Trapped In A System 

A book that has really stayed with me since I read it is The Prize, the story of the attempt to reform the Newark public school system.

And there is a particular scene in that book that really sums it up for me.

The author is at an anti-charter school protest and meets a woman who had spent that morning trying to get her son into a new charter school that had opened in Newark. The author asks the woman how it is possible that on the same day she would spend the morning trying to get her son into a charter school and the afternoon at an anti-charter protest.

The woman explains that most of her family are employed in good paying union jobs in the district schools and that the growth of charters is a threat to those jobs.

As I read that story I was struck by how rational the woman was acting. She was helping to preserve a system that provided an economic foundation for her family and at the same time opting her son out of it. 

In some ways that story is a microcosm of what is happening in the economy right now. Many people in the US (and around the world) are employed by (and trapped in) a system that no longer works very well. And although they realize the system is broken, they fight to support it because it underpins their economic security.

My partner Albert argues for a universal basic income to replace the old and broken system so we as a society can free ourselves from outdated approaches that don’t work anymore and move to adopt new and better systems. 

I think it is worth a shot to be honest.

#hacking education#policy#Politics

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    So how do you break the dam?Seems to me that the only way you create change that both must and can’t happen, is to create successes, new models from the outside that work and change the course.Iterating change seems really hard.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      It requires leadership, community, and trust.

      1. awaldstein

        The answer for everything in the world.

  2. Alex Murphy

    I wonder what kind of Internet ruckus this post will create today.

    1. Matt Kruza

      Depends, if certain liberal sites get hands on it the message will be “rich venture capitalists says teachers make too much”…not fair to fred, but only way it would go viral is if that is how a certain liberal,sjw, or bernie bro’s crowd takes and spreads it. probably no one will make go viral as its pretty tame

      1. Erin

        They make enough here in Canada. They’re just rediculously overworked.

  3. Bruce Warila

    For a lot of people, systems are like stale companions, they will leave the old one when the new one is a sure/stable thing.

  4. William Mougayar

    Cutting the umbilical cord is not easy, but it must be done if you want to evolve. It’s a liberating move. I experienced it when I left HP after 14 years, realizing I was trapped like a hamster in a wheel.As my friend Nassim Taleb observed- “The 3 most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”

    1. awaldstein

      great quote.very applicable to personal choice. not so really to school systems or am i not understanding.

      1. William Mougayar

        You got to take it with a grain of salt of course 😉

      2. William Mougayar

        Why school systems? I’m referring to salaried jobs where you get into a rut & can’t get out.

        1. awaldstein

          The post is about school systems–no?And the more I think about this we all draw a salary of some sort. It you are a cmo at a heavily funded or not so start up you draw a salary. If you have a draw from your fund, equally so.Sure there’s a difference but that great to most of the people that work there?

    2. Twain Twain

      Not hamster in the wheel but the rational logic box.The rational logic box of Descartes, Adam Smith and even Turing which are old and broken and inheritances from C16th philosophy of existence that are no longer “fit for purpose” in our modern age.

      1. Hu Man

        Things are changing faster than they ever have, but it’s still not fast enough. People are still (systematically) killing each other.

        1. Twain Twain

          Speed (fastness) isn’t what we need. Velocity is; it factors in direction.Albert’s argument for a universal basic income is a CHANGE OF DIRECTION.Unfortunately, people are indeed still systematically killing each other — often because of narrow, extremist interpretations of religion.Economic death, pain and suffering are preventable, though. Whether we do that with the support of technology systems like Machine Intelligence or through systems like government are opportunities ahead for us and for future generations to explore and to actuate.

          1. Hu Man

            Great point on velocity/direction.Don’t forget (government sanctioned) war for plunder as probably the largest evil. That seems like the box from which we need to escape.I like the universal basic income as well. It should include the cost of health care.

          2. Pointsandfigures

            So, you’d be for scrapping Obamacare and issuing a voucher-eliminating state borders on healthcare policies and opening up competition? I’d be for that.

          3. Hu Man

            I don’t think capitalism and healthcare mix well, in general. I’m definitely for scrapping the “Affordable” Care Act, but not too sure on how to fix the system. Health insurance itself doesn’t make sense. We’re all going to get sick and die. Health care should definitely be free and as equitable as possible.As far as the UBI, I probably don’t actually like it, but it may make sense in the U.S. as opposed to civil unrest.What we really need is a benevolent, one-world government, instead of these nationalistic football team Rah Rah wars we currently have.

          4. pointsnfigures

            if there is value, it cannot be free. Health care has a cost. It’s not air.

          5. Alex Murphy

            Are you saying air doesn’t have a value? I’m thinking its just about the most important thing for your future … well at least for everything from 2 minutes from now forward….. and air is free.

          6. pointsnfigures

            nobody actively creates it. no one goes to school to learn how to create it. it doesn’t require constant care and management.

          7. LDM

            Tell that to the people of Bejing on a bad day – bad air has negative value and clean air has positive value (and a cost). It (clean air) also has a process of creation and management. Up until now we’ve lived on a planet that has taken care of that process for us. The system is starting to fray though.

          8. pointsnfigures

            If the factories etc weren’t there, would the air be bad? I didn’t call for ending pollution control. The air is free. No one created it. Bad air is a negative externality that can be fixed.

          9. Alex Murphy

            what you are describing is a cost … not value.Plenty of things have value that are free.Sharing of Knowledge, Art, Love … all free.yes, healthcare in the context of what you are talking about has a cost. But there is a broader benefit than to just one person.My colleagues being healthy has a benefit to me.My partners, suppliers, vendors, and customers … all being healthy, has a benefit to me.Just like having roads without potholes, clean air, clean water, an educated electorite all have a benefit to me.These things don’t just benefit me, they benefit everyone. We all do better because of these things.This DOES NOT MEAN we should redistribute income. It DOES MEAN we should set up the game to be the best for the collective whole.And we need to be very concerned about unintended consequences. They aren’t free either.

          10. Alex Murphy

            On the point about health care insurance …Today’s HC Insurance is actually about bulk pricing and negotiating power, not insurance.Insurance of course being the pooling of risk.And to your point, we are all going to get sick and die.I have always disliked the reference of Insurance in the world of Health Care except for major medical policies for 20 somethings which is about not having a $100k hospital bill in the event of an accident. But that isn’t where the cost is. The cost is in terminal illness final stage of care.

          11. ShanaC

            Practical life advice: changing out from fundamentalist religion lifestyle is a huge deal for the people involved. It’s humongous what you are asking from them on an individual level, especially since most aren’t violent, and what they wil lose from that switch is massive amounts of social capital and community. Many people who do this are isolated for at least a few years, depending on the starting community, how much outside contact they have, and if they manage to have any sort of support system at all as they transition out.With that transition, many of thier lifestyle assmptions, especially about critical transition points, go up in the air. Furthermore, family connections, especially around those points, may be tenuous at bestAnd that’s in the US.(I’m dead serious. It worked out that among my close college friends I was among the first to get engaged, which meant as a result I hhad never been to a wedding besides an orthodox jewish wedding , and I might not until I go to my own. Becuase I left orthodox land, this is in some ways terribly frightening because I have 0 touchstones to what everyone else does. )

          12. Twain Twain

            Thanks for sharing, Shana.All changes are rife with challenges: social, moral, personal, economic. The wonder of human life is that we have choices. Other people may agree / disagree / understand / not understand.Still, the choice is ours and we take those steps forward with hope because only we know what we feel and believe.Religious orthodoxy is a form of people wanting to feel like they’re the same as everyone else they know: “birds of a feather flock together” type of thinking.Well, birds are also free to fly and explore the world through their own eyes.

      2. Jess Bachman

        My Dad used to tell me that “half the people you meet have below average intelligence”.I used to think he said that because he lived and worked in Louisiana, but I later found that it holds true, from the supermarket employees to CEOs to acedemia… half the people I meet still seem to have below average intelligence.

        1. Alex Murphy

          its just math

        2. Twain Twain

          Except when you’re on AVC, surely?The people here are well above average intelligence (with a few oddballs to make it more interesting and fun).

        3. Vendita Auto

          “What you need… is a strong drink and a peer group.”

    3. andyswan

      That’s great–just don’t force everyone else with you. Not everyone wants to see a world of people where instead of being addicted to an earned salary, people are addicted to a monthly government stipend.

      1. Jess Bachman

        Not everyone has the privigidge to manifest their own destiny as much as you do Mr Swan.

        1. andyswan

          Privileged af and working on getting more every day.

          1. Jess Bachman

            Sorry to dissapoint you, but you were born with 92% of the privelege you’ve ‘gotten’ in this life. Keep working for that last 8% tho.

          2. andyswan

            No chance I’m stopping at 100%…. we are going at least to 150%. NO BRAKES!We have the best privilege folks! TREMENDOUS!Privilege so great it will make your head spin!Many people call me and they say Andy you’re 100% right about privilege!

          3. JamesHRH

            That’s just really funny.

      2. William Mougayar

        What? You misinterpreted the 2nd part. Cutting the salary cord means becoming entrepreneurial & certainly not dependent on the government.

        1. andyswan

          Unless the “salary” comes from the government.

          1. William Mougayar

            But I never implied that.

          2. andyswan

            UBI, the topic, does

    4. Amar

      That is a great name drop 🙂 Is he really your friend or are you referring to him as a friend because of idealogical overlap?

      1. William Mougayar

        We went to the same elementary & high school, so that means for about 50 years.

        1. ShanaC

          I now need to know if he likes cookies

        2. Amar

          That is awesome 🙂 I love his books!! started with “Black Swan”, then “Antifragile” and finally caught up to “fooled by randomness”. 🙂 Any other interesting alumni from y’alls school?

        3. Amar

          That is awesome 🙂 Love his books. Started with Black swan then antifragile and now working through fooled by randomness. Often times groups like this manifest in more than just one or two, any other “interesting” alumni from your elementary + high school?

  5. Davealevine

    Clearly the system resists change for this reason, but also the regulatory apparatus that supports failing unions also keeps things the same. Whether it is local beaurocrats making it hard to get laws passed (or worse, say blocking a ride-sharing app!), or central bankers bailing out failing old guard companies, regulation does a lot to preserve the “old ways” of doing things. So this is my major hesitation with basic income. It seems to be yet another regulatory impediment to innovation. Perhaps instead we should do more to encourage entepreneurship and disruption and less to bail out old ways of doing things.

    1. fredwilson

      I think it is an enabler of the change you want to see.

      1. Davealevine

        Maybe a better idea would be universal basic access to “startup capital” where people get 80% of the upside in the equity value of the businesses and innovations they create, supplemented by universal access to basic education and skills training. We need more jobs and risk takers in my opinion and the concept of providing basic income without work seems to eliminate the incentive to take risk / work hard with the added cost of needing to be supported by the aforementioned regulatory morass (not to mention funded by the risk takers and innovators that remain).

        1. Alex Murphy

          This already exists, except you get 100% of the upside rather than 80%.The SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research Program) and cousin STTR are amazing gov programs out of many of the departments of gov where our society invests grants into start ups to try and find new and innovative solutions to our societal problems. from supporting education, to finding drugs, alternative health solutions, DoD, to hard science.It is the best seed money you can find!

          1. Davealevine

            Very cool @Alex. More folks should know about this stuff and perhaps more programs like it should exist. But even the UX of the website demonstrates the challenges of government programs.

          2. Alex Murphy

            Can’t disagree about the UX. But really, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The process of writing the proposals is on par with writing a 50 page business plan to win funding from 1993.But you can’t beat the anti dilution.If one spends the time to dig in, the Gov’t has many programs that are enablers of new business creation.

          3. ShanaC

            Thank you

  6. johndodds

    Will it be sufficient to meet student loan repayments?

    1. Anne Libby


  7. Dan T

    I am fine with universal basic income as long as it is not a federal program, but a state program. I just won’t live in that state.

    1. andyswan

      Their schemes won’t work unless literally everyone is forced to participate. Good people with good intentions that don’t realize the bedrock of their policy dream is violence and submission.

  8. Tom Labus

    Wow. We have trouble confirming well qualified judges. I’m not sure that our economic system (US) is toast. There have been periods of slow growth/wages growth before in history. It also takes a long time to recover form events like 08. At least a full generation.

  9. Alex Murphy

    The short version:Beware of the unintended consequences.The longer version:Isn’t a universal income the same as giving everyone welfare? Or, putting everyone into one single collective union that negotiates with the Government, as if the Gov was something other than an extension of the people?I can start to accept this at a point in time in the future when we are living in Wall-E’s world, where robots can do everything, (like BD’s Atlas is starting to show:… abundance is everywhere, and people kind of aren’t necessary for any manual work.But the issue will still be one of the haves and have nots.If everyone had a base level flat salary of $50k per year … those with $50k would want more. They would want the upgrades in the car, the nicer house closer to shore, or on the shore. They would want Filet instead of Sirloin. Why, because everyone wants more.And so we would be left with the same issues we face today. Just like the Unions have strong influence in the voting booth, the “association of people getting $50k for doing nothing” would have amazing political clout. But it would be at a scale that is much larger than the unions today, and potentially much worse.The great leveling effect is based on everyone being given the same opportunities, where everyone plays by the same rules, where the game isn’t rigged.The great equalizer in our society is based on everyone being given the same opportunities, where everyone plays by the same rules, where the game isn’t rigged. The social backdrop of common public goods serves a lot of the same purpose. Strong education, great infrastructure, a clean and healthy environment for everyone. That last one is the case for a fiscal conservative to want something like the ACA because it translates into a healthy workforce that you can count on where jackasses don’t take 600% pay increases on the back of falling into a drug discovery where they can take advantage of a broken payment system –…, but I digress.

  10. Sean Myers

    The June 4th 2016 edition of the Economist wrote an interesting article about this topic. Unfortunately Switzerland just voted down a proposal to provide this to their citizens.

  11. Vinish Garg

    Worth a shot indeed, but I suspect that we may stuck at seeing the (few) white elephants in the room. It needs reforms in education, as much for students as for those elephants.

  12. Mike Zamansky

    I’m always amazed at the knee jerk anti union reaction by many business people. In my experience (and believe me, I have no love for the UFT, AFT and their respective leaders) the city (or state) were much bigger impediments to progress.A big charter issue right now is their fight to relax licensing. That’s not a union issue, that’s a state issue (and one where all sides are pretty much all screwed up).Another big issue is standardized testing — again, a political issue not a union one.Most teachers I know work hard and work hard under impossible circumstances.Now, to the charter thing – maybe it’s that the public is finally waking up to see that there’s no secret sauce.Charters were supposed to be labs that took our hardest cases and were supposed to develop best practices that would then be shared back to public schools.I’m still waiting for any of these magic charters to share there secrets.Instead, we got:- overall results that are no better than private schools.- charters that claim they believe in data but conveniently ignore things like attrition rates so as to make charters appear to be far more successful than they are.- charters with massive advertising and PR budgets to drive up demand where public schools operate on a shoe string.- charters that don’t open their doors to the public nor face public scrutiny with respect to their practices.- charters that are accountable to a board of directors not to the public/and the list goes on.Some charters appear to work because there’s a public school that’s taking the hard cases they won’t deal with.Charters were supposed to innovate. Now two decades later, where’s the innovation?

  13. cdelrosso

    Fully agree with the post. Society and technology are evolving Many will be left behind or work against the new systems that are going to exclude them. Policies should be in place to create an inclusive society where all can contribute to the progresses.

  14. Mike

    I apologize for posting a link to an article behind a pay wall but in When Robots Rise (… in the 7/6/16 National Interest, Lee Drutman and Yascha Mounk ask will automation kill the middle class—and democracy with it? Getting to a universal basic income is part of the solution.

  15. Scott Byars

    What is causing the system to be broken are the perverse incentives that turn contradicting actions into rational behavior. It’s always the unintended consequences of seemingly good policy that come back to bite us. While a basic income may sound like a sensible solution I fear that it will only further exacerbate the problems we are facing.

  16. andyswan

    To say the current system “isn’t working” requires so much willful ignorance it’s unbelievable. Look around! I’m holding enough computing power in my hand to make the original Toy Story movie and can be instantly connected to just about anyone in the world. Look at absolute poverty getting decimated all over the world in the last 30 years.Throwing out the system that has delivered more wealth and opportunity to billions of people in the last 100 years than was created in the entire history of mankind prior to 1776 is reckless and arrogant.Try UBI in New York. I dare you.

    1. Tom Labus

      No question.

    2. Andrew Graziani

      Andy- I’m curious why some of my libertarian and traditionally conservative friends don’t consider UBI superior to the current patchwork of assistance that is often attacked as full of waste, fraud and perverse incentives. Isn’t similar to a flat tax in its simplicity and clarity?Obviously UBI also risk creating perverse incentives, but one thing that jumped out at me in Fred’s post is his point that the woman was acting rationally. It seems to me that there are places where the narrowest rational individual maximization runs counter to our interests as a community or a country. An important function of government, for a lefty like me at least, is to address those friction points. I’m confident you have a strong counter argument, and I’d love to hear it.

      1. andyswan

        UBI is simpler and clearer. If you think it would stop there, I’d like to introduce you to the first Federal Income tax, which was “temporary” and 3% on top earners. Let’s see where we are today.It’s just another layer of redistribution. They’ll sell it as simplification, but we know two things: 1) The government never, ever keeps things simple and 2) the liberal appetite for other people’s money is insatiable.

        1. Andrew Graziani

          No doubt the government can make things more complicated, but it sounds like your argument isn’t that UBI is bad, just that it will be screwed up by the federal government. Are you saying that if it were actually implement without additional complexities, you’d be in favor?

          1. andyswan

            That’s why I challenged Fred to take up the charge of making UBI a reality in NY. Let’s see it in action before deciding whether to take it full scale…. fair?

          2. Richard

            Isn’t social securtiy a test?

          3. andyswan

            Yes and it’s projected to run a 0.3 trillion dollar deficit in 16 years from now. Ponzi’s eventually fail.

          4. Richard

            .3 trillion is chump change. Tax tobacco until it is effectively banned. There is no other product on this earth that is a known carcinogen and is freely sold.

          5. PhilipSugar

            Frankly if you are for social security you are for tobacco.Kills you fast early and quick while you pay huge taxes for it.

          6. ShanaC

            Bacon. the WHO declared it a known carcinogen

          7. andyswan

            and that one isn’t even disrupting working-age people’s incentive to produce!

        2. LE

          For sure. And even Amazon raised the price of prime once they had everyone’s credit card.

    3. jason wright

      “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

      1. andyswan

        That’s ridiculous. I would never judge a society based on its worst elements.That said, I do agree that the government’s war on drugs has been a disaster for poor people.

        1. jason wright

          then Dostoevsky was ridiculous. your country has more people in prison per capita than any other. why does your wealth and opportunity system result in that?

          1. Alex Murphy

            As noted above, because of the foolish war on drugs.It shouldn’t go unnoticed that this is a great example of bad outcomes from the best of intentions.More directly, we have more people in prison because we employ more people to go arrest more people to fill up the prisons that were built. Again, to emphasize the point … all government run programs.

          2. PhilipSugar

            Because there are that many bad people here. We also produce more companies like Google and Facebook than any other. You know why? Because we have that many great people here.

          3. LE

            Yeah I’ve never understood people who roll out that “your prison population is X” argument. For that matter I don’t typically like any numbers comparison. Especially when used by politicians. Or by the press. Or by bloggers. It’s a lazy way to try and make a point and win over simpletons. The devil is in the details and numbers don’t show the details or the basis.

          4. PhilipSugar

            You know I travel the world more than almost anybody here. I also mingle, work with, and am friends with more “common” people than anybody here. My wife headed up the medical system for max security prisons. Which cost me more money than she made, but she felt it was her calling.What foreigners don’t understand is the amount of diversity we have. In both good and bad people. Let Albert live next to somebody he is giving UBI to. Dare him. Double Dare him. He lasts under a week.

          5. LE

            Oh yeah. (I think you mean Albert?).

          6. PhilipSugar

            Frank Rizzo said it best: “A conservative is a liberal that got mugged the night before”

          7. LE

            As a kid I was “mugged” 2 times that I remember. Once was near my house in a rapidly changing neighborhood. A girl that was older than me stole model paint that I just bought after riding my bike to a hardware store. She took it from me and then threw it on the ground so it broke and got all over my bike. The other time it was down in AC. I had just gone to buy some taffy (or whatever) on the boardwalk. This pack of kids came up to me and wanted some so I gave it to them. I then returned to my mom and my sister who wanted to know what had happened to all of the candy. I didn’t know what to say. Was traumatic to say the least both times.I remember when Rizzo was police commissioner in Philly. I remember the pictures of him with the baton in the paper. They want to take his statue down now.

        2. Jess Bachman

          I would never judge a society based on its worst elements.The Pope and Ghandi are on the record for this being THE metric to judge a society.

          1. andyswan

            That’s not true. They referenced society’s “weakest members”, not its criminals.

          2. Jess Bachman

            I’m surprised you make the distinction.

          3. andyswan

            I’m not surprised that I surprise you.

        3. LE

          Driven of course by people with money to buy drugs. Which includes many upstanding citizens such as Fred and Joanne. [1] In all fairness nobody ever considers the downside and how that demand is what feeds that entire system and supports it.So that is the same “rational” thought that Fred talks about with the woman in Newark.[1] Actually I don’t remember if Fred said he smokes pot but I definitely remember that Joanne did a blog post on it.

        4. Pete Griffiths

          True, but interestingly, it wasn’t just a disaster for poor people. It also decimated an emerging middle class in the African American community.

          1. andyswan

            Almost as if done intentionally. It would be a shame for many if consistent voting blocks were to fracture.

          2. Pete Griffiths

            Agreed.Crack cocaine = black = prison.Coke = white wall street = wrapped knuckles.Which coincidentally (!?) did indeed result in significant voting effects. In many states these effects are longlasting as convicted felons NEVER recover voting rights.

          3. PhilipSugar

            Here is the hard issue. As more African American’s became incarcerated the crime rate dropped dramatically. See my above post. That is the hard discussion people don’t want to have

          4. Pete Griffiths

            I don’t have any answers on this topic. All I know about it is that it is incredibly controversial with different experts twisting statistics to advance their positions.

          5. PhilipSugar

            No I think on one side you have people that think everything is not their fault and just happens woe is me, and on the other you now have the opposite extreme.Instead of having a tough discussion and understanding things are in the middle people like to just pick a side.I support a program which makes inner city kids employable. They teach them life skills, give them clothes, pay for transportation.Do you know what one of their rules is??? Show up late twice and you get kicked out.I totally disagree with people here that think their shouldn’t be hand up programs for women and minorities.I also totally disagree with people that think there should be hand out programs to enable people to continue and perpetuate their lifestyle.

          6. LE

            Third rail issue. Impossible that anyone will ever agree on something like this. Which is unfortunate. Everyone is the same and all of that.Trump got dumped on for his “things are shit in your community what do you have to loose” comment the other day. All the sudden liberals actually said “no things aren’t that bad for blacks at all look at what a racist he is”. Then they questioned his percentages as if to say “look how he lies” because he exaggerated doesn’t mean the underlying point is wrong.

          7. PhilipSugar

            This is why I don’t wade in on these. I had a friend who ran for Mayor of Wilmington. (why I never will know)He went knocking door to door and he had tons of people tell him: “I’d vote for a dead dog democrat twice before ever voting for a republican”He’d say well how is that working out for you right now?

        5. PhilipSugar

          Here is what people don’t understand: Look at the inflection point in 1990 when the incarceration rate skyrocketed. Guess what else happened? The crime rate plummeted, the hard fact people ignore is if you take criminals of the street they commit less crime: Source wikipedia.

          1. andyswan

            It’s striking. No one wants to see that though.

          2. PhilipSugar

            It’s a hard discussion. I one with Richard Florida. He said I was wrong in front of an entire conference I pulled up my phone. He just sat there and stared. I said sorry, let’s not just spew bullshit, let’s really have a discussion.I have a guy in my office.He is a saint.His wife’s teenage out of wedlock child from another father (who never was present) has had three kids out of wedlock and he has had to adopt all three because she is on drugs, welfare, etc, and just doesn’t care.Without him the cycle continues. That is the hard discussion. Why is this possible? You will never meet a more caring man. You will never meet somebody that hates the system that allows this to continue more.

          3. Salt Shaker

            Philip, you also need to factor in the rate of recidivism. If it’s a constant game of “rinse and repeat,” then the system clearly doesn’t work. Obviously this doesn’t apply to all incarcerations (e.g., felonies), but for many perps it’s just a feeble attempt to sweep away their problems at the taxpayer’s expense. No one really wins, only a deeper hole is created. Not dismissing individual responsibilities here, but many just aren’t aware or educated enough to make better choices, and bear the consequences in perpetuity.

          4. PhilipSugar

            I agree that is another hard discussion. Once you are in the system you are f’d. Hell Walmart won’t give you a job.

          5. LE

            See my comment re: Neighborhood. So it’s more than that. Even with a job you still have the same buddies and the shit that they are doing impacting you.I don’t know what you did while in a frat in college that was mischievous but let’s say you did. Or let’s say others at other frat’s did. I didn’t do any of that. I wasn’t in a frat and I didn’t live where you did. I didn’t have any outside influence.That’s actually the thing that everyone misses about attending a good high school or college. The collective group is more motivated and in line and behaves differently. Remove that collective group and you will have a different dynamic even with some of the same members.Point being the frats at Penn are almost certainly way different (as a group) than the frats at some football school. Just a guess I know nothing other than what I have gleaned from popular culture.

          6. PhilipSugar

            It’s called a fraternity. Let’s just say my pranks at the fraternity were legendary. I am glad there is a statute of limitations.Vance Hall flags removed from ceiling? Me.Urban Outfitters original giant banner taken? Me.The largest firecracker war ever seen in the Quad? Me.Bear and Bull Giant sign absconded with? Me.Flag of Sheldon Hackney’s caricature put on college flagpole? Me.Princeton Tiger incident both at Princeton and Franklin Field that made NYT? Me.Tradition of taking a baby pig painting sorority letters on it and dumping in mixer? Started by me.Bulldozer moved to center of College Green? Guess who?I am very glad there were no camera’s back then.

          7. LE

            To be accepted at the fraternity were those things expected? Encouraged? Required? Can someone be a fraternity member if they don’t or won’t conform and do things like that? Or is that part of the vetting process prior to getting in? All of this fascinates me.

          8. PhilipSugar

            No I was in there. I have always been a bit rambunctious. My wife always cringes when she goes to a fraternity or scouting event and somebody brings up my pranks, and everybody joins.I still do them today. Once our CFO said I think you have an affliction.All returned but all good pranks.I have a rule: Nobody gets hurt and you give stuff back, but still funny. I always got the tough cases as little brothers: Type 1 diabetic, Richest person in Philly.You should see them at my office: Our head of datacenters packed up computers for our head of operations to go to Australia. A programmer inserted love notes from the datacenter guy to the operations guy. When the operations guy got to Australia where the boxes were unpacked the Australian guy who unpacked them gave him a pile of notes like: I don’t know what I’m going to do not seeing your face for two weeks. Hilarious.

          9. LE

            So it’s like everyday is April Fools day. Or every week.Saw this company yesterday somewhere, don’t remember where or why but I meant to send it to you:

          10. PhilipSugar

            I had a new guy from the Ukraine tell me who is doing well say:I used to hate going to work. I never have worked this hard or have people expect so much of me. But I don’t feel like I am going to work. I feel like I am going to my second home.Don’t get me wrong, everybody gets it wrong. Atmosphere does not define culture. Culture defines atmosphere.My guys build a game machine that has over 150 of the Arcade games you remember from the mall. Every single one. They did it without my permission when I was travelling. That is part of our atmosphere but it was built in spare time because of our culture.

          11. LE

            See now in your organization that’s very natural and it works for you. But I can see you writing a book and someone who is not you, and does not have a seat of the pants feel, trying to do something similar and it getting totally fucked up. Or getting taken advantage of.I am always impressed at how someone gets people to work harder by giving them things that are not money that they value more. (Trump does this as only one example. So does that shoe guy out in Vegas..)Right now I am working on a deal to buy something (you know what it is probably) and instead of upping the offer I am going to say that we will give them Hamilton tickets. But I am not telling them we will buy the Hamilton tickets. I am going to say we have an “in” to get tickets at no cost and that is why. That is my twist. It’s subtle why it’s better to offer them that way. The technique written in a book by someone trying to emulate would probably screw it up in some way. The nuance is important. Plus it’s disposable. It won’t ever be done that way again. Just like the next prank is going to be different for you. It’s a creative process.One thing I have learned is it’s hard to be someone else. I can get my stepkids to clean the kitchen floor every night while others can’t. It’s just the way I handle them in total. Me telling a mother to do the same probably won’t work. Or even another Dad.

          12. LE

            Essentially they can’t make better choices because they return to the same neighborhood that they were before and have the same influences. We’ve all seen a movie where the ex con returns and has a good job as (say a cook) and then there is another chance of a big score and he goes and commits the crime and gets killed or sent back. (‘Heat’ great movie starring Al Pacino and Deniro as one example the black cook as the driver).Don’t remember the last time I had an opportunity to do something illegal presented to me what about you? Never happened even when I earned less money or was in college. Has to do with who you hang around with or where you live.

          13. Susan Rubinsky

            Right. Recidivism is due mainly to a lack of jobs and resources when the person gets out of prison. So, when the person has no opportunities, the person returns to crime.

          14. LE

            Yes but what I am saying is even if they have a job if they return to the same ‘hood with the same friends they will just relapse because of the same influences. Honestly they need some kind of relocation package to another area. (Idealistic but honestly that is what it would take….)Same reason in reverse why it’s better to be in a target rich environment (SV or NYC or LA) if you are trying to make something happen in a particular field.

          15. Susan Rubinsky

            I understood what you’re saying. However, your proposed solution isn’t necessarily the best solution. There needs to be long term support, sponsorship, life training, etc. If you just drop someone off in a new neighborhood without family or friends that person will most likely revert old behavior. You need a plan to help them work on their behavior over time.Think about AA as a model for one slice of what is needed. A support group of people who are recovering one day at a time. People with longevity in the program mentor people with less time in the program.There needs to be programs to help these people get jobs. And keep jobs.Here is one such program that’s here in Bridgeport, CT. It’s small and it’s fairly new, but programs like this are the right kind of direction –

          16. ShanaC

            Why can’t they make better choices. That’s an odd statement

          17. Jess Bachman

            Here is another “hard fact” people ignore. If we want to reduce drowning deaths, we need to stop giving this man work. Its as simple as that.

          18. PhilipSugar

            C’mon let’s have a real discussion. This is why I don’t get involved in these political discussions.Let’s have a hard discussion. Do I think I am treated differently by the police? Hell yes. Let’s discuss why.You are giving me a sample set of 100 people out of 300mm in the U.S. and a variance of 20 people????Seriously??? Really??? Ok. That is 0.000006% of the U.S. population. And that is percent.Why do this??? Why??? It is to avoid the hard discussion. This is the type of thing politicians do and the stupid masses yell….Yah!!!Just dumbification.

          19. PhilipSugar

            To give you another scale on your dumbification: You are talking about a variance of rates of .000003 per thousand. To put it in perspective that is about 14mm times different than the variance in rates I am talking about.

          20. PhilipSugar

            Also make the scales the same. You can tell this really bugs me. Just dumbification. Where did you get that chart??

          21. LE

            It’s like some of these people who talk about crime and incarceration have never driven through those neighborhoods. Or even watched cops.

          22. Matt Zagaja

            But have you considered the Miss America theory?

          23. PhilipSugar

            I’m hoping this is a joke in response to Jess’s chart. See my comments to Jess. It seems the same person made these charts.They are ridiculous in the sample size and in the different scales.Seriously though nobody wants to have the hard discussion.It could be that certain people go to prison more because they commit more crimes.It could be that certain people get hassled by the police who are there to stop crime……..because they commit more crimes.It could be that the social programs that were instituted by LBJ have not worked.It could be that people that live in shitty areas live there because they deserve to and don’t work to get out.People view these as super harsh ignorant statements.They are not.Just having a simple slogan and assessing blame to anybody but one’s self has not and will not fix the problem.You have to have a hard serious discussion, but nobody wants that because it feels uncomfortable.

          24. ShanaC

            I’I’m looking at this and now wondering if there is a correlation between cell phones and mass incarceration. Or the Internet

    4. fredwilson

      It’s working for you knucklehead. It is not working for that woman in Newark

      1. andyswan

        Yes it is. Her choices just aren’t perfect. It says in your post that her family has “good paying jobs”.I guarantee you that she has more wealth and a more comfortable, enjoyable life than the top 5% earner of 200 years ago.

        1. andyswan

          It’s working.

          1. kidmercury

            there’s a lot of conflicting info on this; i still have trouble finding out what’s really going on. the other side:

          2. jason wright

            Mirror mirror on the wall…

        2. Alex Murphy

          And if she is in the bottom 10% of the US, she is better off than most of the rest of the world.

        3. LE

          I guarantee you that she has more wealth and a more comfortable, enjoyable life than the top 5% earner of 200 years ago.I need to sponge your face while you are sitting in the ring corner and using retorts like that. Why stop at 200 years? Why not go back 2000?The first paragraph says all that needs to be said and didn’t need that statement which detracts from a valid point.

        4. ShanaC

          And, so. She isn’t in a marketplace buying stuff against people 200 years ago(also, that would be gross, it would mean that I would have to compete with zombies who sell zombie produce. Ewww)

      2. kidmercury

        def siding with fred in this beef not only ideologically but more importantly for humorous name calling!

        1. Richard

          UBI is like giving a man a fish a day, Why not UBW, it’s like giving a man a pond. UBI will always be shouldered by the professional working class. UBW on the other hand would be shouldered by the super wealthy. Downside, It would turn the Hamptons into the jersey shore.

          1. kidmercury

            i don’t like UBI but agree the current system is broken

          2. PhilipSugar

            I’d say Atlantic City.

          3. LE

            The idea that I would like to float to save AC and even Camden is as follows.You make them zones where retirees (instead of moving to Florida) can pay less taxes. A combo of income, property and sales tax. (Pleasantville is already 3% tax btw.). Would spur development, restaurants and the like.Now I know that it’s not going to be instead of Florida but I think enough NY Metro area people would move there (and still be close to NYC) instead of retiring in NY metro or at least invest in 2nd homes there as well as Florida.My in laws were actually considering moving to DE to retire because of taxes instead of Florida.Getting this done isn’t actually a non starter. Local guy here (Norcross) controls all the politicians in the state. If he liked the idea it would stand a chance of being put on the table.

          4. awaldstein

            There is a massive power of action and economics around the baby boomers that is not touched at all.So yes–I agree that there is a lot of innovation yet to be done that serves a greater good and creates positive economics along with it.

          5. ZekeV

            What is UBW? I like the idea of turning the Hamptons into Jersey Shore!

      3. LE

        It is working the way I see it for the woman in Newark (but not the other people in Newark). The woman in Newark has a good union paying job. And because she has a lard ass union contract [1] she will not have a problem paying for her families needs, as long as she doesn’t exceed the maximum amount of kids and her husband didn’t flee the coop. So sure if she has 5 kids there may be an issue. If she has 2 kids or 3 she is probably ok. No she will not be able to take vacations in Europe or even Orlando and yes her kids might have to go to State schools but so what?The problem (if I read this correctly) isn’t that woman in Newark it’s the other people in Newark, the ones with either no jobs or low paying fly by night jobs.[1] I don’t see these as bad by the way even with my pejorative. As I’ve said PANYNJ as another example provides a basic income that keeps a large group of people out of trouble and is a net gain even if they are overpaid and it’s inefficient and a patronage haven. So what if someone with money and a job has to pay $14 (or whatever it is) to get into NYC. (No clue since I use EZPASS)

      4. Mark Essel

        harsh. 😉

      5. Richard

        Real Problem “You with the sad eyes, don’t be discouraged, but I realize it hard to have courage when …the darkness around you makes u feel so small ” Cyndy Lauper

      6. disqus_ZBumP1QwFp

        So the part that’s ‘working’ for this woman is that she is benefiting from government interference in free markets, in the way of union-supporting legislation. The part that isn’t working is that she is also suffering the consequences of this interference, by way of sub-par education for her children. Yes, I can see the conundrum. She is willing to cause harm to others to benefit herself, provided she isn’t harmed in the crossfire.But if the root problem is government interference, it would seem a poor approach indeed to proscribe a solution of more government interference. What our society needs is to recognize that the solution to too much government isn’t more government. Let individuals choose and direct their own destiny, and everyone will be better off.

      7. Matt A. Myers

        Fred, Andy likes the status quo – as do lot of people who are short-sighted.

      8. ZekeV

        We could easily find a family in NY in Section 8 housing, living on various forms of state and federal assistance that approximately equal the UBI. Is it working for that family? Presumably UBI is not about the neediest individuals or families who currently do receive a disproportionate “benefit” (whether or not it works for them, another story).

        1. ShanaC

          Ask an ex chassid, usually the answer is noBut they may be a special case.Planet money did an interview with a woman in this situation in nyc a few years ago. Answer was yes, particularly for her kid, who she got into a gifted and talented program, ect ect

      9. jason wright

        Yeah, but “trapped” isn’t the right framing to win friends and influence people over to your POV.

      10. ShanaC

        Fred. He’s not a knucklehead

    5. Salt Shaker

      You need to get out more. In the past few weeks I’ve been to New York, Seattle, Chicago, Portland and Vancouver and in each city I was startled by the rampant growth of homelessness. More and more people are succumbing to a spiral of downward financial pressure and inequities. I’m not sure if UBI is the answer, but there unquestionably is a basic needs chasm between the haves and have nots in this country, though too much money is being poored into social service programs that don’t work or, at best, are moderately effective. Not sure any of those folks care much about the computing power on a handheld device.

      1. Rob Underwood

        I assume you mean Portland, Oregon but I’d add that the same is true in Portland, Maine. It’s even worse in the 2nd tier and 3rd tier cities and the opiate death rate is skyrocketing.

      2. Anne Libby

        Spending time recently with family in Chicagoland (where I grew up, went to college, and started my career decades ago) I was moderately shocked by conditions in the Loop, which has a bit of a ghost town feeling to it. It called to mind the late 80s in NYC, though I don’t remember business districts feeling so disheveled. At a suburban mall in an affluent suburb, I was even more shocked to see at least one person who appeared to me to be homeless.

        1. ShanaC

          Interesting, the loop is considered expensive

          1. Anne Libby

            I’ve made a few trips in the past few months to the area near State & Dearborn/Monroe, etc. (I started my business career in the building that’s now Chase, back in the 80s and early 90s.) Lots of empty storefronts, limited pedestrians/shoppers (maybe they’re all up more in the gold coast?) and many homeless people out on the sidewalks. I’m sure that Jeff Carter and other denizens of Chicago probably have a better view, but I imagine that the changes in the exchanges have had an impact on this.

          2. ShanaC

            I know that it’s the place you move to when you get a wall St in Chicago job when you graduate chicago, as it’s been getting more residential.Not sure about the empty storefronts -though that was starting to happen when I was in college@pointnfigures

  17. Steve Orell

    I don’t really understand your post today. A minimum wage and charter schools are polar opposite things in my head. How will a universal minimum wage encourage people to work in valuable industries instead of ailing ones? How will it correct a broken system? Is your point that higher wages (only something sufficient to provide a living standard that is deemed acceptable) will force sweat-shop type enterprises out of business faster, assuming they don’t have capacity to pay, and then the economy will be left a workforce that is morally sustainable (the people it employs being above the poverty line)? Will new jobs be created somehow? Or is your underlying assertion is that most businesses who hire minimum wage level staff have capacity to pay?

  18. Vendita Auto

    My Borg associates think hindsight but do not understand it.

  19. Rob Underwood

    The charter/anti-charter example reminds me of the affluent white parents here in Brooklyn (and elsewhere) who talk a big game at “diversity forums” when their kids are 2-3 about the need for integrated schools. Then, when their kids are 4-5 the parents cite the “high stakes” state test scores as a reason to not enroll their child at their “majority minority” neighborhood zoned school. Soon enough they opt out their own kids from the states tests they cited as their reason to choose the way they did.

    1. Mike Zamansky

      Same thing happened in my day growing up on the upper east side. The difference was that it didn’t happen until high school.. K-8 the local schools were diverse, integrated, and strong but then the great 9th grade exodus.

      1. Rob Underwood

        To my way of thinking if diversity and integration (different things as my friend and fellow D13 parent Nikole Hannah-Jones points out) is a/the goal it has to start at kindergarten. It seems to me academic differentiation and specialization school proceed with age. This is why I have spoken out publicly that the middle school controlled choice proposals being pushed in some NYC districts are wrong-headed given the feeder elementary schools in the respective district are not only severely segregated but have very different educational outcomes (as measured by states tests) and underlying pedagogies.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          See my posts today to Charlie.Net, if parents are concerned, then the parents can have the kids learn enough just at home on evenings and weekends even assuming that everything in the classrooms is a total waste.For kindergarten, don’t need it. Then bad results from kindergarten don’t have to hold.E.g., for the example I know, I just started in the first grade and never went to kindergarten, pre-school, etc.Uh, to get to middle school at, say, the 7the grade, have 6 years to learn that stuff. That should be plenty of time, just from work evenings, weekends, and summers assuming that all the class time is a total waste.Again, see what I wrote for Charlie.Or education is not a spectator sport. Instead, for learning, especially K-12, study the stuff. For more, again, read what I wrote for Charlie.Ah, about the hardest math course I ever took was from Kelley, General Topology. It was a reading course. That means that the prof just listened, I lectured, and I did all the exercises. It worked great!

  20. onowahoo

    Few years ago I would have called anyone who was for UBI a communist. However, after learning more about it and hearing many of Alberts talks, I’m not so sure. The future with UBI described by people like Albert is desirable to me, but I can’t help but be sceptical that it just wouldn’t work as described.The dichotomy that you described in your post is similar to how I feel about Universal Healthcare. As a human, I can’t understand how any American would be denied healthcare and treatment because of money. However, I have some family members in medicine that are directly affected by Obama Care and from a selfishly rational perspective, I should be against it.

  21. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Banks are large universities, and alternative lenders are community college. Banks are broken for poor people and unprofitable businesses. But are perfect for everyone else. Large college debt is broken for people that can’t compete in the job market, but seems to work out great for everyone else.Reality works great for happy people, drugs (virtual reality) works great for everyone else that need to escape reality. And so on.Perspective matters, and I think it’s important to be honest about that too.

  22. David C. Baker

    When you have the most currently visible political advocate of greater income equality refuse to disclose his finances because he is in the multi-millioniare class, you get a preview of how divisive this will be. 🙂

    1. DJL

      I don’t see how this computes. Hillary is also in the multi-millionaire class, is she not? (But her money has been laundered by the Clinton Foundation – not earned.) Democrat policies create income inequality. Trump is trying to let Capitalism work. He has proven that he can create jobs. I’m not sure how being rich is bad when Hillary and Bill are nearly as rich.

      1. Alex Murphy

        Money laundering? Where does this come from? The mis information that is swirling around hrc is ludicrous. She had done plenty of things wrong, but the non profit foundation taking donations that get turned into grants, funding research and activities outside of government spending is a great way of tackling some of societies biggest problems without the tax payer footing the the bill.The fact that people make donations and then have other business with the government is anything other than shocking. Get real.

        1. DJL

          I am getting real. Have you actually seen the email and details of what is going on at the Clinton Foundation? HRC not only co-mingled her email, time and money with the Foundation, there are many well documented “pay to play” scenarios where people got favors from her in her role as S of State after they donated to the Foundation. Then there are the speaking fees to Bill. This thing stinks to high heaven by any reasonable means of prudence. Not sure how you classify that as “mis-information.”

          1. Alex Murphy

            Trump saying that the Clintons are making hundreds of millions, and then all of his puppets repeating that claim over and over, and then Fox repeating it over and over DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE!!There is ZERO evidence of any mishandling of funds.What there is, is a foundation that takes in 100s of millions of dollars from dozens of countries and rich people from around the world that is then used to do amazing work all around the world.Why is this labeled as bad? There was one email, saying that a person that donated asked for a meeting with someone … out of 1,000s of donations over the years … are you kidding? If you open the door for Lance Armstrong so he can walk through a door that doesn’t mean you are supportive of him, his ideas, or doping. It just means that you opened a door.Listen to the words between the two candidates. Only Trump goes around attacking people or all kinds, demonstrates an isolationist point of view, and is an absolute racist.The Republican party left the harbor when it started with the combined push from Fox and the Tea party. It is sad.There needs to be less absolutism, and more working together.

          2. DJL

            Hillary saying she is innocent and Trump is a racist – and then having her minions in the news media (CNN, NYT, CBS, PBS) repeating it over and over again does not make it true.

          3. Alex Murphy

            The difference being that we can watch Trump make his own statements, over and icer again and then judged them due ourselves. No need for anyone else to enter into the equation.You need look no further than the ridiculous response to the Kahns, but that one aside, he has a long history of xenophobic, racist, sexist comments in the first person.

          4. DJL

            Personally, I care more about policy than personality. I believe in limited government, secure borders and lower taxes. So I am voting for Trump based on those issues – not his warm personality.

          5. Alex Murphy

            Yes, his policies: Building a wall between us and our second largest trading partnerSupporting PutinWithdrawing support from NATO Disrespecting the second largest religion in the worldThat sounds so great!But what about what you don’t know about?Is he isolationist or free trade? All of his personal brand products are produced outside of the U.S. Is he for US only workers? He has hired illegal aliens multiple times. He says we need leadership to combat China. What do you think tpp is?. A unified front against China with many pac rim countries specifically set up to stand in opposition to China.At his core, he is a fraud. You have to be uncaring to run a casino. Regardless of the thrill, casinos are all about stacking the odds against you. It is a con. That is what he does, he stacks the odds and cons.His not stop warm personality as you put it, really is that he flat out lies and changes his position so frequently that there is no way to say what he believes explicitly. This is a great list of shifting views of Trump.…The one ing that is clear is he is willing to take from anyone and is all about his own personal brand. That is not a statesman, and it is not presidential.

          6. DJL

            These discussions are fun, but totally pointless. There is no way that any data I provide back to you is going to change your mind about Trump. You have every Liberal talking point against him. (Which the media faithfully pushes out from the Democrat party.)The same with me and HRC. At her core, she and Bill are not only frauds, but criminals the have put their own self interest ahead of the people for over 40 years. That is what I believe and there is no web site you can point to that will change my mind. Sad, but true. I guess we’ll see what happens at the poles.

          7. Alex Murphy

            I don’t think the debate is pointless.The reason I think these dialogues are worthwhile is that while you may be R and only R, I am hoping that other independents that are trying to determine what to do will see Trump for who he is and they will be motivated to go out and vote on election day.Politics has become more about which team you are on, as if it were a similar choice of deciding you are either a Jets fan or a Giants fan, rather than about the civil debate of worthwhile ideas vs ideas that are not.I am very much an independent, having voted for both the R and L sides of the aisle. My preferred candidate in this race all along was Kasich. I am sickened that he didn’t make it because of the incredible media coverage Trump got for his insane ideas and unacceptable treatment of reporters and other candidates. It fits with modern day sensationalism that drives reality TV shows, so I get it, but it is a horrible place for us to end up.I am not an HRC fan. However, I do have to look at the facts. I do my own research and I watch the candidates’ speeches. I am not happy with anything related to the email situation. I am not happy with the fact that she won’t do a press conference …. that one I find to be ridiculous. But the connection to the Foundation as being bad, that is one that has no evidence that has been surfaced.While not a fan of HRC, I think she is 1,000x better than Trump, its not even close. I understand you don’t agree. That is okay. Hopefully others will do their own research, read his tweets, read his policies, and come to their own conclusions that there is no way he can be our President.

  23. jason wright

    the limited scope of the Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (no rules about data storage, ownership, security et.c.) allowed the rise of Google, Facebook, Amazon, et.c. and the counter reaction is blockchain technology protocols.the limited scope of the traditional economic and money ‘protocols’ (no rules about wealth distribution, concentration, ‘fairness’ et.c.) has allowed the rise of the 1% club. the idea of universal basic income is a counter reaction ‘protocol’, the first of potentially many ‘protocol’ changes that will come because they are necessary when a socio economic system is broken, and it is broken.

    1. Alex Murphy

      The rise of the blockchain has not actually done anything of magnitude yet.However, the rise of huge businesses like Amazon and Google have given us instant access to all of the information that has ever existed in the palm of your hand AND less than 24 hour access to virtually any product that exists.The rise of the 1% club and the extreme wealth has created an environment for Aspirational goal setting that has created the safest, most healthy societal reality that has ever existed.While I am fully supportive of need to continue to improve and that things can and will be better, I flat out reject the idea that things are broken? “Broken” is the bull shit factually inaccurate drivel that comes out of the media and shitty candidates trying to spark fear to drive ratings and steal votes.

  24. JLM

    .There is a category of ideas which thrive on the notion of how radical they are and in that shock value generate note which belies their underlying essential goofiness. They are what I call “full belly” ideas as opposed to revolutionary ideas which are born of the desperation of an empty belly.The BIG is one such idea.Before we even think about it, let’s consider something more basic.Has capitalism served the United States well from a macro perspective?Before you answer, let’s consider personal freedoms and the unique American style of capitalism which is grounded in the desire in a man’s soul to obtain the fruits of his own labor and which is supported by the American Dream, which in its most basic formulation says that if you get up early, work late, work hard, study your profession — you should expect (note: EXPECT) to get your slice of the pie.Alternatively, we can erect a tent into which all may come and enjoy a basic level of support and thereby become a dependent of society and those who will provide for his welfare. [Who is going to fund the BIG when everyone is a slacker sitting under the tent? Someone has to erect the tent and maintain it, no?]In that fundamental collision — making one’s way in life and eating what you kill v becoming a house pet is the challenge. You cease to be a man and become a child for life.Capitalism, industry (in the sense of personal hard work), hard work, independence, freedom has delivered a standard of living unequaled in the world. With capitalism comes that great innovation — the swift kick in the ass which at the right time gets you motivated.We should risk that? Exactly why? For what outcome? There is not even a pig in this particular poke.On HGTV, one will see marvelous makeovers of houses by the Property Brothers and others. If you’ve never seen one of these shows stop reading now.They produce a spectacular, up-to-date, finished result by altering the house. They do not knock it down.As we approach the challenges of a continually changing society, let’s whack down a few walls. Let’s throw up some paint. Let’s not knock the freakin’ house down.Ahhh, capitalism. I love the smell of capitalism in the morning.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      I think you need to pen some op eds for the WSJ. If I could write as well as you that is what I would be doing.

  25. Pointsandfigures

    Fred, I have thought about this ever since Albert started writing about it. It’s a worthy thing to think about.I would apply the theory of basic income but in a different way. Earned Income Tax Credit and other public policy could be amended to accomplish the same outcome, but with the incentive of work.Arthur Brooks wrote about this in his book, The Conservative Heart. It’s worth a read for any liberal (and hard core conservative too). I am a hard core Libertarian and after reading the book see how there are certain ways government must provide a safety net for citizens.The problem with basic income is that we already have a massive welfare state It’s probably unrealistic to think that the government would get rid of that massive bureaucracy, all the office space, all the pensions and all the salaries in favor of a simple basic income check.Welfare isn’t being abused by everyone-but it’s being abused by a large enough percentage that it needs to be changed. We are seeing that as states change policies in Maine and other places. I am reminded of the anecdote: My wife was standing in line to get a CTA pass in Chicago. A person in front of her got a pass to ride any public transportation for free-they qualified. Another person was sitting in the waiting room and was so upset they cut in front of my wife and started screaming at the CTA employee that they wanted to ride for free too. The CTA employee took their pass, checked it out and replied, “Sir, you are already riding for free.”

    1. Anne Libby

      Coming from the other side of the AVC alsle (on some fronts) I think that UBI is magical thinking.Unless we somehow peg it to costs for housing, health care and education, I don’t see how it achieves the “everyone gets to be an entrepreneur/artist/community servant” objective that I feel is bandied about. I just don’t see this happening.#notaneconomist but I’m not sure that there’s simply one “the problem” with UBI.

      1. ShanaC

        Also, why would we want everyone to be an entrepreneur/artist/community servantThat’s bizarre. Some people need to do other things

        1. Anne Libby

          I didn’t make this up — this is part of some people’s case for UBI.

    2. DJL

      I am interested to understand how a Venture Capitalist, who makes his entire living off of Capitalism, becomes a Socialist. I’ll have to ask Albert, but am I the only one that finds this ironic?

  26. JLM

    .Education, today, fails to focus on outcomes. It is all about process and very little about the finished product. There is an aversion, by the education illuminati, to testing the efficacy of education.In my lifetime, a high school degree has become virtually meaningless where once upon a time it meant you knew how to write and had read some decent, thoughtful, inspiring literature.There is no doubt there are schools which produce a finished product which is better than its competitors. It costs money. My kids went to a private school which produced two children who breezed through college (which was cheaper than their middle school and high school) and are gainfully employed and paying taxes.We need to focus on creating useful members of society, taxpayers, economic independence and walk the cat backwards to from whence those results come.It will show up disguised as hard work and, therein, lies the rub.I went to a military school at the height of the VN War. Studied engineering. We had Saturday morning classes. In this simple difference was all the difference. My engineering peers were at the top of the stack as to first time success on the EIT (engineer in training test which is the first step of attaining a Professional Engineer designation). The school routinely is top 5 in the country to this day.The world does not need any more poets [This is a figurative statement. As a writer myself, I do not have anything against poets. Some of my best friends ……………….] We need people who can find jobs.This shows up in the nonsense of paying men to be unemployed while begrudging the same investment in retraining them for jobs that can be filled with additional training.We need to define the outcome — educated people able to get real jobs and, thereby, become taxpayers. We can do this.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Just don’t waste your time working hard on the wrong things, otherwise you’ll get to work hard at crawling out from the bus you were tossed under. Learned that one the hard way, once or twice.

      1. JLM

        .In the end, we don’t know where the character we develop and which serves us really comes from. I have learned way more in my life from failure than success.One day, it all just becomes apparent where the plan was headed the entire time.And, there is always a plan even if we don’t get it at the time.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  27. Zach Milam

    This makes me wonder what percentage of people:1) Believe that their job should not exist2) Would be financially devastated if that actually happenedThat’s not a good dynamic for employees or employers, although I suspect it’s increasingly common.

  28. iggyfanlo

    Basic income: It’s not Left, or right; just forward

  29. Frank W. Miller

    The partner book reference is really interesting, I’ll probably read this through. I’ve been thinking about the change in the scarcity assumption that underlies our traditional economic theories as well. A quick glance through the ToC and first chapter appears to yield my initial concern.While scarcity overall has moved in the direction that he asserts, human nature has not followed as quickly. There is still a lot of localized scarcity and he does not appear to address what a friend of mine referred to as the “thin veneer of civilization.” This is the tendency of people to eat each other when the slightest thing goes wrong, i.e. self-interest or greed. My cynicism also leads me to wonder why all you New Yorkers seem to want to have the govt. give everybody things and I wonder if its because you have to walk on the streets with people everyday and you don’t want them to knife you because your not sufficiently sympathetic to their plights.The problem is these basic elements of human nature have not changed so any utopian minimal income scheme is doomed I think. People must have something to struggle against and giving them a basic income causes too many to become demotivated. You might argue that its not necessary for everyone to be motivated since their basic needs are taken care of but we all know its not that simple. Somebody has to pay and I just don’t think we’ve gotten far enough to say that some subset group of the population can take care of everybody elses needs.

    1. Felix Dashevsky

      couldn’t have said it better.

  30. DJL

    This story of the woman illustrates perfectly how the Democrat party has trapped people into perpetual dependency by the promise of freebie’s and then scaring people to believe that they will fail/die if they are taken away. (Cut to image of Paul Ryan pushing Granny off a cliff for trying to save social security) The Unions have unfortunately been the money-laundering arm of the Democrats for decades. Just look what happens when some of their power is taken away (Cut to image of Wisconsin paid protests when Scott Walker saved the state from bankruptcy.)With all due respect to Albert (an others), “guaranteed income” is one of the silliest ideas ever proposed. Please show me ONE time when giving people something for nothing has helped them? People are helped by economic prosperity – not by government handouts.We are living the results of this failed idea today. Nearly HALF of all Americans are somehow dependent on the Government to live in some way. We have spent over 40 trillion dollars on poverty (since 1969), and yet the poverty level is the same or worse. This is simply not sustainable, because you can only tax “rich” people and “corporations” so much and the money runs out. It has never worked once, ever, anywhere.The way out of “the system” is to reverse the Liberal/progressive policies that have gotten us here. It does not require another massive government fix. It requires less government.This is precisely the choice in this upcoming election: Hillary wants to expand government, raise taxes, and continue to create a permanent under-class that is trapped into dependency (and voting Democrat) forever. Trump wants to unlock the natural benefits of capitalism that are drowning in regulations, bureaucracy and debt. And yet I see people prepared to pull the lever for Hillary because she has a (D) next to her name. The groups that vote Democrat are the ones hurt most by these policies – and yet it continues. The System is oiled. This what baffles many of us who consider ourselves conservative.

  31. Marc-Oliver

    What I really see is the issue here (and what might caused all the dilemmas in the first place); only a superior race, white and male are discussing and commenting.

  32. kidmercury

    advocates of UBI should put the math forward. spoiler: it won’t add up…..

  33. LE

    I think it is worth a shot to be honest.You say that as if it’s like “hey let’s try that new Indian restaurant that opened up on Staten Island!!”.As if it’s easy to unravel something that would be more complicated than Brexit if it didn’t work. Ok in all fairness since you are obviously talking about trying it in small confined setting first, I’d like to see the specifics and implementation details that show how the test area(s) are representative of what would happen on a country wide scale. How the economy would be impacted by these changes that would drastically alter how people live today. [1] (We can talk about as only one detail housing cost inflation similar to what happened with college cost when government money became abundant and the cost of that just continued to increase).[1] Then we can have fights on both sides with different parties challenges the underlying numbers that make up the conclusions.

  34. Todd Lash

    I was trying to explain to my college senior daughter that the disruption we’ve seen in the manufacturing sector due to combined globalization and automation is coming for white collar work when AI hits it’s stride in the next decade. Call centers, radiologists, doesn’t matter.The broader point is that there’s enough value being created to support some basic safety net for everyone. Nobody is suggesting that incentives for value creation be abolished or that people are “trapped” because there’s a floor short of abject poverty that is provided.We as a society need to figure out what we’re going to do when unemployment reaches much higher levels due to technology in order to head off much more serious societal problems. Multiply the Trump camp by 2 or 3x for a glimpse of the unplanned future.

  35. Hunter

    It really confuses me how Americans hate both taxes and social support programs. However, none will argue against the fact that an educated, healthy workforce is a critical to maintaining our place as a global competitor. Our people are a form of infrastructure for our society…and just like our innumerable crumbling bridges, our skills and capabilities are rusting and threatening to collapse.Two personal stories that came to mind:First – I took a class a few years ago called “Reimagining Capitalism.” The goal of the class was to get us thinking about how the version of capitalism that led us to the great civilization we have today is unlikely to sustain our success going forward, and what we can do to address the “really big issues” In one particular class, we had a big debate around the relationship between social mobility and income inequality, particularly related to access to education and healthcare. One of my classmates made a comment about how education and healthcare should not be an issue because everyone has equal access to this through public programs. I pushed back because I felt this was overwhelming naive…how can someone say public education, alone, could possible be enough?? Had she ever seen a school in a low-income district?! Had she followed any of the massive issues with public healhchare programs?! But then I talked to the professor afterwards about this, and she explained how this particular classmate is from Germany, where they have a strong social support system. Education through university is covered, even for foreigners! (see:… Turns out I was the naive one here…Second – I knew a doctor who made a million dollars in a year….but in a conversation he was complaining about how he had to pay $250,000 in taxes. He was so upset that the government takes “what he has earned.” But…here’s the thing…a majority of his patients are on Social Security and Medicare. I’m guessing at least 60% of his income comes directly from tax-supported programs. Yet he feels strongly against the government taking “his money” and giving “handouts.”Here’s why these two stories came to mind: The majority of the remaining 40% of that doctor’s pay is likely paid through insurance, which is in turn paid for by people making good money at jobs they landed thanks to their education. I can’t say whether or not I agree blindly with a “universal basic income.” But I will say that I support seeing Americans not having to stress over the basic necessities to survive, much less compete. I strongly believe investing in this part of the infrastructure, even at the cost of paying taxes, will result in a better future for everyone. Rising waters lifts all boats…but we are currently floating in a lake, in a drought, with a broken dam.(and no, building a wall will not fix the competition issue. It will only hasten our brain drain…but that’s a topic for another day)

    1. ShanaC

      Who was the professor for this class. It sounds interesting and I’d like to see the course material

  36. sigmaalgebra

    I have two responses:=== First Response.When enough people are benefiting from, and dependent on, a corrupt system, then corruption is no longer the small exception but the norm, and we are on the way to a fully corrupt society.=== Second Response.Maybe someone can explain to me how in the polls Hillary is still close to winning the election for POTUS?Indeed, also explain to me how the Democrat party could have nominated her?I don’t get it: Except for Bill, I can’t see who the heck would vote for Hillary.Why?(1) Because apparently Hillary is nasty.Evidence:(A) There is a recent book by a former US Secret Service agent who worked a lot in the White House when Bill Clinton was President. According to that book, for Hillary, “nasty” is putting it mildly.(B) There is a claim by a former pilot of Air Force One that claims that in the plane Hillary was nasty, screaming, etc.(C) When the coffins came back from Benghazi, close to the coffins, US Secretary of State Hillary told the families of the victims that the cause of the attack in Benghazi was, IIRC, “that awful YouTube video” when apparently she knew and had already told her daughter and the leader (President, Prime Minister?) of Egypt that the attack was terrorism. That was a nasty thing to do to the families.Since then, apparently Hillary has accused some of the family members of failing to remember correctly what was said at the coffin ceremony. Really nasty.(D) Apparently Hillary was nasty to some of the women Bill apparently raped.(E) From an audio recording, apparently Hillary was nasty about how she used a technicality to free a man of about 40 who raped a girl of 12 so violently that the girl needed internal stitches and could never have children.(2) Hillary lies, in public, apparently nearly always.Seeing video clips of Hillary lying, she looks really sincere like she is telling the truth. She looks like a great liar, a really good actress. It appears that she lies, commonly, easily, without fear, embarrassment, shame, or concern.Evidence:(A) As in (1) (C) above, Hillary lied about Benghazi.(B) She is accused of lying under oath to a committee of Congress about Benghazi.(B) From oceans of news reports, she has lied over and over about the content of the e-mail messages she had on her home, DIY e-mail server and used when she was US Secretary of State.(C) She lied about there being no connection between her work as Secretary of State and her role in the Clinton Foundation.(D) In the last few weeks, she lied about what General Powell told her about his use of e-mail and what he recommended for her.(E) She lied when she claimed that what she did as US Secretary of State with her home, DIY e-mail server was permitted by the State Department.(3) Apparently Hillary is seriously crooked, a crook with many serious violations of important laws.Evidence:(A) Back to Arkansas, as a lawyer, apparently Hillary took the money and, as Governor, Bill gave corresponding favors.(B) When Hillary was US Secretary of State, apparently Bill and/or the Clinton Foundation took the money, and Hillary delivered the corresponding favors, e.g., for Ericsson and for UBS.(C) Apparently some of Clinton’s statements to the FBI about the Clinton Foundation were lies. IIRC lying to the FBI is a crime.(D) Apparently some of what Hillary told Congress under oath about Benghazi were lies; that is called perjury and is a crime.(E) Some of what Hillary did in threatening some of the women Bill raped sounds like an accessory to rape and a crime.(F) FBI Director Comey stated that some of what Hillary did as US Secretary of State was being “extremely careless” in handling US classified information, some of which was marked at the time classified higher than Top Secret. Mayor Giuliani has claimed that according to a law dictionary “extremely careless” is the first example of “gross negligence” which is the sole criterion of section (f) of the US Espionage Act.(4) Due to what FBI Directory Comey said as in (3) (F), Hillary could never pass an FBI background check for handling any US national security classified information.This point should mean that now, during the campaign, as the nominee of the Democrat party, Hillary should not receive the standard US national security briefings. Also, as POTUS, she could have nothing to do with US national security and, thus, couldn’t be the US Commander in Chief.And about half of the US voters want to vote for her instead of Trump?I don’t get it. What is it about Hillary people like so much that they are so willing to overlook her record?My US Congressman is Chris Gibson, Ph.D., Colonel, US Army, Retired.Gibson looks terrific. That Gibson and Hillary could be on the same planet is beyond me.Whatever planet Hillary is on, I want to be somewhere else.Gibson has to be from a different planet. Let’s all go there.

  37. Marshall Taplits

    I understand why people are pushing for a universal basic income, but here is the issue I have with it… Let’s say that a single country such as the USA produces everything it needs and agrees as a society that via taxation or money printing the government will give everyone a universal basic income. In theory that “could” work.However if a country such as the USA imports products from other countries, such as China, Bangladesh etc, then those people needed to work to produce the goods. Those goods are sold to Americans. The Americans got the money from their government for free. That makes me feel like we have a new modern version of colonization or a modern day slavery. Part of the world is working to produce products for the other side of the world who is consuming those products without having to work.It seems to me that the main argument for a universal basic income is that we have so much production now and it doesn’t require so many people to work anymore. However where the argument falls apart is that we didn’t actually create unlimited production, we just outsourced the jobs to lower cost and less regulated production centers.If we did produce everything in the USA *and* we had a surplus of production without the need for so much labor, that would be an entirely different conversation. However that is simply not the case.

  38. PA Shapiro

    I wrote a piece of short fiction a few weeks ago regarding basic income:…One of the points of the story is, if even the slimiest, greediest investor could see the potential in giving no-strings attached money, they could cause a major disruption in the system you’re describing.Now obviously, I’d prefer to see more compassionate approaches to the problem, but people with cash to invest (like VCs) are the ones most readily available to prove that basic income can work.

    1. DJL

      I read these. They seem to conclude that this would be a dead end. Tech Review has some of the most detailed reporting on issues, but they also fall over to left-leaning bias in many articles. My Alma-mater has lost a lot of scientific objectivity.

      1. bfeld

        Those damn lefties.

    2. ShanaC

      Thank you brad

  39. Nick Hencher

    I thought this comment encapsulated the positive of implementing a basic income plan.After the Swiss rejection of a proposal…

  40. Mark Essel

    The moment a third party wants to pay my bills, I’ll probably squint at them funny. I don’t think we can rely on a social system that takes care of our (basic) needs that way, but I’m intrigued by it.Seems counter to everything I understand, work + save + invest to survive and thrive.

  41. Tom Labus

    You have to be in the game to be able to score some runs. Newark (and others like it) is way out of the game and it is by fluke only that people make it out of there.If there can be some basic financial security done, I’m for exploring the possibility.There are parts of Newark that were never rebuilt after the riots on the 60’s. No grocery store. A very different world.

  42. hypermark

    Great story. Two takeaways. One, is there any better example of the notion that what you incent is what you reap? This woman has conflicting incentives, and her behaviors are governed by that WAY more so than any personal value. Never underestimate the ability of people to convince themselves of **anything** when their livelihood or lives depend on it. We see this truth play out in industry after industry.Two, is that as a society, we seem to have lost our sense of empathy. It’s too easy for people to cite macro numbers that show things getting better in the macro sense, and stick their head in the ground about the sheer numbers falling through the floor and giving up, the gutting of the middle class and the increasing sense of a loaded system.One thinks back to the Reagans, who were completely anti-stem sell research on the basis of conservative values — until Ron got Alzheimers. Then they became advocates. Empathy would be the ability to put yourself in the actual shoes of the suffering.

  43. Pete Griffiths

    If we’re going to explore the role of the state, let’s get technical, so here is our required reading for next week:”Anarchy, State and Utopia” Nozick.”Taking Rights Seriously’ Dworkin

  44. Emi Gal

    Robert Greenstein, possibly the biggest supporter of public programs that affect low and moderate-income families and individuals has actually written a pretty compelling essay against UBI. Worth a read. Here… and

  45. creative group

    Upvotes went right down party line and party view.If we used the Knuclehead moniker (Which was humorous) there wouldhave been the outcry in the corner on how we are breaking the civility lineof Purple Barnie I love you, you love me between politically different views that will never have a Kumbaya My Lord moment in politics. It is apparent talking points and partyviews dictate views on this board. Fred is fortunate and seized opportunities presented and still can admit and understand the plight of those less fortunate. It doesn’t mean you can’t have empathy for someone without thinking you need to show apathy.#Termlimits#Unequivocally&UnapologeticallyIndependent#TrueIndependent

  46. Matt A. Myers

    Basic guaranteed income solves most if not all of the foundational problems that lead to bad decisions, forced decisions between the lesser of two evils, and will very quickly allow cultures to develop and for the most successful ones to thrive. Actually implementing it will be easy once you have someone who’s allowed to direct resources as needed. I’d vote for Albert for President, if I was a US citizen; he really should go for it, he’s articulate and sane, and has the CV and network to cover all bases. Go for it Albert, please.

    1. JLM

      .Uhhhh, why can’t people just make better decisions without having to be supported by those who did not?Kind of a simple approach, I know.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  47. george

    In a corporation, if a critical system is broken, who is accountable/responsible? These issues are primarily a result of poor centralized leadership/management, misaligned resource spending and the numerous agency costs associated with a very deficient legislative budgeting process. I think Albert is right on one level – accessibility for advanced education but I’m not sold on UBI, the vehicle.I like Peter Drucker’s point of view – “businesses, government agencies, non-profits– must become institutions of learning and teaching as well. Schools, increasingly, must work in partnership with employers and employing organizations.” Reform needs to consider the numerous new and decentralized touch points required for critical learning in the new era; the value chain is shifting away from money=access=need for society.

  48. Karen Zimmerman

    I recommend you watch John Oliver’s brilliant expose on charter schools that aired this past Sunday.

  49. Spencer

    “Not working”…I am not a buyer. That is a surface reaction which is clearly devoid of ALL OF THE FACTS.Mainly, this POV requires one to make the blanket assumption this persons circumstances are THE REASON and CAUSE to have prevented ‘the system’ from working. That is wrong headed. She like ALL OF US, made many choices which determined her current situation. She had the opportunity to make choices across the course of her life which opened the same doors as everyone else in the system. The choices she made, were the limiting factors for her life. Whether that was moving to another city, taking more schooling, studying more, whatever…those choices determined where she is…not the system. She is not the victim of the system.The second sellout is to tell and live a two faced lie about her true beliefs. If she had honored her PERSONAL integrity, she would protesting the protesters. Why? BECAUSE SHE DOESN”T BELIEVE OR AGREE WITH THEM. To pick up a sign…that is HER selling out.$0.02

  50. baba12

    how many here reading this blog have seen the documentary “requiem for the american dream”? If you haven’t seen it then please do.Many of the problems we have are explained better and the USV’s of the world aren’t invested in any companies that may help change the way things are, make it better for the few and make for a greater level of inequality. Read the book “who owns the future” by Jaron Lanier as well and maybe it make you think differently.USV invests in companies that build networks, ie glorified middlemen like Twitter and Etsy etc, they provide a platform that once built and marketed doesn’t need a lot of nurturing but can milk the system for a long long time.Thats the smart way to invest very low risk and hopefully one of many investments in the networks will pay off.Charter schools and destroying Unions helps a few…The woman is unable to read between the lines and or connect the dots that have put her in the predicament she finds herself in.

  51. sachmo

    Although I lean progressive on most issues, I have to agree with Andy on this one. I think a universal income would be a *terrible* idea.As a guy in his early 30s, I’m struck by how many men I know that are my age that don’t have what you might call a real job or career. There is a significant demographic that spend their days playing video games. For the most part they are dependent on handouts from either the gov’t or their parents… and maybe some work part-time or run small gig type jobs.What a universal income would do is enable even more people to opt-out of our labor force and play video games all day… you may think I’m generalizing, I’m not. It’s depressing to see this wasted potential.How about public policy that rewards people when they are *engaged* with the labor force?Maybe something along the lines of for every year of continuous full-time employment (whether self-employment or thru an employer) you get a $100 tax credit at the end of the year, w/ a 10 year cap at $1k.As an aside, I think it’s completely irrational that a woman would spend the morning pushing to have her son accepted into a charter school, and then attend a charter school protest. I mean you either believe that charter schools have a positive social impact or a negative social impact — there are arguments for both sides, but supporting both is a willful act of cognitive dissonance. I mean, let’s consider — what if her son gets into the charter school, and her protest succeeds and they close it one year later? Is this not the textbook definition of insanity?If this sort of decision-making is present in other aspects of this person’s life, is it really the government’s responsibility to ensure that this person has a comfortable life? I think public policy at best should nudge people in the right direction. I don’t think that the government should be responsible for people’s happiness.Up until 1850 or so, most people died by the age of 30. Life was hard. For most of human history, we’ve relied on ourselves to get by. I understand that modern society has created vast wealth, but it’s not for the government to promise everyone’s happiness. I think the government needs to create an even playing field and let people make their own choices in life, and if necessary reap the consequences of those choices.

  52. awaldstein

    i am sure it is with everything that touches the population.its one thing for a cable company to labor over whether to change pricing to build for the future.quite another when it comes to taxes, education, safety and sanitation and the like.

  53. Dan T

    I did not realize that there was entity that could govern the entire universe

  54. Mike Zamansky

    Yes – easier to ignore that poverty thing and great point about private interests.Of course poverty brings us back to UBI.When I read about Uber’s automated fleet the other day two thoughts went through my mind:- exciting times, getting closer to a time where UBI is possible.- I just don’t see how we’re going make the transition without some very painful times to those least prepared to deal with them.

  55. Rob Underwood

    As a school board (community education council) member here in Brooklyn and former CTO of Relay Graduate School, I would say there are at least 3 different categories of charter in NYC.The first is schools like Uncommon and Achievement First, which primarily are located in low(er) income communities and serve mostly economically disadvantaged minority children whose families often, though not always, dont have the greatest district/zone school choices.The second are what a colleague on our CEC calls “birdhouse experience unit” schools for the children of folks who went to schools like Middlebury and Bowdoin and want a “more progressive approach” (which in “brooklyn parent speak” means “just enough students of color but not too many and definitely not a majority”) to education. These charters are often, though not always, quite small and feel at times in style like private schools.The third is Success Acaedmy which is a category onto its own now.

  56. sigmaalgebra

    In the words of a famous ad for canned tuna, “Sorry Charlie”! There in PA, do they have a lot of really funny stuff to smoke?I mean, you are talking about schools. Okay: That’s a.k.a. baby sitting to keep the kids off the streets.But, oh, I misunderstood! Sorry ’bout that! You are also talking about education? Gee, both apples and oranges?So, if you are interested in education, what the heck is this stuff about the schools, the baby sitting?To be more clear, no wonder the kids aren’t learning much: Sitting all those hours in baby sitting, it’s tough to learn much of anything!So, there is an interest in learning, you say? Okay, good, I can appreciate that. Then, let’s get started:First, have some people write some books. Have, say, 10 books, all to do the same thing, all in competition.The books? Right, explain to parents and students how to learn the material they should learn in K-12.Second, in those books, have some advice:(A) To leave more time for learning, minimize time in K-12 baby sitting. Did I mention it’s tough to learn during baby sitting? It is.(B) Provide a curriculum with materials, typically books, maybe some video clips. IMHO, the clips have to be much better than, say, Khan Academy or use just the books. At least for most of the most important material, there are lots of good books.(C) Outline how the parents and students can measure the students’ progress.(D) Outline how occasionally, in case of difficulty, the parents can call in a tutor, say, for an hour a few times.That’s it. For parents and students interested in learning, that’s it.Using essentially just that approach, can go all the way through a high end Ph.D. I know: That’s essentially what I did. And I did that while wasting huge amounts of time in classrooms and make work, busy work, junk think, nonsense.E.g., I did quite well in plane geometry. And, of course, for all those hours in plane geometry class, I had my head down and was trying to sleep. Why? With all that noise the teacher was making, certainly couldn’t do any plane geometry! So, out of class, with the book, I learned plane geometry.E.g., freshman calculus? Due to family finances, I did my freshman year in a college selected because it was cheap and I would walk to it. But that college wouldn’t let me take calculus and, instead, forced me into a math class beneath what I’d already learned in high school. So a girl told me when the tests were, and I showed up only for those. The teacher said I was the best math student he ever had. Uh, I wasn’t really “his student”!Meanwhile, actually to learn something and not fall behind in math, I got a good calculus book and dug in. GREAT FUN! The next year the family finances let me go to a better college, one that had one heck of a good math department, and there I started on their sophomore calculus, from the same text Harvard used, and made A’s easily. So, I never took, or got credit for, freshman calculus.Took it? Nope. Learned it? Yup. Later did a lot in more advanced versions of calculus, taught calculus, applied calculus (once used some calculus to save FedEx from going out of business), published peer-reviewed original research in calculus, and have applied some original research I did in calculus. Yup, I learned some calculus.For three my five Ph.D. qualifying exams, I made the best score in the department in material I had largely or entirely taught myself. In one case, the computing, I’d taught it but never taken a course in it. In another case, I’d learned nearly all of it before I took a course in it. For the third, I’d taken a course but at the time mostly concentrated on some more advanced math and my honors paper; I learned the material well by teaching it to myself later.What I am saying is well known to be true quite broadly — for learning, including academic learning as a relatively easy case, really should have some guidance of a good outline, and otherwise it is just super important, likely well over half of all that is important, for the students to teach themselves.I can hear the objection now: “Won’t work for our students.”Well, let me guess: Those same students have been doing really well teaching themselves about sports, especially basketball, right? No curriculum, no books, no tutorial videos, no tests, etc., right?

  57. JLM

    .More, please.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  58. ShanaC

    How are uncommon / achievement first performing in comparison to a fully funded in District/ in zone school.

  59. ShanaC

    I should explain why I posted what I didPublic Schools come out of a mill idea of an old school libertarian/liberal idea if an educated public can make its own choices, which means that the state has to be paternalistic to make sure that children get a basic education, as well as a puritan tradition of actual community public Bible schools to make sure that thier children could read the Bible (and do some basic writing and arithmetic).So are charters doing a good job at fulfilling that sort of basic tradition/need

  60. andyswan


  61. Alex Murphy

    Just in from Accuweather … there is a chill in the land downstairs. 🙂

  62. Pointsandfigures

    Andy, we need to go to PA and break bread with Charlie.

  63. Rob Underwood

    Anything in particular? Didn’t want to get too far from the core themes and topic …

  64. Pointsandfigures

    Private companies break dams faster than government bureaucracies. Ease regulations on education-allow the private sector to come in. Watch.

  65. Salt Shaker

    Seattle–arguably the most liberal city in North America–is exploring some radical ideas on the drug front. The city is exploring a concept of creating “safe houses” where addicts can “safely” indulge rather than doing so in public restrooms, parks, alleys, etc. These would be supervised facilities where addicts can get clean needles and anti-overdose meds, in addition to other medical attention as needed. Sounds crazy? Absolutely, but it’s an acknowledgement that current systems, programs and laws have largely been grossly ineffective curtailing drug abuse.

  66. Salt Shaker

    Hardcore drugs are called “controlled substances” for a reason. Enabling may reduce cost, crime, etc., but it’s not necessarily solving a basic healthcare problem for those indulging. You may very well see a spike in drug related deaths, although the burden shifts from law enforcement, criminal justice, penal, etc., to the user, where it perhaps belongs anyway. The current system is broken and has been, well, forever.

  67. LE

    I kind of wish he did more of that actually. That way we know what he is really thinking and feeling. Anything that is less politically correct is generally better in my book when the other person draws first blood. Andy didn’t have to use the word ignorant but he choose to do so.

  68. JLM

    .Calling a friend “knucklehead” is borderline bromance, so I am siding w/ Freddie on this beef.Lighten up, Mr. Sensitivity.Now, using the word “fucking” — that is very offensive to me and makes me need to retreat to my safe place and get a deep tissue massage.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  69. andyswan

    I took it as a friendly funny jab. Even if it wasn’t, who gives a rip…bring it on MUTHAFUCKAS!!! 🙂

  70. ShanaC

    Thank you. I pulled an all night error for unknown reasons and then crashed.And yes, fred deserved that

  71. LE

    All drugs? Where is the line drawn?

  72. LE

    I was primed because I’ve been watching Gladiator (Russel Crowe) on Netflix for the last 2 nights.

  73. LE

    I went to high school in the 70’s at a liberal quaker school and at the time they were deciding whether they should allow kids to smoke or not. (It was a boarding school and they were already going into the woods to do it as it was). What I remember was they said there were 3 types of kids (simplistically). Those that would do it no matter what, those that would never do it (that would be me), and those in between. They were worried about the ones in between and decided to not allowing smoking.The fact is that controlled substances in the hands of people (both stupid and smart) is not a good thing. Not everyone has will power and common sense. I simply can’t see how someone can argue to allow people to buy drugs. Marijuana maybe is a different story I guess because the evidence is that it’s not harmful or at least not harmful enough in the proper circumstances to not legalize it.At my wife’s hospital I hear literally a story a day about losers that are inpatients and there drug problems. It’s almost as if everyone in there has a drug issue or at least a substantial portion of them. I simply can’t see how making drugs more easily available is going to be better despite the downside.As far as poor people getting thrown in jail and targeted more than people with money so throw more resources at people with money and throw them in jail as well. Start stopping people like me in nice cars for not having a front license plate and bring on the drug dog to see if there is pot in my car (or some other substances).

  74. Alex Murphy

    Probably better idea is to redefine those that are swept up in the drug war as being sick rather than criminals. And being sick we should attack the sickness rather than the people.

  75. JLM

    .Pure total nonsense — “we’ve criminalized poverty” — words which mean nothing.We’ve turned poverty into a business in the US. Only in the US can someone be “in” poverty and be paid for being in that state of grace.There is nothing wrong with being poor — a way station on the road to where you’re going. Let us help these folks down the road but the wake up time is early and some assembly will be required.Poverty is a political distinction which creates an opportunity rich environment.The war on poverty, the Great Society has been incredibly successful, politically, as it has created a subservient, dependent slice of America which sits up, begs, takes, rolls over, and votes Democrat.What we have done is to create a plantation far worst than any other ever imagined. We have killed initiative.People vie to become dependent because it pays. It literally pays.We need a safety net, not a safety hammock.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca….

  76. JLM

    .You are confusing behavior with a financial state of being.There are many behaviors which are properly criminalized. Even when done by poor people.There is no criminalization of the state of being poor.But the poor, like everyone else, is responsible for the consequences of their behavior.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  77. LE

    Didn’t read the article but I am sure it is the form of:a) Find outlier casesb) Present a “to be sure” example for good measurec) Conclude without actually showing a true representation of how being tough keeps more people in line then the ones who end up in a sucky position.It’s lazy journalism. Possibly (since I don’t have the full picture I don’t know for sure).My point is how do we know the other side of how many people were kept in line by the tough rules? We just have the sad sacks.Here is a case I have with a commercial tenant of mine. She is actually a LCSW (social worker). So she is newly divorced and both her mother (an LCSW) and her rent offices. The mother pays on time but the daughter is always late, like 10 days or so. So I send her text reminders which she ignores. Finally she pays and pays a $50 late fee as well. When her mother asked me if she paid on time I told her no. I expected her mother to pay her rent to save her the $50 late fee. Her mother said “she is 46 and has to learn to do this like I do. I am not going to help her I already paid for her divorce”. So I collect an extra $50 because this woman can’t scrounge up the rent on time and her mother won’t help her out. They are white and iim jewish as well. The $50 is found money for me. I have zero cost if the rent is late.Now of course I could easily let her slide and pay on the 15th instead of the first. But she is making no attempt to pay on time. And her own mother (nice lady btw) won’t make the situation right. And give them an inch and the next thing you know it will be 30 days late. (I’ve had this before and it’s aggravating to deal with..)My dad used to have tenants that gave him a check every month on time, post dated, with the late fee included. He would take the money but he would help them with advice and contacts in other ways. When they moved out they would send him thank you letters for his advice and help. So I guess they got their money’s worth.

  78. Girish Mehta

    Where is this safe place you keep retreating to everytime JLM ?

  79. Richard


  80. Amar

    It might be a Texas thing 😉 I moved to glorious ATX back in ’99 and soon figured out that if someone called me a “knucklehead” especially someone I respected, that was a win. The yanks may be missing that interpretation — now 17 years later, I use knucklehead only with people I care deeply about and have strong affection for.”Fuck” or “asshole” on the other hand ……

  81. Alex Murphy

    They call it Texas.

  82. sigmaalgebra

    > how very good for youIt’s not about me. It’s about education, you know, that school board you serve on.What I am saying here should be really good news for your students, their parents, the teachers and schools, your school board, you, the local politicians, and the taxpayers.Maybe you don’t like the source of the good news. Okay: Use the good news and, then, just don’t tell the people in PA where you got the ideas! Keep all the credit for yourself!Net, the parents and students who are highly concerned have a very feasible and effective, even quite superior, alternative — the one I outlined, basically just learn the darned material at home.For an example, I used the one I know best, my own.Or, in blunt terms, that’s why often in good schools the students are given a lot of homework — so that they can actually learn the darned material, right, get the learning that so many hours in that good school failed to give them.> Talk to me about your conscious and unconscious biases.I’m not biased; instead I just observed and then, here, guessed. The better test is, was my guess correct?Don’t look at me. Instead look at the US Olympic Basketball team. They didn’t look Jewish, Chinese, or Hispanic to me! They didn’t look English, Swedish, French, German, Italian, or Russian, either.We really want political correctness to close our eyes to simple reality?When it’s true, then noticing it’s true is not bias but just observing reality.I’m not the ogre you assume, assuming you assume I’m an ogre!!!!E.g., my Weed Eater trimmer quit — the head fell apart. So, at Home Depot, they called the floor expert guy, and we talked. I was considering a trimmer head very different from the Weed Eater one that have to tap to feed the mono-filament line. Saying that the line breaks too often and, then, is too much bother to re-thread, that just on my front, brick walk I went through a whole spool of about 20 yards of line, the expert said:Keep the trimmer away from fences, bricks, and walls and for the grass between the bricks of the walk use Roundup.I said that I’d used Roundup in the past and it worked GREAT, but I didn’t want my kitty cat to walk on Roundup.He said to keep my kitty cat indoors.I said, okay, but also at the end of the walk there is a ground hog, and I didn’t want him walking on Roundup either.He had no response.Gee, I didn’t think to invite the ground hog inside!But I got the new trimmer head.There is a concern: Put down a football with the laces up. With forearm vertical, put thumb on one side of the laces and fingers on the other side. Then spin the ball as fast as can on the vertical axis.Surprise: The ball will stand up and spin on one of its two points. Cute physics.Well, similarly for the head of a trimmer: If are not careful with the stability of the head, then can get the spinning head, like the football, to want a different axis of rotation and can bend the shaft of the trimmer. The Weed Eater instructions mention that different heads might bend the shaft.The instructions for the new head were complicated, with four approaches, with small type, with poorly defined terminology and poor illustrations. I gave up. But the next day I just looked at the parts and saw a solution, really not one of the four in the instructions.So, in part, I kept the huge hex nut that forms a surface perpendicular to the shaft for the head to press against and, thus, keep the axis of rotation of the head perpendicular to the surface of the huge hex nut and, thus, along the original direction of the shaft.The new head worked great on what was left of the grass on the bricks. No Roundup used in that grass work! And kitty cat still indoors!There is one more example: I have a friend who went to an NYC school where nearly all the other students spoke using just different inflections of just two words, the first of which was mother. Somehow might guess that they were not good students, and the guess would be correct.In about the third grade, the friend was home with the flu, and his mother was shocked to discover that he couldn’t read. So, at home for two weeks, she taught him. He got PBK at SUNY, Ph.D. in applied math at Courant, and was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. When he saw the math I did for anomaly detection, his reaction was “brilliant!” Same reaction when he saw the math for my startup.Lesson: Really can learn the stuff at home.And for the work called “brilliant”, there’s no school class for that, anyway! Besides, in both cases, the work was original so that no teacher knew it as needed to teach it!In particular, don’t have to strain to get into some charter school. Instead, just learn the stuff at home. Certification for the learning? Sure, just get good scores on the CEEB tests.

  83. Rob Larson

    It can be “universal” within any defined geographic area. The question is, why are you so confident that the US border is the right place to draw the line? Reasonable people disagree as to the lasting benefits & costs of enacting such a program. Anyone that says they perfectly understand all the ramifications is lying or delusional.If we experiment at the US level, then we’d better hope it’s a net positive in a big way, because it will never be removed. If we pick a smaller geography, then we have the ability to watch and learn from the experiment.

  84. Pete Griffiths

    And Portugal which has completely decriminalized ALL drug use. It is now (very successfully) managed as a public health problem.

  85. Pete Griffiths

    Yep. As Portugal does.

  86. Pete Griffiths

    It should probably not be drawn at all. This is a very hard pill to swallow but if we look at where drawing no line as actually been tried as official state policy – Portugal – and where the policy instead is on treating it as a public health crisis with programs designed not to charge and imprison but to support with rehab etc the results have been extremely encouraging.

  87. ShanaC

    There is a book I was recently reccomended, “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” that advises that as long as you are not being personally hurt/abused, don’t draw a line, because the basic reason most people get addicted to anything, be it drugs or TV, is loneliness, an inability to connect and feel unconditional love. The doctor who wrote it both treats heavy drug users in Vancouver and tells his story about what his patients are like and then backs it up with academic studies.It’s apparently becoming a textbook for ER residents, especially in urban areas hit hard by the opiate crisis, because apparently it contains a lot of advice about both policy and personal treatment of how and why to treat addicted people, and why we react the way we do.

  88. Pete Griffiths

    This isn’t universally, true. There are lawsuits in process right now because of fines being levied on the indigent which even the court knows they can’t pay which results in more fines, time in jail etc. These people literally can’t pay the fine(s). In such circumstances at least we are criminalizing poverty.

  89. Lawrence Brass

    I would make the top x% of the population by income and equity pay for the bottom x% ‘safety net’ costs and heavily tax stashed money, except for the pension funds. What would be the value of x to make that viable?While on the safety net you would be out of the system and under (smart) state surpervision, coaching, education.

  90. Alex Murphy

    “Help them down the road” ….I have been traveling a lot lately and have been thinking about this.I have seen more and more people just walking up asking for money. At the gas station, in store parking lots, camped out in front of retail shops like the girl scouts … except they aren’t selling anything.My general thought is why doesn’t this person try to add some value … something, even if it is a little.For example, I need gas money, can I wash your windows for you? For example, I picked these flowers, would you like to buy some?Something, anything, add some value, don’t just ask for a handout for nothing.I don’t hand out money. Instead, I will buy something from inside the store such as a large water and some cliff bars. Something to get them down the road a little, but a handout seems like it is reinforcing something really bad.

  91. PhilipSugar

    You know me. I want a higher minimum wage. I want tax credits for those that hire U.S. citizens and don’t outsource work.I can go on. But you have to have the tough discussion.Has anybody here had a spouse that headed up medical for a major prison? I have.Did she tell you how bad some of those people are, every single day to decompress?I have.I want to have the hard talk, not the easy talk.We agree more than we don’t, but I want to have the hard talk.

  92. LE

    Yeah my wife deals with the druggies at her job as well.Funny story. One day outside of starbucks they were collecting for some drug rehab group being run upstate NJ. Former drug addicts with pamphlets collecting money. Table set up. So I am in no way a bleeding heart at all but for some reason it touched me and I felt the need to feel good about myself by giving them some money. God knows I also had a discussion with them and thought “wow I wish I could use these guys to do some work”. So I go home and tell my wife. She laughed at me literally. And thought I was being a schmuck. All she gets everyday day is the same lies and sob stories with people wanting her to prescribe pain drugs because they are addicts. (So she is jaded in other words). She has actually been threatened and the cops have been called they get so aggressive).Lot’s of this is also related to pain killer addiction which is as a result of overprescribing of pain meds by doctors.

  93. JLM

    .When one uses the term “indigent” in such a discussion, it is used typically in the context of obtaining a court appointed lawyer to provide a defense in a Federal criminal matter. A person petitions to be declared indigent, the court rules, and, if favorable, appoints a lawyer to provide the indigent person a defense.In such matters, the Feds are extremely generous as it relates to the payment of fines and restitution — the only two classes of “repayment” resulting from a Federal case.The Feds will not publish this but, generally, they will give you 5-6 years to pay a fine and the rest of your life to make restitution (usually at no more than 15% of AGI (adjusted gross income)).Further, I cannot think of a single crime for which there is not a separate sentencing hearing in which the defendant’s attorney is able to put into evidence facts pertaining to the ability of the defendant to “pay” any fine or restitution.So, the notion that a “poor” person is in further jeopardy in a Federal proceeding is inconsistent with what I know.As it relates to state law — of which I can only speak with some authority as it relates to Texas and Florida — the Judge is able to provide a payment plan almost without bounds.In traffic matters, the Judge can provide for a payment plan but it has to be requested by the defendant/transgressor at the time of the “answer.” When you file an answer to a $200 moving vehicle violation, you can request the right to pay ten payments of $20/each.So, your assertion is not consistent with what I understand to be true. I have an open mind and would be interested in learning, so if you can cite chapter and verse, please do. Do not go to any trouble.As to the behavior of persons of differing financial capabilities, I cannot find a single example of an instance wherein a person was fined for being poor or was targeted because they were poor.People must have violated a statute to be fined (typically a traffic or moving vehicle infraction) and/or charged.Many statutes provide for a fine AND/OR jail time. A poor person can petition to have their fine converted to jail time though this is rare. I have seen it but it is rare.Many states require beneficiaries of civil judgments (not what we’re talking about here) to be payable over time. As an example, a condo association cannot undertake a collection unless and until they have proposed and presented a payment plan.My point was to the notion of behavior v status. Nobody gets pinched for doing nothing other than being poor. You have to violate a statute — behave poorly — to be in jeopardy.There are some weird rules that pertain to Federal bankruptcy as to what can and cannot be discharged (Ch 7) but a court can approve any Ch 11 plan they like. Again, that is not what we’re talking about.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  94. sigmaalgebra

    Good grief.But a response to my guess would be to find for each student their (A) academic accomplishment where the school tried to teach them and (B) basketball accomplishment where the school didn’t try teach them. Then with that data, see if can find any students poor on (A) but good on (B). For any such students, conclude that they are able to learn and accomplish without the help of the school.That’s my claim — that the students can do well without the help of the school.If look at such students, can find that they really care about basketball. They practice for hours a day. They learn offense and defense. They can dribble with either hand, between their legs and behind their back. They have a free throw shot, a tough to block jump shot, a layup, and maybe already a slam dunk. They can fake a defender past the mid court line. They can throw/catch a pass.They have great pride in their accomplishment, when pickup teams are chosen are one of the first chosen, have great pride in that, and play very competitively.They care about basketball, work at it, are good at it.If they and their parents cared as much about the circumference of a circle, the area of a square, rectangle, triangle, or circle, the volume of a cube or sphere, square roots, exponentials, compound interest, English grammar, if-then-else, do-while, H2O, CO2, NO, NO2, CaCO3, Fe2O3, Fe3O4, NaCl, NaOH, H2SO4, HNO3, etc., then they would be good at those also, in a private school, charter school, public school, any school, or no school. That’s my point. I used basketball to help make that point.Part of the brilliance of the sabotage of the US is the hyper sensitivity of political correctness that has us avoid looking at reality and, instead, leaping to divisive accusations.

  95. LE

    I think it’s more of not being smart or not having resources to fight or work the system. Let’s call it a stupid or uneducated tax.Here is an example.In the 80’s I was ‘pinched’ by the labor department for some obscure violation of labor laws that they were turned onto by a disgruntled employee. The lawsuit came from Elizabeth Dole. Which was pretty cool.So I went to an attorney who basically said “well the best we can typically do is get them to maybe cut the fine in half”. And then he quoted what he would charge to do that. So I didn’t hire him but instead went to the law library to do some research and showed up at the bureaucrats office ready to put up a fight. Having had many victories when doing battle with companies I expected this to be the same. But the guy just sat there and took everything that I threw at him and wouldn’t budget. After dragging this on for a long time (in yiddish it’s called ‘draying’) he finally said “well we will agree to chop the fine in half”. So I said ok. Then I said “can I pay this out over 5 years” (or maybe it was 7 who remembers?). He said “sure no problem”. It was that simple.Now of course I had an advantage that a poor, less motivated, less educated person had and I know that. So sure I came out on top. That said there are (I believe) plenty of free resources but I don’t think we will ever get away from the fact that someone who is smart and ambitious will come out on top in the world even if they are not spending money.

  96. creative group

    Charlie Crystle:can you bless us with the major party State Legislatures that starved those places? Really around the country!source:…#Termlimits#Unequivocally&UnapologeticallyIndependent#TrueIndependent

  97. Amar

    We need to start diving deeper into these conversations — meet the devil by digging into the details. I like the reference but it is such a long journey from that reference to making it work here.Portugal has a population of 10-12M with <5% being immigrants …. plus a high unemployment rate (>10% and < 15%) there might be clear social factors that make it smarter for them to treat this as a public health crisis.We are a very different diaspora — we cannot ignore the difference. I am NOT saying our policies are good or don’t need to be revisited — they do but we have to find something that works for “us” and it will almost certainly look very different than what works for a country with 10’s of millions of people

  98. JLM

    .They already do. The top 20% of US taxpayers pay 84% of all income taxes.The bottom 20% get a check often in the form of the EITC.Our system is pretty damn progressive as it is.Goose. Golden. Egg.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  99. Pete Griffiths

    You may be right.But what makes you think ‘ it will almost certainly look very different than what works for a country with 10’s of millions of people’? What is there about our scale that makes the likely program so different?

  100. JLM

    .Pete, these articles prove exactly what I have said. They require the attainment of indigent status as a condition of working out payment plans.Quoting directly from the article itself:* Must not jail a person for nonpayment of fines or fees without first conducting an indigency determination and establishing that the failure to pay was willful.* Must consider alternatives to jail for indigent defendants unable to pay fines and fees.These cases primarily flow from traffic violations where, again, a violator has to answer the summons. At the time of answering the summons they may petition the Court for any redress of grievance or special payment terms.In the end, this is all the ACLU had accomplished by this settled litigation. It is important to note these municipalities settled this matter and were not compelled by a Court order or a verdict.All this results in a common sense recitation of the duty of an individual to prove their status in order to avail themselves of EXISTING considerations.Nobody is being picked upon because they are poor. These all stand for the proposition that an indigent person has a duty to prove they are, in fact, indigent which is the same standard in Federal criminal matters.It is hyperbole to suggest this is in any way unfair. This is no different than my having to prove I am a veteran and under what conditions to be able to avail myself of certain veteran benefits. I had to produce a DD214 and proof I was that person.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  101. Pete Griffiths

    I was under the impression that the problem was that there had been cases in (a) people were not picked on because they were poor, but (b) they were poor, and (c) this resulted in real world consequences resulting directly from that poverty in a way that would never have happened to you or me. There were, I believe, cases in which people were held in jail because they could not pay fines. I have no idea why they were unable to demonstrate their inability to the court but apparently that safeguard failed. Human institutions are fallible and that fallibility often favors the strong. 🙂

  102. JLM

    .The original discussion was the “criminalization of poverty” which I argue is nonsense.There is no question that a person who is poor who has committed a crime is at a disadvantage as a result of his condition. But they didn’t get in trouble with the law for being poor.The articles which you cite stand for the proposition that a person who finds themselves in the criminal justice system by virtue of their behavior and is unable to pay a rightly imposed fine, has alternatives they can employ.Like any matter, one must know about their existence and be able to argue your own case.There is also no argument that law enforcement, from time to time, may treat all persons (including poor people) unfairly.In addition, law enforcement is not going to point out to any violator how they should defend themselves or argue their own interest. That is not law enforcement’s job.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  103. Pete Griffiths

    I don’t think anyone takes the ‘criminalization of poverty’ that literally, do they? I think we agree that the execution of justice is unequally applied. The tricky thing is that those with least financial resources often have least intellectual resources. Such people don’t even know how to argue their own case. It’s a mess.

  104. JLM

    .Fair play. But, I do think people take the issue of “criminalization of poverty” literally.There is no doubt that the people at the bottom of the totem pole get screwed coming and going. On a tangent, that is the appeal of Trump to voiceless folks.The system is rigged.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  105. Pete Griffiths

    True.It’s interesting to compare the study of the law – an impartial set of judicial process designed to set everyone equal before the law – with the results of studies in the sociology of the law – which repeatedly demonstrate patterns that demonstrate systematic advantage for one group over another. E..g African Americans do suffer under the law.

  106. andyswan


  107. ShanaC

    I mostly have a habit of doing it because what about not regular people and what happens when regular people push a personal line too far

  108. Rob Underwood

    I think the “fully funded” is the key phrase there. Very few schools in Brooklyn at least receive there full allocation of “fair student funding.”As to your comparison question, and keeping in mind the funding issue, it depends. Some district schools do better, some do not. It also depends on how you measure performance.In NYC the issue with funding is the huge role parent funding now plays. There are zoned schools now with Hollywood A listers who do fundraisers and $1m PTA budgets just blocks away from similar zoned schools with 5% of the parent resources.

  109. Amar

    Fair point. I am one of those people who tend towards “strong opinions that are weakly held” 🙂 (meaning I change based on data + reasoning)That said — i am basing my opinion on historical precedence. Structural programs and policies involving people seem to vary and grow differently when scaled across countries with large growth in populations (and variances demography). Things like public health, education, democracy, welfare… how they look and function for countries with 10- 50M in population are very different compared to how they look in large countries >100M in population.To answer your second question: my assumption is that the larger the population, the greater the wealth/class inequalities and number of sub-groups within what looks from the surface to be a homogenous population group. I think this makes it hard to push through a centrally defined policy esp a radical one – like the one you reference above where no drugs are considered illegal.

  110. Pete Griffiths

    I completely agree that the nature of our political system makes it hard to push through such a policy. It makes it hard to push through anything.