Re: Re A challenge To All Extropians

ChuckKuecker (
Mon, 18 May 1998 17:49:27 -0500

At 08:11 AM 5/18/98 -0700, Brian wrote:
>I have to disagree with this, almost any rural poor area is much
>worse off than CHA residents. Besides heat, electricity, plumbing,
>color T.V's, phones, mail, public education, elevators (more on
>that in a moment) cars, public transportation, free medical
>clinics, and welfare payments, these building have a very high per
>capita on "luxury" items like VCR's, cell phones, microwave ovens
>etc. All of which you won't find among rural poor.

The degree of suffering due to lack of material goods in the rural areas as
compared to the misery in the high rises is a totally different flavor. The
high rise inmates (I hesitate to say tenants) are the worst products of the
welfare system. The public education system is simply a warehouse to store
the kids until they can take their place on the streets.

I have never understood how someone on welfare can get a cell phone, or a
microwave, or any of the other big ticket luxury items - who would extend
credit? Are all these the result of criminal or underground economy

In the rural areas you refer to, the majority of the poor are people who
would love to get better (or any) jobs and do something to better their
lives. The denizens of the high rise all too often are satisfied to sit
back and coast on thier welfare checks. This is learned behavior, taught by
the federal and state welfare agencies. The lesson is that if you get a
job, you lose welfare benefits. If you have more kids, you get bigger
payments. You are more likely to get money if you have kids and the father
is no where to be found.

I am sure that you will find rural poor with similar philosopies. However,
the degree of concentration makes a huge difference in the environment.
Gangs, for instance, are almost exclusively an urban phenomena.

>The elevators, the number one reason (two and three as well)
>elevators are broke in CHA buildings is because of the RESIDENTS,
>the kids get in the shafts and rig them to ride up and down like
>amusement park rides, the gangs get in and sabotage them so people
>have to take the stairs and are easier to rob.

Or rape, or kill. I agree. The gangs rule the buildings. They consider the
buildings their personal property, and the other inmates are their serfs. A
modern feudal system.

>My former roommate was a CFD paramedic and used to take a bag of
>our rock climbing gear with him on every shift, he ended up
>rescuing two to three kids a week from these shafts.
>Another friend was the elevator repair man for one of these
>complexes, he used to take polaroids of the destruction every time
>he serviced the elevators, then a second picture of the repaired
>mechanism. He said it was not unusual to be fixing the same
>elevators every day. The city took my friends company to court a
>few years ago trying to charge them with fraud and improper
>maintenance. My buddy's thousands of photos and meticulous record
>keeping saved the day.

I long for the day the CHA pulls Robert Taylor and the other crime and
moral poverty incubators down. So far, I have not heard any good plan for
constructively relocating the inmates. Perhaps Wacker Drive will absorb
them all..

>>I don't believe this rise in 'poverty' has anything to do with
>>wealth and its' distribution. I think it has everything to do with
>>the way our government has handled traditional poverty. The 'war
>>on some drugs' is a prime candidate for blame here, as is the
>>welfare system.
>I partly agree that the welfare system is to blame as are various
>Govt programs, even though well intentioned. The real blame goes to
>a complete lack of personal responsibility.

As a Libertarian, I heartily agree on the lack of responsibility. How can
we correct this? The schools, as I mentioned, are almost useless for
education, let alone teaching morals and ethics. I see some hope in the
latest govt. practice of limiting lifetime welfare payments; this might
force some people to rethink their lives, but it's going to take a few
generations to weed out the diehard welfare queens, I am afraid.

Chuck Kuecker