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The Welfare State

snafupants

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Should aid to the lower classes be extinguished or severely lessened such that socio-economic inequalities would be sooner felt?

Welfare doesn't even seem like a good solution to an imbalanced economic landscape. Presupposing entitlements aren't actually supported each year by taxes, aren't you consigning future generations to debt? Ironically, isn't welfare hurting people?

I basically see welfare as an errant way of dealing with socio-economic disparities. It's been said that 1/5 of US citizens are living paycheck to paycheck. I can't even imagine how many are in debt.

What do I mean by "sooner felt" though? I'm essentially saying that without welfare, perhaps discontent would more readily sprout, paving the way for full-fledged revolution, or at least more consolidated movements a la Occupy Wall Street.

But, more generally, is welfare responsible? Is it the government's job to bail out flailing regional economies? Does welfare adequately address the stagnation of real wages? Can stimulus be correlated to welfare? Is stimulus better long-term than welfare?
 

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These are all interesting question. I honestly don't have the answers too. I have been a supporter of welfare for some time, however I can't deny the volatility of your argument.

For a societal standpoint what your proposing make a great deal of since however, for the standpoint of the Government who sends out these welfare checks I don't see a good insensitive to change the current process.

A populace who is starving are generally out of control and unpredictable. As for as the government is concerns it is easy to appease people.

This is really all I have to say on the matte right now. I really haven't given much thought to the issue. I see you have thought about this subject for quite sometime. I have to agree you argument is quite compiling at first glance. Thanks for sharing.
 

Cognisant

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I get the impression that there's a cycle here based on short term solutions and easy decisions, a cycle of debt whereby each generation passes off the debt to the next (for example a stimulus coming from a government that is itself in debt) and the debt just gets larger and larger.
 

Philovitist

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Welfare must be supported with reasonable limitations and and opportunities for job training in order to be effective.
 

Chad

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Welfare must be supported with reasonable limitations and and opportunities for job training in order to be effective.

This is my general understand of things as well. Help with limits and encouragement to grow kind of philosophy.
 

Antediluvian

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I've heard a theory about evolutionary repercussions in welfare states, the spreading of undesirable traits that otherwise wouldn't be as prosperous. But, I'm not that knowledgeable when it comes to the nuances of evolutionary effects.

Anyway, Sweden was having some recent problems with some of its social welfare programs, haven't kept up to date on that, though (geography book is a few years old).
 

Jason43

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Government sponsored welfare creates poverty, when you do away with one the other will disappear because being sitting on your ass starving makes less economic sense than doing something productive.

I have a friend that ended up in the welfare system, he is at a point where if he makes more money, it will cost him his benefits and he will move backwards in a major way. So now he turns down better job offers because his life will get worse if he does. Its a big trap and theres no advantage to getting out of it. Social security, welfare, medicare/aid etc should all be abolished and the costs of the things they pay for will all drop and become affordable.
 

InvisibleJim

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It's got to be improved tremendously. There is a missing widget to most welfare states: when the state (i.e. society) supports you then you absolutely must pay it back or have earned it beforehand unless it is an absolutely critical problem which requires immediate intervention and the charity of the people.
 

Philovitist

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Government sponsored welfare creates poverty, when you do away with one the other will disappear because being sitting on your ass starving makes less economic sense than doing something productive.

You know that poverty existed before the existence of welfare, right? Instead of getting help, though, people just quietly starved to death. So how will eliminating welfare stop poverty in full?

In times of high unemployment, it is hard to find things to do for money. Without welfare, people get left out.

I have a friend that ended up in the welfare system, he is at a point where if he makes more money, it will cost him his benefits and he will move backwards in a major way. So now he turns down better job offers because his life will get worse if he does.

That doesn't mean the welfare system is bad. It means there's a problem with the welfare system.

Its a big trap and theres no advantage to getting out of it. Social security, welfare, medicare/aid etc should all be abolished and the costs of the things they pay for will all drop and become affordable.

When aggregate demand falls (as would happen if welfare ended), there will be even less jobs. That is because there markets that suppliers will cater to will be smaller (less consumers with smaller incomes). Suppliers will thus need to produce less, and hire less workers, creating a vicious cycle.

And people starve some more.


Rich, highly-educated and otherwise priviliged people's lives will be better!

But everyone else will suffer, and soon, those guys, too.
 

Jason43

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You know that poverty existed before the existence of welfare, right? Instead of getting help, though, people just quietly starved to death. So how will eliminating welfare stop poverty in full?

Poverty was decreasing by 1% a year until Johnson declared war on it and it stabilized and created a permanent underclass, mostly minorities. Also the national debt exploded which results in money printing/deficit spending which causes the costs of things to exceed increases in wages, making the poor poorer. There werent these masses of starving people in the US, although that happened in the total welfare states, like China and the USSR and others.



In times of high unemployment, it is hard to find things to do for money. Without welfare, people get left out.

Wrong, in times of high unemployment there are barriers placed on individuals keeping them out of the workforce, or there is central economic planning that has failed. People still want to work, people still want and need to consume, so there is another problem. Usually that is caused by the guys with guns telling people to act against their own self interest.

That doesn't mean the welfare system is bad. It means there's a problem with the welfare system.

The problem is the system. How exactly to you give people stolen money fairly? It is a complete and total failure. We've literally spent trillions and it has affected poverty zero.

When aggregate demand falls (as would happen if welfare ended), there will be even less jobs. That is because there markets that suppliers will cater to will be smaller (less consumers with smaller incomes). Suppliers will thus need to produce less, and hire less workers, creating a vicious cycle.

And people starve some more.


Rich, highly-educated and otherwise priviliged people's lives will be better!

But everyone else will suffer, and soon, those guys, too.

False too. The market would take a while to come to balance, the benefactors of the government spending would collapse, and in their place small businesses and craftsmen would emerge. People would think about what they produce and what they buy and the commercial disposable culture would end pretty quickly. There will be a rough transition period, but the ship has hit the iceberg, the country is 17 trillion in debt, and they will cut the poor off first. We will see the end of the welfare warfare state. Because of mathematics if not for moral or logical reasons. And once that happens, people will get their shit together and take care of themselves and their friends and families.

And I dont apply this logic to just poor people, all the government defense contractors and corporations that regulate competition out of business will also go away.

You cant manipulate every part of the economy with central banking, planning, and government force and have anything aside from complete disaster. Its a recurring theme in history, always ends the same.

Sorry for the meandering response, but I really dont feel like writing a whole book about economics and the effect of the state, and welfare state on poverty. If you havent, I'd check out stuff on the Austrian school of economics for a more detailed view.
 

Proletar

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Huge question.


Rule of thumb: Wages can't be lower than the welfare. Labour is international, and welfare is national. If you raise the floor too much, the industries will move to other places. In consequence, countries with much welfare have a tendency for unemployment. My conclusion is this: If we want a higher standard of living, we need to fight for it through international channels. Like the UN, or something like that.

On a socionomical level, It's great for reducing crime and making society safer. To steal 100$ is much more expensive for society than to simply give 100$. Being a citizen of a country with a good standard of welfare (although I've never accepted any myself), I can tell you that you wont need to build walls and carry guns if people don't have to commit crime to survive. Sweden is not as good as it once was, but it's still safe on the streets, that's for sure.
 

Duxwing

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Poverty was decreasing by 1% a year until Johnson declared war on it and it stabilized and created a permanent underclass, mostly minorities. Also the national debt exploded which results in money printing/deficit spending which causes the costs of things to exceed increases in wages, making the poor poorer. There werent these masses of starving people in the US, although that happened in the total welfare states, like China and the USSR and others.


Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc is not a valid line of reasoning: how exactly did the Vietnam War create this "permanent underclass"?

Wrong, in times of high unemployment there are barriers placed on individuals keeping them out of the workforce, or there is central economic planning that has failed. People still want to work, people still want and need to consume, so there is another problem. Usually that is caused by the guys with guns telling people to act against their own self interest.

Have you ever studied the boom and bust cycle? Even a free, perfectly efficient market will oscillate as it responds to exogenous shocks, and modern economics has proven that human markets are anything but perfectly efficient-- even if left to their own devices.

The problem is the system. How exactly to you give people stolen money fairly? It is a complete and total failure. We've literally spent trillions and it has affected poverty zero.

Stealing implies that the money has been taken in one's own self interest, and one must consider that the government of the US, for example, spends its money not only on welfare, but on vaccine research, firefighting, and building codes, without which huge swaths of the population would succumb to the accidents of history that had plagued their ancestors. Indeed, one's success is heavily dependent upon accidents of history, like being born to the right parents, not having congenital or genetic defects, not being wiped out by a plague, fire, or war etc., etc., which can cut even the most promising person down like wheat before a scythe. Ergo, those who are "successful" are not only so due to their own efforts, but due to the environment in which they live.

Since success is also dependent on environmental factors, it follows that the State should seek to improve the environment of its citizens such that every willing person can participate in the economy. The increased aggregate demand, labor pool size, and tax revenue from these new workers, entrepreneurs, and inventors will ultimately allow both those from whom money was initially "stolen" (taxed) and the State to turn a profit. And the plan has worked. The population of today is healthier, better fed, and more able than that of the past, and this improved worker quality has improved the effective employment rate because workers no longer simply drop dead from, as they did in coal mines, coal dust inhalation or mine shaft collapse. Instead, they keep on working until they retire.

Of course, retirees take pensions, but the swell in that demographic is simply due to the echoes of the Baby Boom. If we can hang tough until all the old geezers are dead-- or, better yet, brought back to youth by the marvelous progress of modern medicine-- then the problems that we see with entitlements should subside as fewer and fewer individuals collect Medicare, Medicaid, and other such government "hand-outs".

False too. The market would take a while to come to balance, the benefactors of the government spending would collapse, and in their place small businesses and craftsmen would emerge. People would think about what they produce and what they buy and the commercial disposable culture would end pretty quickly. There will be a rough transition period, but the ship has hit the iceberg, the country is 17 trillion in debt, and they will cut the poor off first. We will see the end of the welfare warfare state. Because of mathematics if not for moral or logical reasons. And once that happens, people will get their shit together and take care of themselves and their friends and families.

And I dont apply this logic to just poor people, all the government defense contractors and corporations that regulate competition out of business will also go away.

You cant manipulate every part of the economy with central banking, planning, and government force and have anything aside from complete disaster. Its a recurring theme in history, always ends the same.

Sorry for the meandering response, but I really dont feel like writing a whole book about economics and the effect of the state, and welfare state on poverty. If you havent, I'd check out stuff on the Austrian school of economics for a more detailed view.

Ah, the Austrian School. Its members have been some of my finest discussion partners. :)

-Duxwing
 

BigApplePi

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Should aid to the lower classes be extinguished or severely lessened such that socio-economic inequalities would be sooner felt?
I've wondered about that. Funny how people like to be given things and then when the same things are taken away, things don't come out even. What's wrong?

Strange the people who give it away cannot say, "It's not yours to keep."
I'd like to think of a proper analogy as a clue. Can't off hand. Try this:

Isn't it really a loan? I loan you this and say, "You have to give it back." Somehow it's not clear you have to give it back.

Did someone lie to you? Did they say, "I give this to you and now you are entitled?" That was a lie. Who is the coward who told this lie? Or was it not clear it WAS a lie? Did our charity so fill us with pompous self-righteousness we forgot to say this was not charity? It's not a gift. You have to return it because some vague "others" may want it back?
 

Jason43

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Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc is not a valid line of reasoning: how exactly did the Vietnam War create this "permanent underclass"?

Ah, the Austrian School. Its members have been some of my finest discussion partners. :)

-Duxwing

Not vietnam, the war on poverty. The boom and bust cycle just happens to coincide with massive government spending or subsidization of industry, central banking, etc... almost without fail. And when markets do get off balance, like the not so great depression of 1920 (caused by WWI) and the government does nothing, then the market thins its own herd in about a year and things come back healthier than they were before...

The stagflation of the 1970's was brought on by Vietnam war spending and basically disproved Keynes and his 'watchdog' theory of central banking.

The people spreading the other schools of economics all have a vested interest in the state and are promoted by the state and its approved media sources.

We have the biggest government on the planet, the largest welfare system, the largest number of incarcerated people... I mean, the ticks outweigh the dog at this point. I dont really need to argue, because you can just look at the country and see it happening. With our central bank, size of government, and dominant status in the world, there should be no great recession or poverty in this country at all if what you say is right. Things should be at a minimum, getting better. But they arent and they arent going to.
 

Philovitist

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They are getting better. :/
 

BigApplePi

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Social security, welfare, medicare/aid etc should all be abolished and the costs of the things they pay for will all drop and become affordable.
Maybe this is class warfare. I am getting Social Security and Medicare. A real good deal. The rationale is I paid into it while working and I'm to get it back later without having to save for it. The savings program takes care of any failure on my part to save for retirement.

The problem is, are YOU getting the same deal? I think I'm on welfare, getting too much. What do you think? Be honest.
 

Philovitist

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Poverty was decreasing by 1% a year until Johnson declared war on it and it stabilized and created a permanent underclass, mostly minorities. Also the national debt exploded which results in money printing/deficit spending which causes the costs of things to exceed increases in wages, making the poor poorer. There werent these masses of starving people in the US, although that happened in the total welfare states, like China and the USSR and others.


Johnson's policies were excessive, and also included a crappy war. Their consequences demonstrate what happens when you have a bad welfare system, not what happens when welfare states exist.

[quote-2Wrong, in times of high unemployment there are barriers placed on individuals keeping them out of the workforce, or there is central economic planning that has failed. People still want to work, people still want and need to consume, so there is another problem. Usually that is caused by the guys with guns telling people to act against their own self interest.[/quote]

What. How does this contradict my proposition that "in times of high unemployment, it is hard to find things to do for money. Without welfare, people get left out."

And you're forgetting that one cause (the main cause) of unemployment is a relatively low demand for labor at a livable price. :/

The problem is the system. How exactly to you give people stolen money fairly? It is a complete and total failure. We've literally spent trillions and it has affected poverty zero.

First off, the money is not stolen. That's polemic bullshit.

Second, welfare has definitely reduced poverty in America. You just don't hear stories of our citizens starving to death very much any more. >.>

False too. The market would take a while to come to balance, the benefactors of the government spending would collapse,

You mean...die off?

and in their place small businesses and craftsmen would emerge.

Craftsmen. Tell me, how well will craftsmen be able to compete with automated manufacturing plants in terms of producing goods efficiently enough to sell them at a competitive price?

People would think about what they produce and what they buy and the commercial disposable culture would end pretty quickly.

i.e., economic activity will shrink and we will enter a depression worse than the one that fiscally conservative policies brought about and sustained last century.

There will be a rough transition period, but the ship has hit the iceberg, the country is 17 trillion in debt, and they will cut the poor off first.

No they won't.

We will see the end of the welfare warfare state. Because of mathematics if not for moral or logical reasons. And once that happens, people will get their shit together and take care of themselves and their friends and families.

SOME people will find a way to take care of themselves and their friends and families. The rest will live in shacks and die from hunger and disease.

And I dont apply this logic to just poor people, all the government defense contractors and corporations that regulate competition out of business will also go away.

By what means?

You cant manipulate every part of the economy with central banking, planning, and government force and have anything aside from complete disaster. Its a recurring theme in history, always ends the same.

You also can't leave the economy alone without government force and intervention and have anything aside from complete disaster.

And this recurrent theme is a lot more relevant to this discussion since the US economy is very much a mixed one leaning more toward free enterprise than most countries actually doing well right now. >.>
 

Chad

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largest number of incarcerated people...

I don't know about the validity of any of your other facts but you should check this one.

I believe you meant to say we have the highest percentage of Incarcerated people. This is far different than having the largest number of incarcerated people.


Places like china have far more people incarcerated than the United States. However they also have population that is about 5 times the size of the U.S. Last time I looked they had about twice the number of inmates meaning only percentage wise do we have more inmates than China. I believe the situation is similar in India.

I am not questioning your reason just this one fact.
 

snafupants

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Maybe this is class warfare. I am getting Social Security and Medicare. A real good deal. The rationale is I paid into it while working and I'm to get it back later without having to save for it. The savings program takes care of any failure on my part to save for retirement.

The problem is, are YOU getting the same deal? I think I'm on welfare, getting too much. What do you think? Be honest.

I'm glad you brought that up because welfare and social security are distinct.

Terminology in this area in the United States is somewhat different to that in the rest of the English speaking world. The general term for an action program in support of the well being of the population in the United States is welfare program and the general term for all such programs is simply welfare. In American society, the term welfare arguably has negative connotations. The term Social Security in the United States refers to a specific social insurance program for the retired and the disabled.

social insurance, where people receive benefits or services in recognition of contributions to an insurance program. These services typically include provision for retirement pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits and unemployment insurance.

Social welfare has been around since Rome and, indeed, it crops up in the post-WWII Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But, there should be a distinction between handouts and social insurance. I feel the former is prone to abuse and perhaps self-defeating long-term; welfare is probably contributing to national debt as well.

I've heard that Germany fluctuates its yearly taxes based on medical costs. The United States is too fucked to follow suit, but it would be nice if welfare followed taxes or, more properly, if taxes followed welfare. Instead, behold the trillions in national debt.
 
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I think there are many more factors that are determining America's lack of welfare success than just the basis of the welfare system itself. I have to ask myself at what point we and other failing welfare countries (such as Greece) went wrong. There is certainly a middle ground rather than just abolishing an entire given system or taking it to the extreme. Perhaps it is our politics that hinders true progress economically?

The same problem arises in the United Kingdom. It may be extrinsic to the current time frame, but the political backlash and baser arguments seem to be a recurrent theme in British political arguments as well (based on what I've seen of Question Time, etc.). This may not be what is effecting the progress of the economies, and the history of UK Parliament may have always had that quality, but from my understanding the UK economy has been stagnant or declining for a long time.
 

snafupants

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Perhaps it is our politics that hinders true progress economically?

@Necatoriasis (make a more intuitive name :D)

What do you mean by "hinders" and "true progress"? What is the inevitable outcome of capitalism? Is there one? Do you think the US is capitalistic? Why or why not?
 

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@Necatoriasis (make a more intuitive name :D)

What do you mean by "hinders" and "true progress"? What is the inevitable outcome of capitalism? Is there one? Do you think the US is capitalistic? Why or why not?


Progress in terms of a national grounding in revenue/infrastructural stability. There may be an inevitable outcome to capitalism: anarchy. The US is only partially capitalistic, because of its central regulation. I feel like the one thing that gets in the way of all political stability is human nature. Of course, that can't be changed. The tendency to stratify things is inherent.

It seems to me like the one thing that does not exist (at least well enough) in human (except perhaps Chinese) politics is the cohesive "group mind." Communistic countries that tried to implement this warped so badly, and the people didn't want it.

I understand that in American history and even today many charities and churches are active in their extended aid toward others, but it is only partial to the Darwinian nature of our system. I used to want to see a meritocracy system of election, similar to Japan's, but even that is vague. The people we elect are more or less "qualified" in terms of basic education, and I understand that not everyone in Congress is greed-driven. I ask myself this--is it the rich who warp our politics, or were we just destined to fall in the first place?
 

Jason43

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I don't know about the validity of any of your other facts but you should check this one.

I believe you meant to say we have the highest percentage of Incarcerated people. This is far different than having the largest number of incarcerated people.


Places like china have far more people incarcerated than the United States. However they also have population that is about 5 times the size of the U.S. Last time I looked they had about twice the number of inmates meaning only percentage wise do we have more inmates than China. I believe the situation is similar in India.

I am not questioning your reason just this one fact.

I meant per capita... sorry it wasnt clear...
 

Chad

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I meant per capita... sorry it wasnt clear...

It's cool I just want to make the distinction because while having the highest per capita for prison Inmates is a bad thing it would be far worse if we had the highest number of inmates given the relatively small population we have.
 

Jason43

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Johnson's policies were excessive, and also included a crappy war. Their consequences demonstrate what happens when you have a bad welfare system, not what happens when welfare states exist.

What. How does this contradict my proposition that "in times of high unemployment, it is hard to find things to do for money. Without welfare, people get left out."

And you're forgetting that one cause (the main cause) of unemployment is a relatively low demand for labor at a livable price. :/



First off, the money is not stolen. That's polemic bullshit.

Second, welfare has definitely reduced poverty in America. You just don't hear stories of our citizens starving to death very much any more. >.>

You mean...die off?

Craftsmen. Tell me, how well will craftsmen be able to compete with automated manufacturing plants in terms of producing goods efficiently enough to sell them at a competitive price?

i.e., economic activity will shrink and we will enter a depression worse than the one that fiscally conservative policies brought about and sustained last century.

No they won't.

SOME people will find a way to take care of themselves and their friends and families. The rest will live in shacks and die from hunger and disease.

By what means?

You also can't leave the economy alone without government force and intervention and have anything aside from complete disaster.

And this recurrent theme is a lot more relevant to this discussion since the US economy is very much a mixed one leaning more toward free enterprise than most countries actually doing well right now. >.>

I disagree with everything you say, to the point where I would have to write a book to respond to it.

Taxation is theft. Remove the idea that the government is the one doing it, and any time someone compels you to give them your money against your will, it is theft. If you are giving them money by your own choice, then it is charity, not taxation. Someone threatening you with imprisonment or sending people to guns to your house unless you pay them, then giving you something of less value than what you gave them, giving you things you do not want, or giving the money they took to charity does not lessen the fact that you were compelled to do it against your will.

The US economy is basically fascist. Not to drag the mass murder feelings that word brings to mind, but the US Govt and central bank are literally tied into every transaction in the economy. The size and scale of the government and banks has created the massive corporatocracy, centralization of wealth to the government and their friends in the banks and corps, etc. The larger the government gets, the larger the corporations have gotten, and that is not coincidental, it is directly correlated.

When exactly were Americans starving to death in the streets? That is completely false. That happened in countries with central planning, not in the US. People were poor in the great depression, but that was caused and extended by attempts at central planning that all failed miserably.

The cause of unemployment is not lack of demand. There is always demand. People always want stuff. The problem is when there are limits and price controls that do not allow people to work, do not allow prices to drop to an affordable level, and otherwise distort the market, which doesnt allow for a correction of prices and wage rates. That is why the bailouts only made the problems worse and there hasnt been a recovery, aside from one thats on paper. Look around, the writing is on the wall.

And if you think the poor will not be cut off first you are confused. The government is broke, and the ones that will be cut out first are the weakest and least connected. I mean, thats just obvious. Then there will be rioting in the cities, and that will be used as an excuse to send more police and military in there to settle it. The government will protect itself from the people, turn us against each other, use rioting black people in the inner cities as a propaganda tool to scare the white middle class into voting for more government in the name of security... etc etc etc. All the dominoes are stacked. Patriot act, gun control now.... all this stuff is happening and being passed and will be used against us when they need to.

The end game of every free (ish) country in history is massive government and collapse of the empire. Happens every single time. Comparative freedom creates wealth, wealth increases public spending, public spending expands and takes over larger parts of the economy, government distorts their currency to pay for what it cant afford, inflation makes prices increase, poor cant afford to eat, revolution, totalitarianism... or some very similar variation on the same theme.
 

Duxwing

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Taxation is theft. Remove the idea that the government is the one doing it, and any time someone compels you to give them your money against your will, it is theft. If you are giving them money by your own choice, then it is charity, not taxation. Someone threatening you with imprisonment or sending people to guns to your house unless you pay them, then giving you something of less value than what you gave them, giving you things you do not want, or giving the money they took to charity does not lessen the fact that you were compelled to do it against your will.

You need to see taxation in its context: it funds the police, courts, legislature, and executive branches of the government, and without these services, contracts would be unenforceable, grievances would have no redress, and law would be impracticable.

The US economy is basically fascist.

Economies cannot be not fascist; Governments, regions, and individual people can be fascist. Economies, on the other hand, can be centrally planned, completely free, or mixed. What you're really arguing is that the US economy is extremely centrally planned, as it would be if the US Government were fascist. The US Government, especially when compared to a real fascist government, e.g., Musollini's Italy, is tiny, well-controlled, and sensitive to the demands of the people.

Not to drag the mass murder feelings that word brings to mind,

Using the word fascist doesn't even imply such things. You're looking for the word "genocidal" or "Nazi". Nevertheless, calling the US economy fascist and then rapidly reducing your claim is poor form at best and an emotional appeal at worst.

but the US Govt and central bank are literally tied into every transaction in the economy.

Could you elaborate on that statement?

The size and scale of the government and banks has created the massive corporatocracy, centralization of wealth to the government and their friends in the banks and corps, etc.

The government made the equally poor move of drastic deregulation and tax reduction during the 1990s and 1980s, respectively: these two combined to create the credit bubble that nearly destroyed the world economy in 2008.

The larger the government gets, the larger the corporations have gotten, and that is not coincidental, it is directly correlated.

Correlation does not imply causation: you know what else got bigger during the same time frame? People's waistlines. Americans have been getting fatter since processed food became cheaply available, and... of course this statement is rubbish. The two values are correlated but only weakly linked if at all. Moreover, have you not considered the fact that both can simply grown in parallel? In other words: the increasing 'size' of the US as a country would increase the 'size' of both its government and corporations.

When exactly were Americans starving to death in the streets? That is completely false.

Many Americans were starving, jobless, and looking for radical change (both through communism and fascism) during the Great Depression. Don't you remember your history lessons in school? :confused:

That happened in countries with central planning, not in the US. People were poor in the great depression, but that was caused and extended by attempts at central planning that all failed miserably.

The word that you're looking for is "disaster recovery," not central planning. After the Crash of 1929, the US Treasury drastically constricted the money supply, which caused the market to 'seize up,' if you will. The problem was not that the US Treasury did something, but that the US Treasury did that thing. Quantitative Easing and massive stimulus have proven to be the better solution, as evidenced by an unemployment rate of ~9%, rather than ~30% during the Great Depression.

The cause of unemployment is not lack of demand. There is always demand. People always want stuff.

People always want stuff, but they can't pay for it if they don't have a job, as was the case for one in three Americans during the Great Depression.

The problem is when there are limits and price controls that do not allow people to work,

You're ignoring huge swaths of other, more pertinent reasons:

--Employers cannot hire due to lack of demand (see above)
--Employers are overburdened by debt and other expenses that their new, post-crash revenue cannot pay for, and must therefore declare bankruptcy
--Employers are bankrupt due to lack of demand (see above)
--Credit to start a business and become one's own employer is unavailable due to bear market post-crash

do not allow prices to drop to an affordable level, and otherwise distort the market, which doesnt allow for a correction of prices and wage rates. That is why the bailouts only made the problems worse and there hasnt been a recovery, aside from one thats on paper. Look around, the writing is on the wall.

What writing is on what wall? Produce the data that indicate that the US economy is in as dire straits as it was when its insurance and banking sectors were falling apart?

And if you think the poor will not be cut off first you are confused. The government is broke, and the ones that will be cut out first are the weakest and least connected. I mean, thats just obvious. Then there will be rioting in the cities, and that will be used as an excuse to send more police and military in there to settle it. The government will protect itself from the people, turn us against each other, use rioting black people in the inner cities as a propaganda tool to scare the white middle class into voting for more government in the name of security... etc etc etc. All the dominoes are stacked. Patriot act, gun control now.... all this stuff is happening and being passed and will be used against us when they need to.

Are you a Ni-dom, by any chance? These leaps of logic seem unfounded, especially considering that all of them are based on the assumption that the US government is competent and willing enough to conspire as a cohesive unit. It tried doing that under the Nixon Administration, and, unsurprisingly given the adversarial nature of its legislature and separation of its powers, it failed. The only reason that Nixon didn't go to prison was that the next president didn't have time to deal with the impeachment process and offered him a full pardon so that he could focus on running the country. The Nixon presidency is an object lesson is just how hard pulling a conspiracy off is, especially when attempting it in a constitutional republic like the US, France, or Britain.

Furthermore, how on earth have you reasoned out that the government wants "an excuse" to send more police in? Aren't you just assuming that 'they're secretly out to get us,' as many conspiracy theorists do? And how do black people get involved in any of this? Where is your data? I know that you feel very sure about your conclusion, but you need to back it up with data!

The end game of every free (ish) country in history is massive government and collapse of the empire. Happens every single time. Comparative freedom creates wealth, wealth increases public spending, public spending expands and takes over larger parts of the economy, government distorts their currency to pay for what it cant afford, inflation makes prices increase, poor cant afford to eat, revolution, totalitarianism... or some very similar variation on the same theme.

Again, I suspect that you are a Ni-dom with an underdeveloped Se: your arguments are just one leap of logic after another. Why do these steps necessarily happen in this order, if they happen at all?

-Duxwing
 

Philovitist

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Debating economics is worse than debating religion. :/

Unlike with religion, I'm never so sure if I'm right. It's easy enough contradicting everything a fiscal conservative says with moral and economic arguments, but I doubt myself a lot more when it comes to this.

Of course, with Jason, there's quite a bit less doubt since his position is relatively radical and dismissive of human suffering in the short run (and long). But...also less meaningful reason to debate.
 

ProxyAmenRa

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Debating economics is worse than debating religion. :/

Unlike with religion, I'm never so sure if I'm right. It's easy enough contradicting everything a fiscal conservative says with moral and economic arguments, but I doubt myself a lot more when it comes to this.

Of course, with Jason, there's quite a bit less doubt since his position is relatively radical and dismissive of human suffering in the short run (and long). But...also less meaningful reason to debate.

Don't pat yourself on the back. No victory was achieved. Duxwing is a very bright individual and good at formulating strategies. Jason did not put forward a comprehensive argument and Duxwing ceased on this fact faster than a bat out of hell.
 

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Don't pat yourself on the back. No victory was achieved. Duxwing is a very bright individual and good at formulating strategies. Jason did not put forward a comprehensive argument and Duxwing ceased on this fact faster than a bat out of hell.

:/

What are you talking about? Are we competing now?

I can compete if you'd like, I guess.
 

Philovitist

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I think I like this forum. Everyone here is so...passionate about ideas.

I agree that constructing huge welfare state is bad government. I do, however, believe that a system for serving the poor constructed and funded by the government deserves a place in every first world country.

The idea is that it's always worth keeping someone afloat who needs the help. The US welfare system has certainly positively impacted my life, and I don't think I'm alone.
 

Duxwing

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Don't pat yourself on the back. No victory was achieved. Duxwing is a very bright individual and good at formulating strategies. Jason did not put forward a comprehensive argument and Duxwing ceased on this fact faster than a bat out of hell.

Awwww, Proxy, you're sweet, but the debate isn't over yet! :) And I haven't forgotten about our unfinished discussion, either; the delay is due in part to scheduling shenanigans and in part to the strength of your argument. The "stimulation of production through coercion" statement is a tough nut to crack, but I think that I'll be able to rebut it. If not, then I'll have deepened my understanding of economics.

-Duxwing
 

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Awwww, Proxy, you're sweet, but the debate isn't over yet! :) And I haven't forgotten about our unfinished discussion, either; the delay is due in part to scheduling shenanigans and in part to the strength of your argument. The "stimulation of production through coercion" statement is a tough nut to crack, but I think that I'll be able to rebut it. If not, then I'll have deepened my understanding of economics.

-Duxwing

[Mention]/Duxwing[/Mention]

I don't think it would be worthwhile for the both of us to continue that particular discussion. I didn't put forward any substantial argument and the "tough nut to crack" was a presumptive statement ie. not an argument. It may be more prudent if we held a more structured discussion/debate on a specific subject.
 

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My simpleton's logic on this topic has always been "Give them jobs, not money." It seems to me a society that is in the position to provide the latter but not the former is just living on borrowed time.
 

Duxwing

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/Duxwing

I don't think it would be worthwhile for the both of us to continue that particular discussion. I didn't put forward any substantial argument and the "tough nut to crack" was a presumptive statement ie. not an argument. It may be more prudent if we held a more structured discussion/debate on a specific subject.

It wasn't so much the statement itself as the underlying ethical framework. I do have the solution, though: The increased economic productivity achieved by increasing the size of the labor pool outweighs the cost of taking the money, and, if, done properly, should decrease over time.

-Duxwing
 

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It wasn't so much the statement itself as the underlying ethical framework. I do have the solution, though: The increased economic productivity achieved by increasing the size of the labor pool outweighs the cost of taking the money, and, if, done properly, should decrease over time.

-Duxwing

So according to the system of morals and ethics you adhere to it is perfectly acceptable to coerce people in order to gain increased economic productivity? Why all of the steps of coercing those who work to pay welfare when you can simply coerce the unemployed to work? I am sure if you got them working on farms or in factories they could be productive. Well, in the sense that they would be producing things. You would not even need to pay them either. Thinking about it, all those kids in high school and at university studying unproductive things could be more productive be put to work in labor camps. If you whip them enough, you could get them to produce all sorts of things.
 

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So according to the system of morals and ethics you adhere to it is perfectly acceptable to coerce people in order to gain increased economic productivity?

It's more like it's okay to coerce people to some reasonable extent (as determined through public discourse and controlled by limited government and moral principle) in order to gain increased human development. Economic productivity is not an end in itself, but our society has organized itself as if it was.

Why all of the steps of coercing those who work to pay welfare when you can simply coerce the unemployed to work?

The idea is for them to find gainful employment that they actually want to have. The job of the government is to serve them, after all. :/

I am sure if you got them working on farms or in factories they could be productive. Well, in the sense that they would be producing things. You would not even need to pay them either.

Without incentives, productivity falls.

Thinking about it, all those kids in high school and at university studying unproductive things could be more productive be put to work in labor camps.

Not in the long run.

If you whip them enough, you could get them to produce all sorts of things.

Not really.
 

ProxyAmenRa

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It's more like it's okay to coerce people to some reasonable extent (as determined through public discourse and controlled by limited government and moral principle) in order to gain increased human development. Economic productivity is not an end in itself, but our society has organized itself as if it was.

The idea is for them to find gainful employment that they actually want to have. The job of the government is to serve them, after all. :/

Without incentives, productivity falls.

Not in the long run.

Not really.

I think you have misunderstood my questioning. I will try and elaborate:

You only have a system of moral and ethics if the underlying tenets are universally applicable. If Duxwing's system of morals and ethics allows for the coercion of people to increase productivity, any similar means of increasing productivity is permissible. The purpose of my proposal is to discern Duxwing's system of morals and ethics. He may find that what he is putting forward he does not actually agree with or he has no system of morals and ethics.
 

Duxwing

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So according to the system of morals and ethics you adhere to it is perfectly acceptable to coerce people in order to gain increased economic productivity? Why all of the steps of coercing those who work to pay welfare when you can simply coerce the unemployed to work? I am sure if you got them working on farms or in factories they could be productive. Well, in the sense that they would be producing things. You would not even need to pay them either. Thinking about it, all those kids in high school and at university studying unproductive things could be more productive be put to work in labor camps. If you whip them enough, you could get them to produce all sorts of things.

You've taken what I've said out of context, so I'll clarify:

Each individual agent's success in an economy is partly a result of his or her own efforts, and partly an accident of history. Ergo, I cannot say that my status is entirely mine: I ultimately owe a part of it to my circumstances, for better or for worse. For example, my mother didn't drink when I was in her womb, and as a result, my mind is sharper than it would have been had she done so; yet, despite the enormous advantage that not suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome provides, I never had any control of her choice. This sharp mind of mine was, in effect, "given" to me by my environment, and for that I do owe my society at least some assistance: a fitting example of such assistance would be to pay taxes so that fetal alcohol syndrome could be cured.

The same logic applies to children of wealthy and impoverished parents, to the mentally ill: to all those upon whom history has not bestowed blessings, but curses. Since our-- mine, yours, everyone's-- wealth is not, then, entirely our own, the fact that a legitimate State taxes some of it is not theft. Of course, a State that takes too much is, of course, crowding in upon the free and voluntary actions of its People, and taxation must therefore be present-- lest the State fail entirely-- not too high-- lest the People live under socialism-- and not too low, for, figuratively, we each owe our neighbor something and keeping it would in itself be theft.

The ultimate decision of the degree and extensiveness of taxation should naturally be left to the State provided that the means that it uses to decide can be periodically and extensively modified by its People. A good example of such a system would be a Republic in which an elected legislature passes tax laws for the purpose of raising revenue that will fund such programs as direct welfare, courts, prisons, police, armed forces, fire departments, environmental, health, and safety inspectors, and all the institutions necessary and proper for the functioning of a modern nation, be it one of many or the only one.

And, if the People, through the functioning of this State, can maintain a balance between government and private spending, then the mixed economy shall prosper. Yet the State can become corrupt and the People lax in their judgment; these two elements cannot fail. And indeed, Proxy, many of your critiques ring true here: the State is corrupt to a degree and many of the People do not even participate in elections. But does there exist another model that requires fewer assumptions, another system that can be more easily achieved given the foibles of humankind? I don't see one.

-Duxwing
 

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You've taken what I've said out of context, so I'll clarify:

Each individual agent's success in an economy is partly a result of his or her own efforts, and partly an accident of history. Ergo, I cannot say that my status is entirely mine: I ultimately owe a part of it to my circumstances, for better or for worse. For example, my mother didn't drink when I was in her womb, and as a result, my mind is sharper than it would have been had she done so; yet, despite the enormous advantage that not suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome provides, I never had any control of her choice. This sharp mind of mine was, in effect, "given" to me by my environment, and for that I do owe my society at least some assistance: a fitting example of such assistance would be to pay taxes so that fetal alcohol syndrome could be cured.

The same logic applies to children of wealthy and impoverished parents, to the mentally ill: to all those upon whom history has not bestowed blessings, but curses. Since our-- mine, yours, everyone's-- wealth is not, then, entirely our own, the fact that a legitimate State taxes some of it is not theft. Of course, a State that takes too much is, of course, crowding in upon the free and voluntary actions of its People, and taxation must therefore be present-- lest the State fail entirely-- not too high-- lest the People live under socialism-- and not too low, for, figuratively, we each owe our neighbor something and keeping it would in itself be theft.

The ultimate decision of the degree and extensiveness of taxation should naturally be left to the State provided that the means that it uses to decide can be periodically and extensively modified by its People. A good example of such a system would be a Republic in which an elected legislature passes tax laws for the purpose of raising revenue that will fund such programs as direct welfare, courts, prisons, police, armed forces, fire departments, environmental, health, and safety inspectors, and all the institutions necessary and proper for the functioning of a modern nation, be it one of many or the only one.

So because exogenous variables affect us, you believe that you have the right to coerce people?

And, if the People, through the functioning of this State, can maintain a balance between government and private spending, then the mixed economy shall prosper. Yet the State can become corrupt and the People lax in their judgment; these two elements cannot fail. And indeed, Proxy, many of your critiques ring true here: the State is corrupt to a degree and many of the People do not even participate in elections. But does there exist another model that requires fewer assumptions, another system that can be more easily achieved given the foibles of humankind? I don't see one.

-Duxwing

Yes, one of my campaigns has been to get people more involved and educated; or at least more educated.
 

Duxwing

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So because exogenous variables affect us, you believe that you have the right to coerce people?

You're grossly oversimplifying and twisting my argument: my point is that since exogenous variables like violence the accident of birth and history severely affect agents at random for both better and worse, a legitimate State can use coercion to enable those of lesser means to fully participate in the economy and society in general via taxation of those of greater means (but obviously not to the extent that the economy is too greatly affected). Unless the agent in particular intends a secession or revolution, resisting the coercion would be unjustified because the State would ideally only take from him or her of what he or she hasn't earned, the windfall of history, as it were, and giving it to those who by chance alone do not occupy his or her forunate shoes. My argument is not about "you" or "me," it's about all of the people living under a State and how they achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of themselves.

Yes, one of my campaigns has been to get people more involved and educated; or at least more educated.

A noble cause indeed. :)

-Duxwing
 
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