Greedy Goblin

Monday, February 21, 2011

Solidarity

Solidarity is a central idea to social thinking. It's not altruism. The altruist is aware that he is giving freebies to someone who doesn't deserve it. He does it either because "it's feel good", or because he expects others to respect him for his altruism.

When someone helps someone due to solidarity, he believes that he is helping "one of us". He believes that "he would do the same for me". He is unaware of the one-sided nature of their relationship. The source of this nonsense is evolutionary: the early men, the apes, and even many lower animals are living in family groups if they live in groups at all. The family members have similar genes. If an ape saves 2 brothers at the cost of his own life, he has more surviving genes than he'd have if he'd live and his brothers die.

Of course today's groups are not family groups and we are more than just expendable carriers of our genes (we are expendable carriers of our memes too!). Yet people have strong need for group-thinking and acts of solidarity. Some even call the group-members "brothers", referring to the original, evolutionary reason of these subroutines.

Solidarity is stupid, period. However saying it won't change a thing. Most people are socials and they won't stop being one just because you say so. The reason why the M&S keep getting help is that many-many non-M&S feels that they are "one of us". We can't get rid of the M&S while there are socials supporting them. We can't get rid of the socials themselves as they are useful, needed people, and also they could fight back if we would try to dispose them (unlike the M&S).

However, every social subroutine can be used for our purposes. We can detach the average socials from their M&S if we give them another group. And there is such: us. The top-earners must include the blue-collars and other low-earner groups into "us" to get rid of the M&S. It won't be hard on their part as socials always prefer the higher "status" group. If he is offered the choice (even sub-consciously) he will choose to be in the group with the top-earners and not the welfare-leech.

Here comes the tax system suggestion that you surely couldn't read on any libertarian or right-wing blog: the lower half income group pays zero tax. The upper half pays 0 for the income equal to the median and a flat value for the rest. (So if the median income is 36K, and you earn 100, you pay a percentage of 64K).

OK, I turned communist or got high. Why would I propose such an abomination? Because it would decrease the tax load on everyone, including the $1M guys. How? We must recognize that even with flat tax, the top half pays more than 95% of the tax!!! So if we would have just 2 rates: 0 for bottom half, flat for top half, the tax load of the top half would only increase by 5%! So the immediate tax rise would be pitiful.

Pitiful, but still positive and still tens of thousands for a high earner. So why would it be great? Because the decreased tax load and the non-existent paperwork would greatly increase the gap between low-income guys and inactives. No CEO will say "I won't pay $150K tax a year, I go welfare leech". He won't go even if you take another 100K from his $M. But the $10K earner may go leech if you take 0.8K from him. The tax is lost anyway, but you also lost GDP and got more leech. A tax cut on the lowest earners could open up lot of jobs.

However this alone wouldn't be much, as the economy of the social-democratic countries show. But above all, this system it is just a tool, an expression of solidarity to the low-earner workers. It must be coupled by a "we earners, them leeches" political message. By proposing such system, the party of the top-earners could gain all earners vote. I mean who wouldn't vote for eliminating his tax, or cutting it down near 0?

Instead of fighting a hopeless fight with the blue collars for paying 1% less of the same "tax cake", let's include them and utilize them to make the whole tax cake smaller. Much smaller. An earner-party could have enough political power to exclude certain M&S groups from being social transfer recipients. The lower half income earners paid $27.5B in 2002 in the US. In the same year the Medicare system alone cost $257B. So if you would run with the simple slogan: "no tax for our less fortunate, but hard working brothers and down with Medicare", the upper half earners would pay $229B less tax:

Maybe the Medicare is too big fish first. But in the moment the top earners can rally the low-earners below their flag, including them into "us", and point at the inactives as "them", we can take out government programs that costs billions and do nothing but help "the poor" one by one. Smaller ones first, bigger ones next.

My idea smells leftist because people still use the centuries old definitions. Back in the late XIX century there was the working class and the business class. Fighting for the working class was against the business class and by definition leftist. Today we have a huge, 40-60% inactive class. Today's leftists fight for the inactive class against the worker class (and the business class).

Today, fighting for the worker class is a pro-business, right-wing ideology. Workers of the world unite! ... with the businessmen against the inactives!

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

This seems like an interesting enough idea and I kinda like it. However, it is conflicting with your previous economic post which I liked better.

If you want a citizen's vote to be weighted by the amount of taxes he pays to, then your lower half now becomes an "us" with the inactives (no vote because of 0 taxes) vs. "them" top half who now controls every vote.

Squishalot said...

This makes the assumption that the below-average workers don't understand that they're actually winners in the tax battle. Why would they join your cause when they lose out on tax-funded welfare?

As someone noted in another blog of yours, the middle-class obtain a lot of value from the welfare system. So there is no true motivation to take your side, if welfare benefit > tax paid at the moment.

Out of curiosity - do you have any insurance policies? Health insurance, life insurance, motor vehicle or house insurance, etc.? If so, why?

Flex said...

The tax system in my country (Australia) works much like this already (if I'm reading you right).

Here there is a tax free threshold; your earnings below this amount are not taxed. Above this amount, there are scaled tax brackets, so you pay less tax % if you are in a low-income-but-tax-paying bracket, and for every dollary you earn over, say, $50,000 you pay a higher level of tax and so on.

The net result is there is theoretically no disincentive to higher earnings as a person can always aspire to earn more should they wish to. The real issue seems to be that the perception amongst the people paying the highest amount of tax is that they shouldn't, so many play the tax system, write their kids up as shareholders or whatever, and so fit themselves back in a lower taxed bracket. Regardless though, on the whole, it works well.

Ultimately though, I think there is no way to convince a given population of M&S that the system they live in is inefficient; you see them consume a few decades of anti-socialist and/or nationalist propoganda and suddenly everyone outside their border seems like a raving communist. Despite their taxes already paying for, say, the police or fire service.

Whatever. Their loss.

spinksville said...

Remember, the very rich hire accountants to help them evade tax, they can have themselves and their business interests registered in foreign countries where the tax is lower.

ie. they're more likely to have the motivation and resources to cheat.

chewy said...

It's an interesting idea.

Spinks beat me to it by rightly pointing out that the richest pay less tax (proportionally) by using accountants to help with tax avoidance.

You also miss the point that a lot of tax is generated by companies rather than individuals. I don't know what proportion but it is significant. How does this fit your theory ?

You make the point that "But the $10K earner may go leech if you take 0.8K from him." if this is true then he becomes an "M&S" but I got the impression from the way you discuss "M&S" that the characteristic is fundamental rather than a condition that can be adopted ?

Azuriel said...

[...] we can take out government programs that costs billions and do nothing but help "the poor" one by one.

Honest question, man. If it were economically feasible to do so, would you prefer to put a bullet in the head of anyone "leeching" the system? I ask because just like your zombie post, the sort of nonsense you are espousing here is literally leaving people to die in the streets (or more accurately to mug you/break into your house/etc). Like most libertarians, you have little regard for any consequences of the actions in question.

Free market health insurance is a failure: there is zero incentive for healthy people to buy it, there is zero incentive for insurance companies to actually pay for preventative care when they can cancel policies over typos, private companies are incapable of controlling or limiting healthcare costs, and simply put there are diseases and conditions which cannot possibly be treated "economically" (e.g. without bankrupting the person, even with insurance).

Where your Solidarity scheme fails is when the working class realizes that the entire goal of the rich was removing the safety net of the poor. And considering the the working class is just one workplace incident, one car accident, one natural disaster, one economic downturn, one unfortunate medical diagnosis away from ruin, they will see the Solidarity for what it was: a ruse.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: the former idea needs system change. The latter just a political party.

@Squishalot: that's why it's important to properly choose the targeted welfares, taking out those that don't really help the low-earners.

@Spinks: the tax-exporters are losing recently. Even Switzerland gives out their data.

@Chevy: Not only M&S are leeching. If someone gives you something for free, it's a smart choice to take it.

Gevlon said...

@Azuriel: if you don't put money away for medical bills, you are stupid. You are right that there is no reason to have health insurance as there will always be a fine print that says they won't pay you.

Also what about those who don't work? Not my problem. And yes, if they choose to rob me, the proper action is a bullet to their head.

chewy said...

@Gevlon

Not always, STDs are for free.

Less facetiously - So the M&S should accept a free ride in heroic dungeons where they can get it ? Ok, that isn't offered for free but what's the difference ? If you're saying that paying more tax turns someone into an M&S then let's discuss more accurately the condition of "being an M&S", it doesn't seem as absolute as I believed it might be.

@Spinks
I'm sure it was just a slip of the finger but tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance makes accountants rich.

Ðesolate said...

As an upcoming engeneer with already 5 years of experience in mid-class maintainance (mostly power plants also the nuclear type) I can tell you why the ordinary or the higher level worker will hardly join the buisnessmen in idiology.

We are usually rivals. Buisnessmen want to spend as low as they can. The maintanance worker want that the engines will work right, what will save a lot of money (look at the two nuclear power plants at Hamburg. Both shut down because of failing maintainance caused by savings. Every day this costs almost a million of euros. Way above the savings ~20000% by now).

Maintainance group usually has to battle the buisnessmen for every euro they can spend. Anytime less is needed the budget is cut down for EVERY following year.

We fight a battle every day. Keep it in mind that we struggle to let industrial companys work AGAINST buisnessmen. This is what naturally keeps us from joining each other in indurtial scale. (all written by personal POV and fully aware of this)

Gevlon said...

@Chewy: the M&S CANNOT be anything else then a leech. Simple example:

Guy enters random HC, puts healer on follow and goes AFK, returns 20 mins later with some lame excuse (can't vote kick for 25 mins). He is a smart guy. If 3 people teleports out and the hunter misdirects him a mob, then FD with a /w "and we'll kick you as soon as possible", he'll apologize and pull 12K to make sure that he won't be kicked (or leaves if he thinks he can easily find better victim).

M&S does 4K, stands in the fire, breaks the CC, chats terribly and honestly get upset when the "elitist no-lifers" kick him.

Gevlon said...

@Desolate: that's exactly the point. I call businessman to stop battling with the worker class, give up some profit, NOT because it's nice or "humane" or "ethical", but because in a few years it would bring them much more in tax savings.

They should look at salary rises, work environment improvements and pro-worker political steps as high-return investments into buying votes for tax cuts.

Ralex said...

Flex, are there no taxes at all on low wage income in Australia?

The reason I ask is that in the US, the system proposed by Gevlon is effectively in force already for the income tax system. Wage earners up to a threshold pay nothing. However, the payroll (social security) tax system taxes the first dollar of everyone's earned income and has a ceiling above which nothing is owed (which is exactly the opposite of what Gevlon is proposing).

A reasonably large segment of the US population pays more (or all) of their federal taxes as payroll taxes than as income taxes.

chewy said...

@Gevlon

I think you're missing my point possibly because I'm not making it clear.

You're discussing the attributes of M&S, I'm trying to highlight that the condition is not as absolute as you make it sound. If the M&S are defined as those that don't work (slackers) or those incapable of working (morons) but one can move between those conditions as a result of being charged additional tax then the condition is not absolute.

I'm labouring this point because if the condition is not absolute and can therefore be "cured" you're spending an awful lot of energy suggesting ways of eradicating/avoiding them rather than changing them to people who could be useful.

Samus said...

Gevlon, you have a real problem that a huge portion of the "inactives" who are leeching are elderly. I know you will say "it is their own fault for not saving when they were younger," but the fact is that socials will not allow something to happen to grandma.

It is well known here that no politician would dare threaten social security or medicare. In fact, it is a very common political tactic to accuse your opponent of threatening cuts to those programs.

Ðesolate said...

@Gevlon: Setteling the permanent rivaly in economics on both sides would serve the whole economy well (taxes are just one point in an almost endless list).

Both sides have to get together in reason and listening to each other. It is just the permanent rivaly between groups of men driven by prejudices and dogmatism on both sides. In big companys millions are spend just to regulate this rivalys.

Starting up to settle this pointless struggle at a neutral point as taxes would be a chilling start (same interest on both sides). I personally doubt any step into setteling this relationship will be done at big scale, thanks to the general inorant nature of human kind. ("Because I am right you MUST be wrong.")

Anonymous said...

@azuriel: I can't speak for Gevlon, but I think the typical libretarian answer to your question is that the proposed system does not require 'leaving people to die in the streets', it is just saying that the government shouldn't do anything about. There are thousands of NGOs in the world who try to help people who can't help themselves for various reasons (not always in their control). Some do get money from taxes but lots of the funding is private and voluntary. I've never heard Gevlon advocate abolishing such organizations. The theory typically goes that lower taxes would provide more disposable income to give and improve the economy in general and all the benefits that implies.

An idealistic viewpoint to be sure, but I personally have a hard time justifying giving money to charity when I already pay a 49% marginal rate on every dollar I earn (not to mention 24% sales tax, gas tax, car tax, property tax, tv tax, etc, etc, ad absurdium), so it wouldn't surprise me if there was some truth to it.

Anonymous said...

While I do think that an easier tax system would benefit many countries and this mathematical model works very well, it suffers the problem that it requires too many people to actually understand it. Just because someone is rich does not mean he's not a moron.

Azuriel said...

If you don't put money away for medical bills, you are stupid. You are right that there is no reason to have health insurance as there will always be a fine print that says they won't pay you.

As I said, there are medical conditions in which it would literally be impossible for non-wealthy to pay for treatment. If your girlfriend gets breast cancer, she would be left with a ~$6000+ bill even if private insurance covered 90%. Do you/her have $6000 socked away? And considering health costs increase around 10% a year, I hope wherever you socked it is granting similar returns.

Simply put, any working-class person that went along with your scheme would be a moron. It would absolutely be going against their own long-term best interests.

Also what about those who don't work? Not my problem. And yes, if they choose to rob me, the proper action is a bullet to their head.

Err... what? It absolutely becomes your problem when you change the choices to: work (at jobs that don't exist) or die. Are you suffering under the delusion that the State could keep you safe? The Rule of Law? "Every civilization is three meals away from anarchy." If you want to live in a society in which you must trade bullets to the head for the people who have nothing left to lose, then... I don't know what to say.

Other than there is probably some cheap property down in Sudan, Somalia, and the surrounding area.

Gevlon said...

@Azuriel: I DO have that money, despite in my country you must pay insurance, but I don't trust in it.

Also, which planet you are living in? We DO trade bullets with terrorists, pirates, drug dealers and such as we speak. Turn on your TV! Oh you don't hear the shots? Maybe because paid professionals (soldiers, Navy-sailors, border guards) are shooting them for you, from your tax. I don't see how paying policemen or security guards to shoot some M&S for me in the slums would be different.

Grim said...

@Gevlon
The cops and army generally do their shooting well after their targets are done with it.

If knowing that the starving guy who bumrushed you will get shot is of any comfort to you while you're bleeding to death, then good for you.

It has been repeated many times on this blog, that it is both more effective and cheaper to pay the underclasses off instead of fighting them. Its not a matter of "could we kill them all" as much as it is a matter off "how many will they kill before we identify them"

Anonymous said...

i think there was a small little point brought up in a comment. i don't think i've read anything from you about it:
What about people that would like to work and try but still don't get a job?
most people aren't entrepreneurs especially those who don't have anything to begin with (not a high education or money reserves or just risk evasive).

Venosaur said...

In countries all around Latin-America (don't know other regions), people who robb and steal not always are M&S. If you can't assure all population the same rights (and obligations), when you enter into the work's market in your eighteens, with 12 or 14 years of not a single chance of improvement, education, or the most basic social-economic-political infraestructure, then man, chill out. Before your eighteens, you really have to straggle with a lot of shit you didn't have a chance to poo.
I'm not saying you can't do anything, I'm saying that sometimes a bullet in the head is not what you deserve (not a charmy smile, but a bullet?)

I'm not saying "Guys enters my house, he can hurt my family, oh noes he could have been something better, I'm not shooting". I'm gonna burn the shit down of that guy. I'm saying I'm not going to masacrate the living shit out of any poor people I cross in the road.

Your taxing planning works better in First and development World. Did you think in any option for the poorest countries?

Vinnz said...

Have you got any plans to go into real world politics? (such as getting elected in your village or at the national assembly or in a trade union)
I wonder if these demonstrations will be successful.

Squishalot said...

@ Ralex - "Flex, are there no taxes at all on low wage income in Australia?"

In Australia, the first $6000 of income per financial year is tax free. Furthermore, additional tax breaks for being on a low income generates an effective tax-free threshold of up to around $15,000 (i.e. higher income earners pay the proper rate of tax between $6k and $15k, but low income earners don't).

However, Australian tax rates generally are relatively high (though lower than Hungary, apparently). This is primarily due to the low density of the population and associated infrastructure expenditure.

@ Gevlon - you can pick and choose all you like. However, by definition, since the tax paid is right skewed (top earners pay higher portion of tax than lower earners), there will always be more people for whom tax benefit > tax paid. Thus, your idea is flawed.

And again - do you have insurance of any sort? Because your argument against welfare is entirely hypocritical if you do.

Olga said...

Let's put it this way. Two people have a family, and they don't rely on government providing them insurance of any sort. Being smart, they are making savings for possible health issues, for living when became elder, etc. They need a significant amount for money. It's possible that they wouldn't even need most of it, as only a % of people have cancer, but as they can't rely on side help, they need as much as it would cost.

Children, they education and living, cost money too. So they will have 1 child, or none, if they are not capable to earn enough, which would be the case for most people.

Now, if there will be a lot of elder people with a lot of money, but not enough children grown to take care of them, what would you buy with that saved money?

It's obviously better for the whole society to have things like working health insurance, etc. It allows people to spend money for things that work for their common future.

Sure, systems like this can be flawed and need to be tuned constantly to actually benefit the future and not hold the whole society back. But without welfare like trade unions, public education, human rights and so on we wouldn't have such a great technical progress now. Just read up how things were back when every man was for himself. If you are born in a family that could earn for food only, have no education and only possible job to work on a factory for 14 hours every day, you have nothing to do besides become a M&S without education, savings, etc. That's how things are now in China, people are slaves to their employers, and you can't get higher if you are not relative of someone already rich. Their progress is a mirage, cause they are not getting anything out of it, they are as poor as they were, selling everything they make to people in Europe and other countries. Does they care if they GDP is high if they are ass poor?

Gevlon said...

@Olga: I just noticed that the discussion got trolled by the health insurance issue. It is not the subject.

The health insurance can work theoretically: you pay a fixed fee, if you are lucky wasted it, if you are unlucky, the company pays for your health care. It can also be government funded. It is NOT welfare.

Welfare comes when people who never paid anything gets health care.

Casper said...

Firstly, I really like your blog. You're on par with some of my favourite political bloggers. Thanks for doing a great job.

Now...

I am a social Darwinist. By that I mean I have a certain definition of "good". "Good" is "that, which survives".*
Correspondingly, the political goal of a social Darwinist is only to create an even playing field of a free economy**, with the state only there to eliminate the Prisoner's Dilemma.
This way, what is inefficient will eventually die, and what is efficient will flourish. Because of this a social Darwinist has no interest in spending time on identifying, what is good, and what is bad.
Here I have a problem with your theses: it's social engineering, just as much as any leftist programmes. Let nature run it's course. If you're right, it'll get you where you want to be.

*Hitler was a social Darwinist in the sense that he thought: "evolution applies to human beings, therefore I must meddle in it". I draw the opposite conclusion: "evolution applies to human beings, therefore I only must let it do what it does".
**Capitalism must be fought for. It is not the state of nature. The state of nature is feudalism. In the past feudal lords used to hold unearned power over others, today it's state officials (who can withdraw permission to run your business), trade corporations, etc.

Casper said...

Ok, I reread your post and realized I was criticizing straw man. You're not proposing a better capitalism, you're proposing a way to get there...

Well, I think that we shouldn't be fighting for workers. Anyone who is a worker wants benefits for themselves: higher pay, shorter hours. We should fight for the consumers: everyone is a consumer, and he wants cheaper and better things! This can only be accomplished only by lessening the tax on the workers.

Yaggle said...

Oh, boy. You want to eliminate medicare? Most(not all) people on medicare are elderly(old). For a person to be able to afford all their health care costs when they are old, they will have to save up quite a lot of money. Some will, some won't. You will have a LOT of elderly people who cannot pay for health care needs(because they were m&s, admittedly). Also there are all the people on medicare now, what would you do, cut them off with no money saved to pay for their own care even though they were told all their lives they could count on Medicare? The initial cost to start this new plan would be enormous, just to pay for the health care of the old people who were using Medicare.
The thing is, I like your idea about this particular way of using the flat tax. It would greatly simplify the tax code and do those other good things that you said. I would rather see the cutoff point for income when the tax kicks in to be set at whatever income level necessary for the overall taxes to be the same. For example maybe it would be at 0% up to $25k/year and then 30% of all income after that. So there would be some people who paid more, most likely people currently considered "upper-middle class" but there would be overall savings due to the enormous simplification and other benefits, as you said. I just don't see how you could get rid of Medicare, though perhaps as a trade-off you could have a lot of cutbacks to Medicare for future recipients, such as raise the eligibility age or reduced benefits to people taking Medicare early due to disability. I just don't see how you get rid of it altogether without a gigantic lowering of standard of living for the elderly. It would be hugely unpopular with widespread news stories of dying people who could not afford medicine or to see a doctor.

Anonymous said...

I agree solidarity is not altruism. It is done for mutual benefit, even if benefits of working together are not equal.

A) Labor unions would be an example of people practicing solidarity for mutual benefit.

B) Medicare is not a welfare insurance system.

There are 3 basic ways to be enrolled in medicare::
1) Be 65+ years old, a U.S. citizens (or have been permanent legal residents for 5 continuous years), and they or their spouse has paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. Basically they and their employers have paid into the Medicare system.

or

2) Be under 65, disabled, and have been receiving either Social Security SSDI benefits or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits. Again, they and their employers have paid into SS.

3) If they are 65 and older, but neither they nor their spouse payed Medicare taxes for 10 years (40 quarters) must pay a monthly premium to remain enrolled in Medicare.

Doug said...

Your idea is another socialist redistribution of wealth. Calling it solidarity is political spin.

It's a bad idea. It hoses the middle class once again. Obama would love this.

How about everybody pays their fair share by paying a 10% flat tax of what they earn? This encourages people by knowing they will keep more of their money, the more they make. Capitalism at it's best.

Campitor said...

This discussion cannot really be debated properly without putting it into context with some history:

1 - The M&S of today, on average, have more knowledge than than the M&S that existed 100 years ago.
2- Within most of our society's recent history (within the last 100 years), it was not uncommon for the wealthy to openly and dangerously exploit the lower and middle classes to greatly inflate their riches.
3 - Within the last 100 years most of our societies have experienced cataclysmic financial disasters that turned high achievers and non-m&s into penniless poor.
4 - The non M&S and poor who recovered from financial disasters, diligently encouraged and passed along memes for financial/social success as well as the dangers of having an autocratic class of wealthy people.

The M&S are labeled so because they are being scaled against the high end . I can imagine that a thousand years from now, if we survive as a species with our knowledge intact, Einstein and his math will be seen as elementary, kind of like how we view Pythagoras in light of our present understanding of math. If Pythagoras was alive today and only possessed his ancient 500BC level of knowledge, he would probably be considered an idiot at worst or at least just average. My point is that M&S can be a relative term and not absolute.

In regards to points 2 through 4 it means that many of the progeny of the rich made poor, as well as those who actually experienced the trauma of poverty first hand, became politicians, union organizers, lawyers, judges, etc. and shaped the laws we have today. They also passed along the stories of their years in poverty thereby perpetuating the idea that anyone in society can fall into ruin by circumstances outside of their control and require a safety net to sheperd them back to a healthy financial equilibrium.

This collective experience will never allow us to openly disavow the "poor" and leave them to rot. Because inside everyone is the fear that they might fall into the same circumstances.

And for those of us who have actually benefitted from these "give to the poor" programs and have seen the volume of success it does achieve, it is a hard sell to get us to overthrow the very programs that allowed us a great measure of success.

In order to buy into Gevlon's argument you have to dispense of any notions of exceptions, relativity, and buy into absolutes. The U.S. was born out of the notion that we cannot endure absolutism that is inherent in an autocratic class. I for one have seen directly what the unchecked ambition of the rich and the "let them eat cake" philosophy can bring. No thanks - pass me the pluralism please.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon - the health insurance issue isn't trolling, it's completely on topic.

The reason behind insurance is that certain amounts of money are wasted - if you are a good driver, by definition, you are subsidising (i.e. paying for) the poor drivers out there by purchasing insurance.

If you believe that you should be saving for your own accidents and that you shouldn't be subsidising the losses of others, then you shouldn't be paying for insurance that you don't use.

The same applies for welfare. An item like Medicare or other government funded health system is something that benefits all people, but some more than others. If you are healthy, Medicare will cost you more than you get back, and you will be subsidising the cost of health care for unhealthy people.

The difference is that you see that you believe that you will never use any 'welfare' from the government, whereas you see a possible tangible benefit from the insurance policy if things go bad. However, welfare is simply another type of insurance policy, one that (apparently) many people call on for benefits.

Turn it around another way. You pay a relatively small proportion of tax compared to people who pay more than you (the top 5%, as such). Why should they want to subsidise you? Why should they pay for the roads you drive on, the schools you send your kids to, the police who protect you? By your argument, that government shouldn't be providing free welfare, they shouldn't.

The natural extension of your view is small government - one that sets laws, but provides no spending on 'typical' government services such as roads, schools, hospitals, etc. (because such spending would be providing value to the leechers). What sort of country would that be to live in, if you're not one of the top 5%?

Russell said...

What Gevlon is proposing is exactly what the Henry Tax Review in Australia proposed last year: http://taxreview.treasury.gov.au/content/FinalReport.aspx?doc=html/publications/papers/Final_Report_Part_1/chapter_4.htm

(see section 4.1 for a brief description)

Currently Australia uses a system of progressively scaling marginal tax rates, with a low-income tax free threshold of $6k. If Henry's recommendations were implemented, this would be basically adjusted upwards to $25k, with a two-tiered system for higher income earners.

What Gevlon is proposing is hardly controversial...

Flex said...

I think the Australian example has to be coloured somewhat by the introduction of GST: Twenty years ago, a person only paid payroll tax (social security etc here all come out of the tax system). Now, however, everyone also pays tax on all retail purchases. So yes, a low income earner pays no income/payroll tax, but they still get taxed when they buy something (except the odd raw-materials exempt items like milk and eggs)

Squishalot said...

@ Russell: What Gevlon is proposing is the elimination of government welfare. Or did you miss the bit about removing Medicare?

Whether the tax system involving a higher tax-free threshold is better or worse is a separate point. The key point is that it's Gevlon's way of getting a group of people on-side with him, not the sole purpose of his idea.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that such a tax system would exacerbate the intent of the "progressive" agenda that promotes reestablishment of an aristocracy; something that our Founding Fathers put so much effort into abolishing; the "us versus them" indoctrination used in the government dominated schools to program our kids to accept socialist (planned economy) structures. Removing 50% of the population from supporting government is a "leech" system (Today approximately 47% pay no income taxes, giving them the mental conditioning of being not part of the American system, believing the labor union "tripe" about the free market(open competition equality for all) as rich versus poor"; a false conjecture to begin with. Of course we very definitely should phase out, over approximately a five + year time period, all government programs that are unConstitutional (do not conform to the "enumerated powers", or in modern terms "delegated powers", that limit government authority. If Social Security it to be continued, we need a Constitutional Amendment to make it legal. As you said, Medicare, and I would add Medicaid and all other illegal (unConstitutional) programs should be abolished. It is Medicare and other government involvement in the health care industry that has pushed health care industry that has pushed health care costs so high over the past 60+ years, along with a court system that is used for enriching those who can use the law in immoral ways to confiscate the earnings of the productive sector.

A. Benton Edmons