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In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year

Tyler Durden's picture


Tonight's stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the "Evil Empire", Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that "a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year." And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system. Not surprisingly, it is not only the richest and most audacious thieves that prosper - it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip off the middle class each and every day, courtesy of the world's most generous entitlement system. Perhaps if Reagan were alive today, he would wish to modify the object of his once legendary remark.

From Emmerich:

You can do as well working one week a month at minimum wage as you can working $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job.

My chart tells the story. It is pretty much self-explanatory.

Stunning? Just do it yourself.

Almost all welfare programs have Web sites where you can call up "benefits calculators." Just plug in your income and family size and, presto, your benefits are automatically calculated.

The chart is quite revealing. A one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimu wage) has more disposable income than a amily making $60,000 a year.

And if that wasn't enough, here is one that will blow your mind:

If the family provider works only one week a month at minimum wage, he or she makes 92 percent as much as a provider grossing $60,000 a year.

Ever wonder why Obama was so focused on health reform? It is so those who have no interest or ability in working, make as much as representatives of America's once exalted, and now merely endangered, middle class.

First of all, working one week a month, saves big-time on child care. But the real big-ticket item is Medicaid, which has minimal deductibles and copays. By working only one week a month at a minimum wage job, a provider is able to get total medical coverage for next to nothing.

Compare this to the family provider making $60,000 a year. A typical Mississippi family coverage would cost around $12,000, adding deductibles and copays adds an additional $4,500 or so to the bill. That's a huge hit.

There is a reason why a full time worker may not be too excited to learn there is little to show for doing the "right thing."

The full-time $60,000-a-year job is going to be much more demanding than woring one week a month at minimu wage. Presumably, the low-income parent will have more energy to attend to the various stresses of managing a household.

It gets even scarier if one assumes a little dishonesty is throwin in the equation.

If the one-week-a-month worker maintains an unreported cash-only job on the side, the deal gets better than a regular $60,000-a-year job.  In this scenario, you maintain a reportable, payroll deductible, low-income job for federal tax purposes. This allows you to easily establish your qualification for all these welfare programs. Then your black-market job gives you additional cash without interfering with your benefits. Some economists estimate there is one trillion in unreported income each year in the United States.

This really got me thinking. Just how much money could I get if I set out to deliberately scam the system? I soon realized that getting a low-paying minimum wage job would set the stage for far more welfare benefits than you could earn in a real job, if you were weilling to cheat. Even if you dodn't cheat, you could do almost as well working one week a month at minimum wage than busting a gut at a $60,000-a-year job. 

Now where it gets plainly out of control is if one throws in Supplemental Security Income.

SSI pays $8,088 per year for each "disabled" family member. A person can be deemed "disabled" if thy are totally lacking in the cultural and educational skills needed to be employable in the workforce.

If you add $24,262 a year for three disability checks, the lowest paid welfare family would now have far more take-home income than the $60,000-a-year family.

Best of all: being on welfare does not judge you if you are stupid enough not to take drugs all day, every day to make some sense out of this Mephistophelian tragicomedy known as living in the USA:

Most private workplaces require drug testing, but there is no drug testing to get welfare checks.

Alas, on America's way to to communist welfare, it has long since surpassed such bastions of capitalism as China:

The welfare system in communist China is far stringier. Those people have to work to eat.

We have been writing for over a year, how the very top of America's social order steals from the middle class each and every day. Now we finally know that the very bottom of the entitlement food chain also makes out like a bandit compared to that idiot American who actually works and pays their taxes. One can only also hope that in addition to seeing their disposable income be eaten away by a kleptocratic entitlement state, that the disappearing middle class is also selling off its weaponry. Because if it isn't, and if it finally decides it has had enough, the outcome will not be surprising at all: it will be the same old that has occurred in virtually every revolution in the history of the world to date.

h/t Nolsgrad


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Mon, 11/22/2010 - 00:22 | 745524 NoLongerABagHolder
NoLongerABagHolder's picture

Rape crimes on the middle class bitchez.....

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 02:38 | 745727 Fish Gone Bad
Fish Gone Bad's picture

I have long thought that the homeless really have it made.  They get to live under overpasses for FREE.  They don't have to do laundry, water a lawn, or even take baths.  They get about 35% usable free lighting from lights under the overpass.  All they really HAVE to do it dig through some dumpsters for perfectly good or half eaten food.  Now I find out that they aren't paying taxes, and work under the table.  Next thing I am going to find out is they get to use ventilators for free and I have been breathing on my own like a sucker.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 03:36 | 745756 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Yeah. Also lets start with entitlements that Tyler is using every day:

  • The entitlement to make money in the United States of America.
  • The entitlement to use most US public roads free of charge.
  • The entitlement to be protected by the US military from those hordes of foreigners.

There's another 5 billion people who do not have those entitlements but who finance Tyler's lifestyle, so yes, the whole planet could whine about Tyler being entitled to so many things in the USA while they are not.

And the right-wing fringe whines about $10-$20b per year social programmes (which keep the poor from actually bludgeoning the rich to death and stuff like that), while the rich are entitled to make trillions and trillions and are allowed to use infrastructure that is worth hundreds of trillions of dollars?

LOL at those right-wing whiners - intellectual consistency was never their strong point :-)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 05:34 | 745790 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

Because one wrong is not righted, another wrong is fine, too.

Intellectually consistent: check

The right-wing fringe whines: who said anything about politics?

TFA is about the fact that a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year can have more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.  Not a right-wing, rich family. To understand the issue better, read Shameful's first hand experience in comments below (or click here and here).

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:06 | 746082 Sneeve
Sneeve's picture

Small reality check:

Seen from Europe, the american left-wing is somewhat to the right of our Genghis Khan wingnuts. And the US welfare system is pale and miserable compared to what exists in a lot of European countries. No one outside to the US would call your welfare system "the most generous in the world" without ROFLAO.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:53 | 746391 Nels
Nels's picture

Are  your 'Genghis Khan' rightists the folks claiming to be real Nazi's, or the folks pining for Napoleon?  What definitions of left vs right are you using?

I think our local Stalin lovers would fight inside your definition of 'left'.  The fact that they've been ineffectual until recently doesn't mean they don't exist.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 04:29 | 745791 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Um, I think your comment lacks intellectual consistency. 

1. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (to make money) is a sovereign right. One could argue that might fit within the broad definition of entitlement (, it's not the same as benefit program which the article is about. 

2. Road construction and maintenance is in part funded by user gas taxes, license fees, etc. Whether these taxes and fees pay the full cost of road maintenance is doubtful, which means there might be a disproportionality of benefits received by the subsidization of roads by the government (and therefore taxpayers) at large. But most everyone benefits from the public good of roads, since that is how food, materials, etc. are transported. 

3. Defense is a public good, not necessarily an entitlement. 

The distinction you are failing to make is that there are public entitlements that apply to the entire class of citizen (defense, roads, pursuit of happiness) and private or specific entitlements that apply to only certain citizens that fit within the proscribed criteria. Obviously, not everyone qualifies for Section 8 housing, but everyone qualifies for the entitlement of "use of the roads". These specific entitlements are funded by taking from one citizen to give to another. Public goods are typically funded by taking from all, even though the some users might benefit more then others. 

I don't know how the 5 billion person comment comes in, so I don't know how to address that. How do they finance 'our' lifestyle?

How do you get your $10-20 billion tab for entitlements? Were you referring to a specific program or the entire ball of wax? As I am sure you are aware of, the annual cost of entitlements is much higher. 

I don't think people on this site would defend the 'rich are entitled to make trillions and trillions' either. 

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 05:04 | 745807 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (to make money) is a sovereign right. [...]

That is your opinion and it is your weighting of values. Other people include things like this amongst fundamental rights:

  • the right to health (for example the right of poor children to not die due to poor health care)
  • the right to education (so that someone born as a poor child does not stay poor due to sub-par education)
  • the right to dignity

You could sum these up as having the right to a fair chance at pursuing happiness. (Tell the ghetto kid that he has a fair chance to become a Wall Street banker.)

What you consider a 'right' might be an 'entitlement' to another person.

What you consider an 'entitlement' might be a 'right' to another person.

You are probably healthy, you are probably rich (or at least not poor) and you are probably not overly old either. Of course most social projects are an annoyance and are unnecessary overhead to you!

And since societies are not just made up out of you, but also (in the case of the US) consist of another 300 million voting people who might have a different opinion, some sort of (inevitably imperfect) compromise gets implemented, dynamically.

IMO you need to be able to see things with other people's eyes to understand any of this. You need some basic empathy to step beyond the "this is my definition of sovereign rights" dogma.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 05:24 | 745818 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

The issue at hand is not entitlements (or "rights") per se, but the fact that people are gaming the system with impunity.

If one considers that in a given fiscal year the pool of money to be shared among the poor is fixed, then any poor individual that abuses the system takes away from the rest. We don't need the middle class, the rich and anyone else in this picture to be able to conclude that such behavior is wrong.

Things that you attempt to discuss (whether or not, or to which extent, people should help and be helped) has nothing to do with the fact that those who scam the system go unpunished.

Unless, that is, you can show that increasing assistance would solve the problem (a casual observer may get the impression that the opposite has been going on).

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 06:24 | 745848 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Sure they are gaming the system, and this is a fundamental property of any insurance system (private and public alike) where there are event based payouts: if there's a possibility to fake an event there will be people who will fake the events and who will game the system.

A crucial difference is that with a nation state level insurance company (call it a 'Government' if you like) there's little interest of the insurer gaming the system.

And tell me with a straight face that private insurers are not gaming the system today. Do tell me.

No rescinding of policies on bad excuses, no funny games with lawsuits to block life insurance payouts, no increase in future fees if you make use of the policy, no "your boat is too small and too far away for the Coast Guard to save you in an economically viable way, sorry and we will send our condolences to your loved ones!", no "we are the private fire brigade and we will watch your house burn down" nonsense, etc.

Yes, the flip side is that as a result public insurance will inevitably be less efficient than a profit motivated insurance company, but heck do I want my insurance policy to work when I'm in need, not be worked around by clever lawyers at insurance companies if things get too expensive for them!

Also, there's obviously no private insurer interest in insuring the children of the poor against being poor (there's no money in that for obvious reasons), while it's a fundamental public good - even if you are a heartless selfish bastard those kids, if educated properly will increase the productivity of the country in the years to come, so they will improve your lifestyle as well. (Or if they stay in the slums they will be a drag on you - either via social programmes, and/or via crime - unless your solution is to deport or execute those who end up being too poor.)

There's two sides to the coin here really, and those painting nation state level insurance systems as the Devil reborn are being a bit simplistic and are not really thinking things through I think.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 01:01 | 748572 MurderNeverWasLove
MurderNeverWasLove's picture

If one considers that in a given fiscal year the pool of money to be shared among the poor is fixed. . .


 Why would we want to start there as a given?  Why not say that in a given fiscal year, a lot of money changes hands.  A stable part of the commerce that occurs is wrapped up in  the support and enhancement of life.  Most people can figure out how to make enough money to get by.  Some can't or won't.  Fine then.  Let's just buy them out.  Outlaw poverty by guaranteeing poverty-level income at minimum in support of our most fundamental right, that of our very lives.

Unless, that is, you can show that increasing assistance would solve the problem

Well, let's try that little experiment.  Let's juice every beneficiary with a poverty-level allowance.  (We're talking fiat, so anything is possible!)

Unemployment go up or down?


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 06:32 | 745860 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"You need some basic empathy to step beyond the "this is my definition of sovereign rights" dogma."

WTF!?! emotion...has nothing to do with sovereign rights.

Because I understand (empathize) you are cold and shivering does not give a right to you to have my winter also does not entitle/grant/require you to steal property in the form of cut fire wood from someone elses woodpile because they have wood and you have none.

You are confusing emotion & charity with a right.

Furthermore, if I pull up at a stop light and you come over and wash my windshield while I'm telling you to stop doing that to my property and then you demand payment for your labor by reaching inside my vehicle, I will shoot you graveyard dead.

And I can assure you of this...I will have zero empathy for you laying there bleeding as I drive away ;-)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:34 | 745921 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


Because I understand (empathize) you are cold and shivering does not give a right to you to have my winter also does not entitle/grant/require you to steal property in the form of cut fire wood from someone elses woodpile because they have wood and you have none. [...]

The thing is, public insurance does not come in the form of 'trying to steal property'.

It comes in form of you having to pay taxes for your entitlement of being allowed to live and make money in a given country. The millions of people who built that country are setting the ground rules (the 'fees') for you being allowed to use the vast infrastructure that the country provides to you. You didn't build it so you are not setting the rules - sorry.

If you thought you would be entitled to live and make money in the US free of charge, you were dead wrong . The USA gives you a lot of possibilities, but there's also a price to pay: various rules set by an imperfect compromise between millions of other people.

You want to freeload (you want to use infrastructure to make money but you dont want to pay your fees for the money you made using the infrastructure - i.e. you dont want to pay taxes), but millions of other people dont want you to freeload - it takes resources to build a country. Be glad you are getting that deal, there's another 5 billion people who'd gladly change place with you.

Make sure you are paying your due fees (taxes) as well, otherwise society will come after you and will imprison you.

In other words, society is telling you: stop feeling entitled to all this, stop being a parasite.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:45 | 746034 ATM
ATM's picture

You are free to go seek your free insurance from any of the countries that will accept you.

In the USA the federal government was never allowed the power to provide social insurance by the people. Our constitution doesn't say the govt can take from some to give to others under and "insurance" program. It says the govt can do very limited things and that the people are mostly free to seek their own success without the contraints of government interference.

So go peddle your 'we have to help the poor' with the rich's money bullshit somewhere else and the paying taxes to have the entitlement of living in this country.

The "millions of people setting the ground rules"? Where the fuck do you come from anyways? Where I come from the ground rules are set as laws and not from the mob who have learned that they can vote themselves bread and housing and retirement payments from the public coffers (the rich) and nobody is any the wiser.

What you are advocating is mob rule and enslavement of those who choose to work and try by those who have learned that stealing and "community organizing" is easier, cheaper, and more economically rewarding, just as this article represents.  




Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:00 | 746243 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


In the USA the federal government was never allowed the power to provide social insurance by the people. Our constitution doesn't say the govt can take from some to give to others under and "insurance" program. It says the govt can do very limited things and that the people are mostly free to seek their own success without the contraints of government interference. [...]

That's only so if the courts share your opinion.

Otherwise if you think that some old paper written by long dead people 200+ years ago has much effect on what most voting people are willing to do today you'll be surprised. Sure, as long as it lines up with what they want it's OK. But if the US Constitution crosses their interests in some major way then it will eventually be circumvented via liberal or conservative judicial activism ... (which one gets active depends on the issue)

At least that's the historic track record so far.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 12:18 | 746506 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

oh, that's funny. MoreCT calls the working, taxpaying people "freeloaders". So what are the welfare recipients? Heroes?

By definition, someone producing economic goods or services & paying taxes cannot be called a freeloader.

Your argument flows from a backward premise. It is invalid. Think critically about that.


Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:23 | 748687 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

I for one am interested in what happens to the "heroes", when the "freeloaders" Go Galt

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 19:44 | 748049 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"The thing is, public insurance does not come in the form of 'trying to steal property'."

There is no such thing as public "insurance" you friggin idiot...for one...everyone who is "in it" would have had to have paid into it, in amounts at least as much as has been withdrawn in order for you to make any claim that it is "insurance".

This is clearly not the case...unless your saying that this "public insurance" is so much better run than the other ponzi that is called Social Security. 

You didn't even read the article did you?'s about disposable income, retard.

What part of this are you having a problem with?

"If the family provider works only one week a month at minimum wage, he or she makes 92 percent as much as a provider grossing $60,000 a year."

Because of your theft, of my fire wood (taxes) from my wood pile (my past labor) it is more financially beneficial for you to sit on your dead ass three weeks out of every month (basically be a day laborer) and continue to have Vito come around & put the arm on me and everyone else who works, than to pay into the system yourself.

You are a queen leech.

Look at this shit;

Don't bother responding...I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire writhing in agony on the ground in front of me, bank on that you fucking communist bitch. 

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:26 | 748690 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Well Said. Every bit of it

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:52 | 745944 MeTarzanUjane
MeTarzanUjane's picture

Because I understand (empathize) you are cold and shivering does not give a right to you to have my winter also does not entitle/grant/require you to steal property in the form of cut fire wood from someone elses woodpile because they have wood and you have none.

Sounds like the welfare check that Congress sends to the jews in israel, no?

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:47 | 745935 skipjack
skipjack's picture

What a load of socialist horseshit.  Your "rights" don't get to include the enslavement of others for your gain.


Your self-declared "right" to healthcare, in the absense of you paying for it with your own labor, then requires someone else to be forced to labor so you can benefit.  That, dear asshole, is slavery.


Rights are only yours if they do not impinge on others' rights.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:24 | 745985 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

You are not enslaved - you can leave the country anytime.

But if you decide to stay in the US you are required to play by the rules set by an imperfect compromise between a few hundred million people: and you have to pay taxes for being allowed to live and earn money in the US.

You are reaping the benefits of a developed country: you are using its roads for free, you are getting police protection, you have access to a developed judicial system, you are getting protected by the military, you probably have a local fire department as well - and, most importantly, you are allowed to make money in this vast (and rich) marketplace.

Those things do not come for free. If you expected to be freeloading in the US, if you expected to be able to make money while not paying due fees (taxes) you were wrong. Just like there's no such thing as a free lunch there's no such thing as a zero taxes developed country either.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:35 | 746015 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Can leave whenever you want but still obligated to pay US taxes, US taxes worldwide income.  So paying taxes even if not using those "services".  Also a wait list at a lot of embassy's to renounce citizenship, hardly speedy service, and to think we are paying for it!

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:03 | 746247 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Can leave whenever you want but still obligated to pay US taxes, US taxes worldwide income. [...]

Not if you forfeit your US citizenship and live outside of the US, with no US interests.

(Also, in practice the US has double taxation avoidance agreements with most of the developed world so you wont pay double taxes.)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:39 | 746025 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

you are allowed to make money in this vast (and rich) marketplace.


You really are a stone cold collectivist Communist. Allowed to make money? No, I earn money.


You reallyy don't get it, do you? It is not just enslavement of the Middle Class in the form of taxation, it is enslavement of the poor. This proves that Welfare is a trap. There is no incentive for anyone to leave Welfare and be productive. Welfare, as we know it, encourages poverty and discourages people from being productive members of society.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:40 | 746188 Econmike
Econmike's picture

I disagree. He was right, you are allwed to make money. You take for granted that we live in a society that enforces contracts. Policeman do not come to your home and steal your money and rape your wife. This is not a natural state of nature.

You take for granted the fact that our society has some degree of agreement on what constitutes laws, rights, etc. You take this social contract for granted. I can guarantee that when people begin starving because you take away their food stamps, there will be no more consensus about these issues. You do not want that society. You will not be able to "earn" money in that society.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:37 | 748703 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

...we live in a society that enforces contracts.


Rofl. Somewhere are some former GM bondholders, who would beg to differ. MBS holders may be next in line.


Policeman do not come to your home and steal your money and rape your wife.

Yeah, we pay TSA to do that in plain sight. This is that transparent gummint we were promised.

To your broader comment; We have the 2nd Amendment for just such a contingency. Your whole argument is predicated on paying one group of thugs, to keep another group of thugs from wrecking your shit. This is that whole die on your feet vs. live on your knees argument...sorry the former is simpler. There are no games.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:45 | 746033 Thee Barbarous Relic
Thee Barbarous Relic's picture

Let's see, I was born here, I work and pay taxes here(through payroll taxes) ,I pay for the roads here(through gas taxes),I pay for the police here(through property taxes),I pay for the military here(through payroll taxes)ect. and I should not complain?I can't just leave as I leave but must first find some country that will allow me to travel to and become a citizen of that country first.Could you tell me what critical thinkinking you have done on this subject? Should you not leave to escape the vulgar people with which you debate??

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:12 | 746275 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

You can complain about the level of taxation or the nonsensical use of those resources. You'd likely even be right about your complaints - governments are inefficient. (You might even be able to effect change, if you have good enough political (or business) skills.)

What you cannot do and be intellectually consistent is to pretend that it is your 'right' to make money in a developed country and keep all of it, without paying fees (taxes). You cannot pretend that somehow the taxes owed are your 'property' - they are not.

Being able to make money in a safe environment is a benefit of a developed country - and a very expensive one to  boot. I've yet to see a single developed country that can offer this very expensive benefit to its citizens with no income or transaction taxation in exchange.

Yet many here are asking for that very expensive entitlement. How ironic, considering the topic of the article :-)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:48 | 746039 Watauga
Watauga's picture

You are either totally into pulling the strings of working Americans just for kicks, or you are complete idiot.  Right now, I am betting that you are the latter.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 17:25 | 747653 ffart
ffart's picture

You Maoists are a fucking laugh a minute riot. You completely disregard the liberal principles that this country was founded on in granting each person soverign, inalienable rights and what the purpose of those rights were. You contend that human life must be held sacred in one breath and advocate theft and murder of anyone who doesn't go along with your dogma in the other. Then you deign to grant yourselves the authority to allow me to move to some other country if I don't like it. The public school system did a real number on schmucks like you.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 17:35 | 747690 DarkAgeAhead
DarkAgeAhead's picture

This is the post where I officially adjudge you both douchbag and completely freaking ignorant of the basic structure of the USA.

If you believe in what you write, at least be intellectually rigorous and honest enough to found your opinion on that basis, not a fundamental distortion of this country's laws.

You suck.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 01:08 | 748587 MurderNeverWasLove
MurderNeverWasLove's picture

I concur.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 17:40 | 747693 DarkAgeAhead
DarkAgeAhead's picture


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 17:39 | 747694 DarkAgeAhead
DarkAgeAhead's picture


Tue, 11/23/2010 - 23:34 | 751344 AmericaRacket
AmericaRacket's picture

<i>you have to pay taxes for being allowed to live and earn money in the US.</i>


This is trully precious.

Allowed <i>by whom</i>, deutschebag?

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:24 | 745986 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:11 | 745969 ronin12
ronin12's picture

Healthcare is not a right.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:43 | 746030 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Healthcare is not a right.

Of course it's not - and so is it not a right to use a developed marketplace with all its infrastructure to make money without paying for it (taxes).

These are all entitlements, not rights.

Being able to live in and make money in the US is something you got entitled to by birthright (lucky you), but there's also obligations and a price to pay.

The rules for what the obligations are and what the price to pay is set by a dynamic equilibrium of an inperfect compromise between a few hundred million people.

The precise rules ebb and flow but the entitlement to make money without paying for the infrastructure in form of taxes has not existed for a long, long time.

The entitlement to publicly financed healthcare exists in most other developed nations, and seems to have been enacted in the US as well.

Get used to it that the rules change all the time.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:57 | 746232 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I've read too many of your posts already, but your entire premise boils down to little more than an argument from intimidation...  everyone has set these rules for you, therefore they are correct.  We know what the rules are...  we contend they are unjust.  Please address this issue and not whether the rules are popular.  In other words, make a value statement on where we presently are in the "ebb and flow" of entitlements, what this does to our national security (ability to even operate), what this does relatively speaking to the "productive" of society, and whether our present entitlement system is moral.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:05 | 746681 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


We know what the rules are...  we contend they are unjust.  Please address this issue and not whether the rules are popular. In other words, make a value statement on where we presently are in the "ebb and flow" of entitlements, what this does to our national security (ability to even operate), what this does relatively speaking to the "productive" of society, and whether our present entitlement system is moral. [...]

Well, a society inevitably represents many values. IMO the situation is not really that various values are opposed to each other, it's just that different people give different weights to different values.

Let me give you a few examples:

  1. Few people will argue that poor, ill children should suffer. But different people set different weights to policies that deal with this issue. We have a full range of opinions ranging from 'this is a task for charities' to 'this must be done by the government'.
  2. Few people will argue that human life is not sacred. Few people will argue that freedom of individual choice is not sacred. For a few limited issues where the two concepts collide the weighting differs drastically - and so does the desired outcome.
  3. Few people will argue that the US does not need any military defenses. Still the weighting ranges from 'there should only be local militia' to 'the US should double its military force here and now!'. Internationally we can also see a wide range of options and preferences: there are countries that solved their national security needs with literally no military force - by luck of geopolitical position, by luck of alliances - and there are countries armed to the teeth.
  4. Few people will argue that there is no need for an independent judiciary system. Still the weighting ranges from 'this is so important that it should be tax financed' to 'this should be financed by the adversaries themselves'. Internationally we can also see a wide range of options and preferences in other countries: there are countries where losers pay the costs, there are countries where most judicial proceedings are government financed, and there are countries where most of the judicial proceedings are financed by the parties themselves.
  5. etc. etc.

So to answer your question, if we both listed our 'values' I think they would match up at least 90%, if not more. Where we would differ is the ordering of those values and the policy response (if any) to different real-life situations that affect these values somehow.

Why do people still get polarized into 'right wing' and 'liberal' camps, while in reality having a large overlap of values? Firstly, because the specific policy response (if any) depends on the weighing. Secondly, because the press wants more eyeballs and blood, sex and controversy brings the most eyeballs. Thirdly, because humans have a biological, genetic tendency to organize into clan/tribe structures. 'Our efficient local politician' is loved, 'all the other corrupt politicians of others' are hated.

The other thing is, the ordering and the weighing of different values typically changes in a lifetime: it is influenced by upbringing, by education, by social environment and by general experience and is influenced by important events in your life. You can see that obvious process in various social studies: the elderly will consider medical aid to the elderly more important than young people, etc.

Modern democracies are basically a complex, weighted average of all these preferences - with some historic lag and certainly with a lot of (successful) manipulation done by capable and well-communicating interest groups.

What I was trying to point our in this thread is the fundamental fallacy that can be seen here on ZH so often: that all social programs are immoral, are used by freeloaders only, that it's all government waste and that taxation is immoral and theft. Many people think that it is not so, and for good reasons. You have to acknowledge that other people have different opinion and different preferences - and often they share many of your values.

In that sense I dont think various forms of social benefits are immoral automatically - unless you are willing to go so far to claim that the benefit of a strong and non-market-financed military, the benefit of a strong and non-market-financed judiciary, the benefit of a strong and non-market-financed police force, etc. is immoral as well. (Which would be a consistent opinion as well.)

What do I think about various US benefits? I think the US is being silly about not putting more money into public education for example. Finland and Germany both have very strong public schooling with essentially zero private schooling (not even private universities) - and their pupils are top notch in most tests, their scientific and industrial production is very strong, their workforce is highly qualified. Arguing about putting even less money into US public education is more than silly IMO ...

But that's just my personal preference and my personal weighing of this particular policy - IMO it does not transform into any fundamental argument about values.

Does this answer your question(s)?

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 14:17 | 746972 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Somewhat.  I certainly agree as to many of your basic premises.  The problem is that morality involves not only the inherent concepts of fairness, such as a rudimentary safety net for fellow humans, but also the ability to pay for them from the present parties utilizing the system.  In other words, can we pay marginally more for education at this juncture and, further, can we expect future generations, who may derive no benefit from our spending, to pay for the increase?

In large part, we all get the academic arguments...  these are as old as civilization.  What we have to discuss is the 10% that we do not agree on and its application to our present circumstances. 

It is my basic premise (and I think I will be joined by many here) that any marginal increases in spending are completely and totally immoral given the source of funds and how they are obtained.  I guess this is the question I was wanting answered (despite not being posed in question form).  In short, if we were starting our economy from scratch and designing it on paper, our analysis as to the moral implications of our design would be different than the morality of the present "remedial" measures.  I think you're trying to argue the former in the land of the latter.

Eventually, entitlement economies hit the brick wall of desire to work and, if somehow that wall is breached, they eventually hit the impenetrable rock of a lack of available resources.  Through "ingenuity" I think we've managed to break the wall, but we're quickly approaching the rock.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:21 | 747368 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

I think modern/developed societies are fundamentally iterative (i.e. definitely not 'planned' - all prior attempts at planned economies were miserable failures), so no grand concept of morality will permeate the structure - the structure is just as varied and messy (and full of historic legacies) as the opinion of the people who are building it.

In that sense the 'source of funds' you refer to is just as messy and varied. Some are upfront costs, some are rents, some are cuts/fees from revenue. Some are cuts from revenue but deferred to year's end (taxes).

So declaring that just because income taxation is currently delayed to year's end, instead of being executed on a per transaction fee basis, that somehow the tax portion itself is 'owned' by the individual, is really missing the point I think. In a not so distant future I suspect all taxes will be deducted without the funds ever hitting your bank account - as it already happens with payroll taxes that go from employer to the IRS.

Fact is that 'society' wants a cut from the money we make with the help of them. Just like your broker wants a cut from your trades and just like the grocery wants a cut from your purchases of food. It will be your position and your food in the end - it will be your property - but there's a transaction cost/fee that is not your property. Taxes are really similar to that - just implemented in a weird, deferred way, making it appear for a short period of time as if you 'owned' the whole revenue. You dont really - there's an implied cost/fee that has to be balanced before you can declare it a profit that is truly 'your property'.

Taxes might eventually transform into pure VAT and per transaction taxes (which are definitely more specific, more nuanced and hence fairer than collective taxes) - and at that point it might make sense to eliminate the deferred, annual personal income taxation scheme altogether. (Although the cynic in me tells me that at that point they will keep both taxation variants.)

Regarding the brick wall of the 'desire to work' - I dont see that happen in Europe even at 50% taxation. People grumble but 50% of a ton of money is still a ton of money. But since clearly no one would be willing to work at 100% taxation there must be some effective limit inbetween.

OTOH there are people willing to work even at 90%+ effective taxation: CEOs of many big corporations are paid less than 1% of the revenue increase they manage to achieve - which is still a huge sum in the end. So if you put the question as: 'would you be willing to earn 100 million dollars?' then most would answer with a YES! - even if the true revenue was 10 billion. (I hope you wont nitpick about the fact that these CEOs do not own those companies - the concept is still similar I think: they are achieving huge sums of revenue and are still willing to accept just a small portion of that revenue - because that 'small portion' is in fact huge in itself.)

So it's not entirely impossible that a 'desire to work' would still exist even at very high levels of progressive taxation, as there's no shortage of capable CEOs today :-)

But this latter part is purely speculative so feel free to discount it entirely - the US had a period of time when there was 90% top tax bracket, but other than that there's no good historic examples to refer to.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 18:54 | 747933 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Jesus christ.  This reminds me of Billy Madison's response during the quiz show about finding his dog...

So basically what you're saying is that people are born into the country, go to work, and because of their predecessors' complete lack of care for their wellbeing, now have to fork over 90% of profits (compared to their predecessors' 30%) to pay for unintelligent spending and this is as morally incindiary as ocean hitting the beach.  Got it.

You also are completely ignoring the social strife in countries, regardless of the tax rates.  Meaning, what policies, in particular, lead to the present economic decisions in which literally everyone (other than complete dependents) are completely fed up and about 3 seconds away from a collective howard beale moment?  The people who are feeling the squeeze from the top and bottom (aka getting night at the roxbury'd) are fucking sick of it.  You acknowledge the historical precedent for failure, but refuse to comment on the morality of the mechanism for failure.  Telling.

Can tyranny exist in a democracy when the majority in fact are politically active?  You seem to be dancing around this question.  What happens when the majority is inclined to vote itself a perpetual standard of living at your expense?  Is this moral?  Was slavery moral?

PS, tax rates of 90% simply do not work at this point in time because should that come down the pipeline, there will be a myriad of countries with open arms accepting all the expats.  In other words, see generally Memphis, TN as to what the effect of this will be.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 01:31 | 748622 MurderNeverWasLove
MurderNeverWasLove's picture

Thanks, Macho, for your patience with this creature.  I couldn't have done it.  Try to lead him to make some smarmless statements and he just gets squishier.

On your PS, though.  What would really be the problem with convincing the wealthiest to exit stage left?

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 11:40 | 749407 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The problem, in a nutshell, is that with their wealth, so too goes ours.  All of that wealth will be invested elsewhere, technology and manufacturing developed elsewhere, and the remainder here will be just that much poorer.  The existing debt/infrastructure has no way of keeping up with payments (Memphis).  We're in a terrible pickle.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 12:56 | 749660 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


So basically what you're saying is that people are born into the country, go to work, and because of their predecessors' complete lack of care for their wellbeing, now have to fork over 90% of profits (compared to their predecessors' 30%) to pay for unintelligent spending and this is as morally incindiary as ocean hitting the beach.  Got it. [...]

(No, most intelligent tax schemes are progressive - so the more money you make, the higher the tax becomes - but the amount of money you make still always rises so there's always a marginal increase in taxed income.)

The other thing you are ignoring is that last I checked you still went to the polls every 2 to 4 years and reelected all the guys who have the power to change these things basically overnight with a flick of a switch, right?

And if your views that things are rotten are not shared by a few hundred million of your fellow citizens and if they do not elect the right people then yes you are stuck with that result! A fundamental property of democracy is that you do not get to make their decisions for them - even if you consider them stupid (and even if they are stupid).

You definitely do not get to call the set of rules that set the fees to work and do business in the US 'immoral' because it contradicts your views - unless you call democracy (the rule of the majority, regardless of their intelligence) immoral as well. Are you making that argument?

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 13:10 | 749709 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

What I am saying is that our system (the one backing your position) is a complete and total failure.  It is a complete and total failure because of not only rudimentary math, but also the complete and total failure of rudimentary morality, leading ultimately to the unsustainable entitlement state.  Your entire premise boils down to an argument from intimidation and is exemplified by the tyranny of the present majority.  You cannot rest your argument on "that's just the way the system is"...  that's not what we're discussing.  You have to materially contribute to the discussion of whether our present situation is the result of a truly well functioning (textbook/academic) republic.  I contend that anyone who would set out to design this system on paper is a dictator hell bent on usurpation of basic human rights.

I am making the argument that a small group of the country's elite have implemented an incentive program whereby the nation's "poor" are encouraged to remain that way and, in return, also assure the elite of their relative status...  all at the expense of the nation's middle.  This is the entire premise of the article...

You cannot sincerely advocate that the inherent limitations of a system of governance should be exploited until the point where literally the entire world is either thrust into darkness and/or war.  What I propose is that we develop viable mechanisms to identify these threats as they emerge and take a proactive stance to correcting our problems before they become so large no amount of remedial measure will help.  When you feel the crack of the whip at your back, I promise you will be singing a different tune.  It's coming, and it's coming soon.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 16:52 | 750000 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


What I am saying is that our system (the one backing your position) is a complete and total failure. [...]

I'm guessing here, but I get the impression that your opinion is somewhat slanted in one direction because you've never experienced a public benefits system that actually works well, right?

I am making the argument that a small group of the country's elite have implemented an incentive program whereby the nation's "poor" are encouraged to remain that way and, in return, also assure the elite of their relative status...  all at the expense of the nation's middle.  This is the entire premise of the article... [...]

That's not what I got from this article.

If you check the numbers carefully you'll see that the 'middle' income class comes off worse because it does not get fair health care benefits - they have to pay it themselves. (check the 'Medicaid and CHIP' row.)

The best public health care systems I'm aware of (and I used three of them personally) all have progressive fees  - i.e. the kind of unfair taxed income inversion you can see in the table above cannot happen.

For example in Germany (but I could mention Austria or Sweden as well) you get public health care as a 'sovereign right' [1]. Every german citizen who is living in Germany has full health care coverage [2], and for a fixed percentage of their income, with a ceiling of a max of about $650 per month, per family (an equal amount is matched by the employer). It cannot occur that the 'poor' get health care benefits while the 'middle' does not get them - the health care fees are increasing linearly and progressively with income, to the still-reasonable maximum limit.

German citizens have free choice of doctors and free choice of hospitals. If you have a specific illness, you can look up the best specialist in Germany and you have a fair chance to get an appointment with him. Since the system is so open internally, there's very good economy of scale from ~80 million patients.

In the US, the very best specialists will only treat those who are able to pay for their services - which in practice is a tiny percentage of the population. As a result patients are 'fragmented' into multiple geographical groups and there's no good economy of scale: specialists often do not get enough patients of a given type of illness to build up sufficient know-how. In Germany there are specialists who will get all patients from an 80 million population, regardless of income. This enables them to create very specific types of know-how and gives them practice and improves quality. Note that this becomes possible because there's no income dependency to meet specialists. [3]

The health care fees are deducted as part of the payroll tax - and are not conditional or treatment dependent, they are a flat percentage of income. If you lose your job, you still have full health care coverage, etc.

As a result, if for example your daughter was so unfortunate to have spent half of her life in hospital, you still pay the same amount as if no-one in your family ever needed to see a doctor in the past 5 years. This model is possible and sustainable because health care is a special benefit where freeloading is not common: a chronically ill person would gladly switch roles with a totally healthy person.

If you need two heart transplants in your lifetime you would still be paying the same health care costs as if you were healthy in all your life. (And believe me, people are not flocking to 'freeload' on heart transplants in Germany, just because it does not cost them.)

And note that this is a positive effect on quality of life: people do not get stressed from the danger of running up high health care costs - a problem for so many in the US. They know that if they need it, a health care system is there for them - just like public roads are there if they need to travel. It's their for their loved ones as well. I have not seen formal studies on it but I'd not be surprised if there's a measurable increase in productivity due to this.

The health care model we have in most of the US is the worst of the two worlds: we've got private insurers who have monopolized local markets, so we get all the disadvantages of monopolies (high costs, little incentive to compete) - but we also get all the inefficiencies of multiple private providers as well (freeloading/abuse committed by the insurers and lack of national economy of scale). As a result the US health care system is one of the most expensive ones in the world - and it still does not give you a peace of mind - a chronical illness in your family can still bankrupt you.

So my point with all this is that if you check the facts you will see that public benefit systems are not unfair by design, and do not result in nonsensical results. They can be unfair and they can be nonsensical. So your whole premise that all your income in a modern society is 'yours' (and that you are unwilling to pay any fees for it) is based on the wrong premise that any benefit is immoral because inefficient.

The thing is, if your income is indeed 'yours' and if it does not depend on the remaining population at all, then you should be able to relocate to any other country on the planet and still have the same income (which is your property after all), right? In reality that is only very rarely so - most income flows use the infrastructure of a modern society in zillions of ways.

[1] You can opt out of the public health care system in Germany and get private insurance. This is possible but is generally considered risky.

[2] There's a few areas of optional treatments where patients have to pay 50% of the costs, such as certain dental treatments, etc.

[3] So the poor also 'pay' (in a small part) for health care by providing treatment experience to doctors. This is a hidden and under-estimated effect with rare but treatable illnesses. It does matter whether a specialist diagnoses and does 20 operations of a kind per year or only 1.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 19:29 | 750879 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Again, Billy Madison response.

Does a "successful" system involve insolvency? 

Further, care to address any of the points in my post?

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 17:32 | 753383 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


Further, care to address any of the points in my post? [...]

I thought I did exactly that. I have read your post and I have quoted a key assumption in your post and disagreed with it. Your other arguments appear to be based on this premise, so I did not reply to them - they are in limbo if the assumption is false. (which I think it is.)

You have not replied to my arguments in substance that I can see.

I specifically picked 'health care' as a benefit system, because it's one where there's a natural deterrence against freeloading: the overwhelming majority of people does not like to fake illnesses just to get free treatment.

So health care benefits, if provided not as in essence a paycheck contribution (like it is often provided in the US), but provided as a benefit/service itself, as a 'sovereign right', can be pretty efficient in practice and can improve the productivity of a country.

For example I cited the german example: in Germany every citizen has a health insurance chip card which they use everywhere in the health care system to identify themselves - but there's no monetary exchange (in most forms of usage). The doctor/nurse/hospital administrator/emergency room personell/etc. accepts the chip card and that's it - you get treatment free of charge. This removes most vectors of social freeloading/leeching.

Your whole premise appears to be that benefits are unfixably inefficent, that they are unfixably promoting freeloading and non-working (leeching), and that they undermine our future (or at least the future of the middle class), and are theft and are immoral.

I see (and cited) several real-life examples where that is not so - and I think that technology can help reduce freeloading. You already listed a few benefits (such as security, the enforcements of contracts, etc. etc.) that you yourself consider acceptable - I think the basis you mentioned was that they allow us to exist to begin with.

Well, proper health care is a pretty fundamental thing to allow us to exist as well, right?

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 18:59 | 753716 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

You're talking about how well the system works and I am talking about the unsustainability of your system.  You can throw darts at any which one you want, and it is likely insolvent.  You can talk about the benefits of one over the other, how each is handled, which class of person benefits the most, but in the end, the bill comes due.  My question is how can you possibly avoid talking about the cost of the system while spouting forth its merits?  Does your health system work in all demographic environments?  What about non-citizen freeloaders?  The possible constraints are endless.

You talk about the health industry in a vacuum.  As if you get to design it in academia without application to the real world.  The entitlement state does not just rest with a single entitlement...  it covers the entire spectrum of entitlements...  and the moral hazard attached at the hip.  This is why, despite a conceptually perfect medical system (whichever you want to choose), the government backing it ultimately fails.  This concept has been lost on you...  despite being played out time and time again and, sadly, as we speak.

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 15:37 | 754419 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


You're talking about how well the system works and I am talking about the unsustainability of your system. [...]

(Just to clarify, I was talking about examples where benefit systems works. There's plenty of bad examples as well.)

But more importantly, why would nation state level health care be unsustainable? There's lots of synergies that make such a large system cheaper - I've outlined a few already. The german health care system is about twice as cheap as the US one, on a per capita basis - and it has existed for decades and is sustainable. For example see this OECD data:

Total health expenditures (2008):

Germany: $3737 per year per person (7% of GDP)

        U.S.: $7538 per year per person (16% of GDP)

If you cut through all the health care obfuscation and polarization and look at the raw costs you'll see that the US health care system is literally the most expensive one in the developed world.

Furthermore, US citizens are getting a pretty bad deal for all that money I have to say: for example no 'health security' at all - an illness can still bankrupt you! What kind of 'insurance' is this??

Wed, 12/01/2010 - 10:43 | 767617 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

You're arguing in a vacuum.  I want you to provide historical examples of how this has worked, survived, and prospered.  For reasons of rudimentary incentive and human decision making skills, a national healthcare system is not an island unto itself...  the conditions necessary to even implement such a system are the same conditions that give rise to financial/economic unsustainability.  Thus far, humans have been incapable of walking the tight rope.  Maybe after the debt jubilee we'll get to try again.  [or make another trial run at displaying our stupidity].

In academia, on paper, sure, we might be able to do it...  the real world, as always, is a totally different ballgame.

Sat, 01/22/2011 - 14:20 | 895890 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


There's plenty of historic evidence - just try the health care systems of Sweden, Switzerland, Finland or Germany.

Here's the cost comparison:

And what health care benefits you get in say Switzerland:

The facts are that it works, it's highly civilized and it's efficient.


Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:48 | 748719 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture


Tue, 11/23/2010 - 22:46 | 751228 AmericaRacket
AmericaRacket's picture

I think the US is being silly about not putting more money into public education for example. Finland and Germany both have very strong public schooling with essentially zero private schooling (not even private universities) - and their pupils are top notch in most tests, their scientific and industrial production is very strong, their workforce is highly qualified. Arguing about putting even less money into US public education is more than silly IMO ..


Allow me to give you a reason why people could be so silly.  The US Public Education System is already the most expensive systems in the world, and arguably the least effective in terms of the educational product.  It might be the most effective if you consider its real purpose: to keep Americans ignorant, atomized, and docile.

Our college system is so awash in government grants and loans that it is an extension of the public school system.  Quite simply, the entrenched bureacracy has created an unspeakable monster that is bleeding our funds while abusing our children.  This is why I do not think it silly to spend less on our public schools.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 23:28 | 751332 chopper read
chopper read's picture

+1, agreed.

institutional indoctrination is a time-honored tradition in the USSA.

"The chief end, wrote the British evolutionist Benjamin Kidd in 1918, was to 'impose on the young the ideal of subordination.' At first, the primary target was the tradition of independent livelihoods in America. Unless Yankee entrepreneurialism could be put to death, at least among the common population, the immense capital investments that mass production industry required for equipment weren’t conceivably justifiable. Students were to learn to think of themselves as employees competing for the favor of management. Not as Franklin or Edison had once regarded themselves, as self-determined, free agents.Only by a massive psychological campaign could the menace of overproduction in America be contained."

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:10 | 746085 CH1
CH1's picture

you need to be able to see things with other people's eyes =

Stop using your mind and surrender it to me!

And, punk... How about some empathy for the people whose income is stolen?

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 22:27 | 751182 AmericaRacket
AmericaRacket's picture

Hey critical.  I just wanted you to know that you weren't junked 40 times because we're a bunch of crazy right-wingers.  You see, when you say something like "that's just your opinion" you are issuing a 6th-grade level of discourse.  When you say "you have to see through other's eyes" and leave it at that, without giving anybody a specific reason or even a specific "other", you will draw heat.  When you start equating rights with opinions, that's dangerous territory, as I could state that it is only your opinion that we have the right to free speech, freedom of religion, association, trial by jury, etc.  We should take all views into account etc.  People don't take kindly when you start talking about the achievements of civilization for which millions gave their lives as "opinions".

First of all, one difference between a "right" to enjoy the fruits of your own labor and your "right" to a free entitlement (you name it, free public schools, free medical care) is that free entitlements don't exist.  Someone has to perform the labor.  You are claiming thus that we have the "right" to demand that everyone else work for us for free.  Free speech on the other hand , does exist.  If I claim the right to speak my mind wthout being accosted by thugs in jackboots, or to work without having over half my proceeds stolen at gunpoint, I am demanding something that is very easily done and that is very sensible, and that is kind of obviously the right thing to do.

Since there could not be such a right, we have to broaden the picture a little bit (proceed maybe to the 10th grade level) and talk about alternative social arrangements.  I have nothing in principle against charity, or even social welfare arrangements paid for by a reasonable tax burden.  Reasonable people can dissagree on the details.

But let us not obscure certain crucial realities by locking them into an irrelevant Left-Right grid or by puffing up infantile nonsense about everybody's right to an opinion.  The issue here isn't greedy people who don't want to let saintly bureaucrats help the poor with other people's money.  It's about the fact that a guy who is making 60K in America (which is supposedly living the Everyman's version of the American Dream) will struggle to pay his rent, food, and medical bills, to the point where he will have LESS DISPOSABLE INCOME than a dole-rider who gets for free what the productive classes pay for at extortionate prices.  Basic living expenses are so high that the productive worker has nothing left over after paying up for fraudulently inflated medicine, housing and food.  The only difference between middle class and poor is that the middle class pay the cost of their enslavement.  What's your opinion about that?

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 02:51 | 751948 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


First of all, one difference between a "right" to enjoy the fruits of your own labor and your "right" to a free entitlement (you name it, free public schools, free medical care) is that free entitlements don't exist.  Someone has to perform the labor. [...]

I replied to a similar point elsewhere already, but let me try to sum it up here too:

I believe the main mistake you are making here is that you assume that the full revenue you get from an activity is "your property". It is obviously not so: just try to open a shop in a mall and keep all the income as "your property" without paying the rent to the mall owner ...

Likewise, try to perform your "work" that you do in the US elsewhere in the world and try to draw the same income - you likely wont succeed. Why? Because your ability to earn money and the amount you get depends on a thousand small infrastructural details that the US as a nation state with 300+ million people is providing to you: if you are a businessman then your customers travel to you on public roads, they get protected by the military and thus have a safer business enviroment. If they have contractual disputes there's a modern judicial system at hand. Rulings of courts are then enforced as well. US foreign policy is active in hundreds of countries to lobby for rules favorable to US business interests, etc., etc.

Most of this you and your business associates and customers get free of charge or get heavily subsidised.

If you expect to get all that service 'for free' then you are naive: running a developed economy is very expensive, and all developed countries on the planet seek a rent for those services, because that's how they think they can finance it.

If you try to draw income without paying the infrastructure and insurance fees for it (taxes) you are freeloading - and freeloaders are not welcome in the US, nor in other developed countries. (Somalia has a zero percent tax rate, you can try your luck there although you will likely find their infrastructure, their security situation and the judicial system a bit lacking. Something for something - you wont have to pay taxes!)

If you argue that you did not ask for this system then you are right: you got born into it without your permission, and this whole system is an entitlement you got as a birthright - with all its advantages and disadvantages. You can change it anytime in principle, there's periodic times when all voters have the power to change the rules that govern the US - though you need to convince a significant portion of voters that your views are worth voting for.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 15:22 | 747120 cranky-old-geezer
cranky-old-geezer's picture

"The right[s] to [of] life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (to make money) [i.e. the right of property] is a [are] sovereign right[s]."

There, fixed it.

... and they're not Constitutional rights, they're Declaration of Independence rights. Cite the correct source of authority.

... and they didn't come from God despite the founding fathers believing they did.  They came from whoever wrote the DOI. Again, cite the correct source of authority.

... and if you don't know how to defend them in court they're pretty much useless.

... and they don't override a contract.  It's the other way around.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 04:59 | 745806 fiftybagger
fiftybagger's picture

"$10-$20b per year social programmes"


Ha hahahahahahahaha. 

See how the left lies?  See what utter morons they take you for?


20 billion dollars is 20,000 dollars for 1 million people.  Try ten or a hundred times that.  Since liberals don't believe in right and wrong, or that there is a God, they have no problem lying through their teeth.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 05:14 | 745810 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Oh, of course the total spending there is much larger than 10-20b - most of it goes into Medicare, one of the most popular government programmes in the US, which not even the GOP dares to destroy.

Assume your worst case and weigh that against your ability to be able to use hundreds of trillions worth of infrastructure and be able to make trillions of dollar - it's still a very good deal you get compared to being born in free Somalia with zero government, zero taxes (and zero infrastructure and zero security as well, mind you).

Your whining about 'entitlement' programmes in the US is very, very pathetic to external observers. The level of social spending in the US is much lower than that in the EU, the top tax bracket is much lower than in most of EU. You do not realize how much more could be spent on 'entitlement' while still having a well functioning, innovative and flexible economy with happy rich people ...

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 05:28 | 745819 fiftybagger
fiftybagger's picture

Thanks but no thanks.  When I leave it will be for Singapore not Greece.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:03 | 745961 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Singapore: tax evaders unite!

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:53 | 748722 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

So? Afraid the parasites have bled your host dry, are we?

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 08:40 | 751934 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

I wouldn't go so far as to call Singapour parasites - there's certainly a lot of original production going on there as well. The ... extremely lax banking and tax rules do attract the mob from all around the world to wash their money, so be careful if you go there - avoid the russian bankers, etc.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 05:49 | 745838 UGrev
UGrev's picture

Let me sum it up for you, because you are clearly not an American. Americans have NO problem giving to others by choice but when it's taken from us by force, then we have a problem. We will help you if you can prove to us that you indeed, tried as hard as you could; but if you're asking for handouts without so much as lifting a finger for yourself.. then quite frankly, you can piss off. 

You may rise and you may fall, but you are better than the ones who didn't try at all. 

This is something I tell my 7 year old, who asked for food donations instead of gifts at his 7th birthday party. So kindly take your "progressive" spew and move along. 

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:01 | 745959 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


Americans have NO problem giving to others by choice [...]

LOL, that is another right-wing myth that is easily debunked.

Here's the list of the most charitable countries on the planet, on an "annual percentage of income given to charitable causes":

How charitable is the average US citizen? Only 0.20% of the average income ...

So it turns out that those 50% top tax bracket 'big wellfare state' losers in Europe are giving two to five times more money per capita to charitable causes than the USA which has a top tax bracket of 35%.

So you have 15% less taxes at 35%, but are only willing to spend a measly 0.2% of your income 'voluntarily'. Wow!

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:31 | 746006 Desenstematic
Desenstematic's picture

Real charity does not come in the form of digital units from your bank acount getting moved to some Charitable organizations bank account...

very telling how you think of these things

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:45 | 746035 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Real charity does not come in the form of digital units from your bank acount getting moved to some Charitable organizations bank account... [...]

Certainly - but there's a strong observed correlation :-)

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 23:02 | 751270 AmericaRacket
AmericaRacket's picture

Count churches?

Also, America has the greatest wealth disparity by far, and if the richest are the least charitable, as seems distinctly possible, it would make a difference.

I believe, as far as charity goes, the main difference is religious and secular.

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 08:37 | 751932 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

if the richest are the least charitable, as seems distinctly possible [...]

That's certainly possible (many rich people are sociopaths), but note that it pretty much undercuts the whole argument I was replying to: that somehow voluntary charity in a no-taxes environment could and would provide the same national resources as taxes. If we abolished income taxes we'd be pushing resources mainly to the richest.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:21 | 746295 Hicham
Hicham's picture

So people are junking him...and yet he makes a very good point? People need to junk more sparingly.





Mon, 11/22/2010 - 12:40 | 746580 RKDS
RKDS's picture

I'm sort of surprised how low the percentage is purported to be, but you know, it's still a misleading statistic.

Just as a for instance, I probably donate about $200 every year to Toys For Tots.  That's 0.5% of my pre-tax salary, but of what I actually get to keep after taxes, it's a full 1%.  I know, nowhere near the 10% the church would like to see, but I'm trying.

I don't believe that I give so far above the average.  Sure, there are alot of poor people who can't dragging the average down, but what does this say about the super-wealthy?  How much more could I afford to help if I wasn't paying a 30% federal-state-local income tax?

No easy answers so long as the free-lunch crowd at either end continues to play us against each other, that's for damend sure.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:07 | 746700 chopper read
chopper read's picture

if Trillions of $USDs were not tied up in U.S. Treasury Bonds supporting the Welfare State, this capital would be in the private sector because it would have no other place to go.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average would be at 100,000 and everyone would have a helicopter in their back yard. Hurricane Katrina victims, for example, would not need to rely on central planners who currently have a monopoly on both "force" and incompetence. The abundance of wealth would increase the generosity of fellow Americans to unseen levels, and dwarf financial outpourings towards Haiti's hurricane victims and Bali's tsunami victims by comparison.

Instead, we are paying ever-expanding interest payments on nearly $15 Trillion with approximately $160 Trillion in unfunded liabilities to the further enrichment of The Federal Reserve and extended members of the International Banking Cartel. 

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:39 | 747432 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

The US Government uses up 35% of GDP currently.

That's about 15 thousand dollars per person - not nearly enough to have a helicopter.

Also, much of that 35% is spent on projects that would have to be done anyway: defense, infrastructure (roads), the judiciary, policing, foreign relations, etc. So you'd be paying it not in form of taxes but in form of a defense insurance fee towards United Military Corp, an infrastructure use fee towards Big Co Roads and Rails, a judiciary insurance fee towards Lawyers United Corp, a police protection fee towards Cops United Corp and a foreign relations fee towards Diplomats Inc., etc.

Much of that $16K would be used up for these purposes, and seeing how insurance companies have monopolized the US the fees would quite possibly be much more than ~$1250 per month. You'd want to pay that extra +$300 per month to insure your kids against kidnapping, with a 5 minutes guaranteed SWAT option for another +$150, right? (the standard contract only offers a 30 minutes SWAT response.)

I mean, just private health care can easily cost this much per year for you. Guess how much it would cost if you had all these other services were private insured as well, hm?

If you oppose taxation and government you really need to think through the consequences. Existing examples of private insurers can give you a clue about how the future would look like with various US government services privatized.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:01 | 748129 chopper read
chopper read's picture

ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



United States Debt of $14.6239 TRILLION is 94.27% of GDP as of 2010.

A helicopter can be bought for $40,000.

 There are 330,000,000 people in America.  For every American to have a helicopter it would cost $13,200,000,000,000 or $13.2 Trillion, which is less than the money currently tied up in our Treasury Bond market.  


Well, I lived in England for 6 1/2 years.  My wife is British.  The system is filled with horror stories.  I have lost a father-in-law and a great friend due to gross incompetence in the NHS.  I have heard countless testimonies as they relate to NHS staff performing in line with how they are paid. 

Further, consider the fact that it is the American profit-driven system which creates most of the advances in healthcare which everyone enjoys around the world. 

Finally, understand that if you feel you have to fight back profiteers now in a competitive system, wait till you have to fight back deathboards in a rationed system.  'Austerity measures' anyone?


Fact No. 1:  Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1]  Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.  Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway.  The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.


Fact No. 2:  Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.[2]  Breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.


Fact No. 3:  Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.[3]  Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.  By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them. 


 Fact No. 4:  Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.[4]  Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancer:

  • Nine of 10 middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to less than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).
  • Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a pap smear, compared to less than 90 percent of Canadians.
  • More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a PSA test, compared to less than 1 in 6 Canadians (16 percent).
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with less than 1 in 20 Canadians (5 percent).

Fact No. 5:  Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.  Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report "excellent" health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent).  Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as "fair or poor."[5]


Fact No. 6:  Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.  Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long - sometimes more than a year - to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer.[6]  All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada.[7]  In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.[8]


Fact No. 7:  People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.   More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their health system needs either "fundamental change" or "complete rebuilding."[9]


Fact No. 8:  Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.  When asked about their own health care instead of the "health care system," more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).[10]


Fact No. 9:  Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K.  Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade.[11]  [See the table.]  The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain.  The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.[12] 


Fact No. 10:  Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.[13]  The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country.[14]  Since the mid-1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to American residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined.[15]  In only five of the past 34 years did a scientist living in America not win or share in the prize.   Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.[16]  [See the table.]


statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization:

 Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years  
 after diagnosis:


  U.S.              65%

  England        46%

  Canada         42%


 Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received  
 treatment within six months:


  U.S.              93%

  England        15%

  Canada         43%


 Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it  
 within six months:


  U.S.              90%

  England        15%

  Canada         43%


 Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within  
 one month:


  U.S.              77%

  England        40%

  Canada         43%


 Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:


  U.S.              71

  England        14

  Canada         18


 Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in  
 "excellent health":


  U.S.              12%

  England        2%

  Canada         6%

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 16:50 | 750448 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


I think you need to apply a bit more critical thinking. Do you regularly check whether the sources you are using have been criticised or debunked yet? For example you should be careful with anything that comes out of the NCPA - they have a clear conservative policy agenda. In this case too their 'facts' were found to be all but facts:

Just one little snippet:

"Fact 7" alleges that Americans are more satisfied with our health care system than citizens in countries with more government involvement in health care. Atlas cites the above Commonwealth study to support a claim that "more than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and British adults say their system needs 'fundamental change' or 'complete rebuilding.' That is true, but what Atlas doesn't tell us is that more Americans (82 percent) respond that way, more than respondents in any of the other countries. In fact, that study found that 34 percent of Americans believe that our system should be completely rebuilt, compared to only 12 and 15 percent in Canada and the U.K., respectively. (3)

Ouch: 82 percent of Americans think in that study that the US health care systems needs a 'fundamental change' or a 'complete rebuilding' - more than in any other country surveyed. That pretty much undercuts your whole argument - if the US health care system is indeed so splendid, why are US citizens so unhappy about it?

Inquiring minds want to know.


Tue, 11/23/2010 - 23:46 | 751374 chopper read
chopper read's picture

is that the best you could do?

umm, ...because Americans would rather spend their dough on more toys, trinkets, houses, and holidays than on healthcare.  

This is NOT a reason to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and a Republic of Laws protecting individual property/wealth.

‎"I am going to flatly state this. It is illegal to force me to buy a product I do not want. Whether you think I need it or not. It is an illegal act as a government fiduciary, to compel us to pay taxes through implied threat of force and then give our money to private businesses', banks, insurers, and automakers. ... We are a nation built upon law. That law protects the minority from the whims of the majority. When under the guise of authority a police officer is allowed to break the law, or our government under guise of authority breaks the law, are we supposed to ignore it? Help them rationalize and justify it, enable government to do it again just as long as they have some passionate concern and a palatable excuse? Just who is it that polices government, that enforces law when government violates law? Apparently nobody."


keep in mind, a larger 'welfare state' means a larger bond market, which means evermore opportunity for the International Banking Cartel to front-run our private Federal Reserve Bank, and evermore national debt upon which to earn interest.


Refer to this:

"After the gold standard was destroyed by the U.S. government, the Fed has been hijacked by a clique that runs it without any regard to ownership, the Constitution, the law or, for that matter, to the vital interests of the American people."

More specifically, here is how the International Banking Cartel uses The Fed as a means to front run the US taxpayer.

"The bulk of the Federal Reserve banks’ assets, contrary to the original intention to run the Fed as a commercial paper system, are Treasury bonds. The bulk of their earnings are interest income derived from Treasury bonds. Most of these interest payments are quietly and illegally refunded to the Treasury.

Thus the assets backing Federal Reserve notes are, for the most part, non-interest-bearing Treasury bonds or “strips”, the value of which is grossly overstated in the balance sheet. The interposition of the Fed between the U.S. Treasury and the public in the money-creating process is a sham. The “open market operations” of the Fed is a sham.

The dollar is being created in violation of the law, by pure fiat, at the whim of appointed officials arrogating unlimited power to themselves; this in a republic where government is supposed to be based on limited and enumerated powers. The roundabout nature of the dollar-creating process serves the purpose of fooling people.

The Fed could very well be abolished, and the U.S. Treasury could issue fiat dollars directly, reducing the budget deficit of the federal government in the process. If it doesn’t, it is because it wants to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. It wants to maintain the pretense that a central bank independent of the government does the issuing as dictated by market forces. Hereby the true fiat nature of the dollar is revealed. Only simpletons believe that there are solid assets backing the dollar.

A Tale of Twelve Shills

The bond market has been turned into a casino. The gamblers are bond speculators, including all the major banks. The manager of the casino has hired twelve “shills” who play and win big at the gaming tables in order to perk up gambling spirit and to keep it high. At the end of the day the shills must return their winnings to the owner of the casino. These shills are none other than the twelve Federal Reserve banks.

The value of Treasury bonds is maintained through fraud. Today nobody in his right mind would hold his savings in bonds, as was the case before 1913 when the rate of interest and bond prices was stable and, hence, bond speculation was non-existent. Thus the logical basis of the value of bonds has been shattered. In the present environment the value of Treasury bonds is maintained by virtue of letting them serve as chips at the casino. People have to buy them if they want to play. As more and more chips are issued, the shills must become more and more active to prevent gambling spirit from sagging.

The fraud of pretending that Treasury bonds have any real value at all, and that the destiny of the underlying debt is to be paid, is exposed. If it wasn’t for the $100 trillion derivatives markets in bond futures and options, Treasury bonds would become worthless, and so would the dollar. These derivatives markets must spin ever faster in order to keep the value of Treasury bonds from collapsing. The shills can postpone the day of reckoning but cannot avoid it. Messrs. Greenspan and Bernanke could be reckless in using the printing press, as they have publicly said that they would do, but that should only make the dénouement, whenever it came, even more horrible.”

Here is another:   

“Chart 1 reveals the linear connection between the Rothschild’s and the Bank of England, and the London banking houses, which ultimately control the Federal Reserve Banks through their stockholdings of bank stock and their subsidiary firms in New York.

The two principal Rothschild representatives in New York, J. P. Morgan Co., and Kuhn, Loeb & Co. were the firms which set up the Jekyll Island Conference at which the Federal Reserve Act was drafted, who directed the subsequent successful campaign to have the plan enacted into law by Congress, and who purchased the controlling amounts of stock in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1914.


These firms had their principal officers appointed to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Advisory Council in 1914.  In 1914 a few families (blood or business related) owning controlling stock in existing banks (such as in New York City) caused those banks to purchase controlling shares in the Federal Reserve regional banks.  

Examination of the charts and text in the House Banking Committee Staff Report of August, 1976 and the current stockholders list of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks show this same family control."


but, just keep on being a 'useful idiot' to the International Banking Cartel, MCT.  Their plan to enslave the world with debt and siphon wealth upwards is working out famously thanks to the likes of you and other fools.  



Wed, 11/24/2010 - 08:20 | 751920 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


This is NOT a reason to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and a Republic of Laws protecting individual property/wealth. [...]

If you think that a (rather smart) piece of paper written 200+ years ago by a handful of long dead people has any relevance to the wishes and circumstances of 300+ million people living in the US today you will be disappointed again and again, until the end of your life.

Sure, it outlines nice concepts, and if it lines up with their interests or isn't causing too much inconvenience it's fine and will be followed.

But if it stands in the way of torturing terrorists or stands in their way in some other major way then the general population, the police, the courts and politicians will all look the other way (or will be defeated at the next election if they dont).

You need to stop this quasi-communistic idealism really and you need to face reality.

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 15:48 | 753091 chopper read
chopper read's picture

that 'piece of paper' created the Gilded Age and the wealthiest and most free country on the planet at one time.  Its why we have 8,000 tons of gold in Fort Knox.   you and your viewpoints have destroyed freedom and opportunity in America.  Further, you're still arguing with Repugnant-cons with typical Dumbo-crap talking points while your country is being stolen from underneathe you.  wake up, dumbass!!! 

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 07:40 | 754399 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

Dude, you need to read more history books - and real ones, not the ones 'edited' for conservative kids :-)

In the 'Gilded Age' (when the US tried to catch up with the rest of the world after a destructive civil war) they still lived like crap: security was so bad that everyone had to have weapons, the environment was in shatters (cities stunk, rivers were poisoned due to rapid, unregulated industralization, etc) and kids only had an about 70% chance to make it to 10 years old.

And you can only think of the resources that were plundered and the gold that was hoarded??

If you and your family wants to go back to those 'free' circumstances then I suspect you could move to Somalia and start hoarding gold - there's plenty of gold mines on that continent.

Sat, 11/27/2010 - 11:20 | 757073 chopper read
chopper read's picture

security was so bad that everyone had to have weapons

see, by now it is clear to anyone else observing this conversation exactly how much you talk out your arse.  you really are a fucking idiot, and do not have a clue about nearly anything.  i picture you in a cubical somewhere, or perhaps having tenure at a community college.  without a doubt, you are a major joker who has not achieved much.

if you have EVER read a real history book, then you would realize that the 'wild west' was not so 'wild' at all.  in fact, everyone having a weapon promoted peace.  an armed society is a polite society.  if you compare this to our urban areas today, which outlaw 'weapons', you begin to see the portion of our world that you chose to ignore from your ivory tower.  You are obviously a limousine liberal who has rarely ventured out past your immediate suburb, let alone to such a place as Somalia, which you so brazenly reference. 

as for child mortality during the Gilded Age, at that time it was as good or better than anywhere in the world.  to compare it to today's standards is grossly unfair and intellectually dishonest, and you know this.  shame on you. 

this is no longer about truth with you, if it ever was, but rather about 'winning', even if you have to disrespect the process of peaceful debate.  

Pol Pot would be proud, MCT.  

p.s.  I'm not your "dude", dude.  I'll probably be forced to combat you when I see you in the revolutionary streets, dude.  Because you empower Statist thugs, dude.  Which makes you Statist scum, dude.

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 05:23 | 758533 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


as for child mortality during the Gilded Age, at that time it was as good or better than anywhere in the world.  to compare it to today's standards is grossly unfair and intellectually dishonest, and you know this.  shame on you. [...]

You really need to read up on how life really was in the 'Gilded Age'. (beyond the bits about the gold rush and the hoarding of thousands of tons of gold and the post-civil-war run-up of a war-stimulated economy)

Life expectancy in Sweden in 1850 was 41 years:

In 1870 it was 45 years:

In the US in 1850 it was 39.5 years, 23.0 years for blacks (!):

And that was before the Civil War.

After the Civil War the US produced some good growth (and health) numbers, but from a low war destructed/depressed baseline it's easy, right? Want me to cite german GDP growth after 1945?

Also, you have to realize that life was pretty miserable in most of the world in that age, not just the US. Europe was comparatively worse because the US skipped most of the early industrialization and was a lot less crowded as well. It made up for it later on though.

If you were catapulted back 100-150 years into the role of the average US city dweller (which most of the population consisted of) you'd really hate that place.

You'd have to work a lot harder, for a lot less money proportionally, and you'd have a lot lower standard of living all around: sanitation, roads, clear air, clean water, general infrastructure, security, etc. etc. - and I'm not talking about technological advances/gadgets here, just basic everyday necessities we are taking for granted today.

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 12:16 | 758714 chopper read
chopper read's picture

we are in agreement that technological developments have made life better for everyone over time.

Mon, 02/14/2011 - 00:40 | 958879 stev3e
stev3e's picture

Sweden?  Couldn't you cherry pick better than that?

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 08:30 | 751927 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

is that the best you could do? [...]

That I have proven that you were quoting from a document that is lying? Yes. The fact that it does not even bother you that you are spreading lies is pretty telling, and your posturing about the US Constitution is a bit pithy in that light as well: the founding fathers certainly did not condone lying and they certainly detested liars.

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 15:05 | 753083 chopper read
chopper read's picture

i'll take the information from the Huffington Post on board.  It is not my intention to spread false information.  your post is duely noted. 


now, outside of 4 single bullet points from 1 of many documents that I've posted, do you care to address ANY of the other points, or do you wish to delude yourself further into believing you have a leg to stand on?


this will cause a revolution.  and it will be decided in the streets if nowhere else.  good luck.  you're going to need it.



Mon, 02/14/2011 - 00:42 | 958881 stev3e
stev3e's picture

>>Do you regularly check whether the sources you are using have been criticised or debunked yet?<<

Like the sources you used for statistics about charity.

You are smart.  You are educated.

But you are very dishonest.  And it is transparent.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:18 | 746735 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


How much more could I afford to help if I wasn't paying a 30% federal-state-local income tax? [...]

One thing that can be observed in that list is that the northern, 50% top tax bracket countries are so high up the list. I.e., against common sense, higher taxes seem to increase the willingness to donate.

Of course correlation does not imply causation, and I do not know the answer to that correlation, but two plausible answers would be:

  • Since donations are tax deductible, people know that if they donate X to a good cause half of that amount will be matched by the government in essence. This increases the incentive to donate.
  • Those able to donate now were beneficiaries of various social programmes (and donations) in earlier phases of their lives - or see those programmes (or donations) working for their loved ones. This increases their social awareness and increases their incentive to donate.

But still the willingness to donate financially on a voluntary basis rarely goes above ~1% of GDP.

Given that even the super-lean (and tax evasion financed :-) Singapour government needs 15% of GDP to function, voluntary contributions in the 1% ballpark are clearly not sufficient to drive social needs - let alone finance the US government which is spending 35% of GDP - or the government of Germany which spends 44% of GDP.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:59 | 748728 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Your little charts don't show the people in their cars stopping at the exit of the Target parking lot, to hand $5 to the homeless guy holding a sign. Call it grassroots charity. It is huge, and those people holding signs rake in some cash.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 07:48 | 745896 Ricky Bobby
Ricky Bobby's picture

Just think if you don't waste your time here you will have more time to read Chomsky and sing the praises of Hugo and Fidel.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:50 | 746041 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Okay, you have convinced me that you are, indeed, an idiot.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:05 | 746253 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture


Blow your troll job out your brittish ass.  You parade on here about the relative virtues of the european entitlement system without mentioning europe is insolvent, especially the brittish isle.  You presume that the inevitable conclusion to an entitlement state (which america has far crossed the rubicon into) is not financial ruin.  Eventually, the productive lose incentive and/or ability to drag the rest on their coattails.  You've already witnessed a "bucking of the saddle" so to speak, but now the horse is about to just lay down...  and it doesn't matter how much you (or bennie) flogs him.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:05 | 745910 FatFingered
FatFingered's picture

It's time for bed MoreCritical.  You are not going to finish that bottle tonight.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:51 | 745942 Sam Clemons
Sam Clemons's picture

What infrastructure is worth "hundreds of trillions of dollars"? 

I know it costs a lot, but that would definitely not be my first "wag." 

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:04 | 746060 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

What infrastructure is worth "hundreds of trillions of dollars"?

If you sum up the value of the various components of the 'US marketplace' (and its judicial and security infrastructure) you get to such figures. Just the last 20 years of US GDP is in excess of a hundred trillion dollars, so the total monetary value is probably in excess of a quadrillion dollars.

Is a 35% top tax bracket really such an unreasonable fee for individuals being allowed to access and make money in this huge (and valuable) marketplace?

The voting majority appears to think it's a fair price.

The whining minority thinks they have some sort of 'right' to freeload, that they have a right to being able to make money in this valuable marketplace for no fee at all.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:23 | 746299 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

see post above regarding argument from intimidation.  There is a reason our founding fathers were concerned about the tyranny of the majority...  unfortunately, even they could not devise a foolproof system.

Further, you're leaving off the fact that the infrastructure was created using borrowed dollars.  You presume that the spending was necessary and beneficial and that the authorization to spend was done with the consent of the people in a fair and unbiased democratic process.  Also, the "marketplace" is shrinking...  and, in all likelihood, was never "real", but rather a paper illusion.

Again, as previously stated, instead of implementing straw men (e.g. "The whining minority thinks they have some sort of 'right' to freeload, that they have a right to being able to make money in this valuable marketplace for no fee at all."), maybe you can make a value statement as to whether the majority is morally correct and, if so, what effect this will have to the ability of the country (and world) to remain a going concern.

PS, are the injections from the FED into european nations (either directly or indirectly) to keep them propped up justified?  Are those voted on by the majority?  Or is majority support just impled?  Thanks.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:00 | 746666 RKDS
RKDS's picture

The marketplace is only shrinking because the something-for-nothing crowd at the top has exported money (in the form of jobs and production) while continuing to extract it locally at an unsupportable pace.

If you build iPads in America and sell them in America, it works out no matter how much labor costs, because all of the money is basically recycled over and over.  The profit comes from accumulation over time (time, while limited, is freely produced).

What we do is make iPads for $8 in China and sell them for $800 in America.  Where does that $800 come from?  It's not coming from the Chinese worker and it sure as hell isn't coming from the unemployed American.

For a long time the unemployed/underemployed American was able to _borrow_ the $800 (from thin air, like all bank-controlled fiat), but anyone with a brain can see that's just digging a deeper and deeper hole.  Now cut off the debt spigot and watch America drown.  Sure it hits Joe Sixpack first, but it hits Apple when he stops buying iPads.  Of course Joe Sixpack will never stop working to escape death but he will ultimately do the bare minimum to feed himself.

Have you ever wondered why humanity went practically nowhere for the thousands of years that slavery was prevalent?  Only in the free America of circa 1900-1980 did so many of the advances we take for granted happen so quickly.  And as we descend back into fuedalism and slavery, they will just as surely stop if not crumble to dust altogether.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 14:36 | 747019 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

More accurately, the market here is decreasing because we still have nations, despite a unified world, and other sovereigns are better attractions for money. The transfer of markets does not cause the "pie" to shrink.  Rather, the transfer of markets only affects the grantor nation (us). 

The pie is shrinking because credit is contracting.  Meaning, there is a universal decrease in the size of the pie, irrespective of national borders.

And the remainder of your post is what happens when credit contracts...  it's how the run-up spoils of the wealth gap get put to good use.  They're converted from the ether into hard assets and then the value of hard assets are increased as the ether dries.

PS, the united states, inherently, is not entitled to keep the entirety of the world's wealth and standard of living.... 

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:29 | 746002 Catullus
Catullus's picture


You should have applied to king to use His Royal Internet.  How dare you, sir. How dare you!


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:04 | 746070 CH1
CH1's picture

Okay Critical, I'll play:

What you wrote is utter crap, and knowlingly so.

It's all about property. (I speak foolishly, as if you cared.)

You laud stealing the property of others, in the name of "fairness" (or whatever scam word works this month) and complain that Tyler is also living at the expense of others.

Your base claim is that he is a fellow-criminal of yours. He is not. He has had your criminal game thrust upon him and seeks to extract himself. You, on the other hand, call yourself righteous for stealing the property of others.

Go away.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:16 | 746100 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


You laud stealing the property of others, in the name of "fairness" (or whatever scam word works this month) [...]

Is a car your property if it has an upfront price tag of $20,000, of which you pay only $15,000?

It is not.

Are you entitled to open a shop in a mall, get income from there but 'forget' to pay the montly fees to the mall owner?

That full income is not really your property - you will be sued for those missing fees.

Are you entitled to live in the US and use its infrastructure and its marketplace to make money, while not paying fees for that (taxes)?

You are not - you will be sued (by the IRS) for those missing taxes.

It is really that simple. Your untaxed income in any developed country on the planet is not fully your property yet - you have to pay your fees/taxes first. If you dont like that concept, you can convince a few hundred US citizens to vote for your taxing scheme instead, or (which is probably simpler) you can move to another country.

Some have suggested Singapour here. (Although note that even Singapour has a government budget that is 15% of its GDP and has a non-zero income tax. That tax may rise in the future.)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 11:41 | 746344 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Your premise is entirely incorrect.  Our government has been captured for decades.  The elite make money off our entitlement, infrastructure, and empire building endeavors.  As a result, the size and scope of our government has increased dramatically, at the expense of its longevity and sustainability.  At the present juncture, we are at a point where the elite simply leave if they choose, but everyone else is stuck here.  Further, as a result, given the lower tiers are turnips, this leaves but one class to turn for the difference.  Your refusal to address this issue is tantamount to trolling.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:50 | 747512 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

I'm not sure what to address in your post.

US per capita GDP (taxed) is one of the highest in the developed world. The overhead of the US Government at 35% is not small but smaller than of european counterparts - which countries are still very good at producing and exporting value added industrial products worth trillions.

Wage inequality is very high in the US - and that is partly due to the artificially low top income tax bracket and due to the very low capital gains tax. (Not to mention the corporate tax rate: US corporations pay an average of about 3% of corporate taxes and are paying less than the personal income tax is.)

The thing where the US middle class got screwed IMO is the high unemployment and the lack of an efficient stimulus to bridge the financial crisis. Blame the GOP and Bush for causing it, and blame Obama and the democrats for not enacting a stronger response (which response was skillfully sabotaged by the GOP as well, no doubt).

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 19:01 | 747951 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY?  We needed to throw more money at this?  Jesus Christ, you are trolling the shit out of me...

congrats...  I'm done. 

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 08:13 | 751915 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture


We needed to throw more money at this? [...]

Not necessarily more money, but spent on the right things. If you expect to be able to live in a pleasant, developed society for free then you will be disappointed - people dont get born millionaires and they dont stay healthy all their life. Developed societies are expensive and it has to be paid for.

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 09:23 | 751982 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

So, who repays our creditors?  I'm pretty sure the "field of dreams" (build it and they will come) business philosophy has been universally accepted as a total failure.  Aside from the fact that you're advocating a command economy (you get to choose where the resources are spent), which universally leads to economic failure (I want historical examples of where this has worked on any reasonably lengthy timeline), either directly or indirectly through inevitable moral hazard.

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 18:12 | 759461 More Critical T...
More Critical Thinking Wanted's picture

So, who repays our creditors? [...]

The issue of debt is entirely different from the issue of taxes and government spending - I'm not sure why you are bringing it up in this context.

There are certainly governments (mostly of resource rich nations) that have no substantial debt and provide rich infrastructure and services/benefits.

You also have to see debt in perspective: say US debt of 100% of GDP, at 35% GDP government spending, means that all of the debt equals to 3 years worth of income.

Individuals and corporations can get indebted that much and can pay it back. The Clinton administration actually balanced the federal budget and had a quarter where there was a substantial surplus.

Where countries like Ireland or Greece get into trouble are 300% of GDP kind of debt. That would be 10 years of revenue - quite unsustainable, especially if coupled with a non-balanced revenue stream to begin with.

Mon, 11/29/2010 - 09:47 | 760658 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I am bringing it up because you do not get to implement spending programs (whatever they may be) in a vacuum.  You have to account not only for the resources available today, but also be able to accurately predict the conditions between now and when debt is due to ensure repayment is possible.  Given that we are presently experiencing a sovereign debt wall, I find it hard to ignore the issue of debt.  Res ipsa loquitur.

Essentially, you're advocating that post collapse, X system should be implemented.  In order to do so, you need to show some sort of precedent or indication the system will work.  One of the major omissions on your part is the moral hazard created through any government spending.  It's like a can of pringles, once you pop. . . [which is why, eventually, spending overtakes all ability to pay].

Further, you have to put the tyranny of the majority in perspective.  Previously, you've argued (without the slightest of emotional underpinning or value statement) that just because a democracy votes to act a certain way, that is the moral and just way to act.  Well, I challenge you to hold your breath until the time the majority in any developed country vote to forego any return on any productive activity for 3 (lol, 3?) years.  [completely irrelevant/doctored gdp/other metrics aside].  Do you think the lack of incentive to produce might have an effect on the level of production?  If so, what does this do to your target number of years?

In addition, you are ignoring the total level of outstanding debt.  Individuals and corporations do not get indebted into the ~$100T range.  The levels of aggregate outstanding debt are so large, there are few/no prospects of growth sufficient enough to repay them.  If I go in debt for $10k for a lawn mower and then mow yards for three summers and repay it, that's one thing.  I want to know where the organic growth (can't print) comes from to repay the sovereign debt, especially in an era of contracting gdp.  

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 03:12 | 748744 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Your entire argument is that we did not steal enough money from the productive, who have demonstrated ability to create jobs and wealth, to give to the unproductive, in order that the unproductive might actually create some of those jobs and wealth?


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 12:12 | 746474 mnevins2
mnevins2's picture

MCT, am I missing something here, but is the basis of your entire argument that those who work are not paying ENOUGH in taxes or are not paying ANY taxes to the government?  You seem to suggest that "I," representative of the "middle class," doesn't pay our "fair share" in taxation - to support those who have either little desire or ability to pay for anything. Am I missing something?

I pay PLENTY in taxes (income, sales, FICA, property, etc.) and, yes, indeed resent those that feel "entitled" to provide no work or labor for the fruits of my labor.

I live in an urban area surrounded by plenty of food stamp, etc. recipients. I note that they always have cell phones, cars (many nice than mine), expensive clothes, elaborately done nails and plenty of girth. Because I also have children in an urban public school system I can state that the children of these people exhibit the same sense of "entitlement" that the adults do - little work/effort but expect to be passed to the next grade. I can throw in that they also receive free breakfasts and lunches at the school.

Do YOU have any experience in the "real world" at all? You write and exhibit as if you don't live my reality of being in an urban environment and witnessing the sad behavior of those that you think are "entitled" to everything and more from those that wake up every morning and go to work. Hope that I'm wrong.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:15 | 746723 chopper read
chopper read's picture

Taxes and fees imposed by federal, state or local laws.:


Alternative Minimum Tax, (AMT),
U.S. capital gains tax,
Corporate income tax,
U.S. estate tax,
U.S. excise tax, (includes taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages),
U.S. federal income tax,

Federal unemployment tax (FUTA),
FICA tax (includes Social Security tax and related programs),
Gasoline tax,
Generation Skipping Tax,
Gift tax,
IRS penalties,

Luxury taxes,
Property tax,
Real estate tax,
Recreational vehicle tax,
Rental car tax,
Resort tax (also known as Hotel/Motel tax, occupancy tax),
Road usage taxes (Commercial Vehicle Operators),
Sales tax and equivalent use tax,

School tax,
State income tax,
State unemployment tax (SUTA),
Telephone federal excise tax,
Vehicle sales tax,
Workers compensation tax.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 15:17 | 747158 Punderoso
Punderoso's picture

Dude, are you french kissing a picture of Karl Marx while you type?

It is not just bad that your logic is all messed up, but you don't even have your facts correct.

However, on a positive note from what you have written, it sounds like there is a good chance that you could become an economic czar in the Obama administration.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:16 | 748678 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Junk jackpot there, sunshine.

Focusing on the "trees" for moment, you put gas in your car do you not? There is a tax for that....pays for roads. Roads were build to support.

Backing out to the forest:

A) we have no money

B) when the drug dealer runs out of drugs, it is the dependant junkies who riot, because they have no idea where things...important things, like food...come from, or how to obtain such necessities on their own.


Tue, 11/23/2010 - 03:14 | 748679 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Double post.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 02:39 | 745729 chet
chet's picture

"it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip off the middle class each and every day, courtesy of the world's most generous entitlement system"

These are paranoid ramblings.  Go meet some truly poor people and spend a day with them.  You may still be convinced that they get too many benefits, but what you won't believe at the end of the day is that they represent some sort of dark machevalian force trying to rip you off.  For the most part, they don't even vote.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 04:07 | 745776 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

At the very least, the comment is a generalization, which means that it might contain some element of truth, but clearly applies more to some individuals but perhaps not to others. But I do not believe it represents a paranoid rambling. 

There's no question (IMHO) that most people believe there should be a social safety net for their fellow citizens. But that is where the agreement will likely end. IMHO, there are several key problems with the current system/structure:

1. As the article alludes to, there is little to no incentive to move off benefits once you are on them - the 'marginal tax rate' is extremely high. For instance, once you have a Section 8 housing voucher, moving to a higher-paying job or working more hours might lead you to lose the housing voucher - which means you will be worse off.

2. On a general note, politicians are are creating a self-perpetuating cycle of dependence and patronage - by creating a larger government state, they get more power and span of control, gather government worker votes (by encouraging higher pay and larger bureaucracies), and ensure constituent support/votes with more promises of government largess.

3. As with all taxes, they are collected at the 'barrel of a gun'.

4. The terms and structure of the welfare programs aren't particularly rigorous. For 99 weeks of unemployment - why shouldn't there be a community service requirement for some portion of the week? How about a requirement to clock in and out of a job searching location for a certain period of time? Essentially, one taxpayer is both paying for both a park representative to clean the park, and one unemployed citizen to not do anything at all. Why not turn unemployment into a work program?

5. Government services are provided as a monopoly - and therefore can't be argued to be the most efficient providers of the most appropriate services. 

A vast and for-the-most-part effective non-profit services sector exists in this country which many people generously donate to. It would solve a great many problems (again, IMHO) to have the non-profits be the go-to provider of the country's social safety net. They compete for donations (and therefore have to demonstrate effectiveness), vast government bureaucracies could be dismantled (and with it some of the entitlement issues), and voluntary participation by donors would allow the wisdom of crowds to determine how and in what forms the social safety net should exist.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 04:42 | 745799 Non Passaran
Non Passaran's picture

Good points.

Here's part of a well-written article that discusses problems in public housing (

Many households, the group tells me, have never paid bills for themselves: Utilities came with public housing, food stamps helped with groceries and everything else was paid for in cash. Not surprisingly, the priority was to keep receiving benefits and, if possible, increase them. That meant keeping live-in boyfriends - even if one was the father of a child in the household - off the lease lest the man’s income lead to a rent increase. It also meant suggesting to school authorities that a child might have a learning disability - such a designation could bestow nearly $300 a month in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on the household. (School officials reportedly are often eager to comply because excluding hard-to-teach students could boost schoolwide test results.)

(Notice how the disability and school test results outcome invite additional milking of the system - more money for education (unions), healthcare (big pharma), etc.)

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:14 | 746719 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Why not turn unemployment into a work program?

Call me cynical but I expect the "special friends" of government officials will use this "free" labor pool to do the work their  "mysertiously" laid off former employees and move us one giant step closer to government-sponsered slavery.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:13 | 747341 DFCtomm
DFCtomm's picture

There will be a price to be paid if in the end they cannot sustain the leviathian they've created.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:12 | 746091 CH1
CH1's picture

LOL... who is it that doesn't know real poor people?

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:07 | 745912 Dollar Bill Hiccup
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Question : Has the American Political System created a Permanent Underclass? If so, to what effect?

Think of NYC. The banker on 5th Ave. only wants to watch "Gangs of New York" on DVD. That banker will gladly give up 2nd amendment rights to ensure that the NYPD is the only one with ... shooting rights.

The permanent underclass are those who are paid more not to work than to work. Or, if working are given jobs that are more or less subsistence. They are beholden to a political class who they consistently vote for and keep in power. The political class lives alongside of and is bankrolled by the banker on 5th Ave. 

While the Underclass is bought off with basic necessities, they none the less remain in fear of the system, since it is the banker that essentially controls the NYPD and its seizure of 2nd Amendment Rights. Think of cases like Amadou Diallo with victims being shot at by literally hundreds of bullets. Oh, Diallo was NOT shot on 5th Ave ...

As long as the Underclass knows who butters its bread, they are materially better off. Unless of course you are the unlucky one to face the wrath of lethality at the limits of behaviour. Then there are protests and local leaders who will take to the streets. The local leaders are also friends of the banker. There is political expression, but it's mostly show since you are going to vote for those same people who feed you and essentially keep you politically neutered. You are neutered because you are kept in check, constantly preyed upon by forces that your poor education and lack of critical outlets takes utter advantage of.

The middle class? We don't need no stinkin middle class ...

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:44 | 746195 Bring the Gold
Bring the Gold's picture

This paper looks like the ground work to set up justification for Austerity in the US. How about we keep focused on the real problem, the Oligarchs. I'm not a fan of the Welfare state, but I have a far bigger problem with the Warfare state and of course more importantly, the total corporate police state. As someone else mentioned the primary purpose of the welfare state is to keep the poor from going all pitchforks and torches on that ass.


This paper while modestly interesting shows us a problem (the welfare state) that is to the body politic a hangnail. The oligarchs are to the social fabric of America a tad more like stage 3 colon cancer.


To sum up, I could give a fuck if some poor chumps are living somewhat large in AmeriKKKa, I'm just a tad more concerned with the arch-criminals in control of the emerging technocratic global gulag state. I don't know, I guess I sort of prioritize my problems and figure the welfare state is somewhat low on said priority scale.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 01:50 | 748638 MurderNeverWasLove
MurderNeverWasLove's picture

Hear, hear.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 00:27 | 745530 kato
kato's picture

unfair, even bullshit example.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 00:31 | 745536 hungrydweller
hungrydweller's picture

Enlighten us, oh wise one. Why is this an unfair example?

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 01:24 | 745619 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Agreed. I'm getting pretty sick of the crowd that thinks everybody collecting unemployment or food stamps is some sort of slacker gaming the system. Real people who have fallen on hard times need these benefits yet you all complain about it as if everyone is taking advantage of the situation.

I'm sorry to say this but I'd love to see any of you that may lose your job, search and search to find nothing and then turn down any government assistance - whether it be unemployment, foodstamps, etc. You won't. You'll be just like the example. You too will be a "slacker" who "games the system". Such unbelievable, blatant disregard and disrespect here it that it smacks of selfish protectionism whether in your own home or country. 

Hey, posters, some people need help. That might surprise all you who comfortably have jobs and watch the NFL. But some people need assistance and as a caring nation, we are obligated to provide it.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 01:37 | 745642 Bob Sponge
Bob Sponge's picture

Does the USA's debt/GDP ratio cause you any alarm? Do you take Prozac or some other happy pill? Just curious and trying to understand you.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 01:46 | 745655 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Look, I said often this will all end in tears but the charade can continue for decades. But that's a different thread. We're talking about supporting our fellow countrymen in a time of need and all I read here is selfish bullshit about how everyone is gaming the system. Some are but the majority need our assistance to make it through. 

God, I sure hope your family never suffers from weeks of job loss and risks losing the house. Because once that shoe's on your foot, I guarantee you'll feel differently.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 02:09 | 745703 chopper read
chopper read's picture

i've been out of work and lived off of savings out of pure pride rather than apply for benefits, for the record.

your point about helping countrymen in need is fair, by your methods are misplaced.

first of all, nobody OWES help in America, unless it is to a war veteran.  We are the Land of Opportunity, not the land of handouts.  

However, if we wish to institutionalize help rather than just assist our neighbor directly, then simple soup kitchens, clothing, and tents will do.  



WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 01:59 | 748656 MurderNeverWasLove
MurderNeverWasLove's picture

i've been out of work and lived off of savings out of pure pride rather than apply for benefits, for the record.


 I resemble that.  Never did anything but pay in, but too much self-respect to go looking for a handout.  I may be poorer in dollars because of it, but my spirit is strong.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 02:09 | 748667 chopper read
chopper read's picture

love it.  self-belief precedes belief by others, and is why we retain our pride as a survival mechanism.  when against all odds, it can make all the difference.  

of course, outside of completely dire circumstances, pride often sabotages our progress, but thats an entirely different topic.

good stuff, MNWL.  

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 02:09 | 745704 Bob Sponge
Bob Sponge's picture

Yes, we do not know the percent of people gaming the system, so maybe it is low (maybe not). This article is about the system being set up such that a person who wants to work less can do so with the help of benefits. Do you agree that this set up is bad for our country?

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 02:12 | 745706 Chupacabra
Chupacabra's picture

Wanger, you're a complete, unremitting tool.  Have you lost all your money shorting gold and silver yet?

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 07:22 | 745886 oh_bama
oh_bama's picture

You know why so many people mark your comments as junk? Cause right now it is not a good time to talk about big heart. Resources are limited and should be allocated per people's contribution to the society. Entitlement discouratge savings, encourage risk taking, cheating and corruptions. It gives no incentive for hardworking, entrepreneurial activities and independence. Entitlement will, in the long run, create a culture that is counter-american and counter-capitalism. And it could become a cancer that polutes this country and polutes the sprite of our children.  

The fact that some 10 per hour jobs are hiring and the fact that millions are taking benefits means at least some of those guys taking benefits are just lazy. This is 2 grade math.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:50 | 745938 Jeff Lebowski
Jeff Lebowski's picture

I volunteer at a non-profit, no-kill Animal Shelter on weekends and also serve on the board.

We utilize volunteers, but also have a few 40 hour/week positions that pay $10/hour, and yet, the positions remains unfilled.  The last applicant determined when she calculated the rate of pay, and included gas...  She was better off to remain unemployed and continue collecting.

That was indicative of the majority of the applicants, and the example should be no news to anyone, but provided to give oh_bama's story a real-world experience.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:15 | 746101 CH1
CH1's picture

Reality instead of pontification! How nice!

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:41 | 746192 chopper read
chopper read's picture


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:38 | 746771 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Oh come on, you cannot create a world where it costs $20 per hour to live and then howl with rage/disbelief that people can't take $10 per hour jobs.

And anyway, maybe the people trying to fill these wonderful McJobs should get real about their requirements.  A couple of years back, I wanted to supplement my income with a 2nd part-time job.  I had evenings and Saturdays free (M-F office job, Sunday supermarket), but couldn't get the time of day even from retail.  When the hell do they think working people shop?  Oh well, let's just have another round of "lazy kids today, don't want to work" excuses.

And that's before all the horror stories of companies that specialize in finding ways _not_ to hire Americans so they can get the H1B quota raised...

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 16:11 | 747330 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Just wondering how it is that the person can still get unemployment if your job or another is available.  I thought that was not supposed to happen.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 08:38 | 745930 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

I posted this comment on Leo's thread about NYC Pensions:

My neighbor is a retired New York detective.  He collects about $105,000/year in pension benefits plus medical for himself and his wife.  His single daughter and her illegitimate daughter live with him.  His 34 year old daughter collects about $500/month in welfare payments.  She does not work.  His granddaughter qualifies and receives free/reduced lunch at school.  His mother-in-law died 3 years ago and left his daughter about $30,000.  His daughter went out and bought a brand new VW for $24,000.  About one year after the detective retired, he somehow qualified for disability.  Now, all three of them drive around with handicap placards hanging from their rear view mirrors and park in the handicapped spaces at school (despite greatly inconveniencing the parents who are picking up kids who are in wheel chairs).  Oh yea, the detective mows his lawn with a push mower every week and plays golf twice a week...without a golf cart, he prefers to walk.

What bothers me, always and everywere, is the FRAUD

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:17 | 745976 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

me too.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:30 | 746005 shuswap
shuswap's picture

Exactly why Amerika is in the toilet. There is FRAUD in everything. Very very few Americans know what it means to be honest. For that matter neither does the rest of the world.


Mon, 11/22/2010 - 09:54 | 746050 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

This guy is an ex COP!  Karl keeps asking, "Where are the cops?"  I know where one is.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 10:44 | 746200 chopper read
chopper read's picture

welkome to the USSA.

Mon, 11/22/2010 - 12:57 | 746665 Pemaquid
Pemaquid's picture



Mon, 11/22/2010 - 13:39 | 746816 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

now let's contrast Ms.E's anecdote with this local story:

"And if the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which passed in the House and is currently stalled in the Senate, had been passed months ago, Ehmer may still be alive today, she said.

“One of the last treatments he was going to try costs $8,000 a month, and Medicare wouldn’t cover it,” said Annette. “If that was passed when it should have been passed all of these guys would have had access to health care.”

Robert joins the more than 900 other first-responders who have died in the years following the attacks."

John Walcott, former NYPD detective who now has leukemia, chose not to accept settlement:  “If you read the settlement package, there is no guarantee you will get what they offered you. The only guarantee is you give up your rights.”

i think everyone commenting on this topic could agree that if any group of people is deserving of public assistance, it would be these folks.  yet look how long it's taken them to get anything.   and for 900+, it's too little, too late.

so to Mr. Steroid above, whether gov't is inefficient or corrupt, we can argue til the cows come home.   the point is that it's broken and it's not delivering the services to the people who are most deserving, yet the people who are least deserving get full access to the trough as long as they can figure the way to game the system.

speaking from someone who might be willing to agree with you philosophically, until you're willing to propose a way to fix this little paradox, your argument falls flat, sorry.

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