Then, Diane, I would be more than willing to have some of my tax contribution pay for prosthetic hands--if he cannot afford them himself. And if that doesn't work, I'd be willing to pay for food stamps. I wouldn't resent him for his disability. I would try to help him transcend it (IF he needs my help), and if that doesn't work, assist him to survive WITH DIGNITY.
JLN--YES! Or, what if he has no hands?
Well, that is why I mentioned the deserving and the undeserving poor. If you would have looked into Thomas Chalmers, you would have found that people -unable to work- fall under the undeserving poor - those who need and deserve aid. People who are not "Able bodied" fall under this category, and I feel that the mentally ill also should. Again, the united states federal government shouldn't be the one responsible for charity - they are taking the money of Americans and redistributing it - when it should be up to the Americans what they want to do with this money. Having charity done like that eliminates it's function as a good deed, and turns it into somthing that is expected from the populus. In matters other than war and national issues it should be up to the individual or at least the local gov'ts (with better funding) to determine where their money goes - expecially in social aid matters.
I think we should Mars our eyes out. That is one thing I don't mind the government being involved in. It may play a future role in science, colonization, or war. That is why we have the federal gov't - it was created to unite the states and protect against foreign invasion.
Portal Star, I--as a liberal--have a different feeling about helping others. I do not want just a system where I can "nobly" give "charity" to others thereby revealing my moral superiority over them--and perhaps, if I'm rich enough do it through some tax dodging foundation with my glorified on its front door. I would not like to leave it up to private charity. People are simply not charitable enough. And it is precisely THOSE people who want to keep help private, so that they can simply NOT give, or give in a manner that diminishes their tax load. As a citizen of this extremely affluent community (the U.S.), I feel it is my ethical DUTY to have what is needed taken from my paycheck to help the poor. And that it is the duty of my neighbors to take the same responsibility, a responsibility that is communal, an obligation of all beneficiaries of this country. It is wrong-headed to think that is is the GOVERNMENT, or Big Brother that is robbing us to give to the poor. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT; it represents us as a community. It is we as a community that manages the welfare of the deserving poor (by deserving I refer to those who can't work, either because of incapacities or because there is no work available, and those poor who are not viciously crimminal). There are people who may be forced to steal in order not to starve. It is in my enlightened self-interest to feed them. If there are some poor who steal even though they do not have to, they are undeserving poor. But then I see little difference between them and the wealthy white collar criminals who steal when they do not have to.
JLN, as usual, no one could put it better.
As a reminder of how other countries treat those who are needy, here is gozmo's list:
Top 100 Economic aid - donor (per capita)
Map & Graph: Economy: Top 100 Economic aid - donor (per capita)
â Scroll down for more information â Show map full screen
Country Description Amount
1. Luxembourg $356.69 per person
2. Norway $309.38 per person
3. Denmark $303.6 per person
4. Netherlands $217.83 per person
5. Sweden $191.51 per person
6. Switzerland $150.64 per person
7. France $105.41 per person
8. United Kingdom $75.28 per person
9. Belgium $74.36 per person
10. Finland $73.12 per person
11. Ireland $72.88 per person
12. Japan $71.67 per person
13. Germany $67.27 per person
14. Austria $50.18 per person
15. Australia $45.74 per person
16. Canada $40.75 per person
17. Spain $33.19 per person
18. Portugal $26.87 per person
19. New Zealand $25.51 per person
20. United States $24.59 per person
I have not posted here beyond some aghastness of no particular use a few pages ago.
I find prescriptions for people energizing themselves useful sometimes, and I even posted recently about what I would do with a lottery win, similar to what was set up in India a while ago, funding of very small businesses, and presumably some counsel. (That is, beyond my own needs, as I am flailing myself.)
so I get the empowerment thing. But I get much more the slough of despond in so many places and I think there is SOOOOOOOOOOO much help that could be given, so little in each place could help so many and it isn't getting there, the piquancy of the abyss is almost too hard to articulate. And imagine if enough help could get to a place.
The empowerment thing is useful but just one tool and hits, even then, at the surface folks who can grap the tail of the wand.
No, I am not the government. The united states government is not a democracy, it is a representative democracy, and people do as they please under the guise/obligation of it being on my behalf.
I keep using Thomas Chalmers as an example because the charity system he implemented worked, and worked better than when the gov't did it. As far as I'm concerned, there's no proof like historical proof. It wouldn't be a simple or easy change (because of existing laws, post-depression era politics, and precedent), but I think it would be a change for the good. Communism didn't work, socialism didn't work (except in very small countries), and I think there are fundamental human reasons why they didn't (which I went into earlier in this post.) What Thomas Chalmers did worked (at helping the poor, and creating less poor), and that is what matters.
If you show me evidence that the methods you argue for are better than others, I will consider them. Otherwise you're just arguing ideology.
There is a lot in the world that needs changing.
Let's not forget that America -is- a good place to live, that most of the people here -are- middle class, and that we want to keep it that way. We Americans can obtain basic needs very easily. America isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than what's out there.
If I had to chose any social pet cause above the others, it would be the promotion of human rights (and laws protecting them) in foreign countries.
JLN - I agree with you about the able-bodied, that they (if necessary) may be sponsored by the U.S. gov't, but I want that to be up to the discretion ofthe state gov't (with funding!) not the fed. gov't.
If no one can get a job - and the government taxes everyone, won't that mean that they are only taxing the people who have jobs? And if, let's say, 30% of the people have jobs - will they still be encouraged to work if the government takes half of their money, and they can make that money by not working? The government money would be better spent on encouraging business (ex. business preferential legislation), and encouraging new job formation. For example, they could loan to new businesses at a very low rate, give them special tax deals until the nation gets back on track, etc. There is some evidence that FDR's "new deal" programs actually set back the end of the great depression (sorry, I wish I could cite but it's second hand from a teacher.)
Portal Star, of course I'm "arguing ideology." So are you in so far as we are laying the VALUES we think should guide public policy.
BTW, if you value the existence of our middle class, as I do, be sure to vote against Bush. He is causing its decline.
I don't like Bush, but Dean looks pretty creepy too. I'll probably vote libertarian. I assume you are reffering to the "tax cuts for the rich" but I am in favor of a flat tax rate (or a tax rate very close to a flat tax rate) anyways, so that doesn't bother me. There is no reason why they should take a -larger percentage- of money from the wealthy, they're already taking a larger amount from them because it is a percentage.
Sure, they are just values, but other people on the thread were posting amount of money donated and how that related to kindness of a nation, and I don't think that's relevant. That's why I mentioned historical precedent and what works and what doesn't. But you're right, all in all this discussion is opinion because the only evidence we have (other than sociological/psychological theory and experiment) is recorded history, and that applied to different countries at different times under different systems of govenment. Certain things hold true across time and place, though, and human nature is one of those things. Public policy should be guided with a knowledge of human nature and historical precedent.