THANK YOU FOR THE DIALOGUE. I HAVE ENJOYED A MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE THAT MAY HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS. THAT IS SEEMINGLY MORE RARE TODAY. I ADDED A FEW MORE COMMENTS BELOW IF INTERESTED.
I’ll just say your first post about 50% of people not paying federal taxes wasn’t unclear. It was simply wrong. I don’t think you were trying to be malicious or dishonest. I’ll drop it with that.
“ support a graduated tax system, but also dont buy into the liberal narrative that “the rich dont pay their fair share”.”
I think the rich pay plenty. Frankly, we all pay plenty. But the poor make so little that raising their taxes seems like a non-starter. The 50% that don’t pay federal income tax aren’t sitting on much savings. They spend what they make. Raising their taxes will only suck a lot of money out of the economy. And there is little to no evidence that raising their taxes will motivate them to get a higher paying job. If anything that would make it more difficult for them to pay for the training or education they need to do so.
“my suggestion that everyone contribute something is not to create new income for the government….or to take anything away from the poor. It is a suggestion solely for the purpose of creating a sense that we ALL have a stake in our government and system. When you buy or contribute to anything….you expect something in return….and hopefully engage….and hopefully care. I think stats show that the poor typically are often not part of the political process. Perhaps as a real taxpayer…that attitude may change. I am talking MINIMAL….like $25/year. I imagine the power of EVERYONE being able to say, “I am a taxpayer, I am involved, and I have a voice in the process”.
“ I believe it is up to the individual to own their own existence and work their way into a higher paying opportunities”
Look…this is all fine and good, but you seem to be ignoring the basic reality that there are a finite amount of good paying jobs. If someone works as a Walmart cashier as a way to pay for college and then progresses to a better paying job, someone will take their place. Moreover, if that former cashier gets a new job, they may be taking someone else’s job. Or maybe that person then moves up and takes a higher paying job from someone who loses their job, etc. The point being you can’t perpetually move up. There are only a finite amount of high paying jobs. Maybe you don’t resent the cashier, but you clearly believe they only have themselves to “blame” for their meager salary and you don’t appear to want anyone to pay more in taxes to support people who have “chosen” to be poor. I disagree with “blaming” people for holding poor paying jobs and your broader perspective that increasing your income is merely a matter of working harder or ambition.
I’m not sure that I agree that there must be a finite number of good paying jobs. There will always be stratification of income, but there is no reason that there cant be more good paying jobs…..or more simplified a growing standard of living for all. I am not in a position to judge or “blame” people for their incomes. However, I am a believer that if you want more…then do something about it. That used to be the American way. I for example at one time had to work 3 minimum wage jobs while going to school in order to survive while trying to get ahead at the same time. It often meant sleeping 3 hours a night…but it was my choice. If you are able bodied….you can choose to make the most of your life, or make excuses why you cant.
“ I am talking about the chronic abusers of government support…and in my experience is the vast majority.”
Your claim is that the vast majority who use government support are chronic abusers? A simple google search shows that the majority of welfare users are off welfare with 1–2 years. People regularly go on and off welfare. I realize this is old, but as of 1996, only 1/3 of women who ever go on welfare are on it for more than 5 years. Look…there are a lot of people that use welfare for years on end. But it’s not a “vast majority” as you claim. At the most it’s a large minority and depending on how you define “chronic” it appears that the vast majority of people don’t chronically remain on government support much less chronically abuse it. I find that far too often people, myself included, think their experiences are representative of the world as a whole. That assumption is frequently wrong because we’re prone to recency and confirmation bias.
My comment about “vast majority” was prefaced that this was only my own experience. Perhaps it’s not an accurate assessment of the whole system. However, I’m not ready to take a google search, or a government audit as providing a better assessment. My largest experience working with the poor was based on 14 years as a landlord of a small apartment complex. A complex of 8 units I purchased with a 50K down payment saved over a 10 year period from having a second job. I knew I needed to work my way to a standard of living I wanted. Anyway, I was self managed that property and lived onsite for a period of time. I knew these people very well….and over that 14 years had in excess of 100 tenants. Nearly all were Section 8 voucher holders. As a result of knowing them so well, I got to know a lot about their situations and sources of income. Some were truly needy….due to age, physical limitation, illness, mental ability, etc. I was happy to be able to provide them very nice housing, and to go above and beyond in being “friends” and/or helpful to them in other ways. However, I also found that the “majority” I am speaking about were chronic users of these programs….and in most of those cases were able-bodied. That seem troubling. It was further troubling when I was repeatedly told about how they would defraud the govt by sending in “time cards” for supportive services…which were never provided. When they got this money….it was simply extra “spending money”. Ultimately it was all of this fraud that encouraged me to sell the property and get out of that business. This was not one person, but over 80% that applied for this program.
Again this was just my experience and maybe a total anomaly. I would simply suggest that reports of very limited fraud in our welfare programs is probably also completely inaccurate. I want this money to get to those that need it (such as veterans and elderly), but unfortunately my belief that too much of it is diverted to those that should not be getting it.
Thanks again for all of the dialogue. I think we have exhausted this one :)