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Income Inequality and/or Race and/or Justice

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    On our most recent "race" thread, before it got locked, PR posted this regarding both race and income inequality:

    And as a result of the history that created the issue. There's a nexus between class and race, which leads to all sorts of really tone-deaf crypto-racist moralizing on the right - "I don't want to get black people food stamps, I want to get them a paycheck." That sort of thing -- oh and then the laughable denial days later.... "No no I said blah people."

    I bring this up because there's a really bad result when you conflate very high representation among the poor with being the "main" cause of various sorts of social spending -- not that you are doing it here, but that's what's next in the racist apologia.

    As to "conditioning," that's contingent on ability to escape poverty -- for example, more Black people are unemployed, in good times and bad.

    We give Americans a social safety net -- because we are not a third world nation.

    Not "groups of Americans." Americans of any race who need that safety net.

    Now I'm not going to dispute that there are those of whatever race who play the system, but it's a pretty meager living you eke out doing that. For most, our safety net is just that: A way to prevent you from falling off the map. Some never get off various forms of public assistance. And retirement is a whole other kettle of fish -- and one that makes sense, and that we should expand to more people, not destroy.

    Now, I like your last question: What should we do about income/wealth inequality, without effing up our budget.

    If I understand this correctly, it is desirable to have less extreme inequality, and it's just plain the right thing to do to mitigate suffering where possible.

    You seem to be saying, you want mo/better incentives for self-reliance. Okay - where those niches are we should try to encourage self-reliance. That was the beauty of moving from welfare to EITC - it's a "making work pay" solution. It's designed to make it more attractive to work than not to, by eliminating the "I make more on assistance than by working, after the taxes" catch-22. That's not the case if you're rich, but it used to be for many who are poor.

    So all that to say, it's not a given that social safety net programs de-incentivize work and independence. You don't think that person who gets EITC of 2K wouldn't rather make another 10K/year, despite the 2K lost?

    Your last point -- "we cant afford it" -- is a whole nother debate but not one I'm dismissing.

    So, thing 1: How do we address income inequality. As I understand it you and I both think it's too extreme -- do I read you right?

    Thing 2: Is it right provide a social safety net?

    Thing 3: Can we afford one? If so, how much of one?

    Thing 4 goes back to where we started, the race/class nexus. We know it's there. We know naked racism, institutional racism, and history all contribute to it (and to each other.)

    Hell, if we agree to things 1-3, I think we go a long way toward addressing Thing 4.

    I'm glad we got beyond the fantasy world of "there's no such thing as racism, except when we mean people who actually fight racism being racist for noticing its existence."

    So, let's talk about 1-3, and try to crack the nut of #4 last

    PFnV
  2. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll be back, I have to lie down and think of something to say, God Willing.
  3. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I wasn't involved in the other thread, so all I'll say is that the more you do for people, the less they do for themselves.
  4. Titus Pullo

    Titus Pullo Banned

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    Is that supported by some scientific study somewhere? I'd love to read about it.
  5. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    It's human nature Titus...simple as that. You can compare it to the doting parents who do everything for their children and later wonder why they aren't responsible and have little discipline in their lives.

    Other than that, I'm done discussing RACISM once and for all on this board. It seems to be a favorite topic for both sides of the fence and all we do is discuss the same sh1t over and over again as if it's the first time.
  6. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    Life, no matter what color of your skin, is subject to motivation. What is a good motivation to get a job? I was raised middle class, I wanted more, my motivation to work hard.

    If you as a person is ok with living in poverty, if you were raised in it, and you could achieve that standard by not doing anything hard or difficult.

    Would you do it? You can maintain what you were raised in and not do anything ( not too mention your parents never instilled any work ethic in you ) or you can step outside the hand outs and work your ass off, and I mean really work hard ( 40+ hours a week ) to make just barely enough to improve your situation marginally... What would you do?
  7. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    It's supported by reality. Something most liberals don't know too much about. See, liberals only believe something they read in a book, or some scientific study. Most of which was likely written by other liberals, who learned what they did from a previous liberals book, or scientific study. I believe they then call that peer reviewed too. ;)

    Bingo. It's really not all that complicated PR. I would think it's basic common sense. Be it parents doing things for their kids, or your wife doing something for you. When your cloths are always washed by someone else, you don't ever feel the need to do them yourselves. If you don't pay for the heat, you don't worry about cranking it up so you can wear a T-shirt in the house. On the other hand, if you're washing your own cloths, or working to pay for the heat, you both tkae better care with your cloths, and wear long sleeves in the winter. I would think that why I said is a basic tenet of human nature. That doesn't mean that everyone is that way, but it's probably true for most.

    The more you do for people, the less they do for themselves.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  8. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    Especially when it creates an artificial wall, being that moment where an extra 100.00 a month in income means you lose 1400.00 in help ( made up numbers )

    No one will make that progression.
  9. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #11 Jersey

    So you believe there are never any factors beyond someone's control as to how hard they can work or what kind of work they can perform? For instance, no one will ever be held back by a physical handicap or a mental one? A person who's illiterate due to poor schooling or bad eyesight or severe dyslexia has the same options as a highly literate one has? A child raised with no books in the house is going to be as knowledgable as a child raised with 1,000 books and easy access to a library is? A hungry child is going to be as motivated to pay attention to his teacher instead of his stomach as a well-fed child? A person without access to transportation (either public or private) is going to be able to seek a job as well as a person with access?
  10. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I saw on the news the other night a report on some unemployment law in SC, where they cap the bennies at 5 months. I caught the report half way through, but I saw two people interviewed. One who basically felt it was beneath her to "flip burgers" for the $7.25 min wage when her 5 months was up, while the other worked odd jobs and did anything he could find for a couple of years to earn money, despite having a degree in engineering. The question being asked was whether or not people should be paid to stay home until they find a job they like, or be forced to take a job once their 5 months is up. I firmly believe in the latter. I think it's up to the individual to be prepared for situations like this. The "safety net" isn't intended to be that preparation either. It's simply a buffer, or transitional stop gap. The idea that people should be paid until they find a perfect job is wrong imo. I think the sentiment of the "burger flipper" is far too prevelent in this country, and points to how far we've fallen as a society.
  11. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #11 Jersey

    Hence the Earned Income Credit.

    :)

    See how well that works?
  12. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    MrsPatsFan, I believe the saying "that's Life" is in order for your response. Not everyone is created with the same talents and abilities. Some talents and abilities are rewarded by our society, like good looks and strength, some are not.

    I shall answer your question with a question...
    Should everyone be entitled to earn as much as the richest person? No matter on their ability to produce?

    At what point is it ok to care for others through personal choice rather than force?
  13. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #11 Jersey

    I don't believe anyone's saying that, are they? I'm certainly not.

    Because of things like handicaps, physical illness, mental illness, differences in IQ, differences in genetics, differences in abilities there will always be inequalities which are present - I'm just saying we don't need to add to them and it seems that laws are one way we can deal with the unnecessary inequalities.

    If there is a job available, and two people are equally qualified, one should not get it simply because he is a male and the other is a female. One should not get it because she is white and the other is black. Those are inequalities which happen every day. We have laws which try to make sure it doesn't and so it doesn't happen as often as it used to. Those are good laws.

    I don't want to compete with Mitt Romney to run Bain Capital. It's not my "area," and I'm not qualified. I do, however, want to compete with Joe Fireman since that IS my area of expertise and I AM qualified. I should not be the second choice just because I am female and somewhere along the line someone decided it's a "man's job." I don't expect to make the same money as Mitt Romney. I DO expect to make the same money as a man doing the same job I am doing. (Just as an aside, in case you want to argue that doesn't happen. When I worked in the ER I was training a man to do my job - he was just out of medic school and had never worked at the job before. I'd been at the hospital for almost 4 years. In the course of conversation it came out that he was hired on at a salary more than what I was currently making - and a lot more than I had hired on at. When I complained to HR about it, I was told "but he has a wife and child to support." I was a single parent with three children at the time. ) Fortunately for me, I had the law on my side and I got a raise - although they did not and would not make it retroactive. I suppose I could have taken it to court and won it, but who's got the money for a lawyer and you know the conditions at work would have become the pits for me immediately.

    It's possible that you, as a white male, really aren't aware of what a woman or a black man or a hispanic man faces daily in the work world. Trust me, it happens all the time. Everywhere.

    I'm sorry you don't get to pick and choose where your tax dollars go. Personally, I don't have kids in school anymore and I have no idea why I have to pay taxes which go to the school system. My mom doesn't drive, she doesn't leave the nursing home, why should her taxes go to maintaining roads? My youngest son lives in an apartment - why can't he write off his rent the same way I can write off my mortgage interest? Why is my tax dollar needed to make up for what Mitt Romney doesn't have to pay because he didn't "earn" his income and I did?

    I'd much sooner see Mitt and his ilk pay the same rate on their unearned income as I do on my earned income than have the blind guy on welfare be abandoned because we want someone else to voluntarily take care of him.

    If my tax dollars have to subsidize someone I'd much rather it be a poor person than a person who's skating on 15% rather than paying taxes at a 25 or 35% rate like I am.

    The way I see it, your anger is really badly misplaced.
  14. Drewski

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    Mrs. PFnVA just a couple of points.

    1. The "newbie" job rate point you were making. This happens all the time. At my previous employer, fresh out of college, no database experience people were brought in at a higher rate than A, the previous wave of new hires and B, what those "previous" new hires were currently at. The cost to find talent in a given market typically goes up over time, not down. Not saying its fair, or that there aren't other aspects to the calc (male/female, black/white etc), but in most markets the natural rate of income increase accounts for most of the change (at least in my line of work).

    2. I cant speak for most states, but rent is tax deductible here in MA, just like MTG interest. Granted there is a cap on how much you can write off, but it is available for renters here.

    3. The investment part of anyone's income is a tricky topic to me. On one hand, yes, if they cash in on those investments, they should be taxed, and they are. What the rate should be is open to debate.

    However, in Mitt's case, he has most of his income coming from investments (so he says) thus lowering his taxable income. Presumably, at one point in time, Mitt would have "bought" those investments with income which was already taxed no? I realize I am over simplifying this by relating it to my life, but the stocks I have, I bought with taxed income I earned. Taxing said investments would be double taxing me no? Now if i go and sell my stock investments for a gain, then yes, tax away, but if they are sitting there, and or are sold at a loss...you already taxed me once on em no?

    Its kinda like the inheritance tax. Yes someone didnt actually do anything other than be born into a situation to inherit moneys from grandparents/parents etc. But what they inherit was already taxed, so how can you tax it again (up to a certain agreed upon amount).
  15. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Rookie

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    #95 Jersey

    True, but it is also what you grow up with and see around you. If you live in an environment of absentee fathers and families living of public assistance, that is the norm. Compare that ot the two parent household in the suburbs ( I'm stereotyping) where both parents are employed and it's expected that the child will go to college. Before you start criticizing the people on food stamps, whatever their race, you have to address the societal factors and try to change that. That's the reason at least one candidate has said that if you get a job, and get married before having children, there chances of being in poverty were low...
  16. chicowalker

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    This is a legitimate issue, regardless of one's stance on social programs.

    There are too many programs that simply don't incentivize people to earn money and improve their situations. This includes unemployment and is the case in many states when it comes to health insurance.

    Anybody with a shred of common sense would had some sort of sliding scale where recipients start paying (or paying more) for their insurance when they hit increasing income levels. Instead, many (if not all) state programs simply cut people off when they get to a certain threshold -- makes that extra dollar + of income quite expensive, since it would take much more than that for them to pay for a private insurance plan.

    On unemployment, I don't think it's anything as drastic, but the requirements for reporting income can be very onerous, discouraging people from actually reporting it.
  17. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #11 Jersey

    Sometimes I think people who have not experienced it, or not seen it up close and personal, have no idea of how absolutely mind-numbing and soul draining poverty really is.

    You're 100% correct - what a child sees is what a child expects - even if his parents have different hopes and expectations for him it is a hard hole to dig out of.

    For want of better words, I'll use "city" and "suburb" as the difference between poverty and affluence. For a city child it's a chore just to get to school. There are gangs who want your lunch money, your shoes, your alliegence that you have to wade through every day. The streets he walks through are full of broken glass and garbage and homeless people. The suburban child gets a ride in the family Volvo - the world outside his window is green and leafy and clean. He waves at the mailman, the UPS delivery man, the neighbor mowing his lawn. The city kid had no breakfast, or, if he was lucky, he had a small bowl of sugery cereal which hyped him up and is guaranteed to let him down again just when math class starts. The suburban kid got a full meal of healthy foods. His energy level will peak when he needs it the most.

    The city kid doesn't even know there's a different world out there. And maybe the suburban kid doesn't either. City kids don't get to visit the suburbs, there's no transportation there and, as far as a kid is concerned, it doesn't even exist. The suburban kid, his parents wouldn't think of taking him for a tour in the heart of the city. Too scary and too dangerous for anyone to be there if they don't have to....and the suburban kid surely doesn't have to.

    The die is cast early on. Hearing about college doesn't really do much good. I heard about college, too....but it was never something I could hope to aspire to. In fact, the few times it was mentioned by a teacher, my parents shot it down with "No need...and it would just make her too big for her britches, anyhow." The "expectation" that I would do better than my parents did was limited to marrying a man who made more money than my father did.

    In the city, the only people that a kid meets are people who are just like she is. Poor people, beaten people, frightened people. People who've given up and are more interested in staying alive than they are in succeeding. Hell, success IS staying alive. If you can stay alive and drug free and gang free, even better.

    It's hard to learn in school when your teeth hurt and your family can't afford a dentist. It's hard to study at night when the house or apartment is freezing cold and the neighbors (or worse, your parents) are fighting once again. It's impossible for your mother to help you with your spelling test when she never learned to read herself.

    There's no after school snack waiting for you when you come home. Either the adults in the house are all at work and won't be home for hours or your mom's home but she's in bed because she's A) sick B) Drunk or C) High. She does wake up long enough to tell you to watch your younger brothers and sisters, though...and if there's food in the house, you give it to them.

    And that extra credit book report? Forget it - there aren't any books and the library is too far to walk to and by the time your dad gets home from work, it's closed anyhow.

    So maybe you survive all that relatively unscathed and now you're 14 and want to find a job. Except there really aren't any jobs where you live - it's a ghetto and there aren't alot of places in the ghetto where a malnurished 14 year old can seek enployment. Someone tells you about a place - and you can take 2 buses to get there so it's doable, but it suddenly dawns on you that you don't have anything to wear to an interview. The only clothes you own are 2 pairs of well worn jeans, a few tee shirts and a pair of gym shoes. Not exactly what the "Lovely Ladies Hair Salon" wants in a receptionist.

    So what do you do if you're a girl child? You get pregnant. It proves someone wants you. Your parents didn't, the schools didn't, the work place didn't...but the gang banger down the street? He did.

    Honestly, it's validation for being alive to some girls.

    And thus the circle begins agan.

    People don't often pull themselves up out of poverty - and it's not always "their own fault."

    Put any one of your own kids in the same situation and see what happens.
  18. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    Are you saying that most of Romney's income is paper income?

    re inheritance tax: did the individual receiving ("earning") the income pay taxes on it?
  19. Drewski

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    1. Im saying based on what he said the other night on NBC nightly news. To paraphrase what he said: most of my income comes from investments - not an earned income. my earned income comes from Speakers Fees and I pay somewhere around 15%.

    To your point, I think that would be "paper" income. Obviously I cant speak to the validatity of his statement, but that is what he said.

    2. Re inheritance: again I go back to micro examples. My grandmother some day will go on from this life and meet her maker. On the day she does that, her estate will be liquidated; stocks, bonds, property, cash etc etc. By liquidating her investment portfolio, "she" would pay capital gains taxes no? So if I stand to inherit something, it would be taxed "before" I inherit it. Me paying tax on said inheritance would be double taxing right? I presume to believe that the income she purchased her portfolio was taxed when she earned it.

    Another example would be someone inheriting buku bucks from a parent. That parent put all of their money under their matress rather than in a bank or stock portfolio. That money would have been taxed as income by the earner. It shouldn't be taxed again when it is passed on to the inheritor (Again, up to a set amount).
  20. chicowalker

    chicowalker On the Roster

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    That could easily mean investment income, too, couldn't it? i.e., realized gains, interest, dividends, etc.?

    Anyway, I think unrealized gains can go either way, IF there is a reliable way to measure them (e.g., publicly owned stock).


    re. your grandmother: let's be clear -- the amount that she spent wouldn't be taxed, as that wouldn't be part of the gain

    re. taxing "again" when inherited -- not sure what you mean, exactly, b/c of the parenthetical. I agree that there should be some sort of exemption. There should be enough so that a small business (where borrowing isn't readily available) or a family home doesn't have to be sold, imo.

    but beyond that, why shouldn't it be taxed? Other income is taxed, and that cash has already been taxed at some point. Sales tax is "double taxation." If I start a business and pay people out of my pocket, that income is taxed. Not sure where this double taxation notion has come from, but it happens all the time.

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