Ok, still no one has replied here. But, I do have a friend on Tufts Dems, Tim L., a self-described Christian Socialist, who attempted a multi-part rebuttal to my previous post. I have pasted it here, so that my response will not give me the appearance of tilting at windmills or debating straw men. Since Tim’s posts came piecemeal, I’ll deal with them one by one.
Tim: There are some people who simply can’t survive on what they have. Should they depend on private charity to survive? No. As long as there are people going hungry or homeless by no fault of their own while many have too much money for their own good, it is the obligation of the government to provide for them. That is one of the most perverse things about capitalism: you are tricked into believing that you should save up capital for capital’s sake, even if you have so much money that you will never have need of all of it. The main conservative principle that people are entitled to this money is based upon greed, and the wrongful assumption that all people who are poor are poor because they are lazy and that they could become rich if they tried. The structure of a free-market economy is such that some people profit while some get screwed over; conservatism tries to mask this fact by saying that taxes are preventing the poor from reaching their full potential…and all that other b.s. that Rush Limbaugh is spewing.
Mike’s Demonstrably Superior Response (MDSR): Ok, Tim, you say I think that the poor should have to rely on private charity to survive. Well, first I would point out that the poor should first rely on themselves to survive. Failing in that, I would hope private charity would save them. You say that the poor should not have to depend on private charity, why is this dependence objectionable and governmental dependence not? Since the government gets its wealth from private citizens, isn’t your system just concealing the fact that the poor need the wealthy to survive, whereas mine makes the arrangement open, honest and voluntary? Your argument that capitalism “tricks” people, is completely baseless, and you give no reason why this is the case. So too is your complete mischaracterization that my belief that people have a right to their earning is based on greed, and that poor people are poor from some fault. The whole premise of my post is that the right to one’s property and one’s wealth stems from a right to one’s life, not greed. And I don’t assert that the poor are poor out of fault, but because, for any number of reasons, they fail to provide a valuable enough good or service in the marketplace. Some people would indeed still be poor if taxes were dramatically lowered, people who through stupidity, disability or pure dumb misfortune have little to offer. However, a major cause of poverty is a lack of jobs, and if government weren’t collecting such a large percentage of the nation’s wealth, that wealth would be at work creating jobs, largely eliminating unemployment and abject poverty. Liberals never seem to understand this. As Ronald Reagan put it “The more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.” Your confiscation of wealth from the economy destroys jobs, which in your mind necessitates more confiscation to alleviate the poverty your program just caused, so you confiscate more, then more people lose their jobs, and it continues downward in a self-reinforcing spiral. So, again I would echo “Rush’s b.s.” and say that not only is your policy misguided and foolish, but that it is also most cruel to those you claim to help.