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Thread: First World Problems

  1. #21
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post

    It's not the state's responsibility to micromanage the needs of its citizens. It is, contrarily, the citizen's responsibility to lead a reasonably healthy life and not become a burden to the medical system and society.
    Yes, this is generally the reason that bulk cash or cash-equivalent subsidy programs like SNAP make more sense than micromanaged programs like WIC.


    (WIC gives you coupons redeemable for specific food items while SNAP, formerly known as "food stamps" before they converted it to an electronic system, is a bulk voucher denominated in dollars with a long and general list of eligible products that the money can be spent on. You just pay the store prices out of your voucher account, which is typically a fixed amount dispersed once a month.)


    WIC in my anecdotal experience mostly produces a large secondary barter market in which people swap out the coupons for things they wouldn't eat anyway, either for more coupons for the products they want or other people's SNAP credits, or sometimes other categories of goods/services entirely.

    (And ye, I've seen people trade WIC coupons for drugs before. Not very often, but there's no real way to stop this, any more than it's possible to stop people doing the same thing with SNAP cards.)


    Assuming you're going to write into your law codes that the government has an obligation to try to prevent any of your citizens from starving (which I personally agree with), it's actually pretty rudimentary economics to understand that a system based on market values and autonomous consumer choice will achieve the intended effect more efficiently than anything else.

    (Because this is the most efficient way to distribute virtually anything else in any other circumstances, and for the same reasons.)

    Redistributive subsidies can compensate for macro-economic forces putting people into positions where they're not financially self-sufficient, but that's really all they can do. Trying to use them to address micro-level issues of people "making bad life choices" is probably a fool's errand from the outset.

    Pretending you can accomplish this by converting basic social welfare programs from cash subsidy funds offsetting macro-level "market failures" to systems of paternalistic micromanagement of the beneficiaries' personal lives is just a ham-fisted way to produce a lot of waste and other assorted stupidness.



    Social welfare doesn't exist to sort people's lives out for them--it's insurance at best. It improves your odds of getting through a period of distress more or less intact, but it can't get people out of those situations. They still have to do that themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Gotta have rocks to pound to make sand. In the meantime, if you can't get rocks, but can get Cheetos and said Cheetos are going to be the highlight of your day, you get the Cheetos.
    Fine, assume you actually are in the highly unlikely scenario that you cannot get out of your predicament – which, as I say, is highly unlikely, but still. Maybe that is a reason to eat the Cheetos.

    However, even if you're in such a rare situation, there's never a reason to sit around and stuff yourself with the amount of Cheetos necessary to result in unhealthy overweight. That's not a coping strategy, that's self-harm – self-harm that results in being a burden to society. There's no excuse for that.

    As for unhealthy eating: Fine, maybe there are times in life where one can't afford to buy fresh produce. But there is no time in life where you are forced by anyone to consume more calories than you need.

  3. #23
    chaotic neutral shitpost
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    the lunches that i prepped for this week are healthy but very boring.

    i think this belongs here?
    WORKJIGGLYPLAY
    HARDxBUTTxHARD

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    we are not in a war and that leaves people too damn bored and too free to think bullcrap

  5. #25
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    Fine, assume you actually are in the highly unlikely scenario that you cannot get out of your predicament – which, as I say, is highly unlikely, but still. Maybe that is a reason to eat the Cheetos.

    However, even if you're in such a rare situation, there's never a reason to sit around and stuff yourself with the amount of Cheetos necessary to result in unhealthy overweight. That's not a coping strategy, that's self-harm – self-harm that results in being a burden to society. There's no excuse for that.

    As for unhealthy eating: Fine, maybe there are times in life where one can't afford to buy fresh produce. But there is no time in life where you are forced by anyone to consume more calories than you need.
    I never said it was good. I never said people were forced. I just said it's what people tend to do.

    If you can't consistently follow through on your own best plans, why expect other people, already subject to privation, are going to have the discipline of a committed practicing Stoic in the face of a possible bright spot in their day? These are not conditions where long term planning makes sense to the people experiencing those conditions. The shorter the term of your concern, the less you consider long term consequences. Even people with access to plenty by and large are lousy at living with long term consequences In mind.

    It also isn't the case that everyone can "get a grip". Poverty is endemic and built in to our social structure and economy. There aren't enough resources to go around so that everyone can be lifted from poverty. If such a condition ever existed, prices would be raised to correct the aberration. That is also how people are.

    Self-harm is a coping strategy. That's why people do it. What it isn't is a good or healthy coping strategy, though some forms are more socially acceptable or even lauded as good up until the harm starts to show and they near collapse. But until that moment a typical workaholic or exercise bulimic will find admiration for their industriousness and discipline.

    Another thing that happens (as happened to me and I've seen happen to others) is that those of us who get through periods where food was sufficiently scarce that dumpsters were a place to find food, well, when we get to a place where we can just buy food, more or less at whim, and based on we what we want--there's a rebound effect. You don't even give a shit because not having hunger all the time is awesome.
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    I never said it was good. I never said people were forced. I just said it's what people tend to do.

    If you can't consistently follow through on your own best plans, why expect other people, already subject to privation, are going to have the discipline of a committed practicing Stoic in the face of a possible bright spot in their day? These are not conditions where long term planning makes sense to the people experiencing those conditions. The shorter the term of your concern, the less you consider long term consequences. Even people with access to plenty by and large are lousy at living with long term consequences In mind.

    It also isn't the case that everyone can "get a grip". Poverty is endemic and built in to our social structure and economy. There aren't enough resources to go around so that everyone can be lifted from poverty. If such a condition ever existed, prices would be raised to correct the aberration. That is also how people are.

    Self-harm is a coping strategy. That's why people do it. What it isn't is a good or healthy coping strategy, though some forms are more socially acceptable or even lauded as good up until the harm starts to show and they near collapse. But until that moment a typical workaholic or exercise bulimic will find admiration for their industriousness and discipline.

    Another thing that happens (as happened to me and I've seen happen to others) is that those of us who get through periods where food was sufficiently scarce that dumpsters were a place to find food, well, when we get to a place where we can just buy food, more or less at whim, and based on we what we want--there's a rebound effect. You don't even give a shit because not having hunger all the time is awesome.
    I don't understand any of this. I've spent the largest part of my adult life in abject poverty, with hunger and cold being the norm. Sacrificing your health for food strikes me as inexplicable; why throw away the last good thing you possess? It just doesn't compute.

  7. #27
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sappho View Post
    I don't understand any of this. I've spent the largest part of my adult life in abject poverty, with hunger and cold being the norm. Sacrificing your health for food strikes me as inexplicable; why throw away the last good thing you possess? It just doesn't compute.
    Ever see someone get frustrated with a device not working and smack it? Ever see someone hurl their phone because they are angry at the person they were communicating with, or frustrated by some software issue? Lots of things don't make computational sense if you can get a sufficiently rational perspective of them.

    For the life of me, I don't understand why people watch NASCAR. But they do. I knew of a guy who, having moved away from where NASCAR takes place, had relatives send him VHS tapes of NASCAR events--and he watched them. Baffling.

    Some people choose heroin over health too.

    The hunt for dopamine has many paths. Some of them have better long term consequences.
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    (WIC gives you coupons redeemable for specific food items while SNAP, formerly known as "food stamps" before they converted it to an electronic system, is a bulk voucher denominated in dollars with a long and general list of eligible products that the money can be spent on. You just pay the store prices out of your voucher account, which is typically a fixed amount dispersed once a month.)
    Where in the U.S. is WIC still on coupons?

    ebt.jpg

    In Florida, stamps and WIC are both on EBT. The nutritionist dictates what items are allowed to be purchased for WIC. People can check whether or not what they're trying to buy on WIC is allowed by scanning the barcode from the WIC app. (I get what you're saying in the rest of your post though; just wanted to update you on WIC for the past few years). They still give out paper vouchers once or twice a year (depending on the region) to use at Farmer's Markets.
    Last edited by rokki balbotox; 05-29-2018 at 11:14 PM.

  9. #29
    wetback Space Invaders Champion Fitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokki balbotox View Post
    Where in the U.S. is WIC still on coupons?

    ebt.jpg

    In Florida, stamps and WIC are both on EBT. The nutritionist dictates what items are allowed to be purchased for WIC. People can check whether or not what they're trying to buy on WIC is allowed by scanning the barcode from the WIC app. (I get what you're saying in the rest of your post though; just wanted to update you on WIC for the past few years). They still give out paper vouchers once or twice a year (depending on the region) to use at Farmer's Markets.

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    That video is 4 years old.

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