-1 vote

Too poor to benefit from Liberty

At dinner tonight, I was in a heated debate with probable-Giuliani supporters (they're New Yorkers) and said that Libertarianism is too idealistic and wouldn't work because it is stacked against poor people.

Frankly, I was stunned. "The poor *needs* government support because they cannot help themselves. Left to the free-markets, the rich would never give to causes that help the poor and the divide between rich and poor would grow," they said.

I stated that the tax system that funds the government is rigged against the poor... my example: the social security tax cap of $90,000.

For those who don't know, the IRS stops charging the social security after you make MORE than $90,000.

If you made $50,000, you pay $3,100... or 6.2% of your income.

If you made $90,000, you pay $5,580... or 6.2% of your income

If you made $200,000, you pay $5,580... or 2.8% of your income.

After it became clear that fighting the tax system sided with the poor, they attacked my libertarian/Ayn Rand principles of not being self-focused.

So my question to you: What is your socio-economic level? And do you think that liberty benefits only the rich?

Disclosure: I think I'm middle-class and I think the poor have the most to gain from liberty.

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The Poor

I like what Ron Paul said in one if his speeches, what did people do before welfare, ss, etc.? People weren't just dying in the streets were they? Churches and individuals helped people. Here's another example: What about the Amish? They do not pay into the SS system and I don't think they pay any income tax(I could be wrong on that last one). When a neighbor loses a house or a barn, they don't sit around waiting for the government to come build them a new one(like some Katrina victims). They all join together and build a new one. They also pool their money if someone has a catastrophic health problem.
A lot of the mentality is they owe me? Because if you've been handed a welfare check all of your life you don't know anything else. Welfare and any other government program fosters dependency, not liberty or individuality. There is no incentive to improve yourself or your family's situation. How many people on welfare go one to a better life? You have generation after generation doing the same thing. What about the people on head start? Their children are in the program. How is that taking care of the poor?
I just get the idea that a lot of people do not want to help themselves. I didn't grow up in a rich family. My father never made more than $20,000/yr his whole life, but we had everything we needed and he was a great example. He was a worker and he never owed anyone anything and never had a credit card. He came into the world with nothing and literally left with nothing.
I think liberty can only make us a better country. I also think when people see other people on government programs it makes them biased toward those people. I volunteer at our food pantry at church and there is a woman who is studying for her GED(completely paid for by the taxpayers). One of the ladies who volunteers with me told her that was great and asked if they find her a job when she is done, she answered yes, but I don't want a job, I just want my GED to say that I have it!
It is hard to feel sorry for those kind of people.

Ask them one thing

If government intervention is so good in benefit of the poor, then why is it that, in the 39 years since LBJ declared war on poverty and the great welfare explosion began, haven't the percent of the population living at or below the poverty level declined to any significant degree?

Wrong subject

If you are an Ayn Randian, then you should know that the question is not who benefits from X or Y. That is how a socialist thinks, and you won't beat them at their own game. The question is individual rights. Now fortunately, you can put this concept into terms a left-leaner can understand: It is immoral to threaten anyone with force. No matter how lofty the supposed goal, it can never justify threatening another person with violence if they do not comply. Violence is only justified to defend one's self from violence perpetrated by another.

Then again, maybe the initiation of force won't be the most effective argument for a GIULLIANI supporter!

I Bear Witness...

I live in Canada. My parents are middle class earners. My father is a specialized tradesman, and my mother is a government employee (healthcare related). Together they earn close to $100, 000 a year. They have no retirement savings, did not finance their children's college educations, own only 1 vehicle (they borrowed to get a second), and own a property with a large mortgage on it. They are ageing but have no way to retire within the next 10 years. Where does all the money go? Taxes, debt, expenses. Nearly 1/3 of all their labour goes to taxes right off the top (forget about working longer for more money, income tax is graduated). Don't forget the mandatory contributions to the social programs is extra: mandatory employment insurance, mandatory healthcare premiums, and mandatory Canada Pension Plan contributions. Property taxes, provincial sales taxes, and various excise taxes (i.e. gasoline) bring up the rear (literally!). Oh, and don't forget the extra national tax on goods and services of 6%. Now, because they didn't start out with money, they were forced to enter into debt (as almost everyone is) to gain essentials like housing and transportation so they have been losing money to interest for 30 years. All those years, prices have gone up ahead of income due to inflation. Don't get me wrong, they could have made better decisions in some instances, but this system brutally punishes mistakes and stacks the deck against anyone working for wages. Also remember, our dollar was worth 65 cents U.S. during much of this time.

Sound fun? It isn't. Socialism and social engineering have destroyed this country. This is not the same nation it was in WWI (we had no income tax, or gun registry); we are not the nation that took Vimy Ridge. We are a nation of political corruption, hate speech laws, divorce, abortion, gun registry, police checkpoints, equal opportunity employment (i.e. mandatory gender, racial, religious, sexual orientation, and language employment regulations), government financed re-education (i.e. sensitivity training programs), ethnic ghettos, seatbelt and bike helmet laws (that's right, you will be fined if you or your child doesn't wear a bike helmet!!) (oh, and yes, imagine the police standing in the middle of the street slowing down traffic to look into your car to check that you wear your seatbelt, and pulling you over if you're not!!), and I could go on all day!!!! (think i'm kidding? Government funded childcare programs, environmental regulations, traffic light cameras, native programs...I'd better stop, but I could go on. think i'm kidding? I didn't think so.)

This is what they built on my parents' and grandparents' backs. We need Ron Paul. We need Ron Paul. We need Ron Paul.

Welfare Society

I've come to love this term. I totally believe that America is built for charity. You can look all around and see examples of it everywhere, and thats with the government already taking our money. I remember watching the American Idol Gives show (yes, okay, I watch American Idol) and was very happy to see $70 million raised in a one day event.

I would argue that a lot of people do not give money to charities or to those in need precisely because of the welfare state. If people think the government is taking care of it, then they don't need to worry about it. In these terms, the welfare state doesn't show more compassion, but rather a lack of compassion. Its a convenient vehicle to ignore the needs of others.

If you put the money gathered from the income tax back in the hands of the people, I believe the increase in charity would far outweigh whatever we would lose in government entitlement programs. Local needs are best understood and met by local people.

I'd like to see numbers crunched on non-federally funded charities and the amount of aid they give out versus taking in compared to that of the government entitlement programs. I'd be willing to bet you see a higher efficiency in charity organizations and donations than that of government.

Look at free trade...

Look at free trade... tariffs hurt poor people because they limit the goods and services they can purchase. If China can generate a widget for $1 and we can do it for $5, and we put a $4 tariff on the import, we're not helping poor people... we're helping rich business owners here in the US.

Also look at the fiat currency. Devaluing the dollar creates a higher cost for imported goods and services, which increases inflation. Inflation hurts the poor... while the rich have investments that outpace inflation and/or own businesses which export goods or services that benefit from a devalued dollar.

If you don't eat, drive, or live anywhere

Inflation is 2% for you!

Otherwise, it's closer to 7 - 10% annually.

Talk about the biggest deception in the world. And on Oct 30/31, watch Bernanke cut rates... you'll see an immediate transfer of wealth from savers to bail out risk-takers who didn't understand investing in subprime debt.

And so it goes until President Paul takes office in 2009.

good topic

My girlfriend and I together bring home 27520 dollars per year. I have a car payment of 330, rent of 450 (2 bedroom 700sqft not in good shape home), car insurance of 260, two small cc's for 80, essential utilities run 350 or so more in the winter, internet for 30, phone for 50, directv for 60, school loan repayment of 140. That of course doesn't include food or gas or god forbid fun. I do not have medical, dental, or life insurance not because they aren't available at my job but because I can't afford them and if I could, I couln't afford co-pays to use it. I am living in a fiscal nightmare and I make more than all but 1% of the people I know around here. I am the backup site director for my site which is part of a multinational corporation and earned it starting at the very bottom and I'm only 27 years old. I haven't been to a doctor or dentist either one since I was 18 for anything other than 6 month cleanings when I still had insurance. The funny thing is I have to pay income tax each year. It isn't much, a few hundred dollars, but it seriously hurts to have to pay. Having laid out that sob story most people wouldn't even believe......I think Ron Paul has the answer. If our money were worth more, mine would go farther. If we didn't spend so much on military spending, we could have systems set up to help people that needed it. People like the veterans living on streets in my home town. People like myself and a lot of other West Virginians, but not as badly as others do. I hate socialism but there's a big difference in the way we could approach these problems. If we weren't spending money on wars and maintaining bases all over the world there could be a ton of ways for the federal government to help those that needed it without having federal programs like we do now. Liberty benefits all, rich more than poor, but only because they have the money to enjoy their liberties to the fullest. I think sound monetary policy and a lack of empire building and war profiteering would transform our nation and correct many misdeeds against the working poor who suffer from the federal reserve inflation and war costs more than anyone.

I am free only because I choose to deal with the consequences of my actions. I do not fear death, I fear life without liberty.

employer's "contribution"

You make an already strong case by citing the income caps on Social Security as a regressively punitive social "welfare" program, even as you neglect the "Employer contributions". His "share" of SS is ALSO 6.2 % of your gross wage, which simply increases his costs of employing you, so actually it ALL comes out of YOUR market value. In addition to Fed Tax, State Tax, Property, Sales, Excise, &c, you're also losing 12.4% of your gross earning capacity up to an annual wage of ca. $96,000.00.

Viva Agora!

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
West of 89
a novel of another america

AND, of course, who

AND, of course, who ultimately pays for ALL of this...not the employer, OR the employee, but the consumer, the final link in the chain. If the costs go up for the employer, he has no choice but to pass the costs on.

you're absolutely right

I was explaining things from the employee perspective... as that is mostly one that I have and one I believe most people have. But you're absolutely right. On top of the 6.2% that goes to Uncle Sam, there's ANOTHER 6.2% that your company pays to Uncle Sam that COULD have gone to you.

Thanks for calling me to the mat, LehrBoy

Powerful government helps the powerful and well connected

What people who defend social welfare programs do not understand is that corporate welfare programs are even bigger. And these disproportionately hurt the poor...probably more so than they are helped by social welfare. Take for instance our energy policies. We subsidize biodiesel and ethanol which is causing serious food inflation due to higher corn and soybean prices. Then the government doesn't report food and energy prices in their inflation statistics so everyone thinks inflation is not a problem.

Working Poor

Im the working poor, and I can tell you I struggle even to pay SS tax as I'm self employed.
I could actually use that money to pay for health insurance for my family, but it seems Government doesn't want me to provide my own they want me on the government dole.

I refuse to go on gov funded healtcare. I'll probably die before retirement age so SS tax won't help me then.

It's all a scam in my opinion.

social security

ha. i wrote an opinion column in my college newspaper a couple of weeks ago about how the government "helps" the poor with Social Security. check it out-- http://media.www.redandblack.com/media/storage/paper871/news...

Too poor to benefit from my hard earned money

What's that thing you said?, 6.2%???!!!

Hey, here in Spain I pay 27% of my salary on Income Tax and I'm not making $50,000 a year! Rent a house, pay the bills, remaining money: 0,00 if I'm lucky.

The IRS is a skim, it hurts the middle class, knocks down the poor, gives soups to the miserable and makes sure they stay that way. The rich, they don't give a damn, why should they? Social Security is the biggest bulldrop ever, with 2,000,000 illegal aliens who don't pay a cent standing in queue in front of you with all sorts of contagious diseases in some backwater hospital. I say, give me back my money, thank you.

Most taxes only serve to pay for more and more Government, it's virical. "If you subsidize illegal immigration you get more of it", if you subsidize Government you get more of it too, it is addictive, too much Government is never enough for big Government. Once they pop, they can't stop.

The other day at the debate the Fred-head said something that rings true: "Democrats think anyone working for a living is rich." Yeah, tell Hillary Clinton to have a cigar in her behind, and her behind into her own library, let her build another one with donations from the Chinese!

I am so tired of politicians and their rackets, they are thiefs, plain and simple. There is one politician I admire, RON PAUL: Dwarf Gov's budget, abolish the IRS, abolish the Federal Reserve and light up again that beacon of freedom, THE USA.

"OK Shaggy, you and Scoob check out the cave, me and the girls will stay here in the cabin"
~ Fred

You make a good point, but

You make a good point, but you forgot one important one: If you subsidize the poor, you get more of them.

Right ...

The current system helps the poor like the Patriot Act makes patriots. The current system teaches people to rely on the the Federal Government rather than rely on ourselves, our families, our churches, our charities and our local community. The current system makes us think we are entitled to be the same as others - "It's not fair" they say. I am GLAD it is not fair. I do not want to be uneducated just because someone else chooses not to be educated. I do not want to be lazy because someone else is. I do not want to have cancer just because someone else does. LIFE IS NOT FAIR - Get over it - It is not supposed to be.

Now ... on the other hand, I do help those in need and donate about 15% of my total income to charitable causes. I spend time (10+ hours) each week serving others (not including my family). I visit those I know in the hospital. I am part of an organization that takes care of those willing to do "something" for the help they receive. Most of the time the help WAY exceeds the efforts by the individual/family receiving the help, but it is the principle that counts. If you are not willing to do anything we are not willing to help. If you are, we are.

The LOCAL communities/governments/charities/churches/social organizations/etc are FAR more capable of aiding those people than the Federal government is. There is nothing wrong with government helping people out, but it NEEDS to be local based. Local because they can really decide what is best and how to be fulfill the need. And local so "we the people" can still control our government. We have a LOT more control over local government than we do the Federal Government.

Liberty increases the wealth of the nation as a whole. It is because of Liberty that the USA is the leader of the world. It is because of government control that we are loosing our way and our economic leadership. It is Federal government intervention and aiding the big corporations that is creating the gap between the rich and the poor, plus the health care costs, plus the food cost situation, plus the debt problems of the nation and its people.

The Federal Government needs to get out of our lives for ALL to succeed. The Federal Government IS needed. The Constitution is all about the Federal Government, so we see we DO need it. It just needs to be MUCH smaller and have far less control over liberties.

... in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity ...

regressive tax

I like to mention that inflation is a regressive tax. One that hurts the poor more than the wealthy. Inflation doesn't hurt the rich as much because they have plenty of money and could afford higher energy, food, and gas. You know the basic necessities. The poor do not have this "luxury." Vote Ron Paul. End the Fed Reserve. End Inflation and it's tax on the poor.

I am a stay at home mom

and i wasn't interseted in this election at all until i accidently found dr paul. i also happen to get wic, food stamps, medicaid for my 2 babies and qualify for earned income.my husband works construction and his income is weather related, but we get by. i don't love the idea of relying on the gov. assistance, but for now it is nessasary. i don't trust day care establishments and couldn't imagine dropping my kids off with strangers all day and giving them at least half of my check every week. but i support ron paul and tell almost everyone i see to make sure to vote for him on feb 5 and nov 2. we won't have a country anymore if we don't get dr paul in office, we barely have one now. i think the 'rich' people are the ones afraid of 'liberty' and a change in the status quo. i don't consider myself poor, just temporarily broke. if we don't get dr. paul in office we are all going to be broke permanently. not only in a financial sense either. i am for liberty and freedom, the rest will fall into place. i wish i had more $ to donate, all i have been able to afford so far is $20. i can't wait for dr paul to become president paul!! he really is this country's only hope. i wish i could do more for him, but i am doing what i can to get the word out. and so are some of my friends. it's too bad most people don't really care what is going on outside of there own bubble though. it's one reason we are in the shape we are in.


Just being smart enough to realize the problem and helping any way you can is sincerely appreciated.

Thank you.....and keep up the good work.

Bob W., Naples, FL

every mite is blessed

I been there, Mom, and I can testify that you're already making a huge contribution to our future. Raising a couple of young 'uns. spreading the word, and STILL scraping up a little extra for The Good Doctor. Thanks!

Ya done good!

Viva Agora!

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
West of 89
a novel of another america

I can illustrate a principles-over-poverty example

I used to be a Libertarian. Go to the next LP meeting in your area (they're probably pretty eviscerated by our campaign, but I'm sure a few still exist). You don't need to go-in, just drive around the parking lot.

You will see some of the funniest bumper stickers you've ever seen, on some of the crappiest cars that still somehow-run. If libertarianism were really bad for the poor, why do they want it so badly? In truth, it's free markets that provide the only escape from poverty, and Libertarians see it. The ones that are left just don't see that ballot access laws doom their party despite its great ideas, and that therefore Ron Paul's our only hope.

Ready for LIberty!

Our income is low enough to qualify for probably every government program there is. We do NOT have our children enrolled in SCHIP or medicaid. We do not take food stamps, nor WIC, nor any other welfare transfer program. We home school our children and would never consider sending them to the government indoctrination centers (otherwise known as public schools). We do NOT intend to take social security or medicare. We believe that since all these government transfer programs amount to theft, it is cooperating with the theft to participate in them.

We have ten children, eight still at home (four voting age and at least the two voting age that live at home are with us for Ron Paul, don't know about the older two yet) and we manage to get by by living a frugal life style. It has been getting much harder over the last five years though as we are a one income family whose wages are stagnant and the cost of goods that are necessities such as food, gasoline and medical care is sky rocketing.

We are ready for liberty!!!!

Ron Paul for president!

The present system will fail

IMO, The number one argument against the status quo is that the present system is bankrupt and must fail as it has every time it has been tried in the past. We are now printing money and debt paper that our trading partners no longer want, to meet guns and butter demands at home.
Do social progressives like how the govt. handled the crisis in New Orleans? How will the outcome be different when the dollar fails and handouts stop? People need to be gradually weaned for their own good.

Washington doesn't need more lawyers.
It needs a doctor!
Dr. Ron Paul *** RX for Freedom

It already has failed

When we got to keep borrowing to keep it a float hasn't it already failed.

Well let's see

1. Poor people would be better served by a locally run public school program, since the community could decide on limtis restrictions, and needs, rather than following one size fits all guidelines.

2. Poor people would be better served by local programs and charities than large government programs. Hell, mnost people need to hire a lawyer to get on SSI, and the levels of fraud in things like medicare, and medicaid are fairly high.

3. If you look at community histories, you will find that many small towns had their own hospital, and local philanthopists donated to insure medical care for the poor. where I grew up, one weathy family essentially buillt a hospital, and in its charter included free care for those in the community that could not afford it. Sadly it is now a corporate hospital.

5. Ever wonder why health insurance is so expensive ? It's near impossible to get into that market. Why can't someone like AXA have a tax exempt retirement/medical accout investment fund - I can borrow against my account for a house or school loan, why not for medical ?
4. For budding entrepreneur's access to markets is difficult because of government regulations, and government subsidies for established companies. Poor people could much more easily start and sustain a business.

5.In Pensylvania, Before the welfare system there was a private organization called the Alms House. It provided relief to widows, orphans, and Old folks. It was not always the greatest relief, but didn't do as bad as conventional wisdom might have you think. I think the Great depression overwhelmed it though, and so people turned to the government.

All I know

is that I make $30,000 a year and I'm hungry, damnit! I'm depending on all you guys to help get the doc in office so I can buy some decent food and quit shopping in the rotten meat section.

wolfe's picture

Robin Hood was still a thief....

The government programs reallocate wealth from the poor and middle class to wall streeters via inflation and taxation. They keep beauracrats fat and happy, they keep drug companies and insurance companies fat and happy, etc etc...

But even still, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. Even if there was some benefit to those porgrams, theft is still theft!

If I mugged YOU at gunpoint, but gave the money to a homeless man should I not go to prison? Would you give me a medal instead?

Theft is theft. If your friends feel strongly, let them donate to charity vountarily. Let them PICK the cause that they care about. So instead of being stuck helping even those that they don't agree with, they can target where and how they want their money spent to best help whomever they want!

The Philosophy Of Liberty -

their faith in the American people

There was another argument that was interesting. I pointed out that I had donated to charities from youth orchestras to 9/11 to tsunami's and to trust in the idea that non-profits (though not as good as for-profits) are better at providing service to people in need than governments.

They pointed out that they've donated to ZERO charities and that's why there *NEEDS* to be a government to take their money and distribute to the poor.

That libertarianism is too ideal for the average American... who we are optimistic about and all the rest are pessimistic.

We've had the "War on Poverty"

for what, 40 years, and the people living at or below the poverty level has not significantly declined during that period. Yeah, government programs are the solution and I've got some "ocean front property in Arizona". The real solution - "Who is John Galt?" - answer Nikola Tesla - think on it.