Open Thread - Thurs 12 May 2022 - Means Testing is Mean...

And Wrong!

David Sirota and Andrew Perez wrote an article about Means Testing for the Lever about a week ago. I found it very interesting, and enraging, and think you might find it so as well.

Basically, they wrote about what they call the 'means-testing con' and how it has been adopted and promulgated by Democrats, most recently, of course, Biden and his crew of @ssh*les, to reduce federal spending on much wanted and needed social programs.

Call it the means-testing con — the idea that social programs should not be universal, and should instead only be available to those who fall below a certain income level. It is a concept eroding national unity and being carried forward by wealthy pundits and a Democratic Party that has discarded the lessons of its own universalist triumphs like Social Security, Medicare, and the GI Bill.

They point out that recent actions, such as limiting covid 19 relief and the expanded child tax credit show that

Democrats’ zeal for means-testing is no anomaly — it is a deeply held ideology that is both dangerous for the party’s electoral prospects and for the country’s fraying social contract.

And it's interesting, isn't it, how there's never means testing for giveaways to the rich, like tax breaks and such.

Have you ever noticed that demands for means-testing only emerge during debates over social programs for the non-rich?

Yeah, that’s the tell — the one that lets you know means-testing isn’t anti-oligarchy, it is pro-immiseration and otherization.

I don't think the Democrat Party leadership cares, really, about removing means-testing or abolishing anything else that hurts the majority of Americans. For example, they have now walked back their promise of student debt cancellation to something that will be a means-tested 10k, maybe.

Even if one qualifies for a social program, applying for something that is means-tested, like medical, or food, or housing aid, or... whatever, is so complicated that many people can't do it. Maybe they can't even understand the long process of complicated steps to make an application. They simply fall through the cracks and no-one in the government seems to care. Even when the government is trying to make it simple, such as the WA state government and their AppleHealth (Medicaid) care, it's difficult. Most people have to use a middle-person to help them do their applications. I had to, to get AppleHealth care. The hospital helped me, hoping I'd use the health care 'insurance' to agree to their 30k operation. I didn't, I settled for a 1k cast (I broke my ankle very badly), and used the insurance to pay for it. Heh.

As I've said recently in a comment, Democrats won't stand up for the little people about anything and fight for them, ever. This great article by Sirota and Perez adds more evidence to support that truth, and even offers a few ideas to solve the problem, not that the Dems will ever want to solve it.

Obviously, I've given up on almost all of the Democrats. I'm too far left, they don't appeal to me. I'm looking at some of the 'minor' parties.

And now, something a bit more fun... here's the little buck, Lucky Strike.
lucky_strike_21_apr_2022_sml.jpg

And here he is marching with his mom, Blondie, to the hay rick. They were in perfect lockstep. Except for the fact that Lucky had to walk about three times as fast to keep up! blondie_lucky_walk_with_purpose_22_apr_2022_sml.jpg

So, thanks for reading and here's the open thread - and remember, everything is interesting if you dive deep enough!

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QMS's picture

If means testing is so useful, then maybe it should be applied to military budgets?
although I understand it is impossible to audit pentagon spending.

Thanks for posting!

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Sima's picture

@QMS
Means testing for military purchases and budgets. Perfect! Have a great day today!

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10 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Sima's picture

I hope all is going well for you! Looking forward to hearing what is on your minds today, so let it flow in the Open Thread.

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10 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Lookout's picture

The demoncraps are worthless. They serve their owners not the people.

Goats are pretty cute and entertaining.

Capricious is an adjective to describe a person or thing that's impulsive and unpredictable
You can criticize a fickle-minded person as capricious, but it could just as well describe quickly changing weather, as in "capricious spring storms." It's the adjective form of the noun caprice, which means a sudden change of mood. Caprice might come from capra, the Italian word for "goat" (because goats are frisky)...

Thanks for the OT. Have a good day!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Sima's picture

@Lookout
It fits them! Although, they do have set minds too, at times, like to get through the fencing to that bit of bramble over there... We had a goat named Amalthea (yea, she was named after the Goddess, who was a goat) who watched me open the door to the barn over and over again, ears pricked, nose twitching, eyes intent. After a week or so, she'd figured out how to jump up on her back legs, use her mouth and bottom teeth plate to imitate a hand and thumb, and open the door to get the goodies inside. I had to start using a spring clip to thwart her 'lock' busting! Smile Smile

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Lookout's picture

@Sima

Not exactly sure of what a sea goat is other than part of the myth.
capricorn.jpg

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

studentofearth's picture

is captured in Lucky's pictures. Only raised one baby goat, birthed from a rescue nanny, and she was a joy.

To provide quick shelter for her mother with a dog kennel in the pasture, bales of hay stacked in house shape, piece of plywood for a roof and a couple bales on top to prevent roof from flying off with the wind. As she grew older the door to the pen was left open for free access to the pasture. Gidget taught herself to get my attention by hopping to the roof and dancing a jig. The sound of drumming hoofs easily reached into my house.

Means testing is a very effective method to keep a population poor. The chasm to cross from poverty to a little prosperity keeps getting wider and harder to cross. There is a profound belief in the middle and upper class a true safety net exists for the poor. A few discover the truth if themselves or a family member are required to "spend down" to access financial or medical assistance. Then most are trapped in poverty and government rules.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Sima's picture

@studentofearth
Ours, if they get out onto the driveway, will jump on the car or farm truck and drum on that :). We've been raising goats for about 20 years. We 'retired', but these little ones are the result of the bucks getting out during breeding season. The bucks busted down two electric fences to do that. Determination like a teenager!

I agree, I don't think the middle classes and upper classes have a clue what it's like to be poor. No idea of all the rules, regulations, and stops to 'pulling yourself up by the bootstraps'.

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

enhydra lutris's picture

form of inverted means testing in one particular case. Social security and medicare are funded by a specific dedicated tax, and there is a cap on the income that is taxed. Once one reaches that cap, the effective rate at which one is taxed for those two programs plummets.

Putative Good News Department:

Scientists Discover Method to Break Down Plastic in Days, Not Centuries

Link: https://www.vice.com/en/article/akvm5b/scientists-discover-method-to-bre...

Of course, it only works on PET which is only about 12% of the plastic waste out there ANNND - sorry contestants, but time is pretty much up anyway ...

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Sima's picture

@enhydra lutris
But, as you noted, I am dubious. I walk through the grocery store bakery, looking for anything packaged in paper. It's all plastic, even though the plastic ruins most of the baked goods after a few days because it doesn't 'breath'. And I don't want to buy plastic! For anything!

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Democrats won't stand up for the little people about anything and fight for them, ever.

Margaret Kimberley makes the same point in this article in BAR of yesterday, https://www.blackagendareport.com/obama-and-liberals-killed-abortion-rights

As a presidential candidate in 2008 Obama promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act , which would have codified abortion rights into federal law. But once in office he never pushed congress to pass it. In typical Obamaesque fashion he would claim to believe that women had the right to choose abortion, but that he didn’t want to demonize the opposition, and he wanted to find consensus on the issue. After his usual routine “on the one hand this, but on the other hand that” on April 29, 2009 he finally said out loud what was clear. “The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority.” It wasn’t even his lowest legislative priority. Obama never lifted a finger to get it passed, even in his two years in office when he had majorities in the House and the Senate.

The Democratic Party though, just plays....

games with democratic voters. Any unhappiness with the democrats is met with the plea to protect the federal judiciary from conservatives. This ploy is nothing but a cynical effort to keep left leaning democrats in the fold and to discredit anyone who questions the party’s continued failures to do what the people want them to do.

The whole article is a good recap of what happened and what could have happened if the democrats actually worked for the hoi polloi.

You are right about goats being a much more gratifying aspect of life than the corrupt rotten party noted above. That Lucky is adorably cute. Mom is handsome as well. Thanks for posting the pictures and for the OT.

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snoopydawg's picture

@randtntx

1st betrayal and still people say that he was the best president evah!

Bad

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Sima's picture

@snoopydawg
And to me, as to most of us here, he was definitely NOT the best President ever. I often respond to such a statement with 'Was Thatcher the best PM ever?' No is the answer, and I respond with, 'But she was the first woman. She was a FIRST, she BROKE THE BARRIERS. Who cares what her political orientation was? And if you don't think Thatcher was awesome, why do you think Obama was? What did he do for you, except make you feel good about yourself sometimes for supporting him?'

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Sima's picture

@randtntx
from Black Agenda Report. I have been asked by younger people to join in a protest supporting Roe near here this weekend. I might go, but, I'm tired of this crap. I've been doing these protests since I was a kid, and they are still here. Heck, I could even use the same old signs, if I still had them. So sick of my body and my rights being a political toy...

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

snoopydawg's picture

Democratic Leaders Have Done Nothing to Stop Joe Manchin

Don't buy the rotating villain theatrics. The Democratic Party has empowered the West Virginia coal baron to protect the status quo.

To Republicans, Joe Manchin is a welcome obstacle to progressive policies. To Democratic and liberal voters, Manchin is the worst person in the world, preventing Joe Biden from becoming the next FDR. To leftists, Manchin is just another rotating villain, a designated scapegoat to preserve the status quo and give the Democratic Party cover for serving corporate interests.

A new POLITICO story offers substantial evidence supporting the leftist view of Manchin. If Democratic leaders didn’t want Manchin to have so much power, why is he still Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee?

Despite the uproar over Manchin’s intransigence in the face of the Build Back Better Act, the Democratic Party has steadfastly refused to exert meaningful pressure on him. They haven’t threatened his chairmanship; they haven’t backed a primary challenger; and they haven’t warned that they would look into his brazen self-enrichment. The only reasonable conclusion is that they want things this way.

Manchin gets his power from the Democratic leadership because they want it that way. How else can they uphold the corrupt system without becoming the targets of voter wrath?

Democrats held a show vote for abortion rights knowing damn well that Manchin would block it, but meanwhile Pelosi, Clyburn and Hoyer are backing Cueller who is anti abortion over his opponent who supports women’s rights. The shitlibs are making excuses for them doing that.

Before Joe Manchin there was Joe Lieberman who actually campaigned against Obama and for McCain who was then welcomed back in the democrat fold and allowed to keep his committee appointments as long as he acted as the democrats rotating villain.

Left off the list of rotating villains are the blue dawg house members that will act if the senate villain doesn’t act. But of course the dumbshits love to blame the people who have seen through the act and refuse to vote for democrats. As I’ve mentioned a few times, Obama had the 60 votes to go everything he ran on including making abortion legal for every woman. It just wasn’t his priority. Instead he went on to be the president who was at war his entire tenure and dropped more bombs and killed lots of people which he was surprised that he was so good at.

Democrats main job is to throttle any leftist and make sure that republicans get their agendas passed including getting the rightist judges confirmed knowing that they will roll back any legislation that helps we the people.

Vote 3rd party? Good luck going against dark money and against the people who truly run the government. And good damn luck going up against Israel’s lobbyists who decide who gets to play in congress.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Sima's picture

@snoopydawg
I think I'm gonna laugh so hard I'll throw up. Ewwww. Those idiots who say that are talking down the truth and history of FDR. Note, I don't think FDR was perfect. But he was sure better than Obama, or Clinton, or Biden, or any of these centrist Democrats who are a little to the right of the left of center.

Also 'Biden Can't do Anything' Hahahahahahahah. Just a great tweet on that.

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

snoopydawg's picture

People continue to vote for the same people who have sold out the country to Wall Street and big business and think that THIS time they will live up to their promises. Pelosi, Biden, McConnell, Schumer and tons of others have been in congress for up to 5 decades and things have gotten worse every time they’ve been re-elected. Vote HARDER next time and things will change.

Obama had a majority and the backing of millions and decided that bipartisanship was the way to go. Then he lost the majority in the biggest wipeout in history. Get ready to watch it happen again for Biden. I’d love to see republicans take the gavel out of Pelosi's bloody hands.

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8 users have voted.

It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

@snoopydawg . What a disaster. Term limits anyone?

The term 'rotating villain' is apt. The whole Democratic Party is just a dog and pony show while behind the stage they rake in the bucks. Fifty years of raking in the bucks while the country/world goes down the drain. What a colossal waste of time and resources. Too bad we can't get those years back, we could be on a different course now instead of heading towards the cliff's edge at breakneck speed like a bunch of lemmings.

Thanks for all the great clips.

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Sima's picture

@snoopydawg
One of the best arguments for term limits. At least maybe, age limits. Maybe they have to pass a test to see if their brains are still there... Maybe it's just, you hit 70 and you are out of the government. And I say that, knowing I'll hit 70 soon enough myself.

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

...was an advertisement for cigarettes called Lucky Strike. That little goat is so cute I want to hug it.

Wine Cave economy: Sign went up last Friday and my neighbors house already SOLD for cash, with minimum inspections and a three week close. They are leaving California, in search for some room to grow veggies and herbs. Right on.

"Just surrender and it won't hurt at all, while you're waiting for the hammer to fall."

Happy Thors Day
Make dirt, not war.

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Sima's picture

@eyo
who was named for the cigarette. We do a thing where every year we have a theme for naming the baby goats. This year, the theme was champion rodeo bucking bulls. I'm gonna do some photoshop on the pics and put bull horns on these little guys...

My family and myself left California back in around 1981. When we moved up here to WA state, there was a billboard outside Seattle saying 'Last one out of Seattle, turn off the lights'. The economy sucked in Seattle then. How things, change, how they change! I'm getting stuff in the mail every week asking me to sell my house and property. I dunno where to move if I did though.

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

because I would devote a lot of my life to being with it!
As for means testing, thanks, Bill Clinton, the poorest of the poor, less likely to be literate, can't fill out the forms to get food and health care.
I have ranted about this before, and shall take the opportunity to do so once more: The US culture idolizes the rich, demonizes the poor. Just admitting you need food stamps makes those uppity cashiers at the grocery store (making at most, $11 per hr., with no benefits) SNEER, and go through that grocery bag with an eye to catch the person buying the wrong thing, that is NOT allowed.
Means testing has gone a very long way towards awarding some, stripping others of ANY human dignity.
Well, when I see that denigration, that humiliation, I step in and talk some MAJOR smack.
Hope everyone had a great day!
I have that writ of attachment on the way to a judge to have the cops take a teen away from her Dad who bounced her head off the hood of his car, who bit her arm and broke the skin. (felonies.)(Concussion and infection from the bite.) Can't undo the damage, but I will prevent more damage down the road. My clients are the grandparents. They will fix this!
Very productive day.

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Sima's picture

@on the cusp
is going well. Go grandparents! Go you!

As for a baby goat, remember, they can be house trained and do well driving in the car, as a pet. Just kidding... dang I keep making goat jokes Smile . It actually is true though, they can be house trained and this little breed (Nigerian Dwarf) rides easily in cars. I have one that is house trained, she did it herself when she was in the house as a sick baby.

I can't stand that SNEER in the grocery store. Most of the time here it's not the teller, it's the people waiting in line. I've taken to deliberately picking the line behind the poor mother using food stamps, or the very old person trying to count out their pennies, or whatever. Then I stand behind them, face the line behind me, and kind of make faces and growl at anyone who wants to protest. Been thanked more than once by a mother and a teller for that.

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3 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so