Unfortunately the lower income people I know do not fall in to this camp. I have a fair number of friends and relatives who make very little money and struggle to keep their heads above water. They make routinely bad decisions or fail to do the barest minimum to be proactive about things. They have watched every show on netflix, or played every video game possible (at $60/pop). They spend money on frivolous things and fail to plan in any way for the future. Their impulse control leaves much to be desired.
But the weird thing is - they mostly realize this. They don't get too fired up about inequality. Whether it's consciously or subconsciously, they seem to realize they are not really giving it their all, and that other people work harder and are more disciplined. They appear to prefer their current situation to the stresses of "succeeding" at life.
Granted, this is all anecdotal, so take with healthy dose of salt.
However, to give another perspective on it. When I think of changing an unequal situation, I look at the situations you described like this: "Did something happen early on in that person's life that just kind of made them give up?" I've known people like that, and although it is _also_ true that they _could_ lift themselves out of that situation, when you take it in aggregate over a large population, it becomes a problem (at least to me it does).
Why is it a problem? Well, to me it is for two main reasons. First, it gives an indication that there may be a systemic problem that could be corrected (overzealous police, poor education, a political issue, etc.). Frankly, we're far along enough as a species that there's no reason to tolerate that. Second, it means a meaningful portion of the population isn't contributing to humanity/earth/however you want to think of it in a way they otherwise could, which holds all of us back.
One of the things that makes it complex is that the answer, I think, changes a lot depending on the population.
That is a retrospective way to address fairness. Another is, "Given where they are, can they start doing better and end up in a better place?"
A systemic problem that can (or used to) shove people down economically could be different than a systemic problem that doesn't allow a (reasonable) way to advance once they're at the bottom.
Point being, maybe people gave up. Maybe it's their fault. Maybe there was nothing they could do about it. But it's imperative that they have credible ways to undo that decision going forward.
Relevant issues (different people will add and/or subtract from the list):
1. permanent felony records and difficulty in getting records expunged after a history of good citizenship
2. hard cut-offs in government benefit programs
2a. getting a raise should not be a personal net loss
2b. getting married should not be a personal net loss
2c. getting more hours should not be a personal net loss, for you or your employer (the ACA really messed up here)
2d. moving to a better situation should not put your benefits at risk
3. Age discrimination needs to be taken more seriously
3a. 50-year-old college grads should have the same shots as anyone else. Otherwise, retraining from failed industries will be prohibitively difficult.
3b. New grads can't afford to wait 5-10 years for their first shot... this causes delayed marriages, delayed savings for retirement, an aging workforce, etc.
4. Home addresses are tied to wealth. Public schools are tied to home addresses. So public educational opportunity for kids is tied to how much wealth their parents have. Something has to be done about this.
Shit, how have I missed the evolutionary war of all against all going on all around me? There are so many gene-rivals I could have stabbed in back-alleys!
Or does evolution maybe allow for successful strategies towards survival and reproduction that don't neatly map to metaphors about war?
Farmers that worked hard and planned ahead did better than those who did nothing. Those that bought crop insurance or fastidiously watched the weather were in a better position to succeed than those who didn't. Similar scenarios abound for your other examples.
No matter how much you wish otherwise, nature (and our society) is set up for certain kind of animals/people to succeed - and if you wilfully choose to ignore the system that's fine, but don't be mad when it doesn't work out great for you.
Here's the mistake in your thinking as a society can be set up to be fair or unfair. However, a society can be changed and does change. It's fine to be mad at unfairness, it's fine to fight unfairness via societal changes.
Unless you meant to write something completely different, that's your stance and he rebutted it
Humans have nature, too, and no amount of laws or rules will stop human nature. Until human beings become something else, always bet on it. Giving them more resources (e.g. money) tends to make things worse for them.
In the west, we're all living in rich enough countries that no one should need superhuman will or fire or tenacity simply to live a decent life. No one willing to work 40 hours a week should be denied access to the medical care system, face food or housing insecurity, etc.
The fact that that is the situation for many speaks to problems in the way we've arranged society (which is about as far from "how nature works" as possible), not some innate rightness in the world.
Quite often that's the problem. Particularly if we've built up a palace of perverse incentives that make it a better strategy to coast along on the byzantine web of social services that is effectively an inefficient Basic Income for people at the bottom of the pile, than it is to get a shitty job and make just enough money to lose all those benefits.
I can't really blame people that realize that that's the situation they face, though.
We have a friend who scarcely makes $11.50/hour working in foodservice. Sure, the woman doesn't have the discipline or ambition to be a high-powered professional, but she never wanted to be a high-powered professional. She's working-class in the proper sense of the word: born to blue-collar workers, grew up in a blue-collar town, wants to just do a fair day's work for a day's livable pay. She doesn't get that choice, because everything outside the professional class has been gutted of livable wages and opportunities.
Nonetheless, how many jobs are professional jobs? 20%? 10% of new jobs inside this past decade? If your proposal is simply that inequality isn't a problem because everyone should be a professional, how are 100% of the people supposed to squeeze themselves into 10% of the jobs?
And if 90% of the people end up in the bottom 90% of the jobs, why should those jobs exploit them by paying unliveably low wages? After all, if there wasn't profit to be made employing those workers, nobody would do it, and minimum-wage rises at the municipal level have "destroyed" nowhere near as many jobs as predicted.
It looks to me like "inequality" really means "exploitation", a word Americans should start saying more often.
Brilliant, welcome to the middle class.
If you're unambitious and living on 20k a year (like your friend in foodservice), you can get a roommate, a beater car, and still have a fun life. That's not exploitation, that's her choice.
If she wants the responsibility of providing for a family, she should probably take on more responsibility in her career, and make way for our unemployed youths who need their first jobs so future employers will take them seriously for real ones.
Then after 30 years of these low skill folks dying off without having kids everyone will be pooping their pants about millions of immigrants moving in to prop up our economy that we uprooted and wondering where the economic power of the west is headed.
As a matter of fact, her old employer never gave her full-year hours, so she had to deal with a basically minimum-wage income of ~$15k/year. She finally found a new foodservice position in her area (where she can afford the housing costs in mere driving distance to work) that will convert her to full-time this year, so she's making a bit of a move up. She's also been attending community college to become a paralegal, but that takes time when you're working and also dealing with personal issues.
Meanwhile, there is an impact on family life. There are only 168 hours in a week. Take out 56 for sleeping, 60 for work... now down to 52, which is 7.43 hours per day. In those 7.43 hours you must cook, eat, bathe, poop, shop, make love, commute, exercise, and more. I don't think that really fits. Something is not getting the time required.
Is there a good reason she persists? Would she feel unvalued as a stay-at-home mom? Does she fear that she might be inadequate? Does she somehow think she'd be a failure if she chose a traditional role? I hope you would still respect and value her if she did that, and that she knows it. (don't just assume she knows it -- and she may hesitate to believe you if you say it, due to upbringing or peers)
I had time for fun. I'm sure you can buy better toys than I could, but you mostly can't buy time.
Anyway, it is 100% false that you need two professionals to make rent. You could do it with a full-time minimum-wage job. Anything above that is luxury.
Looking back on my public school education in the US, I'm kind of shocked that there was never a required course on personal finance. We had to spend weeks studying every major war in history, something that will never matter to us in our day-to-day lives, but we're left on our own to figure out how to stay out of debt and build a future for ourselves as working people. This directly impacts our lives every single day.
You pretty much have to read niche blogs and subreddits to even be exposed to it in our culture. It worries me a lot.
On top of that it's hard to hold every to a standard of making perfect decisions all the time. For example I know a couple people who bought houses right before the bubble burst in '08. Sure you can say that was a bad decision, but it's awfully heartless to expect everyone to be supremely wise to the real estate market.
There's people who probably don't have the ability to land a higher paying job yet still work hard at absolutely necessary jobs they have. And I think they deserve to have the comfort and safety, though perhaps not quite the luxury, as those who rise above them.
And? Unless they lost their jobs in the mean time, or made some very very bad decisions with their mortgages, they are in all likelihood no longer upside down.
A drop in the value of your home doesn't take money out of your pocket - you're still making the same payments, you just feel worse about it.
You clearly don't live in a non-metro area.
But, in my experience this is not a large group of people. And, for the most part, this group isn't the one I see complaining in the news media.
And in any event, none of the policies the government currently has are meant for this group. They are somewhat lost in the shuffle. Should we do more for this group? Absolutely! But, I don't have a lot of hope much will get done.
Firstly, that the direction of causality is not established. Nor is it likely to be an arrow, but rather merely a connection that has a feedback loop.
What I mean by feedback is that poor decisions often beget other poor decisions. Consider in a completely deterministic world such as chess. A poor move often leaves you only with other poor moves to make. The later into the game where you have played poorly, the more amazing you have to be playing at the end to still have a shot. (Any other sport shows this, too. You can always win with time on the clock. But it is harder the more you are behind.)
Secondly, don't neglect that your attitude and interactions will also lead to some of the outcomes you are seeing in discussions. You may think "they mostly realize this." It could just as likely be that they dont' get fired up about it with you.
I agree honest, a bunch of my friends from home don't do shit, don't want to do shit, and are perfectly happy with life. Honestly, probably happier than my wealthy friends. Low cost of living takes a lot of stress off your back.
The above only applies to people in that exact situation - there are of course huge structural problems with poverty in America w/r/t/ race, immigration status, etc. that are 100% not semi-idyllic image I'm describing.
I expect those with lower incomes tend to feel more oppressed and unhappy. They work hard every week but it's always paycheck to paycheck, and they always feel beholden to their employer. They don't have the financial freedom to _really_ control their lives in any significant way.
So perhaps they compensate by seeking fulfillment and distraction with netflix and video games. There has to be some outlet for all of their frustration, some way of mitigating that feeling of helplessness.
I live with a guy that has worked at Walmart for 13 years. He comes home absolutely exhausted. I don't know how he keeps going, but I have to think that indulging in movie theater visits and other forms of entertainment/distraction may actually be vital to maintaining his mental health.
Lack of social mobility can mean it's difficult for poor people to rise above their station, but it also means it's hard for the rich to screw up badly enough that they suffer real consequences for their mistakes.
You say no hardworking, disciplined, motivated person should live in poverty, but what of the lazy, undisciplined wastrel offspring of the upper classes? Should they live in [relative] luxury?
The alternative is that they lack motivation because their lives are exhausting and debilitating. Maybe that sounds paradoxical, but there are at least a handful of studies (with a quick Googling, e.g.  ) which suggest being poor is a massive stressor that has an impact on mental and physical health. When someone has no money and no clear path for advancement in life, it's not hard to see why they might want to escape with games or movies or drugs. That won't make their long term situation better, but its something small they can control and feel good about in an otherwise bleak and chaotic world.
It's also the case that people who've experienced success from working hard will have more motivation than those who haven't succeeded. To the latter group, the formula for success is theoretical rather than a lived experience--they haven't had positive reinforcement for past efforts so they're less motivated to try again in the future, even if that's suboptimal in their abstract model of the world.
So ultimately, yes, a lot of poverty is the result of bad decisions, but that's an incomplete picture of the death spiral of poverty where a lack of money and options creates a mindset that encourages those decisions.
Being poor is a constant juggling act between physical/mental/financial health. I don't think it makes sense to look at trade-offs between them as bad decisions.
It always gets me how people talk about how you can just live frugally, on poverty wages, and you'll slowly be less poor. That might work, if you have no emergencies in life, literally never make a mistake or display bad judgment in any way (remember, one emergency will wipe out years of saving and mistake-free life choices), and don't even think of having a family or raising children.
But positing that as "the way things ought to be for everyone" in the richest country on earth? That's fucked up.
"Everyone, including the rich, need to pay their share."
"Americans from all backgrounds should have a fair shot at a quality education, not just those who happen to grow up in nice neighborhoods."
He tapped into equality of opportunity, while acknowledging that some will be more successful than others. That should be the rallying cry, not the idea of ending inequality outright.
Why should someone who invests nothing in their own children get to see their children have equal opportunities to the children of another person who invests everything into their children?
Why should a person who has 10 children get to see each one have the same amount of opportunity as each one of the children of someone who has 2 children, assuming equal total parental investment?
The rallying cry should be equality before the law.
I also think you are making a big (and incorrect) assumption that children who do not receive "investment" have parents that are neglecting them, rather than have parents who lack the means to make a substantial "investment".
I'm sorry for the facetiousness, but I just don't see any reasonable case for the government playing this kind of role in society. It all seems very moralizing and controlling.
Is that any less moralising and controlling?
If we force people to subsidize other people's poor children, we create perverse incentives to have a maximum number of children with minimum personal investment in each. It cannot end well for society.
You have it reversed. Not providing, say, an education to all children, regardless of parental investment, will leave us with a large number of uneducated citizens languishing to fend for themselves. That sounds pretty bad for society.
Not sure how your making the case that educating children ends up poorly for everyone...unless, of course, you mean that it's harder for the wealthy and powerful to control an educated populace compared to an uneducated one.
We're simply not taking, by force, money from one person, to spend it raising the children of another.
No one is forced to live in a country that provides for it citizens. People can always choose to leave if they feel it's unfair to have basic responsibilities like paying taxes.
As government involvement in education has increased, education outcomes have stopped improving:
I'm making the case that forcing people to pay for the costs of raising poor children will create an incentive for people to produce poor children.
You think there are poor people out there thinking: "hey I can have a bunch of kids and they'll all get free educations, let's do it!" Why would they? So that the kid will grow up and get a great job and support them? That's not so much a get-rich-quick scheme as it is a get-rich-in-twenty-to-thirty-years scheme. Plus you'd still have to raise a bunch of kids, which isn't exactly a walk in the park.
And the evidence is on my side. Increased access to education is associated with lower fertility rates, not higher: http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/completingfert...
I think the net level of support people can expect their children to receive from redistributive programs plays a role in their decision to have children when they have low income. It's also important to note that it won't just be schooling if the goal is to provide equality of opportunity. It will have to be food as well, and other resources needed to have an equal opportunity.
As for education and fertility rates, this is not guaranteed to last. Formal education is not something humans were evolved for. But evolution has a way of quickly adapting to maximize its programmed objective: reproduction.
That is not a valid retort. You can't just take a bunch of data points and discard all of them because "evolution has a way". I'm not extrapolating based on this data: these studies show that improving access to education in a wide variety of regions and cultures decreases fertility. These are completely valid statistics and research demonstrating that education is correlated with reduced fertility, you can't discard them with idle speculation. If you have evidence demonstrating your position, we can talk.
The rise of the welfare state over the last 50 years has been associated with a massive rise in out-of-wedlock childbirth:
>Maybe an example of a species which, upon a decrease in difficulty raising offspring
It's a well known maxim that feeding animals leads to a population explosion.
2. Just because people are having more out-of-wedlock children doesn't necessarily mean they are having more children over all. It could simply mean people aren't getting married anymore.
3. Your first link has the following quote in the introduction section: "a reasonable reading of the evidence to date is that the welfare system may increase non marital childbearing, but the magnitude of its effect may not be large relative to the effect of other factors in contributing to recent increases in nonmarital child bearing in the US. In fact, the simplest evidence indicates that the welfare system has not been largely responsible for the recent increases in nonmarital child bearing."
4. Feeding animals increases population, but that's not the same as increased fertility. If an animal normally gives birth to a litter of 5, and only 3 normally live to adulthood, but now all five live to adulthood, then population will increase even though each couple is producing offspring at the same rate. And I'd also like something showing that human beings would exhibit the same phenomenon, because human behavior is a complicated thing governed by more than evolution.
2. The fact that an increasing number of people are having children out of wedlock should be very concerning. Many social problems are strongly correlated with high single parenthood rates. The evidence suggests to me that more welfare encourages single parenthood by changing its costs/rewards.
3. Even that finding is shocking in how anti-welfare it is, given the well-documented leftist bias in the social sciences. Even accepting it at face value, it points to a definite negative effect. Over time, it could get worse due to natural selection.
4. I can do some research and see what I find. As for human populations, I think the most likely outcome is that they inevitably reach a state of evolutionary optimal behavior.
I would argue that the harm of redistribution has historically been more than counterbalanced by the accelerating rate of technological innovation, but that the last 40 years suggests that the growth of the harmful effects of welfarism are starting to outpace the accelerating natural-rate of innovation. That's what GDP and income growth figures would suggest to me. Also the explosion in single parenthood.
So don't just write off publicly subsidized education as wealth redistribution!
If it's truly an investment, we could let the student loan market handle it, since the returns (in increased income) exceed the costs.
As for social benefits, I believe the negative effect of encouraging people to have children when they're not capable of personally supporting them, and of reducing the incentive to be productive, outweighs the positive ones.
Before the era of government education, the level of education in society was improving steadily. I don't see history suggesting that society, left to voluntary relationships and income distribution, enters into a downward spiral.
Student loans? I'm talking about primary and secondary education, not college education. I'm assuming you aren't talking about privatizing those and using students loans to funding things, right?
I think you would have a hard time finding any credible sources that indicate public education has been anything but good for the world. Cherry picking historical facts and turning a revisionists blind eye to our country's history won't help. As well, the debate over which LEVEL of government should be paying for education is orthogonal to the merits.
Whether it's a small community, with high levels of income homogeneity, funding the public education, or the federal government, is not orthogonal to the debate on guaranteeing equality of opportunity. The massive increase in government spending (at all levels, federal, state and local) on education is also not orthogonal to the debate.
Several economists have looked at the history of education and concluded that we would have been better off if we never transitioned from nongovernment to government education. The trends in place before public education was created were toward greater literacy and education.
I'm not sure what arguing over the minutia even accomplishes. I feel like I'm chasing a goal post all over my Friday afternoon. Government support for schooling has been provided by every level of the US government stack(municipal, county, state, federal) since WAY BACK, even to colonial times, to varying degrees. Public access to and public funding of education has increased along the way, yes.
Clean water, electricity, a home, education, or any of those "rich people" things. If they did deserve it, they'd have them. Since they dont, they deserve a life of misery, suffering, and edging to destitution.
^^^ If you can understand the above, its the reason why youre on the wrong side of history here. You can couch the discussion as "stealing from the rich"... But in the end, we all should have equal access and usage to the essentials of life. We have more than enough resources; there just being hoarded by greedy people who are great at explaining why they deserve it.
> I don't think opposing forced income redistribution puts me on the side of history.
And here we go again. This is a matter of "How does the government serve the citizenry". And right now, not very well. Government's current modus operandi is to privatize the gains and socialize the losses. In other words, their gains is on the backs of our losses. And from that, we have a legitimate claim on those gains, as they should be socialized as well.
Why? Because people who are rich did not do so themselves in a little bubble. Their successes rest in part on all of us. And it is easy to say, and act, that they need to pay their fair share. And that fair share would be sufficient in providing basic necessities to everyone, regardless of financial need.
People can still make profit, and thrive. I'm not advocating traditional communism. I'm advocating a blend, where the minimums are taken care of. People can still thrive and profit - they just won't be able to stand on our backs for them to get ahead.
By taking other people's income? I don't think that's fair.
>Because people who are rich did not do so themselves in a little bubble. Their successes rest in part on all of us.
That doesn't seem like a scientific way to determine how much one owes another person. In my opinion it's not consistent with the principle of justice. It's a very sweeping generalization.
>People can still thrive and profit - they just won't be able to stand on our backs for them to get ahead.
How would they be standing on our backs in the absence of forcible redistribution?
But you don't ask that when they extract peoples' money on the upswing. Only when I express that "socialism for losses and privatization for profits" do you have any problem with fairness.
> That doesn't seem like a scientific way to determine how much one owes another person. In my opinion it's not consistent with the principle of justice. It's a very sweeping generalization.
You want scientific and fair? We the people should own the proceeds from public lands. And that should be used to bolster lowering costs on food, electricity, water, and other resources.
Instead, our government is making "Deals" like selling whole trees for $3 to a wood cutter. Trees are usually in the range from $1000-$50000 , yet some private entity benefits on public's socialism.
Or we have eminent domain so some company can build something. Doesn't matter if it's not for public works. Again, socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the poor.
> How would they be standing on our backs in the absence of forcible redistribution?
Well, you seem to be an Ancap type, given your economic theory. Well, they'd just pay people to serve as a private militia to protect them. Like Somalia. Because people with pitchforks would come out, and take care of this and properly distribute.
Yeah, people can be richer than others... But there's a point that fairness surpasses when you have 1 person (or company) that owns an impressive amount of goods. We only look no further than environmental, societal, local, and government destruction due to extreme clout.
I always ask that.
>You want scientific and fair? We the people should own the proceeds from public lands.
The proceeds of public land is not sufficient to pay for a sizeable welfare state. All land in the US is worth $23 trillion. Assuming a tax equal to 3% of its value is levied per year, that would raise a little less than $700 million.
That has to first be spent on the essentials, like interstate highways, federal courts, and national defence. There's nothing left for welfare. Even if there were, it would better serve society to spend it on general goods to boost productivity, rather than private goods for the poor that discourage it.
No I'm not an ancap.
>But there's a point that fairness surpasses when you have 1 person (or company) that owns an impressive amount of goods.
I don't see this being based on a principle of justice. It's just a gut feeling, which will be highly susceptible to our biases.
I personally believe we have a natural right to our private property. Otherwise, why stop at our physical possessions, and not go to our physical body as well?
Healthy adults can stand for themselves, children and the ill need protection.
Do you want to derail the thread just to vomit out slogans we've all heard a thousand times and found wanting?
I disagree with Jabanga but the "market incentive to pay for smart kids to learn" is interesting - I'd say it's also very risky - a poor child's parents don't want to pay for the child's education, they're not smart, they decide to rob people, this isn't good for anyone.
But I welcome the discussion and Jabanga has been polite so far.
No, I don't think he has been. His core premise is, "taxation is theft", that is, providing government services with tax money is morally wrong. From there, he has dragged us all into trying to refute his entirely rationalized ideological structure, which claims descriptively that taxing people and using it to provide services has inferior results to simply privatizing everything.
He's rationalizing descriptive data that don't fit the real world to maintain a strictly normative premise that he believes for strictly normative reasons. He then wants us to spend effort engaging with his descriptive claims as if they were the core matter, or even as if they were real descriptive claims and not rationalizations.
No, if they were actual descriptive claims, and he was actually engaging in consequential rather than deontic moral reasoning, he would notice that his descriptive claims contradict reality and change his mind on the core moral proposition. Instead, he's solid as a rock on his original claim, which means he's reasoning deontically, not to mention fallaciously: Thou Shalt Not Tax, therefore tax-funded schools are inferior.
That's downright rude.
He's entitled to his own normative moral opinions, not his own facts.
I did nothing more than what the parent comment did.
I also don't think we're in a position to judge the full impact of our words on others, so I don't accept your assessment that no minds were changed by the previous discussions.
Nobody's telling you not to express your view. The obnoxious thing is to snidely pretend everyone else has to justify their own positions in terms of your view.
If you want to say, "taxation is theft", just say it, instead of dragging things out from, "Well why should children have equal opportunities to other children anyways?"
I personally think that guaranteeing equality of opportunity will have more negative social effects than positive, by reducing incentive to produce resources in order to provide for one's own children, since one can instead be poor and let the state force other people to pay for their upbringing.
If justice is the greatest happiness for the greatest number, some degree of equitable income redistribution is a moral imperative. The exact degree needs to be experimentally determined, as income redistribution does reduce individual autonomy (which has the side effect of reducing happiness) and incentive to work (which results in less wealth to redistribute). The exact amount is also probably population specific, with cohesive, homogeneous populations tolerating more redistribution.
As for the greater good justification: given income redistribution reduces how much wealth is generated, which you acknowledge, it goes to reason that over an infinite timescale, the society without income redistribution will become infinitely wealthier than the one with. A permanent boost to the exponent of economic growth leads, over a long enough time period, to a cumulatively larger gain for the welfare of the poor than any increase in redistribution could provide them, since the benefits of a permanent increase in the growth rate are recurring.
In the same way that society taxes you to pay for goods and services that others use, others are taxed to pay for services that you use. Society does this because it has been historically more adaptive to make everyone pay for roads, fire departments, and strategic bombers regardless of whether or not they actually want them.
If you don't think people should be forced to pay for things that others use, I challenge you to find a society where this doesn't happen.
There's a reason why certain communities have radically different outcomes. The more motivated kind set their offspring up so that the default outcome is, on average, success. They have to try hard to not succeed.
That is utter crap. They do have to make some bad decisions, but it's not like success is guaranteed for everyone who grows up in a white middle class neighborhood.
His lawyer argued that he suffered from 'affluenza', and he was sentenced to probation and therapy; note that Eric was a repeat offender (having been previously cited for Minor in Possession and Minor in Consumption of Alcohol.
Eric Couch wasn't sentenced to a jail term until he violated the terms of his probation and fled to Mexico.
Success isn't guaranteed, but does everybody get the same leeway as Eric Couch?
You know, if people can grow up in a privileged, middle-class neighborhood, unharmed by want or oppression, work reasonably hard, put in a normal level of effort, make reasonable-in-expectation decisions... and then wind up poor? Something is very wrong.
I also don't see how other countries doing it is a justification.
At some point there, do you start seeing reasons for us to start caring about what happens to those children? If not for the childrens' benefit, at least for our own?
You may as well go punch a stone wall for a while instead.
Government is bad, taxes are theft, regulation is evil.
Repeat ad nauseam until your opponent gives up. Best way to treat them is like the trolls they are - ignore them.
You've basically dehumanized a large section of the population in a manner that you would agree would be pretty offensive if done to you.
These days it seems to have replaced arguing/trolling about religion (anyone else remember the distant past of the 90s?) as the most common waste of everyone's time in Internet discussions. It'd be best if we just recognize when this kind of thread is about to start and stop posting.
[0 EDIT] uh, whoops, that should be over 20 years. How time flies.
There is nothing in the Constitution about social welfare programs to provide equality of opportunity. It's all about the "general welfare", which had a distinctly non-redistribitive definition in the 18th century.
> it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.
- Thomas Jefferson
While the rich pay more than their fair share and then some (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KENaWXPmBr0), I would think that quality education is something we could all get behind. It's unfortunate though that the left in large part seem to be opposed to school choice. That means that if you live in a more impoverished neighborhood, you're stuck with whatever school you're assigned to instead of being able to shop around, and for a lot of impoverished neighborhoods, that means schools with bad teachers and administrators, and there is no way out of it. This is a huge problem in black communities, and one area where the right legislation could make a significant impact.
Fuck us for wanting to fix those impoverished schools, right?
Do you honestly think every tax bracket pays the same effective rate as the middle class? I think you will learn a lot in this thread.
Are you talking to me? Because I didn't say that. What I said is that the rich pay for most for government services, which means that per person, they pay WAY MORE than their fair share. Elon Musk will be paying nearly half a billion dollars in income tax this year, what did YOU contribute? How much would you need to sacrifice in your life to pay a tenth of what he paid this year alone?
Rather than inequality, I think people are more concerned about some combination of:
* Poverty - that some people don't have enough resources to meet their basic needs
* Lack of opportunity - that for too many people, working hard and making reasonable decisions is unlikely to result in a proportional gain in wealth
* Corruption - that wealth results in undue influence over the political process and control over the lives of others
* Unjust rewards - that some activities which arguably, or definitely cause a net harm to society or a reduction in total wealth are rewarded, and that some beneficial activities are not rewarded, or rewarded insufficiently
Yeah, pretty much everyone of the left would reject that extreme. The progressive viewpoint here is simply that the economic system is tilted too far in favor of money accumulating upwards and needs to be pushed back somewhat. Other than that, there is a lot of variety in how far and what the method of doing so should look like.
I'd be interested in seeing if there are a significant number of people who are fundamentally concerned with wealth inequality per se rather than poverty, lack of opportunity, corruption and unjust rewards.
But anyway the closer seems really weird to me.
> I also find it striking how frequently anti-inequality messages come from academia, which in reality has a remarkably inegalitarian system of allocating rewards. For instance, consider the differences in pay, security and working conditions for tenured professors versus adjuncts; citation inequality is very high too.
This seems to be suggesting that we should discount academics because they're hypocrites because their house has inequality too. Very specious.
Why is it surprising that the only people asking whether we have equality and taking the time to find out are the ones reporting that we don't?
There are many things wrong in academia and with tenure, but why exactly is it unfair for adjuncts to have less pay & security? Tenure is harder to get, and adjuncts are non tenure track.
Citation inequality? What does this have to do with global economic inequality? I'm sure there is citation inequality but the paper cited doesn't really demonstrate it. It catalogues where citations are concentrated, which doesn't prove inequality. To show inequality you'd have to compare submissions and rejection rates, not acceptance rates alone.
Based on your comment I assume you are addressing income inequality.
>the majority of the people out there protesting would see a dramatic drop in income. I have a feeling that isn't what they are talking about.
I do know activists that view fairness as such an important virtue that they would be overjoyed to take that bargain even if it hurt their bottom line. However, according to the BBC :
> the world's average salary is $1,480 (£928) a month, which is just less than $18,000 (£11,291) a year.
18,000/365 is roughly 50 dollars a day. According the the 2014 US Census  about 18-33% of US households make this or less (18% is single earner, 33% is two earner households). So for 18-33% of the US population nothing changes or things improve.
However, no one has a magic income equality wand. Even if someone did have a magic income equality wand is not clear if the second order effects of global radical income redistribution would be positive and almost nothing would prevent the causes of income inequality from reasserting themselves. For this reason most attempts to fix such inequality focus on the root causes, e.g. differences in the quality of education, disease, malnutrition or structural power imbalances (such as unfairness in the justice system, structural racism/sexism, who gets business loans, rent-seeking, etc...). Almost all of these would likely raise the average level of income rather than just flatten it.
The median income in the US is 51 thousand dollars and even if you made minimum wage (15k yearly) you'd see a 50% drop in income in a completely equitable system.
Global per capita GDP counts non-earners such as children and the sick. That can't directly be compared to median income because median income doesn't account for non-earners.
>The median income in the US is 51 thousand dollars
And that is the median household income. Which is not the same as per earner wage. For instance a household with two earners would have household income of 30,000 rather than 15,000.
The BBC's analysis (linked to in my post) computes it for earners and therefore is comparable. This is also why it is higher (18,000 USD rather than 10,000 USD). I gave a range for 1-2 earners per household.
>and even if you made minimum wage (15k yearly) you'd see a 50% drop in income in a completely equitable system
Are you confusing median and mean here?
Ahh, so this system would be rather Ayn Randian then? The elderly, sick and unemployed would be expected to starve? Or would you tax the already low wages these people have earned at a rate sufficient to give those groups a similar standard of living as those whom happen to be employed and not old or sick? If you did so with 100% efficiency you would have an after tax income at a number somewhere between yours and mine. That number would be very likely less than the federal minimum wage.
And even so the government hasn't built a road or a school yet.
>And that is the median household income. Which is not the same as per earner wage. For instance a household with two earners would have household income of 30,000 rather than 15,000.
Children of single mothers would have it pretty rough then. Typically communist systems will give extra resources to parents of children in order to assist with the cost of raising them. I suppose this will not be the case in this brave new world? A bold choice as early childhood mortality will likely be very high as well as the numbers of parents abandoning children they can't afford.
>Are you confusing median and mean here?
Neither was mentioned in this context. The US federal minimum wage (FYI Walmart has a national minimum wage that exceeds that number by roughly 25% very few actually make this little) earned for 40 hours a week work, 52 weeks a year will give you a gross income of a little over 15 thousand dollars annually.
This makes no sense. I pointed out you were comparing income statistics incorrectly (which was also noted by another poster) and in response you:
1. made up a political program which is entirely missing from my post,
2. ascribed it to me out of the blue,
3. and then wrote two paragraphs attacking me for this fantastical program.
I'd hate to be your math teacher:
Math teacher: "cmdrfred, you got this problem wrong 2 + 3 is not 6"
cmdrfred: "Ahh, so this system would be rather Ayn Randian then? The elderly, sick and unemployed would be expected to starve?".
"The median income in the US is 51 thousand dollars and even if you made minimum wage (15k yearly) you'd see a 50% drop in income in a completely equitable system."
The fact is if you had income equality globally you would either have to allow the sick and elderly to starve as well as essentially suspend every governmental function or even the lowest paid workers in the US would be much worse off as the economy would shrink to 1/5 of its original size.
My point stands, "Fight for $15" and making income "fair" are mutually exclusive goals unless you are a nationalist whom is really saying "hey, give me more money!"
Ordinarily a meaningless word is great for a rallying cry, but things like "equal" and "fair" are just too meaningless.
Surely people don't believe that an 18 year-old shouldn't have the same income as a 45 year-old?
A 45 year-old shouldn't have higher income just because they're older. In the UK, at least, we have laws about that sort of thing.
Pretty sure a lot of the 22 year olds I saw at occupy rallies thought exactly that. I am a bad person for working for 20 years to get where I am without giving most of my money to people that haven't.
"Equality" is a bit of a fraught term - it can mean lots of things in lots of different contexts. But "Harrison Bergeron" depicted an equal society, and it wasn't pretty.
Perhaps fights against inequality that cut down tall poppies are just inherently more difficult to sell. Debates about racial inequality have arguably made better headway over time in US politics because they tend to focus on elevating an oppressed group; granting them rights they lacked to make them equals with those who already had those rights. With income inequality, however, the solutions are often perceived (rightly or wrongly) as bringing people down; beating up on those who have had success.
: "Man will always be a man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love."
Cowen is the director of the Mercatus Center, which is heavily funded by the brothers. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercatus_Center
And here's an article on that connection https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/06/gary-north/the-koch-brot...
bernie sanders is the most popular politician in america. is it because his fundamental message of needing to reduce inequality is falling flat? no.
garbage article, ignores objective realities in favor of babbling in circles...
It's a bit of a leap to convince somebody that just because Bill Gates is much richer than the typical person, somebody more deserving must have gone without for him to get so rich.
MS lost an anti-trust case. There were good legal and ethical reasons why MS in general and Gates in particular had to admit in a public courtroom that "cutting off the oxygen supply" to their competitors meant destroying other companies and other people's livelihoods.
Aside from that, once a company gets big enough it effectively becomes a kind of proxy mini-government in its market space, and smaller entrepreneurs either work with it and pay tribute for market access, or sometimes simply pay for the right to continue to exist.
And even then there's no guarantee that they really will be allowed to exist.
This is what inequality means. It's not just about poor people having no money and rich people having plenty of money. It's about inequality of power and influence.
Japanese video game companies pay like 1/3rd or less what USA video game companies pay in salary. AFAIK similar things are true for other industries. Maybe not as bad as 1/3rd but that's not relevant to the point below.
In Japanese school (17 years ago) my teacher brought up the topic that CEOs don't get paid as much in Japan so it's more equal. My response at the time was "why do I care that my USA CEO makes 100x my salary and my Japanese CEO only 10x, the 100x CEO is still managing to pay me 2x to 3x more than the 10x CEO."
How true that is overall I have no idea. I can say that video game programmers in Japan with 15 years experience make less than interns at Google.
It could be an answer like taxes are high or other costs are high. It could be the fact that you can't easily get rid of bad employees in Japan and that eats up costs. It could be that they don't pay for experience, they hire out of college with no experience, especially Japanese colleges which have a reputation for not teaching anything, that would mean maybe the company costs are years of training their inexperienced employees up to western graduate levels.
I have no idea and I'd love to know. But, whatever it is I think I'd like them to fix it so they start paying similar salaries to their USA counterparts.