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.
It should be a scandal that the federal government is purposefully weakening a core principle of our value system: self-reliance. To wit, the feds are praising local bureaucrats for "counteracting" what they call "mountain pride." These bureaucrats are convincing people who characteristically reject food stamps to instead embrace a culture of dependence.
It's in the politicians' interest to grow dependency: dependency means votes. It's in the bureaucracy's interest to grow dependency: that's how they grow their "business" and make themselves necessary and important, and keep their jobs.
Indeed that is true. When I was young (50+ years ago), there was an ethos in Vermont of was self-reliance.
Now, I am sad to say that many of my younger cousins are on the dole. Jobs? There ARE jobs, they are just not 'good enough' to attract someone who is able to meet their needs on public assistance. Vermont is very cushy in that way. Right next door in New Hampshire? Not so much. If I were to move back to New England, it would definitely have to be to New Hampshire.
When I was working at a local 'liberal arts' college in Plainfield, VT (70's), I heard people at get-togethers explaining how they continue to avoid working, so they could continue to collect money. After all, why shouldn't they? These were ex-Goddard students (graduates with actual 'degrees'), by the way, not 'locals'. Although that mentality, as I said, has filtered down to the whole population.
I was offended by mentality at the time, but not for the right reasons. I thought them to be lazy and worthless (they thought themselves clever for working the system). I did not think of them as criminals, which they were. Thieves, taking money from me and my parents and our neighbors, friends and relatives. Money we forked over (even on my very minimal salary, and my parents fixed income) to the state and federal government. They stole from us as surely as if they had come into our house and taken it out of the cookie jar.
Yes! I remember when I was a kid (40+ years ago) that politicians would defend their programs as not being a subsidy. That was a dirty word.
I read that when the dole started in the '30s, that people had to be educated that it was not a hand out, it was something that was due them. The biggest crime ever committed to both the receiver of the money and the tax payer who supplied it.
I've posted this quote before (and I think BD posted it on the main page once) but I do not believe it can be said better than H. L. Mencken said it:
"The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods." [H. L. Mencken]
"It’s often claimed that the richest Americans pay a disproportionate share of taxes while those in the bottom half pay nothing. These claims ignore the many taxes that most Americans are subject to — federal payroll taxes, federal excise taxes, state and local taxes — and focus instead on just one tax, the federal personal income tax. The other taxes are mostly regressive, meaning they take a larger share of income from a poor or middle-income family than they take from a rich family.
Many Americans do not have enough income to owe federal personal income taxes, but do pay these other taxes. The federal personal income tax is a progressive tax, and the combination of this tax with the other (mostly regressive) taxes results in a tax system that is, overall, just barely progressive. Total tax obligations are, on average, fairly proportional to income."
Federal payroll taxes is Social Security. It probably shouldn't be even called a tax but a contribution. As a senior citizen on SS I am happy to get the check but make no mistake it is money I put into the system. Yes I know the claptrap about that money I put into it is already handed out but do not forget that the federal government siphoned off much of that money and replaced it with IOU's. By my reckoning the federal government owes the SS $4 trillion including acrued interest. SO make no mistake the money I get from SS is MY money.
Is the payroll tax regressive? Yes. Does the SS pay recipients at the low end a much higher percentage of benefits? Yes. (Strange that those who dislike a regressive tax don't mind that those who pay very little receive so much.)