To which Nerv14 replied:If we are speaking of just progressive income taxes, I would agree. I oppose a progressive income tax system because I believe it to be unconstitutional as the Founders intended the Constitution to be interpreted; and I believe it is counter productive in accomplishing either more money for the government or more in services and/or prosperity for the people. But that is a debate within itself.
Nerv14 responded:What DOES cause an economy to collapse is taking more and more from one sector of society and giving that to another not because they merit it or were denied any benefit from society, but purely because they have less and will keep voting in people who will pay them for being poor.
Two different things.Just to comment on your last sentence in this post, and from what I just quoted, it sounds like that you are saying that a system that takes away from the productive and gives to the poor will cause an economy to collapse.
am I misunderstanding you there?
That sounds a lot like progressive taxation to me. If you are saying that there is some mechanism of wealth distribution of the productive to the unproductive that will always lead to economic collapse, then I would like to hear what that is.
Progressive taxation punishes the wealthier for their prosperity by taxing them at a disproportionately higher rate. This could be the case if the government limited its functions to only those specified in the Constitution and provided no benefits of any kindto any group of any polito-socio-economic standing other than those designated in the Constitution.
It could be the same as the hardware store charging me $50 for a hammer and charging you $1 for the same hammer. But if I make $100 and you make $10, you can see that I won't be able to buy many hammers. But we will both have a hammer that we each bought and paid for. If I paid $10 which would be proportionately comparable to your $1, I would be able to afford several hammers and could possibly hire you to use yours.
On the other hand, however, taking away from the productive to give the poor means that I pay for my hammer and also pay for your hammer and you are expected to contribute nothing for what I provide you. That is something quite different.
Nerv14 responded:This is why I support a flat tax that is uniform across the board. Any change that benefits one group benefits all. Any change that hurts one group hurts all. And THAT, coupled with an iron clad law that Congress is prohibited from using tax revenues to dispense charity or benevolence of any sort that benefits some but not all, I believe would solve a very large lion's share of both our economic and social problems in this country.
Are you sure that it gives the poor more income than they would have otherwise? Are you sure that if the government was not providing for the poor, and the people had more of their own money at their own disposal, that they would not be providing for the poor? Hiring the poor? Helping the poor? And they would be doing it for the motive of encouraging the poor to get on their feet and become productive citizens.When it comes to economic efficiency you are right.
But economic efficiency only helps all people in the long run. In the short run, of a generation around, progressive taxation does help the poor by giving them more income then they would have otherwise in the short run. That much is a fact.
If you really ask someone why they support progressive taxation, I don't think they will go and tell you that it is better in the long run. So I don't think anyone is disagreeing with you, but you and them just have different goals.
There is far too much temptation for those in government to give to the poor in return for votes. And that invariably corrupts both government and those receiving the charity.
For that reason I want us to begin the process now of slowly but surely easing the federal government out of that loop altogether with as little disruption and pain to the innocent as possible. We've tried the nanny state for a couple of generations now, and it has created far more problems than it has solved as well as feeding on itself and perpetuating itself.
Then how do you account for say the 1940's when there was far less government assistance, far fewer civil rights, rampant racism and segregation, but nevertheless there was less crime and less violencethan we have now?Beyond that, I think there is actually a few negative effects from income inequality, even if the poor actually get more income. Income inequality increases civil unrest and makes people overly obsessed with consumerism, even though consumerism does not make people happier.
Poverty doesn't create civil unrest. Hopelessness and a sense of futility and/or a sense of entitlement does. When you have a government implementing policy that at face value is supposed to help, but in reality destroys family structures, encourages dependency, encourages victim mentality, and creates whole groups of almost permanently unemployable people, it is time to rethink that whole thing and do it much differently.
I don't see any negative outcomes from income inequality unless it is made permanent. I survived a time within marriage and kids in which we had week left after the money was gone. We didn't dine on steaks or caviar and we took any work at any hour of the day and at any wage to keep it together. But we knew it wasn't a permanent condition. We knew that all we needed was to earn a break that would point us out of poverty into prosperity. And we earned it. And it sure as hell wasn't the government that opened the door for us nor was there any government assistance for us. And you know what? We didn't rob a single liquor store, didn't embezzle a dime from our employers, didn't steal the neighbors lawn mower or anything. Nor did any of our friends and neighbors who were pretty much in the same circumstances.Even though economic growth is more important then those things I talked about, the negatives of income inequality need to be factored in to create good policies. (if you think those are negative outcomes from income inequality.
Nerv 14 said:
It isn't unconstitutional the way the law currently interprets it. But it would have been as the Founders understood it, and it should be again. The government shoud not have power to treat any citizen differently than any other citizen in matters of taxation or benefits or contracts or paying penalities for breaking the law.I don't think progressive taxation is unconstitutional, because congress is allowed to treat people differently. When someone commits a crime they are sent to jail, which means that when someone does something different. When someone does something different (like committing a crime or having higher income) they could have either higher taxes or go to jail.
Nerv 14 said
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Just curious, but what do you want a society to promote?
It is not the government's job to make people happy. But it is the government's job to secure the people's right and then allow them to pursue their own happiness. I know Europeans who are far more miserable than many Americans I know. I think you'll find happy Europeans in mostly homogenous societies where common values are shared. If their government starts messing with that, they won't be such happy Europeans.If you support allowing people to be more happy, then European nations do a better job then the United States.
I wish it was all about my goals. We would have a hell of lot better system than what we do if it was all about my goals.As with progressive taxation, it is all about your goals.