We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, May 6. 2009
We recently noted here that, if you gave 5 people each $100,000 to do something with, after 5 years one guy would be broke, one guy would have a million bucks, and the others somewhere in between.
It's like Jesus' parable of the talents (which of course had nothing to do with money, but with the use of gifts of the spirit.)
Readers know that I don't give a darn what other people make. I care about what I make, how I make it, and what I do with it.
Just One Minute looks at Robert Reich on income inequality. One commenter says:
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The federal definition of poverty is the bottom 20% of the income range; therefore there will always be 20% poverty no matter the need or income. JP
I usually don't defend govt assistance but in some cases it might not be that far out of line. Here in NY if you buy insurance privately it could cost you well over $1500. per month for a family plan. That's enough to put you below the poverty line. It's like another house payment. I don't believe in socialized medicine but they have to make it more affordable. My husband owns a small business, we pay $840. per month but he has to prove he has 2 employees working at least 20 hours a week and show that he offers them a chance to get insurance also. We don't have to pay for it just tell them if they want to participate they can. If we sold the business we would not be able to keep this plan (which by the way has a $40. co-pay ).
To answer the commenter from a Biblical point of view, relative poverty is all that God cares about and he cares about it a very great deal. The issue is about not leaving anyone behind, not abandoning those members of the community who have failed, and giving them the opportunity to get back on to their feet. God is very much in favour of wealth as such - that's the whole point of promising a land flowing with milk and honey - but he is very against some people having an abundance whilst others have nothing. Consider the classic parable of Dives and Lazarus, where there is no suggestion that Dives was particularly horrible to Lazarus, no suggestion that Lazarus was someone who had been sacked by him or anything like that - it was simply that there was poverty outside his gate which he ignored - and for this he is condemned to hell.
Now there is then a long discussion to be had about how this relative form of poverty is to be addressed, and there are right wing and left wing answers to be had (I prefer the right wing, small-state versions); there is in addition the emphasis upon personal responsibility, which is also Biblical. Yet there is an unavoidable element of luck involved in who gets rich and who gets poor - luck in terms of particular circumstances at the time, also luck in terms of background gifts and abilities, parenting, education and socialisation. When we take that into account, then the ability of one person to make a fortune whilst another collapses into penury is not simply a function of personal skill.
My grandfather was kept in the Allied POW camp near Auschwitz (ie not the Jewish camp). When they were first interned they were shaved completely over the entire body and given a standard batch of clothing and a red cross parcel with food and cigarettes; in other words the social environment was 'reset'. I remember him telling me that within two weeks there was a thriving economy - there were people who were successful, who had gained more resources, had accumulated cigarettes (= currency) and so on. Then there were others who had collapsed into poverty, who were starving etc.
This is human nature - but it is human nature that has fallen. We're called, not to exult in our fallenness but rather to mimic a gracious God who gives not from desert but from a generous heart. As the first epistle of John puts it "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"
There can be a long and unending discussion on this subject. But you are right. The numbers seem to be skewed most of the time.
This is Benny from Israeli Uncensored News
Maybe we should contemplate on how the word "covet" fits in here.
"If the US has the richest poor people in the world, why is the distance between them and the people at the top such a big deal?"
Just wanted to clarify the point i probably didn't make well--same insurance coverage but depends in Ny what type of business you have. Self -employed w/o employees $1800. per month. Owner/ operator of business w 2 part-time employees $840. per month even though the "group" consists of only one family. I believe these are regulated by the state. If they wanted to lower costs it seems they could streamline and just allow everyone to buy into the same plan.
Junkie, it, your crippled statement, ain't nothin' like Jesus parable of the talents but it is like another one.
Meself don't rightly care how ya make yourn but there are rules as to how ya spend it and lot's of folks who care how ya steal it.
Any society with freedom will have a distribution of outcomes among its members: some wealthier and more powerful, some with less stuff and influence. Any society without power will have a distribution of outcomes, but the methods to gain better outcomes are more likely to be harmful to the society's members. The primary way to get ahead in a free society is to produce valuable goods or services and show leadership. The primary way to get ahead in a tyranny is to betray and lie.
History shows very clearly that free societies have better material well-being than tyrannies do.
I make a lot less money than some people, but I live very nearly as well as they do. I make a lot more money than some people, and I live a good deal better than they do. The very wealthy (some of them) have more leisure than I do and more options about what to do with their leisure, but they drive about as fast as I do, sleep about as well as I do, and mostly eat about as well as I do. Somebody else probably washes their dishes and mows their grass, but what the hey. And I'm right about the middle of the national income figures.
Our love of God and each other is a valid reason to assist those who will profit by it and to relieve the distress of those whom we can relieve. There's waay too much distress out there for me to relieve it all. I'm also annoyed by those who can help themselves and won't do it.
A society that scorns wealth and productivity, a society that penalizes production instead of rewarding it, winds up with waay more distress. History shows it very clearly.
Tut-tut, Sam Norton. I'd hate to think that you would confuse equality of opportunity with equality of result. They're different, Sam. One is democracy. The other is socialism/communism. One works [magnificently, as a matter of fact]. The other doesn't.
Um Marianne, I'd hate to be so rude as to 'tut-tut' back, but you don't seem to have read my comment properly.
If you want an example of how government grants, or government funding of anything----watch how your bird feeder works