Finally, I can appreciate an intelligent argument. I am a conservative, and whenever I present my views to liberals, I often get ill-manner and sometimes insulting and even violent replies, especially on the internet when people don't know each other. I think these people are giving a bad image for liberals.
The latest economic studies based on the increases from one state to the state next door are showing the opposite is true.
I'd like to see some proof of that. I came to America 15 years ago and workers in the supermarket are much nicer than they are today. There are often more than 10 registers open. I could have a friendly conversation with the cashier. Today, these people are replaced by machines that talks to me (in some way). Also, 15 years ago, wherever you call, you get a person answering you. Today, you talk to Siri (or whatever robot they call it). There's no human interactions anymore. Supermarkets and fast food restaurants are the #1 employers of minimum wage earners and thus, at $15, double of today's minimum wage, is bound to have consequences.
I would suggest that the middle class has done better when the minimum wage is higher relative to poverty and median income.
I don't see how that could happen. Food and necessities have the thinnest profit margins and doubling today's minimum wage would have the highest impact on Food. Thus, it would be almost illogical that food price won't rise. I had a professor who actually said that high minimum wage is likely to sink middle class because if my company pays me a salary, it's very, very unlikely they'll give me a raise when minimum wage doubles. Thus, facing higher food costs, I actually became poorer.
Many people do work because they love the work they do or because it gives their life purpose. Some of those people are doing low paying jobs they enjoy and wish they made more money.
It's true that some people enjoy the work they do -- that's great. However, here's a reality check: did that guy inspire to be a supermarket cashier (totally no offense to cashiers) when they are young? Probably not, they probably wanted to become an astronaut, scientists...etc. Life choices probably didn't pan out the way they wanted it to be. So if welfare pays 80% of their current wages, are they going to continue working or quit? Bottom line is, if what you said is true, that income is a secondary benefit, Maoism should have worked to some extent, but failed miserably, as my parents and I personally experienced it first hand.
There are many reasons, both moral and financial, for both the rich and poor to support a welfare state.
I agree that it is a moral thing to do. It is true that children should not be punished for their parents' poor choices. That's why my brother proposed a new welfare system for his graduate thesis. He's liberal, but interestingly he agrees with me that today's welfare system does encourage laziness. He proposed (and I agree) that welfare should only be handed to people that lack choices. For instance, a disabled person should be able to receive welfare. A child should be rewarded welfare only if he does good in school. This encourages parents to send their kids in school instead of forcing them to work at a young age. Perfectly healthy people, regardless of their income, should not receive any welfare because they are fully capable of improving from their current situations. I would go as far as saying that senior welfare should also be limited. If poor planning such as squandering away your money on lavish goods, expensive vacations, or gambling is the result of their predicament, then it should not be tax payer's responsibility to bail them out. When I was 18 I had a part time job as a sales. I started saving right there an then, putting money into my IRA. I had a co-worker in her mid 40's. Her husband is a cashier at a supermarket. Every time there's a new technology gadget, she's the first to buy it, regardless whether she really needed it. They have over 50k in credit card debts and yet they plan trips to Vegas. When they retire, they probably won't have any savings. Should we help them? I don't think I want to help people that lives beyond their means. This may should immoral, but morality has a limit in a sense that I can't help everyone else's bad decisions.
I perfectly understand progressive tax system that only the last bit of income gets taxed at the highest bracket. I am talking about the utilitarian theory that how many units of leisure would a person be willing to trade for an additional unit of income. If there were no tax, say, if I make $50k and to earn that additional 10k I'll have to sacrifice 5 hours of leisure a week. I'll probably be willing to do that. However, let's say that last 10k is taxed at a higher rate, say, 50%. Now I will only earn 5K for the 5 hours of leisure I forgo. That may not be worth it to me. Let's say that to earn that extra 10k means I must spend 5 hours a week at school to earn a degree. Now that this additional income is heavily taxed so it almost acts as a deterrent for me to pursue this degree. I understand what you say about pride and status. However, unless you can present some hard-research, I am confident to say that "pride and status" means very little to middle class Americans.
Lastly, another point I've always discussed with people is that American schools, despite being good, teach too much equality, rights, justice, helping the poor and all that ideology. However, they NEVER teach responsible spending. Not one class since middle school that any teacher mentioned that we should be careful when using credit cards and don't spend beyond our income. 18 year old kids who get their first credit card gets exited and the next thing you know is they've maxed it out.