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Author Topic: Immigration and Amnesty
AI Wessex
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The inverse, deflation, occurs when there is insufficient demand due to a reduction in purchasing ability (money in the hands of consumers). The economy would have been destroyed without federal intervention to increase the money supply through the various methods it has followed in recent years, including lowering interest rates, jobless benefits, food stamps, subsidies, etc.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The inflation is being artificially kept at bay by the anemic economy and by the fed keeping interest rates at historic lows, which he just signaled a couple days ago will change in the comings months before he retires in January. When it does hit, it's going to be huge.
Low interest rates should cause inflation, if the economy was healthy, they don't prevent it. They're currently holding deflation at bay by trying to pump up inflation in the absence of near full employment conditions which would naturally induce a more healthy inflation rate.

Bernanke has signalled that the economy might be healthy enough (which is to say, it might actually hit the unemployment target that they've set as a sign of sufficient strength) that they might need to raise interest rates to moderate potential inflation; to put a price on investment above and beyond our ability to improve capacity and shift people to more saving instead.

To get to huge inflation rates, we'd first need to pass full employment, and then see median income and capacity utilization shoot up to unprecedented levels. (In the mean time, net Federal Spending would go into freefall as people were hired up off of support programs and more FICA revenues started pouring in) And not just domestic capacity, rteally, we'd have to drage Europe kicking and screaming out of its suicide pact along with the rest of the world to soak up enough global productive capacity to actually start to see real demand pressure starting to push inflation rates up significantly.

The worst thing we'd have to deal with would be price adjustments to to demand on oil production resources, but the better solution there is to invest more in divorcing ourselves from oil reliance in general than it is continue to leave ourselves hobbled to it.

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DarkJello
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Intellectualization is at the height of glory in America.

We keep spending money like it was free, and then wonder why our economic house is crumbling.

Sigh.

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AI Wessex
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DJ, if the government scaled back on "benefits" (e.g., food stamps, jobless pay) and citizens had to pay more out of pocket or simply scale back their spending to conserve what they had, what do you think would happen to the economy?

Do you think the overall economy and federal spending picture was improved by the cutbacks to welfare programs in the 90's?

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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
DJ, if the government scaled back on "benefits" (e.g., food stamps, jobless pay) and citizens had to pay more out of pocket or simply scale back their spending to conserve what they had, what do you think would happen to the economy?

Do you think the overall economy and federal spending picture was improved by the cutbacks to welfare programs in the 90's?

The government giveth and the government taketh. Amirite?

This trajectory blows chunks. I don't care about our fake economy. My goal is to have a real economy.

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AI Wessex
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Nice evasion of both questions. Define a "real economy", for instance.
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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Nice evasion of both questions. Define a "real economy", for instance.

One not built on fiat currency like a stack of flimsy cards.

One that does not force us to spiral further into debt just to stave off losing the weakest in the herd.

We need less regressives policies presented to us as progress.

On topic:

The last thing America needs is even more unskilled peeps sneaking across the border. And our government is supposed to champion the laws of nature and nature's God, not incentivize illegal immigration, debauchery, and laziness. Teach a man to fish, NOT take some of my fish every day and give to a guy/gal that relaxes at the park for a living.

Utopia will never arrive at this rate. Brazil FTW? (for the win)

[ June 21, 2013, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: DarkJello ]

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkJello:
quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Nice evasion of both questions. Define a "real economy", for instance.

One not built on fiat currency like a stack of flimsy cards.

One that does not force us to spiral further into debt just to stave off losing the weakest in the herd.

We need less regressives policies presented to us as progress.

On topic:

The last thing America needs is even more unskilled peeps sneaking across the border. And our government is supposed to champion the laws of nature and nature's God, not incentivize illegal immigration, debauchery, and laziness. Teach a man to fish, NOT take some of my fish every day and give to a guy/gal that relaxes at the park for a living.

Utopia will never arrive at this rate. Brazil FTW? (for the win)

DJ, as you can see, the statists will spin and twist and take bits and pieces of economic theory to try and make it seem like having a bunch of free-loaders receive goods and services taken from those who work hard is somehow good for the economy.

Yet what they fail to acknowledge is the overall concept of a net loss of value.

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TomDavidson
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The idea that a "real economy" cannot have a fiat currency would seem to fly in the face of most real economies.

quote:
The last thing America needs is even more unskilled peeps sneaking across the border.
Do you think that's a useful description of the status quo?

quote:
And our government is supposed to champion the laws of nature and nature's God
Why? What about the laws of nature make them desirable or deserving of protection?
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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
DJ, as you can see, the statists will spin and twist and take bits and pieces of economic theory to try and make it seem like having a bunch of free-loaders receive goods and services taken from those who work hard is somehow good for the economy.

Yet what they fail to acknowledge is the overall concept of a net loss of value.

Tru dat.

I grew up in a very, very poor family. We scratched our way up and out over many decades. People today vote themselves cash, our financial stability worsens, then they vote for more cash and on and on. All the while the "intellectual elite" have really good reasons for this suicidal path, and they also care a bunch about helping. I call this philosophy Neville Chamberlain economics. And it is appeasement. He had a cool mustache, but that was about it.

Economic world war is coming, and I don't trust the crooks that "lead" our country.

[ June 21, 2013, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: DarkJello ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkJello:
quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Nice evasion of both questions. Define a "real economy", for instance.

One not built on fiat currency like a stack of flimsy cards.

One that does not force us to spiral further into debt just to stave off losing the weakest in the herd.

We need less regressives policies presented to us as progress.

On topic:

The last thing America needs is even more unskilled peeps sneaking across the border. And our government is supposed to champion the laws of nature and nature's God, not incentivize illegal immigration, debauchery, and laziness. Teach a man to fish, NOT take some of my fish every day and give to a guy/gal that relaxes at the park for a living.

Utopia will never arrive at this rate. Brazil FTW? (for the win)

I don't understand what a "fiat currency" is. We collect taxes and print money, like every other country. I never heard that we were trying to create a Utopia, or that we're trying to champion nature's God. It's highly pejorative to contrast that strawman with the claim that the alternative is those obviously unacceptable outcomes. You don't leave a lot of room for discussion when you do that.
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AI Wessex
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"DJ, as you can see, the statists will spin and twist and take bits and pieces of economic theory to try and make it seem like having a bunch of free-loaders receive goods and services taken from those who work hard is somehow good for the economy."

And you wonder why the more reasonable people here dismiss you as a parroting troll?

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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"DJ, as you can see, the statists will spin and twist and take bits and pieces of economic theory to try and make it seem like having a bunch of free-loaders receive goods and services taken from those who work hard is somehow good for the economy."

And you wonder why the more reasonable people here dismiss you as a parroting troll?

How is rationalizing economic failure reasonable?

The fact that other countries print fiat currency--which has no inherent value--is not at all a reason for us to do so. Slavery was abolished even though other countries continued the practice. We should always aim for true progress and long-term success. But instead we are witnessing the birth of AmeriKa: land of the freebie and home of the bankrupt.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
DJ, as you can see, the statists will spin and twist and take bits and pieces of economic theory to try and make it seem like having a bunch of free-loaders receive goods and services taken from those who work hard is somehow good for the economy.
Where is anyone taking goods and services? The programs work by providing people money to purchase them; nothing is being taken.

quote:
Yet what they fail to acknowledge is the overall concept of a net loss of value.
That's an empty assertion that's at complete odds with the actual reality of the situation. People being unemployed and production resources sitting idle are a real, unrecoverable loss of value.

(More importantly, providing the baseline funds needed to maintain the level of consumer demand needed to keep them employed prevents that loss of value. Ensuring that there's enough demand to slightly outstrip current production capabilities provides the incentive for investment in the creation of additional wealth and value to serve that demand, which is the core reason that a little inflationary pressure is necessary to keep an economy growing; without that pressure, theres little potential profit to be made by investing in growth, only a zero sum game of shifting existing resources around)

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
DJ, as you can see, the statists will spin and twist and take bits and pieces of economic theory to try and make it seem like having a bunch of free-loaders receive goods and services taken from those who work hard is somehow good for the economy.
Where is anyone taking goods and services? The programs work by providing people money to purchase them; nothing is being taken.

quote:
Yet what they fail to acknowledge is the overall concept of a net loss of value.
That's an empty assertion that's at complete odds with the actual reality of the situation. People being unemployed and production resources sitting idle are a real, unrecoverable loss of value.

(More importantly, providing the baseline funds needed to maintain the level of consumer demand needed to keep them employed prevents that loss of value. Ensuring that there's enough demand to slightly outstrip current production capabilities provides the incentive for investment in the creation of additional wealth and value to serve that demand, which is the core reason that a little inflationary pressure is necessary to keep an economy growing; without that pressure, theres little potential profit to be made by investing in growth, only a zero sum game of shifting existing resources around)

Follow this very simple logic:

Person A sits around and does nothing

Person B works hard and earns lots of money.

The government takes extra money, beyond what it costs to operate normal government functions, in order to give that money to person B.

You honestly do not see the economic harm in this? Person A's hard work is de-incentivised so therefore fewer and fewer Person A's who FUND all of those Person B's will feel inclined to work. What is the net result of such a system?

[ June 21, 2013, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The fact that other countries print fiat currency--which has no inherent value--is not at all a reason for us to do so.
No, but the fact that it has no inherent value, and thus can be used as needed to provide the accounting resources necessary to quantify a rapid rate of growth is more than enough reason to do so.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The fact that other countries print fiat currency--which has no inherent value--is not at all a reason for us to do so.
No, that's true. In a similar vein, the fact that other humans ingest food and inhale oxygen is not a reason for Americans to do so.

The reason to print fiat currency -- or, rather, to have a notional currency unbound to a physical unit of static value -- is that it is, in and of itself, enormously beneficial. The reason other countries do it is because it's pretty much essential to a modern economy.

----------

Seriously, while I disagree with Pyrtolin on many things -- including the point at which the accrual of debt becomes harmful to a federal economy -- he's right about this. The idea that facilitating the exchange of goods and services destroys value represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what value actually is.

-------

quote:
What is the net result of such a system?
As described, the most powerful and prosperous economy in the history of the world.

The redistribution of idle wealth is fundamentally efficient; it maximizes economic utility by transferring assets from a class that uses assets inefficiently to a class that uses them very efficiently. Leaving aside other moral reasons -- like the fact that the poor are by definition more needy and suffer lack, or that the wealthy by their very nature will accrue more and more assets to themselves if not checked, etc. -- the economic argument for redistribution is simply that the rich are very, very bad at spending money because they have no need to do so beyond a certain point. If you want to improve your demand-strapped economy, take money from rich people and give it to the poor ones, who'll spend it.

[ June 21, 2013, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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AI Wessex
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"How is rationalizing economic failure reasonable?"

What is the cause of the economic failure and what is the solution to fix it? Remember that it takes 2 wage earners in a household today to maintain the same standard of living that 1 wage earner provided in 1980, and their taxes are lower now than they were then. In those days the average family savings rate was about 10%, now it is about 0%. If that's the time you are thinking of, what would return us to that former glory?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Person A sits around and does nothing

Person B works hard and earns lots of money.

The government takes extra money, beyond what it costs to operate normal government functions, in order to give that money to person B.

Except it doesn't. Rather it creates money and puts it in person A's hands so that they can contract person B to do the work. That's how person B makes lots of money in the first place. In some cases, it might buy things directly from the B's, but it would rather, where possible, put it in A's hands to allow market dynamics rather than central planning to identify which Bs deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.

(This also, incidentally, allows the As to afford the resources they need to try to become Bs, rather than starving or otherwise being dependent on loans from a small handful of Cs, who, unless checked, tend to monopolize resources and rent them out to anyone who wants to be a B rather than doing any actual work on their own. Of course the Cs can do the math and realize that having the As perpetually borrowing from them instead of earning enough to not be dependent on their largess is far more profitable in the near term, and lowers the risk of dilution of their monopolies)

quote:
You honestly do not see the economic harm in this? Person A's hard work is de-incentivised so therefore fewer and fewer Person A's who FUND all of those Person B's will feel inclined to work.
Giving person A enough funding that they can feed themselves, educate themselves, keep them selves healthy enough, and otherwise afford to work does nothing to disincentivize them from seeking work. (Even if the work may not be something that you'd personally want to pay them to to, and so describe as "nothing")

And taxes applied only to the profit margins of Bs similarly do nothing to disincentivize their work, since prices are set based on what they have to spend after taxes in the first place, but it does serve to ensure that they continue to seek to transact in the currency they need to meet those tax obligations rather than bartering their services on more arbitrary metrics. Ideally, taxes fall most heavily on the Cs to reduce their ability to build monopolies and lower the reward compared to the risks of using their control to warp the market in their favor, but even if that fails, the fact that we can publically provide funding to As arbitrarily helps dilute such monopolistic power and allows them a path to join the Bs without being subservient to the Cs to get there.

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djquag1
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Hey DarkJello - How many immigrants do you know?

Because I would disagree that every single one that crosses the border, illegally or not, is a worthless freeloader.

I worked fast food as a teenager, and I grew to be friends with a lot of the Mexicans there, between that and school classes was almost fluent in Spanish by the time I left. I live in a border state. Virtually every one of them was harder working then most Americans I meet. They all worked 60 to 80 hour workweeks at multiple jobs for crap wages, just to get by and provide for their families. Not a one of them came here for the free government services.

They also all paid their payroll and SS taxes like good little citizens, just with fake or stolen numbers, even though they can never claim social security. So I don't really mind if some of them claim food stamps because their children are going hungry.

There are no doubt some who commit abuse of the system in addition to fraud, but it is not all of them, nor most. It's a pretty broad brush you're painting an entire subset of the population with, is what I'm trying to say.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
including the point at which the accrual of debt becomes harmful to a federal economy
Do you at lest understand that debt is just savings reflected across a balance sheet? Your $10 deposited in savings at the bank is, reflexively, a $10 debt that the bank owes to you?

To "redistribute" wealth you need to take something of value from one person and give it to another. As has been pointed out repeatedly here, fiat money doesn't have any objective value, it's just an accounting measure. They can't be redistributed in any sense of the word. They can be allocated and debited for given people, but those are independent individual transactions, not transfers.

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Seneca
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quote:
Giving person A enough funding that they can feed themselves, educate themselves, keep them selves healthy enough, and otherwise afford to work does nothing to disincentivize them from seeking work. (Even if the work may not be something that you'd personally want to pay them to to, and so describe as "nothing")
This is a fundamentally terrible way of thinking. It is wrong to think that the government should decide how much of a person's own labor and effort they need to survive and take the rest for the "good of others."

People don't want to work hard just to survive. They want to work hard to get ahead and enjoy luxuries in life. If you take away too much of people's wealth then they won't feel like working anymore. I also fail to understand how welfare checks without employment requirements and EBT cards incentivise people to work.

The Soviet Union proved this and how destructive this thinking is.

[ June 21, 2013, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
It is wrong to think that the government should decide how much of a person's own labor and effort they need to survive and take the rest for the "good of others."
You have that reversed. The government -- that is to say, the people, who make up the government -- should decide how much a person needs to survive, make sure that person has enough to survive, and take enough from people who have a great deal more than enough to survive so that everyone has enough to survive.

As you point out, people want to work to afford luxuries. I'd also argue that they sometimes want to work because work is itself enriching and rewarding and interesting. So when you provide them what they need to survive, they will not, by and large, stop working.

[ June 21, 2013, 04:32 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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djquag1
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkJello:
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
What is your alternative proposal? To let people go hungry?

People can be malnourished and underweight, serious health problems in their own right, without outright starving to death. Is someone in that state more or less likely to be able to improve their situation to the point where they can manage to comfortably feed themselves?

I have been on food stamps.

You should see the "food" that is allowed. In fact, you should take a look at the typical "starving" poor person in America. This is yet another money pit government program. It is being abused to a large degree. People want to have cell phones, and fancy shoes, and nice cars, and all kinds of bling... AND they want the government to buy as much of the necessities as possible so they can focus on all the extras. It is lame, wasteful, and all too often criminal.

Politicians are to blame, but we the people are even more to blame. This is yet another example of big government failure.

I believe in evolution. I believe in science. Among many other things. And this suicidal path of big government will only ever lead us to one outcome. But sure, focus on the now instead of building towards true and lasting success for the future. I see this play out ALL the time at my job in a rural health clinic. People that make terrible life decisions are almost guaranteed to get terrible results. "Leading" by the lowest common denominator is the antithesis of progress, but don't let me ruin the partAy.

Venting down for the night, off to bed.

You point out some of the problems with the food stamp program, and that's fine. You also mention the bad eating habits that are all too often endemic in poor populations. What I'm not seeing is an alternate way to go about making sure that no one in our country starves to death or suffers serious nutrional deficiencies while cutting down on that waste and the occasional bad decisions of the poor.

As it is now, the rules for food stamps are pretty simple. No alcohol, no preprepared hot food, like fast food or deli.

If you want to start making food stamp recipients use them "correctly," well then you need to set up a system wherein each food item is individually judged based on it's nutrional value and cost. Then you have to make sure that the grocery stores comply, and only take food stamps for the right items. The grocery stores have to add a new cost to prices because of the burdensome new system. How much more money do you think this would cost the government, and do you think it would be worth it?

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LetterRip
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I think food stamps shouldn't be allowed for 'snack' items - soda pop, candy, chips, cookies, etc. The fact that Coca Cola et al successfully lobbied to have food stamps be able to purchase these I find disgusting.

quote:
f you want to start making food stamp recipients use them "correctly," well then you need to set up a system wherein each food item is individually judged based on it's nutrional value and cost. Then you have to make sure that the grocery stores comply, and only take food stamps for the right items. The grocery stores have to add a new cost to prices because of the burdensome new system. How much more money do you think this would cost the government, and do you think it would be worth it?
It isn't 'burdensome' for stores to have things seperated out for food stamps. Any modern register already does this type of thing. (In many cities/states core food items are sales tax excempt)

Stores already sell plenty of items that food stamps can't be used to purchase (car accessories and care; etc.).

There would be little or no additional cost to do so.

[ June 21, 2013, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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djquag1
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I could agree with that. Junk food doesn't need to be purchaseable. Still, though, with all the hundreds of new food items introduced to shelves every year, it would add regulation costs to make sure the new foods like Coke's Totally Healthy New Soda (which isn't really that much more healthy then regular soda) gets put in the correct, non purchaseable category.

Grocery stores today have a system, true, but it's a very simple one. Hardgoods(toilet paper, cleaning supplies), alcohol, and hot precooked food all can not be bought with food stamps. You can tell what those are by eyeballing them.

Requiring that foods be categorized by actual nutrional content is a whole different can of worms. Who does the nutrional testing? Who pays for it?

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MattP
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quote:
Grocery stores today have a system, true, but it's a very simple one. Hardgoods(toilet paper, cleaning supplies), alcohol, and hot precooked food all can not be bought with food stamps. You can tell what those are by eyeballing them.
While that may be true, the computers are also programmed with which specific items are and are not covered so while eyeballing might be harder, the checkout infrastructure is already in place.

quote:
Requiring that foods be categorized by actual nutrional content is a whole different can of worms. Who does the nutrional testing? Who pays for it?
Some states already tax snack foods while not taxing typical groceries. Food stamps would just be subject to the same set of restrictions. I don't think it would be all that onerous.

I also don't think it's all that necessary. People buying coke and chips with food stamps is not, IMO, a serious problem that needs to be given any particular priority.

[ June 21, 2013, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
This is a fundamentally terrible way of thinking. It is wrong to think that the government should decide how much of a person's own labor and effort they need to survive and take the rest for the "good of others."

Absolutely. That's why we give people money to buy those things instead of taking it away. That way the people who produce things are rewarded with profits that they can use as they see fit. No real portion of a person's labor is taken away, rather they are provided with more potential customers to trade their produce with so that they, in turn can acquire the things that they want from others.

quote:
People don't want to work hard just to survive. They want to work hard to get ahead and enjoy luxuries in life.
Absolutely. That's exactly why ensuring that everyone, by default has enough income to cover survival won't have any significant impact on the number of people willing to work to achieve a higher level of luxury than the bare minimum.

You keep making the completely false assertion that I'm suggesting that any actual wealth be confiscated and redistributed, when that's pretty much the exact opposite of what I'm saying. Far from taking anything away, my position is that we better enable the community at large to reward productive people by giving them the money they need to pay them for their service. No confiscation, just more potential revenue for good investment to capture.

quote:
If you take away too much of people's wealth then they won't feel like working anymore. I also fail to understand how welfare checks without employment requirements and EBT cards incentivise people to work.
Pursuit of better living standards and desire to be productive provide the incentives. Welfare and EBT cards serve to ensure that they can afford to survive and the other baseline costs associated with being able to work in the first place. In addition, they provide at lest some baseline income for people that are doing kinds of work that we don't have a good market base way to compensate them for, such as parenting, homemaking, volunteer work and other similar family and community support roles that create and maintain real value.

quote:
The Soviet Union proved this and how destructive this thinking is.
Try paying attention to what I'm actually saying instead of arguing against a position that has nothing to do with what I'm saying because it's the position that you'd rather be arguing against.

[ June 21, 2013, 10:22 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
I think food stamps shouldn't be allowed for 'snack' items - soda pop, candy, chips, cookies, etc. The fact that Coca Cola et al successfully lobbied to have food stamps be able to purchase these I find disgusting.

That kind of paternalism doesn't actually do much good, and avoids addressing the real issue (exacerbates it, really, by casting those unhealthy items as luxuries to be aspired to)

While some control to help prevent people from being extorted for funds is useful, it's far better to leave people reasonably free to make mistakes (and thus actually internalize the resulting lessons) while building community support networks and offering education on such matters that do far better at helping foster the sense of responsibility required to work toward improvement.

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LetterRip
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Pyr,

quote:
That kind of paternalism doesn't actually do much good, and avoids addressing the real issue (exacerbates it, really, by casting those unhealthy items as luxuries to be aspired to)
it isn't 'paternalism', it is best usage of tax money. Part of the issue is 'self control', reducing the need for self control on this issue should help it.

quote:
While some control to help prevent people from being extorted for funds is useful, it's far better to leave people reasonably free to make mistakes
They are already free to make mistakes, I just don't think the public dime should be used to allow them to exacerbate those mistakes.

quote:
(and thus actually internalize the resulting lessons) while building community support networks and offering education on such matters that do far better at helping foster the sense of responsibility required to work toward improvement.
I'm perfectly fine with funding education and helping to build support networks. The individual can do all of those things without spending public tax money on non necessities.

Public funds should be targeted at the essentials - core food needs; education; medical. Junk foods are 'luxuries', though the worst kind of luxuries since they can have potentially significant negative externalities.

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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
The fact that other countries print fiat currency--which has no inherent value--is not at all a reason for us to do so.
No, but the fact that it has no inherent value, and thus can be used as needed to provide the accounting resources necessary to quantify a rapid rate of growth is more than enough reason to do so.
Good. We agree money has no inherent value. Now what would happen if the government decided to print money out of thin air? Would this cause America to succeed like never before or what? With so much fake money being treated as real money, EVERYONE should have all their needs met within a few years. Utopia achieved. But in the real world such a fantasy plan would never work in the long-run. Failure is delayed for a bit, all while some celebrate the brilliance of humanity to overcome all obstacles. Craftiness FTW!!

quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"How is rationalizing economic failure reasonable?"

What is the cause of the economic failure and what is the solution to fix it? Remember that it takes 2 wage earners in a household today to maintain the same standard of living that 1 wage earner provided in 1980, and their taxes are lower now than they were then. In those days the average family savings rate was about 10%, now it is about 0%. If that's the time you are thinking of, what would return us to that former glory?

#1) Waste, mismanagement, theft, and too many voters and politicians placing necessary priorities below those that are neat and nifty.

#2) Politicians that work to transform America away from the above and towards rationality.

#3) Why does it take 2 wage earners today? If taxes are lower for the masses (mean average?) it would be because they voted for less taxes AND more "free" goodies. Why should people save if the government is just gonna bail them out? Why should people save if "poor" folks qualify for even more government stuff? How many people spend energy and time researching the fiscal policies of their bank BEFORE placing thousands of dollars in assorted accounts? (Hint: FDIC shifted the risk).

I am not shooting for glory, but maximum responsibility and policies that reward the makers instead of the takers.

[ June 22, 2013, 12:13 AM: Message edited by: DarkJello ]

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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
The government -- that is to say, the people, who make up the government -- should decide how much a person needs to survive, make sure that person has enough to survive, and take enough from people who have a great deal more than enough to survive so that everyone has enough to survive.

As you point out, people want to work to afford luxuries. I'd also argue that they sometimes want to work because work is itself enriching and rewarding and interesting. So when you provide them what they need to survive, they will not, by and large, stop working. [/QB]

I don't believe government should be in the position of choosing winners and losers. Way too many resources are confiscated from makers and given to those that refuse to work. Why should we reward those that do less than the minimum? To be clear, I am talking about those that WON'T not those that CAN'T. And the percentage of "can nots" is growing rapidly--all thanks to government programs. Less and less makers are supporting more and more takers.

Many of those individuals that receive everything they need to survive from "free" government money, choose to remain in unskilled jobs. They no longer have a reason to push ahead, work more hours, or get a better education.

I make more now than I ever did as an RN. My stress level is also way higher. But I put up with all the BS because I believe in America, and I am modelling real success for my kids. Again, a lot of people are taking the easy way out and just scoring "free" services. And why not? The government forces have brainwashed younger generations into thinking it is all good in da hood. Not only is it hurting nobody, but it is actually super cool and groovy for the economy. What a crock!!

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DarkJello
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
I think food stamps shouldn't be allowed for 'snack' items - soda pop, candy, chips, cookies, etc. The fact that Coca Cola et al successfully lobbied to have food stamps be able to purchase these I find disgusting.

quote:
f you want to start making food stamp recipients use them "correctly," well then you need to set up a system wherein each food item is individually judged based on it's nutrional value and cost. Then you have to make sure that the grocery stores comply, and only take food stamps for the right items. The grocery stores have to add a new cost to prices because of the burdensome new system. How much more money do you think this would cost the government, and do you think it would be worth it?
It isn't 'burdensome' for stores to have things seperated out for food stamps. Any modern register already does this type of thing. (In many cities/states core food items are sales tax excempt)

Stores already sell plenty of items that food stamps can't be used to purchase (car accessories and care; etc.).

There would be little or no additional cost to do so.

4 years ago, when I finally graduated with a groovy and ridiculously expensive degree, my wife and 3 kids received 800 dollars per month in the liberal paradise known as Washington State. I did not technically qualify, because I chose to go back to sKewl. Again, 800 clams for 1 adult, 2 young kids, and 1 neonate!! It was an absurd amount. We ALL ate from the account and still had a few hundred left over. We ate good. Any money not spent was added to the next month. We could have built up a very large sum of money. And they literally would not take any of it back by the time I obtained gainful employment. We had a family member in a much worse situation than us, but the same stupid state that gave us way too much refused to give this person even 1 cent. Guess where every penny of our extra funds went?

The solution is to give people just a tad more than they actually need instead of overshooting by 30% or more. This would then allow resources to be shifted to other areas. Debt. Housing. Health care. etc... People are responsible for their decisions, government should just be a helper in the background--like a responsible grandparent.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
quote:
That kind of paternalism doesn't actually do much good, and avoids addressing the real issue (exacerbates it, really, by casting those unhealthy items as luxuries to be aspired to)
it isn't 'paternalism', it is best usage of tax money. Part of the issue is 'self control', reducing the need for self control on this issue should help it.
Making choices for someone else for their own good is the very essence of paternalism, whatever rationalization you put on it. It also, very manifestly, not only doesn't work, it actually completely backfires both in terms of encouraging fraud and in leaving people ill equipped to manage on their own.

You're resting on only half the picture when you note that less need to exercise self control mskes things easier. Yes, in the short term, willpower runs out the more a person has to exercise it, but such short term failures translate to more overall capacity in the long term, just like exercising physical muscles builds strength. People can only learn to make good decisions if you afford them the dignity and respect of allowing them to make their own decisions. Fail to do that, and they will actively respond to the implied lack of respect.

quote:
They are already free to make mistakes, I just don't think the public dime should be used to allow them to exacerbate those mistakes.
No they're not. They can't afford to make meaningful choices in the first place, never mind mistakes on those choices. That's part of the fundamental nature of poverty and why people need support to escape it.

quote:
I'm perfectly fine with funding education and helping to build support networks. The individual can do all of those things without spending public tax money on non necessities.

No one pends tax money. Money collected in taxes is gone. Destroyed by the very nature of how federal taxation works. (State and local levels collect, sure, since they, aside from North Dakota which has it's own state bank, don't directly control the accounts)

Can it be done? Sure. In fact it must be done for people to eventually move up. But people need to be allowed the freedom to learn how to do it from the outset, rather than having the choices dictated to them such that they fall right back down as soon as they're free of that control.

People will generally rise to the level of expectation that is put on them. Dictating such things to them only creates the expectation that they're incapable of making responsible choices and they will respond in kind by behaving that way.

The programs that have worked the best do not directly dictate anything, but instead require the people in the program within a given area to meet regularly for some amount of education, but more importantly group discussion of their overall progress. Community bonds and the resulting higher expectations among peers serve as much better implicit controls than any explicit dictates have ever managed to even aspire to.

Legal restrictions on drugs or alcohol are pretty useless at controlling addictions; groups like AA and NA, on the other hand, are very good at it. This basic principle is no different here. People will rebel against dictated restrictions, but they will strive to meet community expectations once you've managed to foster a sense of community in them.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkJello:
Good. We agree money has no inherent value. Now what would happen if the government decided to print money out of thin air?

That's a bad question; there is no magic money tree, all money comes "out of thin air" by the act of crediting it to an account. There is no where else for money to come from; there is a limitless supply of numbers in the universe and we conjure them from "thin air" as needed.

Imagine if you were lifting weights and told you couldn't count more than 5 reps because there was a shortage of the numbers needed to count your progress, unless you borrowed or earned some reps from someone else willing to part with them. You'd be right to ask if they didn't actually mean that there was shortage of time, not reps, such that the weights needed to be shared among a large number of people, but if that wasn't the case why you couldn't account for reps based on your capability to do them rather than the bizarre assertion that there was an accounting shortage when you could easily create the necessary numbers "out of thin air".

Rather, I expect what you're trying to ask is "What would happen if we produced money far in excess of our ability to expand production to meet it?" at which point, the concerns you express become very valid, and I'd fully agree that it would be problematic. But I'd also point out that I've been very careful to be clear that I'm not suggesting that at all- that that's a scenario that you keep trying to arbitrarily toss in even though it's not relevant to anything I'm saying. Far from it- my position is that we should specifically gauge net production of money based on real resource and production capacity, rather than using arbitrary or imaginary limits on it that completely disregard real productivity.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Way too many resources are confiscated from makers and given to those that refuse to work.
Why do you think so? Leaving all moral questions aside, I can explain -- from a purely economic perspective -- why we should be taking an additional 35% from the top tier of "makers" and giving it to those who do not have as much money (whether or not they are willfully and stubbornly "refusing" to work). What makes you believe we are excessively "taking" from our "makers" now?
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AI Wessex
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What's more interesting to me is that people who argue so stridently in defense of the most wealthy could never hope to enter that class. Instead they tear down the government support structures that are intended to be there for their benefit in case of need. Do you think the top 1-2% are going to respond to your appeals for help?

Consider that the US has the lowest class mobility index of any industrialized country in the world. In other words, if you lived in Sweden, Germany or a host of other countries and were born poor or into even a middle income family your chances of one day becoming wealthy would be much greater than they are for a US citizen of equivalent rank. You are vigorously defending status, wealth and the independence that comes with those things that you'll never likely share. You'll even take up arms to defend it (I mean, them). Why, for freedom?

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LetterRip
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I did a mathematical analysis quite some time ago that looked at a flat tax on marginal net worth converted to an income tax (essentially benefit from the government are proportional to ones net worth for the majority of government services - especially military, state department, public infrastructure, as well as education and most social welfare programs since they reduce the cost and increase the value of employees. I used marginal since we need to subtract out income needed for survival.) This included all taxes - state, local, federal - converted to a single income tax rate.

Result was that everyone below the 95 percentile was taxed way too high, and the 5th percentile was taxed almost exactly correct, and the top percentile were grossly undertaxed.

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LetterRip
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Pyr,

quote:
Making choices for someone else for their own good is the very essence of paternalism
Paternalism would be 'you aren't allowed to buy x, while you are receiving food stamps', not 'food stamps can only be used to purchase y'. The restriction is placed on the usage of the funds being provided, not on the behaviour. This is like targeted grants to organizations that can't be used for administration fees or to fund grant writing applications.

quote:
It also, very manifestly, not only doesn't work, it actually completely backfires both in terms of encouraging fraud and in leaving people ill equipped to manage on their own.
How exactly would it 'not work', or 'encourage fraud' - if the company selling the food commits fraud make the penalty bad enough that it isn't worth it. I see no logical reason why it would 'leave people ill equipped to manage on their own' to any greater degree than they are already ill equipped.

quote:
You're resting on only half the picture when you note that less need to exercise self control mskes things easier. Yes, in the short term, willpower runs out the more a person has to exercise it, but such short term failures translate to more overall capacity in the long term, just like exercising physical muscles builds strength.
This doesn't disallow them the chance to exercise willpower, it just shifts where the consequences of lack of willpower come from.

quote:
People can only learn to make good decisions if you afford them the dignity and respect of allowing them to make their own decisions. Fail to do that, and they will actively respond to the implied lack of respect.
They can make their own decisions - if a parent doesn't buy their child a car, that doesn't mean they have denied the child the decision of owning a car. It just means that if the child makes the decision to own a car, it will need to be based on their own actions, not the actions of the parent.

The public taxes not paying for the poor to buy junk food is not a 'lack of respect', it is choosing how the public allocates its resources.

quote:
No they're not. They can't afford to make meaningful choices in the first place, never mind mistakes on those choices. That's part of the fundamental nature of poverty and why people need support to escape it.
Those in poverty generally make many mistakes, poverty is generally (though not always) a lack of learning from ones mistakes. The way to end poverty is not funding mistakes that are easily and frequently made, it is in rewarding good choices so that the benefit from a good choice is exagerated.

quote:
No one pends tax money. Money collected in taxes is gone. Destroyed by the very nature of how federal taxation works. (State and local levels collect, sure, since they, aside from North Dakota which has it's own state bank, don't directly control the accounts)
I'm familiar with your economic views. However, until the government becomes enlightened to your thinking - there is an opportunity cost to allocating public spending. Ie the government has a spending cap, thus any funds allocated to one project reduces the funds allocatable to another project. Thus spending that doesn't accomplish public benefit goals is a severe opporuntity cost for spending that does go to public benefit goals.

quote:
People will generally rise to the level of expectation that is put on them.
If you have explicit, narrow expectations, with modest clear goals and means then yes people can 'rise to them'. However the way you are representing it is completely BS. People will generally stick to their habits. The methods you propose would not result in people 'rising to expectations' but in sticking with their habits.

quote:
The programs that have worked the best do not directly dictate anything, but instead require the people in the program within a given area to meet regularly for some amount of education, but more importantly group discussion of their overall progress. Community bonds and the resulting higher expectations among peers serve as much better implicit controls than any explicit dictates have ever managed to even aspire to.
Limiting funding to a subset of purchases isn't 'dictating'. Also the reason 'group discussion works' is that it affords ability to see habitual patterns and to change them. Doing more structured habit changing with explicit goal planning, would be far more effective.

quote:
Legal restrictions on drugs or alcohol are pretty useless at controlling addictions; groups like AA and NA, on the other hand, are very good at it.
Taxes on drugs and alcohol work well at reducing addiction and alcohol abuse. AA and NA work because they are highly structured methods to identify and change habits.

[ June 22, 2013, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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djquag1
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If you're not addicted to drugs or alcohol, any taxes attached to them aren't going to be that burdensome, since you won't be buying them all the time.

If you DO have an addiction, you won't really care how much it costs.

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