February 26, 2011

Welfare makes the middle class poor (Greedy Goblin copy paste)

Most low-earner, but hard-working people don't see (and no one explained to them) how the welfare leech make them poor. They say: "my tax is low, and while I'm not happy paying the state even a penny, if I would pay zero, it wouldn't help me much. I would save a couple hundred bucks a year. The big difference would be if that billionaire wouldn't be such a greedy bastard and would pay me 5K more.".

Right-wing publicists answer some techno-blabla about "salaries are also affected by the forces of supply and demand" or "we must remain competitive with China where the salaries are much lower" or "the huge tax we must pay forces us to economize" or something like that. The blue collars don't understand it and take it as bullshit. The right-wing in turn call them dumb six-pack Joes.

The problem is not that the above is "too technical". The problem is that it's wrong in the sense that it's not answering the blue-collar's question: why am I poor? "Six-pack Joe" is right that it's not tax making him poor and tax cut wouldn't help him. The right-wing and libertarian anti-tax movements fail because they cannot offer solution to the worker class. They are poor and don't want to be, especially in the country that they carry on their back with hard work.

The blue collars are right that they would be poor even if they would pay no tax and the welfare of the inactives would come from some magic source, like some foreign country would pay for it. It's not the little tax they pay make them poor. It's the welfare itself.

There are countries where the median income is $1-2000. In Hungary where I live, it's about $7K. German pensioners who have low pension in Germany, often move to Hungary and live like high-middle class from thesame low pension that Germany sends them. How?

To be rich, you don't need money. You need products and services. You need a home, you need food, you need health care, you need transportation and so on. In such countries you can buy these goods for cheap. How? Because the producers of these have no better options. I can build a good house from $20K as I can hire hard-working masons and carpenters who work for $4/hour.

Can you do the same? No, because if we would transfer the same masons to your country, they would receive $3-4000/year welfare so they would refuse to work for lousy $4/hour.

The blue-collar $20K earner is probably above the median. Every second person earns less than him. However he cannot benefit from it, as these people won't work for him. If he needs a baby-sitter, he must compete with $100K earners for the limited baby-sitter supply. He supposed to be in the middle of the food chain, in the middle of the status ladder. He is called "middle class" for a reason.

But welfare simply eliminates the people below him from the work market, making him the poorest. If welfare would be removed even if the taxes are not changed, he would instantly be much richer as (some of) the former welfare leeches would offer him services and goods for very low price. He could afford from the same money to employ gardener, baby-sitter, cook, shopping boy, maintenance guy. He could get his home and car maintained from a couple hundred, saving him buying a new one. He could have hand-made clothes fitted to his body. He could eat in restaurant every day or get cooked food from cheap basic materials at home from his cook. His town could afford to employ streetsweeps, street-gardeners, graffiti-hunting security guards, day-care workers and so on. He would live like he should: in a clean and tidy neighborhood served by servants.

Also, the social status of the blue-collar would sky-rocket. Currently he is just another poor guy living nearly on the same standard as the inactives. But if the inactives would gain no benefit, they would stand out of the neighborhood. The worker guy would be the dream of the inactive girls, the man who has his own home and decent food every day. The worker woman would be the one who wears handmade clothes instead of Salvation Army stuff like the inactives. "My mom and dad both have jobs" would be a source of pride for kids as it would mean decent clothes, computer at home, vacations sometimes and so on, while the other kids wear and eat the (surely healthy but boring) stuff the child care services provide and electronics would be only seen in school.

For a social "poorness" is relative. My granddad's favorite memory was that he had the first TV in the village. I saw it in an old photo. It was smaller than my backup screen that collects dust, it was monochrome and blurry to the limit of usefulness. But it made him the most envied guy in town for months. Making others poorer makes a social rich instantly. He would no longer has to keep up with the Joneses. He would be the Jones!

Welfare simply inflates salary. Salaries should not be measured in $. It should be measured by welfare units. If we would write a zero to every dollars, the blue-collar would make $150K, without being any more rich than yesterday. If the ratio of his salary : welfare would increase, that would make a difference.

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