Exactly so. Essentially, the original poster had used crime statistics to bolster the claim that Europe had things better.
Well, the original poster was me, and yes, I did make that claim. You haven't refuted it, and the only thing demonstrated about it so far is that it's unlikely that handguns are the sole cause of the differential. This in no way impacts my point.
And you'd have to be particularly naiive to think that the only cause was the 'Great Society'. WWII actually ended the Great Depression, not the Great Society. The subsequent fifties and early sixties were the greatest period of economic prosperity in the US in history, period. During that time, a man could support his entire family. However, the societal revolution in the late sixties and early seventies changed all that, as did the Carter-era stagflation. Then came the eighties, leading to the nineties, during which time anyone could get a job here. Subsequently, now that we are in the 2000s, there is a mild increase in unemployment, but people are still hiring. What this means is that those who are less apt may not be able to get jobs. However, the driving force in poverty this whole time has not been social work but the economy.
You seem grossly misinformed about what the Great Society was. It was the social programs, such as Medicaid, Head Start, and AFDC that were put in place under Johnson in the sixties. And as your very long quote states, poverty went down then, and has gone up since these programs were gutted. This was exactly my point.
Essentially, those on welfare, at least here in the States, are not incentivised to leave welfare. They do have a higher standard of living than if they worked. The result is, of course, that they stay on welfare, but the welfare system was much worse: you got more money by having more kids, who grew up on welfare. This is part of the problem of inner-city rot that the dot-com revolution went a long way to fixing. See, people on welfare are disincentivised to get their own money by the fact that they can't work and be on welfare.
The fact that people on welfare are punished for getting jobs is a flaw in the way our job market works. Namely, our job market provides jobs which cannot possibly support the workers, and since people need health care, but can't get it with these jobs, that's just one more reason to stay on welfare. These are not problems with welfare.
Further, standards of living are relative. Do you wish for the government to pay for everyone to achieve, say, Warren Buffet's standard of living? Where do you draw the line?
No, certainly, that would be impossible with current technology. I think that everyone can be given a reasonable standard of living. There is certainly no requirement for absolute equality. Beyond that is an implementation detail.
Standard liberal statement, but let's investigate. Say, for instance, we take people away from low-paying jobs, and give them government money.
Why are we taking people away from jobs?
That money has to come from somewhere. It comes from taxes from people who make money, ie, contribute. Now, when those people have less money, they buy less.
For some of them. For Bill Gates, losing the vast majority of his wealth would have no effect on his consumption. Furthermore, having people buy fewer yachts isn't always bad.
Those who can now purchase without contributing inflate the cost of goods while those who purchase less yet contribute face reduced quality of life.
Actually, people purchasing less with other people purchasing more will tend to balance out. And since wealth redistribution will most likely not be perfectly efficent, it will be a counter to inflation, since it will take money out.
Eventually, too few people are really producing for the system to remain viable. Then you have high inflation caused by more people purchasing than contributing combined with a strong disincentive to produce, resulting in an economic crash. The pattern is incredibly predictable.
That's quite a leap. It would seem to imply that all countries which redistribute wealth will eventually go into a death spiral. Given the vast number of counterexamples (as in, every country in existence), you need some evidence.
So, you see, it isn't a moral imperative; it's merely an understanding of how things work.
How you claim they work.
What I want to know is why it is a moral imperative to give those who have not earned it a higher standard of living than those who have. How is that fair?
Who said anything about fair, first? Second, how is it fair that you live and other people starve? Third, it's a moral imperative because otherwise these people will suffer a lot, whereas the cost to you is much less.
f I can and do earn a good living, why should I pay a significant portion of my income to those who do not contribute?
Who says they don't contribute? And even if they don't, you should contribute because your posession of that wealth is benifitting you much less than it would benifit them.
In other words, my argument isn't a moral one; I don't believe in morality.
Yikes. How do you decide what is right and wrong, or even what you should do?
My argument is, in the words of economics, a 'positive' one, based on how things are, not on some sort of ideal.
Actually, those are the words of philosophy, but no matter. And your argument is one dealing with what we ought to do. It is not possible for this to be determined from positive claims. Just ask Hume.
'Normative' arguments are based on how things should be and are often flawed as a result.
I fail to see why that is a flaw in an argument.
Given a choice between Libertarianism and ravenous martian spores, I ask you, do I look good in this Bernaise sauce? -- eLuddite
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