and you want to live where they don't. Good riddance."
Posted by beef rallard on December 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM · Report this
"that you don't want them", that is
Posted by beef rallard on December 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
@22 judybrowni, I think the original poster probably posted twice by accident. Sometimes the posting system gets wonky. Done it myself.

Also, he/she really sounds like an engineer, trying to make a general point about society but not having the sense to pick an example that doesn't make them look like a cold asshole. My brother is an engineer and he says seemingly asshole things like this all the time, but he votes in a caring way. Sometimes though he can be insufferable when he cops an attitude like everything that comes out of his mouth is as rational and value free as Mr. Spock, when in fact he is just as socially and culturally conditioned as any other average person. On the other hand, of course, lots of engineers are intolerable libertarian assholes.
Posted by cracked on December 13, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 27
Way to hijack the thread @9. If you'd click on my link, you'd see that the issue is giving poor riders a break on fares instead of old riders. Obviously this would include old poor riders.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on December 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Fnarf 28
@22, those numbers don't agree with what I've found. I've found a poverty rate of 14.6% in 2009 only for the oldest retirees; for those aged 65-74, it's 9.4%.

Yes, these numbers are increasing, and that's worrying; but they are also still half of the rates for the poorest children.

And benefits for the elderly are not being cut; on the contrary they've been constantly expanded, most notably in 2003 with Bush's prescription drug plan. There is no prescription drug plan for poor children -- let alone all children, as the Bush plan serves all older people.

Children also don't have the largest, richest, and most powerful lobby in America working for them: AARP. Your argument in fact characterizes the AARP position perfectly: attempting to rationalize the provision of benefits to elderly people is "forcing grandma to eat cat food". But if grandma is rich, why should she receive benefits?

While there are many poor elderly in America, there are even more rich ones; on average the richest Americans are in their 50s and 60s, with wealth decreasing slightly amongst older people as they spend down their retirement.

Nearly all additional wealth created in the USA since 1989 has gone to people 55 and older, according to Federal Reserve data. Wealth has doubled since 1989 in households headed by older Americans.

Not so for younger Americans. Households headed by people in their 20s, 30s and 40s have barely kept up with inflation or have fallen behind since 1989. People 35 to 50 actually have lost wealth since 1989 after adjusting for inflation, Fed data show.…

Note that I've been talking only about children in poverty, and haven't even touched on the astronomical levels of student debt that virtually all young people face today, if they are expecting to have decent jobs requiring college -- debt that no elderly person faced (another government benefit that has been withdrawn from the young).

For the record, Matt the Engineer is the farthest thing from an asshole imaginable. He was injecting a little bit of reality in this discussion. It is undeniable that rich elderly Americans receive vast amounts of government subsidy that would more sensibly be directed at the genuine poor -- both young AND old.
Posted by Fnarf on December 13, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
#28 way to beat a dead horse, #22, you're really invested in that "greedy old motherfuckers" meme,. aren't you?

If you'd bothered to read the story I link (or the sections I bolded) to, you'd see these are the latest numbers from the census bureau, and the relative benefits of the expansions of aid to seniors has stalled.

I've never denied tthat there are children in poverty: but that's no reason to deny the elderly, as well.

There are no senior citizens prowling the streets to snatch bottles from babies, so cut out the false, and invidious comparisons.
Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 1:54 PM · Report this
So, there's this:…

I'll echo some of the other commenters here by noting that @3 was not saying that the transit system should rob the elderly; only that a blanket policy to discount fares nationwide, regardless of income level, regardless of whether a particular elderly person is still working doesn't help to combat the issue of helping the poor. Even using a rate of 15% of elderly people living in poverty, 100% of them are able to receive a benefit that they may not need. The chart I linked to indicates a rate of 8.9%.

Examining the age structure of the US:…

When you examine 8.9 percent (impoverished) of 12.8 percent (all elderly people in the US) of the population you end up with about 3.5 million elderly living in poverty.

When you look at how many non-elderly are living in poverty, it's 42.8 million people (roughly, the age groups didn't align perfectly). There are more non-elderly poor than their are ALL elderly people.

I'm not saying that the elderly shouldn't receive discounted fares, but I don't think that simply making mention that the blanket policy does little to help the impoverished by focusing on only elderly people warrants being called an asshole, multiple times.

I obviously understand there are other programs that help the poor with discounted bus fares; but the example used by @3 was to highlight the difficulty municipalities run into setting their own rates do to a federal law governing discounted fares for the elderly.

I personally believe that elderly people deserve discounts, they've worked their ass off their whole life (presumably) and should be able to enjoy what little time they may have left with what little money they may have left.

Finally, and honestly, @judybrowni, you're 62; enough with the name-calling.
Posted by Bored@School on December 13, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
#28 and his theme that seniors are somehow stealing food from the mouth of babes, reminds me of an old joke, I'll rewrite to his parameters:

"A Conservative, a billionaire, a senior citizen, and a child are seated at a table with a dozen cookies.

The Conservative gives eleven cookies to the billionaire and says to the child, "That old bastard wants half of your cookie!"
Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Oh, give up with the bus fare example already.

The old biddy is riding a bus, for Christ's sake, not asking for half off to gas up a Porsche.

There are other discounts for bus fare that aren't means tested, either: for children under 7, no matter how wealthy their parents, for school children (even if they attend private schools), for college students (even if they attend Harvard), the disabled (even disabled millionaires, if they should care to ride the bus), the commuter who buys a monthly pass (no matter if he's a CEO busing it), and so on and so forth.

Cut it out with the invidious, false comparisons, you're fooling next to no one.

Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
who cares about the union? I dont have any friends living in red states; so screw em'. Why are you patriotic, centrist pricks so willing to sacrifice the ultra-blue, self-sufficient ecotopia that is Cascadias destiny?? Are you going start advocating that we invade and hold hands with every nation that isn't on board with westcoast progressives? Fuck that; get your own house in order first and lead by example. Embrace diversity and novelty; the states should be petri dishes vulnerable to failure. What a bunch of pathetic, poser progressives; too overly invested in this stagnant, homogenized system to take off the training wheels.
Posted by carsten coolage on December 13, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
One-third of the senior citizens above the poverty line, are only so because they receive Social Security benefits.

Which means they're not living high off the hog to begin with, since the average Social Security benefit is $1,000 a month.

"One of every three Americans over 65 depends on Social Security checks to stay above the poverty line. Without these benefits, the poverty rate among seniors would soar from the current 9 percent to 45 percent. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,230 at the beginning of 2012, and the official poverty line for an individual over 65 is $10,788 annually."

But you're so miserly, you'd deny a 50 cent discount on a bus trip to someone trying to live on $12,000 a year, well there are no words...…
Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 2:22 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 35
@34 your statistic implies they have incomes of $12k over the poverty line, not total income.

And I wouldn't deny them anything. I'm an advocate for free transit. But if we're going to charge fares and are choosing groups to give discounts to, I'll choose the poor.

You're denying a 50 cent discount (ok, really $1.25, per direction) to someone that's in poverty, in order to give it to someone making $12k more than them a year. Or actually, the poorest third of those makes $12k more per year than someone in poverty.

I fully support taking cookies from the billionaire to feed everyone. But you're taking cookie from the guy that's starving and feeding it to the mostly well fed old lady.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on December 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 36

Tried? You mean succeeded. They've mostly still got the New Deal and Great Society programs that urban liberals bestowed on the country folk. Except for what Bill Clinton took away. They still have desegregation. Overall worked out pretty well.

And now we're just going to give up?

Also, I have far more affinity to the urbanites of Missouri or Alabama than I do for the rural idiots of Washington. My people are actually spread all through every state, in the cities. If I wanted to say "good riddance" to anybody, it would include the country yokels of Washington as much as the country yokels of Texas.

But if I'm going to have to live and make compromises in a half rural state, might as well do it in a half rural country. Either way, my privileged status means I'll do well regardless. Either way, I'm forcing social justice on people who claim not to want it. Though I know the minorities in their midst don't see that way.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 13, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
So, back to the states rights argument we were having before we all bit on some troll bait...

I understand WHY this comes off like a good reason for states rights arguments, but I completely disagree for many of the same reasons already mentioned: I'm not a fan of "So long as I've got mine, I could care less what everyone else's situation is like," I don't want to have to make civil rights concessions when travelling or moving from one state to another, and I don't support ideologies that allow for systematic discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious affiliation, immigration status, ethnicity, etc.

I voted to legalize marijuana so that we could begin a federal discussion about our drug policies; whether the law gets blocked or not, I could care less, it won't change my habits. I want a national discussion regarding drug policy, our failings, and proper solutions (Federal decriminalization/legalization). That's exactly what we've done in WA and CO. I didn't vote for legalization so I could say to other states, "don't like it being illegal there? Then move."
Posted by Bored@School on December 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Matt, you're an asshole troll, and that's all that needs to be said, at this point.

From the group you've chosen to argue against, you'd apparently be happier supplying free transit rides on ice floes.
Posted by judybrowni on December 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 39
Right on

Fuck the feds, their over reaching laws, their foreign wars,and the coal trains they plan to send through out fair city.

Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
litlnemo 40
People who set up strawman arguments and try to portray people as "assholes" on the basis of these strawmen are the actual assholes.

I leave it as an exercise of the reader to figure out which one is which here.
Posted by litlnemo on December 13, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this

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