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Weekly Poll: What Do You Think Of When You Hear The Term “Affordable Housing”?

March 27, 2011 Economy, Planning & Design, Sunday Poll 116 Comments
ABOVE: Public housing project before major renovations

Earlier this month I participated in a two-day conference on affordable housing sponsored by FOCUS-St. Louis (agenda- PDF):

FOCUS St. Louis, in partnership with the Des Lee Collaborative Vision, presents Housing: Building a New Foundation for Economic Prosperity. This symposium explores affordable housing in Missouri and Southwest Illinois, taking a close look at the disparity between the location of many jobs and the location of housing that is affordable for workers who fill those positions, and ways to resolve these issues to help build sustainable, prosperous communities.

You are thinking, “Why bother in St. Louis?”  Our housing is cheap, right?  I was on a panel discussing land use policy as it relates to affordable housing.

Affordable Housing is the subject of the poll this week (upper right of site). Results and commentary on Wednesday April 6, 2011.

– Steve Patterson

 

Currently there are "116 comments" on this Article:

  1. My first reaction is to expect that the plan centers on a location to put poor black folks. It is good that help is offered to lower income people, but I hope a reasonable mix of races will be found.

    Michael

     
  2. My first reaction is to expect that the plan centers on a location to put poor black folks. It is good that help is offered to lower income people, but I hope a reasonable mix of races will be found.

    Michael

     
  3. Anonymous says:

    There are multiple answers. One, St. Louis housing costs ARE very affordable, especially compared to the rest of the country. Two, that said, “affordable” is very much a matter of both perspective and expectations. Three, intangibles, like crime rates and the quality of schools, directly impact housing costs. Four, “affordable housing” as a PC term, has several hot-button connotations, including the concept of “fairness”. And five, while most lower-income people would not have any issues living in higher-income neighborhoods, most higher-income residents don’t agree that diversity is a good thing.

     
  4. JZ71 says:

    There are multiple answers. One, St. Louis housing costs ARE very affordable, especially compared to the rest of the country. Two, that said, “affordable” is very much a matter of both perspective and expectations. Three, intangibles, like crime rates and the quality of schools, directly impact housing costs. Four, “affordable housing” as a PC term, has several hot-button connotations, including the concept of “fairness”. And five, while most lower-income people would not have any issues living in higher-income neighborhoods, most higher-income residents don’t agree that diversity is a good thing.

     
  5. Rick says:

    How about safe, decent, and sanitary; and sometimes, historic green, and close to work?

     
  6. Guest says:

    As a Washington Post columnist once stated when referring to a mixed income community being built, if these houses are “affordable housing,” then are the rest “unaffordable housing?”

     
  7. Guest says:

    As a Washington Post columnist once stated when referring to a mixed income community being built, if these houses are “affordable housing,” then are the rest “unaffordable housing?”

     
  8. Anonymous says:

    People that complain about a supposed lack of affordable housing need to keep things in context. St. Louis has some of the most affordable market-rate housing for an urban area in the entire United States. I know of no other major city where someone can buy three bedrooms in a nice neighborhood for the $100K that you can in St Louis or many of the suburbs.

    I know Steve will probably do the math at some point in response to someones comment, and will explain that a person making minimum wage will have to spend more than 30% of their income to afford market rate housing, so be it.

     
  9. MiamiStreet63139 says:

    People that complain about a supposed lack of affordable housing need to keep things in context. St. Louis has some of the most affordable market-rate housing for an urban area in the entire United States. I know of no other major city where someone can buy three bedrooms in a nice neighborhood for the $100K that you can in St Louis or many of the suburbs.

    I know Steve will probably do the math at some point in response to someones comment, and will explain that a person making minimum wage will have to spend more than 30% of their income to afford market rate housing, so be it.

     
  10. Jsimpson211 says:

    What do I think of? I think of a socialist using Orwellian double-speak to push an agenda.

     
  11. Jsimpson211 says:

    What do I think of? I think of a socialist using Orwellian double-speak to push an agenda.

     
    • Rick says:

      An agenda of what?

       
      • Jsimpson211 says:

        Socialism of course.

         
        • gmichaud says:

          At this point crapitalism is an abject failure except on a small business scale. That is why affordable housing is needed. Crapitalism does not produce jobs, only corruption on a large scale.
          If crapitalism was innovative as is claimed, there would be no need for affordable housing. You can walk down practically any street and see plenty of work to do, but crapitalism is about the best thieves, not the best doers and thinkers.
          In true democracies around the world socialism is a viable area of discussion when the failures of crapitalism are tackled. Only in America are labels presented to shout down ideas.
          The failure of crapitialism is on display in America with the highest prison population in the world, some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialized world, with a banana republic gap in wealth and on and on. The proof of failure is so overwhelming, only a fool can deny it.
          America is good at killing people, I will say that though, crapitalism has bred a brilliant killing machine.

           
          • JZ71 says:

            Nice rant. If America sucks so badly, why not check out that wonderful socialist paradise named Cuba? I hear the weather is wonderful this time of year!

             
          • gmichaud says:

            Hey pal, the reason America sucks is because of people like you. You don’t offer any discussion, only the crap of crapitalism. You make my point exactly. Nothing of real substance to say.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            Perhaps you missed my original response: “One, St. Louis housing costs ARE very affordable, especially compared to the rest of the country. Two, that said, “affordable” is very much a matter of both perspective and expectations.” Obviously, your perspective, and apparently expectations, are quite different than mine. In St. Louis, unlike in many, many other cities, you can buy a house for less than what many people pay for a new car or SUV. In southwest city or much of the county, you can buy a decent home in a safe neighborhood for less than $100,000. You can rent a home or an apartment for less than $500 a month. All of these fit my definition of “affordable”.

            Can you afford this without roommates or a working partner if you’re working part-time at some minimum-wage job? Probably not – that’s both the perspective part and the expectation part. My perspective is that hard work is rewarded, be it working for oneself or for one of your crapitalistic companies. My expectation is that my residence won’t be nearly as nice if I make little income, and I expect that my residence will be bigger and nicer if I’m able to make more money. I sure don’t expect to get the same size or quality of housing when my income changes significantly (apparently you do) – life is not “fair”.

             
          • gmichaud says:

            Yeah so you can by a rundown house cheap, so what? Mediocre thinking like yours is what got us into this situation.
            Let me explain; the economic distortions include the local and state level giveaways to corporations in the form of TIF’s, subsidies and so on. For example tax subsidies there is a 15 million a year tax subsidy for Ford to keep a plant in Western Missouri., Walmart or any other large corporation won’t build a new building or open a retail store unless the companies receive millions upon billions of dollars (cumulative) of tax payer money.
            And if that corruption of the all heralded capitalism is not enough, go to the national level where is was recently reported that GE paid no tax on 14.7 billion profits. Posters and readers of this blog individually pay more than GE. Do you want me to describe more? If you were open and intelligent it takes nothing to discover the extortion of tax money from the American people by corporations locally and nationally.
            Of course you already have preconceived ideas.
            Meanwhile America gives subsidies to send jobs overseas. They also attempt to drive down wages with their partners in government. So the need for affordable housing becomes greater than ever as the corporate/governmental partnerships work their magic.
            No damn jobs, work hard, live in the streets bastards is your philosophy.
            Fuck you, life is not fair and your bullshit about I should go to Cuba is juvenile and asinine. Europe is full of Socialist, Socialist Democrat and Communist parties, they respectfully speak to the process of ideas. You don’t.
            Only in America are thinking and freedom quarantined.
            If you want to have a discussion bring it on. Otherwise please don’t waste my time.
            Affordable housing has different tiers ranging to severe to mild, but you would rather throw people on the street.
            Help might be needed for only the worse cases or not at all if it was not for the economic distortions caused by corporate America sucking on the teat of the American taxpayer. No one knows because corporate America in fact runs America. It is only in your dream world that it is not true.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            Ignoring your diatribe, just how do you expect to provide your definition of affordable housing to everyone in St. Louis? If we, individually, don’t pay for our housing needs, who will? The government? The church? The “crapitalist” companies? The small, local entrepreneurs? There is no such things as “free” money! Whose taxes do you plan to double or triple? Which other services do you plan on cutting? Schools? Firefighters? If anyone hasn’t thought things through, it would appear to be you . . .

             
          • samizdat says:

            I think his ultimate point is soaking the rich (say, an effective tax rate of 50% on anything over 100MillionUSD would be nice) and closing the loopholes exploited by GE and Bank of America, et al, would be a good start in raising money. Halting all operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and now Libya would also be a good start. Slashing the “Department Of Defense” budget by about half would go a long way, as well. That’s where the money is going. Oh, by the way, Social Security is off limits, as is Medicare. Perhaps controls could be put on drug prices, too. This country has plenty of money, we just don’t allocate it well, nor do we tax the wealthy the way we should. We have two wars going on, at the cost of One BillionUSD a week, at least, with the very wealthy often paying an effective tax of less than 15%, yet in the years after WWII the effective tax rate was at least triple that, so as to pay down the debt associated with waging the war. Of course, since both Parties seem to have plied their troth with wealthy and corporate oligarchs, I see about as much of a chance at change as I see either you or jsimpson211 getting rich through “hard work”. Yep, just like the rest of us, you work your ass off, yet you remain at the same point, or like the poors, the working poors, and an increasing number of middle class families, fall behind. Welcome to the party to National oblivion. Here, have a drink. You’ll need it.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            I agree on the wars and DoD – we have no business being policeman of the world, nor operating multiple overseas bases in stable countries like Germany or Japan. I don’t agree on “soaking the rich”. Closing the loopholes, yes, but an effective tax rate of 50% is counterproductive. If you want to further decimate the America economy, that would be the perfect way to do so. And you’re just reinforcing my point that taxation is socialism – take money from people who work hard and redirect it to people who don’t, so they can enjoy the same rewards – that’s the American Dream?!

             
          • samizdat says:

            I beg to differ, Jim. The rich don’t work any harder–perhaps even less so–than the rest of us. As for the taxation rate, well, I think that adds an effective layer of control to those amongst the wealthy who think that our money–401k, pensions, RothIRA–is their playground to do with as they please. With many of the Depression-era controls on banking/security activities eliminated, we have arrived at this point in economic time, where the super-wealthy, and their courtiers and hangers-on, play with our savings and household equity like it was their private casino. There are those who insist that the millions of people who took out marginally affordable loans–many of whom were fraudulently lead into them–caused this whole mess. I cannot disagree more strongly. It was the securitization of those loans–multiple times over–to the tune of Trillions of USD (yes Trillions) and the inability of the various banks and hedge funds to guarantee those TrillionsUSD which got us here. The period after WWII was not only prosperous, it was also economically stable, much of which, I believe, can be attributed to the necessity of investing in sound businesses and ideas. Without the Depression-era controls and the burden of high taxation, coupled of course with the distortion of law paid for by the wealthy and corporate interests, we see that many investors can short not only others, but their own clients (GoldmanSachs was very good at this). I don’t think duplicity and mendacity qualify as hard work, do you? If the wealthy won’t invest in America, then we tax the F out of them and put that money to good use: on waste water treatment, public transport enhancements and research, hard R&D, greater efficiencies in residential, commercial and industrial energy consumption, cleaner energy gen technology and deployment, clean up of toxic Superfund sites, repair and reconstruction of public roadways, repair and enhancements of infrastructure in our National Parks and Monuments (CCC and WPA, anyone?), just as a start. The wealthy in our country are increasingly decoupled not only from reality, but from actually caring about this Nation’s future. Why? Because they can go anywhere they want, put their money anywhere they want. They don’t have any skin in the game here, because they have essentially become non-citizens of the US, and have fealty only to themselves. I cannot come to the defense of those who can buy a vote and a policy like they can buy a new toy. Conversely, I will not defend those political “leaders”–Dem or Repub–who take that money against the interests of the true working people in this country: the poor and middle class.

             
          • gmichaud says:

            Again screw you bastard, you manage to try to demean me instead of talking the issues. You want to talk, I’ll talk, I don’t need your continual demeaning comments that have no value. You should really move over to STL today comment section, you would fit in well.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            Demean you?! You seem to be the one with the focus on personal attacks. Let’s see, so far, on this post alone, you’ve called me “the reason America sucks is because of people like you”, “Fuck you” and “screw you bastard”.

            I’m certainly capable of reasoned discussion, and I try to make cogent arguments, backed up with verifiable facts. My previous response to you asked a series of simple questions: “If we, individually, don’t pay for our housing needs, who will? The government? The church? The “crapitalist” companies? The small, local entrepreneurs? There is no such things as “free” money! Whose taxes do you plan to double or triple? Which other services do you plan on cutting? Schools? Firefighters?” I don’t see any sort of answers to any of these. Are they too difficult or complex? Or, are there not really any viable answers?

            I assume that you agree that building and maintaining housing costs money. Under the current system, most of us pay those costs directly, either as homeowners, or indirectly, as tenants of privately-owned rental housing. Under most socialist systems, the government picks up part or most of these costs. To do that with our current governmental structure presents many of the same issues eliminating the earnings tax would present – an immediate increase in the budget with no apparent means to fund it. Add in the fact that property taxes are a(nother) major government revenue source that would disappear if the government took over control of our hosing stock. Am I being obnoxious (or just realistic) when I ask such a simple question (how will we pay for it)?

             
          • Al Fickensher says:

            Whoah!
            I’m a Democrat since Nixon, damn sure a Liberal, always side with Labor first then allow management to try and convince me otherwise, want to get US out of corporate welfare, am willing to legalize pot and don’t give a rats ass what consenting adults do in their bedrooms or what they want to call their relationships, BUT doggone Man, I think you’re going way too ballistic on JZ. What the hell’s wrong with you? If you can’t deal well with dissenting opinion and must consider it personal, you’d feel infinitely better if you weren’t participating in blogging and opinionated social intercourse.

             
          • gmichaud says:

            So what are you his official apologist? I only respond when bullshit is thrown at me. Check it out, that is always the case. I was not even addressing him with his first bullshit response. Why don’t you reprimand his bullshit? Obviously you talk to him, so it is gang up time. I think JZ has good ideas, I just don’t need attacks on me, attacks on my ideas are fine. You ask what the hell’s wrong with me, why don’t you ask that of JZ? I have no problem with dissenting opinion. If it is used to demean the person delivering the dissenting opinion then it becomes like fox news.
            If you’re so damn objective why don’t you take him to task for suggesting I move to Cuba, how absurd a response is that for me expressing my opinion? But I don’t see you taking him to task for those comments, only my comments of course. Then you suggest I don’t participate in blogging, well again, get screwed buddy, who the fuck are you?
            Get real pal, you are the one that shouldn’t be participating in blogging, no one needs you subservient opinions.

             
        • Rick says:

          Yes, there are some aspects of socialism in the US. Free public education, Medicare and Social Security are some of the first things that come to mind. Is your point that these programs are part of an Orwellian double speak agenda? Please.

           
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            Excuse me there Rick, did you say “Free”?

             
          • Rick says:

            Compared to the tuition we pay, yeah, free.

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            By your answer, I’m guessing you’re not a working man or own a house. Am I right, or no?

             
          • Rick says:

            Wrong on both counts. How do you think we can afford to pay tuition, by getting our neighbors to pay for it? (Yeah, that’s a lead-in for your response.)

             
          • samizdat says:

            Don’t feed the troll, folks. It probably faps to your responses.

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            A troll, you say? Hardly. I’m challenging someone’s opinion with an opposing view. It’s called having a discussion.

             
          • samizdat says:

            Horsecrap. Making spurious, loaded remarks like “I’m guessing you’re not a working man or own a house” is not a discussion, nor does it amount to a challenge. We’re all “working men” (um, and women; cripes, don’t be such a misogynist, not to mention implying that if he isn’t a “working man”, he isn’t really a man, nor can he even be a part of this discussion; authoritarians, whattya gonna do?), and whether or not anyone owns a house is irrelevant to Medicare and SSI (the “I” means Insurance, by the way; it’s insurance we paid for, NOT an entitlement). And public education is a public good, without which our country would not have been as prosperous as it has been in the past, nor will it be in the future, if good public edu is discontinued or watered down further by the fascist theocratic revisionists on the Texas school board. Frankly, paying for edu with prop taxes is idiotic, and higher education at public universities should be absolutely FREE, which is what the land grant program originally intended, if I’m not mistaken. As for public/affordable housing, we need more of it, and it should be built for the most efficient possible operation, perhaps to PassivHaus standards, so as to further lessen the burden placed on the poor, working poor and the middle class in this country. Lastly, I don’t really give a g-d damn about business or corporations, or for that matter, profit. I am a fucking human being, and from that starting point comes most of how I think about my fellow citizens and fellow human beings. Even you and Jim Zavist.

             
          • JZ71 says:

            So, to clarify, money grows on trees? People should be rewarded for just showing up? And the connection between taxes collected and services delivered is purely coincidental?

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            You should apologize to everyone here for using such vulgar language. If you can’t conduct yourself as a mature reasoned adult and if you find it impossible to express yourself properly then don’t bother posting.

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            So then you have a paycheck? Good. Look at the stub and you’ll see just how “free” those services are. Rick, the bottom line is that there is no such thing as “free”. Everything has a cost associated with it.

             
          • gmichaud says:

            Start attacking the massive corporate giveaways vigorously then you would be more believable. Otherwise you are nothing but a tea party hypocrite.

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            I’d love to. Thanks for giving me the opening. The corporate bailouts by both the Bush and Obama administrations are an offense to every taxpaying American. It’s nothing short of government mandated theft.

             
          • Rick says:

            And I guess the point you’re making is that if it’s paid for with tax dollars it’s socialism? Can we move on now?

             
          • JZ71 says:

            TIF’s for developers, bad. TIF’s for individuals, good?

            I agree that our culture of subsidizing stuff has gotten WAY out of hand – Walmart should NOT be getting another subsidy to build another big box in Shrewsbury (but they will) – but two wrongs do not make a right. There will NEVER be enough tax dollars to subsidize every special-interest project out there, so the best answer seems to be less, not more (but not the tea party model of “all government bad”).

            The real issue in government is simple inertia. Once a program is put in place, there will always be a constituency that will argue that any cutbacks are criminal, and that, in reality, funding actually needs to be increased. And it doesn’t matter if it’s at the local, county, state, special district or federal level, the only way funding is ever reduced is if a) revenues fall off dramatically (see school districts in Illinois), or b) some politician has an agenda they’re trying to push (see the governor in Wisconsin).

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            “there are some aspects of socialism in the US. Free public education, Medicare and Social Security”. That was your quote Rick. My only point of contention, at least up to now, was to state that there is no such thing as “free”. Since you’re asking to move on, I’ll assume you’ve conceded that point to me, yes?

             
          • Rick says:

            Yes, you’re right. We’re all socialists. We Americans at least. Bully for you! What’s your next “point”?

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            Please don’t distort my words Rick.

             
          • Rick says:

            Well then I guess I just don’t get your point. What was it again? That US taxpayers are funding an Orwellian socialist agenda? If I’m distorting your words, please set the record straight. Thank you.

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            Sure. You stated that public education, medicare and social security are provided free to Americans. I took issue with that statement. I pointed out that since there’s a cost associated with everything that these services are not in fact “free”. You eventually agreed. Hope that helps.

             
          • Rick says:

            Actually, this all started with you trying to make the claim that there’s some “Orwellian socialist agenda” tied to the term “affordable housing”. You wanna get back to that “point”?

             
          • Jsimpson211 says:

            Sure, I’d love too. But this discussion was really about your improper use of the term “Free”. I’m not 100% convinced that you truly understand that there is nothing that is without an associated cost. So before we get to the issues of an Orwellian socialist agenda and “affordable housing”, can you just state for the the record that you understand that there is no such thing as “free education”, “free medicare”, and “free social security”. Thanks.

             
          • gmichaud says:

            Nothing is free, anybody with the literary knowledge to post at this site understands that concept. There is much about socialism that is preferable to the failed state of America. Policies which put morons filling their ass with money over the welfare of the people is the reality of America. Read the constitution if you want to understand the founding fathers, it was not about celebrating greed, but rather “promoting the general welfare of the people”
            America is so far from a socialist agenda, the suggestion of anything else is comical. As I have pointed out elsewhere even Mongolia has universal health care.
            Please, the giveaways to American corporations far exceed anything that would be necessary to lay a foundation for the American people in a reasonable fashion.

             
          • Rick says:

            Yes, there is a cost to provide public services.

             
        • Christian says:

          The vast majority of people in this country complaining about “socialism” these days have no idea what it is. Sort of like the Tea Baggers, who can’t seem to decide whether they want to call Obama a socialist or a fascist.

           
          • john w. says:

            …or a muslim carpetbagger from Kenya, where he plotted the attacks on the USS Cole, the US Army barracks in Beirut, Pan Am flight 103, and embassies other various locations in North Africa. He is, as a halfrican-American lib, trying to take away the good ‘ol American way as demonstrated by white, protestant Christian males. Thank GOD that Glenn Beck, Rush, and the other saintly geniuses at Fox News have exposed this murderous, thieving dark-skinned fraud.

             
          • Christian says:

            Thanks for proving my point.

             
          • samizdat says:

            I think john w. may be snarking. There is just too much silliness in those comments. “…halfrican-American lib…””…saintly geniuses at Fox News…” Priceless comedy gold. Like jsimpson211’s and Jim Zavist’s comments.

             
          • Christian says:

            You may be right, but it’s hard to know, these daze. I wish I had your faith. Tea Baggers have made satire practically impossible.

             
          • john w. says:

            Christian, you obviously don’t know me, but lighten up a bit. The right wing trolls are here, and I’m just having some fun. I’m expressly excluding Jim Zavist, who is a self-avowed libertarian, from my ‘troll’ remark any any other invectives toward the political right, but I have to hurl grenades at some crazy righties.

             
          • Christian says:

            Okay, fine, obviously I do not know you, but as you are surely aware, irony, facetiousness, satirical humor, etc., are often lost in emailed commentary. Besides, as you know, there is an appallingly large segment of our population that earnestly, fervently believes everything you posted. I always say, just when the Republicans cannot possibly disgust me more, the Tea Baggers step in and soar to new depths of calumny and idiocy. Some of them even hold public office or would like to do so. So, I’m glad that you were not serious in your remarks, but when I read such these days, they are most often intended sincerely.

             
          • john w. says:

            I was trying to channel Michelle Bachman…

             
  12. Rick says:

    An agenda of what?

     
  13. Jsimpson211 says:

    Socialism of course.

     
  14. Anonymous says:

    At this point crapitalism is an abject failure except on a small business scale. That is why affordable housing is needed. Crapitalism does not produce jobs, only corruption on a large scale.
    If crapitalism was innovative as is claimed, there would be no need for affordable housing. You can walk down practically any street and see plenty of work to do, but crapitalism is about the best thieves, not the best doers and thinkers.
    In true democracies around the world socialism is a viable area of discussion when the failures of crapitalism are tackled. Only in America are labels presented to shout down ideas.
    The failure of crapitialism is on display in America with the highest prison population in the world, some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialized world, with a banana republic gap in wealth and on and on. The proof of failure is so overwhelming, only a fool can deny it.
    America is good at killing people, I will say that though, crapitalism has bred a brilliant killing machine.

     
  15. Anonymous says:

    Nice rant. If America sucks so badly, why not check out that wonderful socialist paradise named Cuba? I hear the weather is wonderful this time of year!

     
  16. Anonymous says:

    Hey pal, the reason America sucks is because of people like you. You don’t offer any discussion, only the crap of crapitalism. You make my point exactly. Nothing of real substance to say.

     
  17. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps you missed my original response: “One, St. Louis housing costs ARE very affordable, especially compared to the rest of the country. Two, that said, “affordable” is very much a matter of both perspective and expectations.” Obviously, your perspective, and apparently expectations, are quite different than mine. In St. Louis, unlike in many, many other cities, you can buy a house for less than what many people pay for a new car or SUV. In southwest city or much of the county, you can buy a decent home in a safe neighborhood for less than $100,000. You can rent a home or an apartment for less than $500 a month. All of these fit my definition of “affordable”.

    Can you afford this without roommates or a working partner if you’re working part-time at some minimum-wage job? Probably not – that’s both the perspective part and the expectation part. My perspective is that hard work is rewarded, be it working for oneself or for one of your crapitalistic companies. My expectation is that my residence won’t be nearly as nice if I make little income, and I expect that my residence will be bigger and nicer if I’m able to make more money. I sure don’t expect to get the same size or quality of housing when my income changes significantly (apparently you do) – life is not “fair”.

     
  18. Rick says:

    Yes, there are some aspects of socialism in the US. Free public education, Medicare and Social Security are some of the first things that come to mind. Is your point that these programs are part of an Orwellian double speak agenda? Please.

     
  19. Christian says:

    The vast majority of people in this country complaining about “socialism” these days have no idea what it is. Sort of like the Tea Baggers, who can’t seem to decide whether they want to call Obama a socialist or a fascist.

     
  20. Jsimpson211 says:

    Excuse me there Rick, did you say “Free”?

     
  21. john w. says:

    …or a muslim carpetbagger from Kenya, where he plotted the attacks on the USS Cole, the US Army barracks in Beirut, Pan Am flight 103, and embassies other various locations in North Africa. He is, as a halfrican-American lib, trying to take away the good ‘ol American way as demonstrated by white, protestant Christian males. Thank GOD that Glenn Beck, Rush, and the other saintly geniuses at Fox News have exposed this murderous, thieving dark-skinned fraud.

     
  22. Rick says:

    Compared to the tuition we pay, yeah, free.

     
  23. Jsimpson211 says:

    By your answer, I’m guessing you’re not a working man or own a house. Am I right, or no?

     
  24. Anonymous says:

    Yeah so you can by a rundown house cheap, so what? Mediocre thinking like yours is what got us into this situation.
    Let me explain; the economic distortions include the local and state level giveaways to corporations in the form of TIF’s, subsidies and so on. For example tax subsidies there is a 15 million a year tax subsidy for Ford to keep a plant in Western Missouri., Walmart or any other large corporation won’t build a new building or open a retail store unless the companies receive millions upon billions of dollars (cumulative) of tax payer money.
    And if that corruption of the all heralded capitalism is not enough, go to the national level where is was recently reported that GE paid no tax on 14.7 billion profits. Posters and readers of this blog individually pay more than GE. Do you want me to describe more? If you were open and intelligent it takes nothing to discover the extortion of tax money from the American people by corporations locally and nationally.
    Of course you already have preconceived ideas.
    Meanwhile America gives subsidies to send jobs overseas. They also attempt to drive down wages with their partners in government. So the need for affordable housing becomes greater than ever as the corporate/governmental partnerships work their magic.
    No damn jobs, work hard, live in the streets bastards is your philosophy.
    Fuck you, life is not fair and your bullshit about I should go to Cuba is juvenile and asinine. Europe is full of Socialist, Socialist Democrat and Communist parties, they respectfully speak to the process of ideas. You don’t.
    Only in America are thinking and freedom quarantined.
    If you want to have a discussion bring it on. Otherwise please don’t waste my time.
    Affordable housing has different tiers ranging to severe to mild, but you would rather throw people on the street.
    Help might be needed for only the worse cases or not at all if it was not for the economic distortions caused by corporate America sucking on the teat of the American taxpayer. No one knows because corporate America in fact runs America. It is only in your dream world that it is not true.

     
  25. Anonymous says:

    Ignoring your diatribe, just how do you expect to provide your definition of affordable housing to everyone in St. Louis? If we, individually, don’t pay for our housing needs, who will? The government? The church? The “crapitalist” companies? The small, local entrepreneurs? There is no such things as “free” money! Whose taxes do you plan to double or triple? Which other services do you plan on cutting? Schools? Firefighters? If anyone hasn’t thought things through, it would appear to be you . . .

     
  26. Rick says:

    Wrong on both counts. How do you think we can afford to pay tuition, by getting our neighbors to pay for it? (Yeah, that’s a lead-in for your response.)

     
  27. Christian says:

    Thanks for proving my point.

     
  28. samizdat says:

    Don’t feed the troll, folks. It probably faps to your responses.

     
  29. samizdat says:

    I think john w. may be snarking. There is just too much silliness in those comments. “…halfrican-American lib…””…saintly geniuses at Fox News…” Priceless comedy gold. Like jsimpson211’s and Jim Zavist’s comments.

     
  30. samizdat says:

    I think his ultimate point is soaking the rich (say, an effective tax rate of 50% on anything over 100MillionUSD would be nice) and closing the loopholes exploited by GE and Bank of America, et al, would be a good start in raising money. Halting all operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and now Libya would also be a good start. Slashing the “Department Of Defense” budget by about half would go a long way, as well. That’s where the money is going. Oh, by the way, Social Security is off limits, as is Medicare. Perhaps controls could be put on drug prices, too. This country has plenty of money, we just don’t allocate it well, nor do we tax the wealthy the way we should. We have two wars going on, at the cost of One BillionUSD a week, at least, with the very wealthy often paying an effective tax of less than 15%, yet in the years after WWII the effective tax rate was at least triple that, so as to pay down the debt associated with waging the war. Of course, since both Parties seem to have plied their troth with wealthy and corporate oligarchs, I see about as much of a chance at change as I see either you or jsimpson211 getting rich through “hard work”. Yep, just like the rest of us, you work your ass off, yet you remain at the same point, or like the poors, the working poors, and an increasing number of middle class families, fall behind. Welcome to the party to National oblivion. Here, have a drink. You’ll need it.

     
  31. Christian says:

    You may be right, but it’s hard to know, these daze. I wish I had your faith. Tea Baggers have made satire practically impossible.

     
  32. Anonymous says:

    I agree on the wars and DoD – we have no business being policeman of the world, nor operating multiple overseas bases in stable countries like Germany or Japan. I don’t agree on “soaking the rich”. Closing the loopholes, yes, but an effective tax rate of 50% is counterproductive. If you want to further decimate the America economy, that would be the perfect way to do so. And you’re just reinforcing my point that taxation is socialism – take money from people who work hard and redirect it to people who don’t, so they can enjoy the same rewards – that’s the American Dream?!

     
  33. samizdat says:

    I beg to differ, Jim. The rich don’t work any harder–perhaps even less so–than the rest of us. As for the taxation rate, well, I think that adds an effective layer of control to those amongst the wealthy who think that our money–401k, pensions, RothIRA–is their playground to do with as they please. With many of the Depression-era controls on banking/security activities eliminated, we have arrived at this point in economic time, where the super-wealthy, and their courtiers and hangers-on, play with our savings and household equity like it was their private casino. There are those who insist that the millions of people who took out marginally affordable loans–many of whom were fraudulently lead into them–caused this whole mess. I cannot disagree more strongly. It was the securitization of those loans–multiple times over–to the tune of Trillions of USD (yes Trillions) and the inability of the various banks and hedge funds to guarantee those TrillionsUSD which got us here. The period after WWII was not only prosperous, it was also economically stable, much of which, I believe, can be attributed to the necessity of investing in sound businesses and ideas. Without the Depression-era controls and the burden of high taxation, coupled of course with the distortion of law paid for by the wealthy and corporate interests, we see that many investors can short not only others, but their own clients (GoldmanSachs was very good at this). I don’t think duplicity and mendacity qualify as hard work, do you? If the wealthy won’t invest in America, then we tax the F out of them and put that money to good use: on waste water treatment, public transport enhancements and research, hard R&D, greater efficiencies in residential, commercial and industrial energy consumption, cleaner energy gen technology and deployment, clean up of toxic Superfund sites, repair and reconstruction of public roadways, repair and enhancements of infrastructure in our National Parks and Monuments (CCC and WPA, anyone?), just as a start. The wealthy in our country are increasingly decoupled not only from reality, but from actually caring about this Nation’s future. Why? Because they can go anywhere they want, put their money anywhere they want. They don’t have any skin in the game here, because they have essentially become non-citizens of the US, and have fealty only to themselves. I cannot come to the defense of those who can buy a vote and a policy like they can buy a new toy. Conversely, I will not defend those political “leaders”–Dem or Repub–who take that money against the interests of the true working people in this country: the poor and middle class.

     
  34. john w. says:

    Christian, you obviously don’t know me, but lighten up a bit. The right wing trolls are here, and I’m just having some fun. I’m expressly excluding Jim Zavist, who is a self-avowed libertarian, from my ‘troll’ remark any any other invectives toward the political right, but I have to hurl grenades at some crazy righties.

     
  35. Jsimpson211 says:

    So then you have a paycheck? Good. Look at the stub and you’ll see just how “free” those services are. Rick, the bottom line is that there is no such thing as “free”. Everything has a cost associated with it.

     
  36. Jsimpson211 says:

    A troll, you say? Hardly. I’m challenging someone’s opinion with an opposing view. It’s called having a discussion.

     
  37. Anonymous says:

    Again screw you bastard, you manage to try to demean me instead of talking the issues. You want to talk, I’ll talk, I don’t need your continual demeaning comments that have no value. You should really move over to STL today comment section, you would fit in well.

     
  38. Al Fickensher says:

    Whoah!
    I’m a Democrat since Nixon, damn sure a Liberal, always side with Labor first then allow management to try and convince me otherwise, want to get US out of corporate welfare, am willing to legalize pot and don’t give a rats ass what consenting adults do in their bedrooms or what they want to call their relationships, BUT doggone Man, I think you’re going way too ballistic on JZ. What the hell’s wrong with you? If you can’t deal well with dissenting opinion and must consider it personal, you’d feel infinitely better if you weren’t participating in blogging and opinionated social intercourse.

     
  39. Anonymous says:

    In an effort to bring some clarity to the discussion, I verified the dictionary definition of socialism: “An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise. All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.”

     
  40. JZ71 says:

    In an effort to bring some clarity to the discussion, I verified the dictionary definition of socialism: “An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise. All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.”

     
  41. Anonymous says:

    The other half of the equation is what people make. The most recent data (http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/sp/ncbl1643.pdf) puts the mean St. Louis hourly wage at approximately $21/hour for a 35 hour week. Multiply this by 52 weeks and the mean local annual income is $38,220. Assuming that 35% goes to housing, the average worker can afford $1115 in monthly housing expenses, either in rent or as a morgage payment, including utilities. And according to Realtor.com, at current motgage rates, a buyer paying an $800 monthly mortgage can afford to buy an $165,000 home. Running the numbers again, using $8.50/hour, annual income drops to $15,500 and the 35% housing number drops to $450/month, which still puts an $80,000 home within the range of possible.

     
  42. JZ71 says:

    The other half of the equation is what people make. The most recent data (http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/sp/ncbl1643.pdf) puts the mean St. Louis hourly wage at approximately $21/hour for a 35 hour week. Multiply this by 52 weeks and the mean local annual income is $38,220. Assuming that 35% goes to housing, the average worker can afford $1115 in monthly housing expenses, either in rent or as a morgage payment, including utilities. And according to Realtor.com, at current motgage rates, a buyer paying an $800 monthly mortgage can afford to buy an $165,000 home. Running the numbers again, using $8.50/hour, annual income drops to $15,500 and the 35% housing number drops to $450/month, which still puts an $80,000 home within the range of possible.

     
  43. Anonymous says:

    Start attacking the massive corporate giveaways vigorously then you would be more believable. Otherwise you are nothing but a tea party hypocrite.

     
  44. Rick says:

    And I guess the point you’re making is that if it’s paid for with tax dollars it’s socialism? Can we move on now?

     
  45. Christian says:

    Okay, fine, obviously I do not know you, but as you are surely aware, irony, facetiousness, satirical humor, etc., are often lost in emailed commentary. Besides, as you know, there is an appallingly large segment of our population that earnestly, fervently believes everything you posted. I always say, just when the Republicans cannot possibly disgust me more, the Tea Baggers step in and soar to new depths of calumny and idiocy. Some of them even hold public office or would like to do so. So, I’m glad that you were not serious in your remarks, but when I read such these days, they are most often intended sincerely.

     
  46. Anonymous says:

    TIF’s for developers, bad. TIF’s for individuals, good?

    I agree that our culture of subsidizing stuff has gotten WAY out of hand – Walmart should NOT be getting another subsidy to build another big box in Shrewsbury (but they will) – but two wrongs do not make a right. There will NEVER be enough tax dollars to subsidize every special-interest project out there, so the best answer seems to be less, not more (but not the tea party model of “all government bad”).

    The real issue in government is simple inertia. Once a program is put in place, there will always be a constituency that will argue that any cutbacks are criminal, and that, in reality, funding actually needs to be increased. And it doesn’t matter if it’s at the local, county, state, special district or federal level, the only way funding is ever reduced is if a) revenues fall off dramatically (see school districts in Illinois), or b) some politician has an agenda they’re trying to push (see the governor in Wisconsin).

     
  47. john w. says:

    I was trying to channel Michelle Bachman…

     
  48. Jsimpson211 says:

    “there are some aspects of socialism in the US. Free public education, Medicare and Social Security”. That was your quote Rick. My only point of contention, at least up to now, was to state that there is no such thing as “free”. Since you’re asking to move on, I’ll assume you’ve conceded that point to me, yes?

     
  49. Jsimpson211 says:

    I’d love to. Thanks for giving me the opening. The corporate bailouts by both the Bush and Obama administrations are an offense to every taxpaying American. It’s nothing short of government mandated theft.

     
  50. Rick says:

    Yes, you’re right. We’re all socialists. We Americans at least. Bully for you! What’s your next “point”?

     
  51. samizdat says:

    Horsecrap. Making spurious, loaded remarks like “I’m guessing you’re not a working man or own a house” is not a discussion, nor does it amount to a challenge. We’re all “working men” (um, and women; cripes, don’t be such a misogynist, not to mention implying that if he isn’t a “working man”, he isn’t really a man, nor can he even be a part of this discussion; authoritarians, whattya gonna do?), and whether or not anyone owns a house is irrelevant to Medicare and SSI (the “I” means Insurance, by the way; it’s insurance we paid for, NOT an entitlement). And public education is a public good, without which our country would not have been as prosperous as it has been in the past, nor will it be in the future, if good public edu is discontinued or watered down further by the fascist theocratic revisionists on the Texas school board. Frankly, paying for edu with prop taxes is idiotic, and higher education at public universities should be absolutely FREE, which is what the land grant program originally intended, if I’m not mistaken. As for public/affordable housing, we need more of it, and it should be built for the most efficient possible operation, perhaps to PassivHaus standards, so as to further lessen the burden placed on the poor, working poor and the middle class in this country. Lastly, I don’t really give a g-d damn about business or corporations, or for that matter, profit. I am a fucking human being, and from that starting point comes most of how I think about my fellow citizens and fellow human beings. Even you and Jim Zavist.

     
  52. Anonymous says:

    So, to clarify, money grows on trees? People should be rewarded for just showing up? And the connection between taxes collected and services delivered is purely coincidental?

     
  53. Alissa says:

    Whoa. So this is kind of a cluster of a discussion, but I did want to say that showing a picture of crumbling public housing projects was questionable at best and will likely automatically biasing people’s responses against affordable housing, which is fundamentally different: it targets the middle class (low income housing is usually called low-income housing!), and is typically tied to the building of market rate housing.

     
  54. Alissa says:

    Whoa. So this is kind of a cluster of a discussion, but I did want to say that showing a picture of crumbling public housing projects was questionable at best and will likely automatically biasing people’s responses against affordable housing, which is fundamentally different: it targets the middle class (low income housing is usually called low-income housing!), and is typically tied to the building of market rate housing.

     
  55. Jsimpson211 says:

    You should apologize to everyone here for using such vulgar language. If you can’t conduct yourself as a mature reasoned adult and if you find it impossible to express yourself properly then don’t bother posting.

     
  56. Jsimpson211 says:

    Please don’t distort my words Rick.

     
  57. Rick says:

    Well then I guess I just don’t get your point. What was it again? That US taxpayers are funding an Orwellian socialist agenda? If I’m distorting your words, please set the record straight. Thank you.

     
  58. Anonymous says:

    Globalization is a false premise. In 10, in 50 or 100 years, when wages equalize, industry will become decentralized and move close to home markets. The advent of high energy costs will likely cause this impact much sooner. In any case migration of industry to near where the products are consumed is inevitable. What is happening with globalization is an aberration.
    This false dispersion of American manufacturing across the globe, searching for wage slaves, creates a situation of economic distortion, especially when combined with additional and enormous government subsidies for major corporations from the local level to the national level.
    This in turn disrupts housing and other economic activities. In a different economic environment, the concept of affordable housing might only be necessary in minor situations.
    Churches, (Ladue Chapel, St. Michael and George) work on housing, nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity also use volunteers to work on affordable housing, however there is a necessary role of government.
    So let’s talk socialism. The beacon of democracy, America demonizes the word. This, in spite of the fact that there are many industrialized countries with so called socialist leanings that now have a higher standard of living than America. Countries that make sure their citizens have health care, housing, nutrition, education and the basics of living. It is not perfect in all of these countries, but they all have a better life expectancy, less crime, lower poverty rates and so on. Yet the much heralded American democracy cannot openly discuss such things. The preamble to the constitution says to “insure domestic tranquility…promote the general welfare” It is not happening.
    It is easy to name numerous countries that have prospered through what are called socialist policies. These are countries that supply a high quality lifestyle for their citizens. Can any reader name a country, now, or even in history, that throws citizens in the streets, allows them to die in the streets, and that make education a financial hurdle that is prosperous and successful? Name one country where this has been a successful strategy.
    Basic areas of concern not only include housing, but also nutrition, health, along with viable transit coupled with energy conservation policies (building row housing, walking environments and so on), that provide a secure foundation for successful living for all of the population, not just the wealthy.
    Again name one country that has prospered by discarding its citizens. What value can you put on the vision of our forefathers? The “promotion of the general welfare” along with the statement to “insure domestic tranquility” says it all.
    Many nations on earth do a better job of realizing this vision than America.

     
  59. gmichaud says:

    Globalization is a false premise. In 10, in 50 or 100 years, when wages equalize, industry will become decentralized and move close to home markets. The advent of high energy costs will likely cause this impact much sooner. In any case migration of industry to near where the products are consumed is inevitable. What is happening with globalization is an aberration.
    This false dispersion of American manufacturing across the globe, searching for wage slaves, creates a situation of economic distortion, especially when combined with additional and enormous government subsidies for major corporations from the local level to the national level.
    This in turn disrupts housing and other economic activities. In a different economic environment, the concept of affordable housing might only be necessary in minor situations.
    Churches, (Ladue Chapel, St. Michael and George) work on housing, nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity also use volunteers to work on affordable housing, however there is a necessary role of government.
    So let’s talk socialism. The beacon of democracy, America demonizes the word. This, in spite of the fact that there are many industrialized countries with so called socialist leanings that now have a higher standard of living than America. Countries that make sure their citizens have health care, housing, nutrition, education and the basics of living. It is not perfect in all of these countries, but they all have a better life expectancy, less crime, lower poverty rates and so on. Yet the much heralded American democracy cannot openly discuss such things. The preamble to the constitution says to “insure domestic tranquility…promote the general welfare” It is not happening.
    It is easy to name numerous countries that have prospered through what are called socialist policies. These are countries that supply a high quality lifestyle for their citizens. Can any reader name a country, now, or even in history, that throws citizens in the streets, allows them to die in the streets, and that make education a financial hurdle that is prosperous and successful? Name one country where this has been a successful strategy.
    Basic areas of concern not only include housing, but also nutrition, health, along with viable transit coupled with energy conservation policies (building row housing, walking environments and so on), that provide a secure foundation for successful living for all of the population, not just the wealthy.
    Again name one country that has prospered by discarding its citizens. What value can you put on the vision of our forefathers? The “promotion of the general welfare” along with the statement to “insure domestic tranquility” says it all.
    Many nations on earth do a better job of realizing this vision than America.

     
    • JZ71 says:

      You may be surprised, but I actually agree with many of your points. I would just be wary that many of your observations of other countries are distorted by the rose-colored glasses of distance and the selective reporting that results from the biases of any reporter. We know our country’s (and our city’s) challenges well because we live them every day. We only get snapshots of life in Finland, Singapore or the Netherlands (or Portland or Vancouver), many times used to illustrate specific points an author is trying to make. Dig behind the scenes, and you will always find the dark side of any paradise.

      The real challenge is that a significant number of Americans have a palpable dislike of taxes, and by equating socialism with higher taxes, it’s difficult to advance either one (and delivering more services requires more taxes). Our political culture has evolved into a bunch of special interests willing to spend whatever is necessary to advance their own narrow agendas. The majority of the electorate is disgusted and disengaged, so it’s not too hard to use distorted, targeted marketing to move the political “will” in directions that many of us may not like. But, at it’s core, it’s the government that “we” have all voted for. If we had better options, we might have better outcomes, but between the cost of running and the proverbial cavity searches of every candidate’s life, it takes either a real masochist or an ideologue to make the commitment. GE isn’t doing anything illegal in paying no taxes, they’re playing by the rules put in place by the people we elected!

       
      • gmichaud says:

        You are right of course, there is no paradise. Finland, the country I know best, home to my late wife (and I have a 13 year old daughter with grandparents in Oulu), is not a paradise, although compared to America, it might be.
        Even a city like Portland, which has a high quality of life, does not have the backdrop of healthcare and free education through college for those that qualify.
        I am less sure about housing, although I could not find a slum anywhere in Helsinki, in fact it is hard to find a vacant building in Finland. My daughter’s grandparents came to visit St. Louis a few years back, I took them around; needless to say they were shocked at the condition of wealthy America.
        There is no question the American tax code is a mess. Government is falling all over itself (lead programs for contractors through HUD, and within the last year or so another lead program through EPA for contractors, insane duplication and overlap as a good example).
        Americans do have to figure out what they want to spend tax money on, no doubt, but the hysterical misleading noise from Washington and more and more from the States makes it impossible to sort out priorities.
        There is no question that the corporate powers that now control government can slash and burn America to fill their pockets with even more profits. The irony is that they are destroying the source of their success. And even with their wealth I don’t think they can avoid the consequences.
        Nor has GE broken the law, but is their 14 billion in profits with no taxes ethical or moral? Corporations buy the laws they want and need. One of the problems generated by the quasi and real corruption (obvious to most Americans) is to paraphrase the TAO, an ancient Chinese text, it said something like when leaders lie and cheat the population lies and cheats. In other words, corruption breeds corruption.
        Sitting Bull, the great Indian chief, when his people were starving because white man killed all of the buffalo, made sure all of his people ate first, his warriors next, and then he ate. Such nobility, such greatness is largely absent in America where members of congress are the biggest pigs at the trough and leave nothing for the citizens.
        I have no illusions about Finland being a paradise, but I participated in public hearings (with a translator), spent time with Helsinki city planning (with many English publications) and I came away from a distinct feeling that the country was run for the benefit of all the people, not just a few. The result of this reality is evident if you travel the country.
        America is a long way from achieving a balanced society that many lesser industrial nations have already achieved (even Mongolia has universal health care). None of these countries are a paradise, but America seems to be trying to achieve hell for its citizens. And it is succeeding.

         
  60. Anonymous says:

    You may be surprised, but I actually agree with many of your points. I would just be wary that many of your observations of other countries are distorted by the rose-colored glasses of distance and the selective reporting that results from the biases of any reporter. We know our country’s (and our city’s) challenges well because we live them every day. We only get snapshots of life in Finland, Singapore or the Netherlands (or Portland or Vancouver), many times used to illustrate specific points an author is trying to make. Dig behind the scenes, and you will always find the dark side of any paradise.

    The real challenge is that a significant number of Americans have a palpable dislike of taxes, and by equating socialism with higher taxes, it’s difficult to advance either one (and delivering more services requires more taxes). Our political culture has evolved into a bunch of special interests willing to spend whatever is necessary to advance their own narrow agendas. The majority of the electorate is disgusted and disengaged, so it’s not too hard to use distorted, targeted marketing to move the political “will” in directions that many of us may not like. But, at it’s core, it’s the government that “we” have all voted for. If we had better options, we might have better outcomes, but between the cost of running and the proverbial cavity searches of every candidate’s life, it takes either a real masochist or an ideologue to make the commitment. GE isn’t doing anything illegal in paying no taxes, they’re playing by the rules put in place by the people we elected!

     
  61. Jsimpson211 says:

    Sure. You stated that public education, medicare and social security are provided free to Americans. I took issue with that statement. I pointed out that since there’s a cost associated with everything that these services are not in fact “free”. You eventually agreed. Hope that helps.

     
  62. Rick says:

    Actually, this all started with you trying to make the claim that there’s some “Orwellian socialist agenda” tied to the term “affordable housing”. You wanna get back to that “point”?

     
  63. Anonymous says:

    You are right of course, there is no paradise. Finland, the country I know best, home to my late wife (and I have a 13 year old daughter with grandparents in Oulu), is not a paradise, although compared to America, it might be.
    Even a city like Portland, which has a high quality of life, does not have the backdrop of healthcare and free education through college for those that qualify.
    I am less sure about housing, although I could not find a slum anywhere in Helsinki, in fact it is hard to find a vacant building in Finland. My daughter’s grandparents came to visit St. Louis a few years back, I took them around; needless to say they were shocked at the condition of wealthy America.
    There is no question the American tax code is a mess. Government is falling all over itself (lead programs for contractors through HUD, and within the last year or so another lead program through EPA for contractors, insane duplication and overlap as a good example).
    Americans do have to figure out what they want to spend tax money on, no doubt, but the hysterical misleading noise from Washington and more and more from the States makes it impossible to sort out priorities.
    There is no question that the corporate powers that now control government can slash and burn America to fill their pockets with even more profits. The irony is that they are destroying the source of their success. And even with their wealth I don’t think they can avoid the consequences.
    Nor has GE broken the law, but is their 14 billion in profits with no taxes ethical or moral? Corporations buy the laws they want and need. One of the problems generated by the quasi and real corruption (obvious to most Americans) is to paraphrase the TAO, an ancient Chinese text, it said something like when leaders lie and cheat the population lies and cheats. In other words, corruption breeds corruption.
    Sitting Bull, the great Indian chief, when his people were starving because white man killed all of the buffalo, made sure all of his people ate first, his warriors next, and then he ate. Such nobility, such greatness is largely absent in America where members of congress are the biggest pigs at the trough and leave nothing for the citizens.
    I have no illusions about Finland being a paradise, but I participated in public hearings (with a translator), spent time with Helsinki city planning (with many English publications) and I came away from a distinct feeling that the country was run for the benefit of all the people, not just a few. The result of this reality is evident if you travel the country.
    America is a long way from achieving a balanced society that many lesser industrial nations have already achieved (even Mongolia has universal health care). None of these countries are a paradise, but America seems to be trying to achieve hell for its citizens. And it is succeeding.

     
  64. Jsimpson211 says:

    Sure, I’d love too. But this discussion was really about your improper use of the term “Free”. I’m not 100% convinced that you truly understand that there is nothing that is without an associated cost. So before we get to the issues of an Orwellian socialist agenda and “affordable housing”, can you just state for the the record that you understand that there is no such thing as “free education”, “free medicare”, and “free social security”. Thanks.

     
  65. Anonymous says:

    Nothing is free, anybody with the literary knowledge to post at this site understands that concept. There is much about socialism that is preferable to the failed state of America. Policies which put morons filling their ass with money over the welfare of the people is the reality of America. Read the constitution if you want to understand the founding fathers, it was not about celebrating greed, but rather “promoting the general welfare of the people”
    America is so far from a socialist agenda, the suggestion of anything else is comical. As I have pointed out elsewhere even Mongolia has universal health care.
    Please, the giveaways to American corporations far exceed anything that would be necessary to lay a foundation for the American people in a reasonable fashion.

     
  66. Rick says:

    Yes, there is a cost to provide public services.

     

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