Personal Responsibility - Social Anxiety Forum
View Poll Results: Are they morally irresponsible?
Irresponsible. 15 68.18%
Unsure 4 18.18%
Nothing wrong with making others pay for your behavior. 3 13.64%
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Personal Responsibility


Imagine the following hypothetical situation:

Someone who can't afford to support children becomes pregnant and chooses to give birth. Before getting pregnant they were fully aware of the fact that they lacked the means to support a child and were also fully aware that they would likely never obtain such means (other than welfare -- sticking the cost of their choice to taxpayers).

1) Keep in mind that this question is not sexist in any way and I mean for it to apply to both genders as both are required to produce pregnancy.

2) Now for the question: Is the hypothetical person (or couple) above morally irresponsible or not? In short, do you deem it morally irresponsible to produce kids you know you won't be able to support?

Way back in college I had a sociology professor who put a comment on some writing I did saying something to the effect of "So children are only for the rich?" My reply would be, No, they're only for people who have a reasonable expectation that they will be able to support them. I say "reasonable expectation" to exempt, for example, those who become disabled or lose their job after having kids -- they had a reasonable expectation that they could support kids, but things didn't work out for them and I don't blame them for having bad luck. I would blame those who have kids knowing full well they can't support them, as they have no excuse.

What say you?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 06:18 AM
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I was married for 8 years, had 2 kids with the man. He was abusive to me and my daughter from my first marriage. I left him. I'm unable to support myself without help. Does that make me irresponsible? I knew I couldn't support myself or my kids, yet I left him.

I think your question is too broad. You don't know what's going on with people. Is there a reason they can't work? I have SA which is keeping me from working.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 06:37 AM
 
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Does that make me irresponsible?
No it doesn't.


Yes, some people who keep having children they can't provide for are irresponsible.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 07:32 AM
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I have a step niece whio is about 23. She has had 5 kids by 5 different fathers. She did finally marry the father of No. 5. Prior to that she was on welfare. Yes, she was irresponsible.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky
I was married for 8 years, had 2 kids with the man. He was abusive to me and my daughter from my first marriage. I left him. I'm unable to support myself without help. Does that make me irresponsible? I knew I couldn't support myself or my kids, yet I left him.

I think your question is too broad. You don't know what's going on with people. Is there a reason they can't work? I have SA which is keeping me from working.
Now Becky, why didn't you think ahead, didn't you know this man would be abusive of course you know I'm being sarcastic, but there are people that think like this.

I agree one hundred percent, the question is too broad.

I don't know why, there are some people still operating under the assumption that there is still a wealth of help out there for people who "Chose" not to work, who chose to keep having kids to get a fat check it just doesn't work like this.

I want, I highly desire another child, (No, I don't want your teenagers) I'm not in a committed relationship, I don't see this changing in the near future. Alone, I simply can't afford another child, as much as I truly want one, parents, already know what it takes, most poor, working poor, already have enough guilt for not being able to provide many extras for their child. What was the question...........I don't think responsible people keep having kids they can't afford, there is no gravy train. Most people want the best for their children.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 09:05 AM
 
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Yes, they would be irresponsible. They would have been more irresponsible if they had decided to have an abortion, in my humble opinion.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 09:32 AM
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for one thing, the poll is way too biased.

another is that a person that keeps having children (for whatever reason--It could be out of blind lust, from being abused, to keep their home/family and so forth) may not have the economic/political foresight, or education, to see the big picture. And there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone is different and has different expectations of life and of themselves. The fact that there are people out there who are "morally irresponsible" speaks more to the fact that us, the general public, haven't done our job in society.

speaking of "morally": According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ wasn't much of a contributor to the local economy. He wandered about, was relatively unemployed, he ate in peoples houses, and he disagreed with the political authorities. The man was an enemy of the state--and I'm sure the well-to-do, you know, the "Morally responsible" people, thought he was a lazy bum.

...yet from him is where our "morals" (what we use now to castigate others) come from???

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 09:42 AM
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i always thought libertarians wanted to stay out of people's bedrooms?

they seem awfully concerned with how many kids a person has and how much money they have to take care of them.

i think people should keep their own house in order before worrying about the private decisions of others.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by realspark
Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky
I was married for 8 years, had 2 kids with the man. He was abusive to me and my daughter from my first marriage. I left him. I'm unable to support myself without help. Does that make me irresponsible? I knew I couldn't support myself or my kids, yet I left him.

I think your question is too broad. You don't know what's going on with people. Is there a reason they can't work? I have SA which is keeping me from working.
Now Becky, why didn't you think ahead, didn't you know this man would be abusive of course you know I'm being sarcastic, but there are people that think like this.

I agree one hundred percent, the question is too broad.

I don't know why, there are some people still operating under the assumption that there is still a wealth of help out there for people who "Chose" not to work, who chose to keep having kids to get a fat check it just doesn't work like this.
I love your sarcasm

I don't chose not to work, I just can't find anyone who wants to hire me. I was getting food stamps. I got kicked off them last month because I put .73 too much in my checking account. A one time thing for getting a settlement check from my ex. Help is not as easy to get as people think, and it certainly doesn't have you rolling in the money when you do get it either.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Micronian
for one thing, the poll is way too biased.

another is that a person that keeps having children (for whatever reason--It could be out of blind lust, from being abused, to keep their home/family and so forth) may not have the economic/political foresight, or education, to see the big picture. And there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone is different and has different expectations of life and of themselves.
I agree with that.

You can't lump everyone in to the same category just because they receive welfare or what have you.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by odun
i always thought libertarians wanted to stay out of people's bedrooms?

they seem awfully concerned with how many kids a person has and how much money they have to take care of them.
In defense of UltraShy, he never said the government should go into anyone's bedrooms or ban poor women from having sex. He's asking a pretty basic moral question that isn't at all irrelevant if we, as taxpayers, are deciding whether the money spent on welfare recipiants (of which many of these men and women are) is paying for bad luck, accidents, desparation, or downright immoral behavior.

I think in many cases women who have children they cannot afford are irresponsible. Others (like Becky) just had the unfortunate circumstance of being betrayed by someone she evidently trusted. I am not one of those people who think prospective parents have to prove they can afford to support their kids out-and-out, but there are cases in which people continually pop out kids when they know they cannot possibly afford them. I've been in foster care, I've been around the poor areas of Socal, and I've seen it many times first hand. These people are irresponsible and in many cases severely stupid.

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i think people should keep their own house in order before worrying about the private decisions of others.

Is that a slight against Karl? I thought you were above that, odun?

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 11:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by micronian
for one thing, the poll is way too biased


Not everyone is so rational about thier decision to have children and unforseen circumstances can spoil even the most rational calculations.

I doubt the majority as in 99% of people who have children and are then unable to support them alone think "Oh yeah Ill have kids the state will support them anyway" I doubt that thought even crosses thier mind.

As I said in another thread this is the problem with the economical profession today, it assumes every action is based on rational forethought.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Freethinker#22
Quote:
Originally Posted by micronian
for one thing, the poll is way too biased


Not everyone is so rational about thier decision to have children and unforseen circumstances can spoil even the most rational calculations.
The problem I have with liberals, is that they want to paint all welfare recipiants as unfortunate bearers of bad luck when in many cases these women knowingly brought it upon themselves. Take this simple hypothetical: You have two women living in dire poverty and only one had children out of desparation. Because the other woman did not have children, you cannot look at the situation and assume that desparation alone forced one to have kids. Certainly, desparation is a veritable influence. But there may also be an element of personal irresponsibility that is left out of the equation. The Left doesn't want to see it and that is why they are fodder for easy attacks from the Right.


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I doubt the majority as in 99% of people who have children and are then unable to support them alone think "Oh yeah Ill have kids the state will support them anyway" I doubt that thought even crosses thier mind.
I doubt that either. But it certainly is conceviable that welfare can become so habitual and expected it doesn't have to consciously cross their mind.

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As I said in another thread this is the problem with the economical profession today, it assumes every action is based on rational forethought.
And as I said before, the opposite viewpoint, which pretends everyone is a victim of circumstance, is as equally half-baked and inadequate to solve the problems society faces.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 12:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Orpehus
The problem I have with liberals, is that they want to paint all welfare recipiants as unfortunate bearers of bad luck when in many cases these women knowingly brought it upon themselves. Take this simple hypothetical: You have two women living in dire poverty and only one had children out of desparation. Because the other woman did not have children, you cannot look at the situation and assume that desparation alone forced one to have kids. Certainly, desparation is a veritable influence. But there may also be an element of personal irresponsibility that is left out of the equation. The Left doesn't want to see it and that is why they are fodder for easy attacks from the Right.
I dont think they do. While I do not have the statistics Im pretty sure the majority of single parents on welfare are on welfare not because they used children as a way to get out of poverty but because of unforseen circumstances (i.e death of thier partner, divorce etc), why should we punish these people because a very small minority decides to use welfare and having children as a way of survival? It's not right.

As for personally repsonsibility, single parents have alot of it bringing up thier children alone. If they are not responsible for thier status as single parents why does it have anything to do with personal reponsibility?

And lastly why should single parents work? they are doing a service to society by bringing up thier children, just like employed people are doing a service to society by working. And what is to say single parents will be any better off working than they were on welfare, espcially since you pointed out single parents tend to get low-wage jobs.

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I doubt that either. But it certainly is conceviable that welfare can become so habitual and expected it doesn't have to consciously cross their mind.
I agree, but the solution is not to force them to work, the solution is to create a welfare system that deals with each person as an individual not one that imposes one standard onto everyone. So say for example you are long term unemployed and suffer from no disabilities, have a good background both socially and finacncially and living off of welfare. You should be forced to look for work or get off welfare. But say you suffer from SA and have a long history of being unable to keep a job. The priority for you should be getting help holding down a job, and dealing with your SA.

The problem is that conservatives claim thier system caters to individuals but in reality it imposes the same standard on all except for those with severe disabilities.

Quote:
And as I said before, the opposite viewpoint, which pretends everyone is a victim of circumstance, is as equally half-baked and inadequate to solve the problems society faces.
And I agree with that, but the problem with welfare now and before is that it only catered to one viewpoint. Before welfare reform it only catered toward the sociological viewpoint, and with welfare reform it only caters to the economical viewpoint. The consensus amongst sociologists who actually have studied the real effects of welfare reform on currnet and former welfare recipients is that it has made very little change in thier social and financial situations. Many of those that did get off welfare and found a job are no better off in thier lifestyles than they were on welfare although financially they are somewhat better off. Now that sounds contradictory, but once you take into account the economic boom of the 90's and the slowing down of the economies today and inflation I think it makes sense. Meaing higher incomes (incomes based on wages instead of welfare) are offset by increasing price of goods and services.

Yet the current trend now is to only look at the economical perspective of how much money welfare reform can save the government and according to the government how much it can save middle class taxpayers. And ignore the sociological perspective of what welfare can do to help those that need it most and what changes are needed for welfare to be more effective in helping those that need it. As you said personal responsibility is only one factor of many, and it may not apply to everyone, yet this is what the current welfare refom is based on.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 12:28 PM
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So were does this leave say, people who live in some tiny corner of Africa where famine is common? Surely they can't expect to be able to take care of a child. Are they being irresponsible?
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 12:46 PM
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I got pregnant with my first and only child when I was 17, freshly graduated from high school. I got married but shockingly enough the marriage was over by the time I was 22. On the surface it seemed I did not have the means to "reasonably expect" to properly raise my child.

However, I worked in casinos for the vast majority of the time my son was growing up. I had to watch every dime I spent but I was able to bring him up without help from anyone. There is a tax break for single parents called earned income credit. One year, after working 2 jobs for several months, I was "over" the maximum income by $112 and screwed myself out of a great refund. I felt as though I was being punished for working hard.

Circumstances change, people change, and no two cases are exactly alike. I am with Becky that the question is too broad, the generilzations are too great. Do I think there are people that take advantage of the system, yeah, probably. But I think the system can also help take care of children and mothers who need help. If a parent is unable to work for one reason or another that doesnt mean they still cannot be a GREAT parent, that they should have "foreseen" future events.

Being a single parent is ALL ABOUT responsiblity. My kid's dad has managed to duck out of child support by working "under the table jobs" so everything was on me. I find that HIGHLY UNFAIR. The most demanding and underapprecitated job in the world is to raise a child(ren) as a single parent, and I dont think anyone sets out to be a single parent, things happen, LIFE happens.

Having my kid is probably the best thing that ever happened to me, and I wish I had had more $$$ to make our lives a little easier but that same kid who lives on his own now calls me all the time and ends the calls with "I love you, Mom." Guess I did something right.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Freethinker#22
I dont think they do. While I do not have the statistics Im pretty sure the majority of single parents on welfare are on welfare not because they used children as a way to get out of poverty but because of unforseen circumstances (i.e death of thier partner, divorce etc), why should we punish these people because a very small minority decides to use welfare and having children as a way of survival? It's not right.
I don't think women use children to get out of poverty either. They may, however, have children for a source of income. I've seen welfare mother's spend their checks on jewelry, clothing, and booze. I've seen others spend almost all of it on their children's food and clothing, having to sacrifice in some cases their own needs for the child. But that is my limited experience, and without studies, I am not sure we can gauge what number of welfare recipiants had children to survive vs the number on welfare due to a divorce or the death of a loved one. So to say it's a "small minority" is an assumption at best.

As for why women go on welfare: you assume the vast majority go on welfare due to "unforseen circumstances." Again, that is an assumption at best. Many women unbeknownst to them have children with unreliable men. Many women were aware, but for whatever reason, be it stupidity or denial, they chose not to see it. Now, I've already said this is something we can't gauge. It's not as if this is a question asked of welfare recipiants when they sign the application. But it does go back to Karl's question, and it is manifestly true that many women who go on welfare are irresponsible. Many of them are poor, without an education, and choose to have children out of wedlock (statistical fact). And many of these women choose to compound their problems by having children with a man who is ostensibly unreliable. A women who chooses to have children in those circumstances is taking a big risk, and for those who knew the odds were against them, I shed no tears.

Quote:
As for personally repsonsibility, single parents have alot of it bringing up thier children alone. If they are not responsible for thier status as single parents why does it have anything to do with personal reponsibility?
Again, it's difficult to gauge how much responsibility a person should take for their fate. You're asking me, and very rhetorically I might add, why I'm demanding personal responsibility for those who were not responsible for their fate. I wouldn't logically demand that, which is why I am careful to distinguish between welfare recipiants who fell into difficulty by virtue of their bad decisions, and those welfare recipiants who fell into difficulty by virtue of unforseen circumstance.

Quote:
And lastly why should single parents work? they are doing a service to society by bringing up thier children, just like employed people are doing a service to society by working. And what is to say single parents will be any better off working than they were on welfare, espcially since you pointed out single parents tend to get low-wage jobs.
The problem is, they are doing a service for a disservice. Having children you cannot concievably afford does a disservice to society because we have have to part with more of our own money that we could be spending on our kids to help you bring your child up properly. And because children raised in poor, single-parent households (even with welfare benefits) are at a greater risk of anti-social behavior, you are doing more of a disservice than can be immediately felt.

I don't wnat to leave the impression that I don't believe in helping the unfortunate who have fallen on bad times. The problem is if you create a system with no accountability and, worse, and incentive to make bad decisions. I want to move to a society that increasingly values personal responsibility as a virtue within reasonable bounds.

What welfare-to-work can do (and has done to some degree), is push our society to a more personal-responsibility orietned society. According to the Health and Human Services Department, we've cut our welfare caseloads in half. 80% of those leaving welfare went on to work and 80% of those in turn were still working three months later. The kink I see is the potential for exploitation, which I have already mentioned. That needs to be corrected. Welfare-women should be paid reasonable wages that could verifiably allow her to support herself and her kids. I wouldn't even have a problem with the women continuing to collect checks until she achieved a reasonable salary.


Quote:

I agree, but the solution is not to force them to work, the solution is to create a welfare system that deals with each person as an individual not one that imposed on standard onto everyone. So say for example you are long term unemployed and suffer from no disabilities, have a good background both socially and finacncially and living off of welfare. You should be forced to look for work or get off welfare. But say you suffer from SA and have a long history of being unable to keep a job. The priority for you should be getting help holding down a job, and dealing with your SA.
I totally agree that welfare should be localized and personalized. I support disability. I just fear a bloated welfare system that allows everyone and anyone to collect and the rationale for such a system has always been the liberal credo that only the unfortunate, hard-luck people will use welfare.



Quote:

And I agree with that, but the problem with welfare now and before is that it only catered to one viewpoint. Before welfare reform it only catered toward the sociological viewpoint, and with welfare reform it only caters to the economical viewpoint. The consensus amongst sociologists who actually have studied the real effects of welfare reform on currnet and former welfare recipients is that it has made very little change in thier social and financial situations. Many of those that did get off welfare and found a job are no better off in thier lifestyles than they were on welfare although financially they are somewhat better off. Now that sounds contradictory, but once you take into account the economic boom of the 90's and the slowing down of the economies today and inflation I think it makes sense. Meaing higher incomes (incomes based on wages instead of welfare) are offset by increasing price of goods and services.
There is also the factor that in some states, the gross income from welfare (including foostamps, medicaid, and low-income housing) is greater than what can be earned at a regular full-time job. That, of course, says something bad about both welfare AND worker's benefits. My point has always been to discourage people from making bad decisions. I'm not elated about punishing them after the fact, but something needs to be done to discourage people from making them. That doesn't mean I think all welfare recipiants are irresponsible leeches. It just means that the system has to be fine-tuned so that abuse is minimized while still being made available for those who truly need it. I want to weed out those drug moms who pop out kids in order to collect a paycheck to support their drug addiction. I've seen it, and there is no oversight.

Quote:
Yet the current trend now is to only look at the economical perspective of how much money welfare reform can save the government and according to the government how much it can save middle class taxpayers. And ignore the sociological perspective of what welfare can do to help those that need it most and what changes are needed for welfare to be more effective in helping those that need it. As you said personal responsibility is only one factor of many, and it may not apply to everyone, yet this is what the current welfare refom is based on.
Welfare reform is not solely about keeping more money in the pockets of the tax-paying middleclass. It's also a way to encourage people to take responsibility, and to discourage those who abuse it from making irrational decisions. Some states have phoney welfare-reform programs while others are more social-conscious. I support the latter in theory and action (not diluted with explotative mechanisms, of course).

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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 01:49 PM
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When I think of the “Welfare” system, I think of people actually functioning as a parent, not women having children the state ends up taking and putting in foster care because they’re on drugs, cognitive functioning difficulties, too me, this is a separate issue, I have no clue on how to curb this.

There is still the myth on welfare states, most states operate under the Work First program. Where you have to look and be able to prove that you’ve applied for jobs a full forty hours a week. If you’re a family of two, I know in MI, you receive under $400.00 ($372.00?) a month, this is for your rent, utilities, you name it. I believe you’re also entitled to food stamps, however, four hundred dollars a month. Now, how many kids would you have to have to make this worth your while, in order to profit from it? Do you know how hard it is to look for work for forty hours. If you don’t find work in so long, the caseworkers make it harder for you.............
Now, if we have people that would prefer to seek work for forty hours, for less than minimum wage, they could make more at $5.00 an hour, I think we have some severe issues.
Things are not as liberal as they once were.

If you have people that are repetitively taking this route, then IMO, there’s more going on than meets the eye. I once attended a meeting where caseworkers kept asking why they saw the same people over and over again, when they knew the programs were drying up, a motivational speaker said “Self Esteem” I happen to agree for the most part, if we’re looking at able bodied people........... If someone is sick, disabled, too me, this is different.

IMO, we need, perhaps the States..........Should offer vocational, hands on training to some of these people who feel they have no choices in life, teach them a trade....

NO ONE, knows what could happen to them in life, it’s full of twist and turns, here today, gone tomorrow, some of us are lucky enough to have husbands, mothers, fathers, but, if we didn’t...........What happens if something goes awry....

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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-04-2006, 02:14 PM
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Does that make me irresponsible?
Yes, some people who keep having children they can't provide for are irresponsible.
I agree.

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