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Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 1:53 PM


Suppose that every day, 10 men go out for drinking and the bill for
all 10, comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes,
it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The 10 men drank in the bar
every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the
owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he
said, I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily drinking by $20.' Drinks for the 10 now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes
so the first 4 men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
But, what about the other 6 men - the paying customers? How could they
divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They
realized that $20 divided by 6 is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from
everybody's share, then the 5th man and the 6th man would each end up
being paid for his drinking. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair
to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to
work out the amounts each man should pay.

And so:

The 5th man, like the first 4, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The 6th now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The 7th now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The 8th now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The 9th now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The 10th now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the 6 men was better off than before. And the first 4 men
continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to
compare their savings.

'I only got a $1, out of the $20', declared the 6th man. He
pointed to the 10th man, 'but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right, 'exclaimed the 5th man. 'I only saved a
$1, too. It's unfair that he got 10 times more than I!'

'That's true!!', shouted the 7th man. 'Why should he get $10
back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first 4 men in unison. 'We didn't get
anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The 9 men surrounded the 10th man and beat him up.

The next night the 10th man didn't show up for drinks, so the
9 sat down and had drinks without him. But when it came time to pay the
bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money
between all 9, of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, men and women, working people, beats & bums, free loaders, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the
most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being
wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start
drinking overseas where the economic atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Pennwoman  (Level: 163.1 - Posts: 2475)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 2:04 PM

Further proof drinking is bad for you.

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 3:16 PM

who was the professor? Where did that come from - PM me please Felix

Bbear  (Level: 168.0 - Posts: 2291)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 3:52 PM

A true story of "sharing the wealth"

Violetblue  (Level: 112.2 - Posts: 854)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 4:33 PM

My favorite quote of late is "Beware the Four Horsemen of Calumny - Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear”

The reason the email "sounds familiar" is that this "Bar Economics" email was circulated ad nauseum at the early part of this year. Moreover, the original viral email was first circulated in 2001, in response to debate about Bush tax cuts.

The professor of economics at UGA (one of the universities from which I earned a degree) is credited as David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D, who, BTW, refutes these remarks.

Here's a counter-argument for you, Felix (also C&P, and not my own words):

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and they order 10 glasses of beer (or 120 ounces of beer). If they split up the beer the way that wealth is distributed in the U.S.A, it would go something like this:

The first five men (the poorest) would get a sip of beer each or 0.672 ounces.
The next four men would get a small glass of beer each or 8.22 ounces.
The tenth man (the richest) would get 7 glasses of beer or 83.76 ounces.

The ten men went to the bar every day and the tenth man seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Inflationary pressures are rising," he said, "I'm going to reduce the amount of your daily beer by 20 ounces. You will now receive 10 glasses of 10-ounces each, or 100 ounces total."

The group still wanted to split up the beer the way that wealth is distributed in the U.S.A. How could they divide the loss of 20 ounces of beer so that everyone would lose his 'fair share?' They realized that 20 ounces divided by ten is 2 ounces.

But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the first five men would have to pay the bartender 1.328 ounces of beer each. So, they decided to only take 0.672 ounces of beer from each of the first 5 men and take the remaining 16.64 ounces from the remaining 5 men.

Each of the first five men would give up the sip of beer (0.672 ounces) that they received (a loss of 100%).
Each of the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth men would give up 1.17 ounces each (a loss of 14.2%).
The tenth man would give up 11.95 ounces of beer (or a loss of 14.2%).

The result:

Each of the first five men would receive no beer.
Each of the next four men would receive 7.05 ounces.
The tenth man would receive 71.81 ounces of beer.

Each of the first five was worse off than before, having lost all of their beer. The next 4 were worse off, since they no longer received a full 8-ounce glass of beer. The tenth man still received 71.81 ounces (~ a six-pack), and was still happy.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their losses.

The first five men said, "We lost a sip of beer each. We don't get beer any more."

"Well, we lost more than a quarter of our beer" said the next four men "It's unfair that you only lost a sip of beer. We lost twice as much as each of you did."

"Wait a minute!" yelled the tenth man. "I gave up a whole glass of beer! I gave up more than all of you combined!!! The poor get all the breaks! First, they get free beer, and then they complain when they lose their free beer! The middle class are always whining about everything because they're too dumb to get as much beer as I do."

The tenth man called security, and the first 5 men were told to leave the premises, since they could not afford to pay for any beer.

The next 4 men stood silently watching, not wanting to risk the loss of any of their remaining beer.

The tenth man got into his chaufferred limo and went home.

The next night the first five men didn't show up for drinks, so the remaining five sat down to have beers without them. But, they discovered something important.

The first five men didn't show up to:

harvest the grain and hops to make the beer
drive the trucks to bring the beer to the bar
clean the beer glasses and sweep the floor of the bar
serve the beer
and, most importantly, work as the security guards to protect the tenth man and his beer
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, wingnuts and supply-siders, big-c and little-c conservatives, is how wealth is distributed in the U.S.A. The people who have the most money get the most beer. Take too much "beer" from the poorest people, belittle them for being poor, and they just may not show up anymore to make and serve your beer.

statistics from

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 4:45 PM

Damn those who work hard and prosper.

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 6:07 PM

great post as usual violetblue. Those beers sure are small though!

Bradd  (Level: 204.6 - Posts: 43)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 7:29 PM

Wonderful, Violetblue!

Texlewee  (Level: 34.1 - Posts: 599)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 7:33 PM

The problem with the second analogy is that it is based on everyone getting free beer.

Free beer, cheese, milk...

Must have been a socialist bar.

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 8:31 PM

Ain't it amazin' how no one wants to talk about who pick's up the tab.

Kaufman  (Level: 270.0 - Posts: 3941)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 8:48 PM

Everybody must believe in something.

I believe I'll have another beer.

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2011)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 9:08 PM

Good lord, free beer. Count me in.


Violetblue  (Level: 112.2 - Posts: 854)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 9:14 PM

I'll talk about picking up the tab...

I will. (Kelly, I expect "friend status" now). I will pay more taxes if Obama wins than I will if McCain wins. That's okay with me. I want my kids to have better schools, safer roads to drive on, etc. It's not only about what's good for me, though. I was raised to help those less fortunate when I could afford to do so. I grew up, much like Barack Obama, as a poor kid of a single, widowed mom. Federal assistance programs, including food stamps, helped provide necessities for us. My mom worked hard during the days so she could go to college at night. Eventually, she went to med school (on scholarships and grants). Now she makes a good living... and she called today to tell me she hopes Obama wins "by a landslide". She is a Florida voter and waited 90 minutes to cast her vote. She feels it is important to give back, by charitable donations, yes, and by paying higher taxes if necessary.

I know what it's like to grow up poor, and how it feels to have the lights turned off because there wasn't enough money. I know there are kids out there who want to go to college and don't see a way. Providing social programs that help kids reach those goals is not only the right thing to do but it's the logical thing to do. I worked hard to get good grades and earn scholarships to college and grad school. I am fortunate now that I have a stable career and can afford some nice things. If paying higher taxes affords someone the opportunity to eat, have shelter, go to college then I am only doing what is right. Someone's taxes helped me achieve what I have and I am so thankful for those programs that helped us out when times were very hard.

Texlewee  (Level: 34.1 - Posts: 599)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 9:30 PM

Violet, I appreciate your sentiments, but Government Aint't the solution. I'm sure if I met your mom, I would be proud. And I, too, have had hard times in my life.

But government controlling everything is NOT the answer. Government doesn't make a man or woman productive. Government encourages men and women to wait for someone else to pick up the tab.

Government doesn't create business. Government sometimes chooses the winners and losers in business, but has never invented anything. Been forced to meet a budget. Been forced to pay back a loan. Risked anything to start a business.

Government is a never sated beast that consumes and consumes, while creating nothing,

Towerguard  (Level: 71.8 - Posts: 155)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 9:36 PM

That might nice of you, Tracy. Are you also going to pick up our tab??? Granted, we had most of a $1-trillion credit at the start of 2000, but someone gave that away and kited our credit card up to over $10-trillion. Someone needs to pay that back, with interest, and I was hoping it wouldn't my my kids and grandkids.

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2011)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 9:36 PM

My dear Violence, you have ALWAYS been a friend.

Thanks for putting it SO succintly, ya'll can call me what you want but I honestly believe that if we don't help those less fortunate than us, as a societly (and yes personally as well) we miss the bigger picture. There are future geniuses among the millions of families on welfare who deserve my dollars, more so than do the HMFICs of AIG.

Call me a Socialist if you will, but honestly I'll wear that badge with honor. Society is no better than it's most downtrodden of people, and to dismiss them ALL as lazy and incompetent is tantamount to elitism. Darwin died, survival of the fittest doesn't work.

I like things like good schools and good infrastructure. I'm willing to pay for them. Geesus I think I've gone off the deep end.


Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 9:39 PM

I'm Sandracam and I approve Chick's post.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 10:03 PM

In addition to supporting the sentiments expressed by both Violet and Chick, many rich people have not worked hard to get their money. They have inherited it or because they had the right backgound door were open to them that others would have to work for. Not to mention the luck element in the job you land. For most jobs, their are a lot of people who could adequately perform the job -- even high paying jobs -- so there may have been hard work to get to a position where one could compete for such a job, but it in no way changes the fact that there is an element of luck in ultimately landing a "prestige" job.

There is also luck in the roll of the genetic dice. I personally don't believe that somebody who was shorted on brains should, thus, be condemned to a life of poverty.

There are too many hardworking people who don't make much money and don't have healthcare. I think government should provide for this basic necessity for all of its citizens. If this makes me a Socialist, hell yes, count me in.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 10:08 PM

I was wondering when somebody would call Tex on the "rich people are hard workers who earned their spot and the poor are lazy people who earned theirs" fallacy! Well done Mr. Tim!

Texlewee  (Level: 34.1 - Posts: 599)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 10:22 PM

I dont recall calling poor people lazy. I called lazy people lazy.

And why should we penalize the people who do have by taking it away and giving it to the have nots?

Tim, based on your statement, I feel like you say life is just a lottery. People who achieve do so because of a predisposition to do so, or just blind luck.

And,. those who were nurtured to be slackers shouldn't be less fortunate than others because it's not THEIR fault they were raised wrong..

Is it right to take, say. Bill Gates fortune and split it with the local drunk to some degree? It's not the drunk's fault he was born with the predisposition to be an alcoholic. It's not HIS fault he didn't have the ideas and drive to realize Gates' wealth.

Is that your position?

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 10:34 PM

Tex, I believe that's Bill Gates' position.

Texlewee  (Level: 34.1 - Posts: 599)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 10:39 PM

Then where's MY check from Bill Gates? And why is he still rich?

Texlewee  (Level: 34.1 - Posts: 599)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 10:40 PM

Oh, wait a minute... I just have to forward an email to 10 people and I will automatically get a check from Microsoft....


Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 10:49 PM

Your check from Bill Gates will be in lower taxes, unless you make more than 200,000 a year.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:01 PM

Bill Gates is still rich because he doesn't redistribute enough IMO, except mostly in taxes. Partly why I think the government has to do it, because the rich won't do so willingly. What do you think of the opinion in the following article, Tex? Just out of curiosity.....

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:02 PM

Not trying to prove any point, just trying to understand your perspective.

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2011)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:03 PM

Bill Gates and the other Buffet are giving MORE than their share back Tex. What is your point?

As Bill so eloquently put it, the illusion of "I'm rich and I don't want to give it to the government", is just that, AN ILLUSION. Very few of us are in that bracket, if you are GOOD FOR YOU. I'm not. If you honestly are one of those that earn over $250K per year as a couple, congrats. I'm not. And I (as a middle income person) really would like to see my $$ go to sumpin more than a war we are paying through the nose for (and have no business being in) and bailing out companies while the GOP still tells us they're for "less government" yet now MUST control the banks? How is that not contrary to their platform? Geesus, pick your side.

Jimmy Buffet I still love too.


Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:06 PM

I disagree with you Chick on Gates, that he is giving more than his share....Carnegie sounds better. Why don't we have men like him anymore?

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2011)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:08 PM

He's dead.

Just an observation.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:10 PM


Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:11 PM

Tex, I actually would support a non-means tested guaranted annual income at a very modest level with, of course, universal health coverage. By entitling all to this guaranteed modest income, it would be unnecessary to have to divide the worthy poor from the un-worthy. It also eliminates the need for a large bureaucracy to enforce eligibilty rules.

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:18 PM

Tsk, I agree with most of your posts, but not sure about this one. Explain please?

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Wed, 29th Oct '08 11:29 PM

Me too Tsk - I know my initial thought - but want to make sure I'm understanding what you are saying...

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 12:07 AM

Re Guaranteed Income. My point about this would be that every citizen would be entitled to some relatively low amount of income -- hadn't really thought about the sum. Everybody gets it so you don't need to worry about whether somebody is poor enough or otherwise qualifies. Same would be true for medical coverage,

When I say it wouldn't be means tested, I literally mean all families and single adults would get this income. I would see the income guarantee as a substitute for virtually all current welfare and assistance programs. This, in turn, would eliminate the need for bureaucracies that now exist to make eligibilty determinations with respect to various governmental assistance programs. It would also remove the stigma associated with "welfare" because it would be a universal program.

I would anticipate that the modest nature of the guaranteed income would result in only a marginal increase in people who elect not to work. That is, most people will still be encouraged to work to be able to live better. The idea would be to ensure all citizens access to healthcare and enough money to have food and some sort of shelter. It should be eminently possible in this very wealthy nation. I say drastically cut the war budget and give it a go.

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2011)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 12:19 AM

HEY!! No one asked me what HMFIC stands for!!!

Please let me say it...PLEASE.


Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 12:31 AM

Hey Chick - I got MF - Male Female right (ROFLMAO)

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 5:12 AM

With the great track record the Government has for spending our money, why would we want them to control any more of it. Why not just let the group that wants to force everyone to hand out everything to the lazy and illegal immigrants do so with their own coin. Churches and private charity would do the same work and participation would be voluntary. You know kind of the American way. What happened to freedom of choice? When did it become my problem to help people that don't even help themselves?

Howard Beale

Caramel1  (Level: 136.3 - Posts: 21615)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 6:22 AM

TSK, this is most likely a dumb question and perhaps you have already spoken to it. Just would like to know - "What if adults did not spend their allotted money for food and clothing for their children?" Not trying to raise controversy just would like your views on this thanks=Linda

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 6:37 AM

You mean like the lady who bought the $400 purse with her FEMA voucher? You really have to wonder what kind of person thinks that more government involvement helps anything. I have 4 sons in school, a disabled ex and a disabled parent. Is o'bama going to help me with all of this? No way. Taking my hard earned money and giving it to some lazy piece of crap is not the answer. When the rich tuck their coin into CD's and out of the capitalistic world we'll all have government jobs. I don't even like cheese.

Oldcougar  (Level: 229.6 - Posts: 1935)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 8:02 AM

Yeah Violet, Yeah Chickie, Yeah Tsk. I'm one of those commie pinkos too (actually I'm a Socialist & a card carrying one, at that) We are in about a 50% tax bracket but Ed & I don't mind if our taxes are helping those less fortunate. We don't mind sharing our good fortune.

Re: Means tests. The right wing government in BC recently decided to change the qualifications for Welfare for special needs people ( Retarded, to be politically incorrect). They decided that an IQ of 90 didn't qualify anymore, that it should be only an IQ of 70. Picking on people who through no fault of their own are virtually unemployable. Another proud moment for BC'ers, as the government continues to find ways to fund the Olympics of 2010 Please don't support them, though I will understand if your child is competing.This really ticks me off, as I love the Olympics & will have to boycott them when they're in my own backyard because the government did many more things than this to our most vulnerable citizens to balance the books. A small price to pay to back up my convictions. .


Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 9:10 AM

Linda: Of course, the political idea I expressed is utopian or dystopian depending on your political philosophy. However, in such a system, I would expect child welfare laws to remain in place. Currently, a parent's refusal to provide for a child's support can result in termination of parental rights. I would expect that to remain true. I'm afraid that any system that is devised will be subject to being abused by somebody.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 9:25 AM

Stoutyoungladd: I assume you are referring to Andrew Carneige. He did, indeed, use a lot of his fortune for public works. He also treated his own labor force horridly. Carneige and his then-manager, Henry Clay Frick, brutally crushed the steelworkers during the Homestead Strike of 1892, setting beck the organized labor movement in the U.S. for decades. Carneige insisted on substantial contract concessions from his workers at a time when his company was already very profitable. I don't recall the number of workers killed when Frick -- with Carneige's blessing -- unleashed the Pinkertons against the strikers.

My understanding is that Microsoft employees are well compensated relative to employees of other companies at all job levels. I'm not really about hero worshipping rich capitalists -- but in my opinion, Gates is worthier of respect than Carneige because he apparently deals fairly with his employees.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 9:27 AM

Okay Chick, what is HFMIC?

Garrybl  (Level: 294.3 - Posts: 6808)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 9:34 AM

Can I congratulate the sploofus crowd on having a moral and political debate and remaining courteous and to the oit. Even if we disagree with some of what's said we can respect the right of those who believe this way to make their point politely yet, if necessary, forcefully.
No slurs, no slanders, thanks all.

As to my view: get rid of AMT and substitute in higher taxes across the board to compensate. That way some random tax that was supposed to catch a whole different bunch of people is eliminated. I'm all for paying higher taxes art state and federal level to get better arts schools bridges and roads to name the first four things I thought of. But the list goes on.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 9:41 AM

Felix: You and your family would be assisted by a guaranteed national minimum income. Everybody would be assisted by it because it would be a universal plan.

Your objections to assisting the impoverished seem to be based on the notion that they are impoverished because they won't work, but are capable of doing so. I concede that there are some people like that; however, there are many times more working poor, who do work hard at their minimum (or slightly above) wage jobs and who have no health insurance. There are also many people who would work, but can't get a job or who work jobs that are part time and/or for which they are ridicuously overqualified. I don't have a problem with the people who actually benefit from the state's laws that permit the capitalist economic system to flourish to contribute to that society through taxes that support programs for those people who end up losers under those same laws.

Tuzilla  (Level: 146.5 - Posts: 3847)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 10:23 AM

Careful, Garry. They are easily spooked.

Violetblue  (Level: 112.2 - Posts: 854)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 10:25 AM


Head MoFo In Charge

(at least I think so) :D

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 10:27 AM

I think Tsk - the problem is that I've seen, is that so many that do "need help" because of circumstances, and those that get help because they just want it and aren't willing to earn is where the lines cross.

You make a choice to say "okay, we can't weed them all out so we'll just help everyone no matter what" - and I have issues with that. I think that by holding people up "in general" without any real hope or incentive to help themselves, you cripple their ability to look to themselves to be more.

As my child grows, he learns to stand on his own two feet, and begins to walk. What if I decided, to never put him down, and that I would carry him always, or push him in a stroller, to where he never put his two feet on the ground. First of all, by about 3 years old, I'd be exhuasted from doing everything for him and second, I've crippled him from doing the natural thing an infant does as he grows into a toddler, not allowing him to toddle. I've taken away his ability to use his natural ability to become what he's to become in the future.

Now, when I did encourage my child to walk, I was there behind him, knowing that the chances were could he would stumble and fall at times, but I did not pick him up and say "okay you got hurt, your not capable of doing this yet, so I'm going to hold you" - I held out my hand and allowed him to use it to stand up, and encouraged him to try again and eventually he could walk without me standing behind him and soon he was running.

I know that sounds simple, and it's intended to. A system that is there for those that truly need it because of circumstances (i.e. my child is running and breaks his leg, and needs crutches for 2 months while his leg heals but eventually will once again walk correctly and not need those crutches) I have no issues with. I have issues with a blanket system that cripples people into thinking they should be taken care of by others because they are "owed" or they deserve it. People like Violetblue's family obviously are the people that benefited from the system the way that it should work and how wonderful - the strong line between "doing it all" and "doing it for those who will become" is the issue for me. I'm not talking about people who are mentally or physically challenged. I'm talking about able bodied people who just don't "wanna". And our system has fostered an enormous number of people who fall into that category.

If you are going to have a system that is there to help those who are less fortunate, are the children of parents who are drug addicts or alcoholics or abusers, into that system needs to be safeguards to help that child have a different life despite his entry into this world. I've been a volunteer at orphanages. I've been second in command of a program designed specifically to target children and help them that are "at risk" that were identified to us through the schools...the first of them graduated from high school several years ago and I see them and they still see me and say "Miss Lorri - thank you for what you did" - one is the assistant manager of a fast food franchise here - some did not fair so well despite our intentions because of their family circumstances and a system that failed them.

I guess my point is - there are no guarantees, but I believe that our system needs to be cleaned up and refocused and limits need to be set to set people to achieve whatever they can be - even if you and I don't think it's so great, for them it might be - everyone's goal is different - handing out money just so "everyone" can have it is not a way to fix things. I understand that you prefaced this with "utopian" and appreciate that - the biggest problem I see is that eventually the drive for success will become a non-issue because those that continually work and continually have taken from them to provide for all the "less fortunate" will grow tired of doing all the work.

I guess the story of the Little Red Hen stuck with me as I grew up
( - for those not familiar)

I think the most irritated I've ever been was when my son made the highest grade on an extremely difficult test because he studied so hard - 20 points higher than anyone else - but came home depressed. I asked why and he said "The teacher doesn't say who made the highest grade anymore because the other children will "feel bad" and that it's not fair to single out the one who did the best"

I think that's a crock...but, that's just me.

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 10:30 AM

And me! Smell like that crock is full of........................................

Lisap369  (Level: 61.1 - Posts: 992)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 10:39 AM

One word... "WORKFARE".. not welfare.. and unless you have a diagnosis or proven disability - no work, no money... (ducking now lol)

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 10:55 AM

Well put, Lisa!!!!!!

Toledosugar  (Level: 51.4 - Posts: 279)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 12:04 PM

I am a firm believer in helping those who need it. However, that said before we start handing out a guaranteed income, I would like a stipulation that they have passed a drug and alcohol test and have proved citizenship before they receive assistance. If you can afford drugs or alcohol you can afford to feed yourself and your kids. If you are not a citizen or do not have status with our country, you should: go home, get in line and come to this country according to our laws.
I'm so glad tomato season is over, I'm sure there are would be a few rotten tomatoes, headed my way.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 12:27 PM

Mr Tim: If we are comparing moral differences between Gates and Carnegie, I think that is a very hard thing to do, and I don't really think I am qualified to do it. I can say I like Carnegie less after your post, but its hard (I think) based off what I know to compare the two men. I'll give you an example: People came to a point where they quit burning witches. Was this a "moral" improvement? I would say no, rather it seems people just quit believing in witches over time. Workers in Carnegies day were not treated as well as they sometimes are now, partially (imo) due to improvements in belief about how we should treat them, and I'm sure you can pick that up from any organizational psychology textbook. This wouldn't be Bill Gates fault or Carnegies fault, just what happened over time. I don't view this as a moral improvement either Gates or Carnegie would be "responsible" for, therefore I cannot look at Bill Gates in a more positive light because of it, nor look at Carnegie in a lesser light because of it. I consider this a neutral change when comparing the two. If perhaps Bill Gates had spearheaded the "lets treat workers better" movement, I might admire him more, but to my knowledge he didn't. Feel free to clarify my thinking on this matter, but that's the first thing that came to my mind. It may be that Carnegie treated his workers much worse than others in his day and age, then that would be something to consider.

Donleigh  (Level: 156.5 - Posts: 5477)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 12:31 PM

The single biggest problem with welfare is the disincentive to get off. Anyone getting a job loses their benefits, but cannot afford to eat or pay the rent - the jobs they are eligible for do not pay enough. Workfare does not have a path to jobs that afford a real living. Training programs do not lead to meaningful work that pay a real wage. If faced with the choice between working and starving or staying on welfare, what would you choose?

Lisap369  (Level: 61.1 - Posts: 992)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 1:19 PM

My point for workfare is that it would run like welfare (with medical benefits and all) but you would have to contribute, in some way, to society in order to receive it. Growing up, my mother worked her a$$ off to support us, single mother, legal secretary. I've never known her to be on welfare (and she was born in the depression, was forced to quit school and take a secretarial course at 14-15 to help support the family [deceased parents, living with younger sister, wicked stepmother and 2 stepsibs] - could only get a job at a machine in a sewing factory through WWII and had to hand over her entire paycheque. Luckily her boss discovered she had the course under her belt and promoted her from the floor to the office - with a raise. She never told stepmom about the promotion so she kept the difference from her old pay and her new one so that she could get 'out from under'.) That story aside, the work ethic was instilled in me from birth.

Welfare hardly pays enough to survive but the benefit of it is healthcare (prescriptions, dental, etc.). That is why many people get stuck in the cycle - can't afford to get a job because I can't afford medical, babysitting, etc. That's fine but, why are we handing you this money for nothing in return? Why can't those people collecting welfare actually WORK at something suitable for them in order to receive the paycheque? I completely understand physically or mentally disabled people not having the capability in some form or another to work, and I don't begrudge them in any way (mind you, I've known a few people over the years who've gotten away with 'back problems', etc. and collect disability for life, while gardening, babysitting small children, travelling.. and on and on.. but, again, that's another issue.)

What workfare proposes is that yes, you can get public money to help you survive, but not for FREE. There is lots to be done. How about volunteer positions in so many organizations that can't recruit enough volunteers? i.e. cancer society, MDS, hospices and palliative care units, etc. Or, pick up garbage along the roads and highways.. OR.. you name it, there's something out there to do!

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 1:50 PM

I've known people who were able to train for something while collecting welfare. It would be awesome if they couldn't ever get off of it because "they were working". In many areas, especially rural areas, its not like they have night school for people. And some opportunities only come up during the day.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 3:41 PM

Stoutyoungladd: I take your point on comparison of behavior as moral - I would probably use the term ethical - within the context of the historical times. Carneige was representative of the captains of industry of the Gilded Age. His behavior was certainly considered 'ethical" within the power structure and upper crust society of his time. I would suggest, however, that those who worked for him and their familes might have a very different idea of the man's ethics. As to gates - I really know fairly little about him - but if what I have read is not just Microsoft propaganda, Microsoft employees are treated better than employees in the majority of American corporations. So even if the tenor of the times isn't as anti-labor as in the Gilded Age, it nonetheless appears that Gates has been more generous with his employees than the ethic of his times would require.

Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 3:55 PM

Well, there is a little more to be said for Gates than I assumed, (in relation to Carnegie anyway), but I still have reservations, which there is no need to respond to. For one, the workers one employs seems like a drop in the bucket numerically compared to the number of people Gates could help if he were to give away a comparable sum to Andew Carnegie, which would be 78% of his net worth. Thanks Mr. Tim... That doesn't mean I'm not grateful for Gates considering what he has done, compared to others who are fortunate in today's day and age, he seems generous, and I agree your use of the term "ethical" was probably a better choice, I struggled for words on that one.

Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 4:00 PM

Workfare. I suppose it really depends on what you mean by it. Here, in the States, it has generally meant forcing recipients of governmental assistance to do work that is not valued by those requiring that it be done. If by workfare we mean that government is to be the employer of last resort and provide real jobs for anybody who is able to work, with the tradeoff being that if you won't work, tough luck, that is a system I would feel more comfortable with. My major issue with such a system is the issue of deciding who can and who cannot work. Again, a universal program of guaranteed minimum income would not require that such decisions be made precisely because all adults would be participants in it.

Kaelin, I am sure you are right that some people would elect to live in a state of dependency on their minimum income, but I think this would be a small minority of people who are actually able to work. I ultimately think that the prospect of the government simply enabling some number of persons' laziness is something I would accept as preferable to the large number of working poor living had-to-mouth - with the help (now) of predatory payday advance lenders. There problems, of course, are exacerbated if they get sick and don't have health insurance.

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 4:09 PM

Okay - I had fun watching this - from 1934
Disney's "The Grasshopper and the Ants"

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Thu, 30th Oct '08 6:10 PM

Soon to be timely video!

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