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> Poor Folks and Your Tax Dollars, Or "Libertarians Are Wrong, Yeah"
Polocrunch
post Sep 15 2005, 12:03 PM
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Hi everyone. I haven't posted on here for a while because the internet was sucking up way too much of my time. This is going to be the only thread in which I post because I don't want to get re-addicted to Matazone just as I'm starting Uni. I have to compulsively check Gmail every half hour, so you can see how it might be risky for me to be involved in dozens of threads, all of which might get updated at any time and therefore need checking constantly.

But! I do still want to start this one thread off because it's on a subject that's been bugging me for a while, and Matazone is the best place on the Internet to air your dirty philosophical laundry. The subject, as the thread title indicates, is: should we have a welfare system to help people who cannot help themselves?

A slightly less elegant, but more precise, way of putting that question is: should we, as a country and through taxation, provide pensions, education, healthcare, nourishment, housing and more for people who do not have the money to provide all of those things for themselves? These people can include the homeless, the temporarily jobless, the long-term unemployed, the feckless, the criminal, the unfortunate, the sickly, the mentally ill, single parents, newly-weds, children, and many other sorts of people, because all sorts of people receive state support. I want to know who, if anyone, should be eligible for what support, if any, and why. It's extremely important to me that you justify your opinions.

Please, no silly demonising of certain social groups. And, for the sake of whatever gods you believe in, let's not make this a discussion about anarchy, abortion or Bush. Keep it on topic, keep it sensible, keep it lucid and keep it down your bra 'cause no-one ever looks there.


And now you probably want my opinions. Well ha! More fool you! I changed my mind and now I'm not going to tell you them until I've heard a bit from you lot. I know arachnidoc and Commie will give us some of our most diverse opinions wink.gif , but I want to hear from as many people as possible. I'm sure there's a lot to be said on the topic. And if there isn't? Well, more fool me!
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CommieBastard
post Sep 15 2005, 12:16 PM
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Short answer: yes.

Long answer:

Society has an obligation to all of its members, to provide them with necessities - housing, clothing, food, healthcare, education. Some of these (food, clothing, housing) should be provided to those unable to obtain them for themselves; others (healthcare, education) should be granted to everybody regardless of circumstance.

Effort ought to be made to discover and stop abuse of the welfare system - however, nobody, ever, for any reason should be denied provisions necessary for their survival. In a wealthy society, anything less is tantamount to murder by negligence.


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Jonman
post Sep 15 2005, 12:38 PM
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Let's assume we have a wide reaching welfare system. Who wins? The poor. Who loses? The middle-class more than likely - the rich pay bugger all tax, as they can afford clever accountants to perform financial trickery. So the middle class are essentially footing the bill. However, that's not to say that they're losing, simply that they'll have a bit less money in their pocket.

Let's assume we have no welfare system at all. Who wins? No-one really. The rich were never funding welfare to any great extent anyway, and the small amount of extra cash they'll have will make a neglible difference. Who loses? Both the poor and middle class, but especially the poor, who have no safety net for when things take a turn for the worse through no fault of their own (due to illness, acts of god, or recession). The middle class will get on OK for most of their lives, although old age will probably be a bad time, as they'll no longer be earning, and will be requiring more medical care than before.


So, either way, the rich win. With a welfare state, the gap between the poor and middle class will be reduced, as the wealth is diverted from the middle class to the poor. With no welfare state, the gap between poor and middle class will be larger, however, there will likely be more migration from middle class to poor, as there's no safety net to catch folk as they fall.

From that very limited logic (and bearing in mind that I'm biased - being British, I've been raised in a welfare country, so it's what I'm accustomed to), I deduce that a welfare state is 'fairer' to all - it should entail less extremes of hardship and poverty.


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bryden42
post Sep 15 2005, 01:17 PM
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My tax pounds should go towards helping the country i live in, those that are in a no fault of their own unemployed situation and the ammenities that I, as a citizen of this country, use. I would just prefer it if a certain section of society got up off their arses and chose to look for work instead of living off of benefits as a living rather than as a stop gap.


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snooodlysnoosnoo...
post Sep 15 2005, 01:23 PM
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QUOTE (bryden42 @ Sep 15 2005, 01:17 PM)
My tax pounds should go towards helping the country i live in
*


So you don't think that we should send aid to countries who need it more than even the poorest in this country?


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CommieBastard
post Sep 15 2005, 01:27 PM
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QUOTE (bryden42 @ Sep 15 2005, 02:17 PM)
I would just prefer it if a certain section of society got up off their arses and chose to look for work instead of living off of benefits as a living rather than as a stop gap.
*


The number of people who do this is really, really minimal. It gets vastly overstated by newspapers who are short a scandal, and find it convenient to demonise the jobless. There are much bigger wastes of our tax money than the occasional welfare-junkie.


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Jonman
post Sep 15 2005, 01:29 PM
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QUOTE (bryden42 @ Sep 15 2005, 02:17 PM)
I would just prefer it if a certain section of society got up off their arses and chose to look for work instead of living off of benefits as a living rather than as a stop gap.
*


But can't you see it from their point of view. Their choices are: work hard 40 hours a week for just enough to live on, or sit around and relax for a similar amount of money.

It's not a tough decision, is it? I can honestly say I know which one I'd plump for if I was in that situation.

Part of a working welfare system needs to include a mechanism to help people on welfare to get off welfare, and back into the workplace. It's not simply a matter of poor people 'pulling themselves together'. Additionally, there needs to be a mechanism for reducing that kind of activity where it does occur. Like cutting off payments if the person is not actively seeking work (I know that that in itself isn't foolproof)


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pgrmdave
post Sep 15 2005, 05:37 PM
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I think that vital services - health care, food, water, and a basic education should be free. I think that if people need care beyond that then the government should make them perform public service in return for welfare. If they don't have any skills that would qualify them for any public service, then the government should pay to have them educated.


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bryden42
post Sep 15 2005, 05:38 PM
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QUOTE
So you don't think that we should send aid to countries who need it more than even the poorest in this country?


Please dont put words in my mouth, i didn't even nearly say that, I give to charity by direct debit, every month, and this is a personal choice I donate and rais money for comic relief and this is a choice. What I said was that I think that my tax should stay here, because that is what tax is for.

QUOTE
the occasional welfare-junkie.

I happen to know a few ex friends that are exactly that, junkies on welfare, and drug dealers to boot ( they earn more than i do just in drug money), personal issue i suppose but that was the target of my comment. I must emphasise that i have absolute empathy and sympathy for those out of work and looking for gainful employment, it aint easy.

QUOTE
I can honestly say I know which one I'd plump for if I was in that situation.

So by intimation you would sponge of of the state! you lazy workshy git!, I can honestly say that it would drive me insane to have that little control over my income, to have that little to do each day. I have been unemployed once during my working life and it was nice for the first week, after that it drove me to distraction.


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CommieBastard
post Sep 15 2005, 05:55 PM
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QUOTE (bryden42 @ Sep 15 2005, 06:38 PM)
QUOTE
So you don't think that we should send aid to countries who need it more than even the poorest in this country?


Please dont put words in my mouth, i didn't even nearly say that, I give to charity by direct debit, every month, and this is a personal choice I donate and rais money for comic relief and this is a choice. What I said was that I think that my tax should stay here, because that is what tax is for.
*



So, that's what you are saying. What snoo meant, if I read her right, was whether the government should send aid, which of course would come out of tax money because that's pretty much the only money the government has.

And by "welfare-junkie", I meant chronic abuser of welfare, not actually somebody on drugs smile.gif Though they count too.


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mooooooooooopo
post Sep 15 2005, 06:07 PM
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QUOTE (pgrmdave @ Sep 15 2005, 06:37 PM)
I think that vital services - health care, food, water, and a basic education should be free.  I think that if people need care beyond that then the government should make them perform public service in return for welfare.  If they don't have any skills that would qualify them for any public service, then the government should pay to have them educated.
*


But...they have to be paid for somehow, providing them won't work for free and the infrastructure to provide them needs to be maintained. Everything has to be paid for somehow, this has to come out of taxes or bills for the services.

Maybe you could move water over to tax-based funding but then you get the problem that that's a large increase in taxes and doesn't actually make things fairer since not everyone uses the same amount of water.
Likewise with the other services it wouldn't be fair to charge everyone the same amount because spending on such things varies vastly.

Maybe a revamp of the welfare system is in order. Where vouchers for essential services instead of money are given out, in order to prevent abuse.


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pgrmdave
post Sep 15 2005, 06:20 PM
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My point was that if people are receiving money from welfare, then they should be earning it in some form. Either by educating themselves or by working. And yes, I think that taxes should pay for it because welfare is an investment in our society.


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snooodlysnoosnoo...
post Sep 15 2005, 06:54 PM
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QUOTE (CommieBastard @ Sep 15 2005, 05:55 PM)
QUOTE (bryden42 @ Sep 15 2005, 06:38 PM)
QUOTE
So you don't think that we should send aid to countries who need it more than even the poorest in this country?


Please dont put words in my mouth, i didn't even nearly say that, I give to charity by direct debit, every month, and this is a personal choice I donate and rais money for comic relief and this is a choice. What I said was that I think that my tax should stay here, because that is what tax is for.
*



So, that's what you are saying. What snoo meant, if I read her right, was whether the government should send aid, which of course would come out of tax money because that's pretty much the only money the government has.
*



That's exactly what I meant, Commie, thanks for clarifying.


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spuglet
post Sep 15 2005, 11:32 PM
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When the welfare system was first developed, it was termed a 'lifebelt.' Something to help those in dire need get by, but not enough for them to maintain the quality of life they would expect while working.

The unemployed do need help, but I think they sould be given varying amounts of money according to how many jobs they've applied for, possibly.
Those on sick benefits need to be more reigourously checked (Without getting intrusive.) to prevent fraud, and even sick and disabled people are perfectly capable of doing something.

Education should be free. I find it confusing that on one hand the Government wants more people with degrees, but on the other they're making it more and more expensive to get one. And then wonder why people in poorer areas aren't getting degrees.

What was I talking about?

Oh, the welfare system has clearly been abused. My geography teacher told me once there are children she has taught who have blatantly told her they never intend on working, and either plan to have every tax benefit going or pop out children as long as they can.
That kind of thing needs to have a stop put to it, and as unfortunate as it is for those in real need, living on welfare needs to be made less comfortable then it is at the moment- either with less money, no money and tokens used instead, or regular visits from people checking they're telling the truth.

I've been looking for a job for three and a half months now with no luck. But I have been looking, I have many unemployed friends who have not been looking, and they're on the dole and I am not.


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