I thought this response was blog-worthy, it is a snippit of an argument with a conservative who thinks taxes are the equivalent of armed robbery and using tax money to keep the poor alive is patently immoral. Just as a fun little exercise I’m going to put in bold the bits that they actually responded to in their next response (their text is in quotes):
“The point isn’t to morally judge lazy people, but those who knowingly take money stolen from others. Lazy people who are not on welfare are irrelevant.”
My point was that laziness was a part of human nature that is found in all strata of society, not a poor person thing. And bankers stole literally trillions of dollars and you didn’t even notice. But a few million to help poor people not starve is an outrage. Yeah, poor people are the problem. And as far as the “taxes are stealing” rhetoric, if someone rapes you don’t go to the police or you’re stealing my money. If your house catches fire don’t call the fire department because you’re robbing me. If you die make sure you’re just left in the woods to rot because I shouldn’t be “forced” to give you a decent burial at gunpoint. Oh, and don’t drink the water because my taxes pay for that too.
This is your cynical outlook.
Whatever you do don’t look at the good your tax dollars do (like allowing us to have a civilization at all) or be glad people aren’t dying by the millions from starvation like some third world country. No just bitch about living in the most prosperous country in the world and having every right imaginable.
“Okay, what about the many welfare recipients who pass on the healthy food with their food stamps in favor of feeding their nicotine/alcohol/illicit drug habits. The point is addressing those who abuse food stamps and other forms of welfare to satiate non-necessities.”
You can’t use food stamps to buy those things, and while some fraud does happen (which has been drastically cut in recent years by making the system digital) you are essentially complaining that we live in an imperfect world. Saying we shouldn’t help the poor because some abuse the system is like saying we should get rid of private companies because some people steal office supplies. Theft, fraud and abuse exist in all sectors of life, public, private and personal. Sometimes peoples’ boyfriends steal from them, so you shouldn’t date, right? If you’re waiting for a perfect world, don’t hold your breath.
“Crime and poverty are correlated, but not necessarily cause and effect.”
Seriously? The poor areas having drastically worse crime is due to some other correlation? Like what exactly? [They claimed that poverty doesn’t cause crime – in their response they explained that poor people are genetically inferior with higher tendencies towards violence, anti-social behaviors and low IQs. I pointed out that this is illogical and extremely racist given the correlation in america to living in poverty and not being white, and asked her if she thought minorities were fired disproportionately when the economy crashed because their inferior genes just happened to pick that precise moment to kick in – her response? To ignore the entire comment and pretend I did nothing but make “personal attacks”, when my responses were as civil as this one]
“That aside, welfare rarely lifts any family out of poverty. As the commenter said, it subsidizes it.”
The philosophy of “give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life” was perfectly valid before modern economies when people lived off the land. Now people don’t go pick berries in the forest, they get jobs to buy food. And a huge chunk of the country are unemployed not because they want to be, but because of events they had zero control of like market forces, de-regulation of the banking industry, the psychology of the stock market etc. Most people who don’t have jobs right now don’t have them because there are no jobs to be had. And as far as lifting working people out of poverty, the poor in this country are on a treadmill, every step they make ahead puts them two steps behind. Corporations almost never pay to train people anymore for any good jobs, you have to go in debt yourself to even apply. And between inflation and low interest rates the money in your savings account depreciates in value 4 times as fast as it accumulates interest. The mega-rich have built an economy where pretty much only capitalists and those with a head start can thrive.
[In the context of her saying she should pay zero percent taxes] “You missed the entire point, which was that government playing Robinhood is unacceptable. Money should not be taken from one and given to another.”
So forgo everything the government does for you and live in a shack.
And even if I agreed with your premise that we should only help ourselves (which I don’t at all) to create a system that keeps track of every penny of government spending and makes sure what you pay in matches what you get would be unbelievably impractical. How can we make sure everyone gets the same use out of roads and highways? Should we charge people for the fire department since most peoples’ houses won’t catch fire? Should we only tax the victims of crime to pay for law enforcement? Should only the families of the 9/11 victims pay for the “war on terror”? If we applied that ideology across the board it would be a nightmare, and it’s just an orgy of selfishness. Don’t you give a damn about anybody but yourself?
I look at all the good taxes do and don’t mind paying them. What would we have without taxes and government? No army to protect us, we’d be invaded constantly. No drinkable water pumped right into our house, no subsidies, no internet, no telecommunications, crime would be insane, forget transportation entirely. We would be a third world country. But you pay for us not to be. Have some civic pride instead of civic hatred.
“However, taking money from everyone to build infrastructure or programs which benefit everyone (prisons for the dangerous, roads for driving, schools for education) was addressed and considered acceptable by the commenter.”
Fighting crime and poverty doesn’t help everyone? Ignoring for the moment that you could be poor some day and need those programs. And again prosecuting rapists mostly helps women – should I not have to pay for it? Prosecuting children [Edit: I meant child molesters/abductors, poor editing] protects mostly children, should toddlers pay the bill? Don’t you think we should pay anything forward? If you have kids someday are you going to leave them in an alley so they don’t “steal” milk from you? Do you have any concept of living in a civilization or any sense of “we’re in this together” at all?
“So what you’re implying is two things. One, that poor people are criminals. And two, that because of this, the rich people owe poor people money for protection against being criminally victimized by them. Giving money to thieves to stop thieves from stealing and killing. Makes perfect sense.”
Or I was being hyperbolic. You either didn’t pick up on that (which is hard to believe) or you’re just being disingenuous. The point is that anyone will turn to crime if they’re starving or especially if their kids are starving.