General Question

kenmc's avatar

It's May Day. What have you done to undermine legal slavery lately?

Asked by kenmc (11763points) April 30th, 2009

American capitalism=slavery.

Today is a day of worker solidarity. Nothing will change.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

115 Answers

delirium's avatar

The Jonothan Coulton song actually comes to mind, first.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

You’re free to quit your job at any time. Thus it is not slavery.

Darwin's avatar

I took early retirement so I could work for myself (and take care of my husband). So I guess you could say that I took the Underground Railroad and escaped.

shilolo's avatar

I wrote a grant so I could hire a technician to help with my biomedical research be my slave. I feel so good about it, too.

kenmc's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic What shall I do then?


Likeradar's avatar

oh please. I’m sure people who have experienced actual slavery would totally agree with your analogy.

aidje's avatar

I’m about to graduate, so I’m actually looking for an entry-level slaveship.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

You’re free to do whatever you want to do @boots. If you don’t like your job, go get one you do. Your slavery comparison is incorrect.

_bob's avatar

I cashed my pay check.

kenmc's avatar

I’m wondering what this question will lead to…

Also, I’m wondering if anyone will ever agree with me on this subject…

_bob's avatar

@boots So, wait, you want to be fed, and not work?

You know, I’m not against that idea.

jlm11f's avatar

My roommate offered to wash my dishes this week since I have tons of exams going on. And I said no. That’s right….down with slavery.

Actually she did them anyway while I was out of the apartment. Ok, I love my slave roommate.

arnbev959's avatar

I had a conversation about corporations exploiting prison labor with my mother during dinner.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’m in the military. As a slave defending all other slaves in America along with their rights and freedoms, I’m not supposed to carry assault rifles and pistols correct? I might suddenly feel the compulsion to resist or overthrow my masters. I’d better stay on the down low even though I’m dressed in camouflage and can’t be seen anyway. Power to the people slaves!

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m a slave to my five year old daughter. It’s a normal day for me.

astrocom's avatar

Nice underhanded “capitalism is evil” ploy there boots, while capitalism can result in the exploitation of workers, American capitalism is pretty good about not doing this, seeing as we’ve basically moved all of our production out of the country (where it becomes someone else’s capitalism) and given huge benefits to the production workers that are left. So unless you’re suggesting desk jobs are slavery (which is more about monotony and less about capitalism), I’d have to disagree with you there.

And actually in the US, may day has nothing to do with workers. It’s a barely celebrated holiday with pagan traditions. I mean seriously, no one does anything for today.

Though it it makes you feel better I have a friend who’d agree with you on the grounds that capitalism is slavery, though I doubt he’d go along with American capitalism specifically.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have my own business, now that is total slavery if you like to eat and not live in the streets. I have no paid holidays, no paid vacation, no paid sick leave, no paid retirement, no paid medical. I work 7 days a week. Wow, I think I will lock the door and go get a job, the 40 hour a week with benefits kind of slavery sounds like a good deal!!!

DREW_R's avatar

I haven’t worked a slave job in about 7 yrs. I do in home care for my wife whom has M.S. and recieves an untaxable income through VA Disability as she was diagnosed while in service to her country. ;)

Crusader's avatar

Capitalism is Amoral by definition, Money dictates all policy. Senior Citizens putrify in convelecent centers while their children are convinced that taking them in their home is somehow ‘violation’ of their personal freedoms. Yet many senior would sell-out their childrens future for a few extra dollar to spend at the casino…

The ‘Masters’ are those who identify with Race, (non-Western European Heritage,) and Money exclusively, supporting those who would take opportunities away from them simply because of sexual orientation or ethnicity, and/or wealthy white Christian hypocrites-the economic and social structure gives them no other option. All others are servants. It is a caste-system designed to appear transparent and upwardly mobile. Loyalty to family is discouraged, unless it appeals to the Masters interests, ie…Demon-crats.

Until America refrains from the hypocrite Demon-crat and the avaricious Capitalist, there Will be contentiousness. Is America now the All for One and One for All nation? Hardly. At least the European socialist models give Everyone an equal playing field for the most part. And provide freedom of religion, etc..

Jack79's avatar

Personally, I’m working today. But my work never ends anyway, and has nothing to do with other people’s routines.

YARNLADY's avatar

Slavery is a form of forced labor in which people are considered to be, or treated as, the property of others. Slaves are held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and are deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to receive compensation (such as wages).

People with jobs in the US who are free to come and go as they please and spend their wages as they please and don’t appreciate how free they are should be forced to live like a real slave for a year.

YARNLADY's avatar

@boots Any time a person chooses not to be part of the system, which they are free to do in this country, they can live on handouts, or learn to hunt, fish, and grow their own food. Thousands of people do it across the US, entirely by choice. If you chose to stay in a job, because you want too many things that only money can buy, that is entirely up to you.

My brother lived by dumpster diving for many, many years, and did not work for anyone, nor did he starve. He sold items on the corner he found in the trash, and ate food he found there too, when he didn’t have enough money to buy fresh food. He shared with other people who lived like he did.

astrocom's avatar

@Crusader, dude, demon-crat was a bit uncalled for, especially since no one’s even mentioned conventional politics yet. Just because you don’t agree with their policies is no reason to liken someone of opposing views to a personification of evil.
You’ve brought utterly unrelated topics into this discussion, and attempted to inject a point that I honestly don’t even understand. Are you suggesting we convert to socialism? You obviously don’t like democrats, so what, should we be in a one party system, more commonly known as communism? Do you dislike white people or all the minorities? I can’t even tell. Somehow I doubt you understand your own position anymore than I do, and if you do, you need to do some serious work on conveying your thoughts, because while your grammar is decent, I don’t have a clue as to what you’re actually trying to say.
As far as your details go…I don’t even know what to say. Half of it makes you sound like you exist in this tiny brainwashed town somewhere that has no influence from the outside world other than the absolutely worst of local news, I mean you’re actually comparing the US to the caste system, do you even have any idea what the caste system was like? have you done basic research? You’re on the internet, this place is full of information, and it’s easy to find the good stuff. I’m just… bewildered.

andrew's avatar

Ben’s still working, so, no, the whole slave thing has been working out pretty well for me.

Kiev749's avatar

@andrew Lol.

Well, I am training new people tonight at work to tear down an isle and move it 3 feet to the left while i don’t do jack. Hurray for Slaves Minions Rookies Temporary Employees!

Lupin's avatar

I won’t buy anything made in China. Oops! I guess every day is May Day for me.

ubersiren's avatar

@YARNLADY makes a good point that you can “opt out” of the system if you want, but that still makes you a slave (loose term). The way our country is set up is that you either work so that you can pay taxes, or you get no money at all but still work your ass off trying to survive. But why can’t we participate in the workforce and opt out of the governmental system, too? The government would just not take money from your paycheck, and you wouldn’t reap any government social/welfare programs. Why can’t that be an option in our country? I know @YARNLADY‘s thoughts on the subject (I’m not looking for a debate, just throwing this out there,in response to the question). Maybe it would work, maybe not, but why are those who seek this type of independence from the government at least given the choice?

My answer to this post is this- I fight every day for independence. Sometimes aggressively online, sometimes by throwing out my ideas in small doses in my offline life. Total freedom is what I seek, and will until I die. I’ve tried to just “not care” and to just “go with the flow” but I just can’t help but feel like there is a better life possible which doesn’t include government rule over my every fucking move.

janbb's avatar

It’s my day off so up the workers!

casheroo's avatar

At my last job, the customers would sometimes refer to me as their “servant” I was a hostess at a restaurant. I about blew a gasket haha.

fireside's avatar

Service to others is a noble act.

That said, I started late today and will probably end early.
I love my job.

Facade's avatar

Don’t have a job…

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here; I have finally whipped Gail into shape. She is docile, obedient, on call 24/7 and subservient. She is allowed outside from time to time, and I don’t make her stand on ladders when I climb to the pitch of the roof.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

“Slavery requires your owners to feed and house you. Economic slavery requires you to do it yourself.”

cwilbur's avatar

@boots, @chris6137: who should be responsible for feeding and housing you? The Tooth Fairy?

kenmc's avatar

@cwilbur One should be responsible for housing themselves. S/He’s not quoting me…

cwilbur's avatar

@boots: Great, then you have a couple of options. The fact that you have this responsibility and you need money to fulfill it does not mean that anyone who offers an exchange of money for labor is enslaving you.

Slaves do not have the option of saying no because they are property. Employees have the option of saying no as long as they’re willing to accept the consequences. The fact that you need what the other party in the transaction is offering does not make it slavery, especially since there are lots of other parties offering the same thing under different terms.

kenmc's avatar

@cwilbur If an employee says no, what are the consequences? They get fired. They lose their homes, food, and ability to care for their family. Therefore, they are dependent on work.

Being able to switch masters doesn’t negate the idea of slavery.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I believe individuals should be responsible, not banks.
I just dont understand why signing a contract that says one will work for 15–30 years, to buy a house,(most of which goes to interest), which everyone in this country should have, makes sense.
If we are such a prosperous nation, why isnt there 100% home ownership? Why do we have such a high foreclosure rate?

Since we are a nation which relies on debt, I believe it is a form of slavery. When times are bad, such as now, it forces people to take less hours, for less pay, to be more “productive,” meanwhile 5 other people just got laid off, so just shut up and be happy you have a job.

Just think about how prosperous and productive we would be as a nation if 99% of the people werent struggling to just pay for necessities.

cwilbur's avatar

@boots: Alternately, the employee could start his own business, or invent something that other people are willing to pay a lot of money for, or marry money.

You need to support yourself. The way you have chosen to do so requires money. You enter into an exchange with another person or organization so that the person or organization gives you money in exchange for something the person or organization needs. And you find this morally equivalent to having no rights and having the status of property?

@chris6137: the problem with the standard of living is that when the vast majority of people can pay for something, it is no longer deemed a luxury. Look at how many people struggling to make ends meet have digital cable TV and high-definition televisions, for instance. When people get rid of luxuries like that and still can’t make ends meet, I’ll believe your hyperbolic “99%.” People are going into debt not because they cannot afford necessities, but because they insist on treating luxuries as necessities.

We have a high foreclosure rate because people made bad financial decisions, often based on fraud on the part of the lending companies. But the flip side of having the freedom to make decisions for yourself is having to take responsibility when you make a bad decision. You can’t both have the freedom of self-determination and the expectation that someone will rescue you when you use that freedom poorly.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


Your point is well taken. However, I do not see a home as a luxury. I see it as a necessity. What kind of country do we live in where the foreclosure rate, home vacancies, and homelessness is all on a rapid incline?
As far as living beyond our means, which I agree with, do we blame individuals or our society which encourages this?

“You can’t both have the freedom of self-determination and the expectation that someone will rescue you when you use that freedom poorly.” How come this doesnt apply to large corporations?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I remember footage from the May Day parades in Moscow. All those tanks and missile launchers passing the reviewing stand. Too bad the Workers’ Paradise is gone.

cwilbur's avatar

A home is a necessity. Owning it is not. We live in a country where a lot of people made stupid decisions.

And living beyond our means: what is society except individuals? If you live beyond your means, it’s your fault. It doesn’t matter if the Joneses made you feel inadequate because they have a brand new 72” flat screen holographic super high definition TV; if you can’t afford one, you shouldn’t buy one. I don’t buy the “society made me do it” excuse, unless society handed over your credit card and society signed the receipt.

And I think that principle applies to large corporations too, and that’s reflected in the way I vote.

_bob's avatar

@cwilbur Now I want a brand new 72” flat screen holographic super high definition TV. I blame you.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

A lot of the anarchist-types on here seem to have a “cake and eat it too” attitude. I don’t understand how that works. If not from work, since work is slavery, then from where does everything come? Are you saying money shouldn’t exist? If that’s not it, then from where does the money come? If not, from where does all the stuff you need to survive come?

I guess I haven’t seen much of what your “other option” is. What is the “other option”?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@boots What is your proposed alternative?

ubersiren's avatar

@Dansedescygnes : That’s not quite our attitude. We want to work. Our ideal system includes a lot of work, actually. We just don’t want the government to have their hand in our paycheck. In other words, we wish not to be slaves of the government, but only to ourselves. In exchange, we don’t want their help, naturally. Some anarchists believe in a communal society, others (like me, sometimes referred to as an anarcho-capitalist) would be more comfortable in the workforce, making our own money and saying where it goes. The same workforce you’re in- with pharmacists, teachers, Target cashiers, researchers, burger flippers etc. I don’t see how that’s having my cake and eating it too. I only want the choice. If I feel like my employer is treating me like a slave, then I can change jobs until I find one who is not treating me this way. I’ve had one or two fantastic employers who have treated me like gold. But under a government, no matter if you’re happy in your job or not, you’re always a slave to the government. Without “automatically” being ruled by a government, you can have the choice of who can tell you what to do. If you feel like a slave, you’re a slave, but if you’re happy and willingly working for someone who respects you, then you’re free. I wish this misconception that anarchists are lazy, selfish, greedy, destructive and unorganized punks and hippies would be settled. But it won’t ever be because we are seen as a threat to everyone else’s way of life. Really, true anarchists (and not just teenagers wearing red shoelaces) wouldn’t be opposed to living amongst members of a democracy or republic, we just don’t want to participate. I personally don’t wish for government to be destroyed, I only want the option to not participate. Just like the Catholic, Jew, and Mormon living on the street can live together in community, but they live their own lives according to their own will. It’s a whole different mindset to wrap one’s mind around. Unless you click into that frame of mind, you will fail to see the possibility of anything other than a cult or hippie commune. In reality, it can be anything you want it to be.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ubersiren You are not answering to the tone of this question. Wage earning workers are being equated with slavery.

While I do ‘get’ what you are saying, I don’t get why you don’t think the people DO have a say in what the government does or doesn’t do. The government only gets away with fraud and corruption when people turn their back and refuse to do their part in making things happen through the procedures available to us, namely, supporting candidates that agree with us by word and action, and voting out the others.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ubersiren – I don’t understand how you could live in the community and not partake of the benefits of it that were paid for by others taxes. You walk on the sidewalks that are maintained by taxes, you drive on the roads, you go to doctors whose education is subsidized by taxpayers, you are protected by police, kids go to school and on and on.

If you want to live without paying, seems then to be fair, you should go live in the woods somewhere and not ever take advantage of any of the perks that come with being a taxpaying member of society.

Crusader's avatar


Some people benefit more than others from taxes…
Know what I mean?

rooeytoo's avatar

You mean you don’t walk on the sidewalk, you fly above it???

Yep that is true that some people benefit more but I also benefit muchly and I am thrilled that I am self sufficient enough that I, so far in my life, have not needed more.

Crusader's avatar


Ah, sarcasm, the hallmark of liberalism…how quaint. Do you believe you would be as self-sufficient without the government mandates for grants, and employment/education quota for those who are ‘minorities.’ Your self-assigned demographic? Collectively empowered by your allies And your adversaries? (Unlike the conservative who is on his/ her own…) You ingratitude to typical and expected.

rooeytoo's avatar

Crusader, jeeeez was just a little joke and the end was not sarcastic at all, it is how I feel. You are repeating what I said that I would not be self sufficient without the government, I pay taxes and reap the benefits. Sure I complain sometimes but all in all it is not a bad deal.

Aren’t you the religious guy who called me a homosexual man just recently??? Then reappeared under another name?

Crusader's avatar


A little joke, Ok. Pun intended. No problem, yes, I am agreeing with you that government contributions to society are important, and beneficial to all. It is the ‘selective socialism’ and benefits for selected ‘groups’ which are nearly 95% of liberal orientation that I take issue with, all that are in the ‘afffimative action’ and ‘Naacp’ and ‘aclu’ catagory, really.And, no, I was not alluding to your sexuality directly, just referencing a fact that homosexuality is a benifit for securing a better school, employment, and lifestyle-typically at the expence of a consevative for the sake of ‘diversity’. Plenty of well paid bloggers for liberals are homosexuals, their loyalty is usually beyond question.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


making our own money and saying where it goes.

What about all those aspects of civilization that are currently maintained by the government like roads and such? Who takes care of those in an anarchistic society?

ubersiren's avatar

@rooeytoo : There are infinite possibilities but here are 2 options. We could either build our own sidewalks, or if the city officials wanted, they could charge us a toll. The point is that we would have a choice of what to use. Oh my god, if I have to defend the “building of the roads” and the “But who will teach your children!” arguments one more time… Just think about it for a second. There are always people willing to teach, people willing to build roads, people who were born to protect us… We can pay the teachers whom we want to teach our kids. Pay the best candidates for road construction. Anarchy isn’t about not spending your money; it’s having control over where that money goes. I’m also sick of people telling me to live in the woods or Alaska… that solves nothing. Anywhere I would want to build a house, I would still be made to pay property tax. i.e.- slavery.

@YARNLADY : Maybe my answer to the question wasn’t clear since I always tend to get carried away with myself- I’m supporting “May Day” by trying to tell people that working for the man isn’t the only option. If anarchists were allowed to practice their life choices in this country, we could have the option to work for the man or work for ourselves. Nothing has to be set in stone.

I don’t believe we have a say in what our government does because… we don’t. Unless you’re a conservative living in a conservative state which elects conservative representatives, you’re not going to get the results you desire. Or if you’re not a liberal in a liberal state, etc. I know we live in a democratic republic and that’s just “how it is” but I don’t believe it has to be how it is. It doesn’t have to be any one way. By voting, someone’s wishes are not going to be fulfilled. I happen to believe that paying taxes into a system where it may or may not be spent how you want is unfair. It would be more fair, in my opinion if you could pay only for the services you wish rendered to you. But that’s not the American way… prosper together, suffer together.

ubersiren's avatar

@Dansedescygnes : “But who will build the roads?!?!” Read my response to @rooeytoo above.

I don’t mean to sound pissy. I don’t know if you all are meaning to make me feel like an idiot, but that’s just what I’m used to when debating this subject. I’m just sick of people telling me it can’t work. I don’t care if you think it can’t work. I just want the option to try.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ubersiren When we have to explain our views on different questions, and to different users it gives us a chance to re-word and re-think why and where we stand. It can seem tedious, but I find it illiminating. I would like to see the ‘hate the system’ people take a long, hard look at the benefits they do have, no matter how obscure, and then try to figure out how the alternative would work.

Today, many poor people complain that only rich people can go to parks, because they have to pay a fee, and the best, cleanest beaches are open only to those who can afford them. You seem to be advocating a system that is even more limiting, where only people who have enough money can walk on the sidewalks or use the roads, or go to public schools or any of the benefits currently afforded by our taxes, and the overall distribution from both the rich and the poor.

What would you have a person who has no skills or can’t find work do?

cwilbur's avatar

@ubersiren: The city government is charging you a toll for sidewalks. It’s just assessed as property taxes. It also includes in that the fee for police and fire protection, and the fee for public schools.

_bob's avatar

Ah, nothing like a long Internet thread that’s going nowhere.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


And you are sounding pissy because I wasn’t arguing against you, I was asking a question. I want to understand how you think it would work. But I have every right to argue against you if I wanted to.

YARNLADY's avatar

@bob_ I have gathered from discussions with the owners that is exactly what they are after. They limit us to two questions every 6 or so hours, precisely because they want long discussions.

YARNLADY's avatar

@cwilbur Good point. I would challenge the “hate the system” “fee for use” people to actually get involved and find out where our money goes, and provide concrete ways to avoid, eliminate corruption and fraud.

ubersiren's avatar

@YARNLADY : I don’t hate the system and I don’t want to take it out. I just want to be outside of it. I respect those who need it. I recognize that living under our government has made me a nice comfy nest in my corner of the world. But I think we can be better. Free for use? No… I would willingly pay for things that I use, but my point is that I don’t want to be paying for things that I don’t use. Corruption and fraud will always be. But without the government “taking care” or everything it would be exposed more readily to the public and those of us willing, could be given the choice to do something about it.

@cwilbur: But with taxes, I have no say how it is spent. If we were charged tolls, we would be able to choose which sidewalks to walk on, therefore funding those sidewalks we wish to fund.

@Dansedescygnes: I know, and that’s why I wanted to clear up that I wasn’t meaning to attack you. Sorry for the tone.

ubersiren's avatar

I just want the chance! It’s the principle of not even being given the freedom to attempt another lifestyle that is the slavery, here.

arnbev959's avatar

@bob_: Shush. This is a great discussion. I’m learning a lot. And congrats on the 1000 lurve.

ubersiren's avatar

@YARNLADY : also, nobody has no skills. if you mean the disabled, then they can do exactly what they do now. there will still be jobs for them (Blind Industries, Goodwill, etc) and the severely disabled will still be taken care of by family, community, and charities, just like now.

Poor people can’t afford parks? And having a government now is helping this how? Some things can’t be “solved” by any means. There will always be less fortunate people, poor people, disabled people, stupid people. All I’m proposing is that we are given more freedoms. Who’s to say someone won’t buy up a park land and leave open to the public. They could accept donations from the well to do. This stuff happens now, and could continue. I see no difference.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ubersiren I hear “Let them eat cake”

ubersiren's avatar

How so? I’m not proposing that if they can’t afford to get into a park to take a vacation to Paris…

YARNLADY's avatar

“There will always be less fortunate people, poor people, disabled people, stupid people.”

Here in my area, we do, indeed have private ownership of parks and recreation areas, and just as I stated above, only rich people can use them.

The tax supported parks are able to charge lower fees, due to the wide tax base. Poor people pay taxes, rich people pay taxes, and when the revenue is all spread out, it lowers the fee for the poor, while the rich still have their own private parks.

Oh, let me add that some very, very rich have, indeed given their “treasures” to the public, as in the Getty’s. This is rare. Again, from a local example, the original owners of a local ranch allowed free use by low income people, but when they passed on, their children sold the property to developers for the profits. So much for philanthropy.

P.S.I sincerely believe if you realized how your taxes are spent and the benefits you derive, you might be a lot more receptive. I will go out on a limb here to suggest that you have not explored all your avenues for changing the system from within. (I could be wrong now, but I don’t think so).

fireside's avatar

“We could either build our own sidewalks, or if the city officials wanted, they could charge us a toll”

So the alternative to tax is for people to build their own sidewalks and roads?

Can you imagine the degradation of standards that would cause?
People would end up only driving on certain roads which would then get more beat up and the people building those portions of sidewalk would either stop, or start putting up gates and charging their own tolls for the roads and sidewalks.

That seems like a huge leap backwards to me.

ubersiren's avatar

So, you’re saying that parks are either:

1. Owned privately and charge $15 per car, or
2, State owned and paid for with tax dollars AND STILL charge a fee.

So people are still paying close to the same amount in either situation. And like I’ve said a hundred times, state owned parks wouldn’t be abolished in my ideal society. People would always have the choice to participate or not.

My quote is true, by the way. I don’t see how that is ignorant in the “let them eat cake” manner you spoke of. Especially since I include myself in or near the “poor” category and have been my entire life.

@fireside: If untraveled roads crumble, what’s the harm? They’re untraveled. The traveled road could be funded with tolls. Isn’t that the purpose of toll roads now? You pay a toll and the road owner uses that money for repairs… I don’t see the flaw here.

ubersiren's avatar

Actually, edit that. Untraveled roads would need less repair. I think the ratio would balance itself out in this situation.

Or sidewalks, or whatever we’re talking about.

fireside's avatar

Every street should have a toll?
Or do you pay the toll by going into a designated area?

Why assume that unmaintained roads are not necessary ones?
The most used roads would fall into disrepair the quickest.

Tax is a toll for the maintenance of the roads in a designated area.

Now that you have edited, what ratio? Tolls to maintenance?
And who will be manning these toll booths? Property owners with guns?

ubersiren's avatar

Unmaintained roads are necessary and I didn’t say otherwise. I even made an edit above to clear my point. Not every street would have to have a toll. Maybe like you suggest, sections of streets. But the point is that you can CHOOSE what to fund. Pay for what you use and not for what you don’t. Hell, with all these options, you could even pay for them like you pay for a pre-paid phone. I don’t know, there are endless possibilities!

Yes, the wear on the streets would be in balance with the tolls paid. Lots of wear is paid for by lots of tolls.

Who mans booths now? Employees of road owners! Voila. No guns needed.

rooeytoo's avatar

I’m curious about the sidewalk toll, would you have to pay each time you walked on the tax payers sidewalk, or would you pay an annual fee, sort of like a tax but not really, just a sidewalk usage fee???

What happens when your hospital doesn’t have a dialysis machine or cat scan, then you would pay the hospital fee plus your extra fee because you never paid any tax dollars to help subsidize.

It just seems impossible and unrealistic. It is like you want all the perks of living in a tax funded city, as you said you don’t want to live in the woods, but you don’t want to pay your share.

fireside's avatar

How many people do you think would be needed to man toll booths on every street?
Do you think that might interfere with their ability to go out and work so that they can afford to pay for the roads they use?

Does it cost more to use a stroller or wagon on the sidewalk instead of just walking?
What about joggers, do they have to carry money with them every time they go out?

YARNLADY's avatar

@fireside @rooeytoo I have asked for clarification on all these and other issues as well, but when it comes to actually explaining how it would work, or even researching the benefits that we each receive from our taxes, the conversation falls flat.

fireside's avatar

@YARNLADY – That was the first time i ever heard that argument and I was just stunned by the narrowness of the vision.

It’s exactly why there are property taxes in the first place. The town you live in is where the majority of the roads you use are located and the road owner is the city. Plus, people often make decisions on which town to live in based on the school district that has the teachers they want teaching their kids.

kenmc's avatar

I’m happy so about all this discussion. :)

@The_Compassionate_Heretic What I think would be a better system would be to have free market, but a regulation on the size of a business. Like, you could have a Johnson’s Hardware (made up example), but not a Wal-Mart. If a business ends up that size, tax all the income over a certain (still really high) amount. Like, if Wal-Mart pulls in 15 billion a quarter (ex. No. out of air) but the cap is set at 10 billion, that other 5 would go to fix roads and the like.

And strong unions that aren’t bloated and bureaucratic institutions only worried about money. That would be nice.

rooeytoo's avatar

@boots – Here’s the part I don’t get, you would have to have some sort of governing body to keep an eye on Wal-Mart’s profits and there are a lot of Wal-Marts etc. so you would need a lot of people. You end up with a government whether you want one or not, these people have to be paid so someone has to come up with the money. I just don’t see how you can avoid it in reality. Is there a model country somewhere that operates the way you think it should, I can’t think of any???

kenmc's avatar

@rooeytoo I don’t think I’ve said much of anything about gov’t in this thread…

These corporations can keep track of their own revenues (like they already do).

I’m not against having gov’t. For me, it just depends on what it’s doing. I would like it to keep a sharper eye on those that may fuck the people over, rather than the people themselves.

I’m speaking in theories right now. I don’t believe there to be a model country. I’m not sure what that has to do with the actual argument, though…

fireside's avatar

@boots – I agree. Deregulation of the industries, due primarily to the influence of lobbyists, seems to have done nothing to help rein in those that would abuse the power they are given as heads of industry.

ubersiren's avatar

Wow, you’re really stuck on these toll booths. Like I said, there are dozens of other options. There’s no one right way to do things. You could choose to pay like a pre-paid phone, or you could even buy a sidewalk to put in front of your own home, or you could pay for repairs as they are needed. Means of transactions could be left up to the property owner. Maybe some roads would have tolls and others are paid monthly, etc,**gasp** all in the same town!

@rooeytoo: There need not be a governing eye. If the business sucks, the citizens would see it. Instead of the government giving them one, two, or more chances to fix the problem or they’ll be fined or shut down, it’s unsatisfied customers would not return and the business would be forced to improve or else it would go out of business.

You can find out about anarchist societies by googling it. It’s that simple. Wikipedia has a list or former and present communities, but doesn’t include all of them. If you’re really curious and not just trying to put me on, then the internet is there at your disposal.

I don’t think @boots is necessarily an anarchist like I am. I think he’s just anti-capitalism. Am I right? I could be misunderstanding. I’m just giving my take on the question.

ubersiren's avatar

@YARNLADY : Sorry I haven’t been able to answer every point, as I have been somewhat ganged up on. I’m fighting a battle on the minority of things, here. So, ask me what specifically you want answered and I’ll do my best to give you answers. It was much simpler when I was just battling you and daloon. Now, democracy has sent its reserves after me on this thread, hahaha! I can’t keep up!

gailcalled's avatar

For a small reality check, let me tell you about my gravel driveway, now a private lane. I own it and the family below me has an easement to use it. It requires regravelling and regrading every few years due to flash flooding, run-off and the snow plow damage. Negociating who pays what, including divvying up the plowing pills requires a round table and a conference. And may soon demand an ombudsman.

My neighbor has the same situation but with three families. It is similiar to the three-body problem in physics…hard to solve.

kenmc's avatar

@ubersiren That’s mostly correct. I’m not necessarily an anarchist, nor am I totally against capitalism.

I’m anti-big business and pro-small business. I just think the gov’t shouldn’t stalk the citizens. It should pay more attention to those that may undermine rights (including itself).

ubersiren's avatar

@gailcalled : If you own it, you should be able to say who is allowed to use it and how much the users pay to use it. Is there something wrong with my logic? I’m asking seriously, now. I don’t understand why it’s such an ordeal to set an annual (or however often) maintenance fee for them. Shouldn’t the owner set such fees?

YARNLADY's avatar

@ubersiren Now see, that’s an example of what I mean, you’re real big on maybe, if and should, but when it comes down to actual facts, you fall flat because you don’t have the foggiest idea what the business of getting things done is all about.

When several people get together and choose who their (school, roads, whatever)is going to work, that IS government. You just don’t get it.

I do see what you mean about gang up on you, and I’m glad you see that it is not you personally, but your fuzzy view of they way things work.

gailcalled's avatar

@ubersiren: I did mention that this family has a legal easement. That means they are legally entitled to use their part of the driveway even if it turns into the LaBreya Tar Pits. Everyone has a slightly different idea of when a new load (or 10) of gravel needs to be brought in and graded. The guy drives a truck that can take more abuse than my Subaru.

The reality is more complicated; because of where my neighbors’ drive enters the main drive, they plow the bottom half for free, since they have to get out. I pay to have the top half plowed. He also attaches a little rake onto his truck and rakes the remaining gravel a little in order to fill in the smaller pot holes. So no one gives any one else orders.

My neighbor with the three-body problem (three families sharing one main drive) has an even more complicated set-up. Diplomacy and compromise work far better than a dictatorship, particularly when the power goes out and we need to help one another.

cwilbur's avatar

For an even larger reality check, consider the places in the world where there are no taxes and no government. @ubersiren, you really do have the freedom to move to Somalia, if you want to reject taxes and all the benefits thereof.

ubersiren's avatar

@cwilbur : Stop telling me to leave my home! I will not move to the woods and hunt game, I will not move to another country. My home is in Maryland, USA.

I’m seeing a lot of intolerance and ignorance. I am so fucking done here. All I’m saying is that I want a chance to live a certain way. I’m not asking anyone to change anything for me. If I fail, I fail. You are all being so narrow minded, intolerant, and negative. There ARE solutions outside of your enclosed little boxes, but you won’t even consider exercising them in a trial run or experiment… even if it doesn’t include you! That’s bullying! This is the same attitude that is preventing gay marriage (and other such social issues) in this country… despicable. Mind your own business and let people live the way they want to. If it sends them to Hell, then, so be it.

You know what? I AM big on maybe… “maybe” opens doors. I say maybe because there is no one way to accomplish ANYTHING! I will never be so arrogant as to say “definitely.” You all are so insistent that you are the absolute final and correct say in what the one “right” way of life is. I say this time and time again. Very few situations are leveled the first time… it takes some trial and error. I think democracy and republic is still in it’s trial and error stage. You may praise it, but I do not.

And a community spending money on what they wish to support is NOT a government. Nobody is “getting together.” Elected and appointed officials making decisions for the public is a government.

I hope you all are truly happy. But I believe ignorance is bliss.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free ~ Goethe

ubersiren's avatar

Another thing about maybe, then I’m out of here- When I’ve said maybe, I have given suggestions on how things could work with methods that are effectively used in our “real” world. Ex: monthly bills, tolls, etc. These things work. The maybe is to leave the choice of which options are to be used up to the individual business/ property owner. It’s not my uncertainty, it’s leaving the choice up to others. If I were to give only one solution and say that was the only way it could work, that would make me an overlord, or a government. That would be very closed minded. I mean, I just don’t get it… I give multiple suggestions for solutions, and all I get is “that can’t work.” Without any evidence that shows me it can’t. And maybe the suggestions I give won’t work, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other avenues to explore. Rejecting even the slightest idea that there are other possibilities is just very sad to me.

Again, thanks for all the insults (particularly @YARNLADY calling my ideas fuzzy and telling me I haven’t the foggiest).

gailcalled's avatar

@ubersiren: Ad hominem arguments never change anyone’s mind; remember that.

cwilbur's avatar

@ubersiren: Your proposed plan makes my life a lot more difficult. I don’t want to have to pay a sidewalk fee, and a police fee, and a firefighter fee, and an ambulance fee, and a snow removal fee, and a garbage removal fee, and a road cleaning fee, and a road maintenance fee for this road, and a road maintenance fee for that road.

The only examples we have of people trying anarchy are disastrous ones. You don’t want to live in Somalia; I think that’s very, very telling.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ubersiren It’s not an insult to point out where your arguments simply fall flat. You really do not have the foggiest idea how things work, or you wouldn’t expect your opt out idea to have any merit.
I have challenged you to do the research, but apparently, you’re afraid of finding out the fact that you truly do benefit in ways you don’t care to acknowledge. That’s on you, not me.

DREW_R's avatar

@cwilbur Seems as all forms of socialism and communism have also a foul record. Niether of which are even relevent to our Constitution. The biggest point to be made here is that our government has gotten too big. Fine, if you want to pay the feds for roads being built and maintained somewhere else besides your local area. If part of my taxes go to road maintanace then I want it to go to my area. That seems as if I should be paying my state, Oregon, to do that instead of paying the feds to hand it out to N.Y. or GA. What am I going to gain for maintaining another states roads? More taxes.

Same with welfare. If part of my taxes go into welfare I want it to go to my state or area. I don’t want to pay for a welfare mom in Detroit. I want it to go to the needy in my area and take care of my own 1st and foremost.

ubersiren's avatar

@cwilbur : I never once said that you had to participate. In fact I’ve said quite the opposite. But just so you know, you’re already paying for that stuff… you just don’t have any control over it. And there are anarchist communities that presently exist and work. I don’t want to live in Somalia because it’s not my home… the only thing that should be “telling” of is that I want to live near my friends and family and my whole life that I’ve built.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ubersiren That’s exactly what “having your cake and eating it to” is. You want everything you have now, but you don’t want to pay your fair share of the benefits.

cwilbur's avatar

@ubersiren: So what you’re proposing is that people can opt out of government and taxes, but still live in a place that sees the benefits of taxes? Jeez, where can I sign up? I mean, I pay a lot of taxes now—if I could not pay them, and still have the benefits of highways, road maintenance, public utilities, and police and fire protection, I’d go for that for sure! Except that if enough people did that, within 20 years we’d be living in something that looks a lot like Somalia except for the skin color of the people.

(I also reject entirely your delusion that people can’t control where their tax money goes, because I’ve gotten involved before.)

arnbev959's avatar

@YARNLADY and @cwilbur: That isn’t what ubersiren is saying. She’s saying you’d opt out of the taxes that you don’t use, and only pay taxes that you directly reap the benefits of.

It isn’t trying to have your cake and eat it too. Who wants to eat a whole cake? It’s about just eating your one serving.

Darwin's avatar

They already do that here. It is called a “user fee.” An example: you only pay for a dog license if you have a dog. You only pay a road use tax if you own and register a car.

YARNLADY's avatar

@petethepothead I understand that, I’m not singling anyone out here, but most people have absolutely no understanding about what benefits them and what doesn’t. @Darwin would have only auto owners pay for roads, but I ask this; how do you think your groceries get delivered to you? Do you not indirectly use the benefit of the roads? Do you make your own clothes? If not, how does the cotton get to the thread mill, and from there to the fabric manufacturer, and then on to the clothing makers? Do you not benefit from the roads they use, however indirectly?

Why is it so hard to see beyond your own front yard?

Knotmyday's avatar

I bought a Roomba. Robot slavery, mmm.

Darwin's avatar

@YARNLADY – It isn’t me that sets that user fee. It is the state of Texas. That is how it works here. You have a car, you pay a tax directly for using the roads. You pay indirectly for the rest of that mostly in the form of the cost you have to pay for goods.

In Arizona, if you own a car you pay a different tax, one based on the value of the vehicle you are registering. The money doesn’t go directly to roads as it does in Texas.

cwilbur's avatar

@petethepothead: except that she benefits from things like her neighbor’s fire coverage, the neighborhood’s police coverage, the neighborhood’s paramedic coverage, the public schools in the area, the state universities in the area, the hospitals supported partially by state funds, the roads that she doesn’t use directly but which trucks use to deliver goods to her local stores. She also benefits indirectly from public transportation, which reduces the traffic congestion on the streets she drives on even if she doesn’t use it. She benefits from welfare and disability payments to the poor people in her neighborhood, which keep them from begging on the street or breaking into her house to steal things to sell.

She’s just pissing and moaning because it’s not itemized, and can’t opt out of things she doesn’t approve of or thinks she benefits from. Selfish, short-sighted, and ignorant.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Darwin So why is paying more for clothes (or any other of the fees that have been advocated) any better than paying your taxes? You still pay, there is still a level of administration, you still pay for every single thing that taxes pay for, only it is split out.

In Colorado, for instance, we only paid one bill for “Utilities” that included the water, the electricity, the gas, and the trash. Here in California, I have to pay separately for each one, and it is such an unnecessary hassle.

Darwin's avatar

@YARNLADY I am not advocating not paying your taxes. I am simply pointing out examples of user fees that already exist. This isn’t something I just made up, you know. It is how the state of Texas does some things but not others.

cwilbur's avatar

Oh, and her nonsense about wanting to be allowed to opt out while not being required to participate in government or pay taxes: that’s having her cake and eating it too. She wants to keep on benefiting from all the things that her neighbors pay taxes for—the things she benefits from indirectly, that I enumerated above—without actually having to pay for them herself.

And if something like that were allowed? As soon as the majority of selfish and short-sighted people found out they didn’t have to pay taxes, they wouldn’t, and the end result would be the end of all sorts of public goods. No more public roads, no more state universities, no more police and fire and ambulance services. No more public libraries.

Ubersiren protests that she’d be happy to pay for the services she actually uses; whether you believe her or not (and, really, I don’t, because her perception of the services she uses and the actual services she benefits from do not line up), you’d be crazy to believe that everyone who opted out of taxes would be as conscientious as Ubersiren claims to be.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Darwin Ok, I see. There is a system of fees that get passed on to the products here in CA also. The trucking companies have to buy a special sticker for many of the states they travel in, and many retailers have to pay fees to stay in business, all of which is passed on to the comsumer.

Knotmyday's avatar

Here in Arizona, ordinary ol’ jackasses walk around sporting large-caliber pistols in holsters, simply because state law simply dictates “no concealed weapons without a permit.”

Every state legislates whatever the public decides is best for the common good. That includes taxes that pay for public works, and also gun control. Ultimately, WE decide, and legislators legislate.

It is apparent that the gun-toters are in the majority here. Perhaps they’re the reason gay marriage gets shot down repeatedly (no pun intended, but there it is).

Idiots legislate idiocy, hence all the potholes I drive over on my way to work. My taxes should be filling them; instead, they pay the salaries of people who have agreed to deprive gay people of their right to be just as miserable as straight folk. Sigh.

kenmc's avatar

@Knotmyday Not all pro 2nd amendment people are against gay marriage fyi…

cwilbur's avatar

Here’s the crux of the problem, as I see it. ubersiren says this, here:

“And a community spending money on what they wish to support is NOT a government. Nobody is “getting together.” Elected and appointed officials making decisions for the public is a government.”

That’s where we differ. Representative democracy, electing people to make decisions on our behalf, is how the community chooses to decide how to spend money, and what they wish to support. Ubersiren sees a distinction between “the community spending money on what they wish to support” and “government”; I don’t.

The problem here is that the community has decided how they want to spend money, and ubersiren doesn’t agree. So she wants to remove herself from the responsibility of community membership while still benefiting from what the other members of the community have chosen to support. This is not ethical anarchism; it’s closer to a three-year old stomping off with her toys when the other children decide they want to play a different game than the one she wants to play.

Response moderated
Knotmyday's avatar

@boots – You have a point. Some National Guardsmen are indeed enlightened.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther