Monday, October 27, 2008

Riddle me this

In the context of a conversation I have been having elsewhere (and by the way any family who read this: it's not our family e-list, it's a different debate), I thought I would open up this idea to you smart people. I am arguing with someone who thinks rich people should be allowed to get richer, and some welfare debates blah blah blah. My response is that...

"I just don't believe that the majority of people on welfare "don't really need it" or are "just lazy."

Where are the studies and statistics that can show the relative distribution of need vs. exploitation in the welfare system? If you know of some, please by all means post them. Personally, all I have heard of are anecdotal examples and all of those that *I* know are people who really did need the support (e.g. a friend of mine with cystic fibrosis who can't work, e.g. my cousin who has cancer, e.g. the really smart undergrad who works her butt off for me and has a kid so she needs medicaid, e.g. my other cousin who also went to college with two young children as a single mom and needed help to support her through college so she could go on to start her own business as a midwife which is how she contributes to society now, or e.g. the soldiers who came back from Iraq and have trouble getting a job and need mental health care because they're all fucked up).

So, if "WAY too many people take advantage of it," who and where are those people and what percentage of the total do they represent? And in a cost/risk-benefit analysis, is their percentage IN THE NUMBERS big enough to trade the good it does for the rest for? People need to get beyond this perception bias that it's all about crack whores exploiting the taxpayer, and take a realistic look at the statistical profiles of welfare users.

And also, I don't understand this idea that "redistributing the wealth" is some how PENALIZING the super-rich. The only way they GOT to be that rich was by being able to use the infrastructure provided by this country, and exploit holes and loopholes in a financial system that allowed them to accumulate more and more and more profit in their investments at the expense of industrial sustainability--profit that for the last 10 years has been completely inflated and pretend and empty, built on the backs of lies and bad auditors. It was a cancer on the financial system--their money is like tumor tissue. YOU CAN'T LOSE WHAT NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOURS IN THE FIRST PLACE. This is the money that was supposed to belong to the families who worked in America whose jobs were taken away to China and India so that these rich people could get higher profits on their products and services, and that should have been invested into making housing ACTUALLY affordable instead of this fakeass cheat-version of affordable that screwed this all up.

Between the two of us, my husband and I make pretty well into six figures now. We are more than comfortable, we are pretty well-off with solid investment plans and can buy just about anything we want for fun almost anytime we want, and we still won't be "punished" by the 'redistribution of wealth' plan. So the people who they are talking about getting punished are the people far beyond what most people would consider normal, or necessary even to have a very good life with lots of luxuries. This is NOT money they get from hard work, it is money they get from growing money out of money in a financial system that just demonstrated itself to be so rotten that its bottom fell out.

The money that gets redistributed will end up back in regular peoples' savings accounts, their retirement plans, and what they spend into the economy, so the "lose the rich people and lose the economy" argument is completely bogus."

4 comments:

Massimo aka Okham said...

I have done this research myself about a decade ago. It is one of those subjects that most people tend to discuss ideologically, rather than on any factual basis (as in, "welfare creates dependence -- I have no data whatsoever to prove it, I just know it must be so").

I find that the most useful entries, if you do a Google search, come out if you type "poverty escape rates" (in quotes). Hope this helps.

happy cat says whaaaat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cath@VWXYNot? said...

"And also, I don't understand this idea that "redistributing the wealth" is some how PENALIZING the super-rich."

I don't understand why "redistributing the wealth" is supposed to be some scary bad thing instead of, y'know, a perfectly reasonable and normal thing to do. But I'm one of those pinko commie Europeans!

drdrA said...

I'm with you all the way!