Can a conservative be an atheist?
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15-08-2017, 04:22 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(14-08-2017 05:11 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  Hey Dr. H- I mistook your name and pic for someone around here who is Aussie, my bad!

Not a problem.
I like Australians; I just don't happen to be one. Wink

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15-08-2017, 06:18 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(14-08-2017 09:12 PM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  I asked you if you thought the stats are reliable and you said yes...so you got me there. So to follow up: What are the stats? What kind of methodology is used to statistically determine what percentage of welfare payments are undeserved?
The usual determination would be catching somebody putting incorrect information on an application form.

It's not always straight-forward, though. Forms get filled out incorrectly for any of a number of reasons, and even someone who does it wrong may actually be entitled to benefits, if they fill out the form correctly. Poor people often have low literacy, and sometimes just don't completely understand what they are being asked to provide. Sources of income are many, varied, and complex -- some don't count towards your eligibility, other's do. People may put down unmatched figures for monthly and annual income, either because their income changes from month to month, or simply because they're not very good at math. Etc.

By most definitions, an actual "cheat" would be someone who deliberately gave false information knowing that it would increase their chances of getting undeserved funding -- for example, claiming less income than they actually have, or claiming as a dependent a child that's been removed from the home.

US Dept. of labor, in one report, put the level of deliberate fraud at around 2%; Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has at times put it as high as 10%. That's a pretty broad range, and part of the problem pinning it down is the definition of "welfare" that gets used. It could be anything from aid to dependent families (TANF), to Medicaid, to food stamps, one-time rental assistance, victims of crime assistance, farm subsidies, to veterans benefits. These are dealt with by government offices that don't necessarily communicate well with one another -- HEW, Dept. of Agriculture, HUD, SSA, Justice Dept., Veterans Affairs, etc.

But when fraud cases do come to light, the most egregious cases tend not to be individual clients or families, but crooked administrators.

Quote:What do the stats show on this? What percentage of recipients are denied payments on services after the initial approval? Is this percent going up or down over, say, a ten year period? Are there home visits that result in a person being canceled from programs, and if not, does it mean only a small number of people are actually scamming the system? A lot of things can be hidden in, and from, statistics.
That depends on where you look. These programs are administered on the street level by the states. Mississippi and Texas have rejection rates near 90%; Pennsylvania rejects around 75%; in California, it's about 50%. the greatest bulk of those denied were for "failure to comply" (41%) -- which is the likeliest place where fraud might occur and be detected, but also includes people that were unable to obtain all the documentation they needed, or made mistakes on the application, or didn't show for the interview.


Quote:What is the process for denying someone services once they are approved (I know this depends on the agency and the level of the agency)- I suspect (but don't know) that this is very difficult, motivation is probably low to go through the process, resources are probably better spent (I imagine them thinking) in providing servieces to those in need than in taking it away from cheats.
Denials occur before one gets approved for benefits. Qualification requires some pretty arduous hoops be jumped through.

When you get benefits you are required to check in with your worker anytime there is a change in your household status -- you get a job; lose a job; have a child; lose a child to foster care; etc. The Federal Welfare Reform Act limits federal benefits to a lifetime maximum of 60 months (5 years). Heads of household are required to be working within two years of receiving benefits, else they risk losing benefits. There are quite a number of regulations governing the starting and stopping of benefits in various situations, and they can vary by state, somewhat.

Quote:I don't know what you mean by that; what other agencies are involved and what was your point?
That people receiving TANF are usually receiving services from other agencies as well; all of these other agencies have tracking and reporting requirements, and many agencies work in collaborative contractual relationships with other family service agencies, and information is frequently shared. For example, the single widow of a US veteran with two children might be getting TANF; she may also be involved with the Veteran's Administration; her children may be receiving special education servicers from a therapeutic early childhood program; she may be involved in counseling through county mental health services; she may be attending parenting classes; she may be involved in a jobs training program, etc.

People who live on the edge are scrutinized ton the nth degree when they apply for services. Makes fraud pretty tough to pull off when you have to fool ten different screeners, all of whom have different perspectives, and all of whom attend the same county planning meetings.



Quote:I'm on her side! Do you think that because I am against fraud, waste, and unfairness, I am unsympathetic to a case like that?
Didn't say that you were. I was just pointing out that anecdotes are easy to come by; statistically they don't mean much -- but they do have, and are mostly used for emotional impact.

Quote: I'm just not convinced there is a lot of resistence to giving people the benefit of the doubt even if the agent suspects the person is lying on their application. The people that go into this field probably, and should, err on the side of mercy, which benefits the asshole cheater.
I wouldn't deny that sometimes happens.

The thing is, there aren't a whole lot of people with 6-figure salaries making the rounds of TANF offices trying to sponge off the system. Even when there are cheaters, they mostly come from the same population -- impoverished, frequently un- or underemployed, unskilled, possibly homeless, with mental health and/or addiction issues, etc.

For example, say you have a guy whose making $15,000 a year -- not a whole lot, these days, especially if he's living in a city where he's spending 2/3s of it every month just to keep a roof over his head in a crappy apartment. If he's living alone, chances are he's not going to qualify for benefits. So he says he has a household of two, and his wife can't work.

Say he's the Einstein of bureaucratic application processes, and he can somehow get through all the documentation requirements, including marriage license, birth certificate, SS card, medical certifications, etc., for his non-existent wife, and he fraudulently qualifies as a household of two. That means he gets, maybe, another $400/month, which brings his annual up to just under $20,000. Still not a lot -- plus, now his 60 month TANF clock is ticking, meaning that somewhere down the road -- if he gets injured, or loses his home -- he may not be able to get assistance, even though he might otherwise legitimately qualify for it, because he's used it up with his scheme.

On the other hand... that extra $400/month might buy him the time to be able to complete a training program at a community college, get a better job, and get his ass off welfare, and set him up as a good tax-paying citizen -- at which point he's paying the system back.

Quote:Interesting, but emotional and irrelevant. I want to know what's going on farther up the food chain: What do higher-ups make and what are their incentives to be as efficient as possible with tax dollars?
Job security. If they abuse the system, or allow the system to be flagrantly abused, they risk turning public opinion against their programs, having them become political footballs, at which point continued funding is anything but a sure thing. You don't want to kill the golden goose.

Also, some of them came up through the ranks, and do genuinely care about people, difficult though that may be to believe.

Quote:City and county dollars are probably hoarded and considered precious, state dollars less so,
Considering the number of cities -- and states -- either in, or hovering near bankruptcy, that's hardly surprising. Although for politicians, hope springs eternal that they will get an extra suck at the federal tit.

Quote:and federal dollars are probably considered monopoly money.
Federal governments are unique in that they appear to be the only financial entities that are allowed to operate on deficit budgets virtually perpetually.

Quote:Whew! My mind is at ease. And here I was thinking this particular federal agency was as awesome as Defense, IRS, the VA, and every other agency you can think of with being responsible with our tax dollars.
Glad I was able to set your mind at ease. Smile

Seriously, as I've tried to point out, there isn't a single "welfare system" in this country; there are many sources of support for the needy, run by many branches of the government. A lot of programs are state and local, and not federal.

Is there waste in the system? Sure is.
But it kinda pales to insignificance beside the $640 toilet seats and $7600 coffee pots our military seems to require to protect us from things like Saddam Hussein's bombast.

I mean, if you need to rebalance your monthly budget and you've got a choice between saving $50 by cutting your blood pressure meds in half, or putting off signing the papers on that $70,000 Ford Super Duty -- well, obviously it makes sense to focus on cutting the meds, right? Tongue

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15-08-2017, 06:25 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(14-08-2017 04:14 PM)Vera Wrote:  
(14-08-2017 03:59 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Yahbut... is he a real javelin thrower?

Or just a reformed javelin thrower?

He's the bestest realest javelin thrower there ever was and I'll burn the embassy of anyone who so much as dares hint at anything else.
With the olympic flame no less. [Image: ezgif-1-0fbc0ff39c.gif]

Well... alright then. I stand corrected.
At least one javelin thrower can be an atheist.

If there are other's, though, you know they're only going to get themselves in trouble. Unsure

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16-08-2017, 11:43 AM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
Hey Dr. H (you non-Aussie person), thank you for the depth of your reply. Not ignoring you, want to give it deserved consideration.

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16-08-2017, 11:48 AM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(15-08-2017 06:25 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Well... alright then. I stand corrected.
At least one javelin thrower can be an atheist.

There's a syllogism in here somewhere but can't quite put my javelin on it Consider

"God is Love.
Love is blind.
Stevie Wonder is blind.
Conclusion: Stevie Wonder is God !


I'm nothing.
Nothing is perfect.
God is Perfect.
So, I'm God !
If Stevie Wonder is God,
I'm Stevie Wonder.
God's Sake!...I'm blind !"

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderĂ²."
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16-08-2017, 03:01 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(16-08-2017 11:43 AM)jerry mcmasters Wrote:  Hey Dr. H (you non-Aussie person), thank you for the depth of your reply. Not ignoring you, want to give it deserved consideration.

No problem, I'm in no hurry, and I'm not going anywhere.

Except maybe to Australia ... Wink

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16-08-2017, 03:03 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(16-08-2017 11:48 AM)Vera Wrote:  There's a syllogism in here somewhere but can't quite put my javelin on it Consider

"God is Love.
Love is blind.
Stevie Wonder is blind.
Conclusion: Stevie Wonder is God !


I'm nothing.
Nothing is perfect.
God is Perfect.
So, I'm God !
If Stevie Wonder is God,
I'm Stevie Wonder.
God's Sake!...I'm blind !"

Whew! That's getting way too complicated.
We might have to take this to one of the 'ethics' threads. Smile

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Dr H

"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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16-08-2017, 03:10 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(16-08-2017 03:03 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Whew! That's getting way too complicated.
We might have to take this to one of the 'ethics' threads. Smile

The Ethics of the Atheist Javelin-Thrower.

Where's an Alan Sillytoe when you need one? Rolleyes

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderĂ²."
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16-08-2017, 04:17 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(16-08-2017 03:10 PM)Vera Wrote:  Where's an Alan Sillytoe when you need one? Rolleyes

Ouch!

OK, you win. Smile

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Dr H

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17-08-2017, 04:09 PM
RE: Can a conservative be an atheist?
(16-08-2017 04:17 PM)Dr H Wrote:  OK, you win.


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