Social Question

Charles's avatar

Should the unemployed be considered lazy for not working low-paying service jobs?

Asked by Charles (4791 points ) May 22nd, 2012

This seems to be the argument coming from many people these days. People with jobs are saying that unemployed people are lazy for not taking low-paying service jobs. The unemployed are asked to forget about their expensive degrees and forget about the stellar careers they once had and are being told to “lower their standards” and give Wal-mart a try.

Are the unemployed, skilled, and/or educated lazy for not flipping burgers for minimum wage? Or, are a few fat overly comfortable desk jockeys out of touch with how bad the economy really is?

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123 Answers

Linda_Owl's avatar

If they actually have the financial where-with-all to avoid taking minimum wage jobs, they may be justified in not taking the minimum wage jobs. However, if they are in desperate need of an income of some sort, then they should try for the minimum wage jobs. Unfortunately, too many minimum wage employers are unwilling to hire people who are highly educated or who once had very good paying jobs – the applicants are told that they are “over-qualified”. Also, hiring highly educated people for minimum wage jobs knocks out the less well educated people who also need a job. Over all, the Republicans seem to be totally out of touch with the jobs situation in the United States. They are trying very hard to lay the blame on Obama, but the blame rests on Wall Street & the Republican companies who sent most of the US jobs over-seas.

Coloma's avatar

I think calling anyone “lazy” for holding out as long as they can to find employment that meets their needs is extremely judgmental and unfair. The vast majority WILL do whatever it takes, but I don’t find fault with those that can’t get excited over a shitty minimum wage job. Digression is never fun and I think people should hold out as long as possible before taking substandard employment.

tedd's avatar

A little bit of both.

It’s very difficult for a college educated person to get those low-wage-crap-jobs, because the managers at those jobs know they are just giving this person a “filler” job, and that as soon as they land a real job they’re gone. I worked at Taco Bell in high school and we turned away probably a dozen degree holding people in my time there. Also, ironically enough, the education probably means very little in those jobs vs someone with say… 5 years experience scrubbing floors. Not to mention that these jobs may not pay enough to even cover the bills from their student loans.

On the other hand, people need to be more realistic with their chances, and understand that they may be working a crappy temp job for some time.

Qingu's avatar

1. What jobs? The question assumes there’s a glut of such jobs. Even teenagers can’t find work like this nowadays.

2. Many unemployed people are “overqualified” for low-paying jobs. That can be almost as much a disadvantage in the hiring process as being underqualified.

3. There are long-term negative consequences for taking a low-paying job in some cases. It sets your pay range as extremely low. For some people this won’t matter. But if you have an MBA and you take a job at Mcdonald’s, that means any future job you take will look at your McDonald’s salary (or lack thereof) and adjust their salary offer accordingly.

Blackberry's avatar

It seems to only be an issue of pride, but we’re all prideful of something.

NostalgicChills's avatar

Last time I checked, making a little money is better than nothing at all. Like @Blackberry said, it’s a pride issue. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom again. Why not work those low paying jobs while you are searching for the “dream job” you want? (I don’t mean you personally, I’m just speaking very generally.)

Qingu's avatar

It’s not a pride issue.

Let’s make the huge assumption that you can actually get one of these jobs, that a hiring manager there does not think you are too overqualified to hire.

So okay. $7.25 an hour is indeed better than nothing. On the other hand, if you are qualified for better work, you are taking a risk when you take this job. If the economy improves soon, and higher-paying positions in your area of expertise become available, well now you have a problem because your resume says you worked for a year at McDonalds at 7.25/hour. That means they can use 7.25/hour as your salary range. It might even mean you seem underqualified.

You could leave out McDonald’s from your resume, though that’s somewhat sketchy in intensive hiring processes. And for what? A small amount of money now, with the real risk of permanently depressing your salary range in your career.

Honestly, people, if you haven’t been in this situation or know someone who has, maybe you should be a little more reserved about casting judgment. It’s not that simple.

NostalgicChills's avatar

@Qingu
I’m glad you pointed that out. I can honestly admit that my comment was a little ignorant. Guess you learn something new everyday.

OpryLeigh's avatar

It depends. If the tax payer is footing the bill because said person doesn’t want to lower their standards that’s when I get annoyed. I think, especially in our early years of employment, we should all be willing to work in shitty jobs just to pay the bills (unless your parents are rich and willing enough to provide for you) regardless of how qualified we are. At the end of the day, if you really need money to survive then “beggars can’t always be choosers” so if you’re just sitting at home watching day time tv and shirking your responsibilities then, yes, I will think you’re lazy. Working in shitty jobs often gives us experiences that we can use later on in life, further up the career ladder.

chyna's avatar

@Qingu GA!
Also my consideration is that someone has made 60K for the last 10 years, they are in their mid 50’s and now have to take a minimum wage job until they retire. That really skews their social security for the last years of their life.

Qingu's avatar

@Leanne1986, again, that’s a very simplistic way of looking at the situation. I agree that nobody should be sitting at home watching TV while taxpayers are footing the bill. Unemployed people should be applying for jobs, or developing useful skills to improve their resume.

But there are long-term downsides for overqualified people who take very low-paying jobs that a lot of people don’t really seem to realize—once again, assuming that such low-paying jobs are even available in the first place (they’re really not).

Another downside, to add to what @chyna said: let’s say you have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. A reality for millions of people. Now you can defer paying that debt if you don’t have a job. But as soon as you get a job, in most cases you immediately have to start making minimum monthly payments. A minimum wage job might barely cover those payments, leaving you with little else to pay your other expenses and permanently depressing your salary range, ensuring that you’ll be paying off your debt for much longer.

bkcunningham's avatar

I wonder what not working for the last ten years before you reach Social Security age does to your SS retirement benefits, @chyna? How would you survive?

chyna's avatar

@bkcunningham Fortunately, I have a 401K, but lots of people don’t and if I’m not working for the next 10 years, I’ll have to use that to live on.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I didn’t assume that these jobs were readily available @Qingu which is why I made it clear that I get annoyed when people (regardless of how qualified) don’t actively try to get work and think it’s ok to scrounge off the system because they aren’t willing to lower their standards, if they are trying but can’t find work then that’s a completely different situation. If they have someone to pay for them to chill out until their perfect job comes along or they have saved enough money themselves over time in order to focus on the work that really suits them then that’s absolutely fine. If you don’t have that luxury then what other choice do you suggest they have? Also, I know plenty of people that are very qualified but came fresh our of Uni and had to take a job in a supermarket or something to see them through until they could do what they really wanted. It may be different where you are but over here that is the norm and no one that I know has ever claimed that working in MacD’s for 6 months has ruined their opportunities. Like I said, the system may be different where you are.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, that’s a fair point, but if a person cannot find work they are qualified for in a fair salary range over a course of ten years, then there are bigger problems.

As I’ve tried to point out, the main reason why you would hold off taking a low-paying job is if you think you can get a significantly better job in the near- or medium-term future. Recessions do not usually last ten years. Eventually the job market will improve.

So do you take the low-paying job now, knowing that it will likely depress your earnings for the next 9 years? Or do you hold out hope that you’ll be able to find a much better job in a year or two? I would not judge someone one way or the other based on how they choose here.

Blackberry's avatar

@Qingu Yeah, I typed my answer before I saw yours, which obviously makes more sense. I was taking my own guess.

bkcunningham's avatar

If someone is laid-off from a job with a decent salary, they’d make more on unemployment than a minimum wage job. I have to say, I agree with the point of “near or medium-term future,” @Qingu. But you also have to realize the reality of the added difficulities of someone in their 50s and older getting hired.

I wouldn’t make a blanket statement about any group being lazy. Every circumstance is unique. I know people who are struggling on SS retirement benefits. I know people who are struggling after being laid-off and are trying budget on their 401-K (after the major early withdraw penalties). Such is life I suppose. Reach out when you can and hope someone will reach out to you if you need them.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@bkcunningham that is why I find it disgusting that unemployment benefits are higher than minimum wage pay. It does nothing to encourage people to try and stay in the work place.

nikipedia's avatar

@Leanne1986, I don’t think the problem is that unemployment pays too much, rather that jobs often pay people too little.

Qingu's avatar

@Leanne1986, you say you didn’t assume jobs were available, but then you go on a moralizing screed against people “scrounging off the system” who aren’t willing to “lower their standards.”

If there aren’t jobs available, this is moot. Your screed is based on the assumption that there are low-paying jobs available for unemployed people, and there aren’t. This entire discussion, in fact, only applies to rare situations that occur on the margins.

I would agree that UI should perhaps be more equalized, so that we’re not subsidizing a recently laid-off 100k worker’s lavish lifestyle while he looks for work at the expense of providing a basic safety net to less fortunate individuals. But I haven’t looked at the numbers.

chyna's avatar

@Leanne1986 Unemployment benefits are not enough to live on and pay the bills.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu, we don’t subsidize UI. The taxes are paid by the employer.

Facade's avatar

People who generalize should be considered lazy… “The unemployed” are made up of individuals who each have their reasons for things. You really can’t be judgemental toward the entire group.
I’m technically in this situation, but I’m not receiving unemployment. Working minimum wage is just not something I would do unless there were literally no other options.
@Qingu is right. Things aren’t as simple as just getting a job somewhere. Maybe that would work in 1995, but not in 2012.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I know. I meant “we” as in society. The government also determines how long UI lasts, for example. And I’m pretty sure Congress could establish a flattened out rate of recompense, but again, I haven’t looked at the numbers.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Qingu I think we are talking from very different situations. Over here there are jobs available, it’s obviously different where you are. Regardless, I feel you didn’t read what I said about people that aren’t even trying to find work because they feel like min wage jobs are beneath them. Trying being the word here. If you are trying but can’t find something then I have no issue with you. If you won’t apply for work (when it does turn up) because something is beneath you but you have no other way of paying for yourself then how can you expect me to feel sympathy with these people?

@chyna Again, I think it is different where you are but, sadly I know people that are able to survive on unemployment benefits. I know one person, in particular who earns nearly as much as I do in a month and I work a full time job and a part time job to boost my wages (both on minimum wage admittedly). His excuse is that he can’t find work but whenever he is pointed in the direction of work he always has an excuse why he can’t apply for it.

@Facade If you’re not on benefits then I see no problem with choosing to wait until something decent comes along, I have been saying that all along.

I only have a problem with people that are on benefits that are perfectly able to work but don’t even try to and no one can say that this doesn’t happen because we all know it does (do you think the idea for Shameless came out of thin air? There are council estates all over the UK like that). I know there are other factors to take in which is why I don’t assume that everyone who is unemployed is lazy until I know why they are unemployed and how they are surviving it.

bkcunningham's avatar

The amount of UI someone receives varies by states and by the wages you made in certain quarters before you lost your job. As I’m sure you know, there are stipulations on the conditions why you are unemployed as to whether or not you qualify for the benefits. So many people are unemployed tha many states have exhausted the UI funds. The money paid by employers to the state and federal government for UI is based on the people they employ. The states had to take out loans from the federal government to continue paying the benefits. So, I suppose “we” are paying the benefits.

Facade's avatar

@Leanne1986 The mix up makes perfect since if you don’t live in the US. Things are so variant here that it’s hard to come up with solutions to issues…

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Facade yeah, maybe we should state where we are from before answering based on “experience”!!

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m in the US, @Leanne1986, in Central Florida where I’m located, there are a wide variety of jobs available. The US is a very big place and made up of 50 different states with just as many variants in payscales. I know people in Northern Virginia, New York and Rhode Island who couldn’t imagine surviving on the pay that people make in Florida. I know people in parts of Virginia who can’t imagine paying the rent people pay in the DC area.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@bkcunningham Then we are singing from two different hymn sheets as I’m in the UK.

Facade's avatar

@Leanne1986 Yes, very true.

Paradox25's avatar

I was just in this boat recently. I had a decent paying job as an electrician at a bottle recycling plant before they closed down. My time on unemployment wasn’t necessarily tough because I made decent money at that job. However, as more time went on it started taking a toll on me emotionally, not being able to get a job. I even applied for lower paying jobs, to only be turned down by them, likely for being overqualified like someone said above.

I actually hit a ‘break’ when I was forced to take a job as a temp at a warehouse within a reasonable driving distance from my house. I got lucky because the company usually gets rid of their temporary workers, but they kept me on. I eventually bidded on a higher paying job at that plant once I was hired through the company. It is still less than what I was making, and the job is still much different than my normal career field. Temporary workers usually don’t get treated very well too, both by the company employees and the managment so this was difficult for me.

There are things to consider here before calling unemployed people lazy. Relocation is not a viable alternative for many because of course that costs large amounts of money, money I didn’t have because of course I was unemployed. The other alternative is to travel, and with the cost of gas (and even without this) travling a greater distance for less money is not going to get you by either. Also, I own a house that is paid off, so why would I give that up considering how expensive home loans are these days. I’m frequently amazed about how the right wing zealots continue to condemn people who hit difficult times through no fault of their own.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

I work at the unemployment office, so I have a somewhat unique perspective.

First of all, I do case management, and I can tell you right off the bat, the majority of unemployed people are NOT lazy. They are desperate to work. They know the economy is bad, and they are thrilled when they find a job, and they know they are lucky to have work. Very few come in with the attitude that they don’t want to find work, and most of these individuals have other problems (mental illness and other psychological problems) that preclude their holding a steady job.

Most of you have already made the same points I’d make, so if I reiterate anything, it’s because I either want to emphasize that point or add my own thoughts. So forgive any repetition.

How many of you have ever worked at a low-wage job as an adult? I’m not talking about a side job in high school or college. As @Qingu states, a minimum-wage job is exactly that: MINIMUM wage. Let’s take California (where I live) as an example. Let’s say you snag a job, at $8.00 an hour. Most of these jobs are part-time, but let’s say you get lucky and it’s full-time, 40 hours a week. Your monthly gross is $1280; that’s before taxes and other deductions, so that’s not even your actual take-home amount. How many of you could survive on that? Okay, maybe as a single adult who’s very frugal in a state with low living costs, maybe you’d be okay. But the majority of the U.S. population lives in about 1/5 of the states, places like California, Texas, New York, and Florida. These are NOT cheap places to live.

Notice most of the people calling for the unemployed to “lower their standards” are people who have no business moralizing or judging; people who are employed in cushy jobs as pundits, politicians, corporate executives, etc. It’s one thing to lower your standards a little bit, it’s quite another to go from earning $60K a year and struggling with a minimum-wage job (most of which, these days, are part-time; there just isn’t enough work to go around). @Qingu has made the same points far more succinctly than I have.

It’s also one thing when you’re just out of school; very few people should be sliding right into jobs in the high five- and low six-figure salaries. That’s not normal, and only is sort of normal today because the U.S. is now primarily a nation full of finance and service jobs. Those in finance make salaries that are way out of proportion to what they should be making, while those in service jobs are in very low-pay salary ranges (which is where everyone else seems to be heading). When you’ve just graduated, taking minimum-wage and entry-level jobs is expected, and is normal. But what’s “normal” these days is not the same as it used to be. When I was growing up, fast-food places, grocery stores, and gas stations employed many teens and young adults. Today I’m seeing people my age and older in these jobs, and fewer and fewer younger people.

As others have mentioned, the current crisis means many highly educated people are competing for low-wage jobs with poorly educated people who normally fill these jobs. As several of you pointed out, a lot of places will not hire “overqualified” people for a variety of reasons: they’re just there to fill the job, and will bolt when they can (of course they will; who can blame them?); they don’t have the job skills for that particular job (if you’ve been working with computers the last twenty years, you’re not going to land a job as a food prep cook, or as a janitor (where you need to know how to use cleaning chemicals, a buffer, a waxer, etc., or as a warehouse worker (where they want people who can drive forklifts)); the other applicants have the requisite level of experience (as @tedd points out); or the employer wants a certain kind of person (not too old, not too young, not too smart (smart people get bored easily), willing to stand continuously for eight hours, willing to work in hazardous conditions, etc., etc.), and you, my friend, unfortunately are not it.

Unfortunately for many unemployed people, right now employers don’t really get it, in some ways. Here in the U.S., if you’ve been out of work for a certain amount of time, they will not even consider you for an interview. So far this is merely discriminatory, not illegal. This means people who were laid off through no fault of their own and can’t find a job immediately fall into a very insidious trap, regardless of whether they had a cushy job or a paycheck-to-paycheck one.

Also, if you have no experience or the wrong kind of experience, employers won’t consider you at all; also it used to be that employers would offer a training period, but nowadays they just expect you to be able “to start right away.” This means a lot of otherwise plausible job candidates get weeded out right away. Often Human Resources employees know nothing about the jobs they’re trying to fill, beyond what’s on paper. Unfortunately, they are the gatekeepers, which means that someone who may very well have been a great fit in person gets shown the door, based on one or two pieces of paper. The resume and the application are ways for HR to screen people OUT.

Add to this the fact that those who are hiring are overwhelmed by applicants. I spoke to a woman last week who had 800 applications within ten hours of posting her job. A representative from a temp agency last month told me she gets 1,200 resumes a week. There are just way too many people out there without work. I don’t know about the UK or other places, but here in the U.S., the unemployed are woefully undercounted. The unemployment figures are misleading, because they are based on people who are getting unemployment benefits and “actively looking” for work. That means the states determine their unemployment rate on the number of people currently in the system. Once they exhaust their benefits and they are no longer “actively seeking employment”, they get dropped from the rolls, and the number goes down. This is why a number of states (California included) are no longer considered at a “crisis” level of unemployment, and are no longer eligible for the FED-ED benefits (the final tier of federal unemployment benefits). Where it used to be a maximum of 99 weeks, now in some places, the best you can get is 79 weeks, and that number is dropping. The minimum you can get is whatever your state’s benefits period is; again, here in California, that’s 26 weeks. Eventually we’ll be back to just the state benefits. 26 weeks is just six months. Since it takes, “normally,” 4–6 months to find a new job, it now takes probably twice as long as that. Still want to say people are “lazy”? Many are running out of benefits all the time.

Back to benefits. Here in California, unemployment insurance is only offered to certain people; you have to have been working a certain amount of time (at least a year) at a certain number of hours. This often excludes part-timers, and definitely excludes those working in temp or contract jobs. You have to have been laid off or had your hours reduced through no fault of your own (layoffs, company went out of business, etc.). The benefits are calculated using your last paycheck, and are then calculated based on the last three months you worked. You don’t get the full amount; you just get a percentage of that.

Benefits can be as low as $40 and up to $450 a week. That means some people are only getting $160 a month in unemployment, while others are earning a maximum of $1800. Is that enough to pay the bills for a family of four, should the sole earner be unemployed? Hardly “living high on the hog and watching TV.” As you exhaust each stage of benefits, your overall bi-weekly check is gradually reduced. Of course, if you’re still receiving the checks by then, you’re probably spiraling even deeper financially and becoming desperate. Eventually you run out of benefits, and that’s it. For most people, there is no more income. You’re then stuck cannibalizing what’s left of your savings, your retirement funds, etc.

Unemployment is not usually “footed by the taxpayers”; employers pay a per-employee state and federal tax that covers the benefits and the costs of administrating the program. However, as @bkcunningham points out, because unemployment is so high right now, states have had to borrow from the federal government to help pay for benefits. So in that sense, yes, those of us still fortunate to have a job are footing benefits for someone else. But you know what? That “someone else” is your old teacher, your neighbor, the person that used to work behind the counter at your favorite restaurant, the cousin of a friend whose job was shipped overseas, and the clerk that used to work at the store around the corner that imploded because someone in corporate made a stupid financial decision and wrecked the company.

I know this is a long post, forgive me. Part of it is because I live this, everyday at work. Part of it is some of the insensitive comments I’m seeing here: I’m truly an angry white male at the moment. Instead of sermonizing about who’s paying for what and how people should get up off their asses and work, consider that those of us in the United States live in a country where the planned budget for the next fiscal year will have approximately ⅓ of the total budget dedicated to the military. Consider that we live in a world where people at the very top pay less in taxes than most of the rest of us. Consider that we live in a world where corporations have gone a number of years in a row without paying any corporate taxes at all. Consider all of this, and then think about this: why are we attacking each other? Why are we so willing to sneer at the lowest among us, but give everyone else a pass?

We’re not in a recession, or a “downturn”; this is a depression, and anyone who’s been following what’s been happening in Europe, particularly Greece, knows that “austerity” budgets and pissing on the poor has consequences that are going to drag everyone down. The roots of this economic implosion are deep, and unfortunately, we are in a period where it is completely different than before, for many reasons (which requires a whole new post/thread, so I’ll stop for now).

I just wish you could, each of you, trade places with me for a week: try to help find a job for the 70-year-old supporting three generations, including a family member with cancer; try to seek employment for the high school graduate, with no work experience, competing in a market filled with tens of thousands of people more experienced than him; try to help the single, middle-aged stock clerk, broke and living in his car; find a new job for the banking clerk with a high school education, laid off after 26 years when her division closed, who sends out twenty applications a week for two years, and has now given up, uncertain if she’ll ever work again.

Come, come sit with me, come work in my job for a week. Then come back and help me tell these people they are “lazy” and undeserving of our help.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

(A gold star to anyone who had the patience to read my epistle above!)

nikipedia's avatar

@AngryWhiteMale, I read every word. Thank you for telling us all, and so eloquently.

linguaphile's avatar

@AngryWhiteMale Simply wonderful post. Thank you for sharing all that. I, too, read every word.

monorob's avatar

They shouldn’t be considered at all. The only reason they’re even being considered is because the working class doesn’t want to support them, myself including. According to the estimates from the labor department, by the 4th quarter of 2013, 40 states will need to borrow more then $90 billion from the federal government (aka the taxpayers).

flutherother's avatar

You have to look at this in the context of the growing inequalities of wealth in the USA. The rich are getting substantially richer while the poor become increasingly poor.

Between 1979 and 2007 the income of the top 1% of American households increased by 275% while that of the bottom 20% increased by just 18%. The minimum wage in the US ranges from $5.15 in Wyoming to $9.04 in Washington (compared with $9.56 in the UK.)

There is a race to the bottom with the dignity of work becoming the misery of near slavery and laziness is not the issue.

Qingu's avatar

@monorob, how do you suggest the unemployed support themselves?

monorob's avatar

I don’t suggest, period. It’s not my problem to fix & it’s not any of my business either. This is something for them to figure out, just not with my money.

Paradox25's avatar

@monorob What do you mean ‘your’ money? We all pay taxes, including those who have lost their jobs. This is my money too, not just yours.

chyna's avatar

@monorob I hope you are never in the situation where you have worked for 30 years for the same company and your job has been outsourced to another part of the country. I’m sure you are sitting there, smug in your job you have right now, but let me tell you, you are not safe within your job. No one is. And you had better hope unemployment is there for you to help you get by until you get another job.

monorob's avatar

@Paradox25,

According to the estimates from the labor department, by the 4th quarter of 2013, 40 states will need to borrow more then $90 billion from the federal government (aka the taxpayers).

If they’re borrowing from the government, they’re borrowing from me because the government gets its money from the taxpayers. The only ones who are paying a federal income tax are those who are currently working…

monorob's avatar

@chyna,

Of course I’m not safe within my job, but I don’t expect anyone to just give me money because I lost my job. They’re not responsible for my problems & shouldn’t be a sort of sacrificial lamb to save me.

Paradox25's avatar

@monorob I’m working now, and I’ve worked the majority of my life just like many others who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own. I would rather my tax monies being used to help people over other things. (aka I’m a taxpayer too). I agree there should be reasonable limits and standards when collecting unemployment, but it sounds like you’re totally against it.

monorob's avatar

If one is not working and the state is borrowing from me to pay them than they’re being supported with my money. I am not cool with that.

If you want to support them than more power to you. As I replied to Warren Buffet, if he wants higher taxes on himself to help the government and everyone who needs it, all he needs to do is donate a few billion dollars to the government. You can too.

I believe their problems are their own to solve and isn’t any of my business.

chyna's avatar

@monorob Unemployment isn’t your money. The companies pay into it.

monorob's avatar

I’ll explain again…“According to the estimates from the labor department, by the 4th quarter of 2013, 40 states will need to borrow more then $90 billion from the federal government (aka the taxpayers).”

If they’re borrowing from the government and the government gets its money from the taxpayers, and I’m a taxpayer, than the states are actually borrowing from me which means I’m paying their unemployment benefits.

Paradox25's avatar

@monorob I’ll explain again too, they’re borrowing from me as well. What, do you think you’re the only one who pays taxes? We are always going to pay taxes, and we’re always going to have our tax money spent for something. Because my tax money is going to be used regardless of what I think, I would rather it be used to help people if possible. Let me guess, there is nothing that you would want your tax money to be spent on!? I somehow doubt that you’ll reply with a ‘yes’ there.

monorob's avatar

Right, you’re working, therefore your tax money is being spent to pay for someones unemployment benefits. You’re cool with that, I’m not. Many are not cool with that, hence they vent in frustration by calling the unemployed lazy, among other things. I don’t think they’re lazy. I don’t care, period. As I wrote before, their problems are their own to solve and it isn’t any of my business.

The ideal goal for me is to obviously not be taxed at all and all efforts are made to head in that direction. Sometimes I get it my way, sometimes I don’t.

Paradox25's avatar

@monorob Unfortunately, people who agree with you are not the only ones who pay taxes. My taxes were never lower when so-called conservatives were in office either. I don’t like being taxed either, and I hate it even more when I work 20 to 40 hours of OT in a week, and my pay still sucks because I get taxed to death.

I’ve come to accept that whether I like it or not I’m going to be taxed, so I’d rather have my tax monies used for programs that help people. What angers me more is all the money we continue to spend on the war on drugs, and many other things for that matter that I just don’t support, but yet because of neoconservative policies, I’m forced to have my tax money used for things that I don’t support.

It kind of works both ways here, and I think that more people are finally starting to be wary of neoconservative hypocrisy. I don’t know your political views personally, but what you’ve been writing sounds similar to what many neoconservatives would say.

monorob's avatar

Everyone comes to accept taxes. You don’t have much of a choice when you’re held at gun point by your government. However, you do have the option to vote for someone who either lies or sincerely wants to make an effort to lower taxes for you. Ron Paul, for example. Mitt Romney, another example. Lie or no lie, it’s better than someone who directly says he will raise taxes (Obama).

I’m a software engineer and I also invest in the market on the side. Who makes more sense to vote for? A guy who says he will raise the capital gains tax bracket to 39% to suck away all my savings (obama), or guys who will eliminate all taxes that deal with all savings (dividends, capital gains, etc.) Paul, Mitt. I already moved to a state that has no state or sales tax with semi-low property taxes.

My ideal system is anarcho-capitalism. I’ll settle for libertarian policies. My life philosophy is objectivism (Ayn Rand).

Anyway, my point was to tell the questionnaire that this is only an issue because of the governments actions in spending money. People wouldn’t even comment on the unemployed if their money wasn’t spent to pay for someones benefits.

Qingu's avatar

Of course you’re an Ayn Rand follower.

You must be one of the poor folks who didn’t get over her in their sophomore year of college. Or a sociopath.

monorob's avatar

Sticks and stones….

nikipedia's avatar

@monorob, serious question—let’s say for the sake of argument that someone has exhausted EVERY possible avenue for employment. This person has burned through all of his/her savings and has nothing left. Is it your preference that we let this person become homeless and hungry?

monorob's avatar

Serious answer——Read the book called Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand.

flutherother's avatar

@monorob That is not a serious answer, it is not an answer at all. You were asked what your preference was.

Qingu's avatar

This discussion is ultimately about morals, and in order to have a discussion about morals one needs to assume that empathy is a virtue. Monorob has made it clear that he does not, that his only applied moral is to accumulate as much wealth and power for himself as he can, whether or not it comes at the expense of others does not matter to him.

People like monorob aren’t really participants in these kinds of discussions, rather, the discussion is really about how to minimize their parasitic influence on the system.

monorob's avatar

@flutherother

I said I’m an objectivist and then @nikipedia asks me a redundant question about those who struggle which can only mean one thing – she doesn’t understand my answer because she doesn’t understand what objectivism is, hence read this book

I’ll try to explain this in a few sentences, but read the book because my response will cheapen it.

@nikipedia,

There is no we in my preference. You may do as you wish. If it is your will to help this struggling individual than by all means invite (h)er into your home and give her food to eat.

However, my preference is always to act in accordance with the hierarchy of my values and never sacrifice a greater value to a lesser one (i’m not a piece of lamb you put on the alter for the greater good of humanity). My highest moral purpose is the achievement of my own happiness. If I give up my happiness to save the starving person, I am sacrificing something that is objectively a higher value for a lesser one. I have no obligation to help this person. If I value the life of a stranger higher than my own life, than I would have a very unhealthy lack of self-esteem.

One may decide to help the poor man next door as an act of goodwill, but (s)he has no duty to do so, and in any case, (s)he shouldn’t support him indefinitely because it in effect demeans the person.

I believe that man has to choose his goals, project them in time, pursue them and achieve them by his own effort. He cannot do it if his goals are at the mercy of and must be sacrificed to any misfortune happening to others.

That was a taste, the rest you read in the book (if you’re actually interested).

monorob's avatar

@Qingu

Incorrect. You didn’t read the books, obviously. Individual freedom is one of the highest orders of importance. The goal is self-interest but not at the expense of others.

Parasitic influence, as you call it, would be those like you (welfare system, where one group benefits at the expense of another which is the definition of a parasite), not me.

Qingu's avatar

Ah, but parasites are a diverse group of creatures, both in nature and in human economies.

The economy is a deeply interconnected system of markets, laws, regulations, and of course human beings. There are “cheaters” who mooch off the system through welfare, although most will eventually find work and will have no problem paying taxes back into the system that once supported them. People who gather wealth through market actions within the system—particularly market actions like most of finance that contribute nothing of value to society—and then fight to put nothing back into the system are a different kind of parasite. I would argue they’re more pernicious since, with their concentrated wealth and power, they can deeply undermine the entire system—and in fact have clearly done so.

And no, I didn’t “read the books,” but I’m quite familiar with Rand’s childish philosophy. Also, I am not on welfare, in fact I have never been unemployed.

monorob's avatar

The government forcefully plugs itself into the market. Whenever you apply force, you get paid in kind, eventually. Fighting fire with fire.

Cut the government programs and than avoiding taxes won’t be an issue since one will no longer be forced to participate in government monopolies which means one won’t be able to be a parasite.

I see by your commentary that you didn’t read the books. You have almost no understanding of it, not at least until I explained it, briefly.

I never said you were on welfare, I said your definition of parasitic influence (which you referred to me) is best applied to you since you support a welfare system which is a parasitic system.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Qingu's avatar

Also, honest question: have you posted on Fluther before with alternate names? Every so often we get an objectivist on here who bravely defends the virtue of selfishness for a few posts and then leaves, never to return.

Response moderated
Qingu's avatar

I have read a collection of Ayn Rand’s short essays (I’ve forgotten what it was called). Are you suggesting there’s some vast ocean of nuance and insight in her longer works that I’ve missed?

By the way, as a general rule on Fluther, I don’t read (or watch) texts or videos that people link to in place of making their own argument. If Rand or Rothbard would like to come back to life and debate me on Fluther, I’d be happy to. But I can’t debate with a text. And I don’t like to encourage people on here to outsource their arguments instead of making their own.

I suppose we can debate on something, namely, facts. You said “theft and fraud are handled by the market.” Can you cite any instance of this happening on a large scale, ever, in the history of humankind? Statements like this strike me as along the lines of religious faith, except your faith is in Smith’s invisible hand (which he didn’t even claim was omnipotent or omniscient and in fact said financial markets needed to be regulated).

monorob's avatar

I don’t want to debate someone who talks about things they have no understanding of which you showed me here numerous times. Your poor definition use and your comments on far more educated people than you without actually reading their work which means you’re making baseless assertions.

This would end up a one way street where I have to educate you in every aspect of life because you can’t keep up with the conversation. That is what books, professors, and teachers are for. I went through that at my university and reading books there-after. I now work with computers. You’re on your own.

nikipedia's avatar

@monorob, all I can say is that I’m so sorry for whatever happened to make you this way.

Qingu's avatar

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

monorob's avatar

@nikipedia

Nothing happened to me, no need to apologize. However, I’m pretty sure plenty has happened to you and continues to happen which is what I suspect motivates you to emphasize the need to sympathize with the poor and sacrifice anyone who is not. You may even share a common backbone.

The people with a collectivism mindset who I have come across with were surrounded (and themselves including at times) by friends/family and even community strangers who were unemployed, sick, or living in poverty. Those fortunate enough to work, didn’t make much money and had nothing to show for it. They lived very simple lives (poor apartment/housing conditions, cheap clothing/furniture, artificial foods-prepackaged and canned foods, cutting corners to try and lower utility bills but to no avail, no health insurance, etc,,,) Basically, eeking their way through life.

When one lives in such an atmosphere and is also a victim, they’re sooner likely to sympathize with those people because they share the same vulnerabilities. They lack self-esteem. That is why it’s easy for them to see someone independent as a piece of meat that can be used at your disposal.

Am I at least partially right so far about your atmosphere?

@Qingu,

Sticks and stones…

nikipedia's avatar

Indeed. I grew up poor and now I’m rich. I don’t think I have any self-esteem problems though.

Even if nothing terrible happened to you, it pains me to see someone living such an isolated existence. Living without compassion sounds so empty to me.

monorob's avatar

Friendship and love are selfish in an objectivist view (it’s not bad). I have made the welfare of my friends and loved ones part of my own happiness, and to ignore their welfare is to make myself unhappy. The value I ascribe to other people rests on their relationship to my own happiness. As Rand puts it, “it’s an extension, a secondary projection of the primary value which is himself.”

Ask @Qingu about what kind of atmosphere he currently lives in. I bet you (s)he too fits the description I gave you above of a collectivist mindset.

nikipedia's avatar

I am familiar with objectivism and like @Qingu find it disappointing and facile at best.

monorob's avatar

Then you have no reason to feel sorry for me. I’m not here to convince you to subscribe to such a philosophy.

Qingu's avatar

LOL. I grew up in an upper-middle class household and was, in retrospect, quite spoiled. I’m currently pretty firmly in the bourgeois class. I mean, I buy $4/lb rhubarb at the farmer’s market and everything.

I am close to some currently or formerly unemployed people (who isn’t). Though I know they consider themselves fortunate too, in the grand scheme of things. I’m not the richest person I know, but I think I might be the luckiest.

You cannot be a real person.

monorob's avatar

Why are you buying organic food when people have no food at all? Shouldn’t you lower your standards of living so that at least people meet their basic necessities first?

Just want to make sure you understand what Bourgeois means.

You’re paying the 35% federal income tax bracket?
You earn more than $388,351 a year?

If yes, did you make sure to donate extra money to the government? Your knee-jerk aggressive responses indicate that there is more to this.

Qingu's avatar

No, “bourgeois” doesn’t mean “top 1%,” and your condescension on this point is rather amazing in light of your ignorance. The word means middle-class. I make 35k a year and live quite comfortably, although I would like a new pair of headphones.

I like going to farmer’s markets (not organic, necessarily, by the way), because the food tastes better, and I like supporting local farmers who practice sustainable agriculture. To further explain the rationale for my decision to spend slightly more on a luxury food product, food is something that everyone needs to buy and consume all the time, but the choices involved in that consumption contribute to large-scale social, economic, and environmental effects. You could luxuriate and buy more expensive food (and when I do this I try to do so in ways that support local economies, living standards, animal welfare and the environment). Or you could spend as little as possible on food (I sometimes take this approach; I like making stuff with dried beans and legumes); you could buy cheap food that takes little time to prepare (I rarely do this because I find such foods are grown and distributed in harmful ways with hidden costs, or externalities, to society or to the environment).

If your point here is to suggest that wealthy, or at least middle class, “luxury” spending can have beneficial effects on the economy, why, I’d agree! Up to a certain extent, at least. Spending a little more for certain products may mean you’re supporting higher labor standards, for example, or that you’re not supporting torturous treatment of animals. To say nothing of the fact that much of our economy is a service economy, most of which is in some way “luxurious” in that you could do much of it yourself if you have the time to do so—and yet those people need jobs. And if rich people actually spend their money in such a fashion, you would have a point about the harmful effects of taxing them… except they don’t. Rich people save a much higher portion of their money, and I’m not sure how the economy is benefited when a wealthy person spends a million dollars on a cell phone.

Of course this is all probably gobbledegook to you because, as you’ve made clear, you don’t really seem to care about other people. Or do you? You said you internalize the happiness of people who are close to you as your own. If that’s the case, one would think you’d be emotionally capable of internalizing strangers’ happiness as your own, and be willing to support policies that bolster the economy and improve working standards. But apparently not if that gets in the way of your selfish desire to increase your own happiness in any way you choose?

And I’m not sure why you would suggest I should give charity to the government. You understand that democratically-legislated taxes are fundamentally different from charity, yes?

bkcunningham's avatar

Would you mind if I ask you, @Qingu, if you work for a private business? I mean as opposed to a government agency or, for instance, a state university?

Qingu's avatar

Yes, private. We sell a lot to public places though.

bkcunningham's avatar

You are in your 20s and really just starting a career, right? Making $30,000 plus a year with benefits. Good for you. You seem very bright. But may I offer one piece of advice? Get some rhubarb roots and grow your own rhubarb. That $4/pound price is insanity, even if you can afford to pay that price, that is crazy.

Qingu's avatar

Ha, thanks for the praise/advice. But actually, I’m almost 30. Also, I live in an apartment. :)

bkcunningham's avatar

I have socks older than you. You are a baby at 29. You deserve praise. Good job, @Qingu. I know you worked hard to get where you are now.

monorob's avatar

See this why it’s difficult to talk to you. You call me ignorant and than you go on writing ignorant stories. Let me help you, again. Bourgeois: “As such, in the Western world, since the late 18th century, the bourgeoisie describes a social class “characterized by their ownership of capital, and their related culture”; hence, the personal terms bourgeois (masculine) and bourgeoise (feminine) culturally identify the man or woman who is a member of the wealthiest social class of a given society.”

35k is closer to poverty than bourgeois. Is that 35k before or after taxes? If it’s before, than after taxes you’re down to roughly $27500. Then there is the sales tax. Apartment alone for the year will take you down from $27,500 to $11,000. Water-Heat-Gas bill?Cellphone/home phone? Internet Service? Food? Clothing? Car? Gas for car? Auto Insurance? What else? What are you left with than? Just curious, is someone close to you sick?

Never heard of saving up for something better? Or saving for a rainy day? You know, security? I use side money to invest in companies through the stock market – tax me zero. I paid $60,000 last year in taxes – tax me zero because I could have purchased a new car with that money, or saved up to buy a luxury car, the year after which in turn would keep the business going and the employees, employed. That is what you’re saying, right?

@Qingu wrote: “Of course this is all probably gobbledegook”

Major gobblegook.

@Qingu wrote: “But apparently not if that gets in the way of your selfish desire to increase your own happiness in any way you choose?”

Correct.

OpryLeigh's avatar

This discussion has taken a bizarre turn!

Qingu's avatar

“Contemporarily, the term “bourgeois” identifies middle-class people, the men and women whose worldview (Weltanshauung) is socially and culturally determined by their economic materialism and philistinism,

And so on. It often denotes middle class, especially in a pejorative sense, which is sort of how I was using it.

Though I do own stocks. Have a 401k, and a Roth IRA. I suppose that makes me a capital owner in one sense.

But you’re right. My life is very difficult. Why, I don’t even have a car, or cable. Maybe I am a poor person! (Despite the fact I’m just shy of the median personal income in the US…)

I find your inability to understand how someone can survive on a mere 35k salary almost charming. Were you born to a wealthy family? I mean, assuming you are not a made-up Internet persona concocted for laughs.

As for taxing you zero, no, and I have no idea what you are saying. Your ability to leech money off the financial system through investments implies that you should not be taxed for your capital gains? The fact that you have $60,000 in “side money” means that at least some of your wealth can easily, and should, be put to better social uses than simply causing you to become even richer by doing almost nothing.

Though I have to say at this point that I’m coming on down the side of “you’re a troll.” Either way, I’m not really sure if continuing this discussion is the best use of my time.

monorob's avatar

There we go. I see you have a hard time admitting things and telling the truth. A sense of egoism which is perfectly acceptable in my book since it displays some self-esteem.

Of course you can survive. You can survive in a big durable shipping box and use public facilities to groom yourself. You can dine out at a dumpster behind a restaurant store. You save a fortune.

I’m not wealthy and I wasn’t born to a wealthy family. I said I paid 60k in federal income taxes. That money could have went to a new car because a luxury car is is more reliable, safer, and very comfortable than a Toyota. Also, as you said, the money I spend to pay for the car keeps the company in business and the employees get to keep their job. Therefore, tax me zero.

If I’m investing into companies, I’m helping the company which in turn helps the employees. I profit on the success, but I’m helping socially. Therefore, tax me zero.

Qingu's avatar

I see, I misread you about the 60k. Apologies. So if you pay 60k in taxes, you make somewhere in the neighborhood of 200k? Look at you. I’m sure you work hard for that money… probably 5.7 times as hard as I work for mine, if the invisible hand of the market can be trusted.

But as for the social utility of your spending 60k on a luxury car, surely you realize that the government also spends money, yes? And that the people the government pays money to either work in exchange for that money (such as teachers, librarians, soldiers) or, in the case of benefits or welfare, then pay the money they get from the government to other people who work for that money (such as grocers, doctors, etc)?

Are you actually that dense? Or are you attempting to criticize an argument you think I’m making, or something?

monorob's avatar

You can’t even count and I’m the ignorant one? 33% of 200k is 66k. I said I paid 60k. Use a calculator.

I don’t know if I work harder than you but I do what my job requires. Correct, the market decides who is more valuable. If you read the news at all, there has and continues to be a high demand for engineers but very little qualify because they major in liberal arts which has little value in the market.

You’re contradicting yourself. See your little wall of text on luxury food and tax breaks for the rich if they spend. Now you going back to this? I think you’re trolling me. You obviously still don’t understand the objectivist position. I’m not surprised since you didn’t read the works.

Sticks and stones..

Qingu's avatar

Wow. So you don’t know about marginal tax brackets, huh.

monorob's avatar

Got you cornered now, huh? Give me another knee-jerk one liner to draw attention away from your contradictions.

Qingu's avatar

Wait, seriously. You realize that you don’t pay 33% on your entire income, yes?

monorob's avatar

If you take into account the lower tax rates for the dollars earned below $178,651, yes.

Qingu's avatar

Yes. And capital gains, if you have any.

Would you like to retract your comment?

monorob's avatar

Would you?

Qingu's avatar

LOL. Yes, if I said something that was wrong, I would retract my statement.

Can you please be honest and tell us if you are a real person? Because if you are, this conversation is truly surreal….

monorob's avatar

Then retract. You contradicted your wall of text about buying luxury goods and giving tax breaks for people who spend. You seem to want it both ways.

If I had to guess, I would never think you’re 29. You’re pretty immature for a 29-year-old.

Sticks and stones…

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Flame off, please. No need to make this personal.

Qingu's avatar

When on earth did I advocate giving tax breaks to people who spend? I said there was social utility to consumption (some of it). There is also social utility to taxing.

monorob's avatar

Not only did you contradict what you wrote but you contradicted yourself in the same paragraph.

@Qingu wrote: “Spending a little more for certain products may mean you’re supporting higher labor

—Snip

@Qingu wrote: “And if rich people actually spend their money in such a fashion, you would have a point about the harmful effects of taxing them and I’m not sure how the economy is benefited when a wealthy person spends a million dollars on a cell phone.

—Snip

Then you go on with another contradiction explaining why we need to tax everyone because of the teachers, librarians and welfare recipients who depend on the government to pay their salary using tax dollars.

@Qingu wrote: “surely you realize that the government also spends money, yes? And that the people the government pays money to either work in exchange for that money (such as teachers, librarians, soldiers) or, in the case of benefits or welfare, then pay the money they get from the government to other people who work for that money (such as grocers, doctors, etc)?

Furthermore, you’re creating demand by taking the markets money and giving it to those who don’t participate in the market in order for them to then use the markets money to inject back into the market, instead of firing all those who work for the government and making them find employment in the private sector so that business owner end up paying the salaries instead of burdening the taxpayers.

Understand your contradiction now?

Qingu's avatar

Wow, you quote me completely out of context. Did you actually miss my point, or are you being deliberately dishonest?

And if rich people actually spend their money in such a fashion, you would have a point about the harmful effects of taxing them… except they don’t. Rich people save a much higher portion of their money, and I’m not sure how the economy is benefited when a wealthy person spends a million dollars on a cell phone.

Your other point is incoherent. When you redistribute income from wealthy people to poor people, the poor people are more likely to spend it in the market, because wealthy people save a higher portion of their income. I mean it’s the exact opposite of what you said happens.

You then make the completely unconnected statement about firing people who work for the government. I don’t even know how to respond to that.

monorob's avatar

Well that was your last chance to redeem yourself, you blew it. I’m done here.

Qingu's avatar

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Poe’s Law.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I missed this comment o’ yours:

“You deserve praise. Good job, @Qingu. I know you worked hard to get where you are now.”

Well, thanks, but I disagree. I don’t see how on earth I “deserve praise.” I was born to a well-off, educated, and stable family. They supported me through childhood and paid for my college. I went to good public schools. I was born with an aptitude for taking standardized tests; I didn’t have to study as hard as most people, which helped me get into a good college. I had a fairly easy major. I was lucky to graduate when the economy was not in a recession, so I got an internship/career right out of college. I’ve been lucky to have trustworthy and caring friends and roommates.

My point here is that very little of my “success” (ie not being poor or unemployed) now has actually been earned, by me personally. To a very large extent, most people’s living standards are determined by forces beyond their control, and by other people’s actions. So in the context of this discussion—in which people have made value judgments on the unemployed and poor and assert that successful people morally and objectively “deserve” every bit of their riches—I feel I must graciously reject your compliment.

monorob's avatar

@nikipedia,

Just curious…I have a hypothetical question for you. Would you kill 1 innocent person to save 10?

If you answer no, would your answer change to yes if I increase the number from 10 to 10,000, 100,000, 1 million?

Generally the collectivists answer yes. The individualists answer no. You already made it clear that you’re a collectivist but is your answer yes or no?

monorob's avatar

George Ought to Help

Well after viewing that video, are you for or against violence against peaceful individuals?

Qingu's avatar

Oh! Inane moral hypotheticals—how fun. Can I play?

Would you kill a single innocent person if it meant saving the lives of the other 6,999,999,999 or so people on Earth?

nikipedia's avatar

If I get to kill an objectivist that’s an easy one.

What’s your point?

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Qingu's avatar

Well look at you. So principled!

See, the way I look at it is that if you are ever in this ridiculous hypothetical situation where 1 person can die on the one hand and 7 billion people can die on the other, and you choose 7 billion, that makes you the most absurdly evil mass murderer in history.

The fact that you’d choose the deaths of 7 billion people over a single person for what appears to be your philosophical vanity makes it worse, not better.

nikipedia's avatar

I think you misunderstand what a sociopath is.

monorob's avatar

No, I have defined it correctly. A sociopath is one who is in disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.

Qingu's avatar

That’s antisocial personality disorder, according to Wikipedia. We generally use sociopath in terms of the more narrow idea of psychopathy, ie someone lacking in empathy. Though the terms are connected.

In any case, I believe that people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights entail a modest social safety net—basic health care, education for children, and subsistence in times of dire need—paid by taxes.

On the other hand, you believe that you have the right not to be taxed. That you have the right to keep every dollar you have managed to suck out of the market so you can afford to buy a Lexus instead of a Camry (the same market which, of course, would not exist without taxes… but that’s another discussion).

I wonder which system of rights is more indicative of empathy.

monorob's avatar

All this psychological jargon speaks of physical harm, not just lacking empathy. A lack of empathy without action requires a different word. These define it as active.

In other words, you believe in self-entitlement. You believe one is owed food if (s)he cannot afford to purchase it on (h)is own. Obviously you’re ignorant to the idea that food is produced by a farmer who busts (h)is ass every freaking day to provide you with that produce. According to you, (h)e should just give it away because one is entitled to it. Or someone else who works hard should go and buy that food for (h)im because (h)e can’t. What a wonderful Utopia but idealism is best kept in your fantasies.

Qingu's avatar

I believe the farmer is entitled to a fair wage for his work.

I believe people are entitled to subsistence amount of food simply by virtue of existing.

I don’t understand why you don’t think these rights are mutually exclusive.

monorob's avatar

Who is going to pay the farmers if everyone is entitled to their produce?

I don’t understand why you cannot just do what you feel is right instead getting me or anyone else involved in your fantasies? If you want to indulge yourself in a life of helping the weaker members of the market, you have my blessing. Go and do good, my son. I’m sure you will find those who think like you and join you on your journey. I have my own plans. Other individuals have their plans. To each (h)is own. Why is one’s freedom so unbearable for you?

You never heard of the expression live and let live? And no, it doesn’t mean one has to sustain another to let them live because the you’re not living. I suppose you also think one who deep-fries french fries for you at McDonalds should receive a $20 an hour wage? A job with nearly zero value.

Your ideal system doesn’t mold with human nature.

Qingu's avatar

My system isn’t “ideal,” it’s the system in place in virtually every civilized country on earth.

You’re the one ranting about a utopian pipe dream.

And no, I don’t think McDonald’s workers should make $20/hou. But may I ask what you do for a living? I’d love to hear why you think you contribute value to society.

monorob's avatar

Today it’s in place, tomorrow countries go bankrupt. We tend to work in vicious cycles. When the age of entitlement ends, we will go back to laissez faire and on it goes. At least there are places in the world trying to make an effort to undo this current degenerate system that the world adapted to.

I already told you what I do – I’m a software engineer. I contribute value to society because a lot of the sectors in the market make use of what I produce to work more efficiently. The engineer is always needed, therefore there is a high demand for the engineer, but there is also a low supply of engineers. The supply is lower because the engineer has to study and train a lot (specialty). (H)e has knowledge that others do not, therefore the engineer is not easy to find even though the demand is high which is why I receive a much higher salary than the french fry deep-fryer. There isn’t much studying or skill involved in deep-frying, therefore the supply of the unskilled worker is high. There is, however, a high demand for such an unskilled labor, but because the labor is so unskillful, the supply supersedes the demand, keeping the wage of the deep-fryer low.

Qingu's avatar

There has never been an age without taxes.

And thanks for the lecture on supply and demand. I remember learning about that in middle school. What sort of software do you engineer? For some reason, I’m guessing it’s financial.

monorob's avatar

There has been an age without taxes. We had it here in the U.S after the civil War. We called it the gilded-age and what a golden age it truly was. The world was crumbling and we were prospering which is why we had such a flood of immigration. Till today the world tries to catch up to what we accomplished in that age. You and other revisionists will point out the flaws during this era but that is why idealism is dangerous. As with all things, it was a work in progress and if allowed to be handled by the laws of supply and demand an equilibrium would be met (that is the law). However, as with all problems, it is an excuse for people like you to cry foul play and get the government involved which is what aided in the crony capitalism during that time such as the railroad monopoly. Anyway, enough of history.

I do all kinds of work. It’s a different project every few months.

Qingu's avatar

The federal income tax was established in 1861. It was repealed in 1872, and reinstated in 1913. There were other taxes, of course—tariffs and state taxes, for example. And I’m not sure what you mean when you say “the world was crumbling.” The Industrial Revolution wasn’t unique to America; it began in Britain.

But okay. No income tax roughly lines up with the gilded age. Who is the “we” you believe prospered so much during the gilded age, exactly? If your point is that the John Galts of the world were never more prosperous than during the 1800’s, by all means. That’s a pretty sociopathic standard. I’m more interested in standard of living for society as a whole. That seems to have improved most broadly and rapidly during the postwar period in the 50’s… when income taxes were through the roof.

Is your standard financial stability? Because recessions, depressions, financial collapse and bank runs were much more common than the gilded age.

I guess you don’t really need to have a standard. You can just have religious faith that the free market is the solution to all of the world’s problems. When someone points to a flaw in the laissez-faire economy, like crony capitalism or tendencies to monopolies, you can play the No True Scotsman card.

I’m honestly still not sure that you’re not a troll fucking with us. I mean you sound like a parody of a cultist.

monorob's avatar

I’m not your teacher, so this is the last historic lesson for you. The places that were crumbling were Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ireland, Japan. There was a massive immigration to America for job opportunity, a lot were of these places. People even came from Great Britain, France, Canada and Sweden. Around 300,000 Chinese came. That’s right, the U.S was the best. Everyone prospered. The poor were much better off here than their previous location. The standard of living was higher in comparison.

If you actually want to understand a perspective other than your own, you’re going to have to read the various works available from a free-market perspective. I’m not going to type all this out, but you said you don’t want to read anything, so than that is the end of this conversation.

No one paid those ridiculous high progressive tax brackets after the post-war II boom. There was so much deductions and tax loopholes that people didn’t even pay taxes at all. They had to actually put in place a special act to fight against that but it didn’t help. You also don’t seem to understand how a marginal tax works, that, or you’re horrible at math.

In addition, Roosevelt died abruptly and the conservative dominated congress at that time rejected a lot of the regulations demanded by Keynesian policy such as various price controls which means the market was deregulated with no one paying those tax brackets. Rich people aren’t dumb enough to stick around for something so absurd. 400,000 wealthy individuals left France since 2000 because of their one of the highest progressive tax systems (especially that “wealth” tax). It was counter-intuitive. Instead of raising money, they lost more money + expenses. Now with the new socialist president, the remainder of the wealthy have fled to the U.K, Switzerland, and even here.

You try pulling any of this tax absurdity here and that is the end of the wealthy in this country. They’re only around here because no one actually pays the rates we have. We have so much loopholes and deductions, our tax system is a joke. Just need the right accountant.

You just keep pushing your idealistic fantasies. Most people your age are very idealistic, you’ll get over it eventually. Santa isn’t real.

No, recessions and depressions are equally matched, more so currently. in comparison fGo look up the history because you’re very ignorant of it. Furthermore, a recession is normal. Just like a drug attic who abuses the substance to the point where he collapses, in order for him to stop he has to suffer (this is called withdrawal). A recessions is a withdrawal. Market is correcting the problem. Resources are being relocated. Prices change, people change their habits. Etc…If you leave it on its own, the market will recover a lot quicker from withdrawal. Putting the government in is just putting in poison and its been shown that way historically.

Crony capitalism is a result of government intervention, not markets. This is your flaw. Monopolies again are caused and protected by governments.

That concludes our broadcast. Don’t bother replying to this because I’m just going to tell you to read some free-market books to understand what supply and demand actually is and how it operates. Brush up in your history too (not the revisionist nonsense).

Sticks and stones. Maintain your composure, child.

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