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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, let me lay down the two extrema of this issue:

- Extreme (0)
There is no government intervention on the issue of poverty. 0% of the national budget allocated to provide short-term relief, employment subsidization, and minimal life quality standards. The people who are under the poverty line are expected to solve the problem on their own, 100%.

- Extreme (1)
There is always government intervention on the issue of poverty. 100% of the national budget allocated to programs related to poverty and wealth equalization. Well-off people are expected to serve the needs of the less fortunate (taxation will increase dramatically if one makes more money than the national average.)


Obviously, both extremes are terrible choices (as all forms of extremist ideologies are). The objective here is no find the ideal balancing point that works both in theory and actuality.


My curiosity has sprung from this particular video, which seems to suggest leaning toward option (0).

 

 

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(Disclaimer: I didn't watch the video yet.)

The classic problem with option 0 is market failure. 0 is perfect in theory when things like discrimination, externalities, and other aspects of inconsistent human behaviour don't exist. 1 is doomed to failure also because of human nature - people gain satisfaction and happiness from relative ranking and subjective comparisons. If there is no incentive to better your position, there is no incentive for anyone to be very productive.

Equilibrium is, as you say, achieved in finding the correct intervention. In practice, we don't have perfect information to ever find this. However, the ebb and flow of political preference within a country to me seems to suggest (at least in part) that there is a dynamic process that pulls us back to the neighbourhood of balance when things get too far away from that theoretical equilibrium.

A side issue is that political interests in the short term tend to hinder the process of reaching a welfare equilibrium.
 

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A very interesting clip.

Good points on both sides. Nice find.

Always refreshing to see a professional angle on debates that are common among the uninformed.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"a decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization"

samuel johnson.
Rhetorically impressive, and useful in terms of stating the objective;
but I think we can say that everyone already knows what the goal is;
the real difficult question is: "how" (specific policies that are effective).
 

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I, as a novice to politics and economy, am leaning towards giving everyone an equal baseline income from which to build their own success. The amount should obviously be closely monitored and adjusted according to the economy (prices and so on).
 

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I work for the public sector. In my office the clerks are mostly black and hispanic (and some Vietnamese and Filipinos).

Black and Hispanic clerks (but not Asian clerks) all have family members, friends, ppl they know who are long term welfare and disability recipients. From chit chatting, I have a sense that they don't endorse long term help from government. It seems to encourage complacency and laziness.

IMO, government assistance should only be temporary and has term limit like most elected government officials (duration pending situation/category). It should also not to be enough to live without some part time work. This precarious balance might just be enough of a push for those who are on welfare to get motivated to better their lot.

Also, family and non governmental entities (churches and non profits) should shoulder some burden, too. Hispanic people have strong familiar related helping (10, 20 ppl sharing a rental unit; 2, 3 families live under the same roof, etc.). Tapping into citizens' after tax money to help their fellow men that's free will based should be revived and encouraged. I personally would help family members and friends if there's emergency or even some long term needs that I can spare after careful evaluation.

Some cases should be given long term help like severe disability and serious mental illness. We used to have state funded mental hospitals. After they were gone, mentally ill ppl became homeless ppl. Institutionalize these ppl isn't the most humane but it may be more cost effective than having them as homeless.

As for who should be responsible, each state has different needs and dollar amounts therefore State should budget and partition the federal government for % contribution. The taxpayers' money is essentially funding the welfare programs via State Tax contribution and Federal Tax contribution. The actual administration and program design should be handled at State level.
 
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"a decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization"

samuel johnson.


Poverty is a national waste as well as individual waste. We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education. The nation is the poorer – a poorer economy, a poorer civilisation, because of this human and national waste.

~Gough Whitlam
 

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"a decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization"

samuel johnson.


Poverty is a national waste as well as individual waste. We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education. The nation is the poorer – a poorer economy, a poorer civilisation, because of this human and national waste.

~Gough Whitlam
 

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All I know is that America does not have many true examples of poverty. Poor people here are buying beer and junkfood at the grocery store while texting on their Iphone.
 

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Can I suggest charity over wellfare? If people care let them prove it.
Yes you can. Thank you for using your brain.

I say this because charity is superior to welfare in many ways.
1.) It's handled on a smaller level (donators are more-informed than any government, and it's their personal wealth they're dealing with so they do their research)
2.) Increases a positive aspect of your self-image. Welfare does not because you are forced to.
3.) People abuse welfare because it's consistent and regular; easy to figure out. Charity is less commonly abused, because it's sporadic and a show of the heart, combined with the synergistic effects of very little welfare programs. (I think there should be very few). Honestly, in extreme cases, you're telling me people wouldn't help out if there was a drought or famine of any kind in the country? If people don't want to it's because they think "my taxes are already going to this." So the government buys contractors (extremely inefficient) to fix it instead.
4.) If poverty truly is a problem, it should be up to an individual's will to assist. Giving people the freedom to donate and be charitable. Charity increases reputation, which is another incentive. Which brings me to another point.
5.) In a free market groups can gather to make their own system of welfare if they wish. If people want to organize welfare for a group of people or a project or whatever THEY HAVE THE FREEDOM TO. Why create a system in which it's enforced? I won't stand for fallacious views of capitalism and socialism. Look past propaganda and realize the velocity of efficiency of capitalism and realize it's always better for the masses in the long run.
 
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