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  1. #1

    Default Welfare and benefits

    Unlike the vast majority of the forum and most people I meet I'm in favour of the welfare state and benefits.

    I think the problem associated with both is not their existence per se or their use but their abuse and dont see any value in dispensing with them altogether because they could be misused.

    That kind of reasoning is a little like suggesting because there's such a thing as drunk or reckless driving then its long past the time that we should just get rid of cars, its immanently logically and its only political cowardice that prevents the return to horse and trap.

    I dont see the availability of benefits or a welfare state as public or state organised charity, it plays a vital role in the economy besides any socially beneficient consequences. This corresponds to the vitally mixed nature of any and all economies, presently or historically, which have been capable of meeting the needs of the population or providing a measure of prosperity and social order.

    I dont accept the normal ideological divisions about welfare either, I do believe its possible to believe in free markets but support the existence of generous tax funded stat services and benefits.

    I dont believe that anyone paid from taxation is not earning a living and constitutes a drain on the economy, I'm not sure that those who are straightforward in receipt of benefits are a drain either.

    Neither public spending per se nor welfare state regimes or benefits are synomynous with socialism or collectivism either.

    To that end I thought I'd try and move discussion of benefits on from stupid ideological entrenchment and retrenchment or veiled normative discussions and self-aggrandisement to something more or something else:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_minimum_income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen%27s_dividend

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit

    What's the opinions or does the old freedom = poverty idea still make more sense instead?

  2. #2
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    In the United States, there are a few cultural considerations that deeply influence the nature of the conversation. First is the historic objection to centralized taxation that has been around since the Revolution. This has a lot to do with the commercial orientation of the ruling class throughout the history of the country. They know that any social safety net eventually has to be paid for, and that this has to come out of someone's pocket, and that's an issue when you're the one with all the money.

    Along with this, there is the "rugged individualist" ideal, which promotes the self-made man who carries his own weight without outside support. Personally, I think a lot of this comes from being a country of immigrants, whose newly-arrived population lost much in the way of their social support networks. As we grow more and more isolated and commodified by various economic and cultural forces, this ideal provides a seductive image of how to survive in this environment.

    Next is the substantial impact of Calvinist thought in the US, particularly in the South. Concurrent with this is, as mentioned in another thread, the just world hypothesis. On the one hand, the Calvinistic view sees some people as damned to be failures in their life, and that it is a waste of resources to provide them with any means of making choices for themselves, as they will necessarily be bad choices. The just world hypothesis dovetails with this, proposing that those who are wealthy must have done something good to have earned it, and those who are poor must have done something wrong to get in the state that they are. So, social safety net programs become a means of rewarding the poor for having done something wrong, while punishing the rich for having done something right to be successful.

    Finally, there's the influence of racism. A false assumption held by many is that a vast majority of recipients of social safety net programs are of racial minorities, African-Americans in particular (e.g. "welfare queen in her pink Cadillac"). The reality is that a clear majority of welfare recipients are white. However, the resentment over part of a person's paycheck possibly going to support a member of a disliked racial group is a continuing motivator in people's views on the matter. Americans just do not like to talk about this, because it's still somewhat embarrassing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member pv255's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Unlike the vast majority of the forum and most people I meet I'm in favour of the welfare state and benefits.

    I think the problem associated with both is not their existence per se or their use but their abuse and dont see any value in dispensing with them altogether because they could be misused.

    That kind of reasoning is a little like suggesting because there's such a thing as drunk or reckless driving then its long past the time that we should just get rid of cars, its immanently logically and its only political cowardice that prevents the return to horse and trap.

    I dont see the availability of benefits or a welfare state as public or state organised charity, it plays a vital role in the economy besides any socially beneficient consequences. This corresponds to the vitally mixed nature of any and all economies, presently or historically, which have been capable of meeting the needs of the population or providing a measure of prosperity and social order.

    I dont accept the normal ideological divisions about welfare either, I do believe its possible to believe in free markets but support the existence of generous tax funded stat services and benefits.

    I dont believe that anyone paid from taxation is not earning a living and constitutes a drain on the economy, I'm not sure that those who are straightforward in receipt of benefits are a drain either.

    Neither public spending per se nor welfare state regimes or benefits are synomynous with socialism or collectivism either.

    To that end I thought I'd try and move discussion of benefits on from stupid ideological entrenchment and retrenchment or veiled normative discussions and self-aggrandisement to something more or something else:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_minimum_income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen%27s_dividend

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit

    What's the opinions or does the old freedom = poverty idea still make more sense instead?
    From your another thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Taxation predates egalitarianism and never was and never will be a purpose of taxation. Most of the uber rich are exempt from taxation and have engineered situations in which revenue from taxation drops of so that beyond a certain point their wealth will always be safe.

    The real reason, only reason, for taxation is its service to elite power.

    On the most fundamental level it serves to circulate money in the economy which makes mass production and mass consumption possible, in the final instance that is about confering legitimacy upon capitalism as the greatest means for the majority of people to satisfy their needs and wants, now its possible for a society to exist in which the majority are excluded from production and consumption, niche production and niche consumption is possible.

    Its the sort of society I believe the world could come to resemble as capitalist ideology takes greater hold, exercises greater appeal to utopian imagination and fantasy or simply if the rich are more and more successful in their class struggle which is playing out globally.

    How long that sort of society would survive I'm not sure, I'm not sure because while the unemployed, state employees and other groups elites feel they could cope without will be the first to be hit hard there are a myriad of small, medium, even large enterprises who will be unable to turn a profit any longer and will join the impoverished. At that point stupid ideologies like fascism or communism look like a good way to channel the rage to the majority of people (if you dont believe that look at the latest results from Greek elections).
    I thought taxes were just to service the elite not support welfare. You contradict yourself and make no sense...
    Let me guess, go read someone else's work and then I'll understand?.... whatever

  4. #4
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Pv he is saying that is what HAS been, not necessarily what is fated. @Lark, create a poll. I agree with you 100%
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    Pv he is saying that is what HAS been, not necessarily what is fated. @Lark, create a poll. I agree with you 100%
    I do believe it has been the case, I do believe that it remains the case to a great extent, hence my having said this:

    I dont see the availability of benefits or a welfare state as public or state organised charity, it plays a vital role in the economy besides any socially beneficient consequences. This corresponds to the vitally mixed nature of any and all economies, presently or historically, which have been capable of meeting the needs of the population or providing a measure of prosperity and social order.
    Which is pretty much the same thing as what I posted in the thread on taxation. Its vital role in the economy is:-

    - circulating money, making mass consumption and mass production possible.
    - Mass consumption and mass production legitimise capitalism.

    That is fundamentally the case besides an social benefit or social cost resulting from the existence of benefits. I believe it will remain so. Although what I am saying in this thread is that I would not discount the social benefits and think that there are social benefits, for instance taking the pressure of businesses to provide work for job seekers.

    The ideas of social costs steming from the existence of benefits or welfare I do take seriously, although I do think that things such as the errosion of work ethics, laziness and indolence or dependency are attributable to a lot of different variables besides the existence of benefits and welfare, to my mind those things are as easily attributable to consumerism and celebrity culture. In fact I would say more so because those are far, far greater cultural levers than benefits.

    So I would like to discuss how benefits can be reformed to maximise the socially beneficial effects and minimise the socially costly consequences, instead of simply having the benefits are evil, get rid of them all rehashed for the Nth time.

    In the UK irrespective of what party has been in power there's been a tendency towards guaranteed income or citizens income for some time, thats all parties would like to replace myriad different benefits with a single payment, although there are divisions over how generous this payment should be.

    The labour party wanted to roll out an identification card which could become a benefit card, much like a credit card, which all citizens would have and all citizens could use claim their share of the social product/tax revenue dedicated to benefits. The idea was to create an ID scheme which would be difficult to forge and abuse and also resistant to welfare tourism or benefits immigration, although the initial set up costs were collossal and it also concerned libertarians because it would involve a government DNA ID database. So the conservatives scrapped the whole idea and gave the money to the banks as bailout cash.

    Now the conservatives, without any of the ID business, have moved towards a single benefit too, this is based upon the time honoured conservative principles of less eligibility and no single or combined benefit amounting to more than the lowest public service pay grade or minimum wage earner in private employment. They've called this universal credit or something like that and it sounds like guaranteed income or citizens wage only more on a par with Friedman et al's ideas and more to do with freeing businesses from burdens of providing jobs.

    I'd suspect that eventually the conservative version would be combined with an attack on professional public services, ie people in receipt of universal credit can volunteer to do as good a job as social workers, police, firemen, teachers, civil servants, town planners etc. at a quarter of the tax expense. The principle of less eligibility would mean that its not going to be received by everyone irrespective of employment or wealth like the labour scheme.

    While the labour scheme would be compatible with economic growth, everyone consuming and consumer demand driving mass production, the conservative one would be compatible with a move towards niche production and a shrinking elite of those with disposable income with the majority merely subsisting. Ironically while a lot of the guaranteed income and citizens income schemes have been taken seriously by ecologists and greens because they could be compatible with steady state, low or no growth economies those visions are not incompatible with the niche production conservative economy. Its why in the UK, along with a lot of neo-malthusian ideas, the conservatives are the new green party.

  6. #6
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    People need resources.

    You can either give those resources to them or expect them to take them.

    Option A seems to be a bit more workable at this point in history. It should be extended internationally though.

    Option B leads to a place that the world probably doesn't want to be in.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pv255's Avatar
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    Something is lost in translation here. And yes, I suck at proof reading.
    Your comments about welfare and benefits are fine. I agree that welfare has more benefits than its cost.
    I am confused about your logic about taxes, and I think a lot of it has to do with scope. You seem to be talking from above the system one second and then within the system the next.
    Taxation predates egalitarianism and never was and never will be a purpose of taxation. Most of the uber rich are exempt from taxation and have engineered situations in which revenue from taxation drops of so that beyond a certain point their wealth will always be safe.

    The real reason, only reason, for taxation is its service to elite power.
    You are talking about Rothschild type of rich, right? Not the millionaire oil tycoons that live down the street from me. How does taxes service them? And why is there a sliding scale income tax rate if not from some attempt at equality?

    On the most fundamental level it serves to circulate money in the economy which makes mass production and mass consumption possible, in the final instance that is about confering legitimacy upon capitalism as the greatest means for the majority of people to satisfy their needs and wants, now its possible for a society to exist in which the majority are excluded from production and consumption, niche production and niche consumption is possible.
    Circulating money - Right, that's what I saying. Taxes destroy money while debt creates it. Taxes force people to work.
    How does taxes legitimize capitalism?
    I don't understand what you me by the majority are excluded from production and consumption (p/c). What do you mean? What is niche p/c?

    Its the sort of society I believe the world could come to resemble as capitalist ideology takes greater hold, exercises greater appeal to utopian imagination and fantasy or simply if the rich are more and more successful in their class struggle which is playing out globally.
    What sort of society?

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    I think a lot of people on welfare fall into the contigency trap to be honest.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  9. #9
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Unlike the vast majority of the forum and most people I meet I'm in favour of the welfare state and benefits.

    I think the problem associated with both is not their existence per se or their use but their abuse and dont see any value in dispensing with them altogether because they could be misused.

    That kind of reasoning is a little like suggesting because there's such a thing as drunk or reckless driving then its long past the time that we should just get rid of cars, its immanently logically and its only political cowardice that prevents the return to horse and trap.

    I dont see the availability of benefits or a welfare state as public or state organised charity, it plays a vital role in the economy besides any socially beneficient consequences. This corresponds to the vitally mixed nature of any and all economies, presently or historically, which have been capable of meeting the needs of the population or providing a measure of prosperity and social order.

    I dont accept the normal ideological divisions about welfare either, I do believe its possible to believe in free markets but support the existence of generous tax funded stat services and benefits.

    I dont believe that anyone paid from taxation is not earning a living and constitutes a drain on the economy, I'm not sure that those who are straightforward in receipt of benefits are a drain either.

    Neither public spending per se nor welfare state regimes or benefits are synomynous with socialism or collectivism either.

    To that end I thought I'd try and move discussion of benefits on from stupid ideological entrenchment and retrenchment or veiled normative discussions and self-aggrandisement to something more or something else:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_minimum_income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_Income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen%27s_dividend

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit

    What's the opinions or does the old freedom = poverty idea still make more sense instead?
    This is an issue I have been pondering a great deal as of late and I am glad you created a thread on it.

    From my heart I believe people should not suffer needlessly. However as I have grown older I have learned sometimes the best way to help a person is to help them help themselves. Not uncommonly, that help may actually be a lesson in what having nothing actually equates to, thus teaching them the value of thier own hard work and the inherent value of whatever money they are given by others.

    I actually grew up fairly poor in Texas. I didnt go to a dentist till 18, didnt go to the dr when ill. We often had to pack up and move at a moment's notice as the bills had gone unpaid. The electricity routinely got turned off or we didnt have money for groceries and had to eat cherrios dry as we didnt have milk. I never had new clothes and bought everything used. This wasnt because we had NO money, but rather my mom and step-father (and there were several) spent the money very flippantly and were extremely poor at planning or anticipating the future. Technically we should have been lower middle class, but were instead seemingly impoverished at times due to ridiculous spending decisions. our car often got repossessed (with our school books once ). At 16 I had to move out of the house as they lost the rent but could no longer pay the bills and the parents were splitting up-they didnt leave us places to go. I got pregnant at 17 and worked my way through college on student loans and two jobs and lived with my ex boyfriends parents in order to be able to do this, following their rules. I traded my freedom for financial help and was responsible for planning a sustainable future for my child and myself.

    I could give more examples of this same sort of behavior I saw in my parents that I see in many of the "poor". As much as my heart goes out wanting to help others, I also feel a sense of offense and a complete sense of pointlessness in the lack of responsibility people show. Why should I help you, if you simply will end up exactly where you started from all over again. As long as I (or the gov) continue to plan for you-you will never learn and understand why you should plan for yourself. There are lessons to be learned by hitting rock bottom, there that I think welfare can miss. I dont mean to be rude or insensitive, it is just that in spite of how hard I look or the occasional examples given of the "deserving poor", I see a ton of folks who need to get their shit together for lack of a better term. Just giving them more money doesnt do that.

    I do support health and dental care for all children under 18 and I support WIC and other programs that provide food stamps. But I do have to say it bothers me to see a person in front of me use food stamps to buy their groceries, then use their cash to buy DVDs, jewelry and electronics...by giving them money for food, they just found something more fun to spend the money they have on....while I should not judge others, maybe there are things I dont know, I do...it bothers me.

    I support short periods of unemployment-but after living in michigan a bit, I also must question the judgement and later unhappiness of a high school graduate who walks out of high school and makes 50K in an auto factory-did they REALLY think that was sustainable? Once they have lost their jobs, the only jobs they can find are those for mush less-their TRUE market value for their skillset. My heart is saddened as I know this creates havoc and pain in families...but the solution is to move forward and find another job or move to a location where their are jobs-you keep your head down and you push forward and build another plan that is actually realizable and sustainable.

    I know this sounds very harsh. It isnt about money at all. I LOVE giving money to help people. (Ha, silly INTJs an esfp might spend your money on new shoes, an enfp likely will give it away to charity ) But I dont like applying duct tape to fix a temp problem that just reemerges later on down the road.

    Another odd thing I note in myself. I dont feel an obligation for establishment of an egalitarian society. I feel we should, to the best we can establish equal opportunity and options, but at some point you as an individual have to take ownership and responsibility for your future. There is also such a thing as luck that for better or worse, some folks exceed when other fail. But I dont believe that we should strive as a society to reach equality of outcomes. that is sort of ridiculous as if we all have exactly the same thing, we all effectively have nothing as resources are not infinite.

    (okay you can call me evil now...some of this is Fi judgments in processing, so please take it as ruminations, not condemnations of others)

  10. #10
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    I cleaned up the tread and moved the posts discussing gramer to off topic posts'.

    Please provide feedback on my Nohari and Johari Window by clicking here: Nohari/Johari

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