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Spreading the wealth and the lazy bums

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posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 12:55 PM
Ok,first off, I want to say that I am in no way attacking FlyersFan or her point of view, I simply am quoting it because it is what brought this conversation to mind.

Consider the following post

Originally posted by FlyersFan
How Obama's tax proposals are spreading the wealth ... take from the productive who earn it and give to the unproductive who dont' earn it. That's spreading the wealth.

This is a bit of social commentary that gets under my skin a bit and unfortunately, I think, glosses over the issue.

I keep hearing from various people who label themselves conservatives or even libertarians that we are taxing the people that work hard and giving the money to the lazy bums who just sit around all day. While that is true in some cases (and I have seen some of these lazy bums with my own eyes... they called themselves "friends" but they were not), it is too broad a generalization.

I have been in the shoes of the underpaid and over worked. I have made what is now minimum wage and lived with two roomates eating raman and still barely keeping the lights on. I worked long hard hours and still it was a challenge. We as a group were always living with the fear of catasrophe hanging over our heads.

One day that catastrophy happened. A unfortunate headon collision left my roomate's van totalled. His insurance paid for the damage to the other car and the woman's medical bills. I was sent (at my roomate's insistance) to the local county hospital for a concussion check. After a grueling and miserable 6 hr. wait and terrible service from the ER doc I was told to leave.. and given a $250 bill for the visit.

I never paid that bill. Was I a bum mooching off the system? That was never my intention, but it ended up that way. I had no money. I had already been living off of raman or 7-11 nachos at one meal a day. Sometimes I would skip eating for the day so I would have gas for the car.

So what is my anology stating? Bad things happen to good people who are working hard? Maybe. I think the bigger point is that the saftey net is there for those who cannot climb the ladder or haven't started yet. I was young and just getting started in my life. In the time since, I have pulled myself up the ladder, biting and kicking my way through a off kilter systemn that values diplomas over knowledge. Along the way I have shared my good fortunes with those who have been under my care or asked me for help. Very few of those people were lazy bums.

Yet, I am also very anti-government intrusion and I wish there was a more altruistic culture in the US so that the government doesn't have to get involved in such things as feeding the poor or providing medical services for those who cannot afford it. Sadly, our corporate culture never helps the needy unless there is a good PR slant to it that will ultimately lead to better quarterly earnings.

Wealth redistribution through taxes and social programs are a bitter pill that we swallow, I think, to keep us from ending up with corporate feudalism -- or "Company Towns".

Thoughts? I am interested in looking at differant aspects of this.

edit on 2-4-2011 by rogerstigers because: Gender bending on the quotee..

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 12:59 PM

Originally posted by rogerstigers
Ok,first off, I want to say that I am in no way attacking FlyersFan or his point of view,

Yes you are .. and I'm a SHE ... but that's fine.

Spread the wealth = take from the productive and give to the unproductive.
That's just the fact of it.

Some say that doing this is just stealing from those who earn it ... and that's correct.
Others say that doing this raises up the entire population .. and that's sorta correct.
A helping hand when absolutely needed is great!

That DOES raise up the entire population.
But continual sucking off those who are productive will just make them not want to
produce. Why should they work hard if their income is just going to be taken away?
They wont'. They'll take their income and hard work and go elsewhere where they
can keep what they earn.

And then there are those who take advantage of the 'helping hand' and abuse the
system. There are plenty of them. Ya'll know it's true.

edit on 2/4/2011 by FlyersFan because: fixed the word

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:04 PM
I guess we look at things differently. When my wife was pregnant, about 10 years ago, and we were "broke" I took a second job washing dishes, just to keep food on the table. I would have taken a third, but my wife wanted me to sleep a few hours a night.

So I look at anybody that can walk, talk, as somone who could get a job. Would it be glamerous? Will you get that corner office? Probably not.

I never, EVER asked for money that I didn't earn. A poem by Henrey Wadsworth Longfellow comes to mind.

"He looks the whole world in the face
For he owes not any man"

My qestion is this.

What kind of man, father, husband, wife, woman, person, do you want to be?
Can you look yourself in the mirror with pride, or is it with shame?

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:19 PM

Originally posted by beezzer
My qestion is this.

What kind of man, father, husband, wife, woman, person, do you want to be?
Can you look yourself in the mirror with pride, or is it with shame?

To be fair, that was the only time I have "played the system" and it was not by choice. My roomates insisted I get checked for a concussion.

I have always been personally sickened by debt. I can't do it.. I have to dig myself out as soon as possible. I also never really buy something anymore I cannot use or afford, but that was a lot of learning to get over the "consumerism".

I work hard myself and I prefer to do things myself. That being said, I have been in rough times before and I know how it feels to be "trapped'. I don't appreciate moochers, but I am more than willing to help someone till they get back on their feet.

I can see the point of view of hating the bums stealing from the rest of us, and I agree with it. But to label everyone with the same brush is disingenuous, I think.
edit on 2-4-2011 by rogerstigers because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:30 PM
Theres two sides to it. You need some form of safety net in civilised society. If not its too easy for people to fall into the abyss of poverty and homelessness due to misfortune. Thats not good for anybody in the end.

You also need government to take money from the productive to pay for the education of the next generation. Regardless of who they are born to. If you don't have an effective free education system you will create an underclass of those doomed by accident of birth.

What should not be allowable is for money to be taken from the productive and given to the wilfully unproductive. Of which there are some everywhere. If people wont take training and cant find a job they should be forced into some form of community service to incentivise finding a real job. If you don't you generate another underclass of the just lazy. Give it long enough and you get multi-generational unemployed.

If there is no redistribution of wealth incrementally for any purpose you will totally polarise society and get a revolution where it happens all at once.

If you look at wealth distributions by country you see that the USA/UK/Russia are in a similar ball park. EU nations, canada, Australia are more equitable.
edit on 4-2-2011 by justwokeup because: typo

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:31 PM
reply to post by rogerstigers

That is where charity comes in. Not government "forced" charity, but true charity, helping people that need help.
I'll not bore you with the whole "teach a man to fish" parable, but we, as a society, have become hooked on the government teat.

And we need to grow the hell up!

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:32 PM
reply to post by rogerstigers

Its a bit like all you americans stealing the worlds resources, see there are pluses and minuses to everything.

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:34 PM

Originally posted by rogerstigers
After a grueling and miserable 6 hr. wait and terrible service from the ER doc I was told to leave.. and given a $250 bill for the visit.

This may make you feel better. Or tick you off about medical care in this country ..
ATS thread - Death by Medical Mistake
I spent the spring/ summer getting misdiagnosed; given wrong drug after wrong drug; and getting lousy ER care too. Your $250 bill is rather low for an ER visit. Hospitals have to write ER visits off all the time. Poor people use the hospitals as doctors because they know that the hospital can not refuse them care .. and they dont' pay for it.

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:36 PM

Originally posted by andy1033
reply to post by rogerstigers

Its a bit like all you americans stealing the worlds resources, see there are pluses and minuses to everything.

What are we stealing? Who is losing? Who is complaining? We all Americans breaking into another country and steal their PS3?

Please elaborate.


posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 01:47 PM

Originally posted by beezzer
reply to post by rogerstigers

That is where charity comes in. Not government "forced" charity, but true charity, helping people that need help.
I'll not bore you with the whole "teach a man to fish" parable, but we, as a society, have become hooked on the government teat.

And we need to grow the hell up!

Agreed, and that is pretty much what I was alluding to in an earlier post. There is also nothing stopping it from happening now. If a case could be made showing that the people of the US have enough resources available to them from charitable sources that they do not need government entitlements, then it would be rather simple to argue for the removal of said entitlements.

posted on Feb, 4 2011 @ 02:55 PM
America deserves to use 80% of the worlds resources because we work hard for it

The wealthiest people in this world are the most productive and hardest workers right? That's how our fair economic system was designed to work right?

posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 02:01 PM
You know sometimes those unproductive folks will end up living a life of crime. You don't want poor people pee-ed off at you, now do ya? Just look at South Africa or any other African country where the rich never get taxed as much. There's this big gap between the classes and in countries like that there's a whole lot more violence. So spreading the wealth in that sense is a good thing because it keeps the crime rate low.
Not only that but certain unproductive people aren't unproductive just because they want to be. Life can be cruel and you can find yourself living on the streets in a blink of an eye.

posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 02:45 PM
I believe that Dennis Miller says it best: Speaking about Obama on the FOX - May 09.

"I don't agree with him on the spreading all the bread around — you know, like I said, I'll help the helpless. I don't want to help the clueless..."

My first choice would be to have the federal government not play a role at all in charity since it is not one of their enumerated powers.

I do not think it is the role of the government to, with a program of intervention, swoop in and mitigate the effects of a person's poor decision making (Be it in the form of health care, schooling, welfare, or any other programs not enumerated in the constitution).

That is; however, not the current environment:

As it stands now the government has assumed the role of the indulgent and forgiving Nanny who will assist people and their innocent offspring as they continue to make poor choices over and over. The teat is an endless supply of milk it seems.

What we lack is the necessarily complimentary role of the rational decision making father who will impose discipline and set boundaries.

I contend that much like a family without both roles it is more likely to fail than not. A family with one or both parents who coddle, tolerate and even reward poor behavior of their children without the opposite and equal role of that of a standard setting enforcer will soon be bankrupt (morally and financially).

The poor and ignorant (who I guess do not understand how babies are made) are indulged and forgiven and in some cases even rewarded (more money for each child) for their poor decision making under the guise of protecting the innocent children who they create. This is in the form of welfare, wic, food stamps, head start, free/reduced child care etc.

While at the same time there are virtually no limits upon those programs - "for the sake of the children". No one in their right mind wishes ill to a child – yet where does one draw the line? How much “aid” is too much and for how long should one be able to draw the “aid” – I contend that we have gone way too far. People can and do draw the aid forever and pass on that tendency to their often many and varied offspring.

It may sound harsh but if these people who have, then continue to have children they cannot afford or support were punished and controlled rather than indulged and rewarded the behavior would likely and necessarily change. Yet the indulgence continues...

We have multi-generational welfare families in the inner cities. Worse yet than helping American's in need are the multi-generational waves of poor/ignorant in the third world that we support and feed in a never ending cycle.

We continue to support the third world hungry and poor who breed like rabbits (knowingly spreading AIDs as well) while they live in places where no food grows or there is no stability (wars, strife etc.) in which to raise their offspring. Obviously, the message is not setting in that this is a bad idea we just continue to pump in the money from our taxes.

Until that situation changes the undue burden on the responsible working class will just continue to increase since there is virtually no down side to the continued and chronic nature of the stupid choices the people we support seem to be making.

If people want to accept government hand outs I contend that they should also then necessarily cede a good portion of their right to make similar decisions that lead to the predicament in the first place. Sterilize them if necessary make them work at something in the case of foreign aid demand mining/drilling rights or something in return - I don't get to eat for free, why should the third world.

You want to eat; give us something of value.

If not tighten you belts and move out of the # holes where food does not grow.

edit on 5/2/2011 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/2/2011 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/2/2011 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 02:46 PM
Please enjoy...great analogy:

posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 03:14 PM
reply to post by rogerstigers

Hey Rogers!

Man, oh man have you hit on my hot button issue! This is the one that gets me labeled liberal. This is the one that gets me into heated, angry, passionate debates. This is the one that I thought, once upon a time, might just get me banned...

The neocon vs lib war over social services. And it, in actuality, a very, very complex and divisive subject.

I'll start with your ER bill, as an example. On the one hand we've got the idea that America has great medical care available - the best in the world... and that this should come at a premium. It is just, right, and rational that if you want the best, and you get the best, by God you should pay for the best.

On the other hand, we've got people who are just plain too poor to afford the best. When you walk into your local ER they don't say "Welcome! Would you like first class, coach, or economy doctoring?". The rich and the poor, alike, get the same care, from the same doctors, for the most part - assuming that both land in the same hospital. They get seen in comparable rooms, by whatever Doctor is on rotation.

To the guy who's running the local office of a Fortune 500 company... That visit to the ER is nothing, financially speaking. He breaks out his insurance card and pays whatever deductibles or copays may apply.

To the guy who's flipping burgers at the local Mickey Dees... Well if he has insurance, it doesn't cover much... And that ER bill will probably equal out to at least several weeks of his entire paycheck. Maybe more.

IMO sliding scale pricing for medical care IS a fair option to consider in the war over "Obamacare", but I digress.

The point is that the same ER visit for two different people can end up being totally different life experiences. For one it's not even something to blink about. For the other it is bankruptcy.

And, over this reality, we are forced to ask "Is it fair?"

Of course it isn't fair. It's not bloody fair at all. Should the rich be "penalized" for their success? Of course not. Should the guy who's had bad luck be penalized for NOT being as successful? I don't believe this to be correct either.

So we seek balance. We, as a society look for the most universally equitable solution available. Well, we say that we do. But, in reality, we don't. Increasingly we polarize into camps and lash out at the other side.

I watch the wealthy scream that they are OVER paying the way of the poor man.

I watch the poor man justify gaming the system because he feels disenfranchised.

In reaction the rich get more selfish and the poor get more opportunistic and it all turns into some twisted and sick self fulfilling prophecy for both sides.

The rich DO become arrogant snobs and the poor DO become a burden upon society as a whole.


Both extremes here offend me greatly. I am currently unemployed and, basically, devastating my retirement savings just to survive. I am currently living in a cheap neighborhood and I do see people gaming the system. In fact I see quite a bit of opportunism. I have able bodied neighbors who fake mental problems to get SSI. I have neighbors who collect welfare and food stamps but who also drive brand new $35,000.00 cars and have more and better "stuff" in their houses than I have ever owned. People who collect benefits and then make a literal fortune selling drugs... It's all here.

Then again, a few years ago, I lived in a very affluent neighborhood and watched the wealthy gaming the system as well. I don't think I had a single friend, in those years, who paid a cent in taxes. It was a bragging point, in our circles, to announce that your accountant had twisted things so well that you'd be getting a HUGE refund. And I was always happy to try and win this little game. And did once or twice. There are so many loopholes and write offs, for the upper middle class, that it's ridiculous, provided you know how to manipulate them.

But these are extremes of behavior, aren't they? Not every wealthy person is a crook who bends tax codes. And not ever poor or disabled person is a scam artist.

Ultimately, in this argument, it's the honest people who get screwed, on both sides of the issue.

So, for the sake of our futures, and our kids futures, I would hope we can stop thinking in extremes about "the other side" and start trying to find solutions that work for both ends of the spectrum. For example, reforming the tax code and better regulating and managing social services.

Because the endless bickering about who is right is doing nothing for us.


ETA: Got so impassioned, I forgot to say S&F

edit on 2/5/11 by Hefficide because: see ETA above

posted on Feb, 5 2011 @ 03:41 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Heff, thank you for the great post. And I believe you are hitting that same "middle of the road" direction that I am seeing. I tend to throw in a dash of what Golf mentioned as well.

Basically, the honest people wil do what they can to play fair and right until they lose hope. The problem is that we are bullied down so much that (and I have seen this with my own eyes) people who would ordinarilly be capable of great feats are reduced to passive, cynical slaves.

I have personally counciled two of my friends over the years to get them out of their ruts. One ended up with a good career and is stable and happy as a middle class American now. The other is still dirt poor, but he is also happy. Both of them realized, ultimately, that they were the masters of their own lives. They came to terms with the world around them and then did what ever they could, even to extremes, to shape their world into something they were happy with.

These are the honest people who didn't want to game the system. I think that a majority of the "lazy bums" and "unproductive peoples" are capable of this, but they simply cannot see beyond the constant barrage of words and images that are placed in front of them telling them that they have nothign else to look to. Seriously, whatever happened to American optimism?

Also, there is indeed the issue of trying to live in a place where it is simply not possible or feasible. I have never been one to hold to tradition, so I may be missing something here, but I simply don't understand living in a place where the water, food, jobs, or education is bad, simply because that's what has always been done or some strange concept of ownership of land. If the circumstances are making it impossible to live happy, change the circumstances, even if it means walking with luggage in hand to the next city or state even.

And going back to the saying that the "productive are supporting the unproductive"; well, to that I have to say, how is a rich playboy 30 somthing that was born into his dead father's wealth and has never had to work a day in his life being productive? What right does he have to complain about supporting the poor? This is not just some archetype drawn up as a fiction. There are people out in the American culture who are spending their days doing not much more than your average burger flipper -- if not much less. I am happy that they have the opportunity to live a happy and carefree life but if they are complaining about supporting deadbeat bums, then that makes them a hypocrite.

In the end, though, it is obvious that the system is broken on both ends and we are rapidly falling into a feudal system. The solution is NOT to tax the wealthy and pay the poor to continue to be poor. The solution is to face the problems at hand and FIX THEM.

Education -- real education that helps kids learn how to face problems and fix them, not just pass some damned state exam.

Jobs -- How in the world are we supposed to provide jobs for 300 million people when all of our industries are going overseas? We need good jobs at every tech bracket from factory all the way up to high tech software and hardware work.

Corruption and Greed -- A universal problem here, yeah? There is no way we will ever get it taken care of, but we can certainly take steps to fix what we can, including punishing those who would sacrifice the good of the citizens for the benefit of those in economic or political power.

Originally posted by Hefficide


ETA: Got so impassioned, I forgot to say S&F

What? No applause?!?
(just kidding.. no need to abuse your mod-like powers yet)

edit on 2-5-2011 by rogerstigers because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 15 2011 @ 02:14 PM
reply to post by rogerstigers

I understand that as a society there should be some sort of safety net for those that "fall on hard times". With that said, when these types of discusions emerge the stories of poor working people having to use the system often get thrown into the debate as the sole defense, and they should get help. The problem is there is a very real and very growing class of people in America today that simply live off the system. This group always gets dismissed as an extremely small percentage. I don't know where you live, but I live in New Orleans and I think it is a glimps into what America is heading for. The living on free class here feel very entitled and it has become a generation after generation problem where they are becoming the majority of those on aid. My mother in law grew up in the projects of New Orleans and put her daughters through private school and eventually became a landlord with several properties. She has shared with me the decline in supervision of the section 8 program and has seen numerous families living on that sytem for generations. I have lived in New Orleans for 36 years and know many that are users of the system and have seen for myself the birth of this Living on free class.
There are those that need assistance, elderly, jobloss, or just have hit a brick wall, but I am telling you there is a growing populus that this mastered living off the system and realy believe they are entitled to it. I feel we are heading for a derailment and soon the government will cut resources to these programs, but those that usually get cut are the ones that have at least persued getting jobs and education. Our system gives and gives to those that have more and more children. It is modern day slavery and people line up to be inslaved.

There is no way I could write down all of my personal experiences of examples of young able bodied women with numerous children that completely live off the system. I know of very few that are under situations were hard times have hit, but the living on free class are too many to think about, much less document.

I am sharing this point of view to express that we are not talking about a small percentile of users(wife refers to as get-over) and a larger group of hard timers, but rather the opposite. I understand that there have been a lot of working class people hit by this recesion, but the living off free class never seems to get the real scrutiny it deserves.


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