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Old 09-06-2017, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Close to an earthquake
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“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Benjamin Franklin
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borninsac View Post
“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Benjamin Franklin
It's the eternal argument. While I agree with you for the most part, quotes like these never seem to change anyone's mind.

I think the most important thing that could be done to get people out of poverty is to promote the success sequence. Marriage, then kids....in that order. Even some liberal researchers are (finally) admitting our 40% out of wedlock birth rate is a big contributor to income and wealth inequality:

Even liberal think tanks like the Brookings Institution say restoring the 2 parent family is essential if we are serious about reducing poverty:

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content...Sawhill2-1.pdf
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:53 AM
 
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Education is key and not just throwing people in a ghetto to allow cultural influences to get out of hand. Crime is driven heavily by poverty, remove poverty and crime drops considerably.

We've done poorly with managing poverty and a lot of it had to do with the bottom 80% or so seeing stagnant wage growth for decades now.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aridon View Post
Education is key and not just throwing people in a ghetto to allow cultural influences to get out of hand. Crime is driven heavily by poverty, remove poverty and crime drops considerably.

We've done poorly with managing poverty and a lot of it had to do with the bottom 80% or so seeing stagnant wage growth for decades now.
In addition to stagnant wages, low-skilled jobs are more vulnerable to market cycles and changes, new financial vehicles benefits the middle and upper class while relatively leaving the lower class in the dust, and the cost of living has outpaced wage growth leading to increased social strain when people have to do more with relatively less.

I'm all for wealth redistribution in the form or philanthropy, taxation, incentives, and investments. It's hard to determine the right mix at the right time for the right people, but you have to try. The natural flow of things is evolution and entropy; everything else takes planning and hardwork.
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aridon View Post
Education is key and not just throwing people in a ghetto to allow cultural influences to get out of hand. Crime is driven heavily by poverty, remove poverty and crime drops considerably.

We've done poorly with managing poverty and a lot of it had to do with the bottom 80% or so seeing stagnant wage growth for decades now.
It's easy to say "education is key", but it's not that simple. Lots of people in the ghetto don't give a crap about education, no matter how much money you spend on it.

The documentary film Waiting for Superman talks about this and other issues in education. They film makers said right out that they are liberal and believe in public schools, but their critique of public schools in America essentially supported quite a few things conservatives have been saying for decades, including the spending issue.

https://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Super...g+for+superman
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,838 posts, read 51,286,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borninsac View Post
“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Benjamin Franklin
Quotes are best researched and placed in context.

https://founders.archives.gov/docume.../01-13-02-0194

First, Franklin was using literary license. He did not travel to multiple countries in his youth and his "observation" was more speculation and hyperbole than reality. In the U.S. there is a media interdiction against positive news from the (socialist) Scandinavian countries, because it runs counter to our cultural myth (and the profits of big business) that we are saved by our works.

Second, the setting for this was a failed wheat crop in Europe and the subsequent shipping of wheat from Britain to the continent, making it impossible for the poor in Britain to buy bread. They rioted, and an embargo was declared.

When the rich declare "Let them eat cake" or similarly refuse to acknowledge social responsibility, there is a very natural countering reaction. When there is a threat to people's very existence, they have little or nothing to lose. Any fool knows you don't try to steal meat from a starving dog unless you are willing to kill it, no matter what your political persuasion.

Strip the argument of the human connection and look at it as a logic or business problem.

Worker bees continue working for a hive because they recognize on some level that their own survival is at stake. You can take away some of the honeycomb safely because they overproduce to be able to get through a tough winter. Take the honeycomb to the point that the bees starve and they will die or leave and form a new colony (which is about what happened in the emigrations to the U.S. by the Irish and others). When those so-called "poor" and "underproducing" bees are gone and given opportunity and fresh flowers, they are capable of creating an even larger and more powerful hive... until the beekeepers find it and again start stealing honey from the worker bees.

The temptation to raid a hive for all of its honey can be great. A smart beekeeper knows to not overstress a hive and keep enough balance for it to survive.

Never forget that those in true power are much like beekeepers - they have never personally created an ounce of honey, have only a passing concept of the life of a worker bee, and could care less if a few die from mismanagement. They also are the ones responsible for setting up the rules and situations that can prevent others from succeeding.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:35 PM
 
24,692 posts, read 26,777,106 times
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Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
In the U.S. there is a media interdiction against positive news from the (socialist) Scandinavian countries, because it runs counter to our cultural myth (and the profits of big business) that we are saved by our works.
Where the heck is this "media interdiction against positive news from the (socialist) Scandinavian countries". All I ever see from the media is how if we just jacked up taxes we could be like Scandinavia. Of course, the media ignores that the U.S. is much more corrupt than Scandinavia. The whole mindset in the U.S. is different, among rich and poor alike...I really don't think their system would work well here, in practice. The mentality in America is more like Greece (gimme all the benefits and the heck with paying the taxes for them. Politicians promise benefits they know aren't affordable, etc.) than it is like Scandinavia.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
Where the heck is this "media interdiction against positive news from the (socialist) Scandinavian countries". All I ever see from the media is how if we just jacked up taxes we could be like Scandinavia. Of course, the media ignores that the U.S. is much more corrupt than Scandinavia. The whole mindset in the U.S. is different, among rich and poor alike...I really don't think their system would work well here, in practice. The mentality in America is more like Greece (gimme all the benefits and the heck with paying the taxes for them. Politicians promise benefits they know aren't affordable, etc.) than it is like Scandinavia.
You must not be seeing the same media that I am. I've not seen any mainstream stories in recent memory that lauded the Scandinavian models. I suppose if you subscribe to "Mother Jones" or are getting apocryphal stories filtered through the far right sources and used as "ain't it awful" BS, then you are seeing stuff I'm not. "Ain't it awful" stories don't count unless you can cite the original complete source of the gnashing of teeth and whinging, not just inflammatory pick quotes. About the only semi-positive story I've seen recently is where some ultra-rich repeat speeder in Norway or Sweden got whapped with a fine greater than the yearly income of most folks - to make him take notice and not just slough it off like a mosquito bite.

I happen to agree that the corruption in the U.S. is world class (even though we are NOT #1), and a system that attempted to change it would be doomed. The money involved is too great, and the system designed to continue. It just irritates me when quotes are run up a flagpole and saluted without any research or deeper thought than "Oooh! I like this. It agrees with what I think and justifies my actions! Everyone stand in awe of it."
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Old 09-08-2017, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
12,671 posts, read 9,420,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
You must not be seeing the same media that I am. I've not seen any mainstream stories in recent memory that lauded the Scandinavian models.
How about the following article? https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...est-tax-burden


Quote:
Denmark’s government proposed a broad range of tax cuts that will hit all income groups, make it cheaper to save toward retirement and reduce levies on cars...

“With this proposal, we’re tackling a number of concrete challenges,” Finance Minister Kristian Jensen said in the statement. “We’re increasing the gains associated with working, we’re making it more attractive to work more and we’re ensuring that it’s more worthwhile to save up toward retirement.”

Denmark's top marginal effective income tax rate for individuals is the highest in the world at either 60.4 percent (taxfoundation.org) or 66.95% (wikipedia & https://www.skat.dk/skat.aspx?oid=2035568)

Denmark's government correctly concluded that such a high tax rate has discouraged workers from working, and has contributed to a chronic labor shortage. They hope to encourage people who have left the labor force to re-enter it.

Last edited by SportyandMisty; 09-08-2017 at 09:38 AM..
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Old 09-08-2017, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,838 posts, read 51,286,023 times
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Interesting article, thanks!

A fun aspect of what is being done there is the same slight-of-hand that happened in the U.S. a few decades ago. Income tax was reduced, but sales taxes were introduced (at a low rate) to make up the difference. In Vermont it started out at 3%, state only. I just saw a breakout locally in Alabama where it is now state, county, and municipality with the total close to 10% (which includes food here). When is the last time you saw overall tax burdens go down without accounting magic?

If you add federal and state income taxes, property taxes, mandatory municipal utilities (- a form of tax), school taxes, sales taxes, and hidden taxes in the supply chain, the tax burden for some people here is quite stout, we just don't recognize it as such. It might not be as high as Denmark, but the return on investment in government is less here than there.

Denmark looks like it wants to grow its economy, so it will generate more money, which will increase government revenues.

I learned long ago that, once established, the purpose of ANY government is more government, more money to play with, more control, and perpetuating itself. It doesn't matter if the government is capitalist or socialist or religious or based on chocolate coins.

As for people working or not being a good thing, it is a way to exert control over people and it is a way that the people wanting laborers can make money, but the value of "work" to the individual can vary greatly. Some have no desire to better themselves or contribute to society, others use the free time for great projects that otherwise might never get done. Given a choice of 100% employment or effective education in civics and social responsibility where only 90% understood and acted in a manner that built character and improved the country, I'd probably choose the latter. 100% employment has an old Dickensonian "workhouse" ring to it.

YMMV, and it took a long time for me to recognize that systems have to take into account all the frailties and failings of humanity, making any "pure" system an impossibility.

Rethinking the original Franklin quote, if the poor are of no value then forcing them out of their complacency will result in minimal gains for a country. However, if the high value movers and shakers and rich are forced out of their complacency, the potential for gains for a country is huge.

"I think the best way of doing good to the rich, is not making them easy in wealth, but leading or driving them out of it - and forcing them to work to retain it."
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