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January 19, 2011

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Marty? GoodOleBoy? It's YOUR TURN.

How about it?

Gary,

a priori - formed or conceived beforehand

An a priori preferference is one formed beforehand, it does not exclude other options in the face of facts. Having a preference for private solutions does not exclude public solutions to problems.

I would also point out that, in your rants graphs etc., the number and percentage of poor and homeless has grown over the years since the implementation of the Great Society.

Last, you talk a lot about not being able to see who poor and homeless people are and how they reached their station in life by looking at them. I agree with this. I try to keep the quarters in my pocket, give to individuals when I have the chance with as little bias for how they ended up there as possible.

You need to apply that same view to your estimate of people of "privilege". Many of us have been homeless, on food stamps, working poor, gone hungry so our children could eat, lived in a room with eight others, etc..

The advantages that we might have today don't make us forget that next month or next year we could again be back on that corner of Elm St hoping the Dinwiddie truck stops by randomly at 4 am to take us to drop off circulars for 10 hours for 8 bucks so we can eat today. Or, for most of the guys with me, they could get a bottle of maddog and a little something to eat.

Or, shorter Marty, don't lecture me about being poor. Give me all the cites on the soltuion you want.

'Marty? GoodOleBoy? It's YOUR TURN.

How about it?'

I saw your comment notation on the sidebar so I jumped back here and found you were paging me.

There is too much for me to try to catch up on, but I will say that I have no interest in disenfranchising anyone. I do agree that homeless citizens have a right to vote. They also have other rights. They likely have rights to many public services that may not reach them because the delivery mechanism needs to find an endpoint to close that process. I have been very directly involved in this process since I managed the very first effort to deliver SSI benefits to recipients using EBT. You should have been there when I first approached banks to allow homeless individuals to access their government benefits through ATM's. This takes me back over 2 decades and I'm removed from those processes now, but I do understand the difficulties.

Voting is a process of selecting a representative and there is an assumed geographical connection. We just lost a state elected official in my neighborhood because he suddenly discovered he lived a short distance outside the district he was elected to represent. I don't know how to resolve the residency requirement for homeless people to vote because I don't know who they should be able to vote for.

I would also point out that, in your rants graphs etc., the number and percentage of poor and homeless has grown over the years since the implementation of the Great Society.
Marty, that's because most of those programs were removed by Republican Congresses and Presidents. Would you like to see the graphs and cites on the history?
I try to keep the quarters in my pocket, give to individuals when I have the chance with as little bias for how they ended up there as possible.
This is a wonderful think you do, and I applaud you and admire you for it. I wish everyone would do this.
You need to apply that same view to your estimate of people of "privilege". Many of us have been homeless, on food stamps, working poor, gone hungry so our children could eat, lived in a room with eight others, etc..
I'm well aware of that. It's why I point out that we can afford social support for all our citizens if we budgeted different.

Do we need to spend this much?

During FY 2009, the GAO reported that the U.S. government incurred approximately $683 billion in expenses for the Department of Defense (DoD) and $54 billion for Homeland Security, a total of $737 billion. The GAO financial statements present data on an accrual basis, meaning as expenses are incurred rather than actual cash payments.[36]

President Obama's 2010 budget proposal includes a total of $663.8 billion, including $533.8 billion for the DOD and $130 billion for overseas contingencies, primarily the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The proposed DoD base budget represents an increase of $20.5 billion over the $513.3 billion enacted for fiscal 2009. This is an increase of 4%, or 2.1% percent real growth after adjusting for inflation. The fiscal 2010 budget proposal brought the overseas contingency supplemental requests into the budget process, adding the $130 billion amount to the deficit.[37]

The U.S. defense budget (excluding spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Homeland Security, and Veteran's Affairs) is around 4% of GDP.[38] Adding these other costs places defense and homeland security spending between 5% and 6% of GDP.

The DoD baseline budget, excluding supplemental funding for the wars, has grown from $297 billion in FY2001 to a budgeted $534 billion for FY2010, an 81% increase.[39] According to the CBO, defense spending grew 9% annually on average from fiscal year 2000-2009.[40]

That's a chunk of change.

Note:

Democratic Congressman Barney Frank called for a significant reduction in the defense budget during February 2009: "The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy. I am working with a variety of thoughtful analysts to show how we can make very substantial cuts in the military budget without in any way diminishing the security we need...[American] well-being is far more endangered by a proposal for substantial reductions in Medicare, Social Security or other important domestic areas than it would be by canceling weapons systems that have no justification from any threat we are likely to face."[41]

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote in January 2009 that the U.S. should adjust its priorities and spending to address the changing nature of threats in the world: "What all these potential adversaries—from terrorist cells to rogue nations to rising powers—have in common is that they have learned that it is unwise to confront the United States directly on conventional military terms. The United States cannot take its current dominance for granted and needs to invest in the programs, platforms, and personnel that will ensure that dominance's persistence. But it is also important to keep some perspective. As much as the U.S. Navy has shrunk since the end of the Cold War, for example, in terms of tonnage, its battle fleet is still larger than the next 13 navies combined—and 11 of those 13 navies are U.S. allies or partners."

Is Robert Gates a poor authority on defense spending, or a crazy liberal?

GoodOleboy: thank you for your thoughtful response.

[...] I don't know how to resolve the residency requirement for homeless people to vote because I don't know who they should be able to vote for.
We've already decided. Hope this helps.

More on the legal issues. A state by state chart.

What do you think?

'...] And when was the less regulated market that the theory indicates cannot work tried, or did we just jump to the highly regulated theory-based approach? Did we ever have a relatively free market environment in which an individual could acquire health insurance coverage?'

I read your links on voting for the homeless and it looks as if this issue is being addressed and that's good. Healthcare is another good reason to be able to identify homeless people when it is necessary to access healthcare history to treat properly.

Were there any options at all in the marketplace for health insurance during Dickens' age? I thought most health insurance coverage in this country emerged mid-20th century and was highly regulated early in its development. I looked at state mandates and concluded that regulation has much to do with the cost and reduces competitive offerings. I think a reduction in these requirements and state regulations requiring each licensed insurer to pick up an apportioned amount of assigned risk to cover the high cost cohort with pre-existing conditions would be worth trying.

"Is Robert Gates a poor authority on defense spending, or a crazy liberal?"

Actually Gary the last time I commented on this I wrote:

We should do that as we bring every troop home from the Afghanistan and Iraq as quickly as possible (months not years) and reduce the defense budget by about 25% and rewrite HCR to cover people who don't have coverage. Maybe we could save a little money too


Funny, I came up with the same 25% number.

Damn, forgot to save to buffer, and forgot I was in IE, and a whole long comment just got ate.

And one of the things I wrote was about how I've had Ailments all night, unable to sleep, and thus not up to posting. @$%#%^

Anyway, I wrote about how I agreed with both you guys a lot, but how agreement was boring, and how Duty Calls, and more about agreement, and a bunch of specifics I agree with Marty and Goodoleboy about, and some generalities, and how, hell it was a very long comment.

How I mentioned:

New California driver's licenses so complex, manufacturer has struggled to get them right
And I edited a lot of this, but too much pain now to recreate, so:
Up to 80% of some batches have had errors, forcing tens of thousands of motorists to wait as long as six weeks, rather than a few days, to get their cards. The DMV says the turnaround time has been steadily improving.
January 09, 2011|By Martha Groves, Los Angeles Times
When the California Department of Motor Vehicles unveiled a newly designed driver's license last fall -- the first major revision in a decade -- officials touted sophisticated security features that promised to make the cards easier to use and harder to fake.

The cardholder's signature and birth date would be raised, so they could be felt. Hidden images would be revealed only by ultraviolet light, and a perforated outline of the California brown bear would be visible when a flashlight was pressed against the back of the card.

As it turned out, the enhancements also made the licenses harder to produce. As a result, tens of thousands of motorists have had to wait as long as six weeks, rather than a few days, to receive their cards.

DMV Director George Valverde said the vendor, L-1 Identity Solutions, has struggled with color accuracy, the raised lettering and the positioning of images of California icons, including El Capitan in Yosemite and the Golden Gate Bridge. L-1 was the only bidder on the five-year, $63-million job, Valverde said.

The DMV issues more than 8.25 million driver's licenses and ID cards annually. Some days the agency strives to distribute as many as 40,000 cards.

But when production on the new cards began, 80% of the cards in some daily batches contained errors. In such cases, Valverde said, the agency would return the entire batch to the vendor. Complicating matters, some days the vendor delivered no cards, and the agency quickly fell behind its usual pace.

"Our expectation is that our vendor will issue us a driver's license 48 hours after an application is received; that's the requirement in our contract," Valverde said. "Needless to say, today we far exceed that time frame."

The state-of-the-art features have raised the cost of producing each card to $1.31 from 64 cents. "Color seems to be the biggest challenge," Valverde said.

L-1 Identity Solutions is based in Stamford, Conn. Its secure credentialing division, which holds the contract with California, is in Billerica, Mass. Lisa Cradit, a spokeswoman for L-1, said the company's policy was not to comment on issues related to customers.

Valverde said turnaround time has been steadily improving. He expects that by the end of the month, applicants will begin receiving cards within two weeks -- more acceptable but still not meeting the contractual requirement.

The good news, Valverde said, is that tampering with or counterfeiting the cards should prove much tougher.

"What I've been told by law enforcement is you can determine the value of a driver's license by what it costs to counterfeit it," he said. "The cost to counterfeit the old California driver's license was $100 to $200. We think the cost to produce a new one by counterfeit is going to be astronomical because it's so difficult to do."

How stupid this was, how it incentivised mugging for cards by the same amount, how homeless people would be attacked by other h p for an invaluable card that is desperately hard to obtain, how others will, how it's hard to protect when you're homeless, how this was an insane expenditure of money merely for a Republican talking point and to suppress probably Democratic votes, how this is how the standard Republican line about "saving the taxpaper money" is bs, because see here, and a whole bunch of points, and I gotta go, sorry.

It was a nice comment. :-(

Oh, yeah, and hooray for private enterprise and competition, which is better than evil inefficient government.

And thanks to LJ for pointing it out, ow now.

And no, there were just poorhouses, not fun.

Back soon maybe.

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