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Say it with me: "Unemployment Benefits Are Evil"

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July 21, 2010 – Comments (58)

We're not going to get anywhere until we stop giving the collectivists a moral ground that they neither deserve nor earned.  Maybe one day, we will grow a pair and say,

"I oppose extending unemployment beneftis, in good times or bad, just as i oppose all measure that confiscate property from their owners.  I oppose any policy that turns ordinary citizens into State beggars.  I oppose any policy that pits one group of society against another.  I oppose any policy that forces equalization on people who are unique from birth.  All of these policies are evil and unemployment insurance is no different.  It does not help anyone.  It gives them back pennies on the dollars that have been previously confiscated from them.

Furthermore, I support all policies that maximize income inequality.  The most efficient economy would be the one where the division of labor was so perfectly coordinated that no two individuals earned the same income. This is the path of any society that respects property rights.  Although that will never be the case, the opposite path - striving for the most inefficient and immoral ideal of income equalization is the most absurd idea to ever catch popular fancy.  Hopefully more men and women of intellectual courage will speak up against the outrageous presupposition of higher morality assigned to the false doctrine of egalitarianism."

For a more scholarly approach to the see Rothbard's Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Hoppe's Economics and Ethics of Private Property. (Both free by pdf via Google search.)

David in Qatar

58 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 21, 2010 at 3:35 PM, FreeMarkets (93.19) wrote:

Unemployment and Social Security are designed to fix a nagging problem - many people don't save for a rainy day.

As a Constitutional Libertarian, I'd first like the Federal gov't completely out of the system.  Then individual states could determine the best way to deal with the situation.  It would be nice if there was a check box that you could 'opt out' of insurance, but the most important part would be putting the money you earn into your own account.  Could you take that money out before retirement - I guess you should be able to.

The more I think about it the more I disagree with any form of unemployment tax - people just need to learn to save for a rainy day.

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#2) On July 21, 2010 at 3:56 PM, Griffin416 (99.98) wrote:

Bush#2 tried to implement a sort of forced IRA, but it failed. The reason he tried to pass the bill was that he knew Americans are stupid with regard to their finances.

This type of 99 week long welfare, lulls us to sleep and causes the jobless to not even try anymore. I feel genuinly sorry for people who got downsized, but the average check is $293 per week...and it is taxable. There are lots of jobs out there that pay more than that, people just need to get off of their pedastal and get to work. They can still look for (better) work when they are employed, people have been doing it for years.

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#3) On July 21, 2010 at 4:03 PM, Rehydrogenated (32.61) wrote:

We all know from psychology 101: If you want to people to do more of a negative behavior, add a punishment.

This is know as Positive Punishment.

Taxation, when argued in a positive light as a way to create social programs, take care of the needy, help people save for retirement, etc, is a form of poisitive punishment. It leads to people thinking, "Well, if I'm already paying taxes I'm covered for...a rainy day...retirement...if i get injured." Which is often not true, but many people think it is, and considering how much we pay in taxes many people believe it should be the case. I have a hard time disagreeing with them.

Unfortunately, studies have also shown that once the culture (in this case the culture of saving for a rainy day) has been broken and replaced with a new culture, it almost impossible to reverse. Taking away the punishment does not make the culture revert. 

Taking away unemployment or retirement benefits won't change their behavior, it will just piss them off. I agree they should have never been given in the first place.

 

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#4) On July 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM, russiangambit (29.27) wrote:

I agree that there shouldn't be longterm unemployement benefits, but there should be food stamps for unemployed so that people at least don't starve. Something like $10 a day. I think the real issue is that unemployement benefits are far to generous.

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#5) On July 21, 2010 at 4:29 PM, allstarvulture (< 20) wrote:

I'm not going to say that unemployment benefits are evil.  I will say that they are subject to abuse.  I will say it's shameful that they are wielded as a political wapon and that they incentivize behavior in some that is completely counter-productive.  However, a society can, and should be, measured by how it looks after its least fortunate.  The trick in the tail is that there is a distinct difference between unfortunate and willifuly lazy.  How to serve one while not the other?  I have no solution to that.  But neither am I willing to throw the baby out with the bath water.  

I do not oppose all measures that confiscate property from its owners.  There is a certain level of necessity for state protection that allows for individual property rights to be maintained in the first place and for the individual to operate and, hopefully, profit.  That protection needs to be paid for in some way, shape, or form.  I do oppose the abuse, in any varied forms that you wish to ascribe, of this necessity by the state.

I support equality of opportunity, but oppose forced equality of outcome.  While we may agree that a system that seeks to force such equality of outcome is the most immoral, it does not by necessity follow that the diametrically opposed system is the most moral.  We should make what we earn (through our efforts, ideas, or negotiation) within the bounds of legality.  But it is in the interest of society to have at least a base level of compensation that allows people to live acceptably (even, if, by an extreme point of view, we define 'acceptable' as avoidance of starvation and lack of shelter).    

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#6) On July 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM, ragedmaximus (< 20) wrote:

It's the people that make a living on welfare and get paid to keep doing it and having more children for mo money creating more criminals and sucking the govt,taxpayer and court systems dry not the recently laid off former taxpayers that have lost a job in the worst economy since the great depression.

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#7) On July 21, 2010 at 4:44 PM, Dow3000 (< 20) wrote:

You people get me through the day...I can't even turn on my TV anymore or talk to most people b/c they are so incredibly ignorant of the truth.  David is obviously correct in this and most everything he says, I'm glad more and more people are listening to the libertarian/austrian crowds.

 To be fair though, at this point the entire system is crashing hard and will not stop until most of our debt defaults; unemployment is a small price to pay to keep unrest in check for at least a while longer...there are much better places to cut at this point...across the board 50% government pay cut would have me dancing in the street

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#8) On July 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM, spellsly (72.59) wrote:

Your sense of entitlement to free information, for example:

"Both free by pdf via Google search." 

 

 

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#9) On July 21, 2010 at 5:06 PM, DarthMaul09 (29.72) wrote:

I think if the Democrats in Congress had their way they would approve college scholarships for a major in "Unemployment" as the newest growing career choice.

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#10) On July 21, 2010 at 5:07 PM, ocsurf (< 20) wrote:

Unemployment benefits do help those that legitimately are in need and can't find a job BUT it is giving those who are LAZY more of a reason to sit on their ass and do nothing but collect checks.

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#11) On July 21, 2010 at 5:26 PM, starbucks4ever (97.36) wrote:

David in Quatar, I agree with your proposition 100%, if only you can show me how you are going to produce jobs for everyone unemployed so that we can tell them to get off our necks. 

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#12) On July 21, 2010 at 5:45 PM, uclayoda87 (29.23) wrote:

Russiangambit has the right idea, decreasing unemployment benefits down to food stamps and minimal cash is a needed first step to making persistent unemployment less attractive.

To answers zloj question, do away with the minimum wage and make every state a right to work state, which would allow companies to feel less afraid of hiring new people in an uncertain economy.  Also eliminate many of the government mandates for hiring, which unfortunately were just expanded upon in the new financial reform bill.  If the government continues along this path of making job creation more difficult because it wants to maintain its progressive ideals, then it will have to accept another jobless recovery, where recovery like liberal no longer has the same meaning as it did in the past.

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#13) On July 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM, Beorn10 (29.85) wrote:

I wonder how many of the long-term unemployed have already lost their work ethic.  Once pushed back into the work force by the eventual withdraw of government support will these people be able to cope with their new reality or will they just revolt like in Greece?  There are not many certainties, but one is that if we remain in a relatively free society, that the productive private sector of the economy will not be able to support an ever expanding unproductive public sector, which includes the unemployed.  The unemployed being the purest form of a government worker, like a union's jobs bank worker (think UAW and what happened to the automakers).

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#14) On July 21, 2010 at 6:51 PM, guiron (20.44) wrote:

Yeah, and where are the jobs for those unemployed? You think cutting off their benefits magically makes the jobs appear? If everyone became a capitalist like you, there would be no labor to exploit, so then what? You want to treat people like shit and expect them to like it?

OK, so you want a free market, but you realize that means we all get a fair shake. That means no more war for oil. No more corn subsidies or farm subsidies of any kind. No more tax credits. No more public infrastructure. That means no more subsidies for roads, or anything else that makes our economy run, such as the military. Wait until the military disbands- they're the largest employer in the country. The biggest welfare program in the US is the military, and when the gravy train runs out, watch out. You may want to consider another location than Qatar.

You may just want to accept the reality that any advanced economy is going to be more egalitarian, therefore more benefits and protections. Anything else is sticking your head in the sand.

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#15) On July 21, 2010 at 6:54 PM, guiron (20.44) wrote:

Russiangambit has the right idea, decreasing unemployment benefits down to food stamps and minimal cash is a needed first step to making persistent unemployment less attractive.

Unemployment is not at 10% because people want to be unemployed. The benefits were there before the economy tanked, when unemployment was at 5% - why didn't they leave their jobs and take unemployment when the economy was good? Because very, very few people really do not want to work when it comes down to it. The "welfare queen" is a myth, and you bought it.

Your enemy isn't the poor, who have very little in the way of power or influence - you need to get that straight.

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#16) On July 21, 2010 at 7:01 PM, guiron (20.44) wrote:

I can't even turn on my TV anymore or talk to most people b/c they are so incredibly ignorant of the truth.

Whenever you start believing you and a few select others know the truth and nobody else does, you're probably crazy. Who wants to listen to someone who thinks they're smarter than everyone else?

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#17) On July 21, 2010 at 8:52 PM, devoish (98.52) wrote:

No.

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#18) On July 21, 2010 at 8:52 PM, devoish (98.52) wrote:

No.

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#19) On July 21, 2010 at 10:28 PM, russiangambit (29.27) wrote:

> Unemployment is not at 10% because people want to be unemployed. The benefits were there before the economy tanked, when unemployment was at 5% - why didn't they leave their jobs and take unemployment when the economy was good? Because very, very few people really do not want to work when it comes down to it. The "welfare queen" is a myth, and you bought it.

#15 - I understand that probably more than you know.( I have a very intresting personal story on being unemployed in Russia with no benefits).  But endless unemployement benefits are not the answer. Why people don't consider moving to another country for work, for example? A person with computer skills, and English as the first languge can easily get a job in a whole host of emerging countries. But americans don't even consider this possibility. Why? They are not deserate enough.

With the structural problems US has the unemployment is not going to resolve itself. This kicking the can down the road doesn't help anybody.

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#20) On July 22, 2010 at 12:12 AM, xuincherguixe (< 20) wrote:

You know this is going to fall on deaf ears. Those who would appreciate the following already understand, and those who wouldn't will never understand.

That being said it infuriates me to see people with this kind of attitude. It's short sighted and ultimately rooted in selfishness. And I can't see this way of thinking go unchallenged.

First of all. Do you really think that unemployment benefits weaken the economy? The poorer spend more than the richer. Even if the guy holding the "Will work for food" sign wants to put his money into gold futures, he can't. Your wealthy land owners on the other hand have so much money they have trouble spending it even if they want to.

Wealth redistribution helps create a stronger economy. People seem to be okay with an army, but once you talk about giving it to someone you get moral outrage.

But beyond economics. Have you ever felt a crushing despair? That no matter what you do, your circumstances will never change? If not then stop reading and take a few moments to appreciate this. You are very lucky.

Either way though. The average person who's been on long term unemployment isn't going to be feeling very enabled. How disgusted you people are is matched only by how disgusted they feel about themselves. You're doing a fantastic job making sure they know their place. If circumstances don't crush their spirit then you know someone is going to step up to the plate to finish off the job.

Fact of the matter is that the poor make for excellent scape goats. Crime, bad economy, poor health, little imagination and you can pin all sorts of things on them. And if you hate the guys, it's an excellent way to avoid having to feel bad.

If wellfare angers you so much, then fight poverty. Fighting the poor will only make things worse.

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#21) On July 22, 2010 at 12:18 AM, xuincherguixe (< 20) wrote:

But you know in a sense I agree with you. Unemployment benefits means we don't need to confront the real issues. Psychology and poorly designed economies.

I think it's a lesser evil than no benefits though.

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#22) On July 22, 2010 at 1:49 AM, whereaminow (22.06) wrote:

So many comments! =D  I'm sorry I can't address all of them directly, but I want to express my appreciation for the thoughtfulness, compliments, and respectful disagreements posted here.  I think my post made you think a little bit about this issue in a different way than you are used to hearing it presented from the TV empty suits and skirts.

I do want to address a couple of issues.

spellsly (79.53) wrote:

Your sense of entitlement to free information, for example:

"Both free by pdf via Google search."

Rothbard and Hoppe voluntarily allowed the Mises Institute to host their material for free, to reach the widest possible audience. It is the act being voluntary that marks the true distinction of modern day libertarians.  We believe that all social interactions should be performed without coercion.  If they wanted to charge for their material, I would point you to Amazon.  Likewise, if I want to support people that are struggling, I will give to charity.  But I should not be coerced into supporting them.  That is evil.  

Most people are victims of coercion.  It is through government intervention that we end up with unemployment at record levels.  Asking the government to fix a problem that is caused by coercion with more coercion is foolish and naive.

xuincherguixe,

I've been dirt poor in my life, as an adult, unemployed with $3 in my checking accout.  You are correct that it causes tremendous despair and makes you question your own self worth.  It is not my assertion that the poor and the unemployed should be left to rot.  It is in everyone's interest to help other people.  Charity redistributes wealth voluntarily.  Markets redistribute wealth when the government isn't protecting big business by allowing competition, driving down prices and rewarding entrepreneurship. 

It is useless and naive to expect uninterested bureaucrats working outside of the market system to distribute money based on anything except their own whims.  It is also quite evil to compel one group of people, by the force of law backed up by a gun, to hand over their property involuntarily.  

No country will ever help its poor by forcibly redistributing wealth.  It fails both theoretically and in practice.

guiron (< 20) wrote:

Yeah, and where are the jobs for those unemployed? You think cutting off their benefits magically makes the jobs appear? If everyone became a capitalist like you, there would be no labor to exploit, so then what? You want to treat people like shit and expect them to like it?

OK, so you want a free market, but you realize that means we all get a fair shake. That means no more war for oil. No more corn subsidies or farm subsidies of any kind. No more tax credits. No more public infrastructure. That means no more subsidies for roads, or anything else that makes our economy run, such as the military. Wait until the military disbands- they're the largest employer in the country. The biggest welfare program in the US is the military, and when the gravy train runs out, watch out. You may want to consider another location than Qatar.

You may just want to accept the reality that any advanced economy is going to be more egalitarian, therefore more benefits and protections. Anything else is sticking your head in the sand.

I agree with you.  I didn't support the wars and I never will.  I served in my youth when I was young and dumb.  I'm an anarcho-capitalist, meaning I don't believe there is any service, including security, that should be left in the hands of a monopoly entity that collects revenue by force (government.)

If we think unemployment is bad now (it's really somewhere in the high teens, not 9.5%), wait until we go bankrupt from these foolish wars, and a million Americans have to return home, angry and desperate.  It will be another huge disaster caused by foolish government intervention.

zloj (99.64) wrote:

David in Quatar, I agree with your proposition 100%, if only you can show me how you are going to produce jobs for everyone unemployed so that we can tell them to get off our necks.

I can't show you.  Just as an American living during WWII couldn't show you how all those soldiers would find jobs when they returned home with no money left for them (government spending was slashed by 80% from 1946-1947), and no American could show you how food would find its way to people after years of food rationing during the war.

You have to accept that interested individuals, free from coercion, will find the way better than disinterested bureaucrats.  Mistakes will be made because nobody is perfect, far from it.  But in the end, we are all doomed if we continue to reward government's failure with more government control over our lives.

David in Qatar

 

 

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#23) On July 22, 2010 at 3:47 AM, xuincherguixe (< 20) wrote:

whereaminow,

Really I don't even know where to start. I suppose I can put it best by saying that I'm not particularly religious. I do not share your belief in the free market.

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#24) On July 22, 2010 at 4:02 AM, whereaminow (22.06) wrote:

xuincherguixe,

Or do you not know where to start because you can not address my critique.

I do not share your belief in the benevolence of the ruling class.  That is because I am versed in the Economic Calculation Problem of the Socialist Commonwealth and the Fatal Conceit.  

On the other hand, it is not a matter of faith.  It is a matter of right and wrong.  It is wrong (not to mention clearly counterproductive on empirical results) to forcibly redistribute wealth when voluntary charity works better, does not require violence, and respects property rights.

David in Qatar

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#25) On July 22, 2010 at 4:17 AM, xuincherguixe (< 20) wrote:

Okay. We can play this.

I think that what this is really about is that you don't want to pay taxes.

Nor do I think that left to their own devices that business would do anything but reak havoc. We see evidence of this happening pretty much all the time.

Without strong government controls do you really think that the Free Market would reign them in?

Now THAT takes faith.

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#26) On July 22, 2010 at 4:22 AM, xuincherguixe (< 20) wrote:

That bit about the ruling class is also something that leaves me scratching my head. You're just replacing one ruling class with one LESS interested in it's subjects.

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#27) On July 22, 2010 at 4:34 AM, whereaminow (22.06) wrote:

xuincherguixe,

If you're plan is to debate me, I suggest that you first investigate my position.  After you are done with the Economic Calculation Problem and The Fatal Conceit, see here, then read this and this.

Then I will be happy to address your criticisms of these positions.  Throwing the word "faith" in my face as some kind of "gotcha" denigration is not going to work.

David in Qatar

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#28) On July 22, 2010 at 5:53 AM, xuincherguixe (< 20) wrote:

It's getting late, and I'm pretty riled up right now. I have a sneaking suspicion those links are going to get me even angrier.

So I'll consider it tommorow.

Honestly what the above amounts to is that I really cannot stand Libertarian idealogy. For reasons that I've already made pretty clear and don't need repeating.

Normally I keep quiet, I understand that I'm in the minority amongst this community. But this post and it's replies pushed me over the edge. I have limits to what I'll let slip by unchallenged.

Depending on how maschostic I'm feeling I'll have more later.

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#29) On July 22, 2010 at 8:45 AM, ralphmachio (24.87) wrote:

The problem is, we look to others for employment. We must become creative. If we cannot supply our need for cash, we must figure out how to obtain our direct needs, food, clothing, clean water, etc. The problems are:

We are not educated to do so. If we became independent, the whole system around us would just crumble, and therefore it has been in the interest of said system to make it's constituency more and more dependent.

So, you got married, had three kids, got a 30 year mortgage where if you stopped paying your house would be taken away from you, and your are paying 3 1/2 times what it's worth because you thought it would increase in value but was dependent on you being employed CONSTANTLY FOR 30 YEARS? Sounds like a pretty dumb bet. 

Whoever convinced you that it was a smart bet does have some responsibility to cushion you if you should fall, but what if everyone is falling?

My point is, we need to keep our overhead down while keeping consumption up, and the easiest way to do this is becoming independent. So, you need a house? Well I know where there are millions of dead trees that NEED to be removed to reduce the fire that will certainly rip through these parts. I have been trying to get some friends together to start a business clearing beetle kill, and turning the wood into lumber. 

Need land? Well, that costs money, but I'm really not sure why. Who is the lord of the land? We were born here, just like everyone else here, so who is entitled to charge me for my land that I develop? I'm sorta getting off the topic. But not really... 

So, we wouldn't need "unemployment benefits" if we didn't need to be "employed" because we knew how to do "stuff", but we don't, because someone wanted us to be dependent, and now we are, so give us money for twinkees, cigarettes, and doritos, cause we suck now, and you made us this way, I hope your satisfied. 

I personally never expected anything from this confounded system, and to tell the truth, it doesn't have much that I want. I imagine that if I believed in it, I would expect compensation when the only system I was offered failed me despite my competence at the one specific trade I might have been trained to do. 

 

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#30) On July 22, 2010 at 10:43 AM, starbucks4ever (97.36) wrote:

xuincherguixe,

We've debated with David in Quatar about these links for quite a while (see, for example, here and here and here and here), and, as with most arguments, both of us only became more entrenched in our beliefs. 

As a brief summary, Mises hates socialism and uses every rhetorical device to "prove" that it can't work. The "proof" is full of holes, but who cares? Libertarians have found in Mises's essays a Quaran which contains answers to all questions for those who have faith.    

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#31) On July 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM, whereaminow (22.06) wrote:

lol, zloj, don't forget here, here, and here.

As I said above, calling it "faith" is not going to work.  Just like the old Leftist tactics of yelling racism in a crowded theater no longer works.  

The left would do well to strike the following terms - terms that might intimidate run-of-the-mill, intellectually-weak conservatives and neoconservatives - out of their vocabs:

racist
neo-confederate
faith-based
creationism
denialist
slavery
anything that ends with a derogatory "er" like birther, tenther, truther, etc.

To libertarians, you just sound like zombies.

David in Qatar

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#32) On July 22, 2010 at 11:18 AM, TheClub55 (< 20) wrote:

I am bit late to this discussion, but let remember that SS and Unemployment tax is a relatively new concept.  Its allowed people to become lazy and NOT save for a lazy day b/c big uncle same wil take care of you when jobless and poor.   Its destroyed the family structure, in the past it was expected that children would take care of parents as they age, but the parents would pass along property and wealth.  Also, bothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc would provide assistance when member of the family were in need. Now the concept is to make you parents "poor" and pawn them off to the state for medicaid funded nursing homes, you don’t ask extended family for assistance (do folks really even have much contact w/ extended family these days?) or they would not be willing to help b/c they are already taxed to death and don’t have additional funds.  And David is correct about charity; it worked quite effetely in the past.

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#33) On July 22, 2010 at 11:23 AM, cthomas1017 (96.83) wrote:

I support all forms of benevolence of individuals, churches/religious organizations, municipalities and other social institutions not supported by the federal, state or county levels of government.

I am a devout Roman Catholic and I abhor the church's move into promoting "social justice".   When Jesus said to render unto Cesar what belongs to Cesar, He did not mean the care and feeding of those in need.

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#34) On July 22, 2010 at 11:27 AM, kdakota630 (29.58) wrote:

whereaminow

On your list of words, so surprised you didn't include the left's favourite for calling anyone they disagree with:  nazi.

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#35) On July 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM, spellsly (72.59) wrote:

You have the same sense of entitlement. 

It's for that reason that the law is upheld everywhere on earth - of necessity by force.

 

 

 

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#36) On July 22, 2010 at 12:07 PM, starbucks4ever (97.36) wrote:

Hi whereaminow,

Generally, I never think of myself as a leftist. My disgust with the Democratic Party is only matched by my disgust with the Republican Party. As for the labels you mentioned, I try to use them in extreme cases only - cases which the right wing of the Republican Party unfortunately provides in such abundance :)

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#37) On July 22, 2010 at 12:23 PM, whereaminow (22.06) wrote:

kdakota630

Ha!  I know politicians of both of the Fake Right and Fake Left like to hurl that insult too!  It must be fun.

cthomas1017,

Do you read Thomas Woods?  His analysis of the Catholic Church's move to social justice is terrific. (The Church and the Market)

spellsly,

Worthless character attack.  Move on if that's all you have.

zloj,

I respect you and have always liked your insights and opinions.  The Tea Party crowd isn't perfect, and half of them generally disappoint me (the Palin half), but you are a Socialist (at least you've said so), and popular socialist egalitarian ideas tend to be associated with the left. Sorry to lump you in. You're more thoughtful than any other Socialist I've met. If Ron Paul somehow manages to square off against Obama, I'll hope you will choose him and end the wars despite your general distaste for libertarianism.

David in Qatar

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#38) On July 22, 2010 at 12:34 PM, Mstinterestinman (< 20) wrote:

We should only give food stamps to the unemployed like a couple hundred dollars a month they wont starve but if they want any added comforts they will have to find a job or start their own business it would eliminate a lot of the welfare state same with the social security boosts for extra children If you give someone to have ten kids and live off the government they will. Most of all however we should educate our people in personal finance a nation of entrepenuers will still consume but create more jobs and less need social programs. Why is personal finance not taught in highschool?

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#39) On July 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM, Mstinterestinman (< 20) wrote:

P.S. Anyone who wants to eliminate minimum wage please answer this have you ever tried to raise a family on it? If it gets much lower your homeless.

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#40) On July 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM, lh100 (28.87) wrote:

i think it was summed up pretty well in a few posts : the idea that unemployment is evil, should not exist etc etc. is really for intellectual thinking, not for applied solutions.

 

In the efficience of the market, something always happen : some will disappear, starve, die, whatever you want to call it.

If your moral choice is to allow this to happen in order to get a more efficient society, that is fine. But i think you need to acknowledge that this is a fundamental truth : you are asking the less "efficient" people to die. A lot of people can call it a different way, like "not being averaged-down", and while i can surely see this as a plausible solution in a lot of areas (too big to fail..?), I don't see how this apply to human beings. But maybe i am being too much of an idealist to think everybody is allowed his place in this world.  

For every story of a guy who started with nothing to be in the fortune 500, probably a few (hundred) thousands did not make it. That is the nature of things.

I have not been unemployed for an extended period of time, but i can imagine how collecting a check gets easier with time. Considering the lack of jobs however, i do not see how they can really work harder to find one even if they did not collect it. The job creation numbers(Ex-census) is awful month after month. 

The idea that job creation can keep increasing forever is a non-sense, unless there is a massive job destruction before every increase. While not the overwhelming factor, just think about how small companies are eaten up eventually by big ones eventually. The following synergy job cuts always happen, and while this was not happening as much a few decades ago, today, productivity and ROWC is key. There is a limit to growth. 

 

 

If for the few that abuse the system, the system must be destroyed, then capitalism would not exist either.

It is frustrating to see that a guy can do nothing (0%) and earn 20% of your paycheck that you worked 100% for.(more, or less, depending what you do for a living)

But if that helped the few persons that will make the world better hang on a bit more, i am willing to live with that.

I dont see however why unemployed people who made it should not pay back what they got. What if these checks were loans with inflation as interest?  First payment : 2 years after getting a job. Sure people can abuse that system as well, but surely puts more incentive to find a job, quicker.

***********

On a sidenote, i am curious to see what people think about technology and it's effect on current and more importantly on future unemployement : at some point, technology will not make structural unemployement bigger, but it will stay constantly huge.

Our population size is growing, not shriking : yet jobs available will not increase as fast at some point(is it happening already..?) because technology improvement will not create more jobs.

stupid example : everytime i take the subway, i keep wondering what the godamn "train driver" is doing, except increasing the speed of the train, braking, opening doors. I am sure there are a lot of things i am mising, but i am convinced the need for it is not essential. Now there are unions so automating all these kind of jobs is not easy, but if these jobs do not exist, where are these people going? The theory is that they will either find a job that requires their experience, something else that does not require any experience, or they will learn new skills to find a new job.

 If the first option does not exist, then they either find a lower paid job, or they learn new skills. This puts pressure on the lower paid job to go even lower, and gives more incentive to go learn new skills. But at some point people are limited in what they can learn(train driver is unlikely to become a nuclear physics phd for instance).

And so, more people do not have the skills to find a decent job, resulting in the ironic result of having the first company who cut jobs to gain productivity to have lower sales because a lot more people are unemployed, can spend less etc. etc.

If technology does however allow more skilled jobs to become "unskilled" by "doing all the hard work", this only allows more people to have access to more jobs, but it doesn't actually create anything.

If in the future for instance, that train driver ends up unemployed forever because too many people are in his position and they filled the non-skilled jobs, will he end up collecting that welfare check forever?

If so, should he? And if not, what should be done?

 

 

 

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#41) On July 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM, kdakota630 (29.58) wrote:

ozzfan1316

You're not supposed to raise a family on minimum wage.  Eliminating minimum wage creates more lower-end, entry-level jobs usually for people with no previous work experience that likely aren't yet worth what minimum wage pays.

Minimum wage makes it excessively difficult for the very people who are likely to find it most difficult to find work in the first place.

As an employer where minimum wage is $10.25/hour I am extremely reluctant to hire someone at that wage.  If there was no minimum wage I could hire more employees at less risk to me, and then give them raises as they're warranted as I wouldn't want to lose them to someone willing to pay them more and let the market dictate what they're actually worth.

But hey, that's just my opinion and experience.

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#42) On July 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM, starbucks4ever (97.36) wrote:

"but you are a Socialist (at least you've said so),"

Only in a limited sense of the world. I like the egalitarian ideal but I prefer it to be achieved using strictly capitalist means. This sets me apart from the bona fide socialists, who think the expropriators should be expropriated when in fact they should only be guided in the right direction, but also from the so-called "leftists". The American Left is an entirely different story: they stand for the elitist ideal, which they hope to achieve by Socialist means. In this respect me and the "leftists" are polar opposites.

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#43) On July 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM, Mstinterestinman (< 20) wrote:

Minimum Wage is about 8 dollars but I understand your points i'm just looking at it from the perspective of someone who grew up that poor. If you don't have a certain level of work experience or a degree its tough to pay the bills. Its why i'm waiting on the whole family thing kids won't feed themselves.

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#44) On July 22, 2010 at 1:10 PM, whereaminow (22.06) wrote:

zloj,

Very interesting distinction.  Thanks for sharing that with me.  

The American Left is an entirely different story: they stand for the elitist ideal, which they hope to achieve by Socialist means.

To be honest, though I loved reading that line for some reason, I don't totally understand it.  What is the "elitist ideal" and how does the American Left try to use Socialist means to achieve it?

David in Qatar

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#45) On July 22, 2010 at 1:29 PM, russiangambit (29.27) wrote:

#43 -  you don't need to look further than the illegal mMexican population. They have 3 families living in a single house and so on. And that is still better than what most people have outside of the US.

US population has unrealistic expecations of what lifestyle they should have. Especially on a minimum wage. All mimum wage means is that it should be enough to buy food while leaving ina relative's basement and providing them some sort of services inr eturn for housing. $8 an hour is far too generous.

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#46) On July 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM, starbucks4ever (97.36) wrote:

#44,

That's a good question because to me, it looks easy, but I guess others just don't think in these terms so they may not understand what the hell I'm talking about. The best way to explain is by example. Imagine a town called Nashville where I am a mayor and where Nashvillmart, Inc is the only place to shop for groceries (others have tried to open a store here, but then read the 10,000 pages of regulations that I wrote and left shortly). Mr. Smith T. Smith who sponsored my election is the local tycoon and a majority owner of Nashvillmart, Inc. Business has been really slow because most customers have only a few dollars to spend. Shortly after my election, I announce a new deal where some poor citizens will get food stamps, which the city will pay for by selling muni bonds. So on one fine day, Nashvillmart doubles its prices, and grocery shoppers have twice more money to spend. The local Republican politico launches a rabid attack against me, calling me a "Socialist", and his constituents are waving their flags, tea boxes, Ayn Rand's collected works, Ron Paul's booklets, and Mises' "Problem of Economic Calculation Under Socialism". Meanwhile, I am sitting in a fancy restaurant with my sponsor, counting the profits and making plans for the next election. It appears that I have an excellent chance to win again, running on a Socialist platform and appealing to the working poor as their protector against the greedy Republican exploiters. Between ourselves, we both know that I have never been anything but a paid stooge of corporations, and that the poor have not benefited a cent from my "socialism" while Mr. Smith saw the value his shares increase tenfold. But the less bright residents of Nashville will still describe me based on formal criteria as a Leftist, Keynesian, Marxist, Krugmanist, and tax-and-spend socialist because they can't make the distinction between the liberal tail and the capitalist dog. Does this help clarify the matter a little bit?

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#47) On July 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

David,

It might offend you to know that I do believe that unemployment insurance and a retirement savings plan are prudent tasks to consider and have in place.

But they do not have to come from government to be successful; and in our case the government solutions are simply wealth transfers today, and debt obligation wealth transfer from the future to today.

The employed should not pay for the unemployed. However, it is prudent for the employed to save for their own possible unemployment - so I would be interested in a private unemployment insurance, which could be real insurance based on my individual risk of becoming unemployed. Then if I did become unemployed, there would be an economic incentive for the insurance company to help me find new employment to reduce any outlays on claims. But our government run system does not do this. The government system taxes the employed and redistributes this to the unemployed. That is not insurance - it is Socialism.

The employed should not pay for the retired. However, it is prudent for the employed to save for their own retirement - so I am interested in ways to do that (hello, CAPS!). 401k, investments, owning real estate, etc. culminating in my personal plan for eventual retirement (although I can not contemplate doing nothing productive - just not a job). The government system does not do this. It taxes the employed and redistributes this to the retired, but since the fund has a negative balance, the burden of debt for current retired persons is pushed into future taxable employed persons. That is not security - it is Socialism.

So, David, I can not say "unemployment benefits are evil". But, I can say that the current government institutionalization of unemployment insurance and social security in their current forms are theft - and since thou shall not steal - I can conclude, by my belief system, that government run unemployment insurance and social security are evil.

Known as caught observing at least several of the commandments nzsvz9

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#48) On July 22, 2010 at 2:14 PM, cthomas1017 (96.83) wrote:

whereaminow,

Not sure I could stomach any more detail on the social justice topic.  Thanks for the tip.  I'll pick it up if I ever want to have a really depressing weekend. :) 

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#49) On July 22, 2010 at 2:16 PM, Rehydrogenated (32.61) wrote:

It is true that many idealists believe it is not only the government's job to keep people from starving, but also to "end poverty". If i were a politician that's the platform I would choose. Then I would end "Hate" "Crime" "Suffering" "Fat" and "Ugly"

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#50) On July 22, 2010 at 2:19 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

In a Rehydrogenated America I am severly endangered ...

Known as multiply-afflicted person of interest in Rehydrogenated America, or just nzsvz9

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#51) On July 22, 2010 at 2:30 PM, djshagggyd (72.55) wrote:

David-

I apologize for being off topic... but I was looking at the stats for my band's website and noticed that someone from Qatar downloaded some of our songs in May! How strange!?

I figure it almost certainly must have been you...

Haha... unless my band is popular in Qatar and I just don't know it!

Fool on friend,

~djshagggyd 

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#52) On July 22, 2010 at 3:30 PM, whereaminow (22.06) wrote:

zloj,

It sounds like you despise corporatism as much, maybe even more than I do.  It also sounds like we would agree that:

1. Business and government in bed together leads to the f*cking of the consumer and the worker.

2.  Any time more than businessmen get in the same room together, they decide that the consumer is their enemy and the businessman must be protected from their whimsiness.  This is the birth of the Chamber of Commerce.

Thanks for your thoughts.

nzsvz9,

Thanks for your thoughts.  You don't offend.  In fact, you have just expanded upon and clarified my argument.  All of the pragmatic solutions that you offer are voluntarily, not coerced.  That element is what I find evil - the coercion, not the benefits. 

djshagggyd,

Your music rocks!  Seriously, I mean that.  You guys kick ass and I love it.  However, when I download your music, I do it through a VPN tunnel so you wouldn't see it coming from Qatar (that's just standard practice whenever I get online.)  I guess you have a fan club out here!

David in Qatar

 

 

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#53) On July 22, 2010 at 3:58 PM, djshagggyd (72.55) wrote:

David-

Thank you so much man! That really means a lot to me. If you'd like, you can click here to download 5 of our newest songs :)

You've been on my favorites list for awhile... I always enjoy (and learn a lot) from your blogs and comments. Thanks for all the thoughtful posts.

And thanks again for taking the time to listen! 

~justin 

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#54) On July 22, 2010 at 4:06 PM, AvianFlu (40.55) wrote:

Question;

At what point does it cease being unemployment benefits and become welfare?

 

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#55) On July 22, 2010 at 7:34 PM, MichaelMolenaar (< 20) wrote:

David-

Great post, it's my new facebook status

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#56) On July 23, 2010 at 10:39 AM, dinodelaurentis (73.09) wrote:

Yes, this is good. My investment plan is working!

Chaos. No more social fabric; remove societal controls on violence! Dog eat dog, that's the way!! Free markets are the purest kind...

"No Beast so fierce knows not but a touch of pity...

 But I know none; and therefore am no beast!" -Richard III

Remember the WTO protests? Phssssst... agent provoceteurs and lightweight anarchists. Think back to the Depression and the Hoovervilles, the riots, and food lines... Food lines??!! Give lazy people stuff??!! Let them bootstrap themselves to solvency and let's not slide into... Socialism!!

Unemployment benefits, food stamps, minimum wages all exist as a form of control against violence in our society.

Call me when the police or private security firms have to start killing Americans to keep order... like they have in the past.

Chaos rules. Compassion drools.

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#57) On July 23, 2010 at 10:46 AM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

AvianFlu,

The moment you were enrolled without your consent to which you can not opt out (coercion) - and taxed; with the taxation based solely upon ability to pay (Marxism) - without any accrued rights to the accumulated premiums (theft) - without any assessment of your individual risk (Communism) - with the funds commingled with others (Fiduciary Irresponsibility) - with the current premiums going out to pay current obligations (Ponzi) - and with your potential for benefits based partially on non-contributory factors (Socialism).

Is that sufficient?

Known as thinking-in-isms guy nzsvz9

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#58) On July 28, 2010 at 9:59 AM, USNHR (33.15) wrote:

 whereaminow

It is useless and naive to expect uninterested bureaucrats working outside of the market system to distribute money based on anything except their own whims

I don't know David, I think power and control enter into their reasons for distributing money as well.  

cthomas1017 

I am a devout Roman Catholic and I abhor the church's move into promoting "social justice".

I to am a Roman Catholic, although I prefer to call myself Orthodox instead of devout. Your point is well taken, with the tradition of the Church, for some congregations to move into this narrowly defined aspect of the faith and base their whole community on it, is almost heretical. Especially when they start relying on outside organizations /  government to meet their "social justice" agenda. It is a slippery slope when we start ignoring certain teachings and truth to promote an agenda.

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