Does he collect welfare?
Absolutely not. People on welfare typically cannot or choose not to have jobs, some because it is more beneficial for them to stay on welfare. (Which is in itself another problem, and illustrates just how low-paid some of our workers are.) Joe works at Taco Bell, remember?
Does he receive food stamps?
This is just welfare, no?
Does he receive government-provided healthcare?
You seem to be referring to welfare here as well. Aside from the fact that it's not easy to get this if you have any kind of a job at all, the U.S. government really does not provide much health care compared to other western countries -- which also may have something to do with the fact that in other places, unions are not as taboo as they are here in the U.S.
You just did something interesting, though. You have just condemned the welfare programs that we give to individual peope in need of the basics -- food, clothing, and shelter. You completely ignored the fact that we spend far more on corporate welfare than we do on individual welfare here in the U.S -- according to this page we spend 5 billon more on corporate welfare than we do on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), student aid, housing, food and nutrition, and all direct public assistance, excluding Social Security and medical care. And corporations are paying far fewer taxes than individuals are. (It seems that if you can make money in huge volumes, like Microsoft, who I'm sure you heard payed zero taxes last year, you can pretty much find ways to write everything off). Considering this, your argument that those who pay higher taxes gain nothing is not really valid. In fact, quite the opposite. (Of course, perhaps politicians would not be so inclined to do corporations huge favors like this if the corporations did not contribute so heavily to their campaigns.)
And the roads are not useless, since he's likely riding his bike on them.
The roads are not nearly as useful as they are for motor vehicles. I, for one, used to take my bike through many an unpaved shortcut as a kid. In fact, roads can be quite dangerous, even deadly to bicycles, because of the heavy car traffic on them.
Corporations, of course, are driven solely by the profit motive. They'll do anything they can to cut costs and get more money into the bank, along with the deep pockets of their executives. I, for one, would not like to see this kind of motive driving, say, the school system. I fear the day schools are trying to make the most money with the least work -- that's just not what schools are all about. I would trust the government, which is completely without a profit motive, much more than I would trust a monopoly or oligopoloy of corporations, whose sole reason for existance is to try to cheat me out of as much of my money as possible.
As you can see, this argument really goes a lot deeper than just taxes. I think we'd have a lot less of a problem if (large) corporations weren't though of in such a high regard as they are today. Corporations need to be put on a short leash -- when corporate charters were originally granted by the people, they were required to obey all laws, serve the common good, and cause no harm. (See this page for more detail).
Anyway, I think that if we had more of a government of the people, and not of the corporations and elites, then this would really not be an issue. You speak out about the big bad government that can't do anything right, but remember that the government is supposed to be a government of the people. We're supposed to have a say in it -- but we don't, and thus the problem. I would much rather have my fate in the hands of a good government -- of, by, and for the people, rather than some faceless corporation that answers to nothing but its shareholders and profits. You say that In the absence of taxes, I would gladly choose to pay a reasonable amount for things such as universal education, roads, etc, because it is in my best interest for such things to exist. However, the choice should be mine to make. Well, my friend, I bet a lot of corporate executives (and pro basketball players) don't see it the same way you do. Just ask Shaq what he thinks about national defense, welfare, or roads. I bet he's barely though about it. (I remember one interview where a pro basketball player was so out of touch that he thought that the average person made about a million per year. You'd trust people who are that far out of touch to voulentarily pay for roads, schools, and national defense?)
[ Parent ]