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Author Topic: Welfare-State People Sound Off  (Read 8906 times)

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Offline Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #50 on: April 12, 2011, 05:19:39 PM »
It's not that the tax is onerous, it's really about the programs we're discussing. Giving people an unconditioned right to basic free housing, food, utilities, etc.

Well, as I've said repeatedly, there are countless reasons to avoid giving people free housing.

And I'm not claiming that Ruby's idea is the best, just that the capacity is certainly there to provide it.

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I think about a lot of people I know, ranging from kids in middle class families with parents that support them years after they should have gone to college and started their lives, up to trust fund fuckers with more money than they know what to do with. They're all slackers for lack of a better word; many of them are quite talented, but they never feel like they need to go into the real world and get an actual, productive job. The reason is that they have all these things provided for them, and they're happy with that, so they don't pursue any more. If I understand the present argument, we're talking about providing that for everyone. Maybe the trust fund babies won't be interested in just basic housing and a free cell phone, but a lot of lower income and middle income people would be complacent with that.

This actually isn't new, nor is it the first time this has happened. One of the drivers of the Prohibition movement during the Long Depression was when the head of household couldn't find work, he'd drink himself into a stupor and wreck his family. Again during the Great Depression. There's more to it than simple innate laziness, there are a lot of social similarities between America's liquidity shortages.

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I absolutely agree that we have a tremendous physical capacity to produce a huge amount of stuff, my contention is whether we can capture that capacity under this program.

I think the most straightforward method is to provide a Works Progress Administration, and require some minimum level of labor in order to receive benefits, or otherwise paying taxes at a certain level (not necessarily a 30% flat tax but maybe say 40% past a given point, and you have to reach that point to get the benefits unless you can prove disability). If a sixth of our population is currently underutilized, that means we could probably get ~5-10 years out of rebuilding and upgrading our infrastructure. Maybe a bit longer since that would solve the demand problem.

I still wouldn't provide 'free' housing in such a situation because ownership is really important.

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The first point...I'm skeptical. I know a lot of programmers who don't have to worry about money (mainly the slackers I mentioned above) and they dabble in open source this, dot-com that...but somehow they don't seem to really achieve much. There are rare exceptions (none that I know personally). On the other hand, the programmers I know at Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Accenture - these guys seem to be accomplishing things. Money isn't the first thing on their mind, but they care about it. Somehow that focuses their incentives.

I'd need to find the video that picks out the study, but it suggested that past a certain point, giving creative workers more money actually reduced their effectiveness. It left the value rather vague (and of course it's going to differ from place to place), but as a counterexample of what too much money can do to a group I'll throw out 3D Realms.

Or maybe it's sortof the same point - a person needs to worry about actually producing.

Offline Jude

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #51 on: April 12, 2011, 07:08:03 PM »
I'm curious to see this study.  The only such effect that I'm aware of that's well documented is bonuses reducing productivity instead of boosting it.  The reason for that effect though is that people are preoccupied with an out-of-the-norm pay schedule, not because being paid more innately results in decreased productivity.

Citing 3D Realms as support isn't very convincing given that you'd have to establish that their decrease in productivity was due to increased prosperity (impossible to do really, and even if you focus on Duke Nukem Forever solely it's probably not even true given all of the engine switches they went through -- they had a whole bunch of those forced on them due to running out of licensing) and even if it was that would only be one instance of anecdotal evidence (and thus would prove absolutely nothing).  They put out Prey in 2006 to rave reviews in cooperation with another studio, so I don't really see how you can put forth an argument that the quality of their work dropped.  It was basically their game and the external studio only did the finishing touches on development, plus that was their last title.

Even if you can dig up a singular study to back it up, that's no guarantee that it's solid science.  But I am curious to see what you can find.  I can see how the effect might be plausible in some situations.  If you make so much money that you no longer need to continue making more to survive then you may not be very motivated to work hard.  Of course this is the same reason why the system wouldn't work to begin with since it takes away the need to make money to survive to begin with...
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 07:16:14 PM by Jude »

Offline Asuras

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #52 on: April 12, 2011, 11:51:52 PM »
Quote from: Vekseid
This actually isn't new, nor is it the first time this has happened. One of the drivers of the Prohibition movement during the Long Depression was when the head of household couldn't find work, he'd drink himself into a stupor and wreck his family. Again during the Great Depression. There's more to it than simple innate laziness, there are a lot of social similarities between America's liquidity shortages.

I don't think that laziness is a consequence of recession/depression/liquidity crisis...it's a part of the human condition. And it's even rational.

Quote from: Vekseid
I think the most straightforward method is to provide a Works Progress Administration, and require some minimum level of labor in order to receive benefits, or otherwise paying taxes at a certain level (not necessarily a 30% flat tax but maybe say 40% past a given point, and you have to reach that point to get the benefits unless you can prove disability).

So in principle we agree that welfare should be conditioned on work - and it in the US at least, it is. I would prefer getting people in private sector jobs, but in this economy a WPA-style program would be wise at least as an interim measure until the employment situation improves.

Quote from: Vekseid
I'd need to find the video that picks out the study, but it suggested that past a certain point, giving creative workers more money actually reduced their effectiveness. It left the value rather vague (and of course it's going to differ from place to place), but as a counterexample of what too much money can do to a group I'll throw out 3D Realms.

I'd be interested in seeing the study and I don't know what 3D Realms is.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #53 on: April 13, 2011, 05:52:14 AM »
I don't think that laziness is a consequence of recession/depression/liquidity crisis...it's a part of the human condition. And it's even rational.

I think it has more to do with - a lot of people are pretty aimless, in general, and jobs 'aim' them. If they don't feel they have a chance of finding decent work, for the most part they aren't creative and/or motivated enough to find their own direction.

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So in principle we agree that welfare should be conditioned on work - and it in the US at least, it is. I would prefer getting people in private sector jobs, but in this economy a WPA-style program would be wise at least as an interim measure until the employment situation improves.

It's actually conditioned against work in many states. Or at least, it's conditioned against doing your best if you are at all competent. Which is part of the problem - our 'best' labor - the hardest working - gets treated the worst.

I'm a fan of the idea that central planning can take over during market collapses. A moderate degree of inefficiency is better than letting skill pools rot like we are now.

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I'd be interested in seeing the study and I don't know what 3D Realms is.

Actually there are several studies, Dan Pink goes over and names them in this Ted Talk
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

3D Realms was producing Duke Nukem Forever. One of the cited reasons it failed was that George Broussard simply had too much money and no actual need to produce.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #54 on: April 13, 2011, 10:11:49 AM »

I'm a fan of the idea that central planning can take over during market collapses. A moderate degree of inefficiency is better than letting skill pools rot like we are now.

 Part of the problem is when the economy does recover, central planning would not release it. It would keep control in order to 'manage' it for everyone. And end up making matters worse.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #55 on: April 13, 2011, 10:39:33 AM »
Part of the problem is when the economy does recover, central planning would not release it. It would keep control in order to 'manage' it for everyone. And end up making matters worse.

Because the Internet never existed and World War II was a magic fantasy?

Hell, after World War II, the government wound down too fast, and there was a short recession.

Your statement is purely, simply, factually wrong. Lack of transparency and lack of accountability cause those problems and more. But this is true both in central planning and in 'market' solutions - accountability and transparency are vital, always. 

Offline Zakharra

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #56 on: April 13, 2011, 11:39:50 AM »
Because the Internet never existed and World War II was a magic fantasy?

Hell, after World War II, the government wound down too fast, and there was a short recession.

Your statement is purely, simply, factually wrong. Lack of transparency and lack of accountability cause those problems and more. But this is true both in central planning and in 'market' solutions - accountability and transparency are vital, always.

 That's BS and you know it.  If the government comes to control the economy in a recession/depression, do you really think it would ever give up control? Hell no. Once the government gets control of something, it very rarely gives up control over it.  It takes an act of Congress for that to change. You have idiots in the government now that think they know how to run the economy better than anyone else.

  The biggest problem is that the government doesn't have to make ANY profit. It never makes a profit and is fairly inefficient. Where do they get their money? Taxes. If it goes into debt? No problem, raise the debt limit and either print more money and/or borrow it.

 Transparency is important, but given the current government in the last 50 years, it hasn't helped. Especially when damned near every politician is in bed with special interests and the bureaucracies help cover as many mistakes as they can.  The Democrats are just as bad, if not worse in some ways than the Republicans with that.


Offline Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #57 on: April 13, 2011, 12:28:56 PM »
That's BS and you know it.

Are you claiming that the Internet was not originally a government program? Are you claiming that World War II was not government-driven?

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If the government comes to control the economy in a recession/depression, do you really think it would ever give up control?

Why is there no Works Progress Administration today, then? Do you think it just upped and magically vanished on its own?

Quote
Hell no. Once the government gets control of something, it very rarely gives up control over it.

I have given examples. You have refused to.

Either address my examples, provide examples of your own, or concede the point.

When the Fed takes over a bank, is it nationalized or are the branches sold out and merged into other organizations?

Hell, a part of the problem is the amount of privatization of public resources that Republicans have been encouraging, up to and including the use of mercenaries in wartime.

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It takes an act of Congress for that to change. You have idiots in the government now that think they know how to run the economy better than anyone else.

Then stop voting in idiots. That, in theory, should not be too much to ask.

Quote
  The biggest problem is that the government doesn't have to make ANY profit. It never makes a profit and is fairly inefficient.

The government has to produce a net positive gain in overall resources in order to be considered stable. That's about as raw a definition of profit as you can get.

Central planning is only inefficient for traditional classes of goods - things where a large number of sellers and a large number of buyers are feasible.

But central planning is not the same concept as government controls. Government controls can also help to ensure things like transparency in a market, which is a requirement for the market hypothesis to hold.

Even more so, why are you objecting to a new WPA on the grounds that the Government won't let go of it when in fact that is exactly what happened?

Quote
Where do they get their money? Taxes.

The Government has several significant sources of revenue
1) Taxes, yes
2) Tariffs,
3) Fines and fees
4) Printing money
5) Acting as a central bank - making loans and collecting interest on them.

Most of the Fed's taxes are payroll taxes - going to social security and medicaid. But the last four aren't insignificant.

Quote
If it goes into debt? No problem, raise the debt limit and either print more money and/or borrow it.

This is not an unlimited source of funds. The amount of money the Government can borrow is limited by its own reserves (the amount it basically has saved up for other purposes - e.g. the Treasury, the Social Security and other trust funds, etc - money the Government owes itself), and the amount other people are willing to lend to it - which is a lot, given that interest rates are so low - people want to lend to the government.

The amount of money the government can print without causing hyperinflation is also limited, though there is a more complex dynamic here.

Quote
Transparency is important, but given the current government in the last 50 years, it hasn't helped. Especially when damned near every politician is in bed with special interests and the bureaucracies help cover as many mistakes as they can.  The Democrats are just as bad, if not worse in some ways than the Republicans with that.

What's going on seems almost conspiratorially intentional - the Republicans are playing crazy and the Democrats are playing spineless while we literally get sold out.

Morgan Stanley and Citigroup each got two trillion in cheap, no-recourse loans and Democrats had to fight the Obama administration over getting that information out of the Fed. If you want change, I suspect it is going to have to come at the expense of this 'Democrat versus Republican' nonsense and actually focus on electing Democrats and Republicans who swear to a policy of transparency and accountability. That probably won't get very far without a few Constitutional amendments first.

Offline Jude

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #58 on: April 13, 2011, 01:36:25 PM »
We may be on the same side of this issue, but there are some serious factual inaccuracies in what you're saying.
That's BS and you know it.  If the government comes to control the economy in a recession/depression, do you really think it would ever give up control? Hell no.
There are already many ways in which this has occurred just recently on a smaller scale.  Remember all of that deregulation of banks that happened in the late 90s?  Even more recently:  GM is in the process of going public again.  If it hasn't happened already, it will soon -- I'm not entirely up to date on the news here, but I remember a few months ago financial analysts were forecasting their IPO being a very big number.
Once the government gets control of something, it very rarely gives up control over it.  It takes an act of Congress for that to change. You have idiots in the government now that think they know how to run the economy better than anyone else.
Again, really not the case historically.  Did you know that before the FED there were 2 attempts at creating a central bank exercised economic authority, and that their charters were allowed to expire?  The first and second bank of the United States.

Lets also not forget the detention camps during WW2 for "potential Chinese sympathizers."  There was the Works Progress Administration, and every single amendment to the constitution to protect people's rights (because every time something is specifically enumerated that the government can't do, they lose power).  And those are just the big ones.

The problem with your outlook is that you're anthropomorphizing government.  Government doesn't always do anything because government is not one person.  It's not one philosophy.  It's not one organization.  Government is a very complicated alliance of individuals with different perspectives, moral character, and objectives.  Government is not one unified entity.

There is a whole branch of the government that is dedicated to, in a very large part, limiting the power of the entire government.  The Judicial Branch regularly tells local, state, and federal entities that they cannot enact or enforce certain laws because they do not have the power to do so.  This idea of the government as one monolithic power-consolidating and usurping entity is outright Republican fantasy straight from the mind of Hollywood Actor turned Deregulator in Chief (or more recently a Mama Grizzly with aspirations of following in his footsteps).

We live in Democratic Republic founded on the principle of Separation of Powers.  So long as this is the case, every branch has some control over the absolute level of authority our government wields.  This is why I have no idea why you seem to think that only congress can do it, when it's basically the Supreme Court's job to do that on a daily basis.  And even the Executive Branch has some ability to keep the government in check.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 01:46:04 PM by Jude »

Offline Zakharra

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #59 on: April 13, 2011, 02:24:49 PM »
Are you claiming that the Internet was not originally a government program? Are you claiming that World War II was not government-driven?

 I am not saying that. I know it was developed by the military. From there the civilian market took it and ran with it.

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Why is there no Works Progress Administration today, then? Do you think it just upped and magically vanished on its own?


 You have a poin there. Back then they did eliminate it.  In today's political enviroment? I highly doubt it would be  allowed to just 'go away'.

Quote
I have given examples. You have refused to.

Either address my examples, provide examples of your own, or concede the point.

 EPA, Social Security, Welfare for starters. They are large and are in trouble. Yet there is little effort being done to fix them. Especially SS. The cost of those programs keeps on rising higher and higher. I know part of it is bureacracy. It rarely wants to do with less.


Quote
Then stop voting in idiots. That, in theory, should not be too much to ask.

 Agreed. For both Democrats and Republicans.

Quote
The government has to produce a net positive gain in overall resources in order to be considered stable. That's about as raw a definition of profit as you can get.

 Then why is it always asking for more money? Why are they wanting to raise the Debt ceiling again? It's at abobut $14 trillion right now and they want to raise it higher?

Quote
Central planning is only inefficient for traditional classes of goods - things where a large number of sellers and a large number of buyers are feasible.

But central planning is not the same concept as government controls. Government controls can also help to ensure things like transparency in a market, which is a requirement for the market hypothesis to hold.

Even more so, why are you objecting to a new WPA on the grounds that the Government won't let go of it when in fact that is exactly what happened?

  If the government controls it, then it is government controlled central planning. 

Then, back THEN they were able to do that because of WWII. They needed men to fight and everyone and every factory was busy in the war effort. After the war was over, there was no need for those factories to be pumping out hundreds and thousands of tanks, planes, ships, guns and stuff for the military. Plus the armed forces were downsized. Then the men came home so of course there was a bit of a slump. Which vanished  afterward with no need for any WPA.



Quote
The Government has several significant sources of revenue
1) Taxes, yes
2) Tariffs,
3) Fines and fees
4) Printing money
5) Acting as a central bank - making loans and collecting interest on them.

Most of the Fed's taxes are payroll taxes - going to social security and medicaid. But the last four aren't insignificant.

This is not an unlimited source of funds. The amount of money the Government can borrow is limited by its own reserves (the amount it basically has saved up for other purposes - e.g. the Treasury, the Social Security and other trust funds, etc - money the Government owes itself), and the amount other people are willing to lend to it - which is a lot, given that interest rates are so low - people want to lend to the government.

The amount of money the government can print without causing hyperinflation is also limited, though there is a more complex dynamic here.

 They are ascting like it is unlimited. They're wanting to raise the debt limit again to borrow more money. At some point who is going to lend to us? How much is too much?

Quote
What's going on seems almost conspiratorially intentional - the Republicans are playing crazy and the Democrats are playing spineless while we literally get sold out.

Morgan Stanley and Citigroup each got two trillion in cheap, no-recourse loans and Democrats had to fight the Obama administration over getting that information out of the Fed. If you want change, I suspect it is going to have to come at the expense of this 'Democrat versus Republican' nonsense and actually focus on electing Democrats and Republicans who swear to a policy of transparency and accountability. That probably won't get very far without a few Constitutional amendments first.

 This I will agree with. The government officials have been doing some stupid things. Especially in the last 4 years. It's like they do not care if they are caught and are somehow surprized when they are. This is a reasons I would prefer term limits for both Houses of Congress. Two terms for the Senate and six for the House.

Offline Jude

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #60 on: April 13, 2011, 04:48:31 PM »
All of the examples you gave of things that started up and didn't go away did not go away because there isn't the political will in the populace to get rid of them.  We still believe, on the whole, that Social Security, the EPA, and Welfare are a positive part of our government.  In order for the government to be responsible for their preservation as in your claim, the public would have to be against those things.  Only powers that "government" has kept against the will of the public really fit the claim you're making.

Offline consortium11

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #61 on: April 13, 2011, 06:16:45 PM »
... and every single amendment to the constitution to protect people's rights (because every time something is specifically enumerated that the government can't do, they lose power).

Off topic warning.

There's actually a bit of constitutional debate about this: is it the case that the State can do everything not prohibited by the/a constitution or is it the case that it can only do what is allowed by the constitution?

The first interpretation is the one that has occurred in reality on the whole but the debate still exists.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #62 on: April 13, 2011, 10:37:10 PM »
I am not saying that. I know it was developed by the military. From there the civilian market took it and ran with it.

Do you object to the loose government oversight of DNS and IP assignment, then?

Quote
You have a poin there. Back then they did eliminate it.  In today's political enviroment? I highly doubt it would be  allowed to just 'go away'.

Ultimately, a new WPA would be primarily focused on building infrastructure. There's only so much of that that needs to be done, or can be done for economic benefit - enough to occupy the underutilized labor for several years, at best. It would be a program designed to end, and only start up again when needed.

Quote
EPA, Social Security, Welfare for starters. They are large and are in trouble. Yet there is little effort being done to fix them. Especially SS. The cost of those programs keeps on rising higher and higher. I know part of it is bureacracy. It rarely wants to do with less.

Social Security and Welfare are benefits programs, not control. Welfare programs are getting harder to get on (part of my argument in this thread - you can't get them if you work much), and their costs are the easiest to chop. Social Security, on the converse, is a guaranteed, low-risk savings program with little actual bureaucratic overhead - on the order of 1%. The same story for Medicare - a 3% overhead. This is because in this case the government is providing a non-traditional good - the good in this case, insurance, works best when it covers as many people as possible (and would work even better with actual cost control measures in the case of Medicare).

The purpose of the EPA is to prevent externalities. Do you want to go back to drinking pre-Clean Water Act water? Do you think that got passed on a lark?

Preventing externalities and fraud is within the Government's purview, even within valid libertarian thought.


 Then why is it always asking for more money? Why are they wanting to raise the Debt ceiling again? It's at abobut $14 trillion right now and they want to raise it higher?

Quote
  If the government controls it, then it is government controlled central planning. 

Central planning is where a central body controls expenditures. It's possible to place controls on a segment of an economy without actually dictating what people use.

Quote
Then, back THEN they were able to do that because of WWII. They needed men to fight and everyone and every factory was busy in the war effort. After the war was over, there was no need for those factories to be pumping out hundreds and thousands of tanks, planes, ships, guns and stuff for the military. Plus the armed forces were downsized. Then the men came home so of course there was a bit of a slump. Which vanished  afterward with no need for any WPA.

And what was World War II?

And it's not like the tiny slump was any thing Americans could rightly whine about - World War II was the greatest economic boom of the century, and entirely Government driven.

Quote
They are ascting like it is unlimited. They're wanting to raise the debt limit again to borrow more money. At some point who is going to lend to us? How much is too much?

If other countries are any indication, at least $15 trillion more. Technically, this is only because the private sector is not actually interested in investing at the moment, so they want the US Government to. If the private sector was investing, however, there would be less of a need for the Government to pick up the slack.

Obviously, our current situation is not ideal, but nearly all of our wasted money comes from military spending and overinflated health care costs (which affects far more than just the private sector). Tax loopholes (including Bush's tax cuts) also inhibit revenue. Without these factors we could easily turn a surplus and start paying down the debt again.

Quote
This I will agree with. The government officials have been doing some stupid things. Especially in the last 4 years. It's like they do not care if they are caught and are somehow surprized when they are. This is a reasons I would prefer term limits for both Houses of Congress. Two terms for the Senate and six for the House.

Why six for the House?

Part of the problem is our House is very preoccupied with short term thinking. They should get four-year terms, first.

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Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #63 on: April 13, 2011, 11:05:00 PM »
I think the term limits suggested were calculated to give any individual Congressman 12 years max.  Two 6-year terms for the Senate, and six 2-year terms for the House.

Offline Asuras

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #64 on: April 13, 2011, 11:39:54 PM »
Quote from: Vekseid
I think it has more to do with - a lot of people are pretty aimless, in general, and jobs 'aim' them. If they don't feel they have a chance of finding decent work, for the most part they aren't creative and/or motivated enough to find their own direction.

Valid, but I think even if everyone had jobs instantly available for them, there would still be this tendency. If you have 90% of what you want - housing, food, utilities, etc - given freely, is it worth working twice as much, twice as hard, to get the other 10%?

Quote from: Vekseid
It's actually conditioned against work in many states. Or at least, it's conditioned against doing your best if you are at all competent. Which is part of the problem - our 'best' labor - the hardest working - gets treated the worst.

That may be, I'm not intimately familiar with state welfare laws. Could you provide examples?

Quote from: Vekseid
3D Realms was producing Duke Nukem Forever. One of the cited reasons it failed was that George Broussard simply had too much money and no actual need to produce.

I'm guessing that Mr Broussard made a lot of money on previous ventures, enough to make him not care about making any more. The question is if he would have gone forward on those ventures in the first place if his earnings had been capped.

Quote from: Zakharra
Then why is it always asking for more money? Why are they wanting to raise the Debt ceiling again? It's at abobut $14 trillion right now and they want to raise it higher?

If the debt ceiling is not raised before the budget is balanced, the US treasury will have to cut funding to everything - defense, social security, medicare, debt. It would be like declaring bankruptcy. It would be the greatest financial catastrophe ever. The Great Depression wouldn't hold a candle.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #65 on: April 14, 2011, 12:03:53 AM »
Valid, but I think even if everyone had jobs instantly available for them, there would still be this tendency. If you have 90% of what you want - housing, food, utilities, etc - given freely, is it worth working twice as much, twice as hard, to get the other 10%?

That's presuming that 90% of what you want is actually provided.

Quote
That may be, I'm not intimately familiar with state welfare laws. Could you provide examples?

The example I listed in this thread was - when I first got diagnosed with my hernia, getting state aid required that I made less than $9k per year, roughly, before any expenses due to self employment were taken out. $9k per year isn't even enough for rent in this city, pretty much anywhere.

That program got shut down last year (the limit then being a little over $10k per year), and in the interim a state subsidized program has basically replaced it (where you pay a few dollars a month for care) with much higher limits. The story is similar for subsidized housing and to a somewhat lesser degree, food stamps.

It's easier if you decide to pop out children, though you still run into the same problem.

Quote
I'm guessing that Mr Broussard made a lot of money on previous ventures, enough to make him not care about making any more. The question is if he would have gone forward on those ventures in the first place if his earnings had been capped.

Well, Apogee/3D Realms did. If I were to guess, I'd say that 3D Realms' current leadership was not the original reason they were so successful with their gaming lines (a few important developers left and it's hard to see just what they produced afterwards).

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #66 on: April 16, 2011, 02:31:23 PM »
I would submit that America already has a welfare state--for the elite.  Once you get big and rich enough, the system practically guarantees you never fail.  You own the government.  If your company falls on hard times, you get a federal bailout.  Look at how the incomes of the top 2% are still growing and kept growing right through the recession.  Look at Big Health: the Republicans and even some Blue Dog Democrats won't even permit a discussion (at least in the halls of Congress) on the unsustainability of health insurers continuing to pocket 5 to 10+% more every year.  Now they want Medicare to be privatized so Big Health can skim more and more from seniors, too.  Insurance company CEOs take a haircut like everyone else?  HELL NO, WE WON'T GO, the GOP chants.

There are a handful of exceptions, but by and large conservatives seem to have absolutely no problem with a welfare state--as long as it caters to the top 2%. 

Offline Zakharra

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2011, 10:19:54 AM »
I think the term limits suggested were calculated to give any individual Congressman 12 years max.  Two 6-year terms for the Senate, and six 2-year terms for the House.

 Exactly. So  a Congress man could have a total of 24 years serving inn the Legislative branch then they have to leave. Get some new blood in.

 I'm not arguing well. It's frustrating because I know what I want to say but I cannot say it well.  *sigh*  Part of why I am untrusting oif the government to do the right thing is because I do not trust any politician now to do the right thing. I do not expect them to do what was done in the 1940s with the WPA. I think that they will take the idea and use it for their own ends, for political gains and a new WPA will become another effectively useless unending bureacracy.

 The situation in WWII was a lot different than now. The culture was different, the entire country was engaged in a total world war. That is not happening today Veksied. That's a lot of the difference. Then pretty much -every- factory was involved in making war material. That's not happening now.

 The Democrat politicians had a spine unlike today. Do you think a Democrat today would support dropping a nuke?  Back then we didn't whine (much) about 'what did we do to them to make them hate us?'  We just went and curb stomped them into the ground. Hard.

 IO do admit the healthcare needs to be redone, but unl;ike what the Congress did, I think it needs to be comcpletely scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up. Laying a new layer of bureacracy on the existing system will not help it be more efficient.
 
 
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If other countries are any indication, at least $15 trillion more. Technically, this is only because the private sector is not actually interested in investing at the moment, so they want the US Government to. If the private sector was investing, however, there would be less of a need for the Government to pick up the slack.

Obviously, our current situation is not ideal, but nearly all of our wasted money comes from military spending and overinflated health care costs (which affects far more than just the private sector). Tax loopholes (including Bush's tax cuts) also inhibit revenue. Without these factors we could easily turn a surplus and start paying down the debt again.

 Most of the governmental spending is in social programs, not the military. Social Security is going bankrupt unless something drastic is done. Welfare? I think that's going bankrupt too. There have been people on unemployment for what? Three years now? How long should those benifits last?

 At what point do you stop spending because the hole you're digging is too damned deep? Raise the debt limit $15 trillion more you say? So a total debt limit of $29-30 trillion? How the hell is that EVER going to be paid off? By then we would be so far in the hole, the US would become owned by someone else, to who owns the debt.

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Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2011, 10:28:44 AM »
Exactly. So  a Congress man could have a total of 24 years serving inn the Legislative branch then they have to leave. Get some new blood in.

In theory, that's what the reasonably short term lengths were intended to do - keep the people and ideas in the Congress from getting stagnated.  I'm sure that the framers of those rules didn't anticipate 'career politicians', any more than they expected that a President would want to serve more than two terms.  I think the Senate was given a longer term than the House because there were fewer of them - another sort of balancing attempt - but I wouldn't be averse to something like 2 Senate terms of 6 years, and 3 House terms for 4 years with no 'switching' from House to Senate.  Twenty four years is almost a generation.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2011, 10:38:02 AM »
In theory, that's what the reasonably short term lengths were intended to do - keep the people and ideas in the Congress from getting stagnated.  I'm sure that the framers of those rules didn't anticipate 'career politicians', any more than they expected that a President would want to serve more than two terms.  I think the Senate was given a longer term than the House because there were fewer of them - another sort of balancing attempt - but I wouldn't be averse to something like 2 Senate terms of 6 years, and 3 House terms for 4 years with no 'switching' from House to Senate.  Twenty four years is almost a generation.

 It would require a Constitutional Amendment to change the House term from 2 years to 4. That's unlikely to happen right now. I shudder to think of what else they'd try to slip in, in a Coinstitutional Convention.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2011, 05:03:17 PM »
Most of the governmental spending is in social programs, not the military. Social Security is going bankrupt unless something drastic is done. Welfare? I think that's going bankrupt too. There have been people on unemployment for what? Three years now? How long should those benifits last?

Or primary expenditures are
1) Social Security ($700 billion last year)
2) Health care (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, etc) (~$800 billion last year)
3) Military (including the invasions) (~$700 billion last year)
- Plus interest payments of $200 billion. Last year's stimulus contribution was $400 billion. That leaves about $700 billion for everything else, much of which is listed as 'non-discretionary'.

Social security is easy to save. Either raise the income cap, extend the retirement age, or both. It's not like it's going 'bankrupt' altogether quickly, keep in mind that two and a half trillion of the debt is to the social security trust fund.

Putting in sane cost reduction procedures (and calling out chants of 'death panels' for the nonsense that they are) and implementing Universal health care could be done on a ~$1.2 trillion budget, judging by the cost of companies that self-insure their employees for about $4k per year. It could possibly be less. This would result in a cost savings for the overall economy, as insurance costs are best born by as many people as possibly (like national defense).

Honestly, I despise unemployment benefits. Maybe they should be allowed for 13 weeks or so, but I find the 99-week program to be nonsense. Past 13 weeks, they should have one of two options
1) They can get a federal grant to start their own business, provided they submit a business plan. This works really well in Germany.
2) They can join the Works Progress Administration, and maintain their skillset by helping to build public infrastructure.

Like unemployment, these would help alleviate liquidity crisises, but unlike employment, people are actually adding to the overall wealth of the nation while doing so.

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At what point do you stop spending because the hole you're digging is too damned deep? Raise the debt limit $15 trillion more you say? So a total debt limit of $29-30 trillion? How the hell is that EVER going to be paid off? By then we would be so far in the hole, the US would become owned by someone else, to who owns the debt.

No.

You're forgetting that the United States actually owns its own currency. We're not Greece, or Ireland. We're more like Iceland or the United Kingdom. We undergo a period of currency devaluation so as to more easily pay the debt off, if we have to.

Alternately, we could solve it the way we solved it during and after World War II. Raise taxes. I don't see anyone claiming that the 50's were a time of marked impoverishment.