Priceless in a really sad way.

I find it very strange. Given that there have been such huge improvements in productivity since (say) the year 1900 why doesn't everyone work a 3-day week? Just as much would be done as was done in 1900 - more probably. And there would be a lot less damage to the environment.

...R

The question has to be, how much do we do for those who won’t do for themselves? Do we raise them up to a place that is survivable? Do we raise them up to a point where they are at the median? Do we bring them up to the point that they can have the American dream without working? And from where do we get all this money to shore up all of those who don’t have enough.

I find it interesting that even with all the “meanness” and “unkindness” that you say America shows to the poor, the poor people from all over the world are clamoring to get here. They’re not rushing to places with handouts. They’re coming to America because of opportunity. Even a poor man can make it here if he applies himself. Every man can be in control of his own destiny here.

And I hear plenty of people talk about what they think holds them back. But I see people right now in America that have gone from homeless on the street to multimillionaire CEO in one lifetime. So it can be done. And only here.

So while we don’t just give away money, we do at least leave you in control and with the ability to go and make it. It just depends on you.

I hear the pushback on this already. But all I can say is see where people are going. Even in Europe the poor clamor to come to America. Why would they do that if it is really so horrible here and so kind there?

And from a philosophical point, let’s look at something like healthcare. Should everyone get the same?

So let’s say everyone gets treated equally. And when you get sick there are some things that will kill you and some we can cure. And no matter who you are you get the same level.

Well then a wealthy man gets sick. He thinks that he can maybe save his own life if he could just throw enough money into finding a cure for himself. Or maybe the cure is known but takes more resources than are available for us to provide to everyone. Do we now tell this man that he isn’t allowed to spend his money to save his life just because there are some other people who can’t? Just because we can’t afford to provide this cure to everyone we restrict what this man is allowed to spend his own money on.

That’s obviously not kind. We are telling a sick man who has the resources to save himself that he must die and he is not allowed.

So let’s allow him to do this. Let’s let him save himself. Now the poor man cries that it isn’t fair because he doesn’t get the same cure.

See, it’s a catch 22. You’re going to have to tell someone that they have to die. How do we decide who? What should we do? Should we tell the rich man to die? Or should we accept that sometimes wealth gains you things.

Kindness is going and helping someone. Kindness is not passing a law to force everyone else to help someone.

If you think that everyone should have healthcare but you aren’t out there spending your money to buy healthcare for people then you’re just a hypocrite. And don’t tell me it’s because you don’t have the money. If you’re here then you have more than some. Go and find them and give them what you have if you think that’s the way it should work. Be the change you want to see.

Asking the government to do it doesn’t make it free. It’s the same situation. So if you aren’t giving all of your money to the poor then don’t try to tell me that you think I should have to.

Delta_G: .... And I hear plenty of people talk about what they think holds them back. But I see people right now in America that have gone from homeless on the street to multimillionaire CEO in one lifetime. So it can be done. And only here. ....

And China :)

Delta_G: .... Even in Europe the poor clamor to come to America. Why would they do that if it is really so horrible here and so kind there?

Really. I certainly know that European workers who have been to the States and feel rather sorry for American workers.

Delta_G: And from a philosophical point, let’s look at something like healthcare. Should everyone get the same? ...That’s obviously not kind. We are telling a sick man who has the resources to save himself that he must die and he is not allowed. ...

Where does that actually happen?

Delta_G: .... If you think that everyone should have healthcare but you aren’t out there spending your money to buy healthcare for people then you’re just a hypocrite...

I fund other people's healthcare through taxes and I don't grudge a penny of it because the service will be there if I or mine need it.

Taxes are the cheapest and most efficient way of providing care because they remove the middlemen skimming a profit and they get economies of scale.

My taxes get spent on quite a few things I am not happy about but healthcare and education are not among them.

ardly:
Where does that actually happen?

It would have to if we really want to make it fair doesn’t it. At some point there is a maximum level that we can afford to give to everyone.

That post wasn’t a statement of how things are. It’s a philosophical question. Would you tell the rich man that he can’t spend his money to get a cure so that it is fair to the poor man.

Or do you tell the poor man that the rich man can have access to a cure that he can’t have because of money.

You can’t have it both ways. Either it’s fair for everyone or the rich man can afford something that the poor man can’t. So which man do you give the bad news to?

Too many people just think that they need to give us the healthcare. The only reason that we don’t have it is because they keep it from us. They have it and they just hog it all. But never a thought for who they really are or if they really even exist.

I’m talking about a reality. If we want to make it fair then we have to choose one of those two people to give the bad news to. So which one dies?

Keep in mind that if we choose to keep it fair and tell the rich man that he can’t have a cure, then the poor man dies as well. He’s a gonner either way. So the question becomes, do we kill the rich man to keep it fair or do we let him use his money to have something the poor man can’t?

It’s a simple philisophical question. Which man do you choose?

It's not a blank philosophical question either. This is the basic philosophical dilemma between capitalism (the rich man can have what he can afford regardless of what the poor man has) or communism (we all get the same no matter what). There is no option where you don't have to take something from someone if your goal is to make things fair.

ardly: I fund other people's healthcare through taxes and I don't grudge a penny of it because the service will be there if I or mine need it.

Taxes are the cheapest and most efficient way of providing care because they remove the middlemen skimming a profit and they get economies of scale.

My taxes get spent on quite a few things I am not happy about but healthcare and education are not among them.

But your taxes obviously aren't enough to completely level the playing field. You still have so much more than so many others. You can afford a computer. Internet access. These are the trappings of wealth to so many.

And you sit back and say, oh I pay my taxes so I've given enough. Now all of you need to give more so that this injustice stops. Why do you sit back and enjoy the trappings of wealth while so many struggle. And then claim that you think it should be "fair". You could make it fair. But you don't. You expect a government to do it. Be the change you want to see. If you think that the poor man deserves more then give him more.

Or is that not really the point?

Delta_G: It would have to if we really want to make it fair doesn't it. At some point there is a maximum level that we can afford to give to everyone.

That post wasn't a statement of how things are. It's a philosophical question. Would you tell the rich man that he can't spend his money to get a cure so that it is fair to the poor man.

Or do you tell the poor man that the rich man can have access to a cure that he can't have because of money.

You can't have it both ways. Either it's fair for everyone or the rich man can afford something that the poor man can't. So which man do you give the bad news to?

It is not a philosophical question, it is a real life problem that has real life solutions.

Treatments are evaluated on their cost benefit. The benefit being the amount of extra life with a reasonable quality that the treatment brings. If the treatment brings little benefit or is excessively costly for the amount of benefit then it will not be available free to the patient. If the patient wants to spend their money on the treatment that is up to them, just like you can buy lottery tickets.

Granted the cost/benefit is to some extent an arbitrary judgement but in general the bar is set pretty high.

Recently I saw a TV program in which a young American woman was suffering from some unknown disease. She had seen many doctors in the US, was in debt and was often being chased by doctors for the debts. Finally she went to Italy where they sequenced her genome and diagnosed the problem all for free even though she was not an Italian citizen.

ardly: Treatments are evaluated on their cost benefit. The benefit being the amount of extra life with a reasonable quality that the treatment brings. If the treatment brings little benefit or is excessively costly for the amount of benefit then it will not be available free to the patient. If the patient wants to spend their money on the treatment that is up to them, just like you can buy lottery tickets.

OK, so you've chosen that the poor man gets a basic level and the rich man can have what he can afford.

That's how I would hope most people would choose. But it definitely leaves things unfair.

So the next question becomes, who gets to decide. Who decides when saving the poor man is worth it or not? Who determines how much money one year of the poor man's life is worth? I'm sure it is worth a lot more to the poor man himself than it is to anyone else. What is it based on? Who draws the line?

Given that there have been such huge improvements in productivity since (say) the year 1900 why doesn't everyone work a 3-day week? Just as much would be done as was done in 1900 - more probably.

The poor are richer (or at least not poorer) and the rich are richer. The richer you are the more you consume. The more you consume the more you produce.

The more you consume the more you produce.

I can’t agree. I know quite a few who consume much but produce nothing.

Qdeathstar: The richer you are the more you consume.

But far less as a percent of your income than people poor by comparison. The rest gets invested, could end up funding business or terrorism, cures or human trafficking or a villa for some great leader's latest GF or a locker-room tip scam. There's a big skim and what's left goes to dividends according to investment and bonuses according to order.

The more you consume the more you produce.

Not as any kind of rule at all. It's missing a word, the word can as in the more you can produce.

Also true, the more you can waste as in you can be a bigger waste by being a bigger consumer and only produce more trash and disingenuous platitudes.

Delta_G: OK, so you've chosen that the poor man gets a basic level and the rich man can have what he can afford.

So the next question becomes, who gets to decide. Who decides when saving the poor man is worth it or not? Who determines how much money one year of the poor man's life is worth? I'm sure it is worth a lot more to the poor man himself than it is to anyone else. What is it based on? Who draws the line?

Without a common good you get conditions for pandemics to wars. And there are people who see those as opportunities.

Without a large society you don't get the medical and technical achievements we have, or the massive shortages.

Delta_G:
I find it interesting that even with all the “meanness” and “unkindness” that you say America shows to the poor, the poor people from all over the world are clamoring to get here.

Two things about that. The people clamouring to get to the USA are those with more than average ambition. And poor in the USA can still be much better than poor elsewhere.

But that does NOT justify the gap between rich and poor in the USA.

But I see people right now in America that have gone from homeless on the street to multimillionaire CEO in one lifetime.

At the expense of thousands of others with whom they were too mean to share their millions. Nobody needs an income greater than $250,000 per annum (and that’s pretty generous).

Nobody becomes a millionaire due to his own work unless s/he is an entertainer or a footballer. Most millionaires get rich on the backs of the ordinary working man (or woman - perhaps especially low-paid women)

…R

And poor in the USA can still be much better than poor elsewhere.

So our poor are better off because we are so mean to them? The kindness in other places has led to them being worse off? That’s kindness???

Most millionaires get rich on the backs of the ordinary working man (or woman - perhaps especially low-paid women)

I echo your comments to BrendaEM in the other thread. Cite examples of how folks were put down? I’ve been around entrepreneurs my whole life. What I see is mostly a bunch of hangers on that rise up along with the one who had the great idea. Sure he doesn’t just give it away to those who don’t help. But nobody does it all on their own. And nobody is going to help them for free.

Really who is meaner, the one who has but doesn’t give or the one who doesn’t participate but demands from those who do?

Delta_G:
Really who is meaner, the one who has but doesn’t give or the one who doesn’t participate but demands from those who do?

IMHO neither is right.

But it is important not to ignore the plight of people in genuine need simply because you object strongly to a few freeloaders getting free lunches. A certain amount of freeloading may an unavoidable cost of helping those in genuine need in a dignified manner.

The real answer is to design a welfare system that supports people and also allows them to better themselves by their own efforts. The design of many welfare systems has the effect of financially penalising people who try to earn some extra cash. And the usual reason it is designed like that is to obstruct freeloaders. But because of its penal effect it actually encourages freeloading, or, put another way, it discourages effort.

Society has always had, and will always have freeloaders - and they are not necessarily poor. Some are just clever at pretending to be useful.

…R