Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Financial "Crisis"

I am sure many of you are aware that the frum community is in the midst of a "crisis", and I'm not talking about the shidduch "crisis" but the financial "crisis". Supposedly the reason for this crisis cannot be pinpointed to anything, though the community does try and blame it on things like tuition and astronomical camp prices. However, I think those are ridiculous things to point to.

I do not beleive that tuition is causing the crisis, I beleive it is ignorance that is causing it. My incredible idea is that in order to end this "crisis" people should just send their kids to public school (for those that really could not afford it). I know I will get attacked for this, but I need you to realize that it is actually UNcommon for girls to lose their virginity at 14. Scenarios in which Monica sleeps with Josh because she has a crush on his best friend, and "wants to be noticed" are actually not the norm. I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but yes, even public school girls are decent.
Secondly, there is this thing called a "clique." Cliques are usually formed by many, based on social compatibility and alikeness in character and future goals. Therefore, even if public schools were one gigantic dirty soap opera, like frummies would like to beleive, all the frum kids would form a clique and not have anything to do with the fact that Monica slept with Josh. Therefore, any "bad influences" would end at "clique walls."
My point is, that if it is decided that public school is decent (based on my oversimplified model of it) then, there is no reason why tuition is to blame for the crisis. It is no longer a "necessity" to pay it, therefore it cannot be used as the scapegoat for peoples terrible personal economic choices. There are always options against tuition (public school, homeschooling) that tuition cannot be blamed.

Then there is camp. Paying for camp, even if you are rich, is possibly one of the dumbest things I've ever hear about. Over shabbos a friend of mine was over and she told me me how much her parents paid for her to go to Sternberg Pioneers. Honestly, it is now 4 days later I still cannot get over how messed up people must be to pay that much for their kids to live in a tent, and then have the AUDACITY to complain about not being able to afford tuition. I'm sorry, but your daughter wants to "rough it" to prove she isn't a snob, send her to my backyard, pay me half the price! I'm sorry, I can't even say "no offense" because really now, I AM offending you, and I don't care. You're ridiculous! My backyard, over the summer, $1500 for 3 weeks. You agree poineers is ridiculous, and agree camps should have decent living conditions? Fine, then, you can send your kid to my house. She wont live outside, but INSIDE; $2000 for 3 weeks. We have a cleaning lady, great food, and I'll even hire a moshgiach for those wary of the kashrus of someone who thinks so low of the frum community.
Looky here, problem is solved, can't blame camp anymore! Now our "crisis" seems like no longer a crisis of economics, but a crisis of bad financial choices. Read financial newsletters, or is that to goyish?

Yea, so I'm obviosly a bit peeved at all the looney's in the community. Seriously people, how about if I choose someone to blame. I blame Kollel. No wait, I cannot do that, because there are many many ways to not blame kollel. We can, after all, take into consideration that there ARE timezones. Time zones ensure that there is always someone learning Torah. There are also Rebbeim, and shuirim, and people reading books. Torah learning is ALWAYS going on, and therefore, (as much as I hate kollel) even Kollel cannot be blamed for the financial "crisis". There are many solutions to the fact that able-bodied males are sucking the system dry, and many of them have to do with sending these guys to work. Yes, WORK! Once the "Gadolim" finally agree that the end of this kollel madness will not cause another Hurricane Katrina, we will have a foundation to finally getting money back in our pockets.

Yes...so I think this whole crisis is not a crisis at all. People need to stop kvetching, get their gigantic gefilte-fish stuffed butts up and DO SOMETHING about their situations!

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

What about the jewish studies? what will happen to that? just because you do not have enough money to send your child to a yeshiva you will resort to sending them to a public schoo???
im sorry but i would never ever do that to my child...
How can a parent do that to his or her children...i mean doesn't torah learning mean anything these days???
if you don't have enough money to send your kid to an expensive yeshiva, then send them to a cheaper one...g-d knows that there are ways that you can even send your child for free...

Orthoprax said...

I'm inclined to agree with you that there's no right to yeshivah education, but the community does have an interest in giving each child a Jewish education. You can't just ignore that interest and henceforth limit yeshivah to the relatively wealthy.

I'm for education vouchers.

Lubab No More said...

I was all for sending our kids to public school even before I became a skeptic. For it to work we really need a critical mass of people willing to send their kids to public school. Call my a pessimist but I don't think there aren't enough people with the guts to do it.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

yo man; sending ultra-orthodox Jewish kids to public school in the 50's was sociologically feasible. But today, Jewish schools are not as much about education as about segregation. No one said that Jewish girls might have pre-marital sex or something in public school; we live in a community of poor minorities. No rich white Jew would send their kid to the same school as the children of foreign third world nationals and African Americans. I admit; to a large extent they just wouldn't fit in. They wouldn't just not be romantically interested in each other; they wouldn't be socially interested in each other. How many 'frum' girls have Black or Muslim boy friends in Brooklyn College for example?

Camp; yo, that's not the same man!

ure fave commenter ;-) said...

K I'm not even going to comment...

frumskeptic said...

I will reply to specific comments later..but i DID forget to mention that I DO view Jewish education as very important, and one can easily acquire that AFTER their day ends in PS.
any other points I'll get back to in (hopefully) in a few hours!

Jessica said...

camps, agreed. but sending frum kids to public school? it's hard enough being different and not being a religious jew in public school... but being religious AND only hanging out with other "weirdos" like yourself... seems a bit cruel to me to subject these kids to that... beside for the fact that they wouldn't have much time to devote to judaism. with a full school schedule, homework, extracurriculars... when would they study Torah?

Jessica said...

whoops... i meant that they wouldnt have much time to devote to studying judaism (not that they would stop being jewish altogether).

frumskeptic said...

anon:"i mean doesn't torah learning mean anything these days???
if you don't have enough money to send your kid to an expensive yeshiva, then send them to a cheaper one."

Yes, Torah learning does mean something. If more frum people choose public schools, than as a community they would have to create good after-school programs. These programs, will obviously be way cheaper than paying a FULL day's worth of teachers.

orthoprax: I agree. I'm also for vouchers, however we don't have them, and the financial "crisis" is occuring as we speak, we don't have time to wait around until politicians actually begin accomplishing something.

lubab: Yea, very few would do it, and not because they'd fear the "bad influence" but because they'd fear the reputation their kids would gain, and however will they get married after public school?

"But today, Jewish schools are not as much about education as about segregation." --> hahaha :). unfortunately so true!

Jessica: Good parents teach their kids its "okay" to be considered a weirdo.
"with a full school schedule, homework, extracurriculars... when would they study Torah?"
If enough frum people join the PS system, the Public schools would probably create Judaic Studies as forms of electives. Why offer only Spanish or French, when they'll have plenty of students willing to take Hebrew as well?

frumskeptic said...

The reason these camps and schools charge so much, is because they can. People WILLINGLY enroll their kids into these ridiculous schools and camps, year after year, why shouldn't they raise prices? Its called supply and demand.
Financial "crisis" you say? Fine, don't demand the supply they're offering and they'd have no choice but to lower the prices. How do you do that? Be creative, homeschool, hire your neighbor or your 65 year old retired relative to watch your kids over the summer. Once schools/camps recognize that there significant number of people opting out of the yeshiva/BY/camp system, they'd have no choice but to lower the prices!

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"Once schools/camps recognize that there significant number of people opting out of the yeshiva/BY/camp system, they'd have no choice but to lower the prices!"

Schools aren't raising prices because of demand - it really costs a lot of money to run a school. Especially a good school. The schools couldn't lower prices much. They'd just fire teachers, give up rented space and shrink the school to the new size.

Practically speaking, most schools already have a de facto system of distributing costs, since many provide a lot of need-based scholarships. Only a minority of parents pay full tuition.

If all parents paid full tuition then schools could afford to lower the prices.

Orthoprax said...

"If enough frum people join the PS system, the Public schools would probably create Judaic Studies as forms of electives."

Not the way you might be thinking of it. There's that tricky First Amendment dealy.

ure fave commentor said...

Yes, very nice for the parents' wallets, but what message does that send the kid?
What does the kid think when the parents say sorry you're going to public school cuz it's a much cheaper option for us? Well obviously its showing the kid that money comes before limud torah. Talk about messing up his priorities! And then once the kid is older and is forced to decide whether to work on Shabbos or not (chas v'shalom) he'll have much more of a harder time deciding...

frumskeptic said...

orthoprax: I know school's couldn't lower prices much. However, if they sat themselves down, and really calculated the costs they probably could avoid raising tuition just about every year (like in many schools), or atleast not charge such high prices for the crappy shabbatons (which lets face it, the major "fun" element is the fact that they sleep in the same vacinity, how much could that cost?). Then the schools charge G'O fees, to bring up "school spirit", come one, gimme a break! My sister's G'O fee is over $100! The schools can also avoid granting so many scholarships...whatever happened to merit? nowadays, its like any idiot with a pulse can qualify for a scholarship! Like you said, only some people pay full tuition. If the schools were selective, and actually took legal action against parents who didn't pay (like they 100% are allowed to do, its just not considered "nice"), they'd have alot of money. And though schools don't exactly work "undemand" like camps do, they do have alot of leeway, because plenty of people go into "chinuch" expecting to make very little money. Totally take advantage of that.
Oh, and also, I don't think a solution can be found in the current yeshiva state, I think the entire Jewish Private school system needs to undergo a reformation to help solve this financial "crisis"

fave commentor: Don't you think your argument is a bit of a slippery slope? I mean you got a perfectly innocent frum kid, from a frum family working on shabbos just because of the school he goes to! I think thats way to far fetched for me to even get into! That's like when they blamed Ozzy Osbourne's song for that guy(or was it a girl) that committed suicide.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

Listen, I don't want to say how, but I am closely related to the inner financial workings of a yeshiva and it's really not as simple as you are making it seem. The school has no interest in overcharging parents because then that means more effort for the school when it comes to collecting, but it cannot undercharge or else the whole school would go bankrupt.

Shabbatons are optional, far as I know, and $100 here and there is nothing. If they didn't charge $100 especially for GO then they'd just add $100 to regular tuition. There's no magic here.

The school I am involved with is selective and does go after parents who don't pay their bills. It's hard. Court costs money, lawyers cost money, schlepping to court is a huge waste of time. And even then there's little the law is willing do to force someone to pay a bill - especially when it may only be a few thousand dollars.

And as far as underpaying teachers, while yeshivas really don't pay as highly as public schools might, you're going to get what you pay for. If you want crap teachers and your school to get a crap reputation then you can "take advantage" by paying your staff crap.


The simple fact is that private school is expensive and the observant community seeks that generally every child be in yeshiva - even children from families that cannot afford it. While there could be little efforts that slightly lighten the load for parents, the key issue is that it simply costs a lot to do. That cost cannot vanish - the only solution is through redistributing costs so the walthier members of the community are subsidizing the eduction of the less well-off.

This can either by done at a school-by-school basis by raising tuition and giving need-based scholarships. Or perhaps by a Federation-type system where community members pay dues and this money goes to defraying the costs to schools all over. A real help would likely be tuition credits released from the government.

ProfK said...

"because plenty of people go into "chinuch" expecting to make very little money. Totally take advantage of that."

All this would do would be to create a vicious cycle. Those in chinuch also have children in yeshiva. Because of low salaries they cannot afford the high tuition, so the school gives them reduced tuition. This gives the school less money to work with so they raise tuition. Because of these higher costs of living, those in chinuch have to ask the school for a raise in salary. Because the schools need people to teach they have to raise the salaries, even if a little. This leaves the school less money and so they need to raise tuition yet again.

The way to solve the crisis is not on the backs of those who are already only making a poverty level salary.

frumskeptic said...

orthoprax: I agree with you. Vouchers are the way to go. However, that doesn't seem to be happening, and until then, Public School is the answer. Because yeshiva is expensive, and there's no reason to have communal support for the ideal way of living. I dont agree with government scholarships for college, nor do I believe in communal scholarships for Private Schools. Unles ofcourse the kid merits it.
About G'O fees, I wasn't clear, I don't think its necessary to have a G'O or anything of the sort. It's not worth it if parents can't afford tuition at all.

ProfK: I got alot of crap for the chinuch comment. So I take that back. Sorry. But generally, I would still tell them to send their kid into Public School, or just allow their kids to be the ones on "scholarship" One of my friends mothers works in a school, so they allow her to pay tuition pre-tax. It comes out alot cheaper for her.

ure fave commentor ;-) said...

Ok ok my sitch was slightly extreme, but even on a smaller level, it's basically telling the kid money comes before Torah...And then when they get playstation3 for Chanukah cuz that's what their new "friends" are getting for christmas, what message does it send them about money???

frumskeptic said...

fave commentor: we're not talking about people who are fakes. we're discussing people who are seriously poor and cannot afford tuition at all, not people who will buy playstations and send their kid to public school. Those people are awful examples, and their kids probably actually would stop keeping shabbos, and not becuase of financial reasons, but because of all the hypocracy, and lying,and cheating they will experience. I mean, lets face it. If you ask for a scholarship, even if somehow find ways to afford PS3 and Wii, you're stealing!

frumskeptic said...

allow me to just clarify my last comment. You're NOT stealing if you ask for a scholarship and you have Wii and PS3. but if you go and lie about your income, you are. You can have all the luxuries you want, if the school feels you deserve scholarship. so be it, as long as you don't lie about your income. Wii and PS3 are just examples of people who complain they literally have no money whatsoever, yet stll manage to have those luxuries. its lying. Don't get teh luxury and then complain you can't afford anything. Prioritize.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"Vouchers are the way to go. However, that doesn't seem to be happening, and until then, Public School is the answer. Because yeshiva is expensive, and there's no reason to have communal support for the ideal way of living. I dont agree with government scholarships for college, nor do I believe in communal scholarships for Private Schools. Unles ofcourse the kid merits it."

How can you be for vouchers and public school and not be for government assisted higher education? What's the difference? It's in society's and the government's interests to produce more educated citizens.

It's in the Jewish community's interests to produce Jews who get a Jewish education.

An observant Jew cannot properly live as a Jew outside of a community and a solid Jewish education has been found to be a key factor for retaining Jewish identity and commitment to observance. You are looking at this very narrowly from a purely capitalistic profits and cost perspective, but you're missing the higher priority non-financial aspects of the issue.

Just because a kid comes from a poor family doesn't mean the Jewish community has no responsiblity to see that he gets a decent Jewish education. I think this is the key issue you are getting stuck on. A Jewish community ought not mean just a place where Jews happen to live next to each other.

frumskeptic said...

I'm completly against government getting involved to begin with. Since there ARE public schools, therefore its only fair that tax dollars get returned to those that do not take advantage of it (hence my view on vouchers). College is not a necessity, its a luxury, you can be quite smart/educated/cultured without receiving a "formal" education, just like one can become rich without recieving one. Plus, there is a direct correlation between government aid, and the rise of college tuition, but thats a whole separate issue.

I am looking at it from a purely capitalistic point of veiw. I admit it. I do believe in helping the poor, however, I do not think that public schools are the source AGAINST remaining frum. Somehow the "at risk" rate has gone up with public school not being an option. I think the entire frum community needs serious reformation on its understanding of economics. If they sit around and whine that they have no money, they shouldn't expect anyone but themselves to get out of it. Once you give something to someone for free, they often feel entitled to what they are receiving...take lakewood for example, or all those families pretending they aren't married (civil law) so they qualify for welfare. Whats the point of all that? Why can't they develop themselves a financial plan? Still can't afford yeshiva, why can't they have bake sales, or run around and ask for ads. If they don't find a creative way to help themselves afford tuition, its ridiculous to place the burden on the community, therefore, they shouldn't rule out Public Schools. I understand its not ideal, but placing the community through a "crisis" because you DEMAND a certain lifestyle is further from ideal- atleast in my opinion. Especially since the community will feel obligated will undoubtedly feel entitled to creating organizations to educate the PS kids. These organizations will require alot less money than those that help pay tuition for students, and may be just as good.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"I'm completly against government getting involved to begin with."

So you are therefore for the abolition of the public school system? If not, why not?

"therefore its only fair that tax dollars get returned to those that do not take advantage of it"

That's actually a poor argument, by the way. If I don't use the library or highways should I also get some cash back? Should childless couples get money back?

"College is not a necessity, its a luxury, you can be quite smart/educated/cultured without receiving a "formal" education, just like one can become rich without recieving one."

You can easily make the same argument for high school or elementary school. My point was not that it is necessary, but it is well-shown, I think, that society is better off with higher educated people and that the government turns a profit with better-educated high-earners. Not to mention the beneficial collaterals from talents in all fields.

It's just in everyone's interests to make it easier for people to pursue higher education. You want to maintain the cycle of poverty? - keeping people from being able to afford college is a perfect recipe.

"I do not think that public schools are the source AGAINST remaining frum."

Nor do I. But as it stands you are just not going to give kids a solid Jewish education with just some afterschool program or Sunday school. Kids _hate_ that.

I do sympathize with the realization that some people will surely abuse the system and learn to rely on charity, but I'm not prepared to use that as an excuse to punish all of those who are needy through no fault of their own.

frumskeptic said...

ortho: I am against all public schools.
Libraries and Highways are different from school. A library, for example, is a place where one can access sources such as rules/laws of the state and country,something that every citizen is entitled access too (how can one keep a law, if they do not know it). Without libraries, people may not have access to that (nowadays we have internet, but libraries ensure trustworthy sources, as well as internet access, incase someone needs it as well). Therefore, even if you do not use the library, your tax dollars are ensuring that if/and when you need to use one, you have access to it, so you should not get those taxes back. Highways are a form of transportation, and they are a part of sales/trade tax. so even if you happen to not travel, the goods/services provided to you through purchases you make, directly rely on the Highways/bridges/tunnels used.

Yes, I do believe it is in the best interest for someone to get educated. So, just like with the library, the government (I feel) is only responsible for basic education, to ensure that kids know how to read, write, add/subtract, divide, and know the concept of rules/laws. I however do not see a purpose as to why the government should be responsible for your decision on whether or not you choose to pursue further education. I know my system has its flaws, but I am very much for the family as a structure, and once you allow to much government intervention, then the families, often times feel that they no longer have the "duty" to educate their young, but leave it to the system. Obv, there needs to be a form of education, because parents do not know everything, but that is for communities THEMSELVES to form, to ensure the interest of the families the communities so they will remain intact. Which is why I think that all education should be private, but government should ensure (like they ensure kids do not get abused) that the parents find a way to educate their kids, by either providing vouchers or by keeping taxes low, or whatever.

People without kids should not get their taxes back (in the current state of education). IF they are not ensuring the legacy of the country by reproducing, they should at least be doing so by providing funds for the education of the next generation.

I also do not like to penalize anyone for their state of poverty. But truth of the matter is, the stricter we are with providing scholarships, the more individual's will be forced to find ways to provide for themselves. IT;s like "dont bite the hand that feeds you..."
but then there's the other guy that continued "...unless it prevents you from feeding yourself"
Currently, the frummies are not biting, when they should be.

And about after school programs. Kids hate a lot of things. They hate HW, and everything else. Somehow they manage. I know I did. I happened to like a few of my teachers in Hebrew school, and I hated a few of my teachers in PS. So what, kids deal. They're little and they do what their parents tell them too.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

You are completely contradicting yourself. If you think people should pay for roads because of the secondary benefits they get from it, then how can you say that public education is not acceptable when the secondary benefits from there to society are huge?

Should libraries stock anything except for the Constitution, case law and the local penal code?

You are getting into absurdities.

"I however do not see a purpose as to why the government should be responsible for your decision on whether or not you choose to pursue further education."

You mean college, etc? The government is not responsible for it, per se, but promotes it and accomodates those who need some help. The benefits in doing so are obvious and huge.

"I know my system has its flaws, but I am very much for the family as a structure, and once you allow to much government intervention, then the families, often times feel that they no longer have the "duty" to educate their young, but leave it to the system."

Are you joking? Seriously. Look back at history before there were public schools. Did you see your typical peasant family feeling so duty-bound to educate their children? You're completely confusing the chicken and the egg.

Public schools are a means for well-meaning but poor people to give their children a proper education. Not everyone is so fortunate to live in a supportive community like you imagine.

The few who take advantage of the excesses of the system are far far outweighed by the productivity of the rest of society which are due directly to the system.

"IF they are not ensuring the legacy of the country by reproducing, they should at least be doing so by providing funds for the education of the next generation."

Are you serious? This sounds like you're just making up rationalizations as you go along.

"But truth of the matter is, the stricter we are with providing scholarships, the more individual's will be forced to find ways to provide for themselves."

And many will be forced to drop out of college because they can't afford it and work full time simultaneously. You'd be pushing back society 100 years.

That you are actually arguing this way astounds me.

"So what, kids deal. They're little and they do what their parents tell them too."

No, the point is that when kids hate school they just hate school generally. When you tie a specific afterschool program to just Judaism then you can easily see an aversion for Judaism cooking. This is exactly what happens in the rest of the Jewish world where after their bar mitzvah and they graduate from the program they don't ever want to see anything Jewish again.

frumskeptic said...

orthoprax: Highways aren't secondary. No matter how little you may travel, if you want your milk delivered, you need the highways.
Libraries, I somehow find different.

Doesn't matter. the point is I'm against government intervention. The government doesnt control whats in the library (except that they sensor pornography) Yet they do control what goes on in Public Schools. It sounds all amazing that the government "helps" educate the Public, but throughout history, everytime the government "helped" it ended up screwing up. Almost every program of the New Deal is problematic. Welfare, SSI, help to farmers etc. Even Public Schools, though around much much longer constantly have serious issues. You have teachers constantly bombarded with new "liberal" ideas on how kids should not be disciplined at all. Teachers cannot even touch students to BREAK UP a fight!! Teachers have to be "sensitive" about what they teach not to offend anyone, the education is going down, its awful, and as much as education may be important, i don't feel its worth it. The most I feel the government should do when it comes to educating, is ensure that parents EDUCATE their kid the basics. thats IT. If one wants more than just the basics, then they should either take out a loan, or find a way to educate the kids themselves.

About college- Both my parents have amazing jobs, neither has a college degree. They are also immigrants, and when they started working, their english wasn't good, and yet, they somehow managed. My mom started college (took out loans), she got married after her first semester. My dad decided he needed a new job now that he was married, my mom was on break, he got her his job, she got trained, she realized it wasn't worth going back to college, and she dropped out. Now with over 20 years of experience, she was told that had she gone to college, she probably would have been at a disadvantage.
College is an individual thing. I can list you plenty of people that made it BIG without college. College is a bureacracy. One of my friends is an "art major" going into graphic design, on scholarsip. I know of atleast 5 people who are already working in graphics, and they went to a 6 month program, got trained. about the quarter of the price of college, nad they got to start work about 3.5 years earlier than my friend does. And though their starting salary wont be as high as my freinds when she starts, in 3.5 years, when she starts, they not only will catch up (if they are good) but will also have 3.5 years of salary behind them.

frumskeptic said...

ortho: on kids hating Judaism because of Hebrew school...
The frum kid also hates that his neighbor only goes to school from 9-3, while he has to go from 8:30-5, possibly even on sundays. He may also resent that Shabbatons are basically mandatory, whereas in PS they really couldn't care less if you go on a trip or not. Kids will be kids. And since we're not talking about reform/conservative kids, the kid will be educated enough in his Judaism, that an 'extracurricular activity' such as Hebrew School, will "throw him off".
If he gets thrown off, because of Hebrew school, the family has serious issues on how it disciplines/teaches it kids.
I was conservative, and I thought hebrew school was equally as important as PS! I know I'm an exception, but I was conservative. Frum kids, if raised proparly, will understand that as well

frumskeptic said...

TYPO: that an 'extracurricular activity' such as Hebrew School, will "throw him off".

will NOT throw him off!!
sorry about that

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"No matter how little you may travel, if you want your milk delivered, you need the highways."

Should I also pay for the milk company's trucks and gas? Let them keep up their own roads and include it in the price. Why should the government tax me for stuff I don't use?

" sounds all amazing that the government "helps" educate the Public, but throughout history, everytime the government "helped" it ended up screwing up."

No, you're just wrong. Go ask your grandparents about the Great Depression and see what they thought about government non-intervention. See what the factory workers enslaved to their jobs at subsistence pay thought about their situation. See what it was like for children to be forced to work in coal mines for pennies to support their families.

See what is was like when if you were sold rancid meat and got sick there wasn't anything you could do about it - buyer beware. Or how it was perfectly acceptable and legal to fire a Jew if he dared not work on Saturday.

It is of course true that a welfare state leads to dependence, but you have a purely fictitious rosy glow of what life would be like without government interventions. I suspect you've been reading too much Ayn Rand.

Money is power. A big point for democracy is to put the power in the hands of the masses so that they aren't enslaved to the uncaring vicissitudes of the wealthiest percentile.

I have to go now, so I'll respond to the rest of your posts later.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"College is an individual thing. I can list you plenty of people that made it BIG without college."

That's true, but it also definitely helps your chances with an education. How many engineers, scientists, doctors, teachers, etc do you know who didn't go to college?

How many people can you name who are stuck in poverty and bemoan every day that they didn't stay in school when they were young?

The anecdotal story of your parents is simply not a typical story. You should know that.

"Frum kids, if raised proparly, will understand that as well"

I just don't think you understand how kids think. They don't really resent the hours of other schools because that stuff is distant from them. And I simply do not know what school has mandatory shabbatons.

You give a kid special boring classes that the rest of their non-Jewish friends don't have to deal with and you're inviting aversion. Obviously this won't negatively effect every kid, but you're making Judaism into a heavy burden at a young age. That can easily have repercussions down the line - which, like I said, is precisely what we see in the rest of the Jewish world that relies on such programs.

Is an afterschool system workable? Sure it is, but there's a reason why it was widely dropped in the 60s in favor of a day school alternative. It just ain't as good.

frumskeptic said...

Firstly, I''m not against ALL government intervention. I just like to keep it to a bare minimum. Like for education, I dont think gov't should provide the education, but just enforce the law that people have to provide their kids with education, just like the government would expect the families to provide kids with food/clothes and shelter..

"Should I also pay for the milk company's trucks and gas? Let them keep up their own roads and include it in the price. Why should the government tax me for stuff I don't use?"
NO, absolutely not. I never said I'm against ALL government involvment, and there are many reasons as to why the government shold control the roads. It would take a really long time to travel if every road were private. Your milk would spoil.
aside from that, the military and the safety of our country, rests on the speed and ease the military can travel, should they need to.

" Go ask your grandparents about the Great Depression and see what they thought about government non-intervention."
Can't, my grandparents were busy being scared by the KGB and Stalin. Which, btw, was the government that over intervened. You can see where my ideologies come from, if you really want to discuss grandparents.
"See what is was like when if you were sold rancid meat and got sick there wasn't anything you could do about it - buyer beware. "
Yup, its great when McDonalds gets sued now because some idiot spilled coffee on herself, and declared she didn't know it was hot. They were able to sue then. They just didn't. I mentioned on another post how much the book "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair, encouraged me to become frum, exactly for the reason you mentioned..all that crap that can make one sick in the meat. What should the government do? Notify the public. Thats it. No reason to force companies to clean up. ONce consumers are aware of the crap in their meat, the companies would either a) continue making money, because the public wouldnt care. or b) be forced to adapt a "moshgiach" like person, to investigate. It would be demanded by the public anyway. If someone wants to eat chopped roaches,or poisened meats, is it really up to the government to decide against it?
Nowadays, we have Bloomberg outlawing transfats (why does he care what I eat?!), the federal government trying to make programs to "fight obesity" . If one wants to be fat, so be it. What if someone is super thin(not talking about anorexic or belimic people). You going to force them to eat more?
"Or how it was perfectly acceptable and legal to fire a Jew if he dared not work on Saturday.?"
They still do that. Companies aren't comprised of idiots. They could make up an excuse as to why they need an employee to specifically work on saturdays, and BAM, they're able to not hire/or fire whomever they choose. This law is very easy to bypass. Not only that. Frum people are guilty of the same crime. They wouldn't hire a Jew that wasn't frum to work on shabbos. My company, for example, has a tenant emergency hotline. The office is closed after 5 everyday, and all yomim tovim and shabbosim. If a tenant needs something to be done, they have to call the hotline, whose working there? goyim! we practice reverse discrimination, so I don't particularly care. "everyone should be allowed to work thing"

"It is of course true that a welfare state leads to dependence, but you have a purely fictitious rosy glow of what life would be like without government interventions. I suspect you've been reading too much Ayn Rand."
Nope, not Ayn Rand, but other amazing philosophers. Smith, Locke, Hegel...
also, I'm not COMPLETELY against the interventions. they should be as minimal as possible, because once they start, the line keeps being pushed, and the government gets more and more involved.

"Money is power. A big point for democracy is to put the power in the hands of the masses so that they aren't enslaved to the uncaring vicissitudes of the wealthiest percentile".
I like rich people. And I like class based societies. Wanting to be rich, encourages you to standup and make something of yourself. I can give you an entire thing on Hegel (who I adore as a philosopher) on how class-based systems are the way to go, I just don't have the patience to do that right now, and I dont really feel that is the right place anyway. Maybe I'll post a blog about his views in the near future. Or you can just google him.

frumskeptic said...

"That's true, but it also definitely helps your chances with an education. How many engineers, scientists, doctors, teachers, etc do you know who didn't go to college? "
My parents happen to be in the category of "engineer". Majority of their friends have the same professions, but most of them went to school (not college) to get trained for it, unlike my mom. The program was only for a year. The school called Syrit. lots of frum people (I heard) used to do that.

"How many people can you name who are stuck in poverty and bemoan every day that they didn't stay in school when they were young?"
Honestly, I don't know any.
I know 3 "poor" families (as in, they really suffer a financial crisis, outside of tuition)
The first family, the mom got a job offer to work in a PS instead of the yeshiva she works in. She feels PS isnt the appropriate place to teach (she has no college degree, but with so much experience, the PS was willing to hire her anyway, because they have a shortage of science teachers). She won't switch jobs. This isn't a matter of college/no college. its a matter of ideology.
Then theres the other family. The parents are divorced. THe mom is in a crazy amount of debt, not because she didn't go to college, but because she doesn't stick to one job. Maybe she would never amount to $50/hr, but if she stayed in ONE field, her salary would surely go up, because she'd have experince, and she'd become more valuable than a new employee who they'd have to waste time retraining.
Then theres the third family. The guy ioes importing. 2 masters degrees, and speaks 3 languages fluently. His family is really poor. They are struggling like crazy.
What do I learn from this? It isn't college, its knowing what you want and going for it. Yes, college tends to "pave" the road a lil bit. But there are plenty of ways to get by without it. Are they as "easy", definitly not. But for the kid to "discover himself" in college, is a complete waste of tax payer dollars. You wanna go to college, take a loan! You feel it will make you a living? great, then its a good investment on your part. Don't force me to pay for you. (Ironically, if/when I become rich I plan on having a scholarship program based on merit. therefore, poor or not, if I feel the person deserves to go to a certian school, I'd pay for them)
My parents, as I mentioned, are not exactly the "exception" in the community I reside in. Infact, when I went to HS, it was probably the first time I was "exposed" to people who "couldnt" afford things, when I was on the level of maturity to really understand the concept of money. These girls (I was in a kiruv program) completely took advantage of the scholarships being offered. Multiple girls ADMITTED that their parents didn't allow them to open bank accounts (babysitting money, gift money etc), because they feared the government wouldn't allow them to go to college using Financial Aid. Then theres the girls that LIED about how much money their dads made, on the application (granted, was mostly a cash job), but if you really care about being frum, and being in a program that will help you succeed at it, shouldn't you atleast TRY to pay as much as possible, so you feel it as an investment in yourself? I mean it was a kiruv program. They didnt' even bother asking for more than $200/month, and thats a BARGAIN!
You know what, Maybe my friends are just messed up? No, I don't think so, my sister has friends that run around with Ipods, and brand new laptops, and they whine and cry how they cannot afford things. Oh, and these people go away for pesach!!

Believe me, In like 3rd grade, when I heard that my fathers friends kid (probably a boy) had school on Sunday, I thanked Gd I didnt. Like a million times. Plus, I was a product of hebrew school education, and I told you what I thought of it.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"Firstly, I''m not against ALL government intervention. I just like to keep it to a bare minimum."

The bare minimum is...nothing. I think your choices are arbitrary.

"Like for education, I dont think gov't should provide the education, but just enforce the law that people have to provide their kids with education"

That sounds nice and all, but what would you like poor people to do? How are they supposed to provide education for their children if they can't afford private school and they can't homeschool because they actually need to go to work all day?

"NO, absolutely not. I never said I'm against ALL government involvment, and there are many reasons as to why the government shold control the roads. It would take a really long time to travel if every road were private. Your milk would spoil."

Duh...it's called the *public good.* Not every public service paid for by tax money needs to be - or ought to be - directly tied to its use by any one individual. The same reasoning is directly applied to public education.

"aside from that, the military and the safety of our country, rests on the speed and ease the military can travel, should they need to."

That's just silly ad hoc justification. Surely the military would have pass to freely travel through private roads.

"Can't, my grandparents were busy being scared by the KGB and Stalin. Which, btw, was the government that over intervened."

LOL! You think?

"They were able to sue then. They just didn't."

And they had time to take off from work? Could afford a lawyer? You live in a privileged time and barely realize it.

"ONce consumers are aware of the crap in their meat, the companies would either a) continue making money, because the public wouldnt care. or b) be forced to adapt a "moshgiach" like person, to investigate. It would be demanded by the public anyway. If someone wants to eat chopped roaches,or poisened meats, is it really up to the government to decide against it?"

Market forces do not work when you are living in poverty. There's only the one butcher in town who sells meat you can afford and he only is able to do so because it isn't up to health codes. Don't buy his meat? You don't have any meat. Your way virtually targets poor people for exploitation.

All of these regulations protect the poor. They are also aimed at public health too to proactively prevent epidemics, rather than fixing problems after the fact. As a society, we prefer preventing the outbreak of salmonella poisoning that could kill thousands rather than suing the company after it happens. Maybe you feel differently.

"Nowadays, we have Bloomberg outlawing transfats (why does he care what I eat?!), the federal government trying to make programs to "fight obesity" . If one wants to be fat, so be it."

I'm actually with you here. If someone wants to indulge in unhealthy vices, that's their right.

But at the same time I do not protest using public funds to inform people about the harms associated with obesity, smoking, drugs, etc. and encouraging behavior modification.

"They still do that."

Yes, of course it still exists - and there are times when it's justified. But it's not like how it was 80 years ago when an observant Jew would have to look for a new job every Monday. I just don't think you appreciate how much the world has changed.

"Frum people are guilty of the same crime."

Indeed.

In any case, maybe this example was a little too specific, but basic racial and religious discrimination was widely accepted before government intervention. Would you judge such intervention positively or negatively?

"I like rich people. And I like class based societies. Wanting to be rich, encourages you to standup and make something of yourself."

That's nice and all, but in reality the options for class mobility are few and far between. It is a rare and special case for a person born in poverty to achieve the "American Dream." Your way closes even more doors for the poor.

Regarding the rest of your anecdotal experiences of your family and friends, my point was not literally asking you to go through people you know, but to realize the basic facts of wider society and the proven benefits of a college education - and the proven detriments to lacking one.

See the national statistics, not just your own narrow experience. The same goes for your own anecdotal experience about Jewish education.

Now I don't think the government should simply pay for college for every American, but making low interest student loans available so people can afford it is very good.

In any case, from our little discussions here the sense I'm getting is that you basically blame the poor for being poor and therefore are against public means that help them. I think you should reconsider that harsh judgement and realize their plight is simply often the result of poor circumstance.

frumskeptic said...

orthoprax:

"How are they supposed to provide education for their children if they can't afford private school and they can't homeschool because they actually need to go to work all day?"
If the government has fewer social welfare programs, people won't be taxed so much, and so they'd have more of their own money to keep.
Even just for charity givers...ma'aser is 10%, think about how much more money would go into ma'aser if paid on pre-tax income.

"Duh...it's called the *public good.* Not every public service paid for by tax money needs to be - or ought to be - directly tied to its use by any one individual. The same reasoning is directly applied to public education."
good point. But it just wouldn't be practical to not have the roads paid for by government, military or not. Not providing the people with a form of education, but enforcing a law that each child is required to get one, is still good for the country (people will get educated), yet not something the government will really intervene in, to corrupt so much.

"That's just silly ad hoc justification. Surely the military would have pass to freely travel through private roads."
If roads were private, then that could cause general distress. What if some of the general liberal states get pissed at the republican states and block their state/private roads...
lol. dont respond to that. I can think of atleast 100 replies to myself. lol.

"And they had time to take off from work? Could afford a lawyer? You live in a privileged time and barely realize it. "
get a lawyer who'll do it pro bono or only paid if you win. There are certain agreements you can make with lawyers, in which they won't get paid unless you win. On not taking off from work, you pick/choose your battles. Sometimes its better to lose a little bit of pay inorder to accomplish something else. Strikes, remember those, very popular, the people realized they had to unionize on their own. All the government did was force the companies to accept them (sticky issue, but it was minimul involvment)
"Market forces do not work when you are living in poverty. There's only the one butcher in town who sells meat you can afford and he only is able to do so because it isn't up to health codes. Don't buy his meat? You don't have any meat. Your way virtually targets poor people for exploitation."
Whats wrong with being frugal and just eating fruits and veggies, or regular canned goods while you save a little money until you can afford something in the "richer" neighborhood?

"All of these regulations protect the poor. They are also aimed at public health too to proactively prevent epidemics, rather than fixing problems after the fact. As a society, we prefer preventing the outbreak of salmonella poisoning that could kill thousands rather than suing the company after it happens. Maybe you feel differently."
It would be in the companies best interests to have people that are alive. In the 1930's they weren't particularly aware of the health hazards in the food like we are today. The knew the poor had the really low quality of meat, but not to the same extent as we know today. Today, companies would've had slogans like "least amount of people to have salmonella from our chicken."

"In any case, maybe this example was a little too specific, but basic racial and religious discrimination was widely accepted before government intervention. Would you judge such intervention positively or negatively?"
I dont think the government should be involved in people's bigotry. However, social equality in the public sphere is important. So something like equality for minorities are definitly laws that should be passed, but in the private sector, it is of no right of the government to FORCE companies to hire someone they do not want to, for whatever reason.

"That's nice and all, but in reality the options for class mobility are few and far between. It is a rare and special case for a person born in poverty to achieve the "American Dream." Your way closes even more doors for the poor."
Well no, If you read Tocqueville, he actually says how social mobility in the US was way easier. Especially since we have no nobility. He was saying how the poor people got equal say in the political system.

"See the national statistics, not just your own narrow experience. The same goes for your own anecdotal experience about Jewish education."
"Now I don't think the government should simply pay for college for every American, but making low interest student loans available so people can afford it is very good."
You see, I actually like that idea. I just fear that the government would get way to sympathetic when people can't pay their loans back, and just end up turning it into a welfare situation, in which the person is just indebted or overly dependent on the government. Plus, if someone really wants to go to college nowadays, he can just serve in the army. I know thats extreme, not everyone wants to, but its definitly a way to "move-up" if still cannot afford.
For pre-colllege schooling... maybe the government can just have some sort of voucher system, just not have public schools (i fear public schools, because that is too much power for government). This way, people will have money that can only be used towards education. But, my not making public schools, the government would not exactly be involving itself, because it wouldn't be incharge or hours/curriculum, or whether or not evolution were taught. Ofcourse, I still hate the idea that other people are forced into paying taxes. but the idea seems more practical than all the bureacracy. I'm just trying to find middle ground..

"In any case, from our little discussions here the sense I'm getting is that you basically blame the poor for being poor and therefore are against public means that help them. I think you should reconsider that harsh judgement and realize their plight is simply often the result of poor circumstance."
I think people are poor out of circumstance (injury, birth, illness, bad luck, immaturity, being overly conservative,not conservative enough etc etc). I also think people are rich out of circumstance/advantage at birth. The one born into poverty will not necessarily remain poor, just like the rich guy may lose all his money. I just dont think that people will be better off if they have to fend for themselves. There are always private organizations, and philanthropists who will be more than happy to help out. Its not like it takes more to ask for charity from the private sphere than it does the public one. Though I probably am overestimating the good of the people.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"Even just for charity givers...ma'aser is 10%, think about how much more money would go into ma'aser if paid on pre-tax income."

Are you serious? Your plan for national childhood education is charity?

"good point. But it just wouldn't be practical to not have the roads paid for by government, military or not."

Why not? It worked under feudalism. Oh right, it was rich feudal land owners who heavily exploited the poor.

"Not providing the people with a form of education, but enforcing a law that each child is required to get one, is still good for the country (people will get educated), yet not something the government will really intervene in, to corrupt so much."

And it just as well fully opens the doors to private corruption - and requires the poor to depend on charity. This is better?

"get a lawyer who'll do it pro bono or only paid if you win. There are certain agreements you can make with lawyers, in which they won't get paid unless you win."

Great, again depending on charity and the goodness of strangers.

"On not taking off from work, you pick/choose your battles. Sometimes its better to lose a little bit of pay inorder to accomplish something else."

Not if you are literally living on subsistence pay. This isn't some fake scenario I'm making up - this is history. This is what happened.

"Strikes, remember those, very popular, the people realized they had to unionize on their own. All the government did was force the companies to accept them (sticky issue, but it was minimul involvment)"

For unskilled labor and significant unemployment, many times these people could barely afford to strike and when they did there were plenty of willing people to finally get a job and take their places. Scabs.

The fact of the matter is that the bosses are much more powerful than even the collective action of their workers and only the passing of things like minimum wage laws and occupational safety regulations reduce the dangerous power differential.

"Whats wrong with being frugal and just eating fruits and veggies, or regular canned goods while you save a little money until you can afford something in the "richer" neighborhood?"

Malnutrition? There's nothing *wrong* with it, but I'm just pointing out that market forces don't work here. Poor people will buy the meat and get sick one time after another because they have no real options. You see this throughout history and throughout poor areas around the world. Bad meat stays in business.

"It would be in the companies best interests to have people that are alive."

Not if the difference costs them that much more money to make the meat safer. Car companies are famous for making this kind of statistical analysis. They sell cars knowing fully that a key part will fail in x percent of cases. They accept the inevitable lawsuits as part of operational costs. This is pure capitalism.

These companies do promote their safety records, but generally consumers apparently care more about their wallets than their lives. The same would be true for meat.

"Well no, If you read Tocqueville, he actually says how social mobility in the US was way easier."

Yes, compared to 19th century Europe... But the simple fact is that it isn't so easy and it is rare to see.

"But, my not making public schools, the government would not exactly be involving itself, because it wouldn't be incharge or hours/curriculum, or whether or not evolution were taught."

So you would be ok with a voucher system that paid for some crazy white supremacist school? Or a Muslim jihadist school? In any case, even private schools generally have a mandated curriculum and in New York there are the standard Regents examinations. I don't know about other states, but I presume there is some quality control mechanism in place.

"There are always private organizations, and philanthropists who will be more than happy to help out. Its not like it takes more to ask for charity from the private sphere than it does the public one. Though I probably am overestimating the good of the people."

Indeed. History is an open book. Learn from it.

frumskeptic said...

ortho: ma'aser was an example. Just showing how less taxes- more money. But our yeshiva system is basically run on charity. Alot of people give maser by paying tuition.

I don't see why its better to FORCE others to pay, then to rely on people to give money.
Plus things like FAFSA are technically charity as well.

frumskeptic said...

"...minimum wage laws and occupational safety regulations reduce the dangerous power differential."

minimum wage laws actually kinda suck. While the low people get minimum wage, the ones with already decent salaries just end up getting raises, which just leads to a higher standard of living, which means minimum wage STILL sucks. SO, tho IN THE BEGINNING, they "helped", they kinda leave us in a screwy situation now.

frumskeptic said...

ORtho..hopefully will get back to your orther points later, if not after shabbos!
have a good day!

frumskeptic said...

Orthoprax: Sorry for the previous two inchorant responses. I was rushing to sign off, and then your reply came, Instead of being disciplined,and waiting until I had adequate time to respond, I quickly skimmed, and just responded with my first thoughts. Anyway...

"Are you serious? Your plan for national childhood education is charity?"
Yeshiva education is mostly funded by charity and random fundraising. Either, the government does that voucher thing or Yes, we go private and do it by philanthropy

"And it just as well fully opens the doors to private corruption - and requires the poor to depend on charity. This is better?"
I understand there wil be curruption everywehre, but even with teh Public School system we have today, with the government interevening, we stil have poor quality education in the bad neighborhoods, and good education in the quality neighborhoods. Whats the difference? Even with Public Schools, the Rich tend to get a better education by sending to the private schools, with the poor and middle class still stuck with what their neighborhood has to offer with PS. (NY's system is admittingly a bit different )

"Not if you are literally living on subsistence pay. This isn't some fake scenario I'm making up - this is history. This is what happened."
Some people will always have it sucky. Most people were not living on subsistence pay.

"many times these people could barely afford to strike and when they did there were plenty of willing people to finally get a job and take their places. Scabs."
Until those people can no longer handle it, and strike themselves. It would be an endless cycle. It costs companies money to constantly train new people as well. It would only be a matter of time till they realize its not worth it for them either.

"The fact of the matter is that the bosses are much more powerful than even the collective action of their workers and only the passing of things like minimum wage laws and occupational safety regulations reduce the dangerous power differential."
ON safety, the government has the right to make laws, just like the government has the right to make laws against hurting others (fights, rape, murder etc.), so can it make laws on safety in the workplace (on a company vs. person scale). So I agree with government intervention there.
On minimum wage, I think thats over hyped. I do see it as a 'hurting' others type of thing, we are agaisnt slave labor, after all, but at the same time, currently, everytime we experience an increase in minimum wage, it usually comes with an overall raise for every employee in the company. If the office clerk just got +$1/hr why shouldn't the receptionist? It would only make sense...it ends up just raising the standard of living, which would just end up needing another raise in minimum wage, doesnst really solve anything. The government should only make sure that workers are not being used..again... theres taht "fine line" I know a person that started a business because he was no longer able to handle living on a salary. So, I dunno. This is sticky. I dont really have a stance on how much government should be involved in these things. I just don't see why, from a strictly business standpoint, one would not want to pay their employees a decent salary? After all, they'd WANT to work for you, they'd put more effort into their work, they'd have better living situations which would mean less stress at work. I dont know though.

"Malnutrition? There's nothing *wrong* with it, but I'm just pointing out that market forces don't work here. Poor people will buy the meat and get sick one time after another because they have no real options. You see this throughout history and throughout poor areas around the world. Bad meat stays in business."
I said they should just avoid the meat, and put the regular weekly "meat" money into savings and buy meat from a better quality store when they have more money. Plenty of fruits/veggies can substitute meat. no malnutrition.

"These companies do promote their safety records, but generally consumers apparently care more about their wallets than their lives. The same would be true for meat."
*shrugs* Don't need a car, don't have to buy meat. I know this is a bit impractical, but people have to make choices all the time. Save a bit more, get a better car (or better quality meat). You cannot save, or have no patience too, not my problem.

"So you would be ok with a voucher system that paid for some crazy white supremacist school? Or a Muslim jihadist school? In any case, even private schools generally have a mandated curriculum and in New York there are the standard Regents examinations. I don't know about other states, but I presume there is some quality control mechanism in place."
Even with a regular voucher system, more people would send their kids to private schools. This really wouldnt make a difference. Using my arguement or not. And I am for a basic-education law. IF the government enforces it, they'd have to have some sort of test system to make sure the parents ARE sending their kid to school. Also, the government would not be able to prevent muslim jihadist or white supremacists from having their own private schools, with vouchers or w/o. And, white supremacist and muslim jihadist philosophy ARE dangerous to civilians. This isn't a matter of ethical debate, this is a matter of physical safety of the citizens of the country, not a matter of whether or not we evolved from monkeys. I'm all for government intervention when its for the safety of the citizens. No government wants a bunch of fanatic religious idiots killing its citizens. This is part of national security, its like with the governemt funding FBI/CIA , I'm 100% for it.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"Yeshiva education is mostly funded by charity and random fundraising. Either, the government does that voucher thing or Yes, we go private and do it by philanthropy"

And that's no plan at all for a national system. The reason the Jewish community puts up with it is because Jewish education is a particular Jewish interest. Many people simply do not live in that kind of supportive community.

And naturally, with a free market system for eduation, there are going to be many poorly served areas. Without government involvement why should someone open up a for-profit school in the middle of a low class neighborhood?

Your plan will end with children from poor families simply not going to school (or going to very poor schools) - thereby encouraging the circle of poverty.

"with the government interevening, we stil have poor quality education in the bad neighborhoods, and good education in the quality neighborhoods. Whats the difference?"

The difference is that this problem is management-based and not inherent. Money is poorly distributed and there's a lot of waste at the management level. This can be remedied - it just isn't. A real problem for public school systems is the poor management sponsored by a lack of accountability.

A plausible private school-based system would only be fair if the schools were mandated to accept some given number of students who could not afford tuition. And that schools were given generous government help as per need, especially those that would be situated in an impoverished area.

Though, really, that's not much different from the mix of public and private schooling we have today. A voucher system permits poor people more school choice and brings the public school back into an accountable market-driven system.

Anyway, the point is that relying on charity is not a solution.

"Some people will always have it sucky. Most people were not living on subsistence pay."

Ironically enough you're actually right about that. There were plenty of people living below subsistence pay too. Statistics (Herman P. Miller) for 1935 say that 47% of families were living below the subsistence line. That's half of America.

"Until those people can no longer handle it, and strike themselves. It would be an endless cycle. It costs companies money to constantly train new people as well. It would only be a matter of time till they realize its not worth it for them either."

No, you're just wrong about that. It is worth it. People aren't going to strike if they know they're just going to be fired. And for unskilled work training is minimal. And anyway for most jobs it costs way less to train a new group of people than to pay people more. Though obviously if we're talking about surgeons that wouldn't be true - though it could be.

"ON safety, the government has the right to make laws, just like the government has the right to make laws against hurting others (fights, rape, murder etc.), so can it make laws on safety in the workplace (on a company vs. person scale). So I agree with government intervention there."

This is another bad argument. It's bad on principle. If you think the government can make laws for safety in itself, then why are you against Bloomberg making transfats illegal?

"On minimum wage, I think thats over hyped. I do see it as a 'hurting' others type of thing, we are agaisnt slave labor, after all, but at the same time, currently, everytime we experience an increase in minimum wage, it usually comes with an overall raise for every employee in the company."

Well, I don't think _that_ is a problem directly, but raising the minimum wage could induce inflation which eventually requires a raise for all employees. Though I don't think this is bourne out in reality since consumers don't just accept arbitrarily raised prices on goods.

And there may be other issues with it in terms of poor targetization since I don't think non-family earners like teenagers ought to reap the benefit of artificially raised wages. It even makes them less likely to be hired because they're quality of work typically isn't worth $7.50 an hour - especially if you're including training time.

In any case, that's a digression. It may not have been the best example because it's justifiably controversial and complicated economically but I think you get the gist that it is proper for the government to intervene so to justly serve employees.

"I just don't see why, from a strictly business standpoint, one would not want to pay their employees a decent salary?"

Simple economics. It's in the business' interests to pay their workers the least money for which they are willing to work. It's the same reason consumers seek to pay the lowest prices on goods and services.

"I said they should just avoid the meat, and put the regular weekly "meat" money into savings and buy meat from a better quality store when they have more money."

I know. That doesn't happen in reality.

"Plenty of fruits/veggies can substitute meat."

No. It doesn't. You're simply wrong about that. Where's the protein? The B12? Iron? Vegan malnutrition is a common problem. Not to mention that fresh fruits and vegetables are actually pretty expensive commodities in themselves.

"*shrugs* Don't need a car, don't have to buy meat. I know this is a bit impractical, but people have to make choices all the time. Save a bit more, get a better car (or better quality meat). You cannot save, or have no patience too, not my problem."

Clearly you didn't get the point of my car example. The point was that without government regulation, there is an huge interest for companies to make unsafe products because it's cheaper. And since generally people don't look much at the safety records - especially poor people since their options are so limited anyway - you are putting general society in danger and particularly making poor people targets for exploitation.

If a given meat place only made you sick once or twice in the past year - you are going to keep buying from there since the meat might cost a quarter of the price as a legitimate butcher. You blame the buyer who's just buying cheap meat, thinking it's ok - I blame the seller who knowingly sells bad meat.

"Also, the government would not be able to prevent muslim jihadist or white supremacists from having their own private schools, with vouchers or w/o."

Yes, but with your system of vouchers the government would be supporting it. In any case there is actually already on the federal law books a law that says its illegal to open a school that teaches violence against the country - there's that government intervention again.

"IF the government enforces it, they'd have to have some sort of test system to make sure the parents ARE sending their kid to school."

Yes - and evolution is on the Biology Regents as required in New York State.

frumskeptic said...

orthoprax: I'll try to respond to you tomorrow. I havent had time to write lately, the 2 latest posts i wrote up in class. lol. sorry for the delay

frumskeptic said...

Ortho: Sorry ended up being the day AFTER tomorrow...

"And naturally, with a free market system for eduation, there are going to be many poorly served areas. Without government involvement why should someone open up a for-profit school in the middle of a low class neighborhood?

Your plan will end with children from poor families simply not going to school (or going to very poor schools) - thereby encouraging the circle of poverty.?"
Kinda like now, with public schools being funded by property taxes, which still leave the poor with bad education. Its inevitable, the poor will always have it worse anyway.

"The difference is that this problem is management-based and not inherent. Money is poorly distributed and there's a lot of waste at the management level. This can be remedied - it just isn't. A real problem for public school systems is the poor management sponsored by a lack of accountability."
Mostly the good neighborhoods have money because of parental involvment. No amount of government encouraging education would help if the parents dont give a damn. You cant just start forcing people to care. The government tried, and now, only 30% of students in college are literate enough to be there compared to 1940's standards...so one can fund all they want, doesn't make a difference.

"Though, really, that's not much different from the mix of public and private schooling we have today. A voucher system permits poor people more school choice and brings the public school back into an accountable market-driven system."
According to the system we have today, I agree with you on that. That would be the only way to improve schools now, is to just enourage competition.

"Anyway, the point is that relying on charity is not a solution."
Taxes = form of forced charity.

"This is another bad argument. It's bad on principle. If you think the government can make laws for safety in itself, then why are you against Bloomberg making transfats illegal?"
Because if one is hurting only themselves (eating transfats, not wearing seatbelts etc) the government cannot and should not intervene. However, if one is hurting others, (rape, murder etc) than the government can intervene.

"Well, I don't think _that_ is a problem directly, but raising the minimum wage could induce inflation which eventually requires a raise for all employees. Though I don't think this is bourne out in reality since consumers don't just accept arbitrarily raised prices on goods. "
If a company raises wages and does not raise prices, that means their profits lower. If their profits go down, they either lay people off, or just not hire people. So thats not a very happy state for the people who are looking to get hired.

"Simple economics. It's in the business' interests to pay their workers the least money for which they are willing to work. It's the same reason consumers seek to pay the lowest prices on goods and services."
Lol. i understand that. just, once the person is trained, theres really no point for the business to not pay them a decent amount. My position at work started of a drop above minimum wage (for everyone they hired over the summer), Me and this other girl stayed, they gave us raises, and they pay new employees less than us...on purpose, we're better than they are, we're already trained, and they don't want us to leave. Thats what a I meant...I don't see why companies wouldnt do that. You keep a crappy salary for a bit, then you get raises...its how it works. with or without a minimum wage.

"I know. That doesn't happen in reality."
Lol... I guess my family is the exception. lol. When my parents got married, they decided they'd stop eating pig, but wouldn't buy only kosher meats because they couldnt afford it (obviously not a great idea halachically, but they werent frum), anyway, same idea... My parents did it, why can't others?

"No. It doesn't. You're simply wrong about that. Where's the protein? The B12? Iron? Vegan malnutrition is a common problem. Not to mention that fresh fruits and vegetables are actually pretty expensive commodities in themselves."
Meat is more expensive than fruits and veggies, and fruits and veggies can be made into soup, which blend all the vitamins into one MEAL, and it comes out really chaep as well as very healthy.

"Yes, but with your system of vouchers the government would be supporting it. In any case there is actually already on the federal law books a law that says its illegal to open a school that teaches violence against the country - there's that government intervention again."
That isnt government intervention. The government is set up to have a military, to protect its borders, and its citizens . By teaching violence in the schools, the schools systems are directly threatening the military, which, as a result, threatens the government. Without a government, people are even worse off.

"Yes - and evolution is on the Biology Regents as required in New York State"
Im all for teaching EVERYTHING. I think that in order to really have a position, you must be wiling to openly hear about others. However, some do not feel that way. Therefore, the government should leave it to things that are "neutral" such as Math, History, Language Arts.

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"sorry for the delay"

No worries.

"Kinda like now, with public schools being funded by property taxes, which still leave the poor with bad education. Its inevitable, the poor will always have it worse anyway."

That's an argument for tax reform, not to drop the whole public school system.

"Mostly the good neighborhoods have money because of parental involvment. No amount of government encouraging education would help if the parents dont give a damn. You cant just start forcing people to care."

What? They have money because the parents are involved? Involved in what?

"The government tried, and now, only 30% of students in college are literate enough to be there compared to 1940's standards...so one can fund all they want, doesn't make a difference."

I don't know how accurate this statistic is or what it's supposed to mean, but there are a lot more colleges today than there were in 1940. In 1940 more than half of America didn't have education beyond 8th grade and maybe 5% of people graduated from college.

Seems like a big difference to me.

"Taxes = form of forced charity."

That's one view. All the same, it's a reliable source of income compared to charity.

"anyway, same idea... My parents did it, why can't others?"

Your parents had different choices of meat - a luxury. We're talking rare healthy meat vs common, sometimes bad meat. People will prefer having meat more often even if it is sometimes bad.

"However, if one is hurting others, (rape, murder etc) than the government can intervene."

Then you are saying it actually has nothing to do with safety. So why can't a poor guy freely take a dangerous job?

"If a company raises wages and does not raise prices, that means their profits lower. If their profits go down, they either lay people off, or just not hire people."

If you actually read the literature on this stuff that simply is not what happens to any significant degree. Employers save in other ways before laying off workers.

"Thats what a I meant...I don't see why companies wouldnt do that. You keep a crappy salary for a bit, then you get raises...its how it works. with or without a minimum wage."

Ok, so they pay you a slightly less crappy salary than the other job. It doesn't mean you're on easy street.

"Meat is more expensive than fruits and veggies, and fruits and veggies can be made into soup, which blend all the vitamins into one MEAL, and it comes out really chaep as well as very healthy."

You cannot get B12 from fruits and vegetables alone. You simply cannot. It's just not in them. If this is your diet then you are setting yourself up for pernicious anemia. And things like iron and protein are rare in fruits or vegetables.

"Im all for teaching EVERYTHING. I think that in order to really have a position, you must be wiling to openly hear about others. However, some do not feel that way. Therefore, the government should leave it to things that are "neutral" such as Math, History, Language Arts."

History is neutral? Literature is neutral? Are you serious?

When you learn about history would you openly discuss conspiracy theories of the Masonic origins of the American Revolution on equal footing with standard American history?

In similar form should science be left to standard science.

frumskeptic said...

Orthoprax:
"What? They have money because the parents are involved? Involved in what?"

Ok, Public Schools are almost as ridiculous as our yeshiva system. Daddy wears a grey suit instead of a black one for interview, Malky can't get in...

Public Schools test kids all the time, yet they don't necessarily split the children up based on their test scores, but based on which parents are part of the PA and have close relationships with the principal. Those parents, also, tend to be very active in fundraising. Those parents tend to be in the richer neighborhoods (because they have time to not work and organize fundraisers volunarily). These parents raise money for the schools. The extra money enables the schools to afford better programs and extra curricular activities than schools in which fundraisers are not so popular, because parents aren't really involved. Not only that, but if a child has a really bad teacher, the only way to get out of the teachers class wouldbe if the parents cared enough to call on the childs behalf...which tends to only be in the uppermiddle class/rich neighborhoods. The students then are either transfered to a different class, or the teachers are transferred to different schools if enough parents call and complain. I remember in 7th grade we had our orchestra teacher fired because he didn't teach us anything, and most of the kids had their parents call and complain.

"I don't know how accurate this statistic is or what it's supposed to mean, but there are a lot more colleges today than there were in 1940. In 1940 more than half of America didn't have education beyond 8th grade and maybe 5% of people graduated from college."



More colleges equals people getting in who probably wouldnt be worthy of it to begin with, which just dumb's down the college system. How often do you hear today that just a BA/BS isn't enough, and a masters is important to get a decent job? Why is that? college got dumbed down and its no longer something "special"

"Then you are saying it actually has nothing to do with safety. So why can't a poor guy freely take a dangerous job?"

Yea, as long as he is aware of the fact that the job is dangerous prior to signing any contracts.

"If you actually read the literature on this stuff that simply is not what happens to any significant degree. Employers save in other ways before laying off workers."

Obviously their first choice isn't to lay people off, they want workers that know what they're doing, but generally, if they run out of places to cut back, they have no choice but to lay people off.

"Ok, so they pay you a slightly less crappy salary than the other job. It doesn't mean you're on easy street."

Right, but thats where it starts. Eventually (if i choose to stay there) I'll get another raise, then another raise...and then a decent salary.

"You cannot get B12 from fruits and vegetables alone. You simply cannot. It's just not in them. If this is your diet then you are setting yourself up for pernicious anemia. And things like iron and protein are rare in fruits or vegetables."

There are vegetarians and there are people who are allergic to certain meets. However, when one is poor, and they know some form of meat is crappy, they have to deal with what they have. Buy one chicken, make soup out of it. Eat the soup, without the chicken. The soup should last a few days (depending on size of family). Then eat the chicken for a different meal, make it in a salad of some sort so as to make the chicken go around. That would be enough chicekn to prevent a disease, and would be really cheap. Once a month or something, should end up fine and healthy.

"History is neutral? Literature is neutral? Are you serious?"

Ok ok, I didn't mean neutral, I meant basic stuff that one would have to learn to live in the society. Like in the US, we'd need US history and World history (we are after all a world power).

Literature can techincally be taught neutrally if say after reading the merchant of venice, we read a book by some author that loved the Jews (we gotta find him first, lol)

"When you learn about history would you openly discuss conspiracy theories of the Masonic origins of the American Revolution on equal footing with standard American history?"

Nope. No point. but private schools should be able too. as long as kids know about 1776 and 1812, 1863, 1865...

"In similar form should science be left to standard science."

Can be. Anything after "standard" would be unfair to force upon others. I don't care that half my friends have no idea that Darwin was wasn't trying to disprove Gd. Thats their parents business...definitly not the governments.



My personal theory on education is that one should be willing to know everything. I find J4J pamphlets amusing. I try finding ways to answer them. I do. Better than avoid all Christains then find myself in a College and no way to refute my super anti-religious professors, because everything i do and follow is blind...

but then again...I do what I do, while others tell me I'm wrong... am I wrong... I dont think so, but I would definitly be if I forced them to read J4J pamphlets and taught them all about Freud in HS or Darwin in HS, or w/e else there is ...

Since the government would have to enforce the laws that children learn up to a certain age, then the government would only have to force the basic stuff. Everything else is just stuff that is unfair and nobodies business to make others learn as well..

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"Public Schools test kids all the time, yet they don't necessarily split the children up based on their test scores, but based on which parents are part of the PA and have close relationships with the principal. Those parents, also, tend to be very active in fundraising..."

I don't think this is a significant issue about funding - especially when it comes to education quality on national terms. You send a poor kid to a rich school and he'll get a better education no matter what his parents are like.

"college got dumbed down and its no longer something "special""

That's actually true - and a pet peeve of mine. But I still think opening college for those who couldn't otherwise afford is good. That doesn't need to be harmed by raising the standards of acceptance. I think that in 1940 much more than 5% of the American population had what it took to graduate from college.

"Right, but thats where it starts. Eventually (if i choose to stay there) I'll get another raise, then another raise...and then a decent salary."

Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not actually. Look at history. You think factory workers ever made a decent salary before modern labor laws?

"Buy one chicken, make soup out of it. Eat the soup, without the chicken. The soup should last a few days (depending on size of family)."

Yes, I'm not arguing that it isn't possible to do, but I was making two points. The first was that you seemed a little ignorant about nutrition, but more importantly the point was that if the meat is available and cheap people will buy it. Why should they pay more for meat just on the off-chance that they'll get sick? They take the risk. And sellers exploit the poor through this choice restriction.

This isn't even about meat in particular, but about all products that the poor will select based on price and therefore be at risk to dangerously inferior products.

"Ok ok, I didn't mean neutral, I meant basic stuff that one would have to learn to live in the society. Like in the US, we'd need US history and World history (we are after all a world power).
Literature can techincally be taught neutrally if say after reading the merchant of venice, we read a book by some author that loved the Jews (we gotta find him first, lol)"

Any material can potentially be as political and controversial as anything else. You might not think Huck Finn is controversial - but it is. You might not think that Harry Potter is controversial - but it is.

Whether its Uncle Tom's Cabin or The Jungle or Of Mice and Men or The Catcher in the Rye - some of which have become standard reading in American schools - they each had a period of significant controversy. Indeed, which is in part why they remain relevant even today.

What one person considers "basic" to living in society can be very different from another's. And how you teach the material can have a huge effect too.

In any case, it's completely false to think it's good or right to have "neutral" schooling by giving equal measure to opposite views when one view is demonstrably wrong. We don't teach WW2 from Hitler's point of view with equal justification as we do from America's pov.

"Can be. Anything after "standard" would be unfair to force upon others. I don't care that half my friends have no idea that Darwin was wasn't trying to disprove Gd. Thats their parents business...definitly not the governments."

Ok, but I think evolution is standard science - and actually fundamental to understanding natural history for the last few billion years.

Thinking that dinosaurs and people coexisted is as misinformed as thinking that Lincoln and Socrates were drinking buddies. I'd be bothered if schools were telling that to kids.

"My personal theory on education is that one should be willing to know everything."

That's fine, but deeply impractical for a limited school day. Even if yoou read J4J pamphlets it's not like you study every religion in the world to the same depth and with equal legitimacy. That's hardly even possible and you probably wouldn't even want to really.

"Everything else is just stuff that is unfair and nobodies business to make others learn as well.."

That's fine to say, but evolution is one of the greatest ideas in biology and to not teach it leaves a huge hole in a student's intellectual understanding. You might as well leave out electromagnetism when teaching chemistry.

frumskeptic said...

“I don't think this is a significant issue about funding - especially when it comes to education quality on national terms. You send a poor kid to a rich school and he'll get a better education no matter what his parents are like.”

I don’t know about other school districts, but in NY if a parent really wants to, they can get their poor child bussed to a better school district (after evaluating the child ofcourse). Its really not that hard for them to do so. Also, many times even in rich schools students don’t do so well because there is a lack of parental involvment. It’s the parents job to explain that education is important. Education begins at home. There’s only so much a school can do if the home doesn’t value education.

”That's actually true - and a pet peeve of mine. But I still think opening college for those who couldn't otherwise afford is good.”

There is a direct correlation between more government funding of colleges and higher tuition costs (for the Private colleges). If you say “alright, then stick to state colleges” then you have the problem of the poor people yet again being in the “lower” educated schools (as great an education as one may be getting at CUNY or SUNY how much better would it sound that they went to NYU or Columbia instead?)

”Look at history. You think factory workers ever made a decent salary before modern labor laws?”
Probably not, but there were some that did. You cant cater to helping the poor by taking away from the rich so much…I just learned about T. Huxley’s view points in class…the guy was kinda awesome. He made a plea to the rich to agree to taxation so that they can clean england up, and educate the workers more so that they would be better laborers to enable the English to compete in the Industrial wars.

” They take the risk. And sellers exploit the poor through this choice restriction.”
I see your point from an ethical standpoint. But I’m very laissez-faire. I think private philanthropists are the best thing to rely on…look at our country. Itll be a sad day if we get socialized healthcare… my dear parents left the USSR to avoid all this crap, and now America is following in the path of the commi’s.

“ What one person considers "basic" to living in society can be very different from another's. And how you teach the material can have a huge effect too.”
Agreed. But not everyone can have their way. As long as no one is teaching with outright bigotry (more htan the books may imply in and of themselves) then the people will have to live with it. If you live in a society with certain rules you don’t like, you have to abide by them if you wish to receive the other rewards from the government. Hope that next election you get your way…if not…move.

”We don't teach WW2 from Hitler's point of view with equal justification as we do from America's pov.”
If one goes into it into depth, they do. On a basic level you should just stick to what the war was about anyway. Hitler wanted to save Germany’s pride. America thought trying to take over the world was bad so they joined to help the suckers who allowed hitler to get that much land… YAY! US pride and truth …sorta…only minimally offensive to the kids of German decent who for some reason don’t think hitler was a psycho.

“Ok, but I think evolution is standard science - and actually fundamental to understanding natural history for the last few billion years.”
As do I. Not my job to shove it down other people’s throats.

”Thinking that dinosaurs and people coexisted is as misinformed as thinking that Lincoln and Socrates were drinking buddies.”
LOL

“ I'd be bothered if schools were telling that to kids.”
Ditto. Send your kid to a school that teaches. Why should Christain USA be forced to learn this stuff if they don’t want, or the BY/Yeshivish types be? Let them rot away in their own little cacoon until they’re expelled next time …

”That's fine, but deeply impractical for a limited school day. Even if yoou read J4J pamphlets it's not like you study every religion in the world to the same depth and with equal legitimacy. That's hardly even possible and you probably wouldn't even want to really.”
Oy…how I wish I had all the time in the world! But then again, I read such random things online I can carry a conversation about just about anything (not sports related). I think that’s the way to be… then I have friends that are super studious and don’t know anything about anything but their “major”…so our schools, I think, are failing in that they teach to much specialization…while a good thing for career (so for college), in HS and elementary they really should show kids how to learn and explore the wonderful technology.

”That's fine to say, but evolution is one of the greatest ideas in biology and to not teach it leaves a huge hole in a student's intellectual understanding. You might as well leave out electromagnetism when teaching chemistry.”
I agree with you. But then you have the frummies who are scared of “secular” and they wont teach their kids anything. Their kids end up the ones lacking. I feel that it is THEIR mistake to make.


Anyway, I have a feeling this will go on forever...agree to disagree on the poor public school thing ?

Orthoprax said...

FS,

"i don’t know about other school districts, but in NY if a parent really wants to, they can get their poor child bussed to a better school district (after evaluating the child ofcourse). Its really not that hard for them to do so."

Actually that's simply not true. It is actually very difficult to successfully get a transfer.
http://www.insideschools.org/st/ST_transfer.php

"Also, many times even in rich schools students don’t do so well because there is a lack of parental involvment."

True, but so what? It is evidentally true that higher quality schools produce better students. That we have other factors in the mix like parental involvement doesn't excuse the responsibility for school quality.

"There is a direct correlation between more government funding of colleges and higher tuition costs"

Yes, and the key is to balance things intelligently, not cancel those programs entirely.

"If you say “alright, then stick to state colleges” then you have the problem of the poor people yet again being in the “lower” educated schools"

Few colleges are as relatively poor quality as some of those public schools. I don't think this is a significant factor in college education.

"(as great an education as one may be getting at CUNY or SUNY how much better would it sound that they went to NYU or Columbia instead?)"

Not as good as you might think. Just as long as they don't go to any diploma mills like Touro.

"You cant cater to helping the poor by taking away from the rich so much"

It's not "so much." Obviously, again, a balance needs to be met to maintain a competitive economy while maintaining a living wage for the unprivileged. So far the US economy has been growing consistently and safely since the 1940s even with all of these social programs.

"I see your point from an ethical standpoint. But I’m very laissez-faire. I think private philanthropists are the best thing to rely on…look at our country."

Yes, do look at our country. It's history speaks for itself. Banking on Carnegies and Rockefellers have been spotty and limited.

"Itll be a sad day if we get socialized healthcare… my dear parents left the USSR to avoid all this crap, and now America is following in the path of the commi’s."

I don't know how to tell you this, but we already have socialized healthcare. Any person can walk into an emergency room and expect to be treated. It's a federal mandate. Who do you think pays for that care?

Are you prepared, in classic laissez-faire way, to turn away people from getting medical attention if they can't afford it?

If not then the ideas of fixing healthcare in America are really just ways of redistributing costs so the country can afford it better.

"On a basic level you should just stick to what the war was about anyway. Hitler wanted to save Germany’s pride. America thought trying to take over the world was bad so they joined to help the suckers who allowed hitler to get that much land"

No, I completely disagree. That is not what the war was about and you should also use WW2 to explain the evils of fascism, appeasement and racism. If you fail to do that then are teaching random dates and events with no lasting message.

"As do I. Not my job to shove it down other people’s throats."

Then how do you justify any required education? It's not your job to shove literacy down people's throats either.

"Why should Christain USA be forced to learn this stuff if they don’t want, or the BY/Yeshivish types be?"

You could say the same thing about anything of importance. Why should those same people have to learn about the Civil War?

Kids don't have a choice about how they are educated and keeping them from learning key facts is a travesty of education. As far as I'm concerned, American society should fight for children to be educated and not indoctrinated.

If you want education vouchers or a diploma signed off by the government then you must provide your students with a proper education. If you don't want those things and prefer to not educate your kids then there's little society can do about that.

"I agree with you. But then you have the frummies who are scared of “secular” and they wont teach their kids anything. Their kids end up the ones lacking. I feel that it is THEIR mistake to make."

Then those same schools shouldn't be funded through government programs. Let them pay for their own mistakes too.

"agree to disagree on the poor public school thing ?"

Ok.