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Comment Re: They just don't want to get sued (Score 1) 264

Neither is forming conclusions when comparing apples and oranges.

You compare the raw numbers of intentional car crashes to intentional plane crashes, but the number of all car crashes is much greater than the number of all plane crashes. And the number of car trips is much greater than the number of plane trips.

It might have been fine to compare percentages, but not raw numbers.

Comment Re:Comparison? (Score 1) 230

I'm dismayed that in CS that the academic community is putting so much emphasis on replication and not enough on robust reproducibility.

From my experience, the academic community puts no emphasis on either. I think it would be neat to study a paper and attempt to reproduce the results, but that doesn't get me a journal paper in today's academic landscape.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

But your suggestion means they have to somehow signal to the system that I bought $28 in eligible food items, $15 in eligible school supplies, and $5 in ineligible items. But because there was only $27 worth of food items left on the card, it has to notify me that the actual total out of my other account will be $6. The back end would have to know what category each item is and charge it against a separate but linked account appropriate to that category, but as one complex transaction, so it will have to add a whole separate stage where it kicks back when one of the accounts is short and the general account is to be charged the difference.

Yes. If you can't find software developers that can handle those relatively straightfoward rules, then you need to hire different software developers. Grocery store chains already handle much more complex rules... they deal with EBT/SNAP as well as national sales, regional sales, local sales, store coupons, manufacturer coupons, digital app sales, inventory management, just to name some of the systems I can think of.

And like you said, this part isn't even handled by the merchant, it's handled by the payment processor. If they want to offer combined cards as options, that's up to them... and they already know how to handle those concepts too (EBT is already a combined card that separates SNAP and TANF).

Anyway, I'm done with this long conversation. But I do appreciate having it; it made me research these things more than I had before, and now I feel even stronger that my plan is a good one. I hope that your plan is something we can eventually achieve, but I don't see how our society would put so much funding (it could double or even triple the revenue required at the federal level) behind a program that can still result in starving children, men and women living in cardboard boxes, and people who are no further out of their financial woes than today. At least consider my program a step in the direction of yours. Nice talking with you.

Comment Re:"Less than Lethal"...How Reassuring (Score 1) 176

We do what we must
because we can
For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who are dead.

But there's no sense crying
over every mistake.
You just keep on trying
'til you run out of cake.
And the science gets done.
And you make a neat gun
for the people who are
still alive.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

Only food items are allowed to be purchased with SNAP funds today. Grocery stores and superstores (Walmart, Target, etc.) are the ones that would be most affected, but due to existing policies they are also the ones that are already setup for this.

As for how to present all of that on a POS, that's up to the merchant.

And zeroed out any sort of transaction privacy. Normally, charges are not itemized when a charge is being authorized.

Fine, have your entitlement funds on one card and bank account or credit account on another. That's the default way it would work anyway. Anything else would be additional options and flexibility offered by the payment processor.

You keep acting like this system is some huge micromanagement nightmare, but it really isn't. And it gets people the help they need. And it builds up society as a whole. I expected to get the third degree from conservatives who wouldn't fathom taking this much money from the rich, but I'm not sure why someone who is on the liberal side as yourself would push back on this so hard, and keep pushing and pushing and pushing.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

And yet, if he doesn't want to leave money on the table (who does), he'll have to figure out how much of what he can buy on that card before whipping out his other card.

I can see this being much more flexible. The EBT funds could be put on his regular card and used first. Or the EBT card could be used, drawing funds beyond the allotment from another specified credit or bank account.

For that matter, some people might like seeing when their EBT funds are used up so they know in advance how much will be taken from their normal account. I don't see why all of these options can't exist for those who want them.

Would it be a problem if he gives his assistant his card and asks her to get him a coffee?

I don't think so.

Comment Re:What if there is a bug? (Score 2) 409

Are there any indicators that this information is going out?

Yes. To find the indicator, open your web browser. In the address bar, enter "". Press enter. Find your way to the download, and download the appropriate installer. Run the installer. Run the application. Learn how to use it.

Oh, wait... you meant indicators in the OS? Ha. Right. What makes you think they would exist? It's kind of silly to expect there to be indicators showing for these particular things. If everyone got indicators for every little thing they wanted, then the whole screen would be nothing but indicators. This is why third-party programs exist... and development tools galore if you can't find an application that behaves to your exact specification.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

You proposed to use it as a stick to drive people to get a job. That would be what if not punitive?

Your dictionary must be broken, because that isn't at all the definition of "punitive".

Otherwise, all restrictions would be considered punitive. Are employer benefits punitive? What about driving (which has speed limits and other restrictions)? Clothes (nudity isn't allowed)? Tours of the White House (they won't let you act as President)? Going to your favorite restaurant (they require payment in exchange for food and service)?

If they end up on the streets, we would know they have the means not to be there (because every citizen would have those means) so it must be something else. If their kids are deprived, inability to do better would no longer be an excuse because we would know they have the ability to provide at least adequately.

And you would need some way to measure that their kids are deprived. Then you need a way to police the matter. Then how are you going to force them to do it right, by throwing them in jail because they spent their money wrong? You called me blind, but you appear to be the one who can't see how this creates a ton of extra overhead.

It may even be that the person has some sort of long-term disability that requires a form of guardianship to make sure their money is properly allocated (and for that matter that the allocated money is actually spent). The difference is that I prefer to treat people as mentally competent until they prove otherwise.

The difference is that I recognize this for what it is: a program that benefits society. If there is no guarantees that society will benefit in the ways I've described, then society will not back the program.

You still haven't answered my question: have you ever heard of the phrase, "Beggars can't be choosers"?

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

but here you suggest that the restrictions are supposed to have a punitive element

Here you go making things up again. I never said it was punitive in any way.

This is FREE for the citizen. No strings attached. He gets money for food, money for housing, money for all kinds of basic needs. FREE. Why do you insist on twisting things around to make it look like some kind of punishment?

Ever heard of the phrase, "Beggars can't be choosers"?

In my system, the stimulus for going to work is an employer offering a fair market payment for work and the natural human desire to better our own situation. Overhead and potential for political manipulation are kept low by keeping the rules extremely simple. Every citizen gets a card and every card gets the allotted monthly credit, adequate for a decent if minimalist life. Done.

That's nice in theory. In reality, not all people will spend their entitlement on the things that society is funding. According to you, these people have mental health issues that "must be addressed", so you need to add the overhead of measuring how everyone uses their allotment and policing those who do not use it as designed. That's quite a bit more overhead than my plan would have.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

If you don't believe that, why don't you believe they'll spend an appropriate amount of money to support their kids?

My company entrusts me with a lot of responsibility, yet does not provide me the option to cash out my benefits package. It's nothing about treating people "like children". It never has been. I keep saying that and you keep ignoring me when I say that. It's about society paying into a system in order to achieve specific goals.

Trust of each individual is not a factor... if it were, it would require increased overhead to determine those who are trustworthy and those who are not, and to tailor the program to each individual case. Is that what you want? More overhead?

And you glossed over the telling fact that you yourself suggested that the disabled should be an exception as if you see some virtue there you do not see in the working poor.

I said "which are special cases and perhaps should be handled differently". As in, I don't know and I haven't thought it through. But I wasn't saying that they should not have restrictions... I was more leaning toward providing them with an additional unrestricted cash fund, simply because the incentive to work created by keeping entitlements on the low side and restricted would not make a difference for those people.

But again, I don't know, it's a worthy issue to discuss but it's not the central matter. In fact, providing that fund for those who cannot work would be a separate matter altogether... they would still receive the same restricted entitlements that everyone else would receive.

I think they can't budget properly because they have little choice but to deal with the welfare system where working more hours or getting a raise can leave you with less money and actually saving money in a bank like a normal person can leave you destitute.

Perhaps, and of course one of the points of this system is to get rid of the one you are talking about.

That is true mostly because of people piling on rules they claimed were meant to make sure the welfare money was being spent properly.

No... it's because the current system fundamentally does not provide for all basic needs on a permanent basis. Getting a job today means you lose entitlement benefits. That would not be the same under my system.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

You still haven't explained the necessity.

Yes, I have. My last post explained it clearly: Society does not pay the cash equivalent, because it would not receive assurance that the money it is investing is being used toward these goals.

Is it because poor people lack a soul and don't love their children, even if they work hard?

No. I never said that. You are the one that keeps making that shit up... not me.

For the rest, I would submit that if a person is receiving sufficient and regular money to have food, clothing, and shelter and somehow ends up homeless, starving, or naked, he has a mental health issue that must be addressed and that no amount of rules and red tape will paper over it adequately.

You think that all poor people who can't budget properly have mental health issues? Many were simply not raised to understand the concept of putting needs before wants, and some are addicted to spending.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

You still haven't answered my question, why do you insist on treating grown ass adults like children by telling them what they may and may not spend their money on?

Because this:

their money

isn't true.

It's not "theirs". It's society's money, and society would use this program to provide for specific needs in order to keep people off the streets, and to provide incentive (in the form of a safety net) for people to choose riskier-yet-more-rewarding business. These things are in society's best interest.

Compare this to your employer's benefits package. Often you see something like this in the benefits section of the policy manual:

Employee benefits are designed to help and protect the employee but they are also to help and protect the company. Therefore, these benefits are always over and above the base salary and can never be considered part of the cash remuneration paid by the employer. An employee cannot take the cash equivalent in the place of any benefit.

An employer might provide tuition reimbursement in order to increase the skill level of its employees. That helps the company as well as the individual. But, the individual can't expect to receive the monetary value of that program because the employer doesn't receive the benefit if it's not used for tuition expenses.

The same goes for society investing in entitlements. The entitlement is for the benefit of both society and the citizen. Society wants to ensure that children are taken care of, so it provides a benefit in the form of paid child care. It wants to ensure that people aren't living in boxes in the alley way, so it provides a benefit in the form of paid housing. Society does not pay the cash equivalent, because it would not receive assurance that the money it is investing is being used toward these goals.

Comment Re: 4/5 in favor (Score 1) 750

Most people who do not work today live off of savings (traditional savings, retirement savings, whatever). If someone wants to spend $1000 on expensive food this month, then he funds that entire amount out of his savings.

In my system, he would still have that savings account. He could still use that money however he wants. But additionally, he would have the basic needs income. If his card allocates $474 for food but he wants to eat for $1000, then his savings account is just on the hook for $526.

How is my plan worse? He gets to save an additional $474 for whatever purpose in the world he wants. He can't do that today.

As for people today who don't live off of savings, but live off of government assistance, the amount of government assistance they get today is far less than what my program would be providing. And most government assistance programs today are temporary; this would be permanent.

What is this obsession with controlling others?

It's not controlling others. It's providing needs.

And it's an incentive to work. So tell me, what is your obsession with not providing the incentives needed to get people to work and therefore make their contributions to society?

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard