Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
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20-07-2017, 11:37 AM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
(19-07-2017 11:07 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(19-07-2017 07:21 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  I suppose there simply isn’t a clear cut line of what is necessary and what isn’t especially when you are asking someone else to pay for it don’t you think?

I think that government should implement programs to ensure that society moves in a direction of equality, where everyone's basic needs are met. How they do that is up to them ultimately, but if I were in charge I would definitely include a free phone program. Public libraries are hard to roll out. Phones are cheap. For US$100 I can get one that has an adequate screen size, can browse the internet, do email, whatsapp and other stuff. They're a world of information at ones fingertips. Combined with a program to offer cheap access to cellphone internet I see them as more cost effective than any alternative, with thousands of small intangible benefits. You don't even necessarily need to roll them out to everyone, just one per poor family initially would make a huge difference in earning power and access to all kinds of things, not least of which are free learning platforms like coursera.

While I can appreciate your thoughts in the above, your post has what I would consider IMHO are 2 fatal flaws. It concentrates a ton of power into the hands of the gov't, and we know that coalescing power into the hands of a few is generally bad for the masses. Feudalism in Europe prior to the Renaissance, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, etc. Whether people like to admit it or not, Adam Smith's theory of the invisible hand (along with some limited oversight/regulation), is generally the most efficient way to maximize the most benefits for the most people. That's because it embraces human nature. The other systems ask for a fair amount of sacrifice for the greater good. While on paper this should work, it has failed routinely in practice. The temptation to circumvent the system for personal gain is too great - especially for those who have the power to take advantage.

Ayn Rand may have had a lot of weird ideas - but her views on how people will react when the system takes more than it gives (Atlas Shrugged) is pretty spot on. If you squeeze those who can produce hard enough, they will "go Galt". One of a number of reasons on why the USSR collapsed.
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20-07-2017, 11:52 AM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
(20-07-2017 11:37 AM)Plan 9 from OS Wrote:  While I can appreciate your thoughts in the above, your post has what I would consider IMHO are 2 fatal flaws. It concentrates a ton of power into the hands of the gov't, and we know that coalescing power into the hands of a few is generally bad for the masses. Feudalism in Europe prior to the Renaissance, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, etc. Whether people like to admit it or not, Adam Smith's theory of the invisible hand (along with some limited oversight/regulation), is generally the most efficient way to maximize the most benefits for the most people. That's because it embraces human nature. The other systems ask for a fair amount of sacrifice for the greater good. While on paper this should work, it has failed routinely in practice. The temptation to circumvent the system for personal gain is too great - especially for those who have the power to take advantage.

Ayn Rand may have had a lot of weird ideas - but her views on how people will react when the system takes more than it gives (Atlas Shrugged) is pretty spot on. If you squeeze those who can produce hard enough, they will "go Galt". One of a number of reasons on why the USSR collapsed.

Heh. You are ignoring that there already exist more egalitarian societies than the USA, and they do not achieve this through the Soviet model of centralised planning. How do they do it, and can the same not be done elsewhere as they do? To simply throw up one's hands and declare this to be the best of all possible worlds to me is unconscionable.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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20-07-2017, 02:18 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
(20-07-2017 11:52 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(20-07-2017 11:37 AM)Plan 9 from OS Wrote:  While I can appreciate your thoughts in the above, your post has what I would consider IMHO are 2 fatal flaws. It concentrates a ton of power into the hands of the gov't, and we know that coalescing power into the hands of a few is generally bad for the masses. Feudalism in Europe prior to the Renaissance, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, etc. Whether people like to admit it or not, Adam Smith's theory of the invisible hand (along with some limited oversight/regulation), is generally the most efficient way to maximize the most benefits for the most people. That's because it embraces human nature. The other systems ask for a fair amount of sacrifice for the greater good. While on paper this should work, it has failed routinely in practice. The temptation to circumvent the system for personal gain is too great - especially for those who have the power to take advantage.

Ayn Rand may have had a lot of weird ideas - but her views on how people will react when the system takes more than it gives (Atlas Shrugged) is pretty spot on. If you squeeze those who can produce hard enough, they will "go Galt". One of a number of reasons on why the USSR collapsed.

Heh. You are ignoring that there already exist more egalitarian societies than the USA, and they do not achieve this through the Soviet model of centralised planning. How do they do it, and can the same not be done elsewhere as they do? To simply throw up one's hands and declare this to be the best of all possible worlds to me is unconscionable.

If you look at some of the more egalitarian countries, you'll find that they can make it happen via a combination of factors: 1) Relatively low population, 2) Significant natural resources that are state controlled and 3) Trade surpluses. I took a closer look at Norway (large oil reserves), Netherlands (large gas reserves), Denmark, Canada (large volume of natural resources) and Finland. As you can see, you have a good idea of what I found already. All of these countries have LOW populations, most of a lot of natural resources and all of them have trade surpluses.

So the Nordic model and Canada will have some luxuries that other countries with larger populations do not have - especially when an abundance of resources are available.

Finally, you have to consider that the world economy runs because there is a hegemon (the U.S.) who is currently keeping the free trade economy going. As I'm sure you are well aware, the U.S. is the only first world country that has a SIGNIFICANT trade deficit. With the exception of Canada - who has access to a large supply of natural resources - the rest of the countries above run trade surpluses. There is a law of conservation of money - meaning the money is coming from somewhere. The Nordic model is suffering from low population numbers and low birth rates. That plus it exists at the pleasure of the U.S. because the U.S. is willing to be the hegemon to ensure free trade works.
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20-07-2017, 02:27 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
So you're essentially saying that poverty is inevitable - at least in the USA - and any effort to alleviate it via government means is doomed to failure? I cannot see that as a reasonable position. For example my post that you quoted, advocating a free phone program - what precisely is so wrong with that idea? And other poverty alleviation measures undertaken at taxpayer expense?

The government is after all elected by all the voting population. How can the government then turn its back on the vast majority in favour of maintaining the status quo?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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20-07-2017, 02:30 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
BTW I have no training in economics, but I am currently educating myself as best I can on that particular topic. I know that at least it's not nearly as cut and dried a science as say for example physics, even if the orthodoxy is still the neoclassical school, so there is definite room for disagreement.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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20-07-2017, 02:31 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
Why don't those countries bang and reproduce more feverishly as others or didn't in the 20th or 19th centuries?

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20-07-2017, 02:50 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
(20-07-2017 02:27 PM)morondog Wrote:  So you're essentially saying that poverty is inevitable - at least in the USA - and any effort to alleviate it via government means is doomed to failure? I cannot see that as a reasonable position. For example my post that you quoted, advocating a free phone program - what precisely is so wrong with that idea? And other poverty alleviation measures undertaken at taxpayer expense?

The government is after all elected by all the voting population. How can the government then turn its back on the vast majority in favour of maintaining the status quo?

According to Douglas Adams - dumb government makes everyone rich by making the leaf legal tender - then overcomes the slight inflationary problems by burning down the forest.......

.......................................

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20-07-2017, 02:50 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
(20-07-2017 02:27 PM)morondog Wrote:  So you're essentially saying that poverty is inevitable - at least in the USA - and any effort to alleviate it via government means is doomed to failure? I cannot see that as a reasonable position. For example my post that you quoted, advocating a free phone program - what precisely is so wrong with that idea? And other poverty alleviation measures undertaken at taxpayer expense?

The government is after all elected by all the voting population. How can the government then turn its back on the vast majority in favour of maintaining the status quo?

The answer lies in Tweedism and how it created an American Oligarchy.

Tweedism short n dirty explanation

How Tweedism has allowed the rich to shape polotics, how politicians ignore the voters consistantly

There was this dude, his last name was Tweed. He became semi famous for saying (paraphrasing) "I don't care who gets elected as long as I can pick the candidates"

Well rich people have been doing that for several generations now

The study show's that if your not rich your views mean absolutely shit. Voting is a waste of time unless you're a billionaire. Until we reform the election process that's how it's going to remain in the US.

So you wanna know how elected officials can ignore the will of the people? That's easy, they only care about the people who's votes matter to them (billionaires). I mean hell nowadays being a millionaire won't even buy you a seat at the table, and the only one's with real influence are trillionaires

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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20-07-2017, 03:10 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
(20-07-2017 02:50 PM)JesseB Wrote:  So you wanna know how elected officials can ignore the will of the people? That's easy, they only care about the people who's votes matter to them (billionaires). I mean hell nowadays being a millionaire won't even buy you a seat at the table, and the only one's with real influence are trillionaires

I'm not convinced that the will of the people is a great thing to go on. I know it's a cornerstone of democracy and all. But the people are frequently not that bright. True democracy IMO relies on an educated and politically active populace.

I'm interested though in the theatre of it all. After all, no doubt to their extreme irritation, politicians have to pretend at least, to rule for the benefit of all.

Also people who prefer to follow this laissez-faire plan... I want to know what the justification is? How when rich people have plenty, more than they need, can we not justify using that wealth to help those who have little? America is unequal, South Africa (where I live) is the *most* unequal country in the world. And people are OK with this?

The gut reaction seems to be "How dare you think about taking people's hard-earned money?" But I don't see that as a legitimate argument. Taxation is necessary to a functioning society. If rich people are taxed more it's no hardship to them. Whereas if poor people are taxed in an unfair way (e.g. sales tax on essential goods) it fucks them over far worse than any rich person.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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20-07-2017, 03:21 PM
RE: Seattle - how to tax a city into poverty
(20-07-2017 03:10 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(20-07-2017 02:50 PM)JesseB Wrote:  So you wanna know how elected officials can ignore the will of the people? That's easy, they only care about the people who's votes matter to them (billionaires). I mean hell nowadays being a millionaire won't even buy you a seat at the table, and the only one's with real influence are trillionaires

I'm not convinced that the will of the people is a great thing to go on. I know it's a cornerstone of democracy and all. But the people are frequently not that bright. True democracy IMO relies on an educated and politically active populace.

I'm interested though in the theatre of it all. After all, no doubt to their extreme irritation, politicians have to pretend at least, to rule for the benefit of all.

Also people who prefer to follow this laissez-faire plan... I want to know what the justification is? How when rich people have plenty, more than they need, can we not justify using that wealth to help those who have little? America is unequal, South Africa (where I live) is the *most* unequal country in the world. And people are OK with this?

The gut reaction seems to be "How dare you think about taking people's hard-earned money?" But I don't see that as a legitimate argument. Taxation is necessary to a functioning society. If rich people are taxed more it's no hardship to them. Whereas if poor people are taxed in an unfair way (e.g. sales tax on essential goods) it fucks them over far worse than any rich person.

Yabut, don't you know that it's their own fault that they're poor -- they're just lazy. Why should the rich people who worked hard to get what they have support the lazy ones?

Disclaimer: In case it's not obvious, I don't think this way. But a lot of people do (and surprisingly, not only rich people).
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