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October 26, 2011

Peter Schiff Takes On OWS

Good video.

I have a weird take on this. Or maybe it's not so weird.

To start, let me say that I'm not for income redistribution, period. I oppose taking undue amounts of taxes from the rich. Period.

But there are two parts to redistribution: Taking from one, and giving to another.

My take here is just about which part is worse.

So, to reiterate, I am against the whole transaction, period, and not in favor of taking from the rich.

But I think it's kind of interesting to ask which part of this exchange is worse.

I think, oddly enough, it's the "giving to another" part of it, not the "taking from one" part.

And the reason is simply that we do not want people to be indolent. You cannot guarantee a Minimum Standard of Living to all people, whether they work or not, with their basic necessities paid for, and expect a high fraction of them to actually work.

Because the sort of people drawing these benefits will not be, as a group, highly skilled. Their labor will not be worth terribly much to any employers. It will be worth something, of course.

But it will be worth some amount of pay which is just at the barely-getting-by level. Not much more.

Now, if you're guaranteeing the entire population Barely Getting By government wages, then what inducement do they have to work? You'd be a fool to work under those circumstances.

This country long ago provided what liberals call a "basic social safety net" for most people. This box was long ago checked.

The next item on the agenda is simply expanding this, giving people more free money.

At we're getting to the point where it becomes a good, defensible economic decision to just do nothing and take a check.

And at that point society collapses, because once you convince so many people that it's their right to just sit back and be taken care of, you run out of money in a hurry, because while the rich can be taxed at a high enough level to take care of a fairly small fraction of the idle, no one has enough money -- not even the rich, not even the more-wealthy-in-aggregate Middle Class -- to put half of the frigging country on a permanent dole.

There is a social penalty to not working, to living on the dole. Such permanent welfare types are considered lower-class. "Respectable" people avoid this status.

But when more and more people are doing this, the social stigma against it goes away.

That happened in the black community. That's happening in Europe.

It will happen everywhere this is tried. Because it's insane to expect people to work at a job -- which is frequently stressful, unpleasant, and difficult -- when they can get by okay enough doing nothing at all.

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posted by Ace at 02:57 PM

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