Q&A: Hot bed issues

Just in case you thought you liked us but didn’t realize we were flaming liberals and social libertarians.

Pro-choice vs. Pro-life:  Pro-choice

Gay marriage, pro vs. con:  Pro- (though if specific churches don’t want to marry gays in their churches, whatever… it is the civil ceremony and legal rights we care about)

Blame the patriarchy vs. blame the oppressed:  IBTP

Paper vs. plastic vs. cloth:  Cloth but don’t feel guilty when we forget, use paper when we need the bags and say we don’t care otherwise

Soda vs. Pop:  Soda

Cats vs. Dogs:  Cats

Anything regarding sports:  Who TF cares?

Whitewashing book covers:  against

Fancy shoes:  We are as divided on this question as we are on the mushroom question.

Feeding kids so they don’t grow up to be useless criminals:  Pro-

Mac vs. PC:  PC (but we’re not mac haters or anything)

Cell vs. Landline:  this is like mushrooms too

Boxers vs. briefs:  we are laaaaydies

Elitist vs. humble yourself:  definitely elitist

Do ya still like us, bless our progressive little hearts?

Do you have an interesting X vs Y to share?

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41 Responses to “Q&A: Hot bed issues”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I think I’m like a split personality. I think in general I’m very liberal (pro gay rights, pro choice, pro universal health care within reason, pro child welfare programs, pro freedom of speech/expression, against religion in politics) but then I lean towards fiscal conservatism on a lot of other things (like people collecting benefits indefinitely and the whole balancing the budget business).

    I think it’s mainly because I’ve seen SO MANY people take advantage of social services and government jobs over the years. One person I know took 8 years to get fired from a gov’t job, didn’t work for the last 3, but collected benefits the whole time. (You’d never ever see this in the private sector) My neighborhood growing up was also filled with welfare people who worked under the table.

    I guess you would categorize this as blaming the oppressed, but I blame the government inefficiencies for allowing those things to take place so rampantly. We want to believe that these people are in the minority, but having spent 20 years in the midst of this type of environment, I know that’s not the case.

    Just because we don’t align 100% on our political views, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy your blog. I still enjoy your witty commentary and writing very much.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think some of the reasons I’m liberal are actually conservative. Some of the folks collecting welfare long-term make for pretty useless employees. People who probably shouldn’t be working anyway. We give them minimum subsistence so they don’t screw up my check-out at Walmart. How’s that for evil?

      And there are plenty of people who use TANF, foodstamps, and especially WIC exactly as they’re supposed to. But you don’t see them or know who they are because they’re on it such a brief amount of time and they don’t tend to advertise that they’re using it. They’re not as mentally available as the long-term users. If there were heat in my work office I could tell you the exact breakdown between longer term and short term users.

      And, of course, after the Clinton reforms, nobody can be on TANF for a very long-term. Clinton got rid of a lot of work disincentives during his welfare reforms. Welfare recipients you knew growing up cannot take advantage of the system to the same extent as they could before the mid-1990s. But it was never a good idea to have a baby in order to get welfare benefits… anybody who made that decision was just fooling themselves. The amount extra with a baby in no way makes up for the additional cost. There was no such thing as a Cadillac welfare mother– Regan made that up (actually one of his speech writers made it up).

      But mainly we care about the children. If they’re already stuck with awful parents at least they should still get food and medical care.

      • First Gen American Says:

        Wow..I never thought of it that way. (that I’m paying for a crappy employee to stay out of the workforce. I certainly would not want to be the one employing the person who never shows up to work on time.)

        You always have an interesting point of view.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        My disciplinary training had a sizable heartless bitch component to it. What one might expect of a field that’s something like 98% wealthy white men.*

        *I made this statistic up.

  2. Everyday Tips Says:

    I tend toward conservative. I feel awful for those who can’t help themselves, but I get angry at all of those that can help themselves but choose not to. I wish all the money could go straight toward the kids, but it doesn’t.

    With technology, it is so easy to take advantage of the system. Unemployment doesn’t check to see if you are really trying to find work.

    Anyway, here are some of my choices,
    DOGS
    Pro Gay Marriage
    Pro Life, but not militant about it
    Pop

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      “I feel awful for those who can’t help themselves, but I get angry at all of those that can help themselves but choose not to. I wish all the money could go straight toward the kids, but it doesn’t. ”

      These are the major tradeoffs that government has to make. There’s even an iron triangle of tradeoffs in the absence of a perfect targeting mechanism.

      WIC is very well targeted and doesn’t seem to have the adverse selection effects of a lot of programs (women do not get pregnant in order to get on WIC). We think of this program as pretty efficient. A lot of conservative republicans like it and even Ron Paul has grudgingly said it’s ok.

      TANF and foodstamps are much more difficult to target. Foodstamps are good though in that they only provide in-kind money and aren’t completely fungible (so they can’t be sold for drugs very easily). TANF and EITC have more problems. But they’re doing better than the old version of welfare and have a lot more work incentives than they did back in the 1990s.

      Mainly it really is about helping people who can’t help themselves (kids), but there are always going to be people taking advantage of the system who don’t need it. But if you cut back more, you hurt people who need it… if you make it more liberal, you help more people who need it, but you encourage more people who don’t need it to use it. It is very difficult to find that sweet spot.

      Despite our little vs breakdown up there, policy is really about shades of grey and tradeoffs. We don’t want there to be no social safety net, but we do want to encourage people to be as productive as possible. (We’re also not really in favor of workhouses and chain gangs, which were previous solutions to how to get productivity out of people. “Are there no workhouses?” asks Scrooge.)

      • Everyday Tips Says:

        It is a very complex problem, and it is something that the government cannot solve in itself. People need to feel more accountable and have more desire to NOT let everyone else support them. Believe me, I know plenty of people collecting unemployment that are not looking for jobs. Some work under the table and get unemployment. As a matter of fact, I think I see more people taking advantage of the system than actually using it as it was intended. It is a lot of ‘what can I get now’.

        Then of course, there are those that way overspent on their house and now are getting bailed out just because they can. Yet, I see the same homeless people outside Comerica Park come baseball season, and nobody seems to be helping them at all.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Those people suck. I’m of two minds on the unemployment extensions.

        On the one hand, I know of folks who really are trying to find work and just cannot find any at any wage (think people over age 50). If UI stopped, they would either have to apply for disability which few people ever leave, or be in really dire straits. On the other hand, I know folks who are refusing to get work at a wage that is less than their unemployment benefit (and who can blame them?), and if the benefits ran out they would. However, on yet another hand, if you’re an automotive engineer, maybe it’s best to take those unemployment benefits until the industry picks up again so you can continue looking for a good work match (as my BIL, now employed again did) rather than having a minimum wage job to make ends meet taking up all your time and keeping you from going to interviews.

        I guess that was actually 3 hands, not 2 minds.

        Til von Wachter has some research on job matches and unemployment spells that address these issues, as does (I think) Harry Holzer.

  3. Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

    I’m pro-life – for the children who don’t ask to be in that situation so shouldn’t be the ones that suffer for it.
    Pro gay marriage cuz I don’t care who you sleep with, but generally anti-marriage for everyone cuz I don’t see the point.
    Cats AND dogs cuz I haz both.
    Conservative w.r.t. welfare etc. cuz I haz too much pride myself and wouldn’t have accessed the programs even when I could have.
    GRS vs. TSD??? LOL

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      GRS! I’m not sure how I feel about JD grouping me with Tyler K. in terms of active commenters… but at least he doesn’t block me from commenting!

      • Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

        Oh yeah, I saw that. I think he’s trying to lure you into guest posting… Tyler K. just likes to point out something wrong in everything. I save that dark side of my personality for other sites and tall poppies that seem like big a@@holes.
        TSD didn’t post my comments either. Meh.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I guest posted already though! About buying a car! (Tyler K.’s guest post was about reneging and settling debts and getting away with it because of his high class educated white male privilege. He didn’t put it that way.)

        I don’t think at this point in my career that I really have time to do a well-researched post for free. I would have to actually look links up rather than saying, “I remember from this class I took in college that X.” Well, unless it was on my own research, but that would be kind of outing myself. Maybe after tenure.

  4. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Whitewashing book covers: against

    What the f***e does this even mean??

  5. Bashir Says:

    Sports: Baseball for obsessing over, basketball for playing, football for mindless entertainment. Hockey is not bad also.

    Mac vs. PC. Mac for now. Though not militant

    Boxer vs. Briefs: Boxer-Briefs.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      “Boxer vs. Briefs: Boxer-Briefs.”
      Ick. Bad flashback from a co-ed bathroom in college. (Though my poor roommate was on the same bathroom schedule as the nudist guy. Boxer-briefs were the better option.)

  6. eemusings Says:

    Broccoli vs cauliflower.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      ooh, that one is tough. They’re both ok raw. I think broccoli, because I have come to appreciate it on its merits as a grown up, particularly in broccoli-beef preparations. Though cooked cauliflower is ok with a lemon/garlic/oregano dressing.

  7. Trish Says:

    I classify myself as a liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues. I believe strongly in personal responsibility, but I also believe that some people are raised in such a way that they never learn that concept. In my small rural town, girls who have no plans after high school do seem to gravitate towards having a baby, and receiving public assistance. They have no role models to show them another way. In a nearby impoverished urban area, young african-american kids also don’t have a role model to show them that self sufficiency is possible. Yes, there are people who have been in similar situations and gotten out on their own, but I really think they are extraordinary, not ordinary, or the norm. My Ron Paul-following colleague calls me a bleeding heart of course. Soooo cliche.

    what about climate change? I am such a staunch environmentalist that I love anything that gets people paying more attention to protecting the environment, but I stay away from this issue, as it has become such a political hot button.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, it is definitely difficult to get out. I am amazed at my DH, though I give all credit to his father’s good choice in marrying into DH’s mother’s family, which wasn’t stuck in the same dynamic. It is difficult to know what the role of government is in these scenarios… obviously it is better for the economy as a whole if the kids can get out and become productive members of society (which is a good reason to invest in high quality preschool programs, that have been shown to dramatically cut teen pregnancy and have lasting outcomes into adulthood).

      Um… we believe that climate change exists and has a man-made component and that as a world we need to do something about it. What to do, of course, is an enormous question. Knowing human nature, voluntary actions are not going to be enough so there will have to be some kind of multi-lateral international agreement among governments… but how to help in a way that does the least amount of damage to business etc. is a toughie.

  8. Len Penzo Says:

    Pro-choice vs. Pro-life: Pro-choice
    Gay marriage, pro vs. con: Pro- (from a secular financial benefits/drawbacks perspective only…)
    Blame the patriarchy vs. blame the oppressed: IBTP
    Paper vs. plastic vs. cloth: plastic
    Soda vs. Pop: Soda
    Cats vs. Dogs: Dogs
    Anything regarding sports: Slowly losing interest as I get older
    Whitewashing book covers: I agree that it is a dishonest practice.
    Fancy shoes: No.
    Feeding kids so they don’t grow up to be useless criminals: I am all for feeding my kids ;-)
    Mac vs. PC: I’m a Mac snob
    Cell vs. Landline: landline — I live in an area with poor reception
    Boxers vs. briefs: boxers — no tighty whities for me!
    Elitist vs. humble yourself: humble (except when it comes to Macs)

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

  9. imawindycitygal Says:

    Pro-choice vs. Anti-choice: I’m Pro-choice. Note the change of terminology for those folks who don’t support abortion at the woman’s request. A friend of mine who fought on the front lines of legalizing abortion scolded me once for referring to the anti-choice folks as being “pro-life.” Reading George Lakoff’s Don’t think of an Elephant has made me realize the importance of framing an issue, and I understand her point better. So…I could say I’m “pro-life,” too. That doesn’t mean I don’t think a woman should have the right to abort on demand, though. I just believe that the woman’s life is most important here.

    Gay marriage, pro vs. con: I don’t see much value in marriage, but the legal rights issue needs to be addressed for committed couples, no matter their sexual orientation.

    Blame the patriarchy vs. blame the oppressed: With you on this one, too.

    Paper vs. plastic vs. cloth: In the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty small issue so I don’t sweat it. I have uses for or recycle the plastic ones, but I do try to use re-usable bags to cut down on the number I need to recycle.

    Soda vs. Pop: Soda, but it’s not a word I use very often since I don’t drink it very often.

    Cats vs. Dogs: Dogs!! I have had cats, but I love dogs better.

    Anything regarding sports: “Who TF cares?” YES! With you on this one, too! Why is there so much money wasted on professional sports?! It’s ridiculous!

    Fancy shoes: I guess that depends on what you mean. I buy quality shoes, but they’re not “dress up” shoes, necessarily. How do you define “fancy shoes?”

    Feeding kids so they don’t grow up to be useless criminals: Um…here’s where I get really crazy. I think we need less people in this world. That doesn’t mean I want kids to starve. I’d much rather that many more people just opted out of breeding. But it may be that a good old-fashioned pandemic could help. And if I or anyone close to me dies from such a pandemic, I’d be sad (unless I was dead, of course), but that’s just nature running it’s course.

    Mac vs. PC: I use a PC for work and had one at home or many, many years. Then I gave in and got a MacBook last year for my home use. *Love it!!*

    Cell vs. Landline: Google Voice! The best of both worlds!

    Boxers vs. briefs: I like guys to wear boxers. ;-)

    Elitist vs. humble yourself: I guess I’m sort of elitist, too.

    Do ya still like us, bless our progressive little hearts? Yep!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      What gets me is when folks call pro-choice people “pro-abortion.” Almost nobody is pro-abortion. We (almost) all want women to be able to control their fertility and we (almost) all want every child born in the world to be loved and wanted.

      I’m a romantic– I love the idea of marriage!

      Just for the record, we are anti-pandemic. We are pro-education for women and increased income such that people choose to have fewer children.

  10. Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom Says:

    Oh cripes, you made me look for the T.K. story – ugh – and that’s all I’ll say about that.

  11. Molly On Money Says:

    Jesus Bejusus where’s the like button on the comments when you need it?!
    This is fabUlous! I’m not going to waste much time (because, gosh darnet, I’m a flamin’ liberal)—-shoes: my 3″ choc. brown patten leather pumps….they are beautiful and hurt my feet but I don’t care, I will not get rid of them!

  12. Isabel Says:

    Elitist vs. humble yourself: definitely elitist

    what exactly does this refer to?

  13. Donna Freedman Says:

    Ketchup vs. salsa: Both (just not in the same meal)
    Chocolate vs. vanilla: Both, as often as possible. (They’re not just for breakfast anymore.)
    Sit-down-and-shut-up vs. stop-taking-shit: I believe you know the answer to that one already. If not, re-read “Turning invisibility into stealth.”
    Crying babies vs. drunk grownups on planes: Babies, by a landslide. They can’t help having been put in the situation, and their spit-up is a lot less toxic.
    Newspapers vs. news sites: I’m an old print newshound – come and visit me in the dinosaur museum! I’ll be the one reading a newspaper.
    Books vs. e-readers: Again, print rules. But my eyesight gets crappier by the year, so I expect one day I’ll appreciate the ability to increase type size. But I love the way books feel in your hand, the way old tomes smell, the sound of pages turning…Like I said: Dinosaur.
    (This is fun!)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m with you on the babies! Though I have a lot more sympathy for parents who are making shush shushing noises and cuddling and trying their best than for the ones who just leave it to cry.

  14. The Biz of Life Says:

    Progressives have done a lot of harm in the name of good, and the hits just seem to keep coming. Sooner or later they will run out of other people’s money and the whole house of cards will come tumbling down and make the financial crises of 2008-2009 like like child’s play. Aesop didn’t write the fable of the grasshopper and the ant for no reason…. it is symbolic of the times we live in, where everywhere we turn our kids are being trained in schools and through mass media, etc. to be grasshoppers.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      They’ve done quite a bit of good in the name of good too.

      Same thing with conservatives, they’ve done both good and bad in the name of good. It is very difficult to govern efficiently and effectively.

      What gets me about the current crop of “conservatives” is how they *talk* cutting the debt, but then lower taxes and increase spending (remember the defense portion of the budget? how about Medicare part D? What happened to deficits under W vs. Clinton?). In many ways I would be happier with Ron Paul who actually seems to understand how taxing and spending are linked.

      Really what the problem is is that it is much easier politically to spend without taxing for any politician, no matter what their party affiliation. Making meaningful cuts seems to be political suicide these days, even if it is the responsible thing to do in the long run.

      I understand that as consumers of information it is much easier and more fun to ally ourselves with Fox News or the Huffington Post. But seriously, if governing were that easy someone would be getting it right. It isn’t black and white and these aren’t sports teams. They’re flawed people in a very complex system trying to do what is best for the country and what is best for their careers, two goals often at odds.

      • The Biz of Life Says:

        Yep, progressives on both left and right like to pat themselves on the back about how much good they are doing spending other people’s money with little to no understand of the unintended consequences of their legislation and no accountability for the poor results. Intentions are everything, results don’t matter. As Hayek says: “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” And boy, hasn’t that come true over and over again. 9 times out of 10 the cures are worse than the problems.

        A case in point is cash for clunkers, which most progressives would cite as a resounding success. In reality, it cost taxpayers $24K per vehicle sold, failed to reduce carbon emissions (another boondoggle), increased consumer debt, destroyed productive vehicles (classic broken windows fallacy), hurt the poor by increasing the cost of spare parts and drove up the price of used vehicles by as much as $3K in some market and increased the rate of theft for older cars for chop shops. What a deal!

        I’m 100% for meaningful across the board cuts in every program, and dramatic government simplification (hard to do in Washington where obfuscation and pay to play are the name of the game). Let nothing be spared. We’ve just experienced the biggest government spending orgy in the history of mankind with little to show for it but mountains of debt. May the cutting begin.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        meh, right or wrong all of my relatives in the auto industry are grateful and employed and crediting cash for clunkers so I’m not going to argue against it. There’s studies (not put out by the Cato institute) that find that Cash for clunkers helped. There’s no general consensus in the economics community on its true effects yet. In any case, we’re always doing second best economics at best when politics are involved.

        Cutting should happen after unemployment drops to reasonable levels. Please remember that when times are good again. It’s far too easy to think that governments are like people and recommend increased spending and tax cuts when times are good and the opposite when times are bad. Remember when we’re booming again that we still need to pay for getting out of the recession.

  15. My Favorite Posts | Molly On Money Says:

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    [...] Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured give their opinions on what they term “Hot Bed Issues”. (No, not ‘bed’ issues, but controversial issues.) The comments are as interesting as the post here, so read all the way through. [...]


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